OH MY GOD THE KNICKS ARE THE BEST TEAM IN THE LEAGUE!
Not really, but it sure looked like it last night as the Knicks defeated the evil Miami Heat 104-84 at the Garden. Not only was this game great to watch from the offensive (19-36 on threes!) and defensive (the Heat shot under 50% and had 21 turnovers) ends, but it showed fans something we hadn’t seen in some time. The Knicks closed a game. Up 15 in the second quarter, I was convinced the Knicks would lose by about eight. That sentiment stayed with me until about half-way through the third. Regardless of the result, we learned a few things from this game that provide reason for analysis after the first game of the season. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
Remember the Guards?
Remember when I said that the guards were the keys to this team? Well that was certainly the case last night. Raymond Felton looked like the quickest guard in the league (and finished with 14 points, nine assists, and three steals) while Jason Kidd’s smarts on the perimeter led to steals, unselfish play, and more than a few open three-pointers (Kidd finished with three assists, two steals, and three three-pointers). Pablo Prigioni looked timid on offense and lost on defense, but he’s not going to play much this year. Ronnie Brewer also came out and played very hard defense, harassing LeBron James for most of the night. Above all else, though, Felton and Kidd were outstanding last night.
Same Old J.R.
J.R. Smith makes no sense. He takes terrible shots, forces the ball, and commits dumb fouls; all with the second unit. When he plays with the first team, though, he settles down and generally plays a bit more within the offense. Want to guess who the Knicks’ second leading assist-man was last night? J.R., with six. He also shot 3-11, but the passing made it, well, passable. He always gets up to guard LeBron too, and last night was no different. The one thing Smith will always give you is his best effort when it matters, and that’s what we saw last night. I still can’t stand him, but the Knicks could do worse in a sixth man.
The Old Men
We’ve already discussed Jason Kidd and Marcus Camby didn’t play, but we still must review the performance of Kurt Thomas and Rasheed Wallace. Early in the second quarter, watching this game, I became very confused. Not because the Knicks were winning, but because someone was doing something under the basket I hadn’t seen out of the Knicks in a few years. Upon further review it was Kurt Thomas boxing out! He was just intimidating enough last night, although his shot looked woefully off. Also, ‘Sheed as the icing on the cake made me so happy. He’s relished that role, even calling himself this team’s Brian Scalabrine. Man, Wallace is great.
Et Tu, Melo?
“No, guys, I’ll totally be passing the ball more and stuff this year.” – Carmelo Anthony, during the preseason (paraphrased)
“By that, I totally meant taking 28 shots to score 30 points and stopping the ball on offense” – Melo Anthony, last night (also paraphrased)
Despite the frustration that is
CarmeloMelo Anthony, his hot first quarter did give the Knicks the confidence they needed against this Heat team. He took bad shots, didn’t give much on defense (despite his team-leading ten rebounds), and at times looked like all he wanted to do was get his shot up. If Anthony ever decides to, you know, do what he said he’d do in the preseason the Knicks may be onto something. If not, this may be another frustrating season.