Post Game Recap
The Knicks look to finally be getting back on track as they pulled off an impressive victory against the Miami Heat Thursday, winning 102-92. This is the biggest win of the season for the Knicks as they were able to knock off the reigning champs in
The Knicks roster has been dealing with the flu bug as only four players were
healthy enough to practice yesterday but the whole team came out ready to play
today. With the victory the Knicks have won three in a row and four of their
last five in the regular season against the Heat. They will look to continue
their winning streak Saturday night against the Madison
Square Garden Philadelphia
76ers at in Philadelphia.
Player of the Game: Carmelo Anthony
Against his biggest rival and good friend LeBron James, Anthony showed up once again to help the Knicks get a huge win tonight. Anthony matched up with James throughout the night and was able to limit him because of the great team effort that was put forth by everyone on the court. James was forced into six turnovers as the Knicks made life as difficult as they could for him throughout the night. Anthony led the Knicks with 29 points (12-24 FG, 3-8 3pt, 2-3 FT), eight rebounds, five assists and two steals. Anthony’s efficiency on the offensive end is important when the Knicks play tougher opponents like the Heat and he did a good job getting into great positions to score tonight.
The guard play had been lacking throughout the early part of the season with Raymond Felton struggling through injuries and Iman Shumpert struggling with his shot. Tonight both were exceptional. Felton, in his second game back from his hamstring injury, scored 13 points and handed out a season-high 14 assists. Felton got into the paint at will against the Heat and was left open multiple times on the perimeter, taking advantage by knocking down jump shots. Shumpert continued his torrid perimeter shooting, knocking down 4-7 from the three point line, all of which that came in the third quarter. He also added nine rebounds and three assists to go with his 12 points. Tim Hardaway Jr. and Toure’ Murry gave the Knicks some energy and exciting minutes off the bench, punctuated by a put-back dunk by Hardaway Jr. over Ray Allen.
Amar’e Stoudemire gave the Knicks quite possibly his best effort of the season; he played so well Mike Woodson stuck with him down the final stretch of his game, leaving Kenyon Martin on the bench. Tonight Stoudemire dominated the glass, pulling down 11 rebounds and shooting extremely efficiently from the field, going 7-12 for 14 points. Stoudemire held down the scoring for the second unit tonight with J.R. Smith essentially being benched by Woodson.
Andrea Bargnani was able to score when given the opportunity which helped the Knicks immensely. With so much attention being given to Anthony, having Bargnani knock down shots early in the game helps immensely. Bargnani scored 10 points in the first quarter to set the tone and finished with 19 on 9-13 shooting from the field. He stuck to what was working tonight as he attempted no three pointers, the first time in his career he didn’t attempt at least one playing 35+ minutes. He also added five rebounds and some good defense on former teammate Chris Bosh, who was held to 3-10 shooting for the night.
The offense was pretty sluggish for the Knicks in the first half but they got it going in the final two quarters. The Knicks were able to outscore the Heat 59-44 in the second half as they got it going from the three point line. The Knicks started the game 1-11 from the three point line but knocked down eight of their last 13 attempts and shot 63 percent overall in the second half. Also, for a team that usually lives and dies by the perimeter shot, the Knicks dominated a good Heat defense in the paint. The Knicks were able to get easy scoring opportunities en route to 52 points in the paint.
Mike Woodson catches a lot of heat in these post game recaps but you have to give credit when credit is due. Tonight Woodson thoroughly out-coached Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra. It was an admirable job by Woodson to get this team ready tonight as he was unable to even have a half hearted practice yesterday as the Knicks only had four healthy players able to take part in practice. A lot of the Knicks players are ill because of the same upper respiratory Tyson Chandler is suffering from. The biggest surprise and best decision Woodson made was benching J.R. Smith. Smith was fined $50,000 for his shoe untying tactics and Woodson finally made a stand by benching Smith tonight. Woodson would not comment on the matter but it looks to have been a clear message being sent to Smith that if he doesn’t straight up his act he will not be a part of this as the Knicks showed tonight they can and will play well without him.
For the first time all season it could be argued nothing should go here. The Knicks put together their best all-around game of the season as everyone stepped up and did their job. Only one Knick, Hardaway Jr., had a negative +/- and the Heat only had one player, James, finish positive with a +1. The only negative from the game is how often Bargnani was switched onto James, but he did an admirable job whenever put into the tough situation. The big thing the Knicks need to concentrate on is how they come out Saturday against the 76ers. It is easy to get up and come out to play against one of the top NBA teams but that cannot be said when facing lower tiered teams. The Knicks win tonight against the Heat would mean nothing if they come out and lay an egg against the 76ers Saturday.