NEW YORK -- The Knicks finished the first half with a flurry that kept the game from getting out of hand.
After falling behind by as much as 49-35 with 3:51 left in the first half, the Knicks closed with a 17-4 run. Here are some quick observations from the first half:
Melo heating up: Carmelo Anthony came out aggressive, scoring 26 points and hitting 11 of 15 shots. He drilled two 3-pointers, both coming late in the second quarter, to pull the Knicks to within one point at the half.
The Knicks need to keep feeding Anthony. He probably could have more points, but at times the ball movement has been stagnant, forcing the Knicks to settle for several shots without passing.
No Linsanity yet: Jeremy Lin came off the bench with 5:33 to go in the first quarter to a subdued cheer when his name was announced during substitutions while Houston huddled for a timeout. He has 10 points in 13 minutes, doing most of his damage from the foul line, where he has made six free throws.
Lin is coming off a 34-point, 12-assist performance in an overtime loss in Philadelphia last night. It's clear the Rockets are still adjusting to their new lineup with Dwight Howard. Howard has just two points and has taken only one shot so far. The big man needs more touches than that, especially against a Knicks defense that is without Tyson Chandler.
Keep shooting Bargnani: Andrea Bargnani has been aggressive when he has touched the ball, and the Knicks might want to call on his number more in the second half to give Melo a helping hand. Bargnani has hit 4 of 6 shots and has 12 points. With the Knicks down by 10 with less than three minutes left, Bargnani sparked a Knicks run with a turnaround jumper. He then hit a 3-pointer, and Anthony followed with his two treys.
Bargnani has to stay aggressive in the second half. The Knicks also need to play more consistent defense. They fell behind big as they allowed too many easy buckets. They got back into the game with defensive stops and smart offense.
Let us know what you thought of the Knicks' first half below.