Milwaukee Bucks v New York Knicks

‘Melo does what ‘Melo does, but old guy Toney Douglas saves Knicks

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Knicks fans, this is what you’re going to get from Carmelo Anthony.

He had 27 points and one assist. He shot 10 of 25 on the night and you’re saying, “He had a poor shooting night.” Not really, he had a pretty average shooting night for himself — he is shooting 45.2 percent from the floor this season. Take 25 shots and he’ll normally hit 11 or 12. He was only slightly below that.

But he can create his own shot, and he does not back down from the big moment.

With the Knicks up four and 1:20 left, Anthony got the ball 18-feet out along the baseline, drove baseline around Carlos Delfino like he wasn’t there for the dunk.

With 30 seconds left (after a hustling Toney Douglas rebound of a missed Chauncey Billups three), the ball again went to Anthony, this time on the wing. He drove middle, Andrew Bogut came early with the help, Anthony drove into his body then faded for a contested 15 footer. The net barely moved.

Those shots helped seal up a 114-108 win in ‘Melo’s New York debut. One he had without a team practice but still looked pretty comfortable with his new teammates. It was a win against a Bucks team that just seems to give the Knicks problems in recent year and made this one tough. It’s a win that’s good to have.

The real hero of this game for the Knicks was Douglas, the old man of the roster. Yes, old man. Sure, he is only in his second season at age 24. But as Knickerblogger notes, Douglass signed with the Knicks 20 months ago and as of tonight he is the longest tenured Knick.

Old man Douglas had 23 off the bench on 10-of-12 shooting and 3-of-5 from three. He had clutch buckets all night plus the rebound in crunch time. He was the Knicks real MVP.

We could nitpick this Knicks win. Their defense gave up 111.3 points per 100 possessions to a Bucks team with the worst offense in the league (scoring 101 points per 100 possessions on the season). We could discuss Chauncey Billups 4-of-12 shooting night. We could look at Andrew Bogut’s 14  and 12 and wonder what a better center would do to them.

But Wednesday was not about that.

Wednesday was a celebration of what basketball can be in New York. The electric energy in the building during introductions. The chants of “Me-lo, Me-lo.”

There is a long way to go with this Knicks team. A lot of questions to be answered. But the Knicks faithful got their first look at their newest hero in his new blue and orange jersey. They saw him hit the key shots in crunch time. They saw a win.

They saw hope.

Lakers’ D’Angelo Russell slips, mildly sprains knee ligament. MRI Saturday.

Indiana Pacers forward Thaddeus Young, right, takes the ball away as Los Angeles Lakers guard D'Angelo Russell, center, falls to the floor with an injury during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Lakers guard D'Angelo Russell mildly sprained a ligament in his right knee in the opening minutes of Los Angeles’ game against the Indiana Pacers on Friday night.

Russell was re-evaluated at halftime and did not return to the game.

Russell was hurt while going around a screen set by teammate Julius Randle on Los Angeles’ second possession. The point guard’s left leg alarmingly stretched backward when he lost his footing, and he stayed down on the court for several moments.

He eventually walked on his own to the locker room, where the sprain was diagnosed.

Russell is averaging 14.8 points, 4.5 assists and 3.8 rebounds during the second NBA season for the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 draft.

Dwyane Wade apologizes to Bulls fans after ugly Chicago loss

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Even for an up-and-down Bulls team that has seen some sloppy losses, Friday night’s was ugly. The Atlanta Hawks went on a 36-11 run between the end of the first quarter and the start of the second, they led by as many as 34, and cruised in for the 103-92 win. The game wasn’t that close, the Hawks thoroughly outplayed the Bulls, and after the game ended coach Fred Hoiberg said he and his staff need to reexamine everything.

Dwyane Wade went another direction, apologizing to fans.

Wade was 2-of-10 shooting on the night.

Despite the loss, the Bulls remain tied with the Bucks for the final playoff slot in the East, a race that will likely include Detroit and New York (and maybe Charlotte) and go down to the final days of the season. The Bulls (21-23) can’t have many more games like Friday.

Warriors get 6th straight win, 125-108 over Rockets

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry reacts after making a 3-point basket late in the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, in Houston. Golden State won 125-108. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
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HOUSTON (AP) — Kevin Durant scored 32 points and the Golden State Warriors used a big third quarter to build a huge lead and coast to their sixth straight victory, 125-108 over the Houston Rockets on Friday night.

In a matchup of two of the best teams in the Western Conference and All-Star starting guards Stephen Curry and James Harden, the Rockets fell short. Houston, which entered the game leading the NBA with 667 3-pointers, was just 7 of 35 behind the arc. Harden went 0 for 5 and Eric Gordon, who entered the game leading the NBA with 160 3s, missed all seven attempts.

Clint Capela had 22 points and Harden added 17 points with 11 assists for the Rockets, who are third in the West behind Golden State and San Antonio.

The Warriors were up by five at halftime and used a 12-4 run to open the second half and stretch their lead to 74-61 with about nine minutes left in the quarter. Golden State got six points from Durant in that span, including a dunk and a nifty reverse layup.

Houston got four points from Capela after that before Golden State used a 10-2 run, with 3s from Draymond Green and Curry, to make it 84-67 midway through the period.

Golden State pushed the lead to 99-79 entering the fourth quarter.

Houston won the first game against Golden State this season in two overtimes to snap an eight-game, regular-season losing streak to the Warriors. But it was clear the Rockets wouldn’t make it two in a row after they scored just 22 points and went 0 for 10 on 3-pointers in the third quarter.

Houston scored the first five points of the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to 99-84. But Golden State used a 9-4 run after that to extend its lead to 20 points by the midpoint of the quarter, and many fans started heading for the exits.

Curry finished with 24 points and made five 3-pointers, including one with about 3 1/2 minutes remaining that left the Warriors up 117-93. Both teams cleared their benches after that.

The Warriors led 62-57 at halftime.

TIP-INS

Warriors: Golden State made 15 of 38 3-pointers. … Klay Thompson added 16 points. … Green had 15 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.

Rockets: Ryan Anderson had one rebound in nine minutes in his return after missing two games with the flu. … Capela played 21 minutes off the bench in his third game back after missing a month with a fracture on his left fibula. … Sam Dekker had 17 points for his 11th double-digit game this season. …

CHEERING ON THE HOME TEAM

Houston Texans star J.J. Watt cheered the Rockets on from a courtside seat. He received a huge ovation when he was shown on the Jumbotron during a timeout in the second quarter. Watt, who won NFL Defensive Player of the Year last season, played just three games this season before having season-ending back surgery.

 

Penny Hardaway inducted into Magic Hall of Fame (VIDEO)

NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 15:  Penny Hardaway attends the Sears Shooting Stars Competition 2014 as part of the 2014 NBA All-Star Weekend at the Smoothie King Center on February 15, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The Orlando Magic have inducted Penny Hardaway into the franchise’s Hall of Fame.

Hardaway, a game-changing point guard at 6-foot-7, becomes just the fifth player in franchise history to be inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame. He was enshrined during a pregame ceremony Friday and will be honored during a special halftime presentation during Orlando’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks at Amway Center.

Acquired by the Magic during the 1993 NBA Draft, Hardaway spent six seasons in Orlando where he averaged 19 points, 6.3 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 1.95 steals per game. Hardaway and center Shaquille O’Neal guided the Magic to the NBA Finals in 1995 where they lost to the Houston Rockets.

Hardaway remains third on the team’s all-time steals list (718) and fourth in assists (2,343).