Yes, the Knicks actually won a game in which they scored 82 points.
Can you remember the last time that happened? I can’t. The Knick defense smothered Philadelphia Wednesday night, en route to a 82-79 victory. The re-energized Knicks held Philly to 38.7% shooting from the floor. Mike Woodson has this team playing with more energy then they have in a decade. I understand its a 5 game sample size, and I’ve been as skeptical as anyone, but we can only read into these last 5 games. Nobody knows what will happen in the next 5 games. The Knicks may go 0-5 and lose every game by 40. Nobody knows. Over these past 5 games though, the Knicks have given playoff like effort. I believe this is the best 5 game stretch this team has had in the past decade. Their effort, especially defensively, has been nothing short of outstanding. Tonights game showcased just how well the Knicks are playing.
New York didn’t shoot well all night. They made up for it by defending and rebound. Yes, the New York Knicks with Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, dominated a quality opponent on the road by defending and rebounding. You can argue that Stoudemire was the Knicks most energized defender tonight! He had the defensive play of the game, when he destroyed Elton Brand in transition by blocking his shot and sending the ancient Sixers power forward to the deck. I almost fell out of my crappy desk chair when he did that. I think I speak for every Knick fan when I say that that play was f&%$#@ awesome!! Go Knicks!!!
Here are my notes from the game:
- Bravo Amar’e! Bravo! I think, given the importance of the game and the opponent, this was Stoudemire’s best game of the season. He had 21 points and 9 rebounds in 37 minutes. Sure, those aren’t eye popping numbers, but if you watched the game you saw what I saw. He actually got off the ground! Stoudemire was throwing down dunks like it was 2010! He actually looked like a young, athletic basketball player, as opposed to the patchy-bearded Betty White-like figure that we had become accustomed to seeing. He told us to stay tuned, and stay tuned I have. I love what I’m seeing from Amar’e. Not only is he jumping like some oversized Kangaroo, but he has played great defense since D’Antoni’s departure. He’s playing his ass off on both sides of the court and he’s a big reason the Knicks are 5-0 under Mike Woodson.
- You suck Baron! Just kidding, but tonight he wasn’t very good. Actually, he was quite awful. This was to be expected after sitting out two games with a hamstring injury, but my god I didn’t expect him to be that bad. He almost made me want to see Mike Bibby wheel chaired back out onto the court. Just kidding, he wasn’t that bad. Baron’s performance can be summed up by a single tweet. Knickerblogger’s Jim Cavan provided us with this gem during the game after Baron dribbled it off his foot for a turnover. It said all you had to know about Baron’s performance.
- Mike Woodson had some interesting rotations tonight. Landry Fields seemed to have it going on (no I’m not being sarcastic) early in the game, but Woodson decided to play him only 18 minutes. Fields finished the game 3/3 from the floor with 8 points and 2 boards. Woodson went with the ass model chaser, JR Smith, for 29 minutes tonight. Smith was good defensively, but Woodson’s insistence to keep Smith in the game was interesting given the fact that Smith pulled an anti-Steve Novak tonight. He couldn’t hit anything from outside. He shot just 3/11 overall and 1/4 from downtown. His step back fadeaway jumper was so ugly tonight that Rosie O’Donnell cringed every time he shot it. I love JR, but he wasn’t very good tonight. I don’t really know why Woodson didn’t go back to Fields more in the 2nd half. Its a win, so I’m not going to complain too much, but that was a bit puzzling to me. Woodson also decided to play Tyson Chandler just 25 minutes in the game, including 0 in the 4th quarter. Philadelphia doesn’t have a great center, no Spencer Hawes you aren’t a great center, and went small most of the game. Stoudemire was playing so well defensively that Woodson felt the Knicks had the best chance to win playing a small lineup. Woody rolled with Lin, Shump, JR, Melo and STAT for most the 4th. It proved to be the right decision. The Knicks lost the 3rd quarter 23-16. They won the 4th quarter 23-21. Credit the Knicks new coach for making a great adjustment and rolling with the small lineup. Also give Melo and Stoudemire credit. If they hadn’t been playing great defense, it would have been impossible for Woodson to run that lineup out there.
- I’m surprised the offense doesn’t run through Anthony more often. He got 15 shots tonight, only hitting 5 of them, but the offense doesn’t run through Anthony as much as Woodson implied it would. I’m totally fine with it, but who knows if Melo will be. The reason he hated D’Antoni was because he wanted the ball more then D’Antoni was willing to get it to him. He shot 15 times, but the Knick offense runs through Jeremy Lin and Tyson Chandler maybe more than it did under D’Antoni. Melo isn’t going to make an ass of himself, I think, and show displeasure in the offense while the Knicks are on a 5 game winning streak. However, if the Knicks start struggling, I wouldn’t be shocked to see him start pouting. Just saying.
- Shump is a beast. He played great perimeter defense all night and picked up 8 boards. He’s almost the Jamal Crawford of defenders. With Crawford, you know you’re going to get instant offense off the bench. With Shumpert, you get instant energy and defense coming off the bench. He’s a great weapon for Mike Woodson to use and he played a very good game tonight.
- Well hello, Mr Lin! Jeremy Lin had an Eli Manning game tonight. He was horrible for 3 quarters and came alive in the 4th. He had 16 of his 18 points in the 4th and hit a ton of clutch free throws down the stretch. Linsanity is not dead. Well, first off, Linsanity should not have ever been created. I think Lin’s biggest opposition during that whole stretch was the constant amount of berating he was taking by the media. They put so much unnecessary stress and pressure on him and his family. I was really appalled with how ESPN and the other outlets handled that whole situation. That being said, Lin did have a stretch of games where he didn’t produce as well as he previously had. He needed an adjustment period to figure out how the league was playing him. It seems like he’s figured it out. Lin has been excellent as of late, and his late game heroics tonight may have won the game for the Knicks. He was absolutely fantastic in the fourth quarter. He was able to yoyo his way through the Philadelphia defense and get to the rim with ease. Lin recorded just 3 assists, but only had 2 turnovers. Philadelphia is a good defensive team. They have a lot of long, athletic defenders and they played a great game tonight. Both defenses were dominating tonight, but the Knicks were just a little bit better offensively. Jeremy Lin’s fourth quarter was a big part of that.
- Oh, and what happened to Bill Walker? He’s literally fallen off the face of the earth. You don’t even see him on the bench or anything. Weird.