Intense defense, accurate shooting and high-energy—those were the ever-present hallmarks in the first half of Wednesday night’s 83-78 victory over the Chicago Bulls. But as the game wore on, the ball movement ceased, the offense sputtered and the Knicks saw the Chicago Bulls erase a 23-point deficit before Amar’e Stoudemire saved the day with just over two minutes remaining in a tied-game.
It’s time to give Tour’e Murry a shot
With Raymond Felton nursing a hamstring injury and Iman Shumpert exiting the game with what the Knicks are calling a “bruised knee,” Pablo Prigioni and Beno Udrih may be counted on to play heavy minutes.
That may not be a good thing.
All too often and particularly down the stretch of tight games, the Knicks offense sputters to a screeching halt. Ball movement and player movement slows significantly and Carmelo Anthony gets much of the blame. But down the stretch against the Bulls, as Tom Thibodeau’s team zealously erased a seemingly insurmountable lead, Prigioni—certainly exhausted en route to playing 21 of the game’s 24 second-half minutes—had noticeable trouble getting the ball across the half-line against the Bulls’ younger defenders.
As a result, many of the Knicks’ final possessions resulted in Prigioni not getting rid of the ball until there were sometimes as little as seven seconds remaining on the shot clock. When a play-initiating pass occurs after 14-16 seconds have elapsed off of the shot clock, a play is likely to fail, especially if Anthony is being guarded by plus-defenders.
He often gets criticized for not passing enough, and sometimes, he does play selfishly. But down the stretch against the Bulls, Anthony did not make many passes because he simply did not have time.
In point guard fashion, with that problem, Tour’e Murry can assist.
Simply saying that Amar’e Stoudemire played his best game of the season on Wednesday in the Knicks’ 83-78 win over the Chicago Bulls would not do his effort justice.
Playing the second end of a back-to-back for the first time this season, Stoudemire saved the Knicks. He saved them from yet another embarrassing home loss in a game they once led by 23 points.
Having already played a mostly productive 25 minutes, Knicks head coach Mike Woodson put Stoudemire back in the game with 4:44 to play and the Knicks leading, 74-70.
The game was tied at 74 after a Joakim Noah tip-in, but with 2:34 left, Stoudemire hit an 18-foot jumper to break the tie and give the Knicks the lead for good.
That jumper topped a highly-encouraging 14-point, 9-rebound effort in a season-high 30 minutes after he played 27 on Tuesday evening at the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“It was great, to be out there playing in a desperation game down the stretch, it feels good, I’ll tell you that much,” Stoudemire said. “A lot of hard work has been put in this year to get back in top shape.”
Tonight at MSG, the Knicks beat the Bulls by a score of 83-78
The Least You Should Know:
The Knicks looked like a real basketball team tonight. For three quarters. Next time, let’s go for a full four.
Melo started out hot and played well throughout, finishing with 30 and 10, 4 dimes and and 3 steals.
Amar’e played in his first back-to-back set of the season. After notching 15 and 5 last night, he stayed hot with 14 and 9 in 30 minutes tonight. If STAT can dominate backup big men, the Knicks’ second unit might be able to keep this team in some games.
The Knicks defense came to play, holding the Bulls to 32 first half points. Sadly, however, they stayed in the locker room at halftime and the Knicks barely held on for the win.
Led by Prigioni and Kenyon Martin, the team decided to try something new tonight and actually play some defense. Surprise surprise, it worked. The Bulls shot 33% on the night while the Knicks tallied 7 blocks.
Speaking of Prig, it is impossible to ignore how much better the team plays with him running the show. Aside from hitting a few threes, he just runs a better show out there. Whether Felton is Injured, fat or just out of it — whatever the reason, give Prig the keys moving forward.
Other than defense and Prig, the story of this game was STAT. Playing in his first back-to-back, he looked like a solid role player who can score against second-team bigs. I refuse to get too excited about it just yet, but if he can find his rhythm…
Shumpert knocked knees in the third quarter, forcing the team to call a timeout to make sure he was ok. He did not return with what was reported to be a bruised right knee.
I have been hating all season, so I will give dap when dap is due: JR went to the hoop on consecutive possessions in the third. First he made a nice dribble-drive-pass to Bargnani who finished with a flush, and then got fouled and got two freebies. That he 1. went to the hoop instead of settling for an off-balanced pull-up and 2. passed the ball to an open man were sights for sore fans’ eyes. That said, he also had a horrible foul amidst the Bulls’ fourth quarter run which earned him a seat on the bench, so, we are not exactly there yet.
The Bulls are far from a complete team right now, and have no guard play to speak of, and yet still managed to go on a huge second half run that made this game far closer than it should have been. The fact that the Bulls had nobody to lean on for a bucket down the stretch was a big help tonight.
But you can only beat who you play, and for the 6-win Knicks, I think we all agree: we’ll take it.
Next Game: The Knicks next game comes Friday night, as the team travels to Boston to play the Celtics at 7:30pm.
Tonight at 8pm, the Knicks host the Chicago Bulls at MSG.
The Knicks (5-15) are currently a bad basketball team. Expecting them all of a sudden to be a good one is baseless.
That said, the Bulls (8-11) hobble into New York as injured as a team can be. Aside from Rose being done for the year, Chicago was missing Deng, Butler and Noah last night. Depending on how many of those guys are back tonight, the Knicks might even stand a chance.
Felton re-injured his hamstring last night and is unlikely to play. Prigioni will start in his steed assuming he cannot go. Even with Martin likely available, Amar’e will try and play in his first back-to-back of the season.
Prior to the season, there were already whispers Carmelo Anthony would be a target of the Los Angeles Lakers when the All-Star forward hits free agency at season’s end.
After a 5-15 start, the whispers are getting louder.
On ESPN New York 98.7 FM radio earlier this week, Stephen A. Smith said Anthony is going to flea New York City as long as the Knicks remain on this losing path.
“More than anything else I’ve heard … Carmelo Anthony is gone,” Smith said. “Ain’t no way in h**l he’s staying here (in New York). I’m hearing he’s out. Unless the money disappears elsewhere — because he definitely wants to get paid — he’s not trying to stay here for this.”
Smith added a caveat: the Knicks’ front office could make a move to turn things around, whether it’s a major win streak or replacing coach Mike Woodson.
Asked about Smith’s comments, Anthony told Newsday that he has not made up his mind about his future in New York just yet.
The reality is Anthony is going to deny any rumors about wanting to get out of New York or his next possible team. Could you imagine if LeBron James said he was considering moving to South Beach to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh midway through his final year with Cleveland?
There’s no glaring riff between Anthony and Woodson, at least not one that has made any headlines. But obviously a 5-15 start and a pair of lopsided losses at the hands of the Celtics and Cavaliers can’t be too good for the Knicks’ chances of retaining Anthony. The Knicks should be an Eastern Conference contender, and while they were projected to take a step back from the No. 2 seed this year, nobody could have seen such a drastic decline.
It’s hard to believe that this is where the Knicks are in the season. Sitting at 5-15 after another brutal loss last night to the Cavaliers, things seem to be spiraling out of control. The time has come to turn to the man who was once credited with saving the franchise. When no superstar would consider the toxic environment in New York, he came. Now, the time has come to unleash Amar’e Stoudemire.
This season, Stoudemire has averaged 15.3 minutes per game and in that time, he’s been more than productive. He’s averaging 6.2 points, shooting above 50% and isn’t disappearing on the defensive side of the ball the way he has in years past. What the Knicks need is more Stoudemire.
Last season, in 29 games, he averaged 23.5 minutes and in the seasons prior to that he was always above 30 per game. Now that it appears he is healthy, it’s time to let the guy play. Sure it could mean that he’ll break down at the end of the season, but at this point, there might not be anything to play for.
I’d go as far as to start Stoudemire. It will give the team a little bit of a spark, and doing this against the Bulls, at Madison Square Garden tonight, could be just what the doctor ordered. He’d have to come out early, probably playing about 25 minutes, but his attitude and aggressiveness has been clear as day and is desperately needed from the opening tip. He’s playing with a vigor and fight that Knicks fans remember only as a distant memory.
Against the Cavaliers on Tuesday night, Amar’e put up 15 points on 7 for 10 in 27 minutes. If Mike Woodson can start to lean on his production at that pace, it could be a big help for the rest of the team. Especially if he gets inside and finishes the way he has been. It will open things up on the outside and keep things moving in an offense that tends to get stagnant.
The other thing Stoudemire can bring to the table is leadership. While we get on Carmelo Anthony for not making the team around him better, he’s doing everything he can to lead by example. Stoudemire can do the same. He’s a competitor through and through and if he can take a little pressure off Anthony, it would be another boost to the struggling team.
Stoudemire has looked great. Now I’m asking for a little bit more. Let’s get him the ball. Let’s put him out there for 25 minutes a night and while we’re at it, why not give him the start at the Garden tonight!
The Knicks (5-15) fell to the Cavaliers (8-13) tonight at Quicken Loans Arena, 109-94.
The Least You Should Know
The Knicks again opened the game flat. The starters combined for 22 points and not one player had a positive +/- mark.
Starting in place of the injured Kenyon Martin, Metta World Peace did not record a point or rebound in the first half. Iman Shumpert was scoreless as well.
Cleveland began to separate in the third quarter, scoring 33 points as the Knicks’ offense continued to sputter.
Aside from Carmelo Anthony and Andrea Bargnani, the Knicks’ starting five produced 10 points.
The Cavaliers have been dominant at home of late, beating the likes of the Los Angeles Clippers, Chicago Bulls and Denver Nuggets in recent days. And they continued to exercise their home-court advantage with a 109-94 blowout of the visiting Knicks and handing them a second consecutive lopsided loss
The Knicks, days removed from the most lopsided loss of the NBA season against the Boston Celtics, again game out of the locker lethargic. Neither Iman Shumpert or Metta World Peace, who started in place of the injured Kenyon Martin, scored a point through the first three quarters. The duo combined for four total points.
Yet again, Carmelo Anthony was the only player in blue and orange to show up in Cleveland Tuesday night. He scored a team-high 29 points and eight rebounds. Andrea Bargnani had 11 points, but made just 5-of-17 shots.
Kyrie Irving was a force for the Cavaliers, dropping a game-high 37 points and dominating his matchup against Raymond Felton. Irving also had a game-high 11 assists, one fewer than the entire Knicks starting five.
After being humiliated by the Celtics days earlier, it may be even more discerning to see the Knicks come out this flat. One has to wonder how much longer Mike Woodson is on the sidelines.
Next game: The Knicks play host to the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 8 p.m.
Tonight at 7 p.m., the New York Knicks take on the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena.
After reeling off back-to-back wins against the Brooklyn Nets and Orlando Magic, the Knicks (5-14) suffered one of the most lopsided losses in franchise history to the Boston Celtics.
The Cavaliers (7-13) lost all three contests to the Knicks last season, which was the first time since the 1993-94 season. But Cleveland has won three of its last four games against the likes of the Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets and Chicago Bulls. All three of those victories came at home, too.
This season both teams are posting similar numbers. The Knicks averaged two more points per game (94 ppg) and the Cavs allow about two more points (100 ppg).
Projected starters (NY): Raymond Felton, Iman Shumpert, Kenyon Martin., Carmelo Anthony, Andrea Bargnani