Notebook: D'Antoni 'emotional' in return

December, 14, 2012
12/14/12
2:28
AM ET
On Thursday night, Mike D'Antoni returned to the Garden for the first time since resigning as coach of the Knicks in March.

So how did he feel after the game, when he was greeting some of his former players and coaches?

"There are a lot of guys on that team that you become close with when you coach somebody," he said. "That was emotional, but then after that, it's a ball game and we lost."

D'Antoni was also asked in which city he felt more pressure: New York or Los Angeles.

He said, "The same. It doesn't matter where you coach. You may be a high school coach and you feel the same thing. You've got to win."

Mike D'Antoni
Stephen Dunn/Getty ImagesMike D'Antoni returned to the Garden for the first time since resigning in March.
Before the game, D'Antoni said he hadn't spoken with Mike Woodson or Carmelo Anthony upon arriving in New York. He spent his first night in the city, on Wednesday, with his wife, Laurel, and son, Michael Jr. He hadn't seen them in a month.

BIG NUMBERS: 1. The Knicks scored 25 transition points against the Lakers and made six transition 3-pointers, each of which were season-highs. Anthony scored a season-high 11 transition points, with nine coming in the first quarter.

2. Anthony had a team-high 30 points in 23 minutes, and the Knicks were far more efficient with him on the floor. They shot better than 60 percent with him playing and were held to under 45 percent when he was on the bench.

3. Jason Kidd guarded Kobe Bryant on 18 of his 32 plays. Bryant had four of his five turnovers and averaged 0.89 points per play while Kidd was on him, compared to 1.07 points per play against all other Knicks defenders.

SMITH SPARKS AGAIN: After five straight awful shooting nights, J.R. Smith picked it up against the Nets during Tuesday's win, shooting 7-for-15 for 16 points.

On Thursday night, another Knicks' victory, he was at it again. The sixth man shot nearly the same, as he was 7-for-14 with 18 points. Smith recently said he loves finishing games, and he didn't disappoint tonight. He scored 10 points in the final period.

STAT UPDATE: Amar'e Stoudemire still hasn't been cleared to practice, but he's remained active in pregame workouts. The power forward went through a strenuous workout before Thursday's game with Knicks assistant LaSalle Thompson, working on his post moves while guarding him. STAT looked fluid in his movements, and it appeared that his surgically-repaired left knee wasn't giving him any trouble.

In other Stoudemire news, he announced via Twitter on Wednesday that he married his longtime girlfriend, Alexis Welch. Woodson was asked on Thursday if he had any advice for him.

"Just listen, keep your mouth shut and keep it moving," the coach said with a smile.

Research assistance from ESPN Stats & Info

You can follow Jared Zwerling on Twitter.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Carmelo Anthony
PTS AST STL MIN
27.4 3.1 1.2 38.7
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsC. Anthony 8.1
AssistsP. Prigioni 3.5
StealsI. Shumpert 1.2
BlocksA. Bargnani 1.2