Quick Reaction: Knicks 99, Bullets 96
|Carmelo Anthony, SF 36 MIN | 16-33 FG | 3-5 FT | 7 REB | 4 AST | 37 PTS | +4
I was so euphoric over the Knicks pulling out the “win” against the lowly ‘Zards, I totally missed the fact that Melo — who once again carried the team, albeit inefficiently — limped off the court afterwards. Given Anthony’s Herculean effort, you’d think the injury would have something to do with shoulder, back, or guts. Turns out Baron Davis made his now infamous typo a few days early, and about the wrong player. (That’s my snarky way of saying it was a penis injury.)
|Amare Stoudemire, PF 41 MIN | 9-21 FG | 5-6 FT | 12 REB | 2 AST | 23 PTS | +5
For the second consecutive game, Stat put up strong numbers, and looked really awkward doing it. Then again, he did attack the offensive glass with aplomb on more than a few occasions, and didn’t let Andray Blatche have the kind of career game many of us worried he might. In short, we’ll take it — and take it smiling. But 41 minutes? Yikes.
|Tyson Chandler, C 36 MIN | 3-6 FG | 6-8 FT | 15 REB | 2 AST | 12 PTS | -3
Despite a few lapses on defense opposite a much improved JaVale McGee, this was a pretty standard issue Tyson performance: Efficient, non-nonsense, nasty, and vocal. After a slow start on the glass, Chandler seems to be picking up steam.
|Toney Douglas, PG 12 MIN | 0-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -12
After days of speculation that Mike D’Antoni might start rookie Iman Shumpert, many wondered whether Douglas or Landry Fields would be the odd man out. As it turns out, it took a horrendous first half performance from TD to compel the Knicks skipper to pull the Shumpert trigger. The big concern now must be how to assure Toney can readjust to coming off the bench, and still maintain the confidence he’ll need to be effective in that old-new-old role.
|Landry Fields, G 18 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 2 PTS | +12
Like his fellow starting guard, Fields was completely ineffective against the quicker, more athletic Wizards back court. In the wake of Shumpert’s solid second half performance, it’s probable Fields will retain the starting two-guard spot for the time being. All the while, the Baron bell threatens to toll for thee.
|Mike Bibby, PG 21 MIN | 4-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 11 PTS | -11
After an utterly anemic start to the season — and the game — Bibby finally found his range, hitting all three of his tries from distance, sacrificing for a key charge, and looking like a legitimate shooting guard option opposite Iman Shumpert during the second half. John Wall also ate his face.
|Bill Walker, SG 20 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 2 PTS | -3
Walker once again couldn’t find the range. Still, he managed to play passable defense and grab some boards, which should count for something. (I’m actually making all of this up — I don’t remember looking at Bill Walker once during the game).
|Iman Shumpert, G 37 MIN | 4-11 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 7 AST | 10 PTS | +20
Everyone knew Shump’s coming out party Wednesday — wherein the precocious rook poured in 18 on 6-10 shooting — was more a hopeful glimpse ahead than a hardened bellwether. But even with his shot falling short — and wide, and long — Shumpert looked passable at the point, feisty on D, and in the ear of scrub and star alike.
|Josh Harrellson, F 19 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 2 PTS | +3
Jorts strengthened his case for continued backup burn, though the effort remained more scrappy than spectacular. He clearly bothered JaVale McGee — a good six inches his vertical senior — on a number of possessions, nabbed some difficult ‘bounds, and flashed that Jortsian smile to the delight of teenage girls nowhere.
Five Things We Saw
- After a truly pukey start — bricks, turnovers, roadside house defense — Amar’e Stoudemire finally got back to basics for a key stretch in the second half, scoring a couple easy buckets on slashes and in transition. Few doubt Stat’s midrange game will eventually find its way back to form, but his third quarter point blank flurry should remind everyone — and most of all Stat himself — how dangerous he can be around the basket.
- John Wall breaks cameras.
- Making good on hints planted throughout the week, Mike D’Antoni heeded the calls of hot hand and angry fan, starting Iman Shumpert for the second half. The results were encouraging, if not entirely definitive: A team high +/- of +20 serves as at least a partial indication of how effectively — and, more importantly, within himself — the promising rookie played. Now the question becomes whether Toney Douglas, suffering as he must from perpetual rotation whiplash, can adjust to rediscovering his inner insta-offense pedigree.
- Once again, Carmelo Anthony carried the Knick offense for extended periods in both halves. He abused repeatedly pretty much anyone not named Marty Booker, picking his spots and for the most part making sound decisions with the ball. Obviously we’d prefer he not hoist up 32 balloons a game. But until the Knicks find a reliable and consistent floor general, nights like these are likely to be more the rule than the exception.
- After falling behind by as many as 16 in the first quarter — as in the first 12 minutes of the game… against the Washington Wizards — the Knicks could’ve easily packed it in, echoed their grab bag of excuses, and promised a breakout tomorrow in Detroit. Instead, they hunkered down on D (sorta), attacked the tin, and, most predictably, started making shots. Neither of which could’ve come sooner.
Beyond his work for KnickerBlogger, Jim is a contributor to the New York Times Off the Dribble NBA blog, ESPN.com, and The Classical. He is currently working on a biography of Robert Silverman, titled "Clownin' and Astoundin.'" Follow him on Twitter @JPCavan.