Written by William Lee
Carmelo Anthony last comment in a post-game interview with MSG Tina Cervasio “We got another game tomorrow, Shit” after an overtime victory over Phoenix Monday night pretty much foreshadowed Tuesday night’s game. After narrowly escaping a gritty game with the Suns, the Knicks just looked tired on the second game of a back to back, flying to Charlotte right after Monday’s game, getting in at 3 A.M. New York was content with launching long range jumpers, and was just going through the motions for most of the game.
Charlotte went on a 19-5 run to end the first half, holding a 55-46 lead at intermission. Al Jefferson dominated New York with his post game, setting the tone early with 11 first quarter points. Jefferson made his presence felt throughout the game, finishing with the game with 35 points and 8 rebounds, helping the Bobcats snap the Knicks’ five game winning streak.
New York got as close as a four point deficit, going on a 12-7 bridging from the end of the third quarter to the beginning of the fourth quarter. All the points were scored by either Carmelo Anthony or Amare Stoudemire during the run. It was interesting to see that Carmelo Anthony had to play 38:25 minutes, continuing to shoulder the scoring load, as well as waste his energy bringing up the ball.
After a tough game with the Phoenix Suns the night before, you would think that Mike Woodson would give his bench more playing time and opportunities to shine. Which also brings to the point, that it was a very curious decision to see Woodson not play J.R. Smith Tuesday night, when bench scoring was sorely needed in this game. Mike Woodson no commented about the benching of J.R. Smith after the game. Another curious coaching decision was that he played Beno Udrih who had inflamed knee, and did not play a few games previously, playing him in favor of Toure’ Murry. Even though Udrih did play well, and was part of the stretch where the Knicks made a run to comeback into the game, the problem was that Kemba Walker exploded in the second half for 20 points after having a very silent five point first half. You cannot help but think that a defensive guard like Toure’ Murry could have at least slowed down Walker, Murry in a short eight minute of play had the best +/- for New York, with a +13 for the game.
Amare Stoudemire was key in helping the Knicks stay in the game with 13 second half points. You would have liked to see Stoudemire get more minutes, to lessen the scoring burden off of Carmelo Anthony, especially in the second game of a back to back. Anthony struggled all game, scoring only 20 points in very ineffective matter, with 22 shot attempts. Anthony was a -20 for the game, and just looked gasp, struggling to put New York on his back for a second straight game.
This game could be seen as a scheduling loss, especially since New York got to Charlotte at 3A.M, getting very little rest on a second game of a back to back. This game could also very possibly be seen as a trap game, with the Indiana Pacers on schedule Thursday night. New York will get another chance to match up against the team that eliminated them last Spring, as well use this game as a measuring stick, to see where they stand against the number one seed in the Eastern Conference. All is not gloom and doom though, as New York’s defensive anchor Tyson Chandler returned from a bronchitis infection Tuesday night. Chandler didn’t play much minutes, but it is good to see him return to the starting lineup.