While the New York Knicks are not enjoying the greatest of seasons, some of their players, Carmelo Anthony and Tim Hardaway Jr., enjoyed their time down in New Orleans this weekend during the All-Star Game festivities.
Considering all the turmoil the Knicks have been swamped with this year and all the drama that comes along with it, the All-Star break proved to be quite the respite that was needed for a team in flux. Two of their core players had a fantastic weekend down in the Big Easy this weekend.
First, it was the Tim Hardaway Jr. show on Friday night in the Rising Stars challenge. In a duel for the ages with the Cavaliers’ Dion Waiters, Hardaway Jr. erupted for 36 points, which lead all scorers. He was 12-23 from the field, including a sizzling 7-16 from the three-point line. The three-point battle between Hardaway Jr. and Waiters in the second half was marvelous, and 26 of Hardaway Jr.'s 36 points came in the second half.
Hardaway Jr. has a bright future ahead of him. He has the size and scoring ability to be a force on both ends of the floor. He can shoot from deep and attack the basket as well. He’s a keeper for sure. Unless that is, his name is included in some trade-deadline deal prior to Thursday, Hardaway Jr. will be a nice building block for the future if he sticks with the Knicks.
As for Anthony—whose future is certainly murky—well, it was business as usual for one of the league’s most prolific scorers. En route to breaking the All-Star record for most three pointers (eight) made, Anthony scored 30 points on the night. He had a chance for MVP, but Kyrie Irving had the more well-rounded game for the Eastern Conference squad with 31 points, 14 assists and five rebounds.
In all, Anthony shot 10-18 from the floor and 8-13 from three-point territory to go with five rebounds and two assists.
Of course, these nice stat-stuffing performances don’t mean all that much at the end of the day, but for a few days it was nice to see some Knicks enjoy their time in the spotlight.
Now, for the next order of business. That’s opening the second half of play on a positive note. After all, this is still a Knicks’ team that is in the thick of the playoff race. While only two and a half games out of the playoffs, the Knicks can still make some positive strides to end the season.
We’ll see what team shows up in the second half and if embattled coach Mike Woodson will be a part of it.
The Knicks open up second-half play when they visit the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night.
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