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.
The New York Knicks made their way to Denver early Tuesday morning for the first time since the 2010-2011 season. Carmelo Anthony will also make his first return to the Pepsi Center tonight after forcing his way to New York in a trade two years ago. Along with Melo, there will be a plethora of ex-Knicks and Nuggets going at it. As Jonah Kaner quoted earlier, tonight is a faceoff of “the New York Nuggets vs. the Denver Knicks.” Here are five things to look for tonight when the Knicks and Nuggets face off at 10:30pm.
This should be pretty interesting to watch play out. Anthony’s knee was obviously bothering him Monday night against the Warriors, and still trotted out for 33 minutes of play. Shooting only 26% from the field was really the barometer for Melo’s decision to play instead of rest. It was reiterated after the Knicks’ loss, that Melo wanted to play in Denver. Woodson will definitely need to be aware of Anthony’s minutes, along with his effort and making sure he is not risking further injury.
2: Does Chris Copeland regain a spot in Woodson’s rotation?
The Knicks looked completely gassed against Golden State, and did not have the ideal start to their five game west-coast swing. Scoring only 63 points, probably the brightest spot throughout the whole game for the Knicks was Copeland’s resurgence off the bench long after the game was settled. Though, it was fun seeing Copeland’s sweet stroke, scoring 15 points in 18 minutes. Woodson said after the loss he will see to getting Cope more minutes on this trip, which fans have been vying for watching the team struggle to score at times. It can’t hurt the Knicks current state; both the starting five and bench could use a boost. Copeland’s defense is manageable providing he is putting the ball in the basket, just like Steve Novak.
3: Can the Knicks produce points early?
Heading into the half against Golden State the Knicks trailed by 15, being outscored by 12 points in the second quarter. First half play has been suspect for the Knicks’ all year, especially their starting lineup. James White and Kurt Thomas being inserted into the starting five for the first four minutes of games has proved to be uneventful, and spotty. Besides James White hitting an occasional three, and usually a few fouls, the Knicks rely heavily on Anthony early for points when the rest of the first unit is not in unison. Filling up the scoreboard will be crucial against a tough, fast-paced Nuggets team who is looking for their 10th straight against their former superstar Carmelo Anthony.
4: JR Smith, Kenyon Martin, Marcus Camby, and Raymond Felton.
Besides the prime focus being on Carmelo Anthony, four other Knicks will be making returns to Denver after stints with the ball club. The one that interests me the most will be JR Smith. After deciding not to sign back with Denver post-lockout, JR signed in New York and left Denver hanging. Although there was not a beat missed losing their sixth man, Smith also had some soreness in his knee after winning against Utah. Along with Anthony, he claimed there was “no way” he would be missing his return to Denver. Big night tonight for Smith? Raymond Felton is another player who brings an interesting past to the table tonight. After being traded away from New York (where he preferred playing) in the Anthony blockbuster, Felton has a chance to show the Denver fans why he was upset with being shipped off from the Knicks two years ago which led to Felton falling out of shape and a sub par performance in Portland before returning to New York. For the rest of the returning Knicks, I’m hoping for another Kenyon Martin sighting, and the amount of energy he brings to the team.
5: Denver looks to make it 10 straight against New York
The Denver Nuggets boast the best home record in the NBA, at 28-3. The arena gets loud, and Denver easily gains momentum with their acrobatic, athletic squad. The Knicks need to make a splash early, and get off to a good start. Falling behind early will not make the game, or the rest of the road trip any easier. With one chance at snapping an opponents win streak (Miami) don’t look for the Knicks to be just a number again. I think the Knicks will be focused in tonight, on national television.
I, for one, love staying up to watch the Knicks’ west coast swings here on the east coast. Tonight is sure to be an interesting game throughout. More important than the game, though, is Anthony’s health in the long run. Will he be able to pull himself out if he knows he’s hurting? I at least hope Woodson does.
In an ugly, ugly game, J.R. Smith was ejected midway through the third for this foul on Harrison Barnes. It was originally called as a flagrant one, but overturned to a flagrant two upon further inspection.
Quite honestly, I’m not even sure that’s a flagrant ONE. Adding insult to injury on this gloomy night, Joey Crawford.
I’m really excited to announced that, in collaboration with Bobby Bernethy, I’m releasing a new t-shirt titled, “You Trying To Get The Pipe?”
Since the Knicks signed him last February, the team and its fans have had so many reasons to be thankful for erratic swingman J.R. Smith. His Sunday afternoon debut against Dallas was a memorable one, in which he nailed a few key shots from downtown. He’s had buzzer-beaters against Phoenix and Charlotte this season and the Lakewood, NJ product has grown on the Garden faithful more and more with each passing game.
Perhaps what Knicks fans can be most thankful for, though, when it comes to Smith, is his unpredictability when it comes to his Twitter handle. Most recently, a screenshot went viral of his direct-message encounter with a female before the Knicks’ January game in Philadelphia, in which Smith asked his counterpart if she was “trying to get the pipe.”
Now, all sensible Knicks fans have to ask themselves… Is J.R. the most famous pipe-layer of all time? Let’s take a look at the tale of the tape, and you can decide for yourself.
Thanks to the folks over at Deadspin, we have this conversation between J.R. Smith and a female that attended one of the Knicks’ games.
The screen-grab speaks for itself. Never change, J.R..
UPDATE: J.R. Smith has taken to Twitter and Instagram with two amazing images. Take a look.
In the words of J.R. Smith himself, “That
Following the announcement of the All-Star reserves last week, Knicks fans reacted in one of two ways (if not both) – 1. Good for Tyson, it’s about time he got in… what an absolute joke that he is not a starter. 2. “How in the hell is JR Smith not on this list”.
When news broke that Rajon Rondo would miss the all star game with a torn ACL, many JR fans held their breath, hoping a late substitution would bring #Tape8 to Houston. But alas, the self-proclaimed Basketball God, one David Tyrannical Stern, bestowed the honor upon Brooklyn Nets Center, Brook Lopez.
As they so often do, Knicks fans took their outrage to twitter: (For example) -
One month, two game winners, two salsa dances. After which game-winner did JR Smith do a better job salsa dancing?
Game-winner at Bobcats:
Game-winner at Suns: