It was not the prettiest game, in some aspects, hardly anything to be proud of, but the Knicks improve to 7-1 with an 88-76 win over the Indiana Pacers this afternoon. The matinee effect – slow starts, sloppy basketball – carried over through the whole game as neither team could ever really find their offense. For the Knicks, some sound defense combined with the Pacers’ abysmal performance shooting the ball was enough to get them back to their winning ways.
For a moment there it looked like it was all going to blow up. Down 9 points with 7:14 left in the fourth quarter, the Spurs ran a perfect pick-and-roll for the 300th time in a row. Tony Parker whipped a one-armed bullet pass into a rolling Tiago Splitter, who laid it in and got hammered by Tyson Chandler after the fact. And-one. Time-out, Knicks. The game resumed, Splitter hit his free throw, and the Spurs went up by 12 points, with seven minutes remaining in the game.
Through three games, the Knicks have yet to struggle, and yet to meet an opponent to give them a real challenge. Yes, it’s only been three games – a sample size so small that it hardly has any real bearing on the season, or how good or bad a team will be. Yet, through 12 quarters this season, the Knicks look like a well-oiled machine, finely tuned on both sides of the floor to just slowly, efficiently unhinge their opponents.
We’ve seen Knicks teams of the past jump out to huge leads before. We’ve seen them play with gusto and make crisp passes and nail open threes. Usually, though, they begin to let up and the opponent manages to make a run and make it close, or even end up winning.
The official announcement came two days ago – after a premature national television goof – that the Knicks-Nets season-opener would be postponed, due to the lingering effects of Hurricane Sandy. The announcement only further prolonged anxious fans’ wait to see the Knicks officially kick off their season. In the meantime, there’s a lot to think about: injuries, rotations, lineup adjustments, etc. Since we now have to sit anxiously for the next for hours to see the Knicks take the court – a home-opener vs. the Heat – what better time to run through how excited/how terrified we should be for the Knicks?
Regarded as one of the NBA’s most prolific offensive talents, Carmelo Anthony has had no problems scoring in his career. After spending just one season at the University of Syracuse (in which he led the school to its only NCAA Tournament championship), Anthony was selected third in the 2003 NBA Draft by the Denver Nuggets. A five time NBA All-Star, Anthony has never averaged less than 20.8 points in any of his nine seasons. In his seven full seasons as a Denver Nugget, he led the team to the playoffs each year, including a run to the Western Conference Finals in 2009. In that 2009 season, he set an NBA record for points scored in a single quarter when he went off for 33 points in the third quarter in a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Traded to New York midway thru the 2010-11 season, he has been a part of the first two Knicks playoff teams since the 2004 season. Anthony is also a three-time Olympian, winning a bronze medal in 2004 and gold in both 2008 and 2012.
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.
Simply put, Jason Kidd is one of the greatest floor generals the NBA has ever seen. Along with Grant Hill, he was the co-NBA Rookie of the Year in 1995, after averaging 11.7 points, 7.7 assists and 5.4 rebounds, while leading the league in triple doubles for the Dallas Mavericks. In 1996, he made the first of his 10 All-Star Game appearances. After being traded to the Phoenix Suns during the 1996-97 season, he led the franchise to five consecutive playoff appearances. As a Sun, he led the NBA in assists three straight seasons (1999-2001). After the 2001 season, he was traded to the New Jersey Nets, where he would make his biggest mark. In his first season in New Jersey, he finished second in the MVP voting while leading the Nets to their first of back-to-back NBA Finals appearances. The following season, Kidd had his highest scoring season, averaging 18.7 points while again leading the league in assists. In 2004, Kidd again led the league in assists while leading the Nets to the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. After that season, Kidd underwent microfracture surgery, sidelining him until December. Despite missing time, Kidd still led the Nets to a playoff spot in 2005. With a fully healthy Kidd the next season, the Nets rebounded to gain the third spot in the Eastern Conference. In his final full season with the Nets in 2007, Kidd again led New Jersey to the Eastern Semi-Finals. During the 2008 season, Kidd would be traded to the team he got his start with. After playoff failures in the next three seasons with Dallas, Kidd finally got his elusive championship ring in 2011. In his career, Kidd has totaled over 100 triple doubles and is second all-time in assists and steals and third all-time in three-point field goals made. He has also won two Olympic Gold Medals as a member of Team USA, as his teams had a perfect record of 56-0 in international competition.
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.
Now, while I’m all for Swizz Beats (I am. He’s great. I’m not mad ’cause he, ’cause he’s hood rich), I feel like there are too many other suitable songs for this team to be introduced to. When The Garden’s PA guy is elongating ‘Melo’s name (Caaarmeeelooo Aaanthonayyy) or screaming STAT’s (Amar’e STOUDEMIRE), I don’t really want to hear an original production in the background.
If you’re a Knicks fan — a real Knicks fan — you don’t have many possible choices as to what your favorite team-related moment from the past ten years could be, and, in fact, one of them isn’t even directly related to the ‘Bockers.
As training camp begins and the season is right around the corner, many of the weathered Knicks fans have begun to come out of the woodwork. As a fan myself, I have no doubt let my feelings show to the world (or for all my Facebook friends), in order to keep my sanity during the dark ages of this organization’s fandom.