CAROLINA CRISIS: THIS IS BIGGER THAN YOU By Michael...
Knicks Turn Down the Heat at MSG
Team plays inspired basketball without the services of JR Smith
NEW YORK – The building was electric. A bevy of stars were there along with super fan, Spike Lee. The weather was frigid cold outside but inside of Madison Square Garden the Boys from Gotham were smoking hot. The heat resonating from the Knicks wasn’t just on the offensive side of the ball either. “We are starting to figure it out defensively a little bit,” New York Knicks Coach Mike Woodson said. “I thought our traps and rotations were pretty good. When we had to switch guys took it upon themselves to keep the ball in front and not let them get plays at the rim.” The Knicks thrilled their fans with an 102-92 win over the Miami Heat.
The Knicks offensively again was sizzling and had a nice balance and good pace. The ball moved well and Carmelo Anthony’s Boys made shot. Speaking of Carmelo, he was sensational in his own right with his head to head battle against reigning MVP LeBron James. Carmelo finished with 29 points off of 12-24 shooting, 8 rebounds and 5 assists. LeBron was his stellar self with 32 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists. But LeBron also committed 6 ghastly turnovers.
There was plenty of praise to be passed around on the Knicks. But one person in particular earned respect from LeBron. That player was none other than starting point guard, Raymond Felton to who LeBron said, “I thought Raymond Felton did a great job of breaking down our defense and putting guys in the right position to succeed,” James said.
Felton, who scored seven straight for the Knicks in the fourth quarter en route to an overall 13 points and a season high 14 assists, said he was trying to “exploit different things on the pick-and roll,” adding, “We went through a slump and now I feel like we are out of it.”
Kenyon Martin started again in place of the ill (upper respiratory infection) Tyson Chandler and played well in his 24 minutes. But fellow Big-men Amare Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani were outstanding as they combined for 33 points and 16 rebounds and also provided quality and well-timed defense.
Starting two-guard, Iman Shumpert continued his regal play from the team’s Texas swing. He provided dogged defense when needed against both LeBron and fellow All-star Dwyane Wade. Shumpert went scoreless in the first half but caught fire in the third quarter and hit three 3’s. He finished the game with 12 points and 9 rebounds. The Knicks now have to carry this win over against the Philadelphia 76ers and Phoenix Suns respectively.
KNICK KNACKS: Both teams oddly shot better from the field than from the free-throw line. Knicks shot 53.7% while the Heat shot 54.4%. Knicks shot a dreadful 50% from the line while the Heat didn’t shoot much better at 52 percent.
Something the Knicks need to think and focus on. They are 6-6 when they either equal or outrebound their opponents. As Pat Riley always says, “No rebounds, no rings.”
Tim Hardaway Jr. who played again in front of his father, Tim Hardaway Sr. had the dunk of the night in the 3rd quarter when he followed up a Stoudemire missed with a climb over the top of Ray Allen flush that sent the Garden into a frenzy. Hardaway also said his father would be buying dinner as his team won.
Knicks also improve to 12-5 when they lead after three quarters.
Jerald L. Hoover