After going 0-3 earlier in the week against Boston, Indiana and Chicago, the Knicks took care of the feisty Hornets today at Madison Square Garden. Offensively, the Knicks were much better than what we’d seen the previous two games. They were able to hit 11 threes and move the ball effectively, racking up 24 assists. New Orleans is one of the worst defensive teams in the league and the Knicks should’ve been better offensively, but given New York’s recent run of terrible play, I’ll take this W.
Here are my notes from the game:
- Let’s start with Melo. His start was atrocious (1/10 shooting), but he rebounded nicely to finish with 27 points on 25 shots. I haven’t been in love with Melo’s decision making lately, as he’s taking a lot of bad shots. However, with Felton out, the offense has been calling for more creation in isolation as opposed to easy spot up looks. I will say, Anthony does need to improve his first quarter shooting. One of the hallmarks of the Knicks early season success was first quarter domination, largely due to Anthony getting off to fast stars offensively. As we can see here, Anthony is far better in the first quarter of victories and has been pretty bad in the first quarter of losses:
- As the great Jared Dubin was constantly pointing out on the twits during the game, the Knicks seem to be much better with two point guard lineups that feature Jason Kidd at the 2-spot. I couldn’t agree more. Kidd has been very effective as an off-ball quarterback that shoots open spot up threes and swings the ball well. He’s no longer a starting caliber point guard, which is why I wasn’t a fan of the Knicks bringing him in to begin with. Unfortunately, with Felton injured, the Knicks only have two point guards on the team. Kidd can’t play the two-spot for the entire game, but I think Woodson would be wise to get the Prigioni-Kidd combination as many minutes as possible.
- Amar’e Stoudemire put in 12 points on 3/6 shooting today. Defensively, he didn’t kill the Knicks. He had some bad plays, and soem really bad fouls, but the Knicks got away with it against an average team like New Orleans. Grabbing three boards in 23 minutes is still really bad, but I didn’t think Stoudemire got manhandled as much on the boards by Robin Lopez as he could have. I’ll say this. Through these handful of games we’ve seen STAT play, he’s clearly not the same athlete, or not yet at least. He looks like a shell of himself, but I do think he’s trying hard. He had a play where he dove out of bounds to grab a ball, another where he fought for an offensive board. Stoudemire has a lot of pride. If he continually proves to be a detriment, it won’t be due to a lack of effort.
- Ronnie Brewer continues to be laughably terrible on offense. He missed a layup, missed a put-back dunk and passed out of this look: (via @MikePradaSBN)
- Defensively, the Knicks were much better than they have been recently. The question is whether it was New Orleans being bad, or the Knicks being good. I think it’s a bit of both. I thought New York did a great job of defending Ryan Anderson. They got up on him and didn’t give him many open looks all game. Robin Lopez has been a good player this season, but Chandler did a really nice job of dominating him. Lopez shot just 5/14 from the floor. New Orleans is one of the better three point shooting teams in the NBA, but the Knicks held them to just 4/21 shooting. I’ll say this about the Knicks defense. From a personel standpoint, you can see why they’re not great on defense. They don’t have any guards who can keep guys out of the paint. With Sheed and Camby injured, they have nobody other than Tyson who can protect the rim. While we’d love to see the Knicks return to their top-5 form of last season, I’m beginning to believe that may not happen. Iman Shumpert’s return will help, but we don’t know how effective he’ll be coming off a torn ACL. The Knicks are the third best offense in basketball, averaging 108.9 points per 100 possessions. If they can take away what teams do well and hold opposing offenses in check, they’ll win the majority of their games. They took away what New Orleans does best today, the three pointer, and scored more than enough points to win. At this point, the Knicks defense needs to take positive baby steps and I think this would be a good start.
- Copesanity! With JR having another poor shooting game, the Knicks needed scoring from elsewhere today. Enter Chris Copeland. The forward also known as Optimus Cope scored 22 points on just 15 shots today. As bad as Melo was in the first quarter, Copeland was cool beans, splashing three after three after three. I really think highly of Copeland. You can see why he wasn’t on an NBA roster, because he’s horrible defensively, but he really is a good offensive player. He can handle the ball, shoot the three and create his own shot. Unfortunately, the Knicks can’t always afford to have him on the court because somebody has to defend, but he definitely has a role on this team. Cheers to you, Cope!
- Last and least, the MSG back-up PA announcer is the poops. He is horrible.
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