Knicks (31-28), Hornets (35-28)
It was over when
Carmelo Anthony drilled a 20-footer late in third quarter from the left side, giving New York a 20-point lead going into the final period. New Orleans never threatened in the fourth quarter, en route to a third consecutive loss. The Hornets are 0-2 on their five-game Mardi Gras road trip, with stops remaining in Memphis, Cleveland and Chicago.
Hornets MVP: For a second straight night, Jarrett Jack was one of the few Hornets who performed well from beginning to end. Jack continued his excellent shooting stretch with a team-high 21 points on 8-for-13 from the field. The sixth-year pro from Georgia Tech has compiled double-digit scoring in nine of the last 10 games. Hes made a sparkling 55.6 percent of his field goals during that span.
Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: Other than Jack, there wasnt a whole lot to write home about during the first three quarters. Quincy Pondexter was one other bright spot, continuing to play hard and aggressively late, even though the outcome was virtually already sealed. Pondexter notched a career-high 14 points, including 7-for-8 foul shooting and a highlight-reel dunk around two New York defenders that was one of the rookies best as a pro.
The buzz on
a Western Conference playoff chase thats getting far too close for comfort. If the current three-game losing streak wasnt enough bad news, the Hornets have also received little help around the NBA lately as they try to secure a playoff spot. Entering Wednesdays busy NBA slate, pursuers such as Memphis (12-4 in last 16 games), Houston (5-game winning streak), Phoenix (4-game winning streak) and Denver (3-1 since the Carmelo Anthony trade) were all rolling. The only nearby West teams that have struggled somewhat of late are Utah (1-6 under Tyrone Corbin) and Portland (2-game losing streak, but had recent 6-game winning streak).
This will either be a good thing or a bad thing depending on what happens over the next six weeks, but the Hornets destiny is very much in their own hands the rest of the way. Of New Orleans 19 games remaining, a total of 11 are against the aforementioned group of six clubs, the Grizzlies (3 games), Rockets (1), Suns (3), Nuggets (1), Jazz (2) and Trail Blazers (1).
Blog question of the night: After trailing the Hornets (35-28) by a large margin much of the season, the Grizzlies (34-28) have a chance to move a half game ahead of NOLA in the Southwest Division standings on Friday. What do the Hornets need to focus on in order to post what would be one of their most important wins so far?