|Kenyon Martin, PF 27 MIN | 4-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 8 PTS | +3
Kenyon Martin should not be as important to a team in 2014 as he is to these Knicks but holy hell is he ever. Showed off a mid-range game tonight and made a couple of key passes to go along with his normal rebounds-defense-enforcement act. His flagrant was only probably even a foul on him and was probably closer to being a charge than to being a legit flagrant.
|Andrea Bargnani, PF 24 MIN | 4-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | -8
The stats suggest a middling offensive performance but that’s too generous — his looks were far too clean for his shooting numbers to be so pedestrian and on a night when the team generally moved the ball very well he was a bit of a ball-stopper (one exception: a picturesque drive to the rim that culminated in a pretty leave for Amar’e who wasted it by traveling before he gathered for the finish). But, whatever, it wasn’t terrible.
The defense, however, was another story. It’s often a bit too easy to pile on Bargs’ play on that end but he was horrendous tonight: blown by when he drifted out to the perimeter and beaten for far too many easy finishes when tasked with protecting the paint. Teams like these Sixers – without a traditional post man and built on getting quick guards to the rim, creating three-point looks for their bigs, and getting out in transition – are a defensive nightmare for Bargs, completely neutralizing his defensive talents while underscoring his failings. On a night when the team played as a cohesive unit at both ends, the big Italian was a step behind.
|Carmelo Anthony, SF 36 MIN | 8-21 FG | 2-3 FT | 9 REB | 7 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 18 PTS | +19
Delightfully well-rounded work from Melo tonight with a big fat caveat: 15 of his 21 attempts were mid-range jumpers (many without even setting himself; he made only 6) and as a result he had an inefficient scoring night that featured zero made threes and only three free throw attempts. The non-scoring stuff was sparkling: his seven assists were highlighted by a gorgeous no-look touch pass to Shump for an easy corner three, he continued his run of stout and opportunistic defensive work, and he led the way on the glass. Would’ve liked to see him take fewer turnarounds and attack more, especially given the success his teammates had scoring at the rim, but that’s the only complaint.
|Raymond Felton, PG 36 MIN | 3-11 FG | 3-4 FT | 1 REB | 6 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | +4
Horrendous in the first half, a bit better in the second once he had his floater game going. Didn’t have a prayer to stay in front of the Sixers’ guards but if you look at the stats it didn’t end up hurting the Knicks as much as it felt like it might when the game got going. The importance of KMart’s rim protection really can’t be understated.
|Iman Shumpert, SG 32 MIN | 2-9 FG | 1-2 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 4 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | +3
Pretty blah. Didn’t like his defense much despite the gaudy steal total; had some dumb fouls and was the culprit on a few too many open perimeter looks.
|Amar’e Stoudemire, PF 22 MIN | 8-10 FG | 5-5 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 21 PTS | +7
A good performance. Well, less a “good” performance than a “great” performance. Well, actually, less a “great” performance than a “glorious, shining, golden gryphon made all the more brilliant by its realism and all the more real by its mysticism and all the more mystical by its elusiveness and when you look at it and it stares back at you, you see in its large, ferocious eyes not an image of yourself as you are but an image of your best self, the self you always knew you could one day become, the self that you will never give up on because to give up on that would be to give up on life and hope and beauty themselves”-ish performance.
|Toure’ Murry, SG 12 MIN | 3-6 FG | 2-3 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | +6
Remains utterly deserving of about 12 minutes a night and utterly undeserving of anything more.
|Tim Hardaway Jr., SG 22 MIN | 2-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | 0
First wing off the bench tonight. This should have nothing to do with any punishment being doled out to the Earl of Shoelace and everything to do with the fact that he is the Knicks’ best shooter and best bench player. His performance was solid if nothing particularly special.
|J.R. Smith, SG 27 MIN | 5-8 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 6 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | +20
[INT. a sterile white room with a large metal table at its center. A laboratory. Camera holds on a large box sitting on the table. Pan out to reveal MIKE WOODSON and JAMES DOLAN standing in an adjoining room, staring into the laboratory through one-sided glass.]
[A DOCTOR enters]
DOCTOR: Good afternoon gentlemen, I hope you haven’t been waiting long.
[The door in the laboratory opens. JR SMITH enters wearing a hospital gown, his eyes wide but dispassionate. He sits at the table. An ORDERLY follows behind him]
ORDERLY: Open the box, Subject A.
[Three more orderlies enter the room, roughly yanking JR away from the table and holding him securely by the arms. The first orderly picks up a pristinely tied shoe, walks up to JR, stops 3 feet from his face, and, in one continuous motion, pulls one end until the knot is utterly dismantled]
JR: [Eyes bulging, face contorted in tortured dementia] WHA—NOOOOO!!!! NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! [He throws one of the orderlies off in an effort to get to the untied shoe and has almost freed himself of a second when the third plunges a syringe into his arm. JR falls limply into the arms of his aides]
When the team plays well, he looks good and, since the calendar has turned the team has played as well as it has in a very, very long while. Mostly the grade is for finally putting his money where his mouth is and applying his standard of accountability universally instead of seemingly given JR a pass for transgressions that exceed those that draw punishments for those who are less favored.