Tommy DeeAs we’ve often discussed the Knicks keep adding checkmarks next to their preseason goals. Last night they were able to check off “first round victory”, something you know both Carmelo Anthony and Mike Woodson are ecstatic about. Whether they admit it or not they most definitely were tight.
But that’s behind them now. I honestly expect Melo to come out and be a completely different player against Indiana. Sure the Pacers are younger, but I’m hesitant to call them better than the Celtics. And they definitely don’t have the best player on the floor. We’ll focus more on the Pacers as I study more tape but let’s focus more on what is a huge win for this franchise and for the franchise player.
Melo was shaky again last night but thankfully for him Pablo Prigioni wasn’t early. Mike Woodson inexplicably sat Prigs in Game 5 but leaned on him in Game 6 and that was great news for the Knicks as he banged down huge 3s early on allowing for the Knicks to take a huge collective sigh of relief. Thanks to Prigs as well as Tyson Chandler the Knicks got out early and that’s a major positive. I don’t know what the numbers are but I’d be very comfortable confidently saying the Knicks are the best team in the NBA with the lead. Last night wasn’t really indicative of what they’ve done all season as they didn’t shoot particularly well in the second half, but when the get the lead early they are very tough to beat because of their amount of shot makers.
Add Iman Shumpert to that list by the way. The kid has been absolutely tremendous the past 3 games and his late steal crushed massive Celtics momentum. It is plays like that which build your playoff legacy and brand you in the minds of Knicks fans. Many of us could care less about regular season performances…the playoffs are a completely different sport. I have zero problem saying that the Knicks made the right decision by not entertaining a deal for Shump at the deadline.
Be happy Knicks fans. This is an important step for the franchise. Enjoy it today and let’s get back at it tomorrow.
I expect a much different Melo next series.