In the Knicks first matchup with Denver since the Carmelo Anthony trade, a hard-fought game ended in a 119-114 Denver victory. Ex-Knicks Danilo Gallinari and Al Harrington were the difference in the game. Carmelo Anthony came alive in the 4th quarter and overtime and finished with 25 points.
Here are some notes from the game:
- Despite his 25 points, Carmelo Anthony was off tonight. He finished 10/30 including a porous 1/7 from beyond the arc. The Knicks moved the ball well in the first half and that consequently came without Melo in the game. I will not say that Melo is a ball hog but it is very apparent that the Knicks system dramatically differs with Melo in the game. When he was in the game, the ball movement did stop. The garden crowd got on Melo, and deservingly so, for not passing the ball. Usually I defend Melo’s shot selection but tonight I did feel like he was forcing shots and forcing unnecessary shots. As for his three point shooting, he needs to cut that down to about 4 per game instead of 7 or 8 shots. He is not a 3 point shooter and clearly is a better scorer when he drives to the hoop. His missed 3’s are killing possessions right now and the Knicks cannot have that.
- Amar’e Stoudemire was a total non-factor tonight. Stoudemire took 9 shots tonight. In a game that went double overtime, Stoudemire took 1 shot in the 4th quarter and both overtimes. That shot was taken with 10 seconds left in the double overtime. The offense became “iso-melo” in the overtimes and that cannot happen. Stoudemire is a max contract “star”. He cannot be excluded from the offense, especially when the Knicks need buckets. It seems that the Knicks seem to panic and lose their offensive system late in these close games and that can’t happen. While moving the ball frequently, the Knicks controlled the first half. While playing stagnant isolation-orriented offense, the Knicks lost control of the game in the second half and ultimately lose the game. Stoudemire has to shoot more than 9 times a game, especially when he has less shot attempts than Fields, Shumpert and Douglas.
- Landry Fields is re-gaining his confidence. Tonight, Fields had 18 points on 8/14 shooting. He did have 3 turnovers and a late charging foul but for the 3rd straight game, he looks more confident and has been more productive. While the offense is struggling, Fields seems to be prospering as of late and is helping to keep the Knicks in these games. Even when the Knicks get production from Stoudemire, they’ll need their non-max contract role players to contribute and Fields has been doing his job as of late.
- Douglas and Shumpert were also good tonight. Toney Douglas, 4/10 11 points, and Iman Shumpert, 7/16 18 points, were both pretty good tonight. Obviously neither of them is a true point guard, hence the problems the Knicks have had offensively this year, but they moved the ball well tonight. The Knicks got off to a very good start in this game moving the ball and then got away from it in the second. If the Knicks can start carrying over the ball movement to the second half every game, the offense will be a lot better. I think the two young guards showed a lot of good signs in terms of running the offense well tonight.
- Walker played a good game. Billy Walker was red-hot, no I am not joking, when he came off the bench in the 2nd quarter. He did play poorly in the 3rd quarter and was benched for the rest of the game. I do think he should have gotten a bit of run early in the 4th just to rest Shumpert or Fields but I have no problem with him sitting. Knick fans were calling out D’Antoni for not playing him, because Knick fans love to call D’Antoni out on anything, and I think that is wrong. Fields, Douglas and Shumpert all played very well tonight. Jeffries played well and Harrellson played well. I feel more comfortable with all those guys playing in a close game than Walker playing in a close game. I will say though, if Walker can continue to play like this then he will deserve to play more on this team but right now he seems to be in D’Antoni’s dog house. Maybe D’Antoni reads this blog…
- Jared Jeffries and Josh Harrellson continue to show prowess on the defensive end of the court. Jeffries drew another charge tonight and recorded 3 blocks. Harrellson’s defense was great all night and he recorded 6 boards. Ultimately as the bench changes in the coming years Harrellson will replace Jeffries but right now the duo gives the Knicks a very good defensive front court coming off the bench. They do not contribute as much offensively as you would like to see but right now both men are showing a lot of heart defensively.
- The two man game between Stoudemire and Anthony is nonexistent.
- Chandler only scored 8 points tonight. The Knicks need to get back to getting Chandler a couple dunks per game on back-screens. They seem to have gone away from that.
- Andre Miller is exactly what the Knicks do not have. I thought he was very impressive tonight.
- Don’t you wish the Knicks had Mozgov? Moz had 16 points 7 rebounds tonight and dominated in the early going. We all know his potential as tonight he showcased his athleticism getting up and down the court. I really think he could have been a great piece on this Knick team as his offensive game was good tonight. The Knicks would have two 7 footers down low and would have a bit more presence in the paint than they currently do.
- I hated to see Gallo kill the Knicks. I was a proponent of the Melo trade although I was unhappy with how much the Knicks ultimately gave up. I knew Gallo had to go but that did not mean I was happy about it. I think he has the potential to be an all-star caliber player. He is a very proficient driver and has the ability to stroke from outside the arc. He killed the Knicks tonight with 37 points and 11 boards which was very sad to see.
- Iman Shumpert left the game in overtime. The Knick point guard cramped in both his hamstring and his back.