Mike Woodson keeps on winning, or at least the Knicks do with a new Captain at the wheel. In what may have been the most important game of the Knicks season, New York got a huge win over the Atlantic division leading Sixers, 82-79 in Philadelphia. The win was the Knicks 5th straight under new coach Mike Woodson and it also brought the Knickerbockers to within three games of the Atlantic Division lead.
Amar’e Stoudemire has begun to look more like the Amar’e Stoudemire of old. He paced the Knicks with 21 points & 9 rebounds tonight and looks to have his burst back on both ends of the floor, once again throwing down thunderous dunks fans had become accustom to in his first season in the big apple. My favorite play of the night from Amar’e was when he closed out on Elton Brand and blocked him from behind. It was the type of athletic play that Stoudemire has made routinely throughout his career until early in this season. I think shedding the 10 lbs the Knicks asked him to lose during the All-Star break has made a world of difference. He looks a step quicker again, now the Knicks just need to find a way to get Carmelo back on track.
Carmelo Anthony struggled again with his shooting touch last night going just 5-15 from the floor, scoring 10 points. Anthony added 5 rebounds and 2 assists. His struggles from the field were a combination of his continued misfiring from the field and harassing defense by Andre Iguodala. Carmelo’s wrist has to still be bothering him. I never remember him struggling with his jump-shot like this for such a prolonged period of time since he has been in the league. He’s even had issues at the free-throw line, where he is a 80% shooter for his career. His season stats from the line have been solid, but anyone who watches the Knicks night in and night out can tell you he has struggled mightily from the stripe the last few weeks.
The Knicks have been winning since D’Antoni left, but Carmelo’s offense hasn’t exactly taken off during that period. He has yet to score 20 points in a game in the Mike Woodson era, but he has looked better on the defensive end of the floor and that trend continued last night. Iguodala only scored 13 points in the losing effort, thanks in part to the effort of Anthony.
Jeremy Lin didn’t have his best night shooting from the floor tonight, he was just 4-17 from the field. However, Lin scored 16 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter and was a perfect 10-10 on his free throws. Lin only had 3 assists, but on the bright side turned the ball over only 2 times. It’s clear his decision making has been much better. The assist total tonight was low because he teammates were missing shots. I think many of us were a little pre-mature proclaiming the death of Linsanity.
This was an early 90′s Knicks style defensive slugfest with ugly offense. Not my favorite style of basketball at all, but a great win nonetheless. With the Knicks heading north to Toronto on Friday, a win could pull them to within two games of Boston and Philadelphia if the Celtics can beat the Sixers Friday in Philly. The win would also put the Knicks back at .500. It’s going to be weird pulling hard for the Celtics then next to nights but the Knicks could really use their help. Wins over Milwaukee and Philadelphia would give the Knicks some breathing room and a little hope when it comes to making the playoffs and possibly winning the Atlantic Division.