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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Strong 4th Quarter Pushes Knicks Past 76ers

By Kenneth Teape (@teapester725)

Monday, March 10th, 2014

Philadelphia 76ers vs. New York Knicks

Post Game Recap

The Knicks were able to run their winning streak to four games Monday night with a 123-110 victory. It was a total team effort for the Knicks, who got a little something from all the players who stepped on the court tonight to help get the win. The Knicks are now sole owners of ninth place in the Eastern Conference, percentage points ahead of the Detroit Pistons. They now sit 3 ½ games behind the Atlanta Hawks, who were able to hold on and defeat the Utah Jazz tonight. The Knicks will look to continue their strong play Wednesday against another divisional foe in the Boston Celtics.

Player of the Game: Amar’e Stoudemire
 
Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
Stoudemire has found his groove and is dominating for the Knicks. This is as close he has looked to the Stoudemire of his Phoenix Suns and first season with the Knicks days. Tonight he scored 23 points to go with six rebounds and one block. The impressive thing about his scoring output is that he did it on only 10 shots, making nine and connecting on five of eight free throws. Stoudemire is the most efficient scorer the Knicks have and he has shown time and time again when given the minutes he can still produce offensively. Recently Stoudemire has been playing better on the defensive end as well, enabling Mike Woodson to use him more minutes during the game.

-Positives


Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
Tim Hardaway Jr. looked to be hitting the rookie wall recently, shooting 27.7 percent from the field and 25 percent from three point range in March. Hardaway Jr. has not let that stop him from shooting as he continues to show confidence. Tonight it paid off, as he scored a team high 28 points on 9-13 from the field and 5-7 from the three point line. His scoring off the bench is much needed with J.R. Smith and Stoudemire being moved into the starting lineup.

Carmelo Anthony struggled with his shot, going 0-7 from the three point line, but was able to help in more ways tonight. He still scored 23 points, going 9-24 overall but made a big impact on the boards. Anthony grabbed a team-high nine rebounds and kept the ball moving offensively with five assists. When on the court Anthony is the center of attention for opposing defenses, so when he moves the ball and finds the open man it makes his stats look better and produces good things for the Knicks.

The Knicks offense was clicking all night. They shot 44-81 (54.3 percent) overall and 13-32 (40.6 percent) from the three point line. Of the 44 makes, 20 were assisted on. They were also able to get easy baskets in transition, scoring 21 fast break points. The offensive cohesion was on display as five Knicks scored in double-figures; Hardaway Jr, Stoudemire, Anthony and Smith, each scored over 20 points. Four players had at least three assists as well as the Knicks kept the ball moving and found good opportunities for each other to score.

The 76ers were able to score a lot of points, but the Knicks were able to cause some problems for them defensively, which helped them build their big lead in the second half. The Knicks forced 18 turnovers, 10 of which came on steals and also added six blocks as well. They were able to do just enough defensively to slow the 76ers down and get a much needed victory.

-Negatives

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
The 76ers came into tonight with a 16 game losing streak but you wouldn’t have known it in the first half. The game was tied at halftime and the Knicks did not open it up until the fourth quarter. Throughout the first half they allowed players such as Tony Wroten to build too much confidence and it resulted in a close game throughout the first three quarters. The Knicks cannot afford any losses to teams with records worse than them if they want to stay in the playoff race. Tonight would have been a much easier night for the Knicks had they shown the same effort through the first three quarters that they did in the fourth.


It didn’t hurt them as much tonight, but the Knicks need to improve their free throw shooting. Tonight they went 22-34, equaling an unsightly 64.7 percent. If the game was closer this would have been more of a problem. The Knicks cannot close out games if they struggle so mightily from the foul line.

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