Early on in the first quarter it was a battle of tag teams between the duos of J.R. Smith and Amare Stoudemire, and the combination of Deron Williams and Joe Johnson. Smith and Stoudemire combined to score the first 16 points for New York, with each scoring eight points to help keep pace with the Brooklyn Nets, tying the game up at 16-16, eight minutes into the game. Deron Williams answered with a driving layup, giving him nine points in the opening quarter, who was one-half of the Net’s tag team attack, with Joe Johnson scoring seven points to compliment his backcourt-mate.
You don’t have to be an expert oddsmaker to understand the Knicks chances of winning these days. For example, one look at these official lines for NBA betting tell that story. But we could all tell that the Knicks, Shumpert in particular, wanted this one. With both teams exchanging punches, Knicks tagged in Iman Shumpert. Shumpert came off the bench, giving the Knicks a huge spark with his defensive intensity. Shumpert stole the ball twice within the last 17.9 seconds of the first quarter, leading to a Carmelo Anthony dunk, and then a Tim Hardaway Jr. buzzer beating three, giving the Knicks a 29-20 lead at the end of the first quarter. This run bridged into the second quarter, where it was extended to a 20-2 run, giving New York a 39-22 lead with 8:29 left in the first half.
Shumpert continued to put his imprints on the game, when he grabbed an offensive rebound, taking the ball back out to size up Mirza Teletovic, where he then put the moves on Teletovic, going behind the back on him for a reverse layup! This gave New York a 45-30 lead with 6:16 remaining in the quarter. A minute later Shumpert would disrupt Marcus Thornton’s pass to the post, collecting his fourth steal in the first half, and then running out for an and-one opportunity. Continue reading