This season has so far been difficult for Knicks fans to endure, watching the team suffer various losses to squads they should be expected to beat on a nightly basis.
Because of this, it has proven difficult to expect anything positive from the Knicks on a more consistent basis. The question of what kind of overall effort the team will show still exists with each remaining game.
Though the Knicks have failed to become a powerhouse in the East, through all of the nonsensical losses, the team has surprisingly stepped up, playing competitively against teams like the Celtics, 76ers, and Heat.
With that in mind, it wasn't as surprising to see the Knicks put forth a valiant effort against the Bulls with the likes of Spike Lee, Steve Schrippa, and Mariano Rivera watching at the Garden. What was a pleasant surprise, however, was who led the charge.
On the same night that Carmelo Anthony got named to his first All-Star team as a New York Knick, it was co-captain Amar'e Stoudemire who appeared to regain some of his all-star form.
The man otherwise known as STAT powered his way to a season-high 34 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. What was even more impressive than the amount of points Stoudemire scored, though, was how he got them.
While he has struggled mightily without a point guard to set him up in the pick and roll this season, STAT's teammates found him inside again and again as he cashed in on some buckets. Helping Stoudemire find easy looks, rather than off balance jump shots, paid dividends for the Knicks.
Though Anthony struggled from the field once again, he did pour in 26 points of his own. Landry Fields also continued his two week long tear, scoring 17 as he found shots in the comfort and ease of the offense.
The ball movement was there throughout the game, as it was during Tuesday's win against the Pistons. Iman Shumpert led the team with eight assists. Though the Knicks have struggled finding an efficient point guard all season long, the rookie has shown flashes of intelligence that suggest he may have the potential to become a solid NBA floor general.
Many things went right for the Knicks on Thursday night, but losing to one of the East's best teams is more understandable than disappointing. The team was closing in on pushing the game to overtime as Anthony's last second shot attempt, an arrant three-point field goal, would have tied the game. Instead, he missed, and the Knicks fell short 105-102.
Falling just short to the Bulls, who were led by reigning MVP Derrick Rose's 32 points, is something the Knicks can build on. At 8-14, the team is looking to bounce back from a slow start. With more outings like the one they turned in on Thursday, the Knicks should come away with more wins than losses.
The team will look to rebound from their loss by taking down the struggling Celtics in Boston on Friday night.