Last night at Madison Square Garden, the Knicks avenged their loss last week by beating the Charlotte Bobcats 91-87. The Knicks did some good things tonight but overall this was not a championship type effort. Despite outplaying Charlotte, the Knicks could not finish them off and let them linger the entire game. Eventually, it took a miss on a wide open 3 to seal a Bobcats defeat. Melo and Amar’e combined for 47 points but shot only 13-43 collectively from the field. Tyson Chandler and Iman Shumpert were fantastic tonight. Chandler finished with 20 points, 13 boards and 3 blocks. Shumpert had 16 points brought some great energy on both sides of the ball.
Here are some notes from the game:
- The Knicks bench scored 3 points tonight. 3 points. Douglas had a basket and Jorts had a free throw. That was it. If this Knicks team wants to compete for a championship, they will need to get more from the bench. Douglas is killing the Knicks right now because he is so out of whack that he cannot even shoot anymore. Jorts is going to be inconsistent on offense because he is more of a defender/rebounder. Walker is Walker. Novak can only shoot 3’s and Jerome Jordan isn’t rotation ready yet. The Knicks desperately need Jared Jeffries and Baron Davis to return to the lineup because right now the depth on this team is nonexistent.
- Due to the lack of depth, Coach D’Antoni was forced to play the starters all more than 35 minutes last night. With injury-prone stars like Tyson Chandler and Amar’e Stoudemire, playing those kind of minutes is dangerous. I understand that in this shortened season wins are very valuable but at the same time, D’Antoni has to keep the big picture in mind. Do you really need to play Amar’e 39 minutes against Charlotte? Why not put in Jerome Jordan for 3 minutes here, Jorts for another 2 minutes there? This team will be in the playoffs. It will be what they do in the playoffs that defines the 2011 Knicks. In order for them to make a run, the Knicks need all their stars healthy and fresh to go when playoff time rolls around.
- Speaking of Tyson Chandler, he was fantastic last night. Chandler has actually played very well the last 5 games, recording 3 double-double’s and scoring over 20 points twice. The Knicks finally got him the ball on cuts and alley oops to the basket. If the Knicks want those shots, they are there all day with Chandler especially when Amar’e and Melo are on the court.
- Amar’e Stoudemire is showing signs of improvement. Yes I know he was only 10/25 from the field. Yes I know, according to Hoopdata, he was 3-12 at the rim. I know he wasn’t great on defense (again). I will say this though. At least he got to the rim 12 times. He only took 5 shots from 16 feet and longer. Stoudemire is starting to realize that his best offensive trait is his ability to get inside. The midrange is important yes, but Stoudemire is starting to realize his constant driving of the ball opens up the midrange. He took 3 midrange shots and hit 2 of them. If he can continue to drive to the paint, his mid-range will come. Stoudemire still isn’t playing to where he needs to be but he’s improving.
- I think Carmelo Anthony is more banged up then he leads people to believe. The last two games, he hasn’t dominated. He hasn’t been bad and he did step up in the clutch against Charlotte but I think his back is really bothering him. Against Philly, he will be guarded by Andre Iguodala who is a pretty good defender. If Melo isn’t 100% then he may be in for a long night.