Dwyane Wade, among NBA players, might be in charge of fashion and fatherhood, but fortunately for the New York Knicks, their fans and the five boroughs, he isn’t in charge of NBA scheduling.
In the game that Wade thought shouldn’t even be played – a reasonable and sober position, given the crush of Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath on so many New Yorkers’ lives – things hardly could have turned out better for the home team.
The lights were on at Madison Square Garden and they were hot. Led by their media-conscious star forward Carmelo Anthony (30 points, 10 rebounds), the Knicks beat the NBA’s defending champions by 20, giving beleaguered citizens a welcome diversion at the end of a grueling week.
Anthony – who also served notice through the MSG P.A. announcer that he’s known these days as “Melo Anthony” (can the “Car-”) – addressed the fans before tipoff, then postmarked the Heat. As reported by Marc Berman of the New York Post, the devastation outside the arena had something to do with the dynamics inside it:
“We were kind of up and down the last couple of days,” Anthony said. “Then we heard they had canceled the marathon. We were like, we had to go out there and play and give New Yorkers a couple of hours of peace for coming to the game to support us.”
A warm shower would have been peace. A bowl of soup, a sandwich and some Internet access would have been peace. What the Knicks gave their fans was more than that, a little something to get excited about. They hit 19 of their 36 attempts from 3-point range (5-of-8 from Steve Novak). Raymond Felton, stepping into the Linsanity void, triggered it with 14 points and nine assists. New York grabbed a 17-6 lead and never faltered.
“Before the game it was difficult because we were in the locker room and everyone has the hurricane on their mind and what the city is going through,” said Tyson Chandler, who was a perfect 5-for-5 for 10 points and six offensive rebounds. “And as we were going out onto the floor, we were like, ‘Look, we’re here, our friends are here. The thing we can do is put a smile on their faces and represent the city well.’ “
Folks in Miami know all about tropical storms. But did they know that, like earthquakes, those things can have aftershocks? The Heat got hit by one Friday.
The only possible downside for the Knicks is if Anthony – who now has an 11-10 personal record against James in NBA meetings, according to MSG Network analyst Alan Hahn – nurtures any delusions based on that. A big wind might start blowing back at him real fast.
Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980.