The New York Knicks finally played with the defensive intensity their ex-coach Mike D'Antoni wanted, ending their six-game losing streak with a blistering 121-79 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.
Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire combined for 30 first-half points, just hours after D'Antoni's surprising resignation as head coach for three seasons. Interim coach Mike Woodson and owner James Dolan spoke to the team before Wednesday night's rout at Madison Square Garden. In the second quarter Anthony made an impressive pass to Tyson Chandler for a layup and foul. Anthony scored 16 points and had seven assists. Stoudemire scored 17 points, shooting seven for seven in the first half.
Under the circumstances, we came out and put everything aside and played basketball tonight and had fun, Anthony said. We haven't had fun like that in a long time and tonight it was a good way to come out and get this 'W.'
The crowd booed Anthony throughout the game after media reports that he wanted a trade unless D'Antoni didn't return next season. Stoudemire told the New York Daily News that D'Antoni, 60, expressed frustration some Knicks weren't buying in to his up-tempo style.
It's an unfortunate situation. But there's no bad blood between myself, Mike D'Antoni, the guys on the team, anything like that, Anthony said. He said he stepped down for the sake of the team. . . . In life, there are times that change can be for the better.
Woodson, 53, joined the coaching staff last summer; he previously coached the Atlanta Hawks. He praised his teams performance last night.
When you look into their eyes after something like this has happened, you know, you wonder as a coach are they mentally there, he said. And I just told them to take a deep breath and relax and let's go out and have fun and play basketball the way I think we're capable of doing it, and I think they responded.
Jeremy Lin, who had six turnovers, played only 23 minutes, scoring six points along with six assists and nabbing four rebounds. J.R. Smith scored 25 points off the bench, including seven 3-pointers and Steve Novak added another 20 points.
LaMarcus Aldridge and Gerald Wallace each scored 15 points for the Trail Blazers, who posted their second straight loss and the fourth in five games. The team showed little energy after a loss to Indiana Pacers on Tuesday, and played without starting guard Jamal Crawford.
The Knicks will play Indiana this weekend in New York.
Melo to Amare for the dunk:
Full game highlights: