What a start to the season. After all the devastation that occurred after Hurricane Sandy, the Knicks rallied together around their city and gave a fantastic performance tonight. Melo was hot early and the Knicks jumped out to a 33-17 first quarter lead. The Knicks defense was solid all night as they held Miami to 7/20 shooting from downtown and forced Miami into 21 turnovers. New York’s defense was able to keep LeBron James and Dwayne Wade in check throughout the game as the duo combined to score just 38 points. Miami’s super duo combined for 9 turnovers. The Knicks rode hot three point shooting and ball movement to their 104 points. New York had 27 assists as a team, 9 from Raymond Felton, and shot a staggering 19/36 from downtown. Rasheed Wallace’s late game appearance was the human victory cigar. Wallace capped off the night hitting a three in the final minute that send the garden into a state of elation. Overall, it was a fantastic night for our New York Knicks.
Here are my notes from the game:
- Probably the thing I wanted to see most was how Mike Woodson’s offense would look. Would we see the stagnant, isolation based offense of his Atlanta days? We definitely did not. There were stretches of the game where the Knicks offense looked stagnant, but we have to remember this is the first time most of these players have played together. The offense is still a work in progress in terms of sets and the crispness of their sets. We saw a bit of everything tonight. We got some pick and roll game with Felton and Tyson. A couple times we saw Melo featured in the offense as the roll man. We saw a lot of off-ball movement going on, which was fantastic. The Knicks tried to spring guys with off-ball screens and often times got switches that favored them. New York did a really nice job of attacking tonight. Melo did a great job making quick decisions and getting to the rim. JR Smith was fantastic. He did a great job of attacking and kicking to open shooters, as he recorded 6 assists. Yes, JR Smith had 6 assists tonight. It was that kind of night.
- I liked what we saw from Melo as well. With Amar’e Stoudemire out and the Knicks not having a bonafide number two scorer, Anthony is going to have to shoot a ton on offense. Especially with that first team lineup of Felton, Kidd, Brewer, Melo and Chandler, he’s really the scoring option. This was apparent in the first quarter of this game, as Melo took 16 shots. Luckily for the Knicks, Melo was on fire in the first quarter shooting 6 of 10 in that 33 point first quarter. What I liked from Melo is that we didn’t see the typical Meloball type game. Especially early, he wasn’t getting the ball and having it stick. He was making quick decisions, whether it be cutting, shooting or passing. I have no problem with Melo taking 30 shots a game, as long as he’s making quick decisions. Anthony got cold throughout the rest of the game and was forcing a bit, but some of that can be attributed of the stagnancy of the offense. I had no problem with how Melo played on offense tonight and if he continues to play like that, he’ll have a great year. On defense I thought Anthony gave a good effort. Overall great night for him.
- Jason Kidd trolled the hell out of me tonight. As you all have probably either read on here or seen on twitter, I am not high on Kidd at all this year. He was absolutely fantastic tonight. He made his shots, 3/5 from downtown, he made his free throws, 3/3 from the line, had 3 assists, 2 steals and was a +20 in +/- on the night. The only bad play I can remember from him was a play he tried to force the ball to Novak and threw it out of bounds. That’s nitpicking though. Make no mistake, Kidd was very productive tonight in his 23 minutes played. I hope he makes me eat my words all season.
- The Knicks actually overpassed a few times tonight. Ronnie Brewer overpassed once or twice. There were a few possessions to start the second half where the Knicks passed up some open looks to pass. They’ll sort that out. This is encouraging to me because it shows the overall mindset and focus of the team to not have the ball stick on offense. For as many times as the Knicks overpassed, there were twice as many buckets created by the team swinging the ball. This was indicated by the Knicks having 27 assists as a team tonight. Prigioni, Felton and Kidd all did a great job of getting others involved, combining for 15 assists. I thought all three point guards were solid tonight.
- To elaborate on Felton a little bit, I thought he was solid tonight. Which is exactly what you can expect from him. He is a solid point guard. There were a few times he may have forced a shot or two, he only shot 5/13, but overall I was satisfied with his performance. He had one of the highlights of the game on an assist in which he absolutely cooked the Heat defense in the first quarter. Felton split a double team, crossed over Shane Battier collapsing from the corner and hit Melo for a wide open three. It was a beautiful display of basketball. Felton wasn’t perfect, but he was solid. He is solid.
- Tyson Chandler began right where he left off last season. 5/5 from the field, 8 rebounds and countless solid plays on defense. Chandler is just a fantastic player and he does a great job as the leader of the team. ESPN played an awesome sound byte from Chandler. While in foul trouble in the 4th quarter, the Knick center was barking defensive adjustments at the guys on the court. He was coaching from the sideline. It was fantastic to see.
- Speaking of sound bytes, nothing was cooler than the Woodson-Sheed interaction late in the game. Woodson went over to the bench and asked Wallace if he wanted to play. Sheed said yes and Woodson said “lets go”. If you didn’t catch it, try and find it later on youtube or something. Take it from me, it was super cool beans.
- That Novak guy, he’s pretty good too. 5/8 from downtown. He wasn’t a liability on defense tonight. He wasn’t great, but he didn’t kill them. Great performance by him tonight.
- Sheed’s last minute three was icing on the cake.
- Tweet of the night came from @Netw3rk
Night y’all! I’ve read reports on twitter of even more of the tri-state getting power back. It’s great news to hear! Hope you guys all stay safe and hang in there. Thanks for reading.
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