Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Knicks Hold On Despite 4th Quarter Struggles

By Kenneth Teape (@teapester725)

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

Detroit Pistons vs. New York Knicks

Post Game Recap

The Knicks did not make it easy on themselves but they were able to knock off the Pistons at MadisonSquare Garden 89-85 Tuesday night, ending their four game home losing streak in the process. The Knicks led by 15 to start the fourth quarter and allowed the Pistons to come all the way back but were able to hold them off for the win. The win tonight marks only the second time this season the Knicks have put together consecutive wins; the first came December 5th and 6th against the Brooklyn Nets and Orlando Magic.  The Knicks will take the victory, albeit it ugly, as the Knicks will face some of their stiffest competition Thursday in the defending champion Miami Heat.

Player of the Game: Carmelo Anthony
Jim McIsaac
If not for Anthony the result of the game tonight easily could have been in the Pistons favor. Anthony would not let it happen as he willed the Knicks to a win tonight with a game high 34 points. Anthony shot the ball efficiently, shooting 13-24 overall from the field, including a scorching 6-7 from behind the three-point line. Anthony was the catalyst in the third quarter to get the Knicks in control of the game as he nailed three straight three pointers in the middle of a 15-0 Knicks run. He added a fast break dunk to punctuate the run. Anthony helped the Knicks ice the game playing outstanding one-on-one defense against Josh Smith on the Pistons last offensive possession and grabbed the offensive rebound off Raymond Felton’s missed free throw with seven seconds left. He added four rebounds, two assists, four steals and one block on the night to round out his stat line.


Andrea Bargnani was faced with a tough assignment going against an outstanding rebounding team but he held his own in the game. Bargnani finished the game with a team high 11 rebounds and the highest +/- on the team with +17. The Knicks were very productive with Bargnani on the court as he also added a little scoring, putting in 13 points on 6-13 shooting. It would have been encouraging to see Bargnani score a little more but the fight he showed on the glass made up for it.

Without Kenyon Martin it is hard to imagine the Knicks even having as many wins as they have this season. The intensity and tone he brings to the game is matched by no one on this team; when he is on the court good things happen. Tonight was one of those nights once again as Martin stepped into the starting lineup for Tyson Chandler and they didn’t miss a beat. Martin scored six points, pulled down seven rebounds and handed out five assists. Any production Martin gives on the offensive end is an added bonus.

Jim O'Connor/USA TODAY Sports
Raymond Felton returned form his hamstring injury tonight and looked to be in great shape. He got into the paint and attacked the basket with ease in the opening quarter, making for easy scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates. He finished the game with 12 points (4-9 overall, 1-2 3pt, 3-4 FT), two rebounds and six assists. Felton did start to fatigue down the stretch but was able to make it through the game without re-aggravating any injuries.

Iman Shumpert didn’t have the gaudy scoring numbers or an insane scoring stretch like on the Texas road trip but he still had an impact on the game tonight. Shumpert grabbed six rebounds, dished five assists and came away with two steals. The most impressive thing he did on the night was hold Brandon Jennings in check even though he had some early foul trouble. Jennings, who has killed the Knicks throughout his career, especially at Madison Square Garden, was held to five points on 2-12 shooting. The Knicks played solid defense overall on the night, holding the Pistons to 37.2 percent shooting for the game.


At this point the Knicks cannot be picky about wins but this one they were lucky to come away with. Outside of Anthony the Knicks offense was abysmal, combining to score only 55 points on 35.1 percent shooting (20-57 from the field, 3-19 3pt). The Knicks will need a better performance from their supporting cast Thursday night or else the Heat will run them off the court.

Al Bello/Getty Images
It is never easy when you don’t have your starting center but the Knicks got hammered on the boards tonight. The Pistons man handled the Knicks in the rebounding department, out rebounding the Knicks 54-38. Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe has their way in the paint, grabbing 17 and 11 rebounds respectively as the Knicks had no ways of slowing them down.

The fourth quarter let down by the Knicks is unacceptable. Jennings has questioned his team before, saying they give up too easily but tonight they fought until the very end; it was the Knicks who looked to pack it in being up 15 entering the final quarter. The Knicks need to stop reverting back to bad habits as the offense stalled. The combination of isolation plays being called and Felton losing steam because his conditioning is not up to par yet resulted in a disastrous fourth quarter fort he Knicks that saw them get outscored 27-16.

Mike Woodson still does not seem to put this team in the best position to win with the rotations and lineups he decides on. Tonight Felton was pushed to the max and it almost cost the Knicks as he had two costly turnovers while the Pistons mounted their comeback. Also J.R. Smith somehow was able to get 30 minutes of playing time again giving the Knicks almost no impact; he finished with only six points and -10. The Knicks will also fall into luls like in the fourth quarter as Woodson continues to show blind loyalties to certain players.  

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