Ben KopelmanEvery Knicks fan struggles with the optimistic angel on one shoulder (we got Eddy Curry!) and the ever-depressing devil on the other (we still have Eddy Curry??!!). After each week this season, we will offer up the positives and negatives of the last seven days in Knicks-land to help sort it all out and put your mind at ease.
Record during the week: 2-2
Game results: Loss @ Cleveland (109-94); Win vs. Chicago (83-78); Loss @ Boston (90-86); Win vs. Atlanta (111-106).
Overall record / Games Behind: 7-16, 3 GB
Melo: Continuing to do him. A monster line on Saturday night of 35/6/4 on 59% from the field. Could spend 1,000 posts applauding Melo’s effort and production this season.
Tim Hardaway Jr.: TH Jr. is by far the Knicks’ best player with the name “JR” right now. TH Jr. is playing with the confidence the team expects from its veteran players, not necessarily its rookies, and his minutes should continue to grow. Mental lapses will happen, that is part of the package, but his energy is a huge asset, even when it crosses the line into overexcited and turnover-happy. His numbers do not jump off the page — highlighted by 4/7 for 9 points in Cle, 5/10 for 13 against the Hawks — but anybody who watches the games can tell there is a bounce in his step from the second he enters the game. Hopefully it proves infectious.
Amar’e: No Knick has done a bigger 180 over the first months of the season than Amar’e. There was talk of this guy never seeing the floor again — this season or otherwise — as recently as a few weeks ago. But over the last two weeks, Amar’e has been given more minutes and has in turn produced at a much higher clip. He is abusing backup bigs, and continues to play meaningful minutes down the stretch in Woodson’s ever changing end-of-game rotation. Amidst an underwhelming and downright disappointing season thus far, Amar’e resurgence has been the lone bright spot.
J.R. Smith: Remember when this guy was good? Even better, remember when Mike Woodson had gotten through to him? Distant memories. J.R. continues to look disinterested and ineffective out there. Throw in the report that your 6th Man of the Year showed up his coach and his team by refusing to shoot in a game the night after being called out for taking such bad shots and you have 2013 J.R. in a nutshell. It is hard to believe this is the first time J.R. has been hit with that lecture considering, well, his career has been based off bad shot selection. I have little patience for this guy at this point. He proved to be an invaluable scorer when he put his head down and drove to the hoop and yet he continues to refuse to do as much and instead settle for dribble-dribble-huck jumpers that never look good, even when they go down. Get on board, J.R., or get out already. The drama really is not that interesting.
Raymond Felton: Not to kick a guy when he is down, but sometimes a player’s conditioning (see: being fat) make his injuries harder to empathize. Felton has been playing through a nagging hamstring injury for the better part of the season, but part of me wonders if he simply has had bad luck thus far or whether his lack of, how do you say, being in shape, makes him a prime injury candidate. Throw in the fact that Prig’s play has the team moving the ball better than anytime Felton has been running the team, and this was a bad week for everything Ray-related.
THE WALT CLYDE
Star to the Children: During Wednesday’s broadcast, Walt began reminiscing about his days as a young buck celebrity in New York City, when children used to run up to him in the streets and clamor to carry his bags. Imagine if instead of getting a flashbulb forced into your face, Celebrity Row Knicks’ fans were instead approached by people begging to help them with their groceries? Thanks for reminding us of simpler times, Walt.
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