I’m liking 2014 already.
After the much discussed late-game shenanigans in Houston friday night, the Knicks ended their Lone Star State trip on a high note with an impressive 12-point win over the Dallas Mavericks. If you’ve been following my recaps up to now, you’ll know that I believe the Knicks follow a type of formula in their games; they open up sharp, dig themselves into a hole in the 2nd and 3rd quarters, then attempt a frantic comeback in the 4th that falls short. Last night started off that way, with Melo powering New York to a 29-17 1st quarter lead with 15 points. Despite his being held to just 4 more points over the next 3 quarters, the bright spot last night was the superior contributions from New York’s much scrutinized bench, that outscored the Dallas reserves 47-24.
On most nights it can look like it’s Melo all by his lonesome offensively, but to see the rest of the team respond to his outstanding performance in the first and keep Dallas at arms length for the rest of the night was big and should give Woodson’s team something to build on as they return home.
WHAT WENT RIGHT:
- His 15 point barrage in the opening quarter aside, Melo stuffed the stat sheet last night. Despite only scoring 4 points over the next 3 quarters, he would finish the night with 7 rebounds, 5 assist, and 3 steals. Maybe a little response to all the trade talk?
- Although he cooled off offensively (9 points, 3-5 shooting) Shump was another one who found other ways to contribute during his 30 minutes, with 6 rebounds and 3 steals. But even more impressive was his defense on recognized scorer, Monta Ellis. Coming into last night averaging 20 points a game this season, Ellis had a measly 4 after the first half, and ended up finishing with just 13.
- On another night with no Felton or Prigs, Beno did a solid job of moving the ball and finding the open man, finishing with 8 assists. His shooting is still leaving a bit to be desired, but no one should question his ability to run an offense at this point.
- New York’s bench, often coming under the microscope for it’s inability to maintain leads with Melo on the bench, came up in a big way last night. Kenyon scored a season high 14, Amare had 11 points and 7 boards, and Hardaway Jr. pitched in another 10. It was a complete team effort.
WHAT WENT WRONG:
- Chandler has the immune system of a young giraffe. Last night he was forced to leave the game in the first quarter because of, get this, an “upper respiratory infection”. I know that’s House-talk for “gnarly cold” but seriously, somebody get Tyson those gummy Flintstones vitamins and a bottle of Sunny D. The madness must end.
- JR Smith untied Shawn Marion’s shoelaces during a free throw attempt by Dirk in the 2nd quarter. A part of me wants to laugh, and a part of me just wants to continue shaking my head at a guy who continues to show a total lack of situational awareness. Maybe lay low after you essentially cost your team the previous game, eh? Some are saying he could be fined although I don’t believe its that serious. Link is here: cbsloc.al/1aa5jmU
- Shump is sick and he believes he picked up the bug from Chandler: https://twitter.com/ScottCacciola/status/420040252263120897
- The Knicks return home tomorrow night for a 7:30 PM matchup with the Detroit Pistons.