Happening Elsewhere: Melo to Knicks, Hell Breaks Loose

Happening Elsewhere: Melo to Knicks, Hell Breaks Loose

When Twitter exploded at 10:30 last night, it was a pretty safe bet that the moment the NBA world had been waiting for had finally come to fruition. Three days before the NBA trade deadline, All-Star Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony had finally been granted his wish for a trade, getting sent to the New York Knicks along with point guard Chauncey Billups and a trio of bench scrubs (Shelden Williams, Renaldo Balkman, Anthony Carter). In exchange, the Nuggets received 3/5 of the Knicks' starting lineup (point Raymond Felton, forward Danilo Gallinari and center Timofey Mozgov), as well as reserve forward Wilson Chandler, some cash, some draft picks, the fan rights to Kevin James and Chris Rock and one of the "K"s in the Knicks logo.

The deal is an absolute coup for the Nuggets, who had little choice but to deal the one-foot-out-the-door Anthony, and as recently as a few weeks ago were rumored to be mulling a deal of Anthony for just Chandler and some spare parts. Instead, they get four legitimate rotation players, two of which (Mozgov/Gallo) are still young'ns under rookie-type deals, as well as cap relief and future draft picks. By playing the Nets and Knicks' respective trade packages against each other, and capitalizing on Knicks owner James Dolan's panic over potentially losing the Melo sweepstakes to NJ, they essentially rebuilt in one night. Admirable, to say the least. 

What the deal means to the Knicks is more up for debate. On one hand, they got their man in Anthony, and now boast two of the league's top six scorers in Melo and big man Amar'e Stoudemire, as well as a proven veteran leader (and onetime finals MVP) at the one in Chauncey Billups. But the team is now thin up front as well as on the bench, having sacrificed a good deal of its depth in order to land Melo. Most NBA experts seem to believe that even with the two All-Star starters on the roster, the team's roster lacks the strength for a deep playoff run this year.

Of course, it's also believed by many that this move was not made just for this year, but with an eye towards the future--namely, the 2012 off-season, when coveted point guards Chris Paul and Deron Williams may be available in free agency, along with perennial All-NBA center Dwight Howard. With seemingly all their other players off the books, and Billups's contract expiring next year, the Knicks could possibly make a run at a third max free agent. Of course, no one knows what the future holds with the new CBA, but the Knicks will undoubtedly at least be players in the next couple free agent markets as they look to build around their two new superstars. It beats David Lee and Nate Robinson, anyway, I'm sure.

Tickets for the Knicks' Wednesday home game against the Bucks are now available for upwards of $200, by the way. If you're in the area.

Best of NBA: Curry, Warriors demolish Cavaliers, 126-91, at home

Best of NBA: Curry, Warriors demolish Cavaliers, 126-91, at home

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors certainly looked ready to trade some more blows with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers come June.

The two-time reigning MVP hit five 3-pointers and had 20 points while matching his season best with 11 assists in Golden State's 126-91 rout of the defending champs Monday.

Klay Thompson scored 26 points with five 3s, and Curry made four steals. Draymond Green produced his third triple-double of the season with 11 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists while matching his career best with five blocks -- and had another dustup with King James in the process.

James had 20 points on 6-of-18 shooting and eight rebounds, and he and Green became the talk once more as their relationship turned even more testy.

Kevin Durant added 21 points, six rebounds, five assists and three blocks for the Warriors in a much-hyped matchup merely weeks after Golden State lost 109-108 in Cleveland on Christmas (see full recap).

Thomas explodes for 17 in fourth quarter to lift Celtics over Hornets
BOSTON -- Isaiah Thomas scored 17 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter, and the surging Boston Celtics beat the Charlotte Hornets 108-98 on Monday night for their ninth victory in 11games.

It was Thomas' 25th straight game with 20 or more points. He's been putting up big final quarters of late -- scoring 20 or more three times this season. No other NBA player had done it more than once entering Monday.

Al Horford had 22 points, while Kelly Olynyk and Jae Crowder added 15 apiece for Boston, which has won all three meetings with Charlotte this season.

Kemba Walker scored 24 points and Marvin Williams 21 for the Hornets, who lost their fifth straight -- all on the road.

Thomas scored 13 straight points, pushing Boston ahead 93-83 with his 3-pointer from the left wing with 7 minutes left.

Boston led 80-71 entering the final period (see full recap).

Wizards remain hot with win over Trail Blazers
WASHINGTON  -- Bradley Beal scored 25 points and John Wall had 24 as the Washington Wizards took a page from the Portland Trail Blazers' playbook by hitting 13 3-pointers in a comfortable 120-101 victory on Monday afternoon.

The Wizards, who rely less on the 3-pointer than almost any NBA team, were 13 of 23 from beyond the arc in their 12th consecutive home victory. The 3-pointer-heavy Trail Blazers shot 8 of 26 on 3-point attempts.

After Washington coach Scott Brooks called Portland guards Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum as good as any backcourt in the league, Beal and John Wall outplayed them. Lillard led the Blazers with 22 points and McCollum had 12, but they combined to shoot 11 of 29 from the floor.

The Wizards have won four of their last five games (see full recap).

Best of NHL: Penguins halt Capitals 9-game streak with wild 8-7 OT win

Best of NHL: Penguins halt Capitals 9-game streak with wild 8-7 OT win

PITTSBURGH -- Conor Sheary scored 34 seconds into overtime and the Pittsburgh Penguins ended the Washington Capitals' nine-game winning streak with a wild 8-7 victory Monday night that included nine second-period goals.

Sheary had two goals and an assist for the Penguins, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Evgeni Malkin picked up his 11th career hat trick during a frenetic second period, and Sidney Crosby collected his NHL-leading 27th goal to go with two assists. Bryan Rust and Nick Bonino also scored for Pittsburgh, and Matt Murray got the win despite allowing seven goals on 28 shots.

The Penguins trailed 3-0 before scoring six goals in less than 11 minutes in the second period, more goals than the Capitals had allowed in a game all season. Pittsburgh led 6-5 after 40 minutes.

Lars Eller scored twice for Washington, and T.J. Oshie, Brett Connolly, Nicklas Backstrom, Justin Williams and Andre Burakovsky also found the net. Philipp Grubauer made eight saves after coming on in relief of Braden Holtby, who was pulled during Pittsburgh's second-period deluge (see full recap).

Eichel scores twice to give Sabres' 4-1 win over Stars
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Jack Eichel scored two goals and the Buffalo Sabres defeated the Dallas Stars 4-1 on Monday.

Tyler Ennis scored 19 seconds into the first period. Ennis returned after missing 30 games with a groin injury that required surgery.

Jake McCabe also had a goal and Robin Lehner made 31 saves after missing the past three games with an illness.

The Sabres snapped a two-game losing streak and beat the Stars for the first time in four matchups.

Radek Faksa scored for the Stars in the opener of a three-game road trip. Kari Lehtonen stopped 25 shots. Dallas has lost two in a row and six of eight (see full recap).

Bishop anchors Lightning to 2-1 win over Kings
LOS ANGELES -- Brian Boyle scored the go-ahead goal late in the second period, and the Tampa Bay Lightning opened a six-game road trip with a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Monday.

Ben Bishop made an early mistake that led to Kyle Clifford's goal for the Kings, but bounced back to make 31 saves in his second start back from a three-week absence with a lower-body injury.

Tyler Johnson scored in the first period for the Lightning, who won for just the second time in seven games.

Peter Budaj stopped 27 shots for the Kings.

Both teams played without stars due to illness. Kings captain Anze Kopitar missed his first game since Nov. 20, and All-Star defenseman Victor Hedman missed his first game of the season for Tampa Bay (see full recap).