The Return of the Knicks

By Carla Peay, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: December 12, 2010

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WASHINGTON (BASN) — A full disclosure by your’s truly– the New York Knicks were the team of my youth.

While my pre-teen classmates talked incessantly about their favorite member of the Jackson Five, I waxed poetically about Hall of Famers Walt “Clyde” Frazier and Earl “The Pearl” Monroe.

So, it’s been a bit of a dagger in the heart this past decade to watch this once proud franchise fall off the face of the earth. But a strange thing has happened on the way to Madison Square Garden this year — the Knicks are playing well. Very well.

In town to play the Wizards last Friday night, a near sold out Verizon Center crowd cheered loudly and lustily from the opening tip, and it was clear that almost half the crowd was cheering for the visitors in orange and blue.

It was a close, well fought contest in the first half, until the Wizards disappeared in the third quarter, being outscored 27-19 in that period.

They made a fourth quarter run, but came up short, as the Knicks prevailed 101-95.

“We’re in a tough position because a lot of our best guys play the same position, so it’s hard to put them all on the floor”, said Wizards head coach Flip Saunders.

“We played two nights ago so the preparation for this game is like being on the road. We didn’t have a lot of rest. We had things going at the start, but it’s always tough to come back to a game off the road after a west coast trip.”

“We played hard and didn’t give up.”

Wizards guard John Wall had a rough outing, going 4-of-14 and scoring just 8 points.”He’s a young player; he’s only 20 years old”, said Saunders.

“Our league is designed differently. For example, New York ran about 75 pick and rolls tonight and in college you don’t run pick and rolls. It’s going to take some time.”

Every night is a learning process.”

But the story of the night was Knicks center Amar’e Stoudemire, who was 13 of 24 for 36 points, adding 10 rebounds and five assists.

He also had 10 turnovers, but who was counting. While at the line in the fourth quarter, chants of “MVP” rang out for Stoudemire.

“He’s [Stoudemire] not depending on [Phoenix Suns guard] Steve Nash to get him the ball anymore”, added Saunders.

“Now he’s creating a lot more for himself than he did in the past, and it’s just showing what kind of player he really was.”

Stoudemire is the NBA’s third leading scorer, averaging just over 26 points per game, and the Knicks have a 16-9 record (through Monday’s games), good for the sixth sport in the Eastern Conference.

“We’re playing pretty well. I don’t think we played great tonight, but that’s even more encouraging that when we didn’t play well we won on the road”, said Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni.

“You can’t negate the fact that our schedule has been good, but now it gets hard and these will be great tests coming up. I think we’re ready for them,” .

The Knicks, now on a eight-game winning streak, hosted the Boston Celtics Tuesday night, and face the red-hot Miami Heat twice in the month of December, so some stronger opponents will really put this new-look team through their paces.

“One thing about Amar’e is he can score, and a lot of people didn’t know about him that he can score from a lot of different ways”, said Knicks guard Raymond Felton.

All anybody knew that he was dunking all the time in Phoenix. There are so many things he can do with the ball.”

Just imagine how this team would look if they could add Carmelo Anthony to their backcourt.