The Knicks hadn’t won a division title in almost two decades, hadn’t finished atop the Atlantic since Carmelo Anthony was 10 years old. The wait seemed interminable â?? and thanks to Anthony’s dominance and last night’s 120-99 thrashing of the Wizards, it’s finally over.
To the Yankees fan, winning a division title provides all the frenzied excitement and unexpected thrill of a delay-of-game warning. When you win 27 World Series, divisions are utterly bland.
But to the Knicks fan, winning a division title â?? specifically the here and now of THIS division title, which last…
As if the Knicks’ big-man crisis wasn’t serious enough, power forward Kenyon Martin sprained his left ankle in their 120-99 Atlantic-Division clinching win over the Wizards Tuesday night and had to be helped off the Garden floor. X-rays were negative, and no timetable was given for his return.
From about the midway point of the third quarter to the end of the period against the Washington Wizards, Carmelo Anthony had his stamp on the entire New York Knicks’ offense in different ways.
Melo threw Kenyon Martin an alley-oop for a dunk; he drove, hung in the air and finished a difficult layup; he had a putback layup; he spun on his defender in the low post and took off for a two-handed jam; he had a quick release off the dribble; out of a double team, he delivered a crafty, underhanded pass to Chris Copeland for a 3-pointer; he later hit a 3-pointer himself; and then he was able to get off an acrobatic layup as the buzzer sounded.
That’s how poor the New York Knicks were shooting from 3-point range during their roughest stretch of the season, from Feb. 6 to March 17, when they posted a 7-11 record.
During most of that time, the Knicks had five big men available: Tyson Chandler, Amar’e Stoudemire, Kenyon Martin, Marcus Camby and Kurt Thomas.
Entering Tuesday night, they had only Martin and tied a franchise record for most 3-pointers in a game with 20 (on 36 attempts) in the midst of extending their league-best winning streak to 13 with a 120-99 victory over the Washington Wizards.
Nineteen years is a long time.
So you’d think maybe the New York Knicks would want to celebrate a little after clinching their first division title since 1994 on Tuesday.
But other than a few blue T-shirts, there wasn’t much to commemorate the moment in the team’s locker room.
Instead, the Knicks made it clear that they’re focused on loftier goals.
“The big picture is winning a title,” coach Mike Woodson said. “That’s all I’m in it for.”
The Knicks took a step toward that end Tuesday with a 120-99 win over the Washington Wizards.
The Atlantic Division title has gone from preseason goal to late-season stepping stone.
Kobe Bryant looked around, drew in a breath and gathered himself. Time for one of the game’s best closers to get to work with the score tied to start the fourth quarter.
Klay Thompson scored 30 points, Stephen Curry added 24 points and 10 assists and the Golden State Warriors clinched a playoff berth by routing the Minnesota Timberwolves 105-89 on Tuesday night.
Iman Shumpert sported an Adidas logo for a few days, until the N.B.A. invoked a league rule.
The Knicks rained 3-pointers and deployed backcourt pressure on the Wizards to win their 13th consecutive game and their first Atlantic Division title in nearly two decades.
Russell Westbrook scored 25 points, Kevin Durant added 21 and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Utah Jazz 90-80 on Tuesday night.
Thanks to a milestone performance from Reggie Evans, the Nets easily dispatched the 76ers on Tuesday to close in on the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Jermaine O’Neal was called for goaltending on James Harden’s last-second 3-point shot and the Houston Rockets defeated the Phoenix Suns 101-98 on Tuesday night.
They hung nicely in the lockers, T-shirts that can only be won, not bought.
The Heat tied a franchise single-season record by winning for the 61st time. Miami needs one more win or one San Antonio loss to clinch the top overall seed for the playoffs.
DeMar DeRozan scored 20 points, Rudy Gay added 19 and the Toronto Raptors beat the Chicago Bulls 101-98 on Tuesday night.
Mike Conley scored 20 points, Zach Randolph had 11 points and 13 rebounds, and the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Charlotte Bobcats 94-75 on Tuesday night.
George Hill scored 27 points and David West added 15 to help the Indiana Pacers rally from a 20-point deficit for a 99-94 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night.
Brook Lopez had 29 points and 11 rebounds, Reggie Evans added 17 points and 24 boards, and the Brooklyn Nets firmly held their ground in the Eastern Conference playoff race with a 104-83 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night.
Utah Jazz center Enes Kanter will have surgery to repair damage on his dislocated left shoulder and will miss the rest of the season.
The sizzling Knicks tied a franchise record with 20 three-pointers to easily extend their winning streak to a baker’s dozen, cementing their first Atlantic Division crown since 1994 for their 13th consecutive victory, a 120-96 rout of the Wizards at the Garden.
This time we were spared the confetti shower. So at least the Knicks learned from last year’s excessive celebration after the franchise posted its one and only playoff win in 11 seasons. Tuesday night’s reaction to the Knicks’ first Atlantic Division title in 19 years was appropriately subdued.
The Knicks have won enough games this season to clinch their first division title since 1994, but they continue to lose big men on a regular basis.