No more paying attention to Bucks, Sixers and Magic games. No more trying to figure out who the first round opponent will be. The playoffs have arrived and the team the Knicks hoped to model when they first signed Amar’e Stoudemire in 2010 is the opponent: The Miami Heat.
Less than 24 hours after clinching a their second consecutive playoff berth, the Knicks are making news. All-Star forward Amar’e Stoudemire returns to the starting lineup tonight after missing the last 13 games to treat a bulging disc in his back. Coach Mike Woodson announced today that Landry Fields would head to the bench, in order to make room for Amare in the starting lineup. Also, news surfaced that the team plans to waive swing man Bill Walker, in order to sign 6’11″ C Dan Gadzuric.
In what turned out to be a scrimmage before their nationally televised matchup with the Miami Heat on Sunday, the Knicks completely destroyed the Washington Wizards Friday night at MSG, 103-65. J.R. Smith led New York with 23 points and six assists off the bench. The Wizards were led by Jordan Crawford’s 17 points.
In a game that for sure left fans at the edge of their seats, biting off their nails, screaming at their TVs and gasping for air, the Knicks pulled out a huge win over the Bucks in Milwaukee, 111-107. Carmelo Anthony continued his hot streak, leading New York with 32 points and 10 rebounds. Monta Ellis had his best game as a Buck, scoring 35 points and filling the stat sheet with 10 assists, six rebounds and four steals.
I’m still on overdrive after the Knicks comeback win over the Chicago Bulls today, Easter Sunday. It was a game full of resurrections (D-Rose and Bulls in third, Carmelo and the Knicks in late fourth and overtime). Here’s a special edition of the Three-Man Weave.
Iman Shumpert: The Knicks rookie guard is making a strong case that he should be in the starting lineup. In his last four games, Shump is averaging 17.8 points, four rebounds and over two steals. His shooting numbers are just as impressive (47% from the floor, 47% from beyond the arc on 12-for-26). Meanwhile, starting SG Landry Fields has endured a stretch of 11 consecutive games in single figure scoring and is shooting just 35% from the floor since Mike Woodson took over as interim coach.
No Amar’e and Lin again, no problem for the Knicks. After a slow start, New York crushed the Orlando Magic 108-86. Despite playing with a groin injury, Carmelo Anthony led New York with 25 points, six assists and five rebounds. Rookie Iman Shumpert also had 25 points (career high) to go along with seven rebounds and four assists. Jameer Nelson led Orlando with 17 points and four assists.
The Knicks defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves, 100-98, in front of the largest crowd to see a game at the Target Center since 2004. They were there to see Jeremy Lin, who had an off night, but still finished with 20 points, eight assists and six rebounds.
The Knicks lost to the Milwaukee Bucks, 100-86, Friday night, at Madison Square Garden, because the defense was, again, not what it needs to be. They allowed the Bucks to shoot 48 percent from the field, which is too high.
The New York Knicks lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder, 104-92, and Carmelo Anthony’s absence, due to his sprained right ankle, was a significant reason that they lost, but it would have also helped if the team played some defense.
That just about sums up the Knicks performance against the Grizzlies last night. The final score says the Knicks lost by 11, 94-83, but it was much worse than that. At one point, the Knicks were down by as many as 25. If you were one of the many who turned this game off during the 3rd quarter, I don’t blame you. It was bad to watch.