The toast of the Knicks town for the past few weeks has been the speculation surrounding the return of Amar’e Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert. With their coming back to the lineup, the Knicks automatically become the deepest team in the league, boasting a roster of six backcourt and eight frontcourt players. As I watched the Knicks’ pre-game show on the first day of 2013, reporters were swamping STAT, all asking variants of the same question: Will you be starting?
Raymond Felton’s succession of Jeremy Lin was well-documented coming into the season. Lin, a young point guard, a fan and media favorite, was replaced by Felton, an older point guard coming off the worst season of his career with limited potential upside for the future. Felton immediately proclaimed that he was going to come in with a “chip on his shoulder” and shut his critics up by having a great season. Early on, he was doing so.
On the night of three marquee returns to Madison Square Garden – Mike D’Antoni, Chris Duhon, and Jordan Hill – the Knicks nearly gave away a once-blowout game to the slumping Los Angeles Lakers. The Knicks kicked off the evening with Carmelo Anthony in the kitchen, cookin’ with fire. What began as a shootout, with Anthony hitting everything he put up, and Kobe Bryant responding with his own offensive spectacle, turned to a blowout. The Knicks posted 41 first quarter points, and 68 for the half, to the Lakers’ 49 in the first half.
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.
Kicking off a three-game road trip, the Knicks began it on a winning note, winning a wild game against the Charlotte Bobcats by a score of 100-98 last night. Tyson Chandler led the Knicks with a monster 18 point, 17 rebound performance while Carmelo Anthony led the scoring attack with 23 points. Despite a tough shooting game from J.R. Smith, he finished with 13 points and the game-winning jumper as time expired. Second year guard and Bronx native Kemba Walker led the Bobcats with 25 points and 11 assists.
An afternoon game that began with some wonderful basketball nearly turned sour before the Knicks were able to salvage a win over the Phoenix Suns. Thrice the Knicks built big leads and tip-toed on the edge of turning it into a blowout, only to have the Suns fight back into it behind some nice execution of their own and some lapses in effort from the Knicks. Behind some individual heroics of Raymond Felton and the strong performances of Tyson Chandler and Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks clung to the big leads they’d built in the quarters prior. It was close in the end, but the Knicks were able to pull out the victory to remain undefeated at home and kick off December the right way.
This had the potential to be a trap game – the Knicks, coming off an impressive win in Milwaukee, the Washington Wizards coming off their first win of the season. It would’ve been all too easy for the Knicks to cruise into and through this game, only to meet some hungry Wizards, clinging to their slowly dissolving pride, and find themelves engaged in a serious basketball battle (basketbattle). Luckily, the Knicks avoid such a typical letdown and effectively crushed their struggling opponent by 21 points.
The Knicks ended their three-game road losing streak in resounding fashion tonight, running the Milwaukee Bucks off their own floor by a score of 102-88. Carmelo Anthony led five Knicks in double figure scoring with 29 points, along with eight rebounds. Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton chipped in with 17 and 12 points respectively. Steve Novak, playing back home and in front of his family, scored 19 points off the bench, knocking down 5-of-7 three-pointers while Pablo Prigioni had his best NBA game, scoring 11 points and dishing out seven assists. Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings combined for 35 points for the Bucks, but only five of those came in the second half.
Losers of three of their last four games (including the Battle for New York City to the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night), the Knicks (9-4, tied for 1st in Atlantic Division) end their quick two game road trip tonight against the Milwaukee Bucks (7-5, 1st in Central Division). The Knicks will again be without Jason Kidd, who missed Monday night’s game with back spasms. The team has him listed as day-to day. Ronnie Brewer, who dislocated his left ring finger in the loss to the Nets, will be available for the Knicks. There has been no word on who will replace Kidd in the starting lineup. Coach Mike Woodson could use his big lineup of Raymond Felton-Brewer-Carmelo Anthony-Kurt Thomas-Tyson Chandler or just replace Kidd at shooting guard with one of either J.R. Smith, Steve Novak or James White.
After back-to-back tough losses on the road, the Knicks were in need of a win. What better than having the 3-10 Detroit Pistons up next on your schedule? The Knicks defeated the Pistons in today’s matinee game at Madison Square Garden by a score of 121-100. The Knicks scoring was led by Carmelo Anthony’s 29 points. The Knicks got double-doubles from Raymond Felton (14 points, 10 assists) and J.R. Smith (15 points, 10 rebounds). The Garden crowd was also treated to the return of Steve Novak’s “Discount Double Check” celebration as he poured in 18 points, going 5-for-7 from beyond the arc. The Pistons were led by Brandon Knight’s 21 point, five assist performance.
Hopefully the Knicks had a great Thanksgiving dinner, because they’re Thanksgiving Eve and Black Friday were absolutely horrendous. Following their late game loss to the Dallas Mavericks Wednesday night, the Knicks put up a pitiful performance tonight against the Houston Rockets, losing by a score of 131-103. The Rockets were led by the duo of James Harden (33 points) and Chandler Parsons (31 points). The two combined to shoot 20-for-32 from the field (7-of-12 from beyond the arc) and 17-of-18 from the free throw line, with Harden alone shooting a perfect 16-for-16 from the charity stripe. The Knicks were led by the hot hand of Carmelo Anthony, who finished with 37 points on 14-for-24 shooting (7-for-12 from beyond the arc).