I’ll take the win. It was sloppy, ugly and difficult to watch, but in the end the Knicks were able to escape Milwaukee with a 111-107 victory. Carmelo Anthony was once again the man, scoring 32 points on 13/26 shooting. Unlike Tuesday’s loss in Chicago, the Knicks got scoring from all areas of the offense tonight. Six different Knicks, including JR Smith, Tyson Chandler and Steve Novak, scoring in double figure points tonight. I wouldn’t say it was a good victory, as the Knicks allowed the Bucks to shoot 49%, but it was a gritty victory for the Knicks. It was also a huge win, as the Knicks now sit 2 full games up on the 9th seeded Bucks. New York now controls its own destiny over the next 9 games. The Knicks aren’t out of the woods yet, in terms of making the playoffs, but they’re almost there.
Here are my notes from the game:
- Melo is cooking. This is the Carmelo Anthony that the Knicks thought they had traded for. He has been absolutely fantastic over the past few weeks. In his last five games, Anthony is averaging 32.5 points per game on 51.5% shooting. He is also rebounding and defending at a higher level. Nobody has been as critical on Anthony as I have been, but the Knick star has done a complete 180 from earlier this season. He deserved all the criticism he drew from me, as well as other educated Knick fans, but now he deserves praise. Anthony has been absolutely fantastic as of late and I have been incredibly impressed with his play. Not only is he scoring, but he is doing so efficiently. Always known as a “volume scorer”, Anthony has been incredibly efficient over the past 5 games. Not only is he shooting 51.5% from the floor, but he’s shooting 44% from outside the arc. I don’t think he has been selfish. The Knicks have needed to lean on his play and he has delivered. I still haven’t forgiven Melo for his punkish behavior earlier this season, but he is taking big giant steps in the right direction. I love what I’m seeing.
- Thattababe Novak! After going 0/8 in the two games versus the Bulls, Novak delivered a solid 10 points tonight. He hit a couple threes and knocked down a pair of clutch free throws late in the game. It is good to see Scuba Steve hitting three’s again and I think he’ll be fine moving forward. Everyone has bad stretches of games. Novak has had his (hopefully), and I expect him to make it rain over the past 9 games.
- JR Smith is literally the most frustrating offensive player in the history of basketball. Tonight, Smith was completely horrible. He wasn’t good defensively and was worse offensively. He made my eyes burn by putting up missed shot after missed shot after missed shot. However, I knew at some point he was going to hit a big basket. Don’t believe me? I even have a TWEET to prove it!
- Sure enough, Smith hit the go-ahead 3 pointer with about a minute left in the game. I have no idea why this guy can’t get consistent. Well, let me rephrase. Smith is consistentlyinconsistent. He has yet to put together a string of good games with the Knicks. He’s either pretty solid or morbidly horrible. It’s incredibly frustrating just how incredibly erratic Smith’s play is. Over the past two games, Smith has shot 4/8 from downtown. It might be a good sign moving forward. Or Smith might shoot 0/26 from downtown next game.
- Tyson Chandler is the man. 19 points and 11 boards. 6/6 shooting from the field and 7/7 at the free throw line. Chandler is worth every dollar the Knicks have paid for him. He is 90%, along with Shump and Jared Jeffries, responsible for the vastly improved Knicks defense. The Knicks are ranked 5th in defensive efficiency, which is something I don’t think anyone foresaw before the season started. I could write 700 posts about how great Chandler is, but I’ll leave that to another day. For now, just appreciate it Knick fans. Appreciate what you’re seeing. For my money, you’re seeing the Defensive Player of the Year performing at a franchise-changing, elite level. It’s pretty fun to watch.
- Jeffries is clearly still rusty. He was a -8 in just 9 minutes played tonight. He missed an easy layup and grabbed only one rebound. I’m not worried about Jeffries. I think he’ll be just fine, he just needs a few games to work off the rust.
- Toney Douglas didn’t play tonight. He was pretty awful last night in Chicago and Woodson decided to reward him with some nice, warm humble pie. You know who else he should give some pie to?
- BARON SUCKS. I’m sorry, there is just no other way to say it. He is literally atrocious and unwatchable. I want to shoot myself in the head every time I see him bullet a turnover to the opposition or take a stupid shot. He even decided to go all Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on us tonight and throw up a hook shoot looking thing. Of course it hit 2 feet up on the backboard and he subsequently was pulled from the game. I went on a pretty long rant about him in last night’s post game so I won’t do the same thing tonight.
- The Knicks did a pretty awful job of defending the Bucks backcourt. Take a look for yourself: