The NBA: Nixed With Six

Amar'e Stoudemire (foreground) is visibly frustrated
as the Knicks fall for the 6th time in as many games.

 *All images are by the Associated Press.

“We have a gorilla on our back and we have to get it off and get a little bit of swagger.” – Coach Mike D’Antoni of the New York Knicks

I like how he says they have a gorilla, because the “monkey on our back” thing should stop just short of their current 6-game losing streak.

The swagger, though, I’d disagree with. I think they have plenty of swagger already. Melo and Chandler alone can account for most NBA teams’ “swagger count” already (if there were such a thing).

What they need is to be better.

At everything.

Or at least be as good as they were last season, when they made the postseason as the 6th seed and made the Big Apple’s fans have wet dreams for the next season.

Well this is that season, and perhaps the Knicks’ fans are still getting wet, but not the fun kind.

Because, again losing 6 in a row isn’t fun at all.

And, yes, the Knicks did win 4 straight before this current slide, but one also has to note that they opened 2012 with losses to Toronto and Charlotte before stringing 4 wins.

Now they’re 4-8 in the new year, stuck at 8th spot together with the Bucks (the Bucks? What?) and severely underperforming Celtics, and just saw the guy they let go (Danilo Gallinari) outplay the guy for whom they let him go (Carmelo Anthony).

Yet another chapter in the New York’s Nixed saga?

Sure looks like it.

After the JUMP, key stat-stuffers for today’s games:

ATL over CLE, 121-94 – Joe Johnson led the way as six Hawks scored in double figures to beat the Cavs.
MIA over PHI, 113-92 – The Heat were just too much in the second half. LBJ and Bosh combine for 58 points, 16 rebounds, 10 assists and 5 blocks as Miami ties Orlando for the Southeast’s top spot.
DET over POR, 94-91 – A big second quarter, and Rodney Stuckey’s 28-point barrage, help the Pistons give the visiting a rude welcome in Michigan.
DEN over NYK, 119-114 – A reunion of sorts for both sides turned into a 2OT thriller that saw former Knick Danilo Gallinari outplay former Nugget Carmelo Anthony.
MEM over SAC, 128-95 – The Grizzlies have finally shown the form that gave them a solid run in last season’s playoffs. They’re not atop the Southwest division with their 6th straight win. Four guys scored 20 or more for Memphis!
CHI over CHA, 95-89 – Luol Deng leads the way for the Bulls, who’ve won their third in a row and continue to keep the two Florida teams 2 and a half games behind them in the East.
HOU over SAS, 105-102 – This cross-state rivalry is always a blast to watch, and this one was no different. Tiago Splitter had an eye-popping performance, but Kevin Martin’s crew proved to be a little better.
OKC over NJN, 84-74 – The Thunder get back on the winning track at the expense of the struggling Nets.
DAL over NOH, 83-81 – Delonte West and the Mavs survive an impressive fourth quarter by the Hornets. And this was without Dirk Nowitzki.
UTA over MIN, 108-98 – Paul Millsap and the Jazz didn’t give Kevin Love any chances for more late game heroics. Utah has won 8 of its last 10 games for the West’s third-best record.

Super Scorers (Top scorers of the night!)
Danilo Gallinari (DEN) – 37
Chris Bosh (MIA) – 30
LeBron James (MIA) & Rodney Stuckey (DET) – 28
Paul Millsap (UTA) – 26

Danilo Gallinari's 37 points -- you never
really know what you had till it's gone. Sorry Knicks.
Ragin’ Rebounders (Top rebounders of the night!)
Emeka Okafor (NOH) – 17
Kris Humphries (NJN) – 16
Omer Asik (CHI), Marreese Speights (MEM) & Kevin Durant (OKC) – 15

Dynamic Dishers (Top playmakers of the night!)
Tony Parker (SAS) – 13
Andre Miller (DEN) -12
Ricky Rubio (MIN) – 11

Terrific Thieves (Top thieves of the night!)
Rudy Gay (MEM), LeBron James (MIA), Ricky Rubio (MIN) & Josh Smith (ATL) – 4

Boomin’ Blockers (Top blockers of the night!)
Marc Gasol (MEM) & Samuel Dalembert (HOU) – 6
Serge Ibaka (OKC) – 5

Marc Gasol celebrates a rare trifecta as the Grizzlies throttle
thru the win column out West.
Sharpshooters (Top 3-point shooters of the night!)
OJ Mayo (MEM) – 6
Joe Johnson (ATL) – 5
A LOT with 4

Jan. 21, 2012 First Five
C – Marc Gasol (MEM) – 20pts, 11rebs, 6blks, 5asts, 1stl
F – Chris Bosh (MIA) – 30pts, 7rebs, 5asts, 2blks
F – Danilo Gallinari (DEN) – 37pts, 11rebs, 2asts, 1stl
G – LeBron James (MIA) – 28pts, 9rebs, 5asts, 4stls, 3blks
G – Tony Parker (SAS) – 24pts, 13asts, 4rebs, 1stl

Tony Parker's double-double lands him in the top 5 for the day,
but the Spurs still lost to state rival Houston.
Honorable Mention:
Tiago Splitter (SAS) – 25pts, 10rebs, 4asts, 1stl
Paul Millsap (UTA) – 26pts, 9rebs, 4asts, 1stl
Rodney Stuckey (DET) – 28pts, 5asts, 4rebs, 4 triples

For a full summary of the day, here’s today’s NBA Daily Zap:

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