|Carmelo Anthony, SF 34 MIN | 5-15 FG | 0-1 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 10 PTS | +1
I take exception with anyone who calls Anthony a one dimensional chucker. Clearly, he is a multi-dimensional chucker. No, his shot still isn’t falling but the fact that teams still need to commit the defense to him opens things up for his teammates. This was on brilliant display on a deft touch assist to Stoudemire out of a double team. I just hope he doesnt forget how to pass once his shot returns.
|Amare Stoudemire, PF 37 MIN | 8-14 FG | 5-8 FT | 9 REB | 2 AST | 21 PTS | -3
I have no problem calling this the best game of the season for Stat. This reminded me of the classic battle between Ash’s Charizard and Blaine’s Magmar. Stat’s block of Brand’s layup with 4:11 to play in the 4th was as close to a seismic toss as you’ll ever see in basketball.
|Tyson Chandler, C 25 MIN | 1-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | -1
Well we found something that can stop the T-1000: Mike Woodson. Chandler sat the 4th when conventional wisdom would call for his defense and rebounding prowess. I think sitting him was a wise couching move.
|Landry Fields, G 18 MIN | 3-3 FG | 2-3 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 8 PTS | 0
Fields’ jumper is very broken. Yes, he rattled in a 17 footer that was flatter than an Olsen Twins’ chest (hey they are over 18 now, I can write that.) and he managed a couple of lay ups to go 3-3 from the floor . But you can’t tell me that you are happy with a shooting guard who can’t, you know, shoot. Even with lower case ‘j,’ Fields played solid minutes and helped the team get off to a quick start.
|Jeremy Lin, PG 36 MIN | 4-17 FG | 10-10 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 18 PTS | +8
Let the battle for the soul of NYC begin. Much like the new Jets’ QB, Lin saved his best work for the final frame. It took the refs about 26 minutes of watching Philadelphia’s back court knock Lin around before they remembered they have whistles. When Lin finally got the calls, he gamely knocked down 10 of 10 free throws (all in the 4th).
As John Abbey put it “that is one of the best 4-17 and 3 assist games from a PG you will ever see.”
|Baron Davis, PG 12 MIN | 2-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 5 PTS | -5
Davis played poorly enough to make me wonder if Coach Woodson would recite from the Third Dynasty Sacred scroll to once again call forth his undead servant, Mike Bibby:
“Grow, o light. Come forth, o light.
Luckily Woodson kept the scroll in his pocket, and kept Davis on the bench right next to Bibby or as I call him “Lot No. 249.” .
|Jared Jeffries, PF 14 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 2 PTS | +4
Left in the third with what looks to be a calf injury. Prior to that, he played great help defense and gamely worked the boards.
|Steve Novak, SF 10 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | +8
While he could have helped during that awful 3rd quarter, I can’t argue with him getting 10 minutes tonight. I love the stroke from deep but let’s face it, when a team can close out on threes the way Philly can, Novak just isnt going to get the space he needs to get the shot off. I think Woodson figured that out and responded accordingly.
|J.R. Smith, SG 29 MIN | 3-11 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 8 PTS | -1
Since KB is always on the lookout for new T-shirts to sell. Might I suggest we buy up the remaining “Who shot JR?” shirts and just change the punctuation so it reads “Who shot? JR.” I’m not sure why JR got to play 29 minutes, shoot 3-11 (1-4 3fgs), and make several questionable passes on a night when Landry Fields seemed to have it going. This was the one questionable aspect of Woodson’s rotation tonight (more on that later), but his defense wasn’t awful in the 4th so he gets a solid C.
|Iman Shumpert, G 25 MIN | 1-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | +4
Shump do what Shump do.
With Woodson going with a smaller lineup to counter Philadelphia’s back court lead run in the third, Shumpert quietly took over the role as defensive stopper and rebounder while Chandler sat. Shump Shump played the entire 4th Quarter in which he grabbed 6 boards–2 offensive–and played great defense. In a grind it out game, Shump did the dirty work Chandler normally does.
Five Things We Saw
- This is the first game where I noticed that Mike Woodson is not the same coach as Mike D’Antoni. Where D’Antoni would have tried to keep shoving a round Davis into a square hole, Woodson actually made adjustments to address what Philadelphia was doing. This is especially clear in the late 3rd and early 4th when Philly made a big run behind their backcourt scoring. Woodson responded by sitting Chandler and going with a small lineup. On offense, this created more space for Stat. On defense, Shumpert helped slow Williams and Meeks.
- It is good to see the Knicks win a grind it out sort of game in which the shots are not falling from deep (2-13 3fgs). Defense is something a team can bring to every game. It is nice to see the team win a game with defense, and smart play down the stretch.
- Getting the tie-breaker against the Sixers was huge.
- I do hope Chandler’s benching was just a good coaching decision rather than an indication of an injury. If Jeffries misses a few games with the lower leg injury, we will need Chandler as close to optimal as possible
- I think Anthony will figure things out on offense. He has been too good for too long not to find a way to contribute in this offense.