On Thursday night, we learned something very important about this Knicks team.
While things are still bad and they still only have four wins, the Knicks are capable of scoring and are capable of winning. Keep in mind that the win was against the Brooklyn Nets, who play about as much defense as the Dallas Cowboys (worst ranked defense in the NFL). But still, winning is winning.
The game itself was a blowout. Halfway through the first quarter, you could see how the game was going to play out. The Knicks were hitting every shot they took and were playing hard on defense. They shot an incredible 57% from the field and an even more impressive 59% from behind the arc. Carmelo Anthony led the team with 19 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists, while a number of others scored in double digits. Even Amar’e Stoudemire looked great (5-for-6 from the field).
What a game like this does, is show the team what it feels like to win again. After nine straight losses, the team needed to win a game in convincing fashion and do it without getting 30 points from Anthony. Instead, it was a balanced attack, with Iman Shumpert playing a much larger role. He often pulled down a rebound and then sped up the court, pushing the Knicks to play a faster, more Knicks-style of basketball. His energy effected the entire team.
Finally, there was Andrea Bargnani and Kevin Garnett’s little spat. They got tangled up on an awkward play and a few minutes later, Bargnani hit a three right in Garnett’s face. As they were running up the court, they exchanged words and Bargnani was immediately thrown out of the game by Joe Crawford. This had almost no effect on the game except that it infused a little bit more juice.
Hopefully, this was a preview of what this matchup will look like in late January when the teams may be back on track and occupying the No. 1 and 2 spots in the Atlantic Division.
“It was like the Knicks of old.”
-Mike Woodson after last nights win against the Nets
As simple as this quote is, it is the truth. The Knicks came out firing last night and looked like the Knicks from one year ago. They fired threes at will, and scored both inside and outside. While it was against the Nets who have the unique ability to play no defense, it was a step in the right direction for the struggling team.
The Knicks (4-13) beat the Nets (5-14) tonight at the Barclays Center by a score of 113-83.
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The Knicks dominated right from the get go, shooting almost 60% from behind the arc.
Five Knicks scored in double digits, including Iman Shumpert, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Carmelo Anthony who led the team with 19 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists.
The Nets were the team that we had heard about over the last few weeks. They played very little defense and let the Knicks score at will both inside and outside.
Andrea Bargnani and Kevin Garnett got into it in the second half and Bargnani was later ejected by Joe Crawford after hitting a 3-pointer in Garnett’s face.
Amare Stoudemire played a fantastic game, shooting 5 for 6 from the field and adding an explosiveness that we haven’t seen since the middle of last year.
After dropping each of the last two games by a combined six points, the Knicks finally broke through to snap their nine-game losing streak with a convincing 113-83 victory against the crosstown rival Nets.
Led by Carmelo Anthony and a season-best performance from Iman Shumpert, the Knicks (4-13) ran over the Nets (5-14) with a dominant second half. And while no player may say it, ending the losing streak against the Nets may be especially sweet.
New York finally found a rhythm with its perimeter shooting, connecting a season-best 16 3-pointers for a 59-percent mark. Last season the Knicks not only led the NBA in made 3s but set a league record with their total.
One key contributor in that area was Shumpert, the subject of numerous trade rumors. Shumpert made five buckets — all from downtown — and finished with a season-high 17 points. Shumpert scored 18 points in the past two contests combined.
Anthony continued to post stellar numbers, as he scored 19 points and grabbed a team-high 10 boards in the victory. Anthony averaged 36 points and 10 rebounds against the Nets last year.
Four of the Knicks’ starting five and a pair of bench players scored in double-digits Thursday night, exploiting a Brooklyn team surrendering 105 points per game. Andrea Bargnani, Raymond Felton, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Amare Stoudemire each reached double-figures as the Knicks put forth their second-highest scoring output of the season.
Bargnani was ejected in the fourth quarter, but left to a crowd roaring in his support of his defense of Nets forward Kevin Garnett. You read that correctly — Knicks fans cheered for Bargnani.
Brook Lopez continued his dominance of the Knicks. Lopez, who averaged 17-10 vs. New York in 2012-13, had a team-high 24-9 tonight. Joe Johnson added 13, while Garnett posted 6-6.
Next game: The Knicks play host to the Orlando Magic Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Tonight at 7 p.m. ET the Knicks face the crosstown rival Nets at the Barclays Center. Both the Knicks (3-13) and Nets (5-13) enter this game as — how Carmelo Anthony so eloquently put it — the “laughing stock” of the NBA.
The Knicks have dropped nine straight games, and according to reports, a 10th — against the Nets — could cost Mike Woodson his job. More troubling for the Knicks offense, which is averaging 92 points per game during the skid, is that J.R. Smith may not see the court, should Woodson opt to rest his shooter.
The Nets will be without Paul Pierce, who is out about two weeks with a broken bond in his hand, and Deron Williams, who has been sidelined by a sprained left ankle. Brooklyn has lost three of their last five, and last year split the season series with New York 2-2.
NY: Raymond Felton, Iman Shumpert, Carmelo Anthony, Kenyon Martin, Andrea Bargnani
BK: Tyshawn Taylor, Joe Johnson, Alan Anderson, Kevin Garnett, Brook Lopez
The Knicks suck. The Nets suck. We all know these things are true.
But teams turn things around in every sport and often times very quickly. Thursday night, the two teams square off in Brooklyn, in what was supposed to be not only a battle for first place, but a battle for New York. Instead, the two teams are playing to stay out of the basement in the Eastern Conference.
Currently, the Boston Celtics sit in first place with a whopping eight (8!) wins. The Knicks are just three games behind them statistically. The Nets are one game better, at two games back. That means that a hot streak of just one or two weeks lands them not only at the top of the Atlantic Division, but back in the playoffs. While things are bad, the team needs to be sat down and shown this on a huge white board. The division sucks and that is a huge advantage for the Knicks and Nets.
If the two teams played in, say the Northwest Conference, they’d be starring up at the Portland Trail Blazers who would be 10 games ahead of them. Not to mention, the Thunder would sit in between them and first place. If this were the case, the two teams that call New York home would be buried and both Jason Kidd and Mike Woodson would already be seeking new positions.
As it is, this is not the case. The teams play in a horrible division in the weaker of the two conferences. Making a run seems not only possible, but inevitable. Given the talent on the rosters, I don’t see a team outside of New York taking this mediocre division and hey, why can’t it be the Knicks?
Would anyone be shocked if the team strung a few wins together? After all, this team was supposed to compete for a title in 2013-14. While that might be a distant memory, first place is not. A win against Brooklyn could be the first of many steps in the right direction.
On the TKB Podcast, Harris Decker and Brian Erni (of SNYNets.com) made a little wager to put some juice back into Thursday’s Knicks vs. Nets matchup.
Here’s how this works:
If the Knicks win, Harris takes over the @SNYNets Twitter account for a day.
If the Nets win, Brian takes over the @TheKnicksBlog Twitter account for a day.
It’s the least we could to do help spice up the game between two miserable basketball teams…
At times, it appears as if the Knicks trot out a starting one — and that one, of course, is Carmelo Anthony.
Anthony has led the team in scoring and rebounds in each of the past two games, both resulting in losses by a combined six points.
In the past five games, ‘Melo is averaging 27 points per game for an offense averaging 92 points per game during the nine-game losing skid. Anthony has led the Knicks in scoring in each of their 16 games through the season.
Anthony is making a concerted effort on the boards as well. In the past five games Anthony has averaged about nine rebounds per game and has led the team in that category twice in the past week.
Of course Anthony could be named the Knicks Blog Player of the Week every week. But in the midst of a losing streak of this magnitude, where the play on the court at times it pitiful, you have to give credit to the one player who is making an effort.
Follow Sam on Twitter @SamSpiegs
GEICO SportsNite has reaction from the Knicks and Nets as they prepare to play on Thursday night for the first time this season.