The Knicks won a pair of games on Wednesday and Friday over the Golden State Warriors and Washington Wizards, respectively, before falling to the Miami Heat in a matinee matchup on Sunday.
Back to Winning Ways:
After ending a four-game losing streak with a win over Philadelphia to conclude last week’s action, the Knicks’ two victories to begin this week created their first three-game winning streak since the start of February.
Wednesday’s game against the Warriors saw a back-and-forth affair for over 46 minutes that resulted in a 105-105 deadlock with 1:28 to play.
That’s when the Knicks took over, as back-to-back baskets from J.R. Smith and Carmelo Anthony gave New York a 109-105 lead–a score that held until the final buzzer.
On Friday night, the Knicks were again presented with the challenge of making a fourth-quarter run in order to win, and they again responded.
This time around, the Knicks trailed 77-73 before holding the Wizards to just 11 fourth-quarter points.
Led by their tough defense and a key three-pointer from Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks pulled away en route to a 96-88 victory.
Big Week for Carmelo:
Carmelo Anthony scored 35, 30, and 32 points in New York’s three games this week.
Anthony’s scoring outbursts were enough to put him at 28.6 points per game on the season, and thus give him a lead over Kevin Durant (28.5 ppg) for the league’s scoring lead.
Despite holding a 14-point halftime lead over Miami on Sunday, the Knicks fell up short to the Heat after scoring just 34 second half points.
Carmelo Anthony scored just 4 points in the final period and did not score in the last six minutes and fifty seconds of the game, while LeBron James had 12 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter.
Amar’e Stoudemire sitting on the bench down the stretch of tight games has become too common of a theme for the Knicks over the past month, and it happened again on Sunday.
Mike Woodson opted to sit Stoudemire for the final eight minutes of the contest, a decision that warrants questioning of the head coach.
Meanwhile, J.R. Smith played 36 minutes and Jason Kidd played 34 minutes, and while the two are both very formidable players, they both are most certainly not Amar’e Stoudemire.
Stoudemire is easily this team’s second-best scoring option, and he needs to be on the floor for at least 30 minutes, as well as the majority of the fourth quarter.
Yes, that means leaving Tyson Chandler at center and moving Carmelo to the three.
Personally, I think Kidd is the odd man out, and I don’t think it’s a difficult decision; Smith has a knack for hitting the big shot and Felton has to be in the game at point guard.
Regardless, one thing became very apparent on Sunday afternoon: Stoudemire needs to be in the game when it matters most.
The Knicks face an action-packed week that begins with a quick turnaround on Monday night in Cleveland against the Cavaliers and continue with games on Wednesday against the Pistons, Thursday against the Thunder, and Saturday against the Jazz.