Multiple times tonight, I jumped out of my seat in celebration of something cool happening. One time, I almost fell. I banged all sorts of three point signs against the side of my head. I let out multiple screams of “MELOOOO” that probably had my roommates thinking “the hell is wrong with this guy?” This game was not a great one for the Knicks. For the first 12 minutes of this basketball game, the Knicks collectively dropped a giant turd. Brooklyn won the first quarter 30-16 and it really wasn’t that close. Ronnie Brewer was sandblasting the front of the rim with threes while Felton and Chandler missed layup after layup after layup. Swiss cheese defense would’ve been an upgrade over the whatever the hell the Knicks were doing. Anyways, quick game synopsis forthcoming. Carmelo Anthony had maybe his greatest game as a New York Knick. In his 44 minutes played, Anthony was unstoppable scoring 45 points on 15/24 shooting. He hit 5 of his 7 three point attempts and hit 10 of his 11 free throws. For the second straight game against Brooklyn and the third straight game overall, Raymond Felton struggled mightily. The Bulldog/Duck/avid user of solid deodorant was just 3/12 shooting from the floor. Felton had my skin boiling the entire game and I was screaming at Mike Woodson through my TV “PUT PRIGIONI IN, DAMMIT!” Unlike the first Brooklyn meeting where Felton basically shot the game away in the 4th quarter, the Knicks were able to overcome the crappy performance of their point guard. So after digging themselves a fourteen point first quarter deficit, the Knicks had a solid second quarter. Anthony was hitting threes, JR Smith was being not horrible and the Knicks found themselves down just four points at the half. The third quarter was not a good one for the Knicks. They lost the quarter 26-25, despite Deron Williams’ leaving the game at the 5:31 mark. Andray Blatche killed them late in the third and the Knicks found themselves down five to start the 4th. In the final period, Carmelo Anthony and Jason Kidd stole the show. Melo continued his dominance, scoring 14 of the Knicks 26 fourth quarter points. With 1:10 to go, Joe Johnson tied the game at 97. With about 50 seconds left, JR Smith missed a three, but Chandler was able to tip out the rebound to Anthony. The Knicks did a good job of moving the ball on their final offensive possession that resulted in Jason Kidd hitting an open three with 24 seconds left. A savvy vet, Kidd stuck his leg out and drew a foul on the shot, but then missed the ensuing free throw. Brooklyn ran a garbage final possession that resulted in a Crash Wallace three that clanked off the rim. Brooklyn got the offensive rebound and kicked it to a wide open Deron Williams for three, but he missed and the Knicks won the game.
Here are my notes from the game:
- Carmelo Anthony was fantastic. This was a statement game for Anthony, playing for the second time in Brooklyn, the borough he called home until the age of nine. He very badly wanted the win in the first Knicks-Nets matchup at Barclays and he got his win tonight. On par with the Knick offense, Anthony was off at the start of the game, hitting just one of his first four shots. However he shook off the early game jitters to lead the Knicks comeback. Let’s observe Anthony’s shot chart:
- As we can see, he was absolutely cooking from downtown. Whether it was pulling up on the wing, shooting off a pick and roll or spotting up like he did so many times in the Olympics, Anthony’s jump shot had flames emitting from it. What I loved from Anthony’s game tonight was his efficiency. You could tell he wanted to dominate, but he did it in a way conducive to team success. He wasn’t clearing out the floor and working in slow isolations. When the offense called for it late in the shot clock, he isolated, but for the most part he was making quick decisions, as he has done all year. As great as Anthony has been this season, his free throw shooting has been shaky at times. Tonight, hit 10 of his 11 free throws. His concentration at the line demonstrated just how locked in he was tonight. The most impressive thing about Anthony’s performance tonight was that he did all this after taking a Gerald Wallace roundhouse kick to the face in the first quarter. He was bleeding for much of the game, but he was a trooper and didn’t let it bother him. Tonight was a tough, gritty, dominant performance from Carmelo Anthony. I’m not one for MVP talk and Anthony wouldn’t be the league MVP in my book if the season ended today, but he delivered an MVP performance tonight.
- I hope Jason Kidd continues to force me to engulf unhealthy amounts of humble pie. I can’t say enough how impressive he has been this season, and tonight was no exception. Whether it was his 6/8 shooting from beyond the arc, his six assists, his six rebounds, or his game winning shot, Kidd did everything well tonight. He did play 37 minutes tonight, which isn’t ideal, but the Knicks needed each one of those minutes tonight.
- *Glares at Raymond Felton*
- Raymundo “duck” Felton was no bueno tonight. I could throw Felton’s shot chart up here, but this is a G-rated blog and I don’t think having horrific images like that up on here is a good idea. Felton was just 1/7 at the rim. After missing a few layups in the 4th quarter, Felton then went to shoot the ball and had it slip out of his hands for a turnover. At this point, I popped a blood vessel in my right eye as I took my sandal and threw it against the wall in anger. This was not a good game for Felton. If there is a positive to Felton’s dreadful offensive performance, he was attacking rather than settling for jump shots. In the first Brooklyn game, Felton continued to throw up long two after long two and I continued to vomit and vomit and vomit. That was not a fun night. I wonder if Felton is starting to get fatigued, as this is the third bad game he has played in a row. I could be over thinking it and he could just be having a small mid-season hiccup, but I bet fatigue is beginning to set in. We’ll see how Felton looks over the next few games.
- Another guy who may be starting to feel the effects of fatigue is Tyson Chandler. After two really good games in a row, Chandler had a not so good game tonight. He picked up two early fouls and was basically a non-factor on defense and on the boards in the first half. He was better in the second half, but still looked tired to me. However, when the game was on the line, Chandler delivered. His tip out in the final minute made the Jason Kidd three possible. So even when Chandler had an average game, he still made some winning plays, you know… because he is awesome.
- JR Smith deserves all sorts of kudos for this game. He gave the Knicks some much needed efficient scoring tonight. Even though he was 0/4 from downtown, Smith played a really good offensive game. I loved how he worked his mid-range jump shot and attacked, rather than taking contested step backs that hurt my eyes. He also played the end of the game with back spasms after F$#@%&G Gerald Wallace was being an idiot and unnecessarily ran JR over in the backcourt. Smith had a great post game quote about his not coming out of the game and refusing to lose to Brooklyn again. Say what you want about Smith, and he drives me insane sometimes, but he is an absolute warrior. He’ll fight. He’ll scrap. You always get a great effort on both ends of the court, yes he has been giving 100% effort on defense this year, and I respect him mightily for that.
- Reggie Evans had 18 boards. Man… I hate that guy.
- I don’t get how anyone can like the Nets. They literally have no players that are worth liking. Reggie Evans is insufferable. Kris Humphries is a dope. Deron Williams, what is up with that perm man? Joe Johnson is boring and meh. Andray Blatche isn’t really likable in any way, and Marshon Brooks is a weird looking dude. The only guy I sort of like is CJ Watson. Oh and don’t get me started on Avery Johnson’s voice. I have no idea how those Nets players listen to him. Either way, I just don’t see why this Nets team is likable at all. Although Barclays was 80% filled with Knick fans tonight, so I guess people don’t like the Nets that much.
- The Knicks defense still isn’t very good. There were only 84 possessions tonight, which is the slowest game I can remember the Knicks playing this season, and the Nets still scored 97 points. New Jersey’s offensive efficiency was 115.5 and they shot 53% from the floor. The Knicks still have no idea how to and when to double team. They double guys they shouldn’t and they double from a pass away, leaving open shooters with open passing lanes for the ball to get there. A problem going back to last season, the Knicks switch way too easily. Not only does this leave them with bad match-ups, but it makes for guys out of position who then get beat on backdoor cuts and screens. Coming into the game, the Knicks were 13th in defensive efficiency but they played far worse than that tonight. Mike Woodson’s reputation is as a defensive guy, so he needs to find a way to clean this up.
On to the 9-13 Lakers (HAHAHAHAHA) who just lost the previously 4-17 Cavaliers tonight (HAHAHAHAHA). Mike D’Antoni I’m sure will hear the boo birds from the Madison Square Garden faithful. If you follow my blog at all or me on the twitterz, you know how I feel about D’Antoni and the treatment he got from the organization here. But whateverz! Who cares about Mike D’Antoni? The Knicks are 16-5 and have been the best team in the East! I am really excited about how great this team has been and this should be an exciting six game homestand.
Follow Taylor on Twitter @tarmosino