They did it! For the first time since 1993-94, the year in which Jason Kidd was a sophomore at the University of California, Carmelo Anthony was 10 years old, Iman Shumpert was 4 and I wasn’t born yet, the Knicks have won the Atlantic Division. Now we can all laugh in unison at the ESPN writers, who all picked the Celtics, Nets or Sixers to win the division, knowing that we surmounted the arch rival Celtics (see ya in the playoffs) and the preseason media hype glutton Nets. The Knicks made sure their division clinching game was going to be a blowout, as they rained threes down on the Wizards en route to a 120-99 victory. They have now won 13 in a row. Here are a few notes:
- Having tied yet another Bernard King record (five straight 35+ point games in a row), you could say any of the following things about Carmelo Anthony and they’d all be accurate: “on fire,” “unconscious,” “Carmelo Bernard Anthony King,” “epic elite hacker” and lots more. Melo officially caught fire in the third quarter, scoring 21 points. In the last five games, Melo has averaged 40.6 PPG, 8.2 RPG, and 2.4 APG while shooting 61.1% from the field, 83.9% from the charity stripe, and 58.6% from beyond the arc in 37.2 minutes a game. He may surpass Kevin Durant for scoring champion. Simply put: it’s just incredible what Melo has been doing at a consistent high clip. Just don’t get hurt, ok?
- The J.R Smith Instagram Knicks win photo is a very special one. Its a photo of the official locker room Atlantic Division champions t-shirt. This means I’m getting one tomorrow immediately. No questions asked. There was this one three J.R made from his parents’ home in New Jersey, and it made me go bananas. He also made half of his shots, which made me happy as well. You could say “good” J.R attended tonight’s game. Alan Hahn brought up a J.R-John Starks comparison tweet on the MSG post game. At this point, the J.R Starks tweets will never stop. That, and the 6MOY award tweets too.
- Iman Shumpert complimented J.R with more efficient shooting, shooting 7-10 from the field. The three ball has been a legitimate weapon for Shump. Its been said a million times; I’ve said it, some of Knicks Twitter has said it, everyone has said it; Shump’s recent perimeter shooting stroke is yet another three point weapon the Knicks have in their arsenal of three point shooters.
- To add to Shump’s perimeter shooting, the Knicks as a whole shot 20-36 from three, including 7 threes in the first quarter. The Bomb Squad 2.0: Melo, Shump, Kidd, J.R, Cope, Novak (you’ll be hearing this from me a lot).
- Chris Copeland played very well tonight too. He contributed to the onslaught of threes, hitting 4-6 from beyond the arc. Copeland finished with 17 points, including a buzzer-beating three at the end of the first quarter. Cope also had 9 rebounds to boot. Ditto to Steve Novak, who made the Knicks spacing as big as the closet that brings you to Narnia, converting 4-8 from the perimeter.
- I was petrified when K-Mart went down. Even though K-Mart turned his left ankle, the real question is WHY WAS K-MART ON THE FLOOR IN THE FIRST PLACE? CAN WE PLACE AN EMBARGO ON KNEES, QUADS AND THE LIKE? THAT WOULD BE FANTASTIC. With Tyson Chandler out tonight with his bulging disk (BAN NECKS TOO), all 6 Knicks bigs are hurt. So, they’re left with Chris Copeland and or Steve Novak at center, unless K-Mart’s ankle isn’t actually amputated. If anything, though, Tyson should sit even if he comes back and wants to play against the Bulls in a couple of days.
Yes, it’s only the division. Yes, there are 5 games left to play. Yes, we play those damn Bulls in two days. But let’s enjoy the moment for now. Not to go all Darren Rovell on all of you (he’s a doo-doo head), but Melo’s jersey is the most top selling jersey on NBA.com. I know, its non-substantive, but I just felt like throwing that out there. No, that’s not a reason for Melo to win MVP. If you really, REALLY think that? I probably don’t like you. Hopefully, the Knicks can take the bull by the horns, literally, because quite frankly, the Bulls are the toughest team the Knicks have played this season. The Bulls have shoved the horns up the Knicks’ asses all season. Get em on Thursday night, Atlantic Division champs.
Follow James on Twitter @J_griff