March Madness is officially upon us! For the Knicks, they have had a whole March full of Madness, since the first day of the most grueling month on New York’s schedule this season. I hope everyone’s brackets are doing well. Yeah I know, Harvard screwed most of us.
Hopefully, New York does not get screwed over by Toronto in their final two meetings of the season in a home-and-home matchup. The Knicks flew to Toronto yesterday (did everyone else see that shirt Mike Woodson wore on the plane?), and tip-off tonight at 7:30. The wounds of the road trip we will not speak of, are slowly healing, winning two games in a row and seeing a healthy Carmelo Anthony revitalize the lethargic Knickerbockers. Toronto will not be a pushover of any sorts, though. Do not let this team’s 26-42 record deceive you, Rudy Gay and company are more than capable of putting up points quickly on any given night. There is also the element of New York being winless on the season against the Raptors.
There is no room left to drop games to lesser opponents this year. Especially Toronto who has dropped two in a row, and 10 out of their last 14. New York is still looking to achieve the first goal they set this season, winning the division. Brooklyn is quickly covering ground behind the Knicks; even Boston is making a little run. 10 of New York’s 16 remaining games are against playoff opponents, which leaves little margin for era.
What to look for:
- The ball movement against Orlando, for the most part, was immaculate. When the ball moves, everyone gets involved, which is crucial for New York who has more players than less who need ball movement to operate at 100%.
- When JR Smith drives to the basket, a whole new dimension opens up on offense for New York. His defensive intensity also was a very beneficial factor in winning on Wednesday. Smith is too athletic to not be putting himself in the driver’s seat more often, lets see if he can bring the same attitude tonight.
- Iman Shumpert is expected to play tonight. The pop in his knee was deemed nothing serious, and should be at full strength tonight. Shumpert seems to have shaken off the rust, and is looking like his self from last year more and more every game.
- A win on the first night of a home-and-home, on the road, is big for a team when heading back home with momentum. New York should look to get out early, play comfortably, and get a win to stay atop of the Atlantic. A win tonight will also clinch a playoff berth for New York, something that has not been done in 10 years.
The Air Jordan Melo M9 just gets better every month – as does every current Jordan product, it seems. Tonight, University of North Carolina will debut the Carolina blue and white colorway of the M9 in their game against Villanova. The heat coming from the initial lineup of colorways worn by Carmelo Anthony for the All-Star game and Black History Month were a taste of some of the wild styles to be released from his signature shoe. Now, NCAA teams are basking in the glory of even better color schemes.
Last month, on February 23rd, Syracuse—Melo’s alma mater—wore the M9′s with the orange upper in his honor, on the day his jersey was retired.
The California Golden Bears got their own Team Exclusives in black, yellow and navy blue. So when Syracuse and California go head to head this Saturday, you already know it will be a sneaker showdown for the books. Which NCAA team has worn the M9 the best? Sound off below.
“Yo Steve. Settle a bet. Who would you rather have right now. Felton or Lin?”
I stare at the text message longer than a stern Mike Woodson death stare directed at JR Smith before smacking my palm against my forehead and letting out a quick, disinterested sigh.
“Without a doubt Jer… ” I start typing before tilting my head back and giving it a second thought. Let me think this through before I get branded as some sort of anti-Knick Lin supporter who can’t admit that “Lin is certified trash“. After all, I am a Knicks fan, so I should support current Knicks. Lin is a Rocket now. I’d clearly be a Houston fan if I say anything positive about a Rocket. But no, that’s not how Knicks fans work. It’s 100% Knicks. All the time. Forever and always. Right? Right.
So… where do I even begin entertaining this comparison?
I guess I could start where any self-respecting basketball fan would: the statistics. Because after all, the stats sum up everything that happens on a basketball court in a nice, succinct package. Let’s take a look then. Per game averages through 3/21/13: (via NBA.com‘s lovable new stats site which is available to EVERYONE FOR FREE – isn’t the NBA the best?)
- Raymond Felton: 14.5 points, 5.7 assists, 41.6% FG, 35.2% 3PT, 78.4% FT, 2.9 rebounds (okay okay, I’ll round it up to 3 for you), 2.5 turnovers.
- Jeremy Lin: 13.2 points, 6.1 assists, 44.7% FG, 33.7% 3PT, 78.5% FT, 3.2 rebounds (okay okay, I’ll round it down to 3 for you), 2.9 turnovers.
At first glance, you might say, “Okay, so… ?” And I would agree with you.
On second glance, you might say “Well, they have nearly identical stats. The Knicks made the right choice letting the Asian go to Houston for that ‘ridiculous contract‘.” And again, I would agree with you.
BUT at third glace, and if you’re still reading, you might want to examine these plain ole’ stats a little deeper. Also, thank you for staying with me for this long and not switching over to Twitter or Instagram or checking up on your favorite net model and whatever she can balance on her bossoms.
Actually, hold on, Jill Martin is on my television screen. Be right back, folks.
Okay, sorry about that. I’m back now. As I was saying/typing…
What if we delve a tad deeper into Knicks Twitter’s favorite preseason topic of advanced metrics? I mean, anything to make a case for our favorite bulldog, right?
- Raymond Felton: 109.4 Offensive Rating, 104.6 Defensive Rating for a Net Rating of 4.9.
- Jeremy Lin: 106.3 Offensive Rating. 104.1 Defensive Rating for a Net Rating of 2.2.
(Oh yeah, for those who need clarification: OffRtg is how an approximation of how many points a player produces per 100 possessions, DefRtg is an approximation of how many points a player allows per 100 possessions, and NetRtg is the difference between the two.)
So, cool. Our best buddy Felton actually outperforms Lin here by a NetRtg of 2.7 points. Sweet Lord… LIN ACTUALLY IS CERTIFIED TRASH AFTER ALL
But Steve, what about their True Shooting Percentages, which takes into account three pointers and free throws, making it superior to the regular FG percentage stat???
Oh, I see you did your homework, you sexy whippersnapper you. Okay then, let us waddle on over and take a gander at those numbers.
- Raymond Felton: 49.1% TS. *coughthisisbadcough*
- Jeremy Lin: 54.1% TS.
YIKES. Okay, okay, remain calm here, Knicks faithful. We remember Jeremy Lin. Don’t we, Knicks fans? Mr. Dribble-dribble-dribble-dribble-drive-into-an-impossible-layup-that-he-somehow-finishes-omg-I-hate-him!!! We remember that guy, right? The guy who gobbled up all those field goal attempts because Mike D’Antoni had no other choice but to let him? These numbers have to be skewed because Jeremy Lin has all the free reign in the world down there in Houston. RIGHT???
- Raymond Felton: 746 field goal attempts on the season.
- Jeremy Lin: 732 field goal attempts on the season.
Okay, well, whatever. A bulldog takes what a bulldog wants. And besides, this only means that Lin is more efficient at scoring the basketball, not passing the basketball, which is what a point guard is supposed to do anyway, right? Especially when you have Carmelo Honey Nut Cheerios Anthony on your team, right? Right.
- Raymond Felton: 23.3% Usage Rate, 28.1% Assist Rate.
- Jeremy Lin: 20.3% Usage Rate, 28.8% Assist Rate.
Um, all right. Usage Rate is an estimate of how many possessions a team involves a particular player (in this case, our favorite penguin Raymond Felton and the devil personified Jeremy Lin, respectively) while he(/she… RELAX WNBA FANS – ALL 7 OF YOU) is on the court. Assist Rate is an estimate of how many of said possessions a particular player notches an assist. SOOOOOO… Lin marginally gets more assists with less touches of the basketball. Meh, whatever. Doesn’t mean anything, right?
STEVE!!!@#!@$@# How does this affect their team’s records tho? Where is Houston in the rankings????
Honestly, I got kinda lazy, so check for yourselves. Yes, basketball is a team sport, but I believe the question at the top was “who would you rather prefer raymond felton or jeremy lin?” and not “who is the better team knicks or rockets?” Side note: For the sake of Knicks Twitter, I’ll ignore the fact that the Western Conference is slightly more competitive than the East.
Steve you moron, basketball is more than just numbers on a stat sheet. It’s about basketball fundmentalsandblahalahalahakahalahaskhfdsakdhf
Well, you’re right. Basketball games are not won on a nerd’s Excel spreadsheet, but instead on hardwood floors surrounded by paying customers. So let’s analyze this from a “basketball purists”‘s standpoint (please excuse the punctuation confusion on my behalf on those ironic air quotes).
Felton is a speedy point guard [footnote here: the point guard is essentially the quarterback orchestrating your coach's desired play set, because I <3 you and didn't want you to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the screen just for a measly footnote] with several shooters on his team. Lin is a speedy point guard with several thousand million shooters on his team. What would the coach most likely tell these speedy point guards to do? Well, I believe that, quite clearly, the answer is to penetrate the paint, draw the defense, and kick out to an open shooter, yes? ESPECIALLY when you (the point guard) are quite adept at finishing in the paint. Do you agree? Or am I just crazy?
ANYWAY, with what backdrop, I present to you these two lovely graphics:
OMG JEREMY LIN HAS SOOOOO MUCH MORE RED ON HIS SHOT CHART THAN FELTON. Yes, I know. And I cordially invite you to join me in analyzing this a little deeper (THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID).
Drive and kick, that’s what we (both Raymond and Jeremy supporters alike) agree would be the best approach given our point guard and our teams’ talent. In “drive and kick” situations, where would you, the coach, prefer your point guard, a quick and decent finisher around the rim, get his shots when trying to draw defenders?
Yep! You’re right! In the paint around the rim! Give yourself a pat on the back for that one!
- Raymond Felton: 290 field goal attempts at the rim while making 49.7% of them.
- Jeremy Lin: 368 field goal attempts at the rim, making 53.8%.
WHATEVER, STEVE. AT LEAST FELTON DOESN’T CHUCK UP RANDOM THREES LIKE THAT OTHER MANIAC
- Raymond Felton: 210 three point attempts.
- Jeremy Lin: 205 three point attempts.
So, what you’re telling me is that, even though Felton is a less efficient scorer, less efficient passer, and probably not the smartest point guard, you would STILL prefer JEREMY EFFING LIN over the bulldog? What about Felton’s bulldog effort on defense? It’s not like he gets caught on picks and lets opposing point guards pirouette to the rim, while leaving his defensive stud of a center out to dry. Did you really want James Our Lawd And Savior Dolan to pay $30 million for an overrated and over-hyped point guard anyway??? Wow, you’re SUCH a Knicks hater. Go to Brooklyn bruh. You can’t hang with real Knicks fans. KNICKS FOR LYFE.
Well, sure. I guess I’m just #aggy
Peace out, y’all.
Yesterday, on Spike Lee’s birthday, Knicks fans got to share in one of the best gifts Spike could get, a win at Madison Square Garden. It was a star-studded affair with Spike front row, Giants Wide Receiver Victor Cruz in the building, and Carmelo Anthony’s return after his knee injury. Following suit with such special occasions was the attire, more specifically, the sneakers worn by the guest of honor and the Knicks.
The ensemble of NYK kicks on display were interesting to see because there was a theme of flash and modesty on the court. As you looked at Melo attacking the basket in his M9 Syracuse, within the same glance, J.R. Smith’s orange Nike Hyperdunk Low and Iman Shumpert’s adidas Top Ten 2000 “2WO 1NE” caught looks. The only other Knick known to turn up the color scheme consistently is James White when he rocks the K1X AntiGravity. But in the shadow of the all the brights—including Spike Lee’s Volt colored Black History Month Air Jordan Spizikes (above)—Chris Copeland and Marcus Camby’s were the silent killers. Copeland played 20 minutes in the Nike Zoom Hyperenforcer, and Marcus Camby wore the blue colorway from the Nike Zoom Huarache TR “NYC” pack. Peep Camby’s kicks below.
There’s been some speculation the past few days about the Knicks’ front office pondering a move, but Mike Woodson, to this point, has been reluctant to cut anyone from this team. With the Knicks’ frontcourt completely battered and tattered, it would seem feasible that New York picks up a decent big to fill a void for a few weeks. However, there is also a gap in the backcourt, although not as big, that needs to be filled. We know New York has been monitoring Delonte West’s performance in the D-League the past two weeks. I have also seen a few sources linking the Knicks to the 30-year-old Josh Powell, who is currently playing in Greece, to help the Knicks under the basket.
There are already currently 15 players under contract, which means there would need to be a cut made in order to bring in some reinforcement along the lines of either defense, or rebounding. The problem is, Mike Woodson is optimistic that Rasheed Wallace and Kurt Thomas could be healthy by the time April rolls around. I believe it is more of a respect issue, and not wanting to cut one of these veterans who believe it or not, still want to play. The chance of Wallace making a significant impact after missing about two-thirds of the year, coming off a foot injury, and a mini two-year retirement is slim to none. Kurt Thomas probably won’t get cut because of the respect the franchise has for him, although he is an expiring contract.
So, that leaves James White. White has bounced around the rotation routinely throughout the year, but has never played any noteworthy minutes that would build a case for him to remain on the roster, if a better option came along. If Grunwald and company were to come to a decision to make another signing, White would be the likely candidate to be let loose from the KnicksTape.
With that being said, does this make sense at this point in the season, with less than a month of regular season left? White, most likely, will not make any impact on this team from now through the playoffs. But I am against letting him go IF New York decides to bring in someone over the age of 35 who hasn’t played basketball all year (no disrespect to K-Mart). West has been playing all year, and so has Josh Powell. Two players who are both, at least capable of coming in and helping the Knicks to keep their division lead and maybe even moving back into second place in the conference. Delonte West’s only issue is his maturity level; there are already a few players on this team who have a reputation of being a misfit. But to Woodson’s credit, there have not been any outbursts this year, and maybe he can keep West under control? If so, West has a pretty sweet stroke from three, and can create for others off the dribble. He would be brought in, though, for sure on his defensive mentality and his ability to guard multiple positions. As we’ve been watching Felton and Kidd this season get burned on a regular basis, while Shumpert is stuck guarding small forwards, out of his natural position.
A few other notable names that deserve a mention, are Hakeem Warrick, Hassan Whiteside, Ben Wallace, and most recently Brooklyn (New Jersey) Net, Sundiata Gaines who’s name has been whispered a few times as a dark horse signing, if there is to be a signing. Again, I would stray away from the likes of players like Ben Wallace, who is aged. Any signing made would have to be one with an instant impact, not someone who needs two weeks to get in shape and be effective. If the right players available at the right time, I would go for it.
The Knicks returned home and got themselves a much-needed blowout victory over a badly struggling team. After a brutal 1-4 Western Conference road trip, in which a number of key players went down with injuries, the Knicks have a small window of easy games to try and regain some ground, and they kicked off the stretch with a double-digit victory over the Orlando Magic. While it wasn’t a completely reassuring outing, given that the Magic are the second worst team in the league and were missing their starting center, Nikola Vucevic, the Knicks should welcome all wins with open arms as they try to get their feet back underneath them in the home stretch of the NBA season.
The Knicks began the game with the same uber-small lineup that they utilized Monday against the Utah Jazz. Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni split backcourt duties while Iman Shumpert, Carmelo Anthony, and Kenyon Martin manned the frontcourt. Initially, given the relative inexperience of the lineup, the Knicks looked a little hesitant on offense, but that was quickly shattered by Anthony hitting his first three-pointer of the game, followed by a jumper from Felton, and a fastbreak layup from Shumpert. On defense, Orlando struggled to scrape up points as the Knicks actively trapped ball-handlers on the perimeter and attacked anyone that entered the paint. The five Magic turnovers in the quarter simply gave the Knicks more opportunities to score the ball.
The defensive intensity was nice, and the offensive cohesion was unlike anything the Knicks had demonstrated in the past few weeks. The ball swung with ease around the perimeter, setting up three-pointers for Anthony, Chris Copeland, and J.R. Smith. Inside of the arc, Felton and Martin worked the pick-and-roll successfully, connecting on one pretty alley-oop. Anthony and Camby got in the act, too. Early in the clock, ‘Melo posted up on the right block, kicked the ball out to Camby on the perimeter, and then spun around and caught a beautiful pass in the air from Camby, and threw it down.
At the end of the quarter, the Knicks were en route to a blowout, up 26-15.
However, the Knicks being the Knicks, some kinks reappeared, despite the promising first quarter. The Magic used a 7-0 run to start the quarter, and cut a double-digit lead to four points. Initially, the bench lineup of Jason Kidd, Smith, Steve Novak, Copeland, and Camby struggled to defend against a semi-reckless Orlando bench squad. The Knicks took arrhythmic contested jumpers on offense, and were unable to stop penetration or inside baskets by the Magic.
While said defensive issues plagued the Knicks all quarter, the offense eventually came back around. For the second straight game, J.R. Smith made a point to work off the dribble and get to the basket where he finished a few nice drives and set up teammates with some good, open looks. Later on in the quarter, the game still only within two baskets, the Knicks and Magic shared baskets back and forth. Anthony and Shumpert connected on back-to-back threes, all the while Orlando’s indomitable Beno Udrih carved up the Knicks’ pick-and-roll defense for some floaters in the lane and some set-ups for teammates.
Despite a nice offensive showing, the Knicks only led 51-46 at the half after surrendering 31 second quarter points to Orlando.
Whatever was said to the Knicks at halftime seemed to light the fire back underneath them. Kenyon Martin opened the quarter with a nice post-up move for an and-one layup. Although he missed the free throw, Felton scurried in to collect the offensive rebound, pulled the ball back out and nailed a three-pointer. Prigioni, who actually seemed to spend more time on the ball than Felton, also made his presence felt with a three-pointer, and then ensuing assists in a pick-and-roll with Martin and a cross-court pass to Smith for a three-pointer.
Much of the Knicks’ offense thereafter came from Anthony, Smith, and Copeland, all of whom mixed up their looks on offense going inside and out, and benefiting from the generally good ball movement. Orlando, on the other hand, just didn’t have the talent to keep up. Part of that was the Knicks’ collective defensive efforts. The guards pestered Orlando’s backcourt, and even Anthony and Smith got caught in the energy, each displaying a willingness to play solid, man-to-man defense.
The Knicks outscored the Magic 32-19 in the period and led 83-65 going into the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter followed the Knicks’ usual blowout script. Woodson rested guys like Anthony, Felton, and eventually Martin, and ran out a wily group featuring Kidd, Smith, James White, Copeland, and Novak, along with Martin to begin the quarter. Kidd and Smith whiffed on an alley-oop attempt. And as expected, the Knicks let up on the gas a little bit and played slightly nonchalantly, allowing the Magic to actually get within striking distance. At one point, with the Knicks’ lead down to 11, it looked as though Woodson would have to reinsert starters to take control of the game.
He didn’t, though, as the bench responded. Steve Novak hit a three-pointer to push the Knicks’ lead back to 13, then James White came up with a steal and went coast-to-coast for a dunk much better than anything he gave us in the dunk contest. Even with the game’s fate all but sealed, the Knicks didn’t let up. J.R. Smith chased Andrew Nicholson down in the final 50 seconds and pinned his layup attempt on the glass to protect the score.
When the buzzer rang, the Garden stood to its feet and applauded the Knicks for possibly the best overall effort and confident game they’d seen in recent weeks.
- Iman Shumpert didn’t play the second half after he appeared to tweak his knee at the end of the first half. He was available to play, but Woodson chose not to. Tina Cervasio grossly explained the situation that appears to not be too serious.
- The Knicks actually shot less free throws than the Magic (who are one of the worst in the league at getting to the line) and grabbed fewer boards. However, they made up for it with four less turnovers than Orlando, and by shooting a blistering 44% from beyond the arc, connecting on 15 of 34 attempts.
- Two very efficient nights for Anthony and Smith. Anthony finished with 21 points on 7-14 shooting, with 8 rebounds, 1 steal and a block. Smith finished with 22 points on 8-16 FG, grabbed 7 rebounds, and dished 2 assists.
- I don’t get MSG at my current residence, so while I watched League Pass Broadband’s coverage of the game, I missed the postgame which included Patrick Ewing(!). He and John Starks sat courtside together and received a standing ovation.
- Also, Patrick Ewing said the Knicks can’t beat the Heat.
- I’m pretty much flat-out amazed every time Kenyon Martin jumps in the air to dunk a ball or block a shot. Considering the guy is 35-years old, has undergone microfracture surgery, and been in and out of the league for the last two seasons, he’s probably still one of the Knicks’ best leapers. Thus far, I’ve greatly enjoyed Kenyon’s presence.
- The Knicks’ starting five was a combined +77 for the game. The bench was a combined -17, with Smith being the only player with a positive +/-
- A fun exchange between Clyde and Mike Breen about Kurt Thomas’s long journey through the NBA and the number of people he’s played with. Clyde: “Did he play with George Mikan?!” Breen: “Yes, he remembers playing with Dr. James Naismith!”
The Knicks still sit in third place in the East and didn’t put any distance between themselves and the Nets for the Atlantic Division lead. The Knicks play a home-and-home with the Toronto Raptors Friday and Saturday, in what could be two crucial games before another tough stretch.
Terry Richardson shot Carmelo Anthony for the cover story of the most recent Wall Street Journal magazine. The piece is quite good and worth your time, but here are the images.
March Madness is almost upon us. I’m hosting a pool for The Knicks Wall readers and whoever comes out on top will win a free t-shirt of their choice. Be sure to join, as it should be a good time.
Join here. Password is: theknickswall
The Knicks released a few statements earlier regarding Tyson Chandler and Kurt Thomas. As per The Daily News-
An MRI of Thomas’ foot Tuesday in New York revealed a stress fracture/stress reaction according to a person close to the veteran Knicks forward.
Big Kurt will miss about 2-4 weeks, but he deserves some rest time playing 27 minutes last night– a season high. Along with that, we have also learned that the MRI Tyson Chandler received on his neck, revealed a slight bulging disk. Chandler is expected to miss approximately one week.
Insult to injury is the best way to put it. Kurt Thomas had been an absolute warrior for the Knicks’ during their west coast swing, playing 27 minutes against Utah coming up with some crucial plays in helping to salvage a win before heading back to New York. Chandler has been out of action since collapsing in Denver, and what scares me is the fear of Chandler becoming listed as day-to-day, because you do not get listed day-to-day by the Knicks training staff unless your injury is extremely serious. This makes sense, doesn’t it?
For now, I am guessing Marcus Camby will fill the void at the five spot for the next week. Hopefully he won’t be relied on too heavily, but there virtually aren’t many other options in the frontcourt. The Knicks are currently missing five players, all ranging from power forward to center, considering Carmelo Anthony at the power forward spot, for now.
Luckily for New York, they do not play a team above .500 for exactly one week when they head to Boston next Tuesday. Hopefully, that is when Chandler returns. Anthony is expected to return tomorrow after missing a week of basketball, and says he feels ‘no pain’ in his knee. But without Tyson, the going may still get rough on defense.
Right now, I am more worried about heading into the playoffs healthy instead of worrying about where I am seeded. With our veterans breaking down left and right, I am legitimately worried the same thing will continue to happen if minutes aren’t seriously monitored with guys like Jason Kidd and Marcus Camby. Lets keep our heads up, grab a couple wins right now where we can, and get through this next month in one piece.
The Knicks got a huge win before they head home to New York by beating the Jazz 90-83 for their first win in Utah in eight years. The win kept the Knicks in first place in the Atlantic Divison, as the Brooklyn Nets blew out the Detroit Pistons in Detroit and a loss by the Knicks would have meant a virtual tie with the Nets.
The game started out ugly, but morphed into an entertaining second half, as the Knicks became much more efficient with their offense. For a team fighting for their playoff lives, the Jazz put forth a pitiful effort. They had 17 turnovers, which is what kept the Knicks in the game in the first half when they were struggling on offense, and their shot selection was horrific. However, nothing should be taken away from the Knicks because they showed incredible grit and toughness.
The Jazz went on an 8-0 run at the end of the second quarter to take a 44-42 lead into halftime and it looked like a repeat from the Portland game . However, Pablo Prigioni and Chris Copeland ran some great pick-and-rolls to get the Knicks into rhythm at the start of the thrid quarter. Prigioni made his case for more playing time and hopefully Woodson took notice after he has left him out of the rotation lately for reasons unknown.
The Knicks led 66-63 after three quarters in large part due to J.R. Smith getting to the foul line. Smith had another bad shooting game (5-13), but got to the foul line six times in the third quarter. This allowed him to finish with an efficient 20 points on those 13 shots. It was good to see him not settle for jump shots and take the ball to the rim when he was struggling shooting.
The Knicks never trailed in the fourth quarter and never trailed in the quarter. Raymond Felton was excellent, as he scored nine of his 19 points in the fourth. He hit some huge momentum shots, including a three-pointer to put the Knicks up 75-69 with 8:10 remaining and a long two-point jumper to put the Knicks up eight with 5;20 remaining. The cloest the Jazz came after that was when they got the lead down to 84-81 with 3:13 remaining. After a terrible turnover by Smith, Mo Williams missed a jumper and Smith came back and hit a jumper to ice the game,
Make fun of their ages all you want, but Kurt Thomas and Kenyon Martin were absolute men among boys out there. They outplayed a much more talented Utah front court in Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson. Martin had nine rebounds in 21 rebounds and gave excellent defense and energy again. Thomas was simply incredible. After there were rumors that his season was over due to a stress fracture in his foot, Thomas came out and played his best game of the season. His low post defense on Jefferson was huge, especially in the fourth quarter. Thomas did a little bit of everything as he scored six points, had three blocks, three rebounds and two assists. You can not see his true value to the win in those stats though. The Knicks won this game on defense and Martin and Thomas contributed greatly to that.
The Knicks now have an opportunity to go home and they have three winnable games in a row against Orlando and two against Toronto. A four game winning streak and getting healthy would help erase the tough west coast trip.
The second and final meeting between New York and Utah is tonight at Energy Solutions Arena. The Knicks have ran into a whole heap of issues on their five game trip. Between injury, rotational issues, and questioning of the teams mere will to win games, it’s time for the Knicks to put up or shut up, and steal a game to avoid coming home to a rude awaking from the MSG faithful.
This has been one of the most painful road trips in recent memory. The Knicks have lost by at least 13 points in each game (per ESPN) and are downright depleted on the front line. On the contrary, New York’s last win came nine days ago against Utah, also without Carmelo Anthony manning the frontcourt. Tyson Chandler, though, was available that game, and is questionable for tonight; he also missed the morning shootaround to receive treatment. The Knicks are now making it known that there is now more of an issue with Tyson’s neck, rather than his knee (UGH). With or without Chandler, the Knicks are running out of excuses, and breathing room. Luckily, Brooklyn dropped one to Atlanta last night helping New York in a big way to maintain their one game lead in the Atlantic Division.
Utah does have the revenge factor on their side. Also, picking up two of their last three, Utah needs wins more desperately than New York to stay within the tight playoff race in the west. Two Friday’s ago; New York put a whopping on Utah, scoring 113 points without Anthony. The Jazz had went 0-4 on their east coast trip when they visited New York, and will be looking to spoil the final game of the Knicks’ trip if no one rises to the occasion. JR Smith will need to duplicate his success against Utah (24 points) if New York wants to have any chance of pulling out at least one win. Novak rose from the dead that game, also, lighting up the floor with 20 points.
Furthermore, lets see a stable rotation, Woody. If it works, don’t try to fix it. Whoever produces offense tonight, I’m leaving them on the floor. Yesterday’s effort against the Clippers was not terrible for a team without their three best players. The defense turned up mid-late third quarter- but by then it was too late to trade baskets and play a game of runs.
If any game on this trip was, or is going to be winnable, it’s tonight. If New York wants to show everyone they are still serious contenders, there is no better time to do so. I’m beginning to get sick and tired of staying up into the twilight of the night to see my Knicks lose, and lose ugly. It’s gotten to a point where I will turn my TV off and go to sleep if the game is entirely ugly by the 4th quarter. I’d rather count my sheep than count the times the Knicks make a poor decision or bad rotation on defense. Optimistically, I see the Knicks winning a close one tonight, one that will do wonders for their confidence. Right now, that seems to be something they desperately need. #Knicks.
“Chris Paul, Clippers torch injury-depleted Knicks,” reads ESPN’s headline. Rather than add insult to injury with puns about getting burned yesterday in Los Angeles, Raymond Felton had the fire under his feet scoring the team’s high of 16 points. In his 41 minutes, the Knicks guard’s 3-point shooting was clutch keeping NYK in striking distance during the first half. Then his mid-range jumper, and drives to the basket supplemented their offense in the second half. A Felton-Jordan matchup was one to watch though. Felton’s key layup scored against DeAndre Jordan was a highlight that clearly isn’t getting as much replay as Jordan’s open floor dunk from the first half. Being a poster boy for posterizing Brandon Knight has earned Jordan the national attention he deserves, plus a big promotional push by Under Armour with a line of T-shirts that read, “Show Me Your Dunk Face.”
Will Raymond Felton get a liltle more love from UA? Felton has been wearing all the varieties of his Micro G-Torch Player Exclusive, including the Christmas Day edition. Yesterday he gave the orange upper and blue laser perforated kit some mileage, while Jordan stole the sneaker spotlight sporting the St. Patrick’s Day Spine Bionic green colorway. Since Under Armour announced the addition of Felton to the Under Armour family in January, there haven’t been any recent updates to what’s next for Felton and Under Armour. The brand’s support of players who are underdogs, who turn adversity into triumph fits right in with Felton’s narrative bouncing around the league, leaving the Knicks and his warm welcome back to New York this year.
Right now the Knicks are holding onto the 3rd spot in the Eastern Conference. They’re constantly striving to prove themselves against criticism of their age, lack of team depth, and of course the injuries. The Knicks will be back at Madison Square Garden to play Orlando on Wednesday. So you can surely expect Felton to lace up a pair of his UA PE to protect their house.