Anyone still think we should have kept Chauncey Billups?
Right now, center Tyson Chandler is the Knicks best and most passionate player. Tonight, his total domination of 7’2 all-star Roy Hibbert set the tone for the Knicks runaway 115-100 victory over the 5th seeded Pacers. The Knick center held the Indiana center to 2/10 shooting and 3 rebounds in 24 minutes. Chandler was spectacular on both ends of the floor; 16 points, 7 boards, 4 blocks. He outplayed and outclassed Hibbert.
Like sneezing, or pouting (cough, cough), playing defense is contagious. One man makes a great defensive play, then the next guy does it and so fourth. Tyson Chandler’s passion on the defensive end of the floor was contagious throughout the entire team tonight. Indiana’s offense was stalled from the get-go and never got going until garbage time. Through three quarters, Indiana scored only 58 points and had two quarters in which they scored less than 20. The ‘Bockers held the
haystacks Pacers to just 39% shooting on the night. New York shot 50%. It was a dominating performance on both ends for the Knicks.
Here are my notes from the game:
- Tyson Chandler is a beast! I can’t write enough about him in this game. He was so impressive tonight. He’s been fantastic, on both ends, all season, but I believe tonight was his finest performance. Roy Hibbert made the Eastern Conference all-star team over Chandler, which I thought was wrong. Chandler was pissed about it and took care of business. More importantly than dominating Hibbert, Chandler’s dominance defensively sparked the team. The first half may have been New York’s best defensive half of the season. They were blocking shots, boxing out, and scrapping for rebounds and loose balls. Even Amar’e Stoudemire played great defense tonight. It was a completely dominant defensive game tonight for the Knicks, and I attribute a lot of that to Chandler.
- JR Smith seems to be regaining confidence. This is absolutely crucial for the Knicks moving forward. When Smith is on fire he gives the Knicks a dimension that not many other teams have. On any given night, Smith can go for 3, as we’ve seen a lot of, or he can go for 30. The past two games, Smith seems to have regained some of his shooting stroke. Over the past two games, Smith has gone 9/20 from beyond the arc. He was brought in to make 3’s and make 3’s he must. In games where Smith has hit 2 or more threes, the Knicks record is 3-2. In games where Smith has hit less than 2, the Knicks are 2-6. If Smith can find a consistent outside game for the rest of the season, the Knicks are going to be in pretty good shape.
- Novakane is a hell of a drug. What more is there to be said about Novak? He has been nothing short of phenomenal this season. He is shooting an astounding 48.8% from beyond the arc. Against Indiana, he was 4/8 from downtown and helped the Knicks pull away in the 2nd half. The amazing thing about Novak is that he sparks both the crowd and the team with his threes. Behind Lin, Novak is probably the second biggest fan favorite on the team. He really is a joy to watch and I can’t get enough of those championship belts!
- Baron Davis tweaked his hamstring. He is out for tomorrow night. He is considered day to day. Mike Bibby’s corpse should see more playing time.
- Carmelo was unselfish tonight. Ironically, Anthony has 12 assists in the past two games. He shot the ball very poorly tonight, but made up for it with rebounding, defense and passing the ball. It was a good sign to see him play a more complete game, something he rarely did under D’Antoni. He did his little cherry picking outlet thing tonight a few times, which was nice. As you can tell, I’m still a bitter over Anthony’s prior antics. I just can’t get over how childish and unprofessional he acted. I’m not praising D’Antoni as some legendary coach, cause he’s not. I thought he could have done some things better, but he did not deserve to be treated like that. Carmelo has been a problem for prior coaches and he was a problem for D’Antoni. I understand not everyone shares my sentiment, but it is going to take some time for me to get over what Carmelo did. Again, I understand that D’Antoni probably wasn’t the ideal coach for this team, but I am not okay with how things went down over the past two weeks. Most of that has to do with Melo.
- Speaking of coaches, I like what Woodson is doing. The D’Antoni offense is still being run, but I like some of the tweaks that coach Mike Woodson has added. There are more post ups to Melo, the offense ran through Chandler and Stoudemire a good deal tonight and the Knicks set solid screens. One inbound play in particular, where Lin curled out of a screen to hit a baseline shoot, was excellently designed by Woodson and executed by Lin. The best thing Woodson did tonight was lecture JR Smith at the end of the game. The Knicks threw an alley oop with like 30 seconds left. By then, the game was far out of reach. It was poor sportsmanship on Smith’s part, therefore making the team look bad. Woodson pulled Smith from the game and gave him a lecture on the sidelines. It was excellent how Woodson held Smith accountable for his mistake and let him know about it. I applaud you coach Woodson. Also, your beard is cool too.
- Stoudemire’s offense was poor again. The physical Indiana front court gave Amar’e some problems offensively tonight. I felt that he couldn’t really get where he wanted to go all the time and didn’t feel totally comfortable handling the ball in the paint. He spent some time floating around the perimeter, which then makes him useless. Despite his poor offensive showing, Stoudemire was excellent defensively. He did a real nice job on David West and put a lot of effort into rebounding. This is the kind of defense the Knicks need from their star power forward. I was very pleased to see Stoudemire give full effort defensively. Hopefully we see the same thing tomorrow. And the next game. And the next game. And the ….
- Portland beat Chicago by 11 tonight, in Chicago. Why am I telling you this? Because I am not totally jumping on the bandwagon of this team. They have played two great games. There is no debating that. However, teams tend to initially play better due to emotions after a big trade for coaching change. I’m not saying the Knicks won’t reel off 7 in a row. They might, who knows. My point is this; Don’t drink the kool aid just yet. I want to see the Knicks play 5 games like this before I start saying that Mike Woodson is the second coming. This opinion does not stem from my disdain for how the D’Antoni situation played out. This is a fact. Teams play better after big changes because emotions are running high. I want to see more from this team before I get all excited about them.Follow @tarmosino