Written by William Lee
Raymond Felton made his return to the Knicks after missing the last four games with some nerve complications in his hip. At first Felton looked out of sync with his teammates committing two quick turnovers, but quickly got back on track, finishing the game with 12 points and 7 assist. Blake Griffin got into early foul trouble, picking up his second foul before the half way mark of the first quarter. With the Clippers’ superstar forward on the bench, the Clippers united as a group to take a 29-27 first quarter lead. The Clippers had eight players score by the end of the first quarter. Carmelo Anthony and Andrea Bargnani got off to a quick start, both finishing in double digit scoring by the end of the first quarter predicated by the Knicks better ball movement. The Knicks finished the first quarter with eight assist on eleven made field goals.
Basketball is a game of runs, and the second quarter featured three prolonged runs. The Clippers opened up the second quarter on an 11-2 run to take a 40-29 lead with 8:20 remaining in the second quarter. The Knicks then went on a 13-0 run to regain the lead 42-40, during this run the Clippers took and missed four straight threes. The Clippers then went on a 9-3 run to end the first half leading 49-45. During the two prolonged Clippers’ runs there was one common denominator; Amare Stoudemire was in the game defending the paint for the Knicks. The first Clipper run ended when Stoudemire was substituted out at 8:13, and then the Clippers went on the run to end the quarter when Stoudemire checked back into the game at 3:37 left in the first half. Whenever Stoudemire was in the game, there was a clear path to the rim, he was completely lost on defense. He finished the first quarter with a +/- of -21, as compared to the current best Knicks defender Kenyon Martin, who had a +17 at the end of the first half. Overall Stoudemire finished the game with an even worse+/- at an astonishing -29, while Martin was by far the best Knick in +/- staying at +17. Continue reading