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Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Knicks 121, Blazers 79

By Christopher Hunt



Recap | Box score | Photos

WHAT IT MEANS: Mike Woodson said before the game that some things were going to change. Well, a lot of things changed. The Knicks (19-24) have a new coach, new energy and ended a miserable six-game losing streak, scoring a season-high in points and taking all the season's frustration out on the Portland Trail Blazers, who had come into Madison Square Garden losing six of their last eight games.

THE GOOD: The Knicks were smiling on the bench. They hustled and fought for loose balls and rebounds and finished off Portland before the game ever had a chance. Against Portland, it's hardly a statement game, but for one of the few times this season, the Knicks looked like a team that simply had more talent than their opponent.

Carmelo Anthony was aggressive early and came out hot, scoring 10 points in the first quarter and hitting three of his first four shots from behind the arc. He scored 15 of his 16 total points in the first half, while New York took a 55-29 lead into halftime.  Anthony also had seven assists. Amare Stoudemire also enjoyed one of his best performances of the season. He made his first seven shots and finished the game with 17 points and eight rebounds.

And the "Mike Woodson" cheer started late in the fourth quarter. The last time the Garden crowd chanted a coach's name, they were calling for Mike D’Antoni's job.

THE SORTA BAD: Because even blowout games have negatives. Jeremy Lin's stat line might be a bad omen. He finished with six points, six assists and six turnovers. You can do the math there.

SEE THE 3, BE THE 3: Granted, the game was out of hand, but the Knicks made it rain from 3-point land. They hoisted 38 3-pointers, connected on 19 of them and shot a torrid 50 percent. But beware, New York has also proven that getting 3-point happy can be their demise.

Steve Novak continued torturing teams from behind the arc. He made six 3-pointers and finished with 20 points.

J.R. FINDS HIS SHOT: J.R. Smith shot just 5-for-17 in his last three games before Wednesday night. He missed all three of his shots in the first half as well. But he found his range in the third quarter, where he hit three straight 3-pointers. Smith hit four more in the fourth. He scored a game-high 25 points, all in the second half, and finished with seven 3-pointers.

BOLD PLAY THE GAME: It happened early. Lin pushed the ball on a break and found Anthony in corner. Anthony threw a lob over the rim to Tyson Chandler, who slammed it with two hands. They alley-oop only put the Knicks ahead 11-8, but the Knicks then closed the first quarter on a 14-4 run.

UP NEXT: The Knicks will see their first tough challenge in the Woodson era when they face Indiana in a home-away back-to-back Friday and Saturday.

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