New York Knicks vs Atlanta Hawks – 11/20/16 – Game Recap

New York Knicks vs Atlanta Hawks
Game 13: November 20, 2016
Knicks 104, Hawks 94

Written by Eric Weinstein – @ericcweinsteinn

A tough stretch of games started this afternoon at MSG when the Atlanta Hawks came to town to face the Knicks. The Knicks were without Joakim Noah, who had a 72 million dollar cold and was unable to play. Kyle O’Quinn slid into his spot the starting lineup, and had a solid game with 8 points and 8 rebounds. Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 31 points, and Kristaps Porzingis had a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Paul Millsap led the Hawks with 19 points.

Takeaways from this game:

The Backup Center Spot

Coming into this season, the backup center position was a real question mark for this team.  Could Kyle O’Quinn and Willy Hernangomez be good enough as the two backup centers? I thought no, but so far this season I have been proven wrong. O’Quinn fit nicely with the starting unit and showed the value of having a center that could step out and consistently hit a 15 foot jumper. His hands were like magnets in the first quarter where he had 7 of his 8 rebounds and a block. Hernangomez continues to impress off the bench with his slick passes and offensive arsenal. Both of these guys need some work on the defensive side, but both have been pleasant surprises.

Melo Mania:

Carmelo had one of those games where he reminds everyone he is still an offensive force in this league. Melo had a game high 31 points, and was scoring from every spot on the court. When he and KP both score like they did today, it makes it really tough for the opposition to keep up. Old school Melo game in this matinee affair at Madison Square Garden.

Holding Home Court:

Clyde always says how the Knicks need to make Madison Square Garden a hostile environment for teams to come and play in. That’s exactly what the boys in blue and orange have done lately, as this was the fourth straight win at the Garden. This was a tough test against an excellent Atlanta Hawks team, a team which plays tough defense and has real talent in Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver, and Dwight Howard, to name a few. The Knicks have shown they enjoy playing in front of the Garden crowd, and it’s important for them to continue to win at home.

The wins on the road will come, but winning in front of a cheering home crowd helps the team’s confidence.

The Portland Trailblazers and their talented backcourt of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum take the 2 train from Brooklyn to Penn Station to take on the Knicks this Tuesday night at 7:30.

Another tough test for New York, they’re going to need to bring the tough defense they brought against the Hawks to stop those two dynamic scorers and make it five in a row at home. 6-7.

Knicks @ Blazers – 2-5-14 – Game Recap

Written by William Lee

Carmelo Anthony was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Month for January, leading the New York Knicks to a 10-6 record for the month, averaging 28.7 points 9 rebounds and 3.4 assists.

Sadly, we can only look back fondly on January and on his historic 62 points night at Madison Square Garden, because February has been dreadful so far. Five days into February and the Knicks have already mounted three losses, losing to the Portland Trailblazers 94-90 Wednesday night.

In the opening minutes, there was a play that was indicative of how the 2013-2014 New York Knicks season has been going so far, and what is wrong with the Knicks all season.  New York misses a shot in the lane, and while the Knicks are back paddling in transition, Nicolas Batum gets straight to the rim for a dunk because no one picks him up. When the offense isn’t clicking, the defense is just not sufficient, there an extreme lack of communication on the defensive end. The dunk gave Portland an early 10-4 advantage, during the play you can see Tyson Chandler yelling at Raymond Felton to pick up in transition, but Felton had no clue Batum was coming his way, and didn’t even have time to turn his head to react. Felton defense has been especially horrid this year, and was showcased in the Bucks’ loss a couple night’s back, when he was beaten on a backdoor cut at a pivotal closing moments of the game.

There were a lot of good things to take away from the game, especially in the first half where it was a very competitive game against a top team in the league. The Blazers only led by one, after the first half, with the score 47-46. Carmelo Anthony was a big reason why, Anthony missed his first shot, then would proceed to make his next six in the first quarter good for 14 points, including a buzzer beating mid-range pull up jumper, making it 26-23 deficit at the end of the quarter. Tyson Chandler was doing a great job of guarding LaMarcus Aldridge, forcing him to take tough shots, the only shot he made in the first half was a tough fade away bank in jump shot. Aldridge was 1/7 in the first half, and finished the game, making only five field goals. Although Aldridge struggled with Chandler’s length guarding him, and the double teams that New York sent, he did get his teammates involved, collecting five assist in the game.

Other than the first quarter, where the Blazers shot 50%, the Knicks played really good defense. Constantly lowing Portland’s field goal percentage in every quarter, Blazers shot 40% in the second quarter, 37.5% in the third quarter and then 23.5% in the fourth quarter. This is especially encouraging to see because Portland has the league’s most potent offense at 107.7 points per game. The Blazers are also number one in most threes made per game at 9.4 three-point field goals made a game. New York was able to hold Portland below their averages in both categories Wednesday night.
Unfortunately the Knicks reverted back in their ways in the third quarter. Even with the Blazers dreadful shooting, the Knicks did not complete defensive possessions with a defensive rebound. The Blazers outhustled the Knicks, getting seven offensive rebounds in the third quarter. The Knicks also could not defend without fouling, sending Portland to the line constantly. Of course this isn’t new, because New York is the fourth most-foul prone team in the league at 22.3 personal fouls per game. New York doesn’t only foul, but commit dumb fouls, fouling jump shooters. J.R Smith fouled Aldridge trying to contest his shot, and then a minute later would foul on a three-point attempt by Dorell Wright. Portland would make New York pay on their transgressions, converted on all ten free throws.

J.R Smith might have committed some low IQ fouls, but he actually did play well. Smith made aggressive moves to the basket, and then would make the right pass when the defense collapse on him because he beat his initial defender. Smith and Amare Stoudemire made a good pairing in pick-and-roll, and pick-and-pop. Four of Smith’s six assist were to Stoudemire, where he threw down a couple of dunks, and knocked down a couple of open jump shots, created by Smith’s dribble penetration to the rim.

In the fourth quarter the Blazers continued to parade to the free throw line, converting 8/13. With 1:11 left in the game, it looked like Portland would walk out of New York with a sure victory, leading by 89-81, but back to back threes by the Knicks got New York within striking distances in a few seconds. With 50 seconds remaining in the game, Portland called a timeout up only one possession 89-87. Aldridge would hit a clutch fade away jumper that would eventually end up being the game winning jumper, as the Blazers hit their free throws down the stretch to secure the victory. It is of note that Anthony laid an egg in the fourth quarter, not scoring a single point in the final period, in a highly competitive game against such a quality opponent.