Tonight, the Knicks overcame an early deficit and rallied to defeat the winless Wizards 99-96. Melo was the star tonight with 37 including the game winning three with fifteen seconds left on the clock. The Knicks front court made the difference tonight as the Knicks guards, minus Shumpert, were outplayed by Washington.
Here are some notes from the game:
- Shumpert made the difference. I usually do not give a lot of merit to the +/- stat in the NBA. However, tonight the +/- ratio for two particular Knick guards is very telling about how the game went. Starting point guard Toney Douglas played only 12 minutes and was a -12 on the night. Rookie Iman Shumpert played 37 minutes and was a + 20. The Knicks level of play overall was much higher when Shumpert was in the game as opposed to when Douglas was in the game. Douglas could not stay with John Wall but Shumpert pretty much shut Wall down. I thought the offense had nice flow to it when Shumpert was running the point and I thought the defense played more energized as well. Douglas was not good tonight. He was 0-5 and only played 12 minutes. I think right now, Douglas will be better suited off the bench for when Baron Davis comes back.
- Melo was unstoppable. Carmelo Anthony tonight showed why the Knicks gave up everything in New York short of Spike Lee to get him. He had 37 points on 33 shots tonight. That doesn’t sound great but watching the game, Melo dominated whoever the Wizards tried to put on him. Melo had a few of his shots blocked but I didn’t think that was a huge deal. He was fantastic as he drove two spectacular “and-1” fouls. Obviously when you take 33 shots, some blocked shots will occur but overall I thought Melo was excellent tonight.
- Knicks miss Jeffries. Yes I know his limitations offensively but right now this team is missing him. Chandler and Stoudemire had to play big minutes again tonight and I think that is the wrong idea. I agree that the Knicks need to play with each other more in order to fully develop a chemistry but that being said, D’Antoni has to be very careful with his star’s minutes.
- Stoudemire was lost again on offense tonight. His jump shot continues to fail him and he had 5 turnovers tonight. One positive for the Knicks is that Stoudemire was active in attacking the rim tonight. He was 7-7 at the rim tonight and 2-14 on all other shots. Right now, STAT is just in a funk but I was encouraged by seeing his activity down low tonight. He also recorded 12 boards which was huge.
- Chandler seems to be settling in at center. He recorded 12 points and 15 boards tonight. If the Knicks get 12 and 15 from Chandler every night they will win more games then they lose. Chandler wasn’t real active in the pick and roll tonight but he kept a lot of balls alive, got to the free-throw line, and scored some second chance points. This is what the Knicks paid for. Chandler will continue to play like this in my opinion and tonight was a nice night for him.
- There was a Bibby sighting tonight. Bibby dusted off his seemingly lost jump shot and hit some big shots for the Knicks tonight. He was 4-6 overall and 3-3 from beyond the arc. If Bibby can continually hit his 3 pointers, he will be a valuable addition off the bench.
- Unfortunately, Bibby did tweak his back in the game tonight…
- So did Melo… but Melo is expected to play tomorrow versus Detroit.
- I noted before the game that the Knicks needed to play solid transition defense against John Wall tonight and they did anything but that. Washington’s offense was fueled by Wall’s continuous ability to get baskets in transition, especially early in the game. He absolutely ate up Douglas tonight. Shumpert faired far better against Wall in terms of just not letting him get to the hoop so easily. The Knicks were outscored by the Wizards in transition 31-15.
- Bill Walker did have a nice dunk tonight but then offset that by having at least 3 or 4 other really bad plays.
- Steve Novak recorded 0 minutes for the second straight game. I imagine he will get some run tomorrow against Detroit since the Knicks will be playing the second game in a back to back.