Recap: Knicks 111, Bobcats 102

KnicksCats

First Quarter:

The Knicks did exactly what you have to do against to do against a team as pitiful as the Bobcats. They jumped out on them early and often, as they got a 21-6 lead behind three pointers from Raymond Felton, Iman Shumpert and Carmelo Anthony. The Knicks were on fire from three-point land in the quarter, shooting 5-6. Anthony, Shumpert and J.R. Smith all had fantastic quarters. The Bobcats did not double team Anthony, and he carved them up for 13 points on 5-11 shooting. Shumpert continued his hot shooting and hit two three-pointers. Also, he had two steals and two assists. Smith once again continued to not settle for jump shots and took the ball to the basket, as he had nine points on 4-6 shooting. Felton also chipped in with seven points on 3-3 shooting. The Knicks shot 58% from the field because, as you might expect, Charlotte’s defense was miserable. Charlotte also had six turnovers and most of them were just careless things like dribbling the ball off their foot and traveling.

Second Quarter:

The Bobcats went on an 8-2 run at the end of the quarter to cut a 28 point lead to 22, but the Knicks still led 69-47 at halftime. This quarter was all about Smith, as he had 14 points in the quarter on 5-5 shooting. Once again, he only made one three-pointer and took everything to the basket. He only attempted one mid-range jumper in the quarter and made some acrobatic shots around the rim instead of taking acrobatic step back jumpers. The Knicks continued to stay hot from behind the arc, shooting 4-6 from the field, with threes by Felton, Smith, Steve Novak and Jason Kidd. The ball movement was great, as the Knicks had 13 assists in the half, including five from Shumpert. Shumpert’s penetration created many open shots for the Knicks. They shot an incredible 62% for the half, while the Bobcats shot only 42%.

Third Quarter:

The Knicks had another sluggish third quarter after getting out to a big lead, but a strong end to the quarter helped the Knicks get the lead back up to 87-69 after the Bobcats had cut the lead to 14. The Knicks shot only 5-17 for the quarter and were 0-5 from behind the arc. The Bobcats gave a much better effort on defense, and the Knicks lost a little bit of the ball movement that was so successful for them in the first half. The closest the Bobcats came was 81-67 after a Jannero Pargo three-pointer. After the teams traded free throws, Felton converted a layup, Smith got fouled behind the arc, and made all three free throws to give the Knicks a 5-0 run to end the quarter. Anthony led the Knicks with nine points in the quarter.

Fourth Quarter:

Just like the Grizzlies, the Bobcats gave the Knicks a scare in the fourth, but the lead was just too much to overcome and the Knicks won 111-102. The Bobcats erased the 5-0 run the Knicks had to end the 3rd by starting out the 4th on their own 5-0 run with a three by Pargo and two free throws by Gerald Henderson to cut the lead back down to 88-74. The Knicks then went on a 6-0 run with buckets by Felton, Smith and Chris Copeland and it looked like the game was over at that point. Alas, that was not the case, as the Bobcats went on a 9-2 run over the next two minutes to cut the lead to 98-85 with 5:23 remaining. The closest the Bobcats came was when a Josh McRoberts layup cut the lead to 102-95 with about two minutes remaining. Smith took the ball to the basket yet again for a hoop and the Knicks made their free throws down the stretch to ice the game. He led the Knicks with seven points in the quarter to finish with an incredible 37 points for the game.

Notes:

- Didn’t we just see this game 2 days ago?

- It would be nice if the Knicks would put these teams away, but in the NBA, it is rare for a team not to make a run of any kind during a game. Even still, after the last game you would think that the Knicks would have not wanted to let that happen again.

- What can else can you say about J.R. Smith at this point? When he plays at this efficient level he is one of the best shooting guards in the NBA, especially since he had already improved his defensive game this year before he started this efficient stretch on offense.

- Hopefully he isn’t playing himself into a big contract elsewhere. It can never be all good with Smith, right?

- Remember when we wanted to trade Iman Shumpert for Jared Dudley? Yeah, pretty good non- trade there for sure.

- He is doing everything they need out of a three next to Melo right now. He is hitting the corner three, driving the lane and dishing to open shooters, and has been locking down the opponents to player lately.

- Melo has really been amazing on his own put backs lately. He had six offenseive rebounds and his second jump is just so quick and obviously his strength is tough to deal with as well.

- With all the attention Shumpert, Smith and Martin have been receiving lately for their strong play, Felton has played really efficiently of late as well.

- 7 game winning streak heading into a really challenging part of the schedule. It will be very interesting to see if this level of play carries over against the likes of Miami, Oklahoma City, Atlanta, Chicago and Indiana.