After an abysmal performance against the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday, the Knicks faced a daunting 72-hours filled with pure disbelief and complete shock. Heading into their matchup against the Atlanta Hawks, Mike Woodson knew that he had to do something in order for his team to end up with a win, so he decided to switch up his starting lineup. Fans called for change, and change they got. Woodson named J.R Smith as the starting shooting guard and everyone flipped out.
Fans everywhere quickly panicked, and for good reasons. Why is J.R. starting when the success of starting two point guards is so obvious? Why start J.R. in his second game back from suspension? Will J.R. end continuity? And so forth and so on. But the biggest question for the Knicks remained, What does that spell for Iman Shumpert?
On top of Smith’s awarding of a starting spot, the rumor mills started up, yet again, this time with Shump’s name being thrown into the cauldron. And in an instant, the Knicks’ world would swirl faster than the Tazmanian Devil.
According to New York Daily News’s Frank Isola, the Knicks were discussing a deal with the Denver Nuggets to send Iman to the Mile High City in exchange for forward Kenneth Faried. The afternoon instantly turned dark for Knicks fans and the Internet was flooded with anti-James Dolan tweets, “I Hate Frank Isola” Facebook posts, and utterly confused blog posts. But as quickly as the trade proposal sprung up, it was instantly discarded by Adrian Wojnarowski, as he stated that the Nuggets were not interested in any trade involving the Manimal.
So, all those gray hairs for nothing. Nevertheless, the Knicks had a game to play and Shump had something to prove. And boy are they glad he still played for them against the Hawks. The former George Tech star didn’t have the flashiest of games statistics-wise, but he made big, impactful plays and led the Knicks (3-4) to a victory over the Atlanta Hawks by a score of 95-91.
See Woody? Maybe if you trust your players, use the correct rotations, and run plays, you’ll continue to see your team win. It’s frustrating to see them get to a tipping point in order to see them win, but after Sunday’s debacle, you knew that they would be resilient and win. Now, with a victory behind their backs, let’s hope Woody learns his lesson and does the right thing from now on. And that is…
In Iman We Trust.
WHAT WENT RIGHT:
- The Knicks took care of the basketball in a big way. They had three total turnovers in the entire game. Compare that to ten turnovers against the Spurs and 12 turnovers against the Bobcats, it looks like they’ll have zero turnovers in their next game. Okay, maybe that’s wishful thinking.
- As stated in the introduction, Shumpert showed up to play. He hit a big three-pointer in the second half to change the momentum of the game, but in addition, he showed Woodson that he can do everything. Iman was a playmaker by tallying up nine assists, a board-crasher by grabbing six rebounds, and a defensive juggernaut by stealing the ball four times. What can’t he do!? Oh, and he had a game high +15 +/- rating, pretty good if you ask me.
- Il Mago! The Italian made his presence known in Philips Arena. Andrea Bargnani dropped 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds en route to his first double-double for this season. He was also able to celebrate enthusiastically after two big three-pointers in the second half. If the Knicks want to win more games sans Tyson Chandler, they’ll need numbers like this from Bargs until Tyson returns.
- Just hours after being appointed the starting shooting guard, J.R. Smith laid down the pipes. In his 32 minutes of play, J.R. knocked down three three-pointers and was able to snatch down seven rebounds. His handles were a bit sloppy, but I’m sure we’ll be seeing constant step-back jumpers in no time.
- In limited minutes, Pablo Prigioni continues to dish and swish. The Argentinian handed out four assists to go with his usual two steals and a three-pointer.
- And that reminds me of this up this tidbit: Knicks drained 12 three-pointers on 35% shooting while containing the Hawks to 5 three-pointers on 20% shooting. For the evening, they held the Hawks to just 23% from the perimeter. Pretty cool if you ask me.
- Carmelo Anthony continued his season trend of inefficient, yet meaningful shooting. ’Melo had 25 points on 9-of-25 shooting to go along with four rebounds and two assists. He drained three three’s and knocked down four shots from the charity stripe.
- Tim Hardaway Jr. continues to shoot in high volume, but luckily this time he caught fire. The “rook” shot the ball well and ended the night with 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting, including two three-pointers, in addition to two rebounds. Well, at least he’s not shy of shooting!
- And finally, another Cole Aldrich sighting! 15 seconds of play against the Hawks. Not bad big fella! Not bad.
WHAT WENT WRONG:
- Although they were fantastic at defending the perimeter, the Knicks desperately need interior help. The Hawks shot a ridiculous 68% from within 8-feet and mustered up 56 points from inside the paint. The Knicks were lucky the Hawks’ three-point shooting was subpar tonight or else this recap would’ve been about a Knicks loss, rather than a victory.
- Fast-break points continue to be an issue as they allowed the Hawks to score 24 points off fast-breaks. The Knicks only scored 11. It appears that Woodson continues to prefer half-court sets compared to running up and down the court.
- Can someone explain why ‘Melo continues to bring up the ball during critical moments in the fourth quarter? Knicks fans everywhere cringe at the possibility of isoMelo which, thankfully, did not happen that much to let the victory slip away. Hey Woody, perhaps run some screens for easy shots?
- 15 total minutes for Pablo against the Hawks. He was highly efficient, yet was barely used. What is Mike Woodson thinking? Play the man!
- Happy Birthday 34th birthday to Metta World Peace! Never stop being so awesome, okay?
- Tonight was #TweetAndRepeat night on the MSG Network and Clyde was in prime fashion. At one point, the Knicks legend said, “… a crowd pleasing stuff, yeah. I like that funky stuff, so nice we’ll show it twice.”
- Clyde also kept mispronouncing Bargnani’s name worse and worse at the game went on. It started well as “Bargnani” but ended something like “Barn-yarn-nee.”
- Linsanity returns to the Garden tonight as the Knicks face off against the Houston Rockets at 8:00 p.m.