Hope you enjoyed that, Mr. Gola.
After two consecutive losses to the new look Boston Celtics, including a 114-73 December drubbing at home, it was safe to say that Melo and company were looking to right some wrongs last night, and that they did. The Knicks dominated from start to finish, blowing out Rajon Rondo and his sinking C’s in a resounding 114-88 performance.
Melo was efficient in shortened minutes, getting his points all over the floor and subsequently creating opportunities for his teammates who did a solid job knocking down the open looks they received. New York tallied 19 assists on 24 FG’s in the first half, and 26 total. The return of the the two point guard lineup is paying dividends.
With this win, the Knicks are just half a game out of the 8th seed in the eastern conference… and 3-0 without Andrea Bargnani.
WHAT WENT RIGHT:
- Efficient and punctual. 24 points, 9 assists, 4 steals, and the best part; only 28 minutes played for Melo last night. With the game well in hand at about the mid-point of the 4th quarter, Woodson called in the reserves and Anthony got some much needed rest in a season where breaks for the All-Star forward have been few and far between.
- Tyson Chandler looked like Tyson Chandler tonight. 12 points and 13 rebounds with several soul crushing dunks sprinkled in for good measure.
- I love seeing young players not only getting opportunities, but taking advantage of the shots they get to shine. Jeremy Tyler and Tim Hardaway Jr. in particular have been making big contributions as of late and Woodson has responded, noticed by the uptick in their minutes last night. Tyler got 23 minutes of spin and turned in a 17 point, 5 rebound, and 2 block performance. His solid play is a great sign for a team so sorely lacking front court depth.
- Hardaway Jr. experiencing a slight shooting slump earlier this month, but lately he’s gotten back on track, as he’s averaged 12 points on 52% shooting over the past 5 games. Last night was another strong outing for the rookie, as he turned in 16 points on 5-10 shooting, and continues his knack for hitting timely buckets and being a force in transition. He played 33 minutes, second only to JR.
- Speaking of players breaking out of slumps, its hard to ignore the recent upswing in JR’s production. 17 points, 5 assists, and 0 turnovers in 34 minutes played? Well done.
WHAT WENT WRONG:
- Kenyon made his return last night and was off to his usual slam dunking, spittle-slinging shenanigans until he came down awkwardly in the first half and ended up being forced to sit for the rest of the game. Woodson says its an ankle injury and that Martin could of returned if needed, so take that how you wish.
- Shump somehow re-aggravated an old shoulder injury and sat out the rest of the game. Knicks are calling it a sprain and do not yet have a timetable for his return.
- There was a moment of silence before tipoff for Hall of Famer and former Knick, Tom Gola, who died Sunday. I found a pretty cool ad on Youtube that he did while a Knick. Check out those fly threads.
- The Knicks return to action thursday for an 8PM matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers.