For the second straight game, the Knicks beat up on a far lesser opponent at Madison Square Garden. Saturday night, it was the Kings. Tonight, the Pistons. Although New York slept through the second half, this game was never close. The Knicks led the entire game, getting off to a good start with a 28-13 first quarter win. The lead was 22 at halftime and the Knicks never looked back. Carmelo Anthony led the way with 27 efficient points on 17 shots. Tyson Chandler became the third Knick to record three 20 rebound games. Stoudemire was again strong off the bench and Felton played one of his best games of the season. All in all, the night was swell for our Knickerbockers.
Here are my notes from the game:
- With tonight’s victory, the Knicks finished off this homestand with a crisp 5-0 record. Given how average their play had been for the month prior, this stretch of victories was well needed. They did a good job of taking advantage of match-ups with the Kings, Magic and Kings. Milwaukee and Atlanta are pesky playoff teams, but New York should’ve beaten each of them at home and they did so. I thought over the homestand, Felton found his rhythm in the offense, coming off his injury. Anthony had some good shooting games, Chandler played incredibly well and Stoudemire was deathly efficient Not much to dislike about this last week in Knicks land.
- Speaking of Chandler, he is awesome. He is absolutely awesome. The most valuable of the Knicks, Chandler is playing at an extremely high level, cementing his status as a top-15 player in our league. 60 rebounds in three games is unbelievable. Tonight, Chandler played another great game. Obviously his rebounding was strong, but I thought he did a good job defending the post and I thought he was active in help defense. Detroit shot an average 52% at the rim and were 3/10 shooting in the low post area. I attribute that to Chandler’s high level of play.
- Amar’e Stoudemire wasn’t 10/10, but he was solid again tonight. The man they call STAT shot 8/14 and scored 20 points. I didn’t think his defensive effort was as high as usual and he didn’t grab many boards, but overall I still thought he was a positive contributor.
- Pablo Prigioni hit a three tonight, making him 14/21 on his last 21 threes. He’s a pretty good shooter when he actually wants to… you know, shoot.
- Jason Kidd had a rough shooting game tonight, hitting just 1/7 from downtown. However, I thought he did his normal good job of moving the ball and had a sweet lob inside to Melo. Not a good shooting night from Kidd, but his teammates picked him up and he contributed in other ways.
- This is sort of a tough game to breakdown, because the Knicks sleepwalked through the second half. So lets breakdown the first half, where the Knicks gave one of their best efforts of the season. Let’s observe the Knicks shot chart:
- Two things should stand out to you: 1) the Knicks took a ton of threes and 2) the Knicks took a ton of shots at the rim. The two most efficient shots in basketball are three pointers and shots at the rim, so this style of play is a great sign. Obviously the Knicks are a great three point shooting team and when they get open looks like they did tonight, they’re going to hit more times than not. Though the Knicks shot somewhat modestly in the paint, they grabbed 7 first half offensive boards which helped them get more shots at the rim. James Harden is so good because he either takes threes or gets to the rim. He’s the shining model of efficiency or at least was in OKC. Tonight, the Knicks first half offense was a team version of James Harden. They took efficient shots and it benefited them, scoring 28 and 29 points in the first and second quarters respectively. Thattababe, Knicks!
- Final point tonight, Raymond Felton had a really good game. He took only 5 shots, but had 9 assists and 2 steals. His impact won’t be seen in the box score tonight. Felton’s value tonight came in running the offense. He probably had about 6 hockey assists tonight, as he was doing a great job of getting in the lane and kicking it out to the perimeter. In the first half, the Knicks had 21 field goals on 14 assists. That speaks volumes about the starting point guard and his high level of play tonight. Also, it’s a positive anytime the Knicks can score without Felton taking a high volume of shots. He didn’t have to tonight and the Knicks offense was successful. I’d love to see more games like this out of Felton in the future.
Follow Taylor on Twitter @tarmosino