The Los Angeles Lakers early season woes continue after last night’s disappointing loss to the New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden. The Knicks started the night with a high scoring first quarter, pouring in 41 points as the hapless Lakers searched for answers on defense. New York would maintain the lead throughout the final three quarters despite the Lakers strong second half push, finishing the game with a 116 to 107 victory at home in front of a sell-out crowd.
Carmelo Anthony had his shot going early and often, dropping 30 points without stepping foot on the court during the fourth quarter. However, Kobe Bryant would not go down without a fight, leading his team in points with 31, rebounds with 10, and assist with 6. At age 34, Bryant is one of the early season candidates for league MVP.
It’s was an impressive game for the Knicks, who got the better of their former coach Mike D’Antoni in his first trip to New York since being fired last season. It’s a big win for head Coach Mike Woodson as well, as his team remains undefeated at home with a 9-0 record.
Atlanta Hawks (12-6) at Orlando Magic (8-12), 7 p.m. (ET)
The Orlando Magic will be defending their home turf tonight against the Atlanta Hawks as they face off in this Eastern Conference rivalry. Both teams are fighting to keep the pace within the Southeast division, as the defending champions Miami Heat maintain a stronghold on first place.
This game is important for the Atlanta Hawks, who ended a three game win streak as they fell to the Miami Heat Monday night. Atlanta knows they must win against weaker teams such as Orlando if they wish to maintain second place within the division.
That’s easier said than done for the Hawks, as Orlando is well rested and fresh off a 5 game road stint that began with a huge upset over the Los Angeles Lakers. Orlando got the best of its former superstar Dwight Howard, and despite his 20 point 15 rebounds effort he still managed to miss 12 free throws, possibly blowing the game for the Lakers. Howard was drafted by Orlando in 2004, where he spent the first 8 sucessful seasons of his career with the Magic.
New York Knicks @ Charlotte Bobcats
New York Knicks (12-4) travel south to face the Charlotte Bobcats (7-9) at 7 p.m. (ET)
The New York Knicks will begin their three game road stint tonight as they take on the Charlotte Bobcats at Time Warner Cable Arena. After suffering a close lost to the Brooklyn Nets, the Knicks have reeled off three straight wins. Their most recent victory over Phoenix came on the heels of a 34 point effort by Carmelo Anthony, the league’s second leading scorer.
With a 1.5 game lead over their Atlantic Division rival Brooklyn Nets, the Knicks know that each game counts. Head coach Mike Woodson understands that every team in the NBA is tough, and doesn’t expect his guys to overlook tonight’s matchup against the Charlotte Bobcats.
"Every game is not going to be a runaway or blowout for us and you have got to give them credit. They played hard, they were scrapping down the stretch and made a game out of it," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said about the Suns. "At the end of the night, we closed it out and was able to get the 'W.' That's what counts." –Sports Network
The Miami Heat (12-3) head to our nation's capital to take on the Washington Wizards (1-13). Tip-off is set for 7 PM ET.
The Miami Heat are well rested and coming off a big win against the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night. Dwayne Wade scored a season high 34 points and added seven assists, while LeBron James chipped in with 21 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Wade had been dealing with migraines, but the only headache Saturday was the one he gave Brooklyn. Wade has been hot lately, averaging 24.8 points per game during Miami’s four game homestand, and has reached the charity stripe 7.3 times per game over that span.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra had this to say after Miami’s recent win over the Nets:
"This was a step forward game for us. It was good to see our guys connected again. We didn't necessarily play great basketball in the first half but in the some ways this was our best win. This was our best game in terms of connection, communication and commitment to each other." -SB Nation Tampa Bay
Given the Carolina Panthers recent struggles, it’s a welcoming sight to see the Charlotte Bobcats early success. After just 14 games, the Bobcats have accumulated the same number of wins as they did all of last season. It’s a surprising start for the Bobcats, as many considered them a non-contender coming into the 2012-2013 season.
Fans should expect a highly competitive game in tonight’s Eastern Conference showdown between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Charlotte Bobcats. This should be an intriguing matchup between two teams looking to gain some ground within their respective divisions.
The 76ers are currently 1.5 games out of first in the Atlantic Division, and have managed to do so without center Andrew Bynum. Bynum was dealt to the Sixers in an offseason trade that sent superstar Dwight Howard to the Lakers. So far Bynum has yet to take the court, and after speculation of an early season return, it looks like he won’t be coming back anywhere in the near future. Coaches and fans have already begun to express their concerns with the former Laker big man, who aggravated his balky knee while out bowling just weeks ago.