Carmelo Anthony put it best: Tonight was a must win game for New York after previously losing six straight games.
Melo also added that he needed to perform at a higher rate if his new team was going to be successful.
And perform he did. Melo had his best game wearing the Orange and Blue, netting 39 points on a 12-26 shooting effort, while adding 10 boards.
However, Melo did it on both sides of the court playing tough defense all night (which Coach D’Antoni applauded after the game) including fighting for a crucial rebound with Dwight Howard late in overtime. Howard ended up fouling Carmelo in their scramble for the ball and then got a technical foul for throwing the ball down the baseline.
The Knicks received strong play from co-star Amare Stoudemire as he finished with a double-double of 20 and ten. He also played strong defense on Dwight throughout the game, including a block, which helped the Knicks seal the deal.
The biggest surprise of tonight’s game might have come from Shelden Williams. He was scoreless, but was HUGE late in the 4th. He played fantastic defense on Dwight, as well as grabbing some big rebounds. I think that Shelden can really help us in the playoffs because of his size, and knowledge of the game (Coach K. taught him well!).
As everyone has been saying all along, if the Knicks come out with intensity as well as balanced play on both sides of the ball, they will be very hard to beat. Tonight they did exactly that, and they beat a very good Magic squad.
What I liked most about this game was that we simply refused to lose.
The Magic came roaring back from two, six point deficits late in the game due to sharp shooting from Gilbert Arenas and Jason Richardson.
In the end, the Knicks just wanted to win this game more than the Magic did.
Tonight’s game was an awesome win.
This team will need to show this same energy and determination if they have any hopes of making any sort of play-off run.