Post Game Recap
|Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports|
The New York Knicks were able to grind out a tough, hard earned victory Sunday night against the Golden State Warriors. The Knicks finally looked like a team fighting for their playoff lives as they put the effort and energy in to beat a superior team. The Knicks were able to take control of the game in the second quarter, and would not relinquish it throughout the second half. They bended but did not break as the Knicks were able to pull out the victory. With the win, the Knicks are now one game behind the Atlanta Hawks for eighth place in the Eastern Conference. The Knicks will look to finish the road trip 3-2 Monday night against the Utah Jazz before heading back home.
Player of the Game: The Bench
The bench has been much maligned for the Knicks recently, but tonight they were the catalysts to get the lead in the second quarter. Pablo Prigioni was inserted into the game and brought a different mentality to the team on both ends of the court. He was extremely aggressive and showed leadership by getting into his teammates when they were not in the correct positions. Prigioni wasn’t alone, as Tim Hardaway Jr. delivered a much needed scoring punch off the bench with 15 points. Iman Shumpert may not have shot the ball well, but he was able to stymie the Warriors explosive backcourt when he was in the game. Shannon Brown even gave the Knicks something without playing much in the game, getting the game sealing steal and knocking down two free throws after a clear path foul was called.
|EPA/John G. Mabanglo Corbis Out|
Amar’e Stoudemire has remained positive no matter how bleak the situation, and tonight he backed up his talk. Stoudemire was a monster on the boards tonight, grabbing a game-high 13 rebounds, six of which were offensive. Stoudemire also delivered some timely baskets, scoring 15 points and knocking down two clutch free throws to give the Knicks a two point lead late in the fourth quarter.
With Carmelo Anthony in foul trouble throughout the first half, the Knicks needed someone to step up and that person was J.R. Smith. Smith poured in 19 points in the first half, carrying the Knicks with Anthony on the sidelines. Smith and Hardaway Jr. combined to score the last 15 points of the first half for the Knicks as they got in transition for easy baskets and knocked down perimeter jump shots.
Raymond Felton is picked apart nightly because of how poor his defense is, but credit needs to be given to him for forcing a turnover on the last possession of the game. Felton forced Stephen Curry to make a tough pass, which was stolen by Brown. Felton denied Curry the ball extremely well the final couple of possessions, and should be lauded for the defensive effort he put in tonight to seal the victory.
The Knicks struggles defensively have been well known, and where they struggle most nights is defending the perimeter. Teams have torched the Knicks from the three-point line, but tonight they defended it rather well. They lost Curry a couple of times, as he went 6-12 from deep but the rest of the Warriors combined for only 4-19. One player the Knicks held in check well was the other Splash Brother, Klay Thompson. Thompson struggled with his shot all night, making 3-11 from beyond the arc and 6-18 overall.
|EPA/John G. Mabanglo Corbis Out|
After allowing 32 points in the first quarter and looking to be well on their way to another blowout loss, the Knicks defense really stepped up. The remaining three quarters the Warriors scored only 52 points. This is a team that averages 103.4 points per game on the season, being held to what they normally would score in a half, the final three quarters of the game tonight.
It was announced after the game that Anthony had x-rays on his left hand. There is no particular time announced of when he got hurt, but it something the Knicks cannot afford at this point in the season. The x-rays came back negative, but it is something to definitely keep an eye on for tomorrow as the Knicks will get right back at it against the Jazz.