The Knicks defeated the Nets at the new look Madison Square Garden, 88-82, finishing the pre-season with a perfect record.
Ok, ok, so it was only two games, BUT HEY, doesn’t it just feel good to be watching Knicks basketball?!?!?
While the game left much to be desired in terms of actual good basketball (both teams shot under 41% and had more turnovers than assists), there were still some positives to take as the ‘Bockers now prepare to start the season on Christmas Sunday vs. the Celtics.
Carmelo Anthony: Melo was simply brilliant in the first half. He set the tone defensively to start the game, jumping in the passing lane to grab a steal that started a two-on-one fast break with Toney Douglas and scoring after rebounding TD’s missed lay-up. All night long, Melo was playing hard on D and crashing the boards, finishing the first half with eight rebounds. While Melo finished with five turnovers to only three assists, there were at least seven instances where he set up his teammates for shots that resulted in misses or fouls by the Nets. I was skeptical of Melo being a point forward, but with enough work, he can do it.
Toney Douglas: The box score will say TD only had 3 assists, but he did a much better job of running the offense. In the first quarter he missed out on two assists when Amar’e missed a bank shot off a Douglas feed and also when he found Amar’e on a fast break, but Stoudemire was fouled by Brook Lopez. Douglas also grabbed eight boards in his 33 minutes of play. His three turnovers don’t bother me too much when you consider the fast pace of Mike D’Antoni’s offense. Steve Nash never averaged less than three turnovers per game playing for D’Antoni In Phoenix.
Tyson Chandler: Double digits in rebounds? (12) CHECK; Blocked shots? (2) CHECK.
In 31 minutes of playing time, the big man did his job. He even chipped in eight points, going four-for-six from the free throw line. But even more impressive to me? How pissed the guy gets when he misses a play on defense and his shadow defense from the bench when his teammates are on defense. Other than CP3 in LA, no other acquisition this year will have more of a positive effect on a team than Tyson will have on these Knicks.
Renaldo Balkman: Once again, Balkman was all over the floor. While he didn’t score like he did in Saturday’s pre season opener, he filled up the stat sheet (six points, eight rebounds, two blocks) and Damion James’ face with a monster one hand dunk in the first quarter. I don’t think Balkman will ever develop a consistent jumper to be a threat in D’Antoni’s offense. However, with guys like Steve Novak and Mike Bibby off the bench, do you need him to shoot? Balkman can at least provide the Knicks with good defense and energy off the bench, like Shawne Williams last year, minus the three point shooting ability.
Josh Harrellson: JORTS!!! The big man from Kentucky showed once again his outside shooting ability, going two-for-six from 3-point territory. While he finished just 2/10 overall, the big man provided energy off the bench (10 rebounds, three steals, two blocks). On one of his steals, Jorts had to dive to the floor to get the ball, an effort that would’ve made Charles Oakley smile in appreciation. Moke Hamilton of SheridanHoops.com has said multiple times on twitter this week that a successful team this season will need to be 10, 11 deep because of the crammed schedule. I have no doubts that Jorts can be a reliable rotation piece this season.
Real games start on Sunday, kids!! Here’s to hoping that Paul Pierce recovers in time for the game, so the Celtics have no excuses after the Knicks win!!