Tonight could qualify as one of those “ugly, grind-it-out” wins that are so often referred to when a basketball team squeezes out a victory by the skins of their collective teeth. Said games, however, are usually given such a description when both teams struggle to score the ball, and actually have to play ugly, hustling, desperate basketball in order to get the win. The Knicks and Hawks had to battle each other quite a bit tonight, but instead it consisted of two decent offenses going back and forth while the respective defenses played half-heartedly, with lackluster execution on both ends polluting the quality of play.
Mike Woodson and Larry Drew, the Hawks’ head coach, would probably both like their chances of getting a win if they knew their teams would shoot over 50% from the field and over 40% from three-point range. Instead, the outcome of the game hung in balance until the final buzzer. The Knicks used a heroic offensive performance from Carmelo Anthony, with some great bench production from J.R. Smith and Amar’e Stoudemire to make up for the fact that their defense begged the Hawks to take the game. A last-minute three-point play and a final stop (even with some poor defense) ended up tilting the game in the Knicks’ favor as they escaped with a win to move to 27-15.
This one was over before both team’s starters could even break a sweat. The Philadelphia 76ers embarrassed the Knicks last night, routing them by a score of 97-80. Sixers first time All-Star Jrue Holiday led Philly with a career high 35 points while dishing out six assists and grabbing five rebounds. Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 25 points but shot just 9-for-28 from the field.
I present to you J.R. Smith’s top three dunks this year.
$2.8 million. That’s all the New York Knicks are paying to J.R. Smith this season.
With the way he’s playing, though, Smith is going to demand a hefty contract this off-season, but the Knicks are a little handcuffed with their finances. They will not have any cap room, so it’s not like they can walk out and give him, say, a max-deal, but thanks to holding Smith’s early bird-rights, they will have some leeway.
Breathe, breathe, breathe…. Okay. Excuse my blood pressure, still soaring to Everest-like peaks after that one. On a night when the Boston Celtics would be without their best player, Rajon Rondo – serving a one-game suspension for bumping a referee – all of the Knicks-Celtics rivalry talk seemed a little forced. After all, despite numerous close games in the past, the Knicks have never been on the Celtics’ level in previous years, and when the Knicks are finally an elite team this season, the Celtics have been struggling. However, the difference in the standings had no effect on the intensity of this one. An up-and-down, back-and-forth affair led to a battle of offense and defense, while both teams got heated, scratching at each other’s throats. Ultimately, it was the poise of the Celtics, the cold shooting of Carmelo Anthony, and a few daggers delivered by Paul Pierce that gave the Celtics the win.
After a slow start, the Knicks fought back to beat the Orlando Magic tonight at the Amway Center by a score of 114-106. Carmelo Anthony led all scorer’s with 40 points while adding in six rebounds and six assists. Jameer Nelson and Aaron Afflalo both scored 29 points to lead the Magic. The Knicks got a double-double from Tyson Chandler (14 points, 12 rebounds), 18 points from J.R. Smith off the bench and an all-around game from Jason Kidd (15 points, eight rebounds, 7 assists). Nikola Vucevic lead all players with 18 rebounds for Orlando.
The Knicks reclaimed J.R. Smith this past summer for practically nothing. Smith came over to the Knicks as a free agent in 2012, departing a short stint in China during the lockout, had a relatively down season for his standards, and then became a free agent. It was assumed Smith would flee the Knicks during free agency as the Knicks had little money to re-sign him. However, something about the Knicks – New York’s proximity to his home state of New Jersey, the teammates he’d grown close with, the nightlife… – brought Smith back for the 2012-13 season at only $2.8 million, with few other suitors around the league.
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.
The Knicks were handed their first home loss of the season from a Rockets team no one expected to snap New York’s dominance on their home court. Fittingly, one of the leaders of that Houston team was a guy who defied odds and led an underdog team back to relevance just months ago: Jeremy Lin. The Rockets and Lin, making his first return to Madison Square Garden, ran the Knicks ragged tonight, exposing an offense missing its primary weapons and a slow-footed defense, unable to contain the Rockets’ speedy ways, rim-darting guards, and three-point attacks. The Knicks lost their first game of the season in New York, falling to 18-6 on the season, thankful they’re done with the Houston Rockets this season.
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.