By Max Marcilla – Knickswag Contributor
In a game where the Knicks held a lead nearly every minute, they let the lead slip in the fourth. However, with the game on the line, the Knicks came through in the clutch, as surprising leaders led the team to their third consecutive win and third straight season in the playoffs.
First off, in Carmelo Anthony’s second game back from a knee injury he showed why he was talked about as an early MVP candidate. Despite an early struggle from the field, starting off 3/10, Melo took over in the second half, scoring 22 points in the second half, as he made 11 of his last 21 shots. Anthony even showed improvements defensively. Alan Anderson had one of those games that even when his shots were contested they still went in.
Kenyon Martin was the surprising MVP of tonight’s game. In his best game as a Knick, Kenyon dropped 19 points on 9/10 shooting and a season high 11 rebounds. Not only did Martin dominate the weak Raptors big men on the glass and in the paint, but he also led the Knicks defense with 2 steals and a block.
One of the positive signs for the Knicks tonight was the contribution from everyone on defense. Everyone except Copeland, Novak and Shumpert had at least 1 block or steal, even Shumpert tipped a pass out of bounds. The Raptors were held to 45.6% from the field and in the second quarter the Knicks held Toronto to a limited 15 points.
A final positive I learned about the team is that their veteran point guard squad can produce very well in large quantities of minutes. Raymond Felton led the Knicks squad for most of the game, as he totaled 42 minutes. He was dynamic both passing the ball and shooting. Near the end of the game, when Toronto had just cut the lead down to 3, Felton dished two passes to Martin, in which he made the baskets and then Felton stepped up and hit a three to extend the lead to a then fourth quarter high 10 points.
Jason Kidd was also an impact off the bench at the point. He played in 31 minutes, which is a lot for him. However, he never showed signs of slowing down. One day before his monumental 40th birthday, Kidd shot 2/4 from beyond the arc, totaled 3 assists and most impressively grabbed 5 rebounds.
Looking forward, the Knicks and Raptors have just under 24 hours to prepare for the second half of the back to back at the Garden. With the win giving the confidence to the Knicks, I look for them to get off to another quick start and even the season series out at 2 games apiece.