A long overdue string of wins for the New York Knicks, saw them going 3-1 throughout Week 19 of NBA basketball. New York is now 24-40, third in the Atlantic Division and tenth in the Eastern Conference, 3.5 games behind the 8th seed.
Monday, New York traveled to Detroit, where Andre Drummond led his Pistons to a 85-96 win over the Knicks. Amar’e Stoudemire and J.R. Smith both got the nod and started the game. The defense looked good over the first quarter, complimenting their offense after taking an 8 point lead. From there on out, the backcourt play of the guards was atrocious, finishing the game with 9/41 collective shooting. The first quarter was offensively led by Amar’e and Carmelo Anthony; the two scoring 8 and 10. In the third, Drummond, not known as an offensive threat, took over scoring 9 points off 4/5 shooting with 5 boards, as Detroit outscored the Knicks 30-20. A comeback was irrelevant, as the Pistons started the fourth on an 8-0 run to finish off New York. Drummond finished the game with 17 points and a monstrous 26 rebounds, the most since Kevin Love’s 30 point/30 rebound game in 2010. For the Knicks, ‘Melo finished with 28 points and 5 boards alongside STAT’s 22 points and 6 boards. Tyson Chandler also contributed with 8 points and 18 boards. As a team, New York shot 39% off 10/28 from behind the arc, failing to topple Detroit in rebounds, assists, and points in the paint.
New York took off to Minnesota on Wednesday, where they would down the ‘Wolves, 118-106. Before the game, head coach Mike Woodson sat down with Raymond Felton to have a talk of his on-court and off-court problems. Woodson was quoted by Felton saying, “I believe in you.” This sparked Felton on Wednesday, which complimented Carmelo’s game perfectly in leading to the win. Felton and Anthony started off the game by scoring 8 and 13, leading after the first period of play by the score of 38-24. New York went on a 10-0 run in before Minnesota began to claw back in. Ricky Rubio began to lead Minnesota back with 9 points off 3/4 shooting with 3 boards and a pair of assists in the third. New York returned with an 11-2 to put the ‘Wolves away in the fourth. For the first time all season, every Knick starter scored in double figures. Yes, very hard to believe but true. Felton finished the game with 18 points off 5/8 shooting, 8 assists and 4 steals. J.R. Smith started once again, scoring 14 points off 6/11 shooting, with 5 boards and 5 assists. ‘Melo finished with 33 points, 5 boards, and 5 assists. Tyson Chandler double-doubled for 15 points and 14 boards. New York held the walking double-double in Kevin Love to 19 points and 8 rebounds. As a team, the Knicks had a shooting percentage of 52 off 11/27 three point shooting. Defensively, the team collectively had 11 steals opposed to Minnesota’s 4.
Friday, the Knicks played host to the Utah Jazz, where New York would come away victorious, 108-81. ‘Melo came out of the gates firing, scoring 18 points off 6/9 shooting on the field, 3/5 from behind the arc, 3/3 from the charity stripe, including 3 dimes in the first. New York led by 17 after the first, up 39-22. Chandler was effective in the second, scoring 6 points off 3/4 shooting along with 5 rebounds, 3 being offensive. Utah failed to recover after the Knicks’ monster first quarter, attempting to play catchup that would turn useless. New York’s bench played excellent in the fourth, allowing their starters to rest on rout to 24 points off 11/25 shooting, 2 threes, and 9 boards. Carmelo led the team with 29 points, 4 rebounds, and 8 assists. Amar’e finished with 17 points off 7/12 shooting, 3/3 from the free throw line, with 7 rebounds in only 16 minutes of play.
The Knicks were in Cleveland, Ohio on Saturday, where they would rout the Cavaliers, 107-97. Stoudemire being inserted into the starting lineup owes props to Woodson, as Anthony is helped with scoring and Chandler is not the only rim protector. After one quarter, STAT had 8 points with 4 rebounds, 3 of them being offensive boards. ‘Melo has been under the weather, and failed to breakout like his usual self in the first, shooting 1/7. Yet, in the second, Anthony went for 12 points off 5/6 shooting, 2/2 from behind the arc with a steal and a block. At the half, New York owned an 8 point lead which would disappear, finding themselves down by 3 in the fourth. The Knicks then went on a 13-1 run to go up and seal the victory. ‘Melo finished with 26 points and 7 boards, while his sidekick in Amar’e finished with 17 points and 12 boards. Chandler double-doubled for 15 points and 11 boards. Kyrie Irving went for 30 points, 8 boards, and 8 dimes. As a team, New York shot 43% with 14 bombs while grabbing 64 rebounds.
The rumor mill is turning once again for the Knicks. This time, it involves the ‘Zen Master’ Phil Jackson. New York GM Steve Mills contacted Jackson about returning to the pine for the Knicks. This was reportedly declined right away, as Jackson’s health issues would decline an invitation to even contending teams’ benches. Owner James Dolan then contacted Jackson, offering a front office gig of President of Basketball Operations. Jackson was reported mulling over the offer, and is now leaning towards accepting. This is huge. Not only does Jackson have 11 championship rings from his illustrious coaching career, but in his collection are two rings as a player, from his time playing in New York. As President of Basketball Operations, Jackson is allowed to play with all the money he’d like. Not only will the big contracts of Amar’e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, Andrea Bargnani, and Tyson Chandler be off the books, but The Zen Master will have access to Dolan’s wallet. He’d practically be playing The Association with real money and real players, something Dolan has been doing for years. This time, the hands controlling this franchise won’t even have enough room to fit all 13 rings. And that’s a problem I’m willing to have.
Next week, New York takes the Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics, and Milwaukee Bucks, all who combine for a record of 49-138. After stringing three wins in a row, this week is vital to capture that 8th seed in the East.