15th win in the last 16 games, locked up the 2-seed in the East…fun times to be a Knicks fan, everyone. (Furiously knocks on all of the wood.) Indeed, the Knicks defeated the Pacers today in a relatively ugly, slow, Pacers-y game. Shorthanded in the frontcourt with Tyson Chandler and Kenyon Martin (and every other tall guy on the Knicks) suffering from
death many different nagging injuries, the Knicks were beat up on the glass 45-32 (and 13-8 in offensive rebounds). However, even with this disparity, the Knicks took 17 (!) more shots than the Pacers, as the Pacers decided to start throwing the ball everywhere but to their own team, even hitting poor Mike Woodson with one en route to 26 turnovers. Carmelo Anthony poured in 25 points while sitting out the 4th with a shoulder contusion (nothing serious according to him, he is still alive), JR Smith added 15 off the bench, and Chris Copeland scored 20 himself as he made up for his poor rebounding with stellar shooting (8-12 from the field). Some notes:
- King Solomon Jones got the start at center, and played pretty poorly but it really doesn’t matter. He over played some hedges defending the pick-and-roll, was constantly getting thrown to the ground by Roy Hibbert, and took a 7 foot jumper off the pick-and-roll that went about 5 and a half feet. Cool name, though.
- Steve Novak missed a layup off the pick-and-roll and had he made it I would probably be dead.
- Melo started off hot, scoring the first 9 points for the Knicks, but cooled off mightily after that. He started getting frustrated with the officials after the physical play escalated and was guarding Hibbert and West down low and taking a beating. After getting fouled hard by David West on the shoulder and favoring it for a couple of minutes, Melo threw down an alley-oop from Kidd and then hit a catch-and-shoot three pointer and we all breathed a sigh of relief.
- The Knicks benefited from Paul George being severly off his game (3-12 from the field) and basically everyone on the Pacers either not being able to throw or catch the ball. I don’t think I’ve seen that many passes flying to no one in particular in a while.
- Jason Kidd, a game leading +17, missed a spot up three pointer by about 35 feet, then on the same possession took a runner from the corner as the shot clock expired and missed the rim by slightly less. Then he airballed his next three-point attempt long. Whatever. Kidd came up with 4 steals today, ripping the ball from poor Lance Stephenson as he attempted to drive on Kidd, then stealing a couple of over-the-top entry passes by playing the basketball version of a free safety.
- Playing the majority of the game at center, Copeland actually did a decent job fighting with Hibbert for position down low. This, coupled with Hibbert’s relatively bad post up game and the Pacers refusing to throw him the ball when he was in *great* position right under the basket, led to Hibbert having 4 points on 2-5 shooting.
That’s basically it. I mean, this was a pretty sloppy game from about midway through the first quarter on. Looking forward, the Knicks now have their highest seed since 1994, will play the Celtics in the first round, and can/will rest their starters for the final two games o the regular season. The issue with the last thing is that the Knicks currently have 10 healthy players, and 8 of them are currently rotation players. If it were up to me, the Knicks would play Solomon Jones and James White, and throw in Jim Todd and Herb Williams occasionally. Alas, NBA rules require you to play 5 players at a time, so I guess they can’t do that. Anyway, the Knicks clinched the two-seed. I’m going to run around like a maniac for a while. This picture describes my emotions right now: