Knicks 85 Nets 88
The Knicks and Nets had their final showdown today for the season. A sluggish slow paced game early on turned out to be a nail biter for all the viewers and the Garden crowd. With the Nets handling the Knicks most of the game with a 4-10 point lead at any time, NY fought back to take the lead, but could not hold off Joe Johnson and the Brooklyn Nets who hit big shot after big shot. Melo and the Knicks had a chance at the end, but could not covert on a jumper and eventually lost the game at home 85-88. The Knicks are now 25-14 with a 1 game lead in the Atlantic. The Knicks tough schedule continues as they re-match against the Boston Celtics on Thursday at 8pm TNT.
Things That Looked Good:
-New York got their swagger back in the 3rd and 4th, but it was not enough to win the game.
-The Knicks had 11 steals today, including 6 from Jason Kidd.
-Amare looked human in the 1st half, but in the 2nd half he turned on the switch like the Amare of old. Every day he is getting better, but will he ever get there?
-Carmelo started the game hot, however went ice cold the rest of the 1st half. In the 3rd and 4th he was the assassin we all have come to love.
-Shumpert was a great on defense, he is the defensive anchor on the perimeter and I am anticipating his minutes to allow him to put his footprint on the game as we move forward.
-New York only had 5 turnovers compared to Brooklyn’s 19. This was one of the main reasons the Knicks were in the game, especially in the first half.
-The Knicks did fight back against Brooklyn, trimming their lead to eventually to take the lead briefly. They need to be commended on doing so. Even though their run was not long enough and powerful enough to hold the Nets off, they still had some fight in them.
Things That Need to Improve:
-Once again ball movement is forefront in my mind. They need to consistently move the ball to get others involved and stop relying on Melo to carry them.
-Shump’s offense is not coming yet; It will take time for this to happen so I am not to worried.
-Copeland is an offensive threat, however Woody does not use him multiple times in the game due to his poor defensive play. Cope needs to get some more burn to help shoulder the load on offense.
-Amare’s defense is still very suspect at best. He is definitely getting better as the games go on, but his lapses occur at critical times and allow their opponents to get easy baskets.
-The Knicks were badly outrebounded once again 52-37. This needs to improve somehow. I believe the Knicks need more help upfront and need to stop counting on the return of Marcus Camby and Rasheed Wallace. They need to get a big!
-The Knicks only had 14 assists compared to Brooklyn’s 23. This stat is a red flag for a team that is missing their point guard and main facilitator.
-Pace of the game is an issue. We all know basketball is a game of pace and rhythm. If the Knicks have none these, then the offense goes south and the defense becomes lackluster. If you watch other teams get into rhythm you can see what I am talking about. NY has to get the ball moving and get into an offensive rhythm to keep the opponents defense on their heels at all times.
-Steve Novak only played 13 minutes and took 3 shots. This is something that needs to be seriously looked at. Steve is way to inconsistent at this point in the season. He needs to start contributing or not be on the court.
-This was an important game for the Knicks and the Nets. The Knicks are now only 1 game ahead of the Nets for the Atlantic Division lead. With Boston a distant 6 games back, the battle of the Atlantic as of this moment is between New York and Brooklyn.
-Amare and Melo had a nice fluid chemistry today and I was impressed with Melo’s passing skills. He finished with another solid game, even though he shot 11-29, he had 29 points and most importantly 7 assists.
-The Knicks need desperately a point guard that can penetrate and get easy baskets for Tyson and Amare. This will come from the return of Raymond Felton this weekend or early next week.
Peter A – Knickswag