By Kenneth Teape (@teapester725)
Wednesday, December 12th, 2013
Chicago Bulls vs. New York Knicks
Post Game Recap
It was an ugly game to watch at some points but the Knicks found a way to come away with a much needed victory. The Knicks defeated the Bulls 83-78 as they made it as difficult as ever on themselves to take home the win tonight. With the victory the Knicks move to 6-15 on the season and unbelievably within 2.5 games of first place in the Atlantic Division. The win will also give embattled head coach Mike Woodson some breathing room, at least for one night as his seat is seemingly as hot as anyone’s in the NBA.
Player of the Game: Amar’e Stoudemire
|Bruce Bennett/Getty Images|
Playing in his first back-to-back of the season Stoudemire looked outstanding tonight on both ends of the court. The last time Stoudemire played back-to-back games he ended up needing arthroscopic knee surgery; this time around that does not seem to be the case thankfully for the Knicks. He got the Knicks rolling in the second quarter, scoring eight points on 4-5 shots from the field, grabbing two rebounds and adding another highlight block in the process. He was as active on defense as ever this season, taking charges and registering two steals; he also made things very difficult for Joakim Noah throughout the night, getting multiple deflections. On the night securing Stoudemire scored 14 points on 7-11 shots, even knocking down some jump shots along the way, and nine rebounds. Stoudemire made the most important shot in the game with about two minutes remaining as he knocked down a jump shot to give the Knicks a two point lead and end their scoring draught. The most impressive thing for Stoudemire is that he looks to have survived the game without any setbacks. That’s huge for the Knicks that he is starting to look healthy because if he can produce like this with regularity the Knicks fortunes will begin to turn.
Carmelo Anthony gave the Knicks a strong game once again in the scoring and rebounding departments. Anthony scored a game high 30 points on 9-21 from the field (1-3 3pt, 11-12 FT) and a team high 10 rebounds; Anthony also led the Knicks with four assists on the night. Anthony scored nine of his 30 points in the fourth quarter, including seven of eight free throws in the last 1:29 to help secure a Knicks victory.
With Raymond Felton going to be sidelined for the foreseeable future the play of Pablo Prigioni and Beno Udrih will be very important. For at least one night the duo did well overall against a very stingy Bulls defense. Udrih off the bench was very impressive, knocking down 4-5 shots and giving the Knicks a boost in the second quarter. Prigioni did what he normally does in playing aggressive defense, getting four steals in the game. The Knicks once again assisted on over half of their shots as well, getting 17 on 31 shots made. If they can continue assisting on a high percentage of shots the offense will continue to progress in a positive direction. They were both catalysts in a season high 19-0 run the Knicks went on in the first half.
The defensive intensity was there for the Knicks all night as the Bulls got nothing easy outside of a rocky Knicks finish to the third quarter. On the night the Bulls shot an unsightly 33.3 percent (24-72) and only 28.6 percent from the three point line (6-21). No one on the Bulls was able to get a hot hand throughout the game as they did most of their damage at the free throw line, where they knocked down 24-29 (82.8 percent) attempts. The Knicks also forced the Bulls into 22 turnovers, getting 16 steals. It was a big reason the Knicks were able to build a 23 point lead in the first half.
Kenyon Martin’s stats don’t always jump off the stat sheet but he is as important as any player throughout the Knicks victories. Kenyon Martin set the tone tonight for the Knicks without even making a basket because of his effort on the defensive end and on the boards. Martin grabbed seven rebounds, two steals and blocked four shots as his minutes on the court were as productive as anyone’s tonight; he finished the game with a +16. Martin gets the crowd into the games with his intensity and it is something the Knicks certainly lacked in the last two losses the Knicks suffered as Martin was not available to play.
|Bruce Bennett/Getty Images|
Iman Shumpert was forced from the game after knocking knees with Mike Dunleavy Jr. in the third quarter. Shumpert limped off the court and was unable to return to the game. The knee Shumpert banged was the one he tore his ACL in two seasons ago during the playoffs and had surgery on this offseason. Right now it is being listed as a day-to-day injury and being called a bruise; his status for Friday night’s game is uncertain at this time.
J.R Smith continues to make boneheaded plays and not be held accountable for them. With the Knicks losing control of the game Smith made an inexplicable foul, shoving Kirk Hinrich to the ground in front of Dunleavy attempting a three-point attempt. The Bulls got free throws because of it and Smith was benched, but he was subbed back into the game down the closing stretch. Woodson obviously trusts Smith over rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. but at some point Smith has to be held accountable for his actions as they have a negative impact on the rest of the team. Smith did in the game to get put back in other than the only replacement for him being a rookie as he shot 2-8 from the field (1-5 3pt, 2-2 FT), turning the ball over two times and committing four fouls. Smith is an integral part of the Knicks and getting things together would go a long way in them turning around a poor season.
When the Bulls stepped the pressure up, specifically in the fourth quarter, the Knicks crumbled. They struggled getting the ball over half court and had such little time on the shot clock once they did they just dumped the ball to Anthony and stood around watching him. This enabled the Bulls to get back into the game, even tying it in the last minutes of the fourth quarter. Anthony and Stoudemire did just enough to get the Knicks a win tonight but they cannot be relied upon every game as everyone else just stands around watching. They abandoned the ball movement that had gotten them the big lead and doing so almost resulted in a loss.