Kemba Walker has his share of memorable moments in Madison Square Garden. Tuesday night, the Bronx native added another to the collection.
Walker had 25 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists in the Charlotte Bobcats 102-97 win over the New York Knicks.
Walker left the game with a shoulder contusion early in the third quarter after colliding with Metta World Peace.
X-rays were negative and Walker would return in time for his latest fourth quarter heroics, hitting a fadeaway jumper over Kenyon Martin to put the Bobcats ahead 97-91 with less than a minute left.
Most of the night, Walker was the best player on the floor. The Knicks rarely had an answer for the former Connecticut guard, until he slowed down in the fourth quarter after returning from an injury.
Walker’s confidence remains high and he has taken all responsibility as the team’s closer.
Gerald Henderson scored 18 points and grabbed 8 rebounds. Henderson hit a pair of free throws late in regulation to seal the Bobcats first road win of the season.
Jeff Taylor had 13 points off the bench in 18 minutes.
Carmelo Anthony led all scorers with 32 points, but shot just 10-28 from the field. World Peace scored 18 points off the bench, including 12 in the second quarter.
The Bobcats held the Knicks to below 30% from the three-point line and outrebounded them 51-33. At the end of the first half, the Bobcats were shooting well over 50%.
The Knicks were smaller up front after Tyson Chandler left the game in the first quarter with a left leg injury. Chandler did not return and the Knicks had to rely on the older legs of Kenyon Martin down the stretch.
Despite giving up 97 points and turning the ball over 22 times, the Bobcats played a good game and deserved to walk away with the victory. Even if you have reservations about the Bobcats after last season’s 7-5 start, there’s a lot to be encouraged about right now.
- The composure the Bobcats are playing with so far in two close games has been very good. They’re defending as a team, staying active on the glass, and playing with energy. Doing it at home is one thing, but on the road in one of the NBA’s premier environments is another.
- I boldly predicted Taylor would become a starter by season’s end in Roberto Gato’s Season Predictions. Taylor’s appeal is evident when he’s in the game. He’s solid as a catch and shoot three-point threat, can defend each perimeter position and possesses the athleticism and quickness to excel in an open court game. I don’t blame Clifford for benching Ben Gordon to allow extended minutes to Taylor, who could potentially be a key part of the team’s future.
- Andrea Bargnani had two rebounds in 23 minutes. There’s been plenty of scorers who haven’t been spectacular rebounds, but Bargnani’s woes on the glass over the years have created a new low. The Knicks acquisition of him is a strange one. The Eastern Conference is very defense and rebound-oriented. If the Knicks expect to contend for a championship, where does he fit?
- For a team with championship-level expectations, the Knicks offensive style doesn’t leave much room for optimism. There’s a lot of one-on-one basketball and quick shots; most of it isn’t good.
- Four years ago, Amar’e Stoudemire was the Knicks big offseason acquisition and a legitimate MVP candidate. In 2013, he’s a sympathetic afterthought coming off the bench. Stoudemire turns 31 in November, which isn’t ancient for an NBA player. How good could the Knicks be if Stoudemire was healthier over the years and fit next to Anthony?
- Jeff Adrien is a pleasant surprise. He defends, rebounds and is a good athlete. Adrien isn’t going to light box scores on fire, but his effort and physical style of play is admirable so far. Clifford is trusting him with minutes late in the game, which is very telling.
- Bismack Biyombo only played 19 minutes. He wasn’t in foul trouble, but it was clear Clifford liked what the combination of Adrien and Anthony Tolliver were bringing on both sides of the ball.
- The Bobcats half court offense should really improve with Al Jefferson back in the lineup, but that’s not saying much. Without Jefferson, there’s a lot of overpassing and low percentage shots. There just doesn’t seem to be much confidence in the half court.
AROUND THE WEB:
- Spencer Percy (Queen City Hoops): The Knicks had 2 fast break points. 2. The guy simply doesn’t tolerate it and this locker room has bought in. One question Steve: Why are you not switching everything defensively on inbound situations at the end of the game? We’re going to see these situation again, so it’ll be interesting to see if the strategy changes here.
- Tarun Bhan (Buckets Over Broadway): Perhaps the reason Carmelo feels like he’s being passive late in games is because he’s completely gassed. No excuses if a lack of conditioning is the issue, but Mike Woodson simply cannot ride Melo this hard for the entire season and expect him to be fresh when it matters most in the playoffs. Considering he’s the franchise player and perhaps their most indispensable piece, the minutes have to go down.
- Ian Begley (ESPN New York): With Chandler on the bench Tuesday, the Knicks were out rebounded 43-27. Charlotte had a 14-3 edge on the offensive glass in the final three quarters.
- Rufus on Fire: Tolliver shot only threes in tonight’s game, which ended up okay because he made two of his four attempts. He put up some nice rebounding numbers, but, more to the point, did so many little things right. Tipping out rebounds, providing nice movement on off-ball offense, and solid, non-flashy defense. It was a good game for Tolliver.