Tonight, the Knicks ground out a defensive 85-79 victory over a hot Philadelphia team. Melo and Amar’e lead the way with 27 and 20 respectively. The defense held a hot Philadelphia team to 39% shooting and forced 14 turnovers. Iman Shumpert is now 4-0 as the Knicks starting point guard.
Here are some notes from the game:
- De-fense! De-fense! De-fense! Now, I will not say the Knicks were great on defense tonight. The Sixers were playing their 3rd game in 3 nights. I get it. That being said, this game was the ugly, defensive type of win the Knicks will need to pull off in the playoffs. They will never be a great defensive team but they were very good tonight. I think the Knicks have the ability to defend well night in and night out but it all comes down to effort. Last week against Charlotte, you saw no effort. Tonight, you saw a great effort. I think this defense is vastly improving. Tonight they did have a few lapses and were bailed out by missed Philly shots, but overall I loved the defensive effort we gave.
- Stoudemire looks to be playing slower, less explosive. Stoudemire did have a very good, efficient game tonight. He was 8/14 with 20 points but he seems to have lost some explosiveness. It may have to do with all the added weight he put on over the summer bulking up but he doesn’t seem to have that explosiveness that he had last year. We haven’t seen many explosive dunks with him this year and he just looks slower moving with the ball. I love that he added weight to help his defense and he still is a dominant offensive player but right now he just looks to be moving in slow motion sometimes.
- Shump makes a difference. Rookie Iman Shumpert is 4-0 since supplanting the troubled Toney Douglas as the starting point guard. Even though he didn’t shoot that well (5/15) tonight, I thought Shumpert was impressive. You can just tell the difference when he plays as opposed to when Douglas plays. Even when he doesn’t shoot well, he moves the ball, he brings energy and he plays damn good defense. Tonight, he delivered the highlight play of the night when he got a steal and then zipped the pass through the lane to Amar’e for a layup. Shumpert continues to shine and more importantly he continues to help this team win games.
- Toney… Poor Toney Douglas. He was never a point guard, he was thrust into the starting job by circumstance. He was in way over his head, he’s been eaten alive by the fans and media and he got booed at the garden. Toney is a simple guy. He’s not real bright but he’s a really nice dude. I feel bad for him but at the same time he cannot be playing like this. He was a +16 tonight, I have no idea how, but he had some porous passes and continued to hurt the flow of the offense. Again, I am a fan of Toney and I think eventually he will come out of this funk but right now he is an absolute detriment to the team. When you are 1 of 3 players coming off the bench you have to produce. Jorts produced, even Billy dumbass hit a big 3 and got some boards. The Knicks need more production from Douglas.
- Jorts was very good again tonight. I love Jorts. I wish he had a post game on offense but apart from that, I love Jorts. He hit some big 3 pointers tonight and gave some good effort again. If we can get consistent offense from him, I think he and Jeffries will be a pretty serviceable front court bench.
- D’Antoni still doesn’t trust the bench. Once again, as has been all year, D’Antoni used a short bench tonight. I do believe that this team needs to continue to play together and gel but they also need to stay healthy. The starters all played 35+ minutes tonight. This is a trend that cannot continue or there will be injures that this thin team cannot afford.
- Fields is improving. Despite his lost jump shot, I think Landry Fields is improving. His defense continues to be excellent and I think he looks a lot more comfortable in the offense and moving the ball. Fields has a role on this team as a glue guy and him being on the court with Shumpert and Chandler gives the Knicks a very strong defensive lineup. I ultimately believe Fields’ jump shot will return at some point, although he seems to have lost all arc on it. If Fields can regain his jump shot, those 2-3 baskets a game he could add could pay huge dividends down the stretch as this Knick team continues to improve on defense.