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.
While the body of the Knicks’ players were in Indiana, apparently their brains and souls were still vacationing. In a performance lacking of effort, the Knicks were destroyed by the Indiana Pacers 125-91 in both of the teams’ first game since returning from the All-Star break. First time All-Star Paul George led the Pacers with 27 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two blocks. Tyson Chandler led the Knicks with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Carmelo Anthony, the NBA’s second leading scorer, had just 15 points on 7-for-21 shooting.
Round Two in the heavyweight rivalry that is the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets goes the the ‘Bockers. After being down by as much as 17 in the first half, the Knicks clawed their way back and pulled out an improbable 100-97 victory. Carmelo Anthony scored a season and Knicks career high 45 points. Jason Kidd, who hit the game-winning three-pointer, had 18 points, six rebounds and six assists in his first game against his former team as a member of the Knicks. Andray Blatche led Brooklyn with 23 points while Deron Williams had a double double with 18 points and 10 assists.
The Knicks and the Nets concluded their preseasons tonight with a surprisingly entertaining, competitive game in Long Island at the Nassau Coliseum. After a bumpy start, a strong second quarter, followed by competent basketball in the second half and a – dare I say – “gritty” overtime, the Knicks pulled together a final win to hopefully propel them into the regular season.
The Knicks dropped their third consecutive game of the preseason, a 98-90 decision to the Philadelphia 76ers. The game was played at the Syracuse University Carrier Dome, making it a homecoming for Carmelo Anthony. Anthony didn’t disappoint his fans at his former stomping ground, scoring 23 points and filling up the stat sheet (six rebounds, five assists and four steals. Raymond Felton also had a strong game, scoring 23 points while shooting 5-for-7 from three-point land. However, it wasn’t enough for the Knicks, as they fell into an early hole they couldn’t recover from.
The left knee injury that Amar’e Stoudemire has had for the past week, which has been described as a bruised knee, is actually much more than that. It was learned today that Stoudemire actually has a ruptured cyst in his knee, which will keep him out of action for the next two to three weeks. Two weeks would mean Stoudemire misses the Knicks’ first two games of the regular season (Brooklyn Nets and Miami Heat), while three weeks means he would miss the first five games of the regular season, pegging him for a return on November 13th against the Orlando Magic.
The biggest free agent prize has finally made up his mind and dominos are starting to fall all over the NBA free agency landscape. As the new cross-town rival Brooklyn Nets continued their makeover by re-signing their star point guard Deron Williams to a five-year deal worth $100 million, the Knicks continue to wait on the other star point guard in free agency, Steve Nash. However, a clever move by his Canadian suitors may move things along quicker.