That was a pretty ugly win, but I’ll gladly take it. Given the news regarding Amar’e Stoudemire, the nature of the game was quite fitting. It was an extremely ugly 89-80 win for the Knicks. Both defenses played well as the two teams combined to turn the ball over 42 times. The Knicks overcame the absences of Jeremy Lin, Amar’e Stoudemire and Jared Jeffries. Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks to victory, scoring a game high 28 points.
Here are my notes from the game:
- Carmelo Anthony had his best game in a while. This was a step in the right direction for the Knicks struggling star. Anthony knew the pressure was on him tonight and he delivered. It wasn’t his best game ever, but his effort and hustle willed the Knicks to victory. Melo scored 28 points on 8/20 shooting and grabbed 12 rebounds. I credit Anthony for adjusting mid-game. Early in the game his shot was falling, but as the game progressed his jump shot regressed. In the 3rd quarter, Anthony began to drive the ball and draw fouls. He made his impact at the free throw line with a perfect 12/12 night. I loved his effort on defense as well. At the end of the 3rd quarter, Anthony tweaked his groin on a spin move. He was clearly in pain, but played the fourth quarter and gave full effort. I have no idea if he will play Wednesday against the Magic, but what he did tonight is quite admirable. Melo has done a lot to lose my respect. Tonight was definitely a step in the right direction. I hope Anthony continues to string together quality games like this. I loved his heart and effort, something we didn’t previously see from him. It was a very quality performance from Melo.
- Tyson Chandler is awesome. Is there any other way to say it? He was totally disruptive on defense and on the boards tonight. The Knicks out rebounded the Bucks 41-32 on the night. Without Chandler in their previous matchup with Milwaukee, the Knicks were out rebounded on the offensive glass 17-9. Tonight, the Knicks grabbed 13 offensive boards to the Bucks 9. Chandler’s impact cannot be debated. He is absolutely crucial to the Knicks defense. He erases so many mistakes and is a fantastic phenomenal defender. At the center and power forward positions, the Bucks played 3 key players, Drew Gooden, Ersan Ilyasova and Ekpe Udoh. Those 3 players combined to shoot 5/19 on the night. Chandler had a ton to do with that. Pair his defensive performance with 13 points on 7/9 free throw shooting and you have another excellent night on Chandler’s part.
- I wish the Knicks could shoot. The Knicks absolutely cannot shoot from downtown and its incredibly annoying. New York shot 7/31 from downtown tonight. On the season, the Knicks are 26th in the league in 3 point shooting at 31.6%. If you take away Steve Novak, the Knicks don’t have a player shooting higher than 35% on the season. Carmelo Anthony, Baron Davis, Iman Shumpert, Mike Bibby and Landry Fields are all shooting under 30% on the year. It’s pretty sad how the Knicks can’t hit their 3’s. JR Smith was 1/10 from downtown tonight. If the Knicks are going to make a run in the playoffs, assuming they get there, they’re going to have to start shooting consistently from downtown.
- The Knicks perimeter defense against Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis was pretty good. The two combined to shoot 8/36 on the night. Granted, the Bucks duo missed some easy buckets, but the Knicks did a good job guarding him. Totally surprising to me, Baron Davis actually did a nice job guarding Brandon Jennings. Fields and JR Smith did a good job on Ellis. The Bucks tried to get out and run with the Knicks, but the Knicks did a really nice job of getting back on defense and stopping any transition baskets.
- There was no Jeromaggedon tonight at MSG. On the pre game spreecast, we talked about whether Jerome Jordan would get any run. He didn’t get any tonight. I imagine he will at some point though. The Knicks were able to play small with the Bucks tonight, but they won’t be able to do that with other teams. Jordan will have to play to give the Knicks a bit of size inside.