Shumpert, Balkman Shine as Knicks Beat New Jersey 92-83

It was an interesting pre-season start for the Knicks as they beat the Nets at the Prudential Center 92-83. Of all players, Renaldo Balkman led the team in scoring with a game high 20 points. Melo added 17 and rookie Iman Shumpert had 16. Shumpert and Balkman had twitter buzzing as they both impressed with their energy and effort. Balkman obviously needs to have 10 more games like this before today’s performance can be taken seriously moving forward but Shumpert raised a lot of eyes today. The already maligned Toney Douglas again struggled to run the point today. He did nothing to silence his critics, including myself, that see Douglas more as a shooting guard then a starting point guard.

Other points from the game:

  • Melo, Amar’e and Douglas all looked to be healthy today. All three players showed signs of rust but none of it looked health related.
  • Jared Jeffries was actually impressive today. I do like what Jeffries brings to this team and today he showed why. He took 3 charges and initiated a couple traps on defense. For a vet minimum, he is a nice fit on this team. He can guard all 5 positions on defense and can make game changing plays, like charges, on defense.
  • Josh “Jorts” Harrellson, already a fan favorite, did a lot today to justify his fanfare. He stroked a three early and played hard defense throughout the game. I originally liked him when we drafted him and he did not disappoint today.
  • Landry Fields struggled mightily on the offensive end of the floor. He looked to me that he was pressing today. It is way to early to give up on him or relegate him to the bench because he still brings solid defense and athleticism to the floor. I liked the way he was aggressive today and I ultimately think he will be okay.
  • Overall, I thought the ball movement on offense and defensive energy today were fantastic. Last year the problem with the offense was how stagnant it became after the trade. I thought the ball moved nicely throughout the game. Melo, Douglas and Stoudemire all delivered some nice passes today. I think with more time under D’Antoni, this offense will start churning out 100 point performances regularly. Defensively the energy was great today. There were times when the defense struggled and the Nets shot 48% from the floor but the energy was good. The Knicks won the turnover battle 25-14 which is a testament to how energetic they were on both ends.

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