SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Learning at a morning shootaround that he would be making his first NBA start because teammate Amare Stoudemire was injured, New York Knicks rookie Josh Harrellson didn't have a lot of time to be nervous.
And the rookie from Kentucky didn't show it, either.
Carmelo Anthony scored 23 points and the Knicks got an unexpected 14 points and 12 rebounds from Harrellson in controlling the game early and cruising past the Sacramento Kings, 114-92 on Saturday night.
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The Knicks didn't miss starting forward Stoudemire, their leading rebounder and second-leading scorer, who sat out with a sprained left ankle. All five starters had 14 points or more for New York, which took a 14-point lead into halftime and the lead never dipped below double digits in the second half as the Knicks snapped a two-game losing streak.
Tyson Chandler had 22 points and seven rebounds, and Landry Fields scored 21 points for the Knicks, who had struggled offensively in losing their previous two games, but had a season-high point total against the Kings. Toney Douglas had 17 points and eight assists, and Bill Walker added 11 points.
"When the ball is moving like that, you can see how successful we can be offensively," said Fields, discussing the Knicks' season-high 26 assists. "It's a very nice win. Hopefully it brings us momentum going into our next game [Monday at home against Toronto]."
Harrellson connected on his first shot, a wide-open 3-pointer two minutes into the game. He added three more 3-pointers and clearly outplayed Kings center DeMarcus Cousins, his teammate for one season at Kentucky.
"I guarded him all season at practice, so I felt like I know DeMarcus' game," Harrelson said. "I thought I did a good job on my former teammate. I was trying to get him out of whack, get him out of his rhythm."
There had been no rhythm offensively in the first three games for Harrellson, who had a combined three points and five rebounds in 29 minutes.
"It was very important for me to make that first shot and get my confidence going," Harrellson said. "They had to come out and guard me and that opened things up and left other people open."
New York (2-2) used a 15-0 run in the opening quarter to take a 35-20 lead. Douglas scored nine points and had three of the Knicks' six 3-pointers.
"They were hitting big threes and executing and jumped on us and we were never able to crawl back in the game," Kings coach Paul Westphal said.
Marcus Thornton had 14 points for the struggling Kings (1-3), who have lost three straight after defeating the Lakers at home to start the season. Both Jason Thompson and Tyreke Evans had 13 points. The Kings shot 35 percent from the field and made only 26 of 41 free throws.
Sacramento plays a home game against New Orleans on New Year's night.
"This is a very disappointing loss because we had a very good practice [Friday], probably our best practice of the year," Kings forward Chuck Hayes said. "But we came out like we don't know how to carry it over. It's discouraging."
With the Knicks getting contributions from many different players, Anthony was quiet early in the game and his first basket didn't come until he made a driving layup midway through the second quarter.
Yet he still had 17 at halftime and the Knicks had a 14-point lead. A rested Anthony finished with seven rebounds and five assists in 33 minutes, including just a two-plus minute stint in the fourth with the win secured.
"Our team is starting to pick up things in the offense that if we continue to do it, we can be successful," Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said. "When you have a Carmelo with an Amare, it tends to open the floor even more. When the ball moves, our younger guys can get more involved."
With the Knicks ahead by 13 points entering the fourth quarter, Chandler scored eight points in the opening three minutes, including two three-point plays. Chandler's second one put New York ahead 88-70. The lead was 20 points or more for much of the fourth quarter.
Chandler was in foul trouble and barely a factor in the first half, playing four minutes. However, the veteran center made all six free throws and had eight points in the third quarter in helping the Knicks take a 78-65 lead into the fourth.
"From the beginning of the game until the end, we just looked lost," Evans said. "We just play off our natural talent and that's how we get our points. It's terrible right now and we've just got to figure something out."
Anthony scored 15 points and Harrellson had 11 in the opening half, when the Knicks led 56-42. The Kings shot 33 percent as their offensive problems continued.
|Rookie center Josh Harrellson gives the Knicks an unexpected boost (14 points, 12 boards) in the absence of Amare Stoudamire. (AP)|
|New York (2-2) «||35||21||22||36||114|
|NY:C. Anthony 23 Pts
NY:J. Harrellson 12 Reb
NY:T. Douglas 8 Ast
|SAC:M. Thornton 14 Pts
SAC:C. Hayes 13 Reb
SAC:D. Cousins 4 Ast
|Players of the Game|
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|L. Fields, SG||40||10-16||1-2||5||1||3||21|
|J. Harrellson, C||38||5-11||0-0||12||0||2||14|
|C. Anthony, SF||33||6-15||11-13||7||5||4||23|
|T. Douglas, PG||31||6-18||1-1||2||8||1||17|
|T. Chandler, C||24||6-8||10-10||7||1||4||22|
|B. Walker, SG||31||5-8||0-0||4||6||5||11|
|M. Bibby, PG||16||1-4||0-0||0||2||5||3|
|S. Novak, SF||10||1-3||1-1||1||0||3||3|
|J. Jordan, C||10||0-3||0-0||4||2||4||0|
|J. Lin, PG||4||0-1||0-0||1||1||4||0|
|R. Balkman, SF||3||0-2||0-0||0||0||0||0|
|B. Davis, PG||Did Not Play|
|J. Jeffries, PF||Did Not Play|
|A. Stoudemire, PF||Did Not Play|
|I. Shumpert, PG||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|
|M. Thornton, SG||37||5-13||2-3||5||1||2||14|
|T. Evans, PG||33||6-14||1-3||5||3||2||13|
|C. Hayes, PF||28||2-6||1-2||13||0||3||5|
|D. Cousins, C||28||2-10||5-6||11||4||5||9|
|J. Salmons, SF||24||3-9||0-0||2||3||5||7|
|J. Fredette, PG||26||2-10||2-2||2||1||2||7|
|J. Thompson, PF||24||5-10||3-8||7||1||2||13|
|D. Greene, SF||12||3-7||2-4||0||1||1||10|
|J. Hickson, PF||10||2-3||1-1||3||0||0||5|
|I. Thomas, PG||8||0-2||7-10||2||1||0||7|
|T. Outlaw, SF||5||0-2||0-0||0||0||0||0|
|T. Honeycutt, SF||4||0-0||2-2||1||0||0||2|
|F. Garcia, SG||Did Not Play|
|H. Whiteside, C||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|