Despite a(nother) third-quarter collapse in which the Pistons were outscored 32-17, the Pistons showed some fight, fought back into the game and ultimately had a chance to run away to Toronto with a come-from-behind win, snapping a seven-game losing streak at Madison Square Garden. Then Josh Smith airballed a long two.
To be fair, Smith drew a charge immediately before the all-too-familiar embarrassing miss and had played an overall satisfactory game in spite of 8 turnovers. Smith should have attacked the rim, though, which is what he admitted he should have done after the game; instead, he jab stepped and popped an ill-advised 18 footer that needed a few more feet on it to even reach iron.
What stood out:
The very ugly three-minute stretch in the third quarter when Carmelo Anthony got hot.
About four minutes into the quarter, the Knicks went on a 15-0 run, paced by Anthony's 11 points, nine of which came on back-to-back-to-back threes.*
Who stood out:
Carmelo Anthony. He scored 34 points, hitting all the big shots he needed to, including a pair of free throws after collecting an offensive rebound with three seconds to play. Gold star effort.
[sigh] Josh Smith...
-- *On two of the Anthony threes during that third-quarter run, Josh Smith's help defense wasn't helpful at all as Brandon Jennings and Andre Drummond weren't able to rotate quick enough. Smith and Jennings exchanged some words and bad body language after Anthony's first three-pointer. The second of the three was simply a case of a loose ball bouncing New York's way and a hustling Smith getting caught away from an open Anthony.
-- Drummond had 12 points and 17 rebounds, but he only had 1 point in the second half and Amare 'shell of his former self' Stoudemire spun around him baseline and reverse dunked in his young grill during the third quarter.
EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Josh Smith tries to win it for Pistons. http://t.co/IIAgrLfDN4— Dan Hasty (@DanHasty34) January 8, 2014
-- Brandon Jennings (2 for 12) is shooting 13 for his last 55 (24%). Pass-first guard #sochill? He took 5 shots in the fourth quarter and missed them all. Only Charlie Villanueva had more shots in the final frame.
-- That's right; Charlie '100-percent healthy' Villanueva played over 10 minutes in the fourth quarter. He then put on a Yankees hat after the game.
-- JR Smith tried to untie Greg Monroe's shoelaces. [H/T Kriz]. Meanwhile, out-of-touch fans still think trading Moose is a good idea. (NOPE.)
-- Chauncey Billups should retire now and take Maurice Cheeks' job.