Melo makes a point (one) as Knicks end slide

Louis Amundson, Jeff Pendergraph, Gana Diop, Bismack Biyombo, Dexter Pittman, Ed Davis, Gary Forbes, Robin Lopez, Sam Young, Luke Babbitt.

No, it’s not another edition of The Bernucca List, because we’re going to give you the answer right away. Of the 115 players who took the floor in Tuesday’s five NBA games, those were the 10 who did not score.

Those were also the same 10 who Carmelo Anthony managed to outscore.

That’s Carmelo Anthony, fourth in the NBA in scoring at 25.7 points per game.

Melo scored one point – again, one point – in New York’s game at Charlotte. He took seven shots, missed them all, and only got off the donut when a technical foul shot crawled in, saddling him with a career low.

And the Knicks? In full-fledged panic mode with six straight losses, a sputtering offense, a $100 million decoy in Amar’s Stoudemire and a coach about to take the fall for it all?

They won by 33.

The worst game of Anthony’s career coincided with the best game the Knicks have played in weeks. They shot 50 percent from the field, had assists on 26 of their 39 buckets, shot 33 free throws and racked up 111 points, their most in a win in 2012.

From Al Iannazzone of Newsday: “The Knicks won’t win many games when Anthony doesn’t make a shot. But they played the Bobcats, who were led by Bronx product Kemba Walker’s 22 points. Charlotte is 3-15 and without two starters in point guard D.J. Augustin (foot) and Corey Maggette (hamstring). The recipe for success for the Knicks was there, though. They moved the ball and had balanced scoring and shot distribution. Six players scored at least nine points and 12 was the high shot total, by Stoudemire and Landry. “That’s just a smart way to play the game, just moving the ball,” Stoudemire said. The Anthony-Stoudemire dynamic has been a major topic lately, especially following the Denver game. Anthony was 10-for-30 and Stoudemire attempted just nine shots, one after the third period. The two spoke and played as if something clicked from their conversation. Anthony passed more while Stoudemire got shots in the flow of the offense. “We talked about how we can get everybody involved and create some wins right now,” Stoudemire said. “We can’t really panic right now but we definitely have to get this going on the right track and start racking up some wins.”

In his previous four games, Anthony had been 35-of-105 from the field with 16 turnovers, which means he was personal responsible for a maximum of 86 empty possessions, or more than 21 per game. After Saturday’s loss to Denver – in which he hoisted 30 shots – he said, “Maybe I need to stop shooting a lot, I don’t know.”

On Monday, he backed off those comments, saying, “That was me just beating myself up. If I had made some of those shots, I wouldn’t have said any of that.”

Maybe he should reconsider. While getting one point from their 25-point scorer isn’t the answer to the Knicks’ offensive woes, Anthony – who is clearly banged up – was responsible for just eight empty possessions against the Bobcats. Not exactly efficient, but when you add 11 rebounds and four assists, certainly less inefficient than he has been lately. Hey, you gotta start somewhere.

From Marc Berman of the New York Post: “Maybe this is how it should be until Anthony gets 100 percent. The Knicks, who play in Cleveland tonight, played selfless ball with Melo in the background. … Stoudemire and Anthony had a big talk about how to coexist better. And for one night, it was good — at least for Stoudemire and Chandler. Chandler said Anthony’s presence still helps. “Even if he doesn’t take a shot the entire game, the other team has to respect him,’’ Chandler said. “They’re never going to leave him.” Coach Mike D’Antoni said Stoudemire’s and Chandler’s breakouts were not by design. “The philosophy should be if the ball flows, some nights it will find Tyson, some nights Melo, some nights Amar’e,’’ D’Antoni said.

The ball may also flow better with the season debut of point guard Baron Davis, which should be sometime this week.

More from Berman: “The Baron Watch took all sorts of twists and turns yesterday. Whenever Baron Davis makes his Knicks debut — be it tonight in Cleveland or, more likely, Saturday in Houston — his former coach Paul Silas believes they will get the floor leader they have lacked this season. Yesterday morning, Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni would not rule out the injured point guard making his Knicks debut tonight against the Cavaliers, who cut Davis this offseason via the amnesty provision. But after Davis performed poorly in a 3-on-3 scrimmage in the afternoon, the point guard admitted he felt it was unlikely. “I’m taking it one day at a time, see what happens when I go out and work out and get shots up and see how I feel [this] morning,” Davis said last night. “I would love to play, but I don’t think it’s possibly going to happen.’’

Off the court, the Minnesota Timberwolves have locked up Kevin Love. Or have they?

The Minneapolis-St. Paul metroplex has two newspapers, and each have decidedly different versions of what’s going on with Love and the Wolves.

Ray Richardson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press says it’s a done deal – four years, $62 million. That would be one year and about $17 million less than the max deal the Oklahoma City Thunder gave Russell Westbrook, who joined Love on the Western Conference All-Stars last year.

However, Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune had a much longer story that said (a) Love had not agreed to a deal and (b) had sources conflicting on the length and amount of the contract extension: “One team source told me tonight that the Wolves are closing in on a five-year maximum contract deal that would pay him more than $78 million and despite such a forthcoming deal, David Kahn hasn’t won any brownie points with Love in this negotiation. Another said that as of Monday afternoon, the team still hadn’t moved off its four-year, $61 million offer. I still believe the Wolves will reach a deal with Love by 11 p.m. Wednesday and it will be that five-year “designated player” deal with Love. An agreement could come as soon as Tuesday morning or considering the unnecessary wait so far, it could stretch toward that deadline, just like the Al Jefferson contract four years wasn’t finalized until just minutes before the deadline.”

If you think the Wolves are nickel-and-diming their franchise player, the line forms at the right. Zgoda also wrote that owner Glen Taylor may be letting Commissioner David Stern indirectly do the negotiating for him.

“New Orleans shooting guard Eric Gordon told Yahoo! Sports Monday night that he’s waiting to see if NBA commissioner David Stern — not Hornets GM Dell Demps — will extend him a contract offer by Wednesday night. Now remember that Wolves owner Glen Taylor is the chairman of the NBA Board of Governors who has Stern on speed dial and it’s very possible he’s waiting to for Stern to move with Gordon before he finalizes any deal with Love. I got the distinct impression from Taylor last week that he doesn’t believe the league, which owns the Hornets, is willing max out Gordon.”

Try to guess which faction of owners Taylor was siding with during the lockout.

The Wolves appear to be playing a game of chicken that they can’t win. Getting Love to sign a four-year deal can only alienate their franchise player and send a message to Ricky Rubio and what he can expect when it’s his turn for an extension.

Minnesota has a legitimate star in Love, a star in the making in Rubio and an exciting unknown quantity in Derrick Williams. They also have desirable pieces in Michael Beasley, J.J. Barea, Wesley Johnson, Luke Ridnour, Anthony Tolliver and Wayne Ellington. With the right trade of kids for a veteran and a smart free agent signing, they could be contending very quickly.

Why would you do anything to upset that applecart?

The Wolves aren’t even talking about an extension for Michael Beasley, also part of the 2008 draft class.
Others eligible for extensions before the midnight Wednesday deadline include Danilo Gallinari, Brook Lopez, Roy Hibbert, JaVale McGee and Ryan Anderson. Unlike Timberwolves management, Magic GM Otis Smith isn’t conflicted on Anderson.

From Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Orlando Magic General Manager Otis Smith indicated Tuesday that it is unlikely the team will extend the contract of power forward Ryan Anderson before Wednesday night’s 11:59 EST deadline to do so for members of the 2008 draft class. Anderson is on course to become a restricted free agent in July, and the Magic would have the opportunity to match any offer sheet that Anderson could sign with another team. “The fact of the matter is that there are very few guys that get extended contracts like that coming off rookie deals,” Smith said before the Magic faced the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. “We like Ryan. We’d like to keep him on our team. Quite honestly, we still have the right of first refusal because he’d be a restricted free agent. It could backfire, and we could have to pay more. But that’s the risk we’ve chosen to take.” Smith acknowledged that Dwight Howard’s unsettled situation did factor into the team’s decision because the team does not know what its roster will look like in the months and years ahead. Not extending Anderson’s contract helps maintain some flexibility.”

Elsewhere …

  • The Heat had to work harder than most expected for a 92-85 home win over the Cavaliers. LeBron James was 1-for-5 in the fourth quarter, which had the folks at the overindulgent Heat Index again picking nits. By the way, Chris Bosh scored 35 points – his most in any of the Heat’s 32 uniforms – and Miami improved to 7-1 without Dwyane Wade.
  • The Magic showed a little bit of backbone, shaking off their 56-point embarrassment in Boston one night earlier for a 102-83 victory at Indiana. Anderson bounced back from an 0-for-8 at the Gaah-den to go for 24, including five threes. Dwight Howard became the franchise’s all-time leading scorer, passing Nick Anderson.
  • Indiana’s loss means the only team still unbeaten at home is the Bulls, who learned forward Luol Deng has a torn ligament in his wrist and will be out “a while,” according to coach Tom Thibodeau. Big deal. We have yet to see the Bulls player whose absence affects their ability to win. Derrick Rose has missed five games, Joakim Noah has missed two, Rip Hamilton has missed 10, Taj Gibson has missed two and Deng has missed one. And the Bulls are an NBA-best 16-3.
  • There was no comeback this time for the Grizzlies, who saw their seven-game winning streak end when they ran out of gas in the second half of a 97-84 loss at Portland. Marcus Camby, who was questionable with a groin injury, grabbed 22 rebounds.
  • In the Colangelo Invitational, Andrea Bargnani returned after missing six games with a strained calf to score 36 points as the Raptors – one of the seemingly endless supply of awful teams in the Eastern Conference – ended an eight-game skid with a 99-96 road win over the Suns. The last time Toronto beat Phoenix anywhere was Feb. 10, 2004. One of the reserves for the Raptors in that game was Lonny Baxter, who really never developed a good shot.

 

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