|Amar’e Stoudemire, PF 26 MIN | 9-16 FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 20 PTS | +14
Really strong offense. Dominated Sullinger and Bass in the post on offense and snaggled some strong rebounds. An inconsistent outing on efense, which is actually an improvement over “Think of the children! Won’t somebody please think of the children!!” He also had a tough, Charles Smith-like sequence late when the Celtics were threatening to make it a game. But if this were the norm for STAT, you could easily see a team offering him a decent deal next year. Not the Knicks, but still.
|Quincy Acy, SF 17 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | +16
He was really good in the first half, even if he failed to score a single point, and high-larry-ous-ly airballed his one shot from the baseline. Of course, Quincy sat pretty much the entire second half, because [shrug emoticon].
|Carmelo Anthony, SF 39 MIN | 9-20 FG | 4-4 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 3 BLK | 2 TO | 22 PTS | +1
Considering he wasn’t expected to play, a very nice outing, even if he was catching iron from downtown, and the refs kept their whistles in their pockets on seemingly every drive. Melo had some nice chemistry with Tim Hardaway, Jr. in the second quarter when Timmy went off, and hustled on D, racking up blocks and deflection, including the final strip of Jeff Green to seal the game. Not a superstar night, but a good night for a guy grinding on a bad knee.
|Jose Calderon, PG 33 MIN | 4-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 7 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | +11
Started on fire on offense with 7 points in the first quarter. Ran the offense well. Played some good defense, including a successful defense of a Rondo/Zeller PnR with Stoudemire. Has a disconcerting habit of almost always “midgeting” when he penetrates, rather than taking the ball to the rim. Celtics started to expect the pass and did not respect the shot. Missed a 23′ with less than 30 seconds left that would have iced the game. Inexplicable foul on a driving Pressey late in the game.
|Iman Shumpert, SG 17 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-2 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +1
First of all, get well soon Iman. That dislocated sholder looked like it HURT. And not to add insult to injury, but he was having a bad defensive game before prior to getting injured, getting clowned repeatedly by Evan freakin’ Turner and absolutely dying on screens when trying to defend the pick and roll. On offense, Shumpert had one really nice rhythm three on a catch and shoot, but he continues to be a horrible finisher at the rim. He blew a monster dunk on a nice pass from Dalembert and, frankly, got bailed out by a charity whistle. Rest up, Shump, and maybe work on layups with the one healthy limb you’ve still got.
|Samuel Dalembert, C 22 MIN | 2-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | -11
This is the good Dalembert. Had one AWESOME dribble-drive for a slam, played solid defense, grabbed some strong defensive rebounds, and made some nice pocket passes. Hi, good Dalembert! Take off your coat and stick around for a while, why dontcha. Make yourself at home and ish.
|Jason Smith, C 17 MIN | 5-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | +2
Well, that’s about good as it can possibly get for Jason Smith. The midrange was sopping wet, worked the pick-and-pop perfectly, used his size effectively and (shockingly) grabbed rebounds with vim and vigor. His one assist came on a strip steal and pass to Prigioni for a breakaway layup. Knicks would be getting enormous value if this Jason Smith showed up each night.
|Shane Larkin, PG 22 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 5 PTS | -12
If nothing else, he’s the Knicks best perimeter defender, and seemingly improving each and every night. Granted, the C’s didn’t really take advantage of their guards’ height advantage down low. His jumper was falling and he moved the ball on offense, especially on the drive and kick. Had one egregious cross-court pass that was stolen, and only some nifty defense from Calderon (!) kept it from being a transition basket.
|Pablo Prigioni, PG 14 MIN | 2-5 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | +3
In a loss, this grade might have been lower. He forced (sacrilege) a couple of long threes early in the shot clock.
|Tim Hardaway Jr., SG 32 MIN | 5-13 FG | 4-4 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 16 PTS | +5
I was holding my breath for how THJ and Melo would get along after a howling dumpster fire’s worth of “Team Turmoil!” tabloid headlines. Naturally, Timmy responded with possibly his best all-around game of the season. He carried the offense in the first half, looked durned competent on the other end, and actually wrangled some tough defensive bounds instead of leaking out. I was shocked to see him finish only 5/13 from the field.
Lots to like, few things to question. Fish kept lots of ball handlers on the court going extensively with two points after Shump went down. Because Celtics are not going to punish small guards in the post, it resulted in a slew of steals and kept turnovers to a minimum. He made some smart offense/defense substitutions late and had all three PG’s with Acy and Melo for the key possession when the Celtics needed a trey. Carmelo defended Olynyk 25 feet from rim and forced air ball, in a way Dalembert or Amar’e were not likely to do. As previously mentioned, I have no idea why we saw so little of Acy in the second half. Also, there are a lot of plays where Carmelo is not even being used as a decoy.
Five Things We Saw
- First, the bad. The ‘Bockers have to get better at reacting to double and triple teams of Carmelo Anthony. The whole point of this danged geometric offense, is to react to defensive pressure and move to spots for a wide open look. It’s not complicated, but needs to happen ASAP.
- Boy, it is nice to win. Yes, tanking is a thing, whether it’s on purpose or not, and this team certainly needs a top draft pick, but eff that. Let’s live in the now, and the now (thankfully) includes win over the goddamned Celtics. With rumors that Carmelo might be open to trade and ugliness between Carmelo and his teammates, the Knicks needed to do something to take the pressure off, and give everyone a second to breathe. This has been a real fecal sandwich of a season, but things can definitely get worse. An certain angry, impulsive, dimwitted cable scion using his greasy mitts to grab the tiller, resulting Josh Smith in the white, orange and blue. I just threw up in my mouth. Be back in a sec.
- Okay, we’re back. Anyhoo, when Big Chief Triangle decided to bring in Jason Smith, he was looking for nights like tonight. Tough, rough, ready, heady, smooth shooting and defenisive looting. Don’t forget to tip your waitress at Clyde’s Wine & Dine.
- I cannot get used to the Celtics having cheerleaders. During the bumpers, I kept wondering why the Knicks City Dancers were in Boston, and then I would notice they were beckecked in green. Not to invoke the supernatural, but I consulted a ouija board, and I can report that Red Auerbach is not pleased (sources say).
- I love Clyde. You love Clyde. Pretty much everyone loves Clyde. (Clyde’s personal tailor looooooves Clyde, that’s for sure.) But there are times when it seems as if Clyde doesn’t really get how the game has evolved in the last decade or so. To wit: he disparaged Shumpert for dishing to Hardaway for a corner three (which he made) on a 3-on-2 fast break, whinging that Shump “Wasn’t even looking for his shot.” First, getting Hardaway a wide-open trey is a better choice than just about anyone on the roster trying to finish at the rim, let alone Shump (who, you know, can’t). Get well soon, oh Flat Topped one. I’m still wincing from watching his arm get wrenched from its socket.