Thursday, November 29, 2012
Have you forgotten? KnicksJournal.com is giving Knicks fans and its readers alike the exclusive opportunity to meet one of the team's heroes from Wednesday night's big 102-88 win over the Bucks!
Alas, we're not talking about Pablo Prigioni, who had his best outing as a Knickerbocker in the victory. Though the rookie came up in the clutch, scoring 11 points and dishing out 7 assists, there was one other reserve who thrived under the pressure on Wednesday evening.
That would be none other than sharpshooting forward Steve Novak. Playing in front of his family in his home state of Wisconsin, Novak poured in the points, scoring a season-high 19 for his hometown crowd. The forward was hot all game long, and knocked down 5 long-bombs from deep.
And now, you have the chance to be able to congratulate Novak on his impressive homecoming. The Knicks' #16 will be at the Steiner Sports location on Long Island, New York this coming Saturday afternoon, December 1st.
As it turns out, Novak's best bench buddy will be joining him too. "Sixth Man of the Year" candidate J.R. Smith will also be present for the matinee appearance, as will Knicks legend Walt "Clyde" Frazier.
All three will be appearing at the celebrated sports memorabilia store to meet and greet their loyal fans, providing them with autographs as well.
If you'd like to be a part of this exciting and fun event, what you need to do is simple. In addition to following @SteinerSports on Twitter, follow and tweet me @KnicksJournal to tell me which of the three fan-favorites you'd like to meet this weekend, and why. KnicksJournal.com will be selecting the three most enthusiastic fan responses, and each lucky winner will receive a V.I.P. pass to the event.
Good luck! Looking forward to reading all of the responses. As always, you can also purchase a ticket for the event through Steiner Sports by clicking here.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Aside from the Knicks' own resident Brooklyn boy Carmelo Anthony, there was perhaps no other Knickerbocker looking forward to Monday's matchup with the Nets more than Jason Kidd.
After being the leader of such New Jersey Nets squads that went head to head with the Knicks in the early 2000's, Kidd understands exactly what the rivalry is all about. He understands how much pride is involved, and furthermore, what's at stake when the now cross-bridge rivals take the court against one another.
Now on the other end of the rivalry, Kidd was hoping to help the Knicks assert themselves as the Big Apple's team.
Unfortunately, the man arguably most embedded into the rivalry (due to his history) had to sit out. Kidd was a late game scratch with back spasms, and was reportedly advised not to venture out with his team to Brooklyn.
Still, the Knicks hit the hardwood on Monday night, hoping to come away with a win over the Nets. Expected to be out-rebounded by Brooklyn by a considerable margin, New York put forth one of its best overall team efforts on the boards, grabbing 50 rebounds. While that was only enough to tie the Nets in that statistic, the elevated effort did result in positive things for the Knicks.
Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler actually combined for a total of 13 offensive rebounds in the contest. As they both fought for extra opportunities, each player poured in the points around the basket.
For Anthony, it was about putting up the shots, and getting fouled to return to the charity stripe again and again. For Chandler, it was about aggressively attacking the Nets' defense and thriving in the pick and roll. Anthony ended up finishing 35 points, and Chandler roared loud as he slammed home a career-high 28 points of his own.
The pair undoubtedly carried the team throughout the contest, but without Kidd, no one else was able to get things rolling on offense. No other player scored in double-figures for the Knicks, but perhaps what was more telling was the team's abysmal shooting percentage.
Excluding Anthony and Chandler, the rest of the Knickerbockers shot 21% from the field. The ball movement wasn't there, players weren't in the right spots, and the shots weren't falling. The lack of fluidity was evident.
While the Knicks struggled to find a rhythm offensively, the Nets didn't appear to do much better throughout. There were patches of no scoring for minutes at a time. With things not going either team's way, it was clear a gritty effort was going to be needed by whichever squad eventually came out on top.
In the end, that extra bit of fight is exactly what the Nets put forth as they gunned for the victory. Brooklyn allowed the Knicks to hang on and stick around all the way to make it to an overtime period. It was then that the Nets turned up the intensity, and the Knicks did not.
The "home" team outscored the Knicks 12-5 in the game's extra period. The Knicks had a lot of fight in them last night, but clearly, it wasn't enough. It wasn't as much as a Brooklyn squad that was led by Deron Williams' masterful playmaking. The star guard added 16 points and 14 assists.
Such a steady effort from a floor general was exactly what the Knicks needed, but with Kidd out, they didn't get it. Raymond Felton struggled, logging his worst outing to date as a Knickerbocker. The guard shot 3 for 19, and only managed to dish out 5 assists.
The Knicks were killed by Reggie Evans' season-high 14 rebounds off the bench, and were undoubtedly sink by old-timer Jerry Stackhouse's late game heroics. Hitting a couple of big shots down the stretch, the veteran added 14 points.
This was a disappointing loss for the Knicks, but as it's been said before, this season is a long journey. Such a journey will only be made a successful one if New York can prove they can get back up and fight back after falling down hard. With a 9-4 record, the team will look to bounce back against the Bucks on Wednesday night.
Monday, November 26, 2012
With the Knicks and Nets set to ignite their newly revamped local rivalry Monday night in the Big Apple, it's important to understand what kind of firepower the Nets will come at the Knicks with later on when they stroll into Brooklyn.
Or lack there of.
On Sunday afternoon, I ventured out to enemy territory to watch the Nets take on the Blazers at the Barclays Center. At 8-4 (currently good for one game behind the Knicks), Brooklyn has to be doing something right. Making many changes to its roster this past summer, the Nets retooled by adding an offensive star in Joe Johnson, pairing him up with resident superstar Deron Williams. What's more, on paper, the team appears even stronger, with capable role players from A to Z.
The Nets started Sunday's contest off with a bang, as Joe Johnson did his best Carmelo Anthony impression to score double-digits in the first quarter alone. Brooklyn had a two-point lead at the end of the period, and the game stayed relatively close throughout. The two teams went toe to toe until the final quarter arrived, when the Nets simply started making more shots, and Portland simply did not.
Though they came away with a 96-82 win, the victory was a rather sloppy one for the Nets. If the way they played on Sunday was any indication as to how they'll do tonight, the Knickerbockers can be conservatively optimistic.
Without Mike D'Antoni, perhaps New York's offense doesn't run and gun as much as it used to. That said, there's a lot more pep in their offense's step that in the Nets'.
The Nets are more of a slow and steady team, which didn't really seem to work out for the best at all times. Experiencing his own personal struggles from the field, Deron Williams was forced to move the ball around frequently on Sunday.
He effectively did this, and actually ended up with 12 assists. That said, it could be argued that the floor general could have finished with even more dimes. Despite efficiently setting up his teammates nicely, the Nets failed to convert at times, only shooting 42% as a team.
From an unbiased opinion, Kris Humphries was surprisingly the best player on the court for Brooklyn. Not only was the big man efficient when it came to his own scoring (he poured in 14 points on 7 of 9 shots from the field), but he also created and kept alive a few extra offensive opportunities for his teammates. Humphries grabbed 10 rebounds, and 4 of those boards happened to be offensive.
Heading into Monday's matchup with the Nets, that's the one thing the Knicks may have to be afraid of. With so many weapons in their rebounding arsenal, the Nets have the potential to display a lot of fight underneath the basket. In addition to Humphries, the Nets also have Reggie Evans and Andray Blatche ready to jump off the bench and grab some boards. Even the taller Brook Lopez was able to grab 8 boards against Portland.
As far as the venue itself goes, the Barclays Center was actually filled with a relatively quiet crowd. One would think, with all the hype surrounding the Nets' new home in Brooklyn, its fan base would be much more charged up. With that in mind, it'll be interesting to see if Knicks fans actually do take over the arena later this evening.
Will it be more of a home game for the Knicks, or will the Nets assert themselves firmly as a co-existing team in the Big Apple? We can only wonder for now what the atmosphere is like.
If they want to win, the Knicks will have to overcome what's sure to be (if nothing else) a rather gritty effort by the Nets. It should prove to be a fun and exciting game for both squad as they each aim to prove their New York's team.
After losing back to back contests in rather frustrating fashion to both the Mavericks and Jeremy Lin's Rockets, the Knicks were in need of a redemption win.
With the team set to charge into Brooklyn on Monday night to take on the Nets, a tune-up was necessary. The pressure is on to defeat the emerging local "rival" as it is, so it wouldn't help much if the Knicks entered the key matchup while on a slide.
With that in mind, the Knickerbockers used being able to play on their home court to their advantage, blowing past the Pistons during a Sunday afternoon matinee.
Outscoring Detroit by a score of 121-100, the team improved its record to 9-3. More importantly, a number of players got their groove back during the contest. New York had six players score in double figures.
All scorers were led by Carmelo Anthony, who poured in 29 points with total ease. The forward has helped the Knicks get off to a hot start in a number of ball games this season, and Sunday afternoon was no different. Shooting efficiently, Anthony scored well into double-figures early in the first half. While certain matchups have been games dictated by multiple runs by each squad, Anthony and the Knicks never looked back in this one.
It may not have been the team's best defensive effort of the season, but the Knicks won the game by using one of former coach Mike D'Antoni's strategies---run and gun to outscore and chase your opponent out of the building.
New York let the shots fly, sinking 17 daggers from downtown, good for 51% as a team. Such an effort was highlighted by Steve Novak, who scored in double figures for just the second time this season. He finished with a season-high 18 points.
Rasheed Wallace also helped pace the effort from deep, connecting on three long-range bombs, on his way to 15 points off the bench. Both taller reserves helped their team en route to a victory.
Otherwise, the Knicks' aggressive nature on offense was just too much for the Pistons. Taking it to the hole, Anthony and J.R. Smith got to the charity stripe with ease as they toyed with the defense. New York also worked to get Tyson Chandler involved in the offense, and he rewarded them by forcing his way inside and getting to the line as well. The trio combined for an almost flawless 20 for 21 from the free-throw line.
Fresh off the weekend matinee victory, the Knicks will undoubtedly look to carry that same momentum with them into Brooklyn later Monday evening. If the Knicks truly are the Big Apple's team, perhaps the contest will turn out to be more of a home game than not.
Thursday, November 22, 2012
First off, Happy Thanksgiving to Knicks fans and KnicksJournal.com readers alike. The team here appreciates your viewership, and wishes you and your families a healthy and happy holiday season.
Though swingman James White is happy to be in his "second home" of Houston for the holiday, the Knickerbockers didn't quite head into this special day on a high note.
Taking on the Mavericks for the second time this season, the Knicks' couldn't make Jason Kidd's Dallas homecoming a happy one.
Feeling rejuvenated, the Hall of Fame bound floor general logged what appeared to be his best game as a Knickerbocker. Taking a page out of Raymond Felton's book from the team's win over the Hornets, Kidd made it rain from down town.
When he runs the floor, Kidd does so with a calm and steady approach. All is well when the ball is in his hands, as he's a threat to knock down jumpers, but can also obviously set up his teammates for easy buckets as well. He's also a threat to the defense in so many ways, and even in his older age, he continues to help New York in that regard.
But as Kidd turned back the clock a bit, (scoring 17 points, grabbing 6 boards, dishing out 5 assists, and coming up with 5 steals---a true stat-sheet stuffer), his former Nets teammate, Vince Carter, aimed to turn it back just as far.
Coming off the bench for Dallas, Carter displayed a bit of a pep in his step that isn't always visible now that he's less nimble and less quick. Nevertheless, the veteran drove to the basket and hit his stride from long range. Carter added 25 points, and hit five daggers from deep.
Those daggers can certainly sting an opponent down the stretch, but perhaps nothing stung the Knicks' more than Carmelo Anthony's fifth personal foul.
This contest was a game of runs, with both teams giving the other all they had during intense spurts. The Knicks were down late in the game, but the momentum appeared to be in their favor. Could this have been another comeback like the one that helped New York overthrow the Spurs last week?
It could have been, if not for that fifth personal foul call. Driving to the basket, hitting a circus-like shot off the glass that would have brought the Knicks within complete and utter striking distant (as if they weren't there already), Anthony's potential heroics were waived off as he was instead called for an offensive foul. No basket. No and-one call. But more importantly, no more momentum for the Knicks.
From there, New York faltered and suffered just their second loss of the young season. Despite losing, the Knicks did show a lot of fight. This squad certainly does not have the same meeker and weaker mentality of the Knickerbocker squads of old.
Anthony scored 23 points for the Knicks, and Tyson Chandler had a tremendous outing of his own, scoring an efficient 21 points while grabbing 13 boards as well.
Despite suffering a 114-111 loss, New York still roll into Houston with a lot of pride. A lot will be at stake on Friday night, as Raymond Felton (who added 18 points and 11 assists in Wednesday night's loss) will look to lead the charge for his team against Jeremy Lin and the Rockets.
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
With the Knicks off to their strongest start in years, there's basketball buzz filling up the Big Apple. Could this be the year the team finally rewards its fan base with that oh so coveted NBA championship trophy?
Despite an underwhelming finish to the 2011-12 season for the Knicks, J.R. Smith and Steve Novak provided their team's fan base with a couple of exciting bright spots all year long. With Novak emerging alongside buddy Jeremy Lin, and Smith joining the team midseason from China, both players exploded off the bench each and every night, only to excite the Garden crowd again and again.
Novak became a fan-favorite largely in part due to his ability to make it rain from long-range. For his explosiveness and his aggressive nature to pester opponents, Smith too gained a decent amount of favoritism from a bevy of the Knicks' faithfuls.
Novak and Smith certainly provided some excitement, but needless to say, most fans were left disappointed in the Knicks' first-round playoff exit.
The Knicks have added the most depth the roster has had in years, and hopes such talent makes it easier for the team to put forth a steady run towards something special. Of course, when recalling some of top accomplishments in franchise history, it's impossible to overlook Knickerbocker legend Walt "Clyde" Frazier and his impact on the team's two championship trophies.
And this season is certainly shaping up to be different than the last, or any other one in recent memory. Taking all of the NBA nation by surprise, the Knicks have emerged as the league's best squad. Boasting an 8-1 record, New York has put forth a balanced effort all season long.
Smith has risen as a much more mature player, even earning early consideration for the NBA's "Sixth Man of the Year" award. The sharpshooting Novak has struggled offensively thus far, but is commanding more time on the court by displaying an elevated defensive effort.
On Saturday, December 1st, fans of all ages---those who recall the team's past success, and those who are hungry to experience more in the near future---will have an opportunity to meet all three of the above mentioned favorites. Steiner Sports is hosting a meet & greet autograph session with Novak, Smith, and Frazier at its Long Island location. Fans can purchase tickets to the event and meet some of their favorite all-time players by clicking here.
But prior to the event, KnicksJournal.com readers also have the opportunity to win V.I.P. passes to the event for free! Keeping it simple this time around, we at KnicksJournal.com want to hear from you, the diehard fans! Make sure to tweet me @KnicksJournal and say who you'd like to meet most, and why! We'll be picking the most animated and enthusiastic answers as the winners for the opportunity to attend, sometime next week.
With the Knicks off to their strongest start in years, they're an interesting team to watch. After showing promise, but failing to put away the weaker squads of the NBA in past seasons, New York had always lacked consistency.
To be truly respected in The Association, the Knicks need to continue putting forth the same effort each and every game. Not letting up whatsoever, and certainly not allowing a worse-off team to get the best of the them, are two things they need to keep doing.
New York's schedule thus far has been one of the toughest in all of the league, but on Tuesday night, the Hornets represented a bit of an easier matchup. It was up to the Knicks to use that to their advantage.
And that's exactly what they did. Despite not playing with Anthony Davis, the Hornets actually showed a little fight, erasing an early Knicks lead in the second quarter. After being up by double-digits in the fourth quarter, could New York still falter and regress back some to their old frustrating ways?
There was no allowing that to happen on Monday night. Though New Orleans stayed in the game early, in the end, the Knicks shut them down and blew past their opponent.
Earning a 102-80 victory, the game almost looked like a battle between an older brother and his younger sibling. The younger one has a lot to prove, and is anxious to fight back, but in the end, the older one tends to be too much, displaying a superior nature and mentality to them.
Whereas the Knicks have so far found success early by putting forth a balanced effort on both sides of the floor, they were specifically led by two special performers in New Orleans.
Taking charge from the get-go, Carmelo Anthony poured in 19 points in the first quarter alone, helping the Knicks acquire a commanding lead. The forward continue to go to work all game long, toying with the Hornets' defense to finish with 29 points.
But as Anthony continued to dominate and go to the hole, Raymond Felton quietly put together a solid offensive effort as well. Knocking down five daggers from deep, the point guard let his long-range shooting carry him to a 15 point outing. He also added 6 assists.
With the formidable pair leading the way, the rest came easy for the Knicks as they overpowered the younger and unproven Hornets. In the fray of the win, James "Flight" White had his best outing to date as a Knickerbocker. Emerging off the bench, the swingman added 7 points and 4 rebounds. The 30 year old also put a stamp on his solid effort by slamming home a ferocious runaway dunk later in the contest.
White and his team will continue looking to prove they have the consistency to maintain a strong enough run to make this season a special one. They take on the Mavericks later Wednesday night in Dallas.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Earlier today, Knicks' Coach Mike Woodson wouldn't discuss how he plans on re-acclimating Amar'e Stoudemire back into the lineup when he returns from injury next month. Will he be a starter? With New York off to such a strong start, the team needs to be careful not to rock the boat. Whose minutes would Stoudemire potentially take away?
Of course, with his return nearly a month away, a more in depth conversation about the "dilemma" should be saved for another day.
But as the Knicks take on the Hornets in New Orleans later this evening, there will surely another player who will continue vying for minutes in the rotation.
Since returning from a calf injury that kept him sidelined through most of training camp and the preseason, Marcus Camby hasn't seen the playing time many may have expected him to receive when the big man signed with the team this summer.
After receiving two "DNP-CD's" next to his name in the Knickerbocker box score, it became apparent that perhaps Camby wasn't 100% ready to hit the hardwood. Was Coach Woodson simply trying to ease him back into the lineup, just as he'll have to do with Stoudemire next month?
Finally getting a chance to play in Sunday's matinee against the Pacers, Camby may have caused some Knicks fans to wonder what Woodson was waiting for.
In 12 minutes of play against Indiana, the returning Knickerbocker played wonderfully. Displaying that defensive intensity and grit the team lacked for many years after his departure, Camby contested shots (blocking two of them), fought for rebounds, and dove to the floor to grab loose balls. Doing all of what he's done best for over a decade now, the center hadn't seemed to lose a step at all.
Still, Coach Woodson maintains that Camby is still working on his conditioning and will only play when needed. Considering the strengths he has, Camby and his abilities should be considered necessary key defensive traits, crucial to what the Knicks are trying to do each and every night.
During the preseason, Woodson hung onto the hope that Rasheed Wallace would improve his conditioning in time for the regular season. Keeping the veteran on the roster, there was fear that he would take away a spot from a player like Chris Copeland, who showed great promise through October.
Eight games into the season, and both Wallace and Copeland are still around. But as Wallace continues to prove he can still compete in the NBA after a two-year absence, his time on the court is seemingly coming at Camby's expense.
Now of course, there's probably enough minutes to go around. With Carmelo Anthony thriving at the power forward position, the Knicks have opted to play more "small-ball."
But the time remains now to get Camby involved. Unlike Wallace, Camby played quite well in the NBA last season, grabbing 9 rebounds and blocking 2.3 shots in 23 minutes per game. He's returned to New York, fresh off a strong season split with two teams, serving as a main contributor to both.
It's important to get Camby back into the lineup consistently, sooner than later. If the minutes (or simply a chance) can't be had now, how would one expect to fit the big man in when Stoudemire returns as well?
At the very least, working Camby in now would give the team an idea as to how and where he fits. If they wait, it'll become too late. The focus will shift to Stoudemire as a priority, and Camby may be pushed to the end of the bench.
Wallace or no Wallace, Camby needs minutes. He's a quality player, still capable of contributing to the Knicks with a gritty effort on defense. What NBA team couldn't benefit from an extra dose of that?
Monday, November 19, 2012
Often times, NBA teams like to fill their bench out with players who can score in bunches. Such an offensive boost is necessary when sitting down a team's top scorers.
And over the years, the NBA's top scorer from a second unit has been continuously recognized as the league's "Sixth Man of the Year."
In the early goings of the season, this NBA campaign isn't shaping up any differently. The Knicks' own J.R. Smith, and former Knickerbocker Jamal Crawford, are already being talked about as the top two candidates for the award thus far. Smith has averaged 16.3 points for New York, whereas Crawford has poured in an even more impressive 20.7 points per contest for the Clippers.
The ability to hop right off the bench and let it rain from anywhere on the court is an exciting skill to have. Scoring so much and providing that very boost is undoubtedly fun for the players to do, and enjoyable for the fans to watch.
But of course, an NBA's team objective during a game is to make things NOT so fun for their opponent, right?
Recognizing that priority, it's undeniable how strong the Knicks' second unit has been when it comes to maintaining the team's same level of defensive intensity throughout the game.
Returning after a slow start to the season, Marcus Camby finally made the impact the Knicks have been hoping for during Sunday's matchup with the Pacers. If a player could in anyway be "explosive" on defense, the big man did so. Grabbing boards, jumping all around, and diving to the ground for loose balls, Camby's high-octane play never let up during his 12 minutes of play.
But the former "Defensive Player of the Year" award winner isn't the only secret defensive weapon New York hides on their bench.
35 year old "rookie" Pablo Prigioni shoots out of a cannon from the bench to the hardwood for a spurt of minutes each game, pestering ball handlers without letting up. The Argentine has incredibly quick hands, and enjoys chasing opposing floor generals around the court. Applying defensive pressure in exciting fashion, Prigioni never stops trying to come up with steals, even if it means simply poking the ball away from his opponent.
Even the sharpshooting Steve Novak has gotten in on the act on defense. Firmly asserting during preseason play that his defensive presence (or lack there of) would be what ultimately keeps him on or off the court this season, the Marquette product has been seen on the hardwood plenty thus far.
Averaging 21.3 minutes per game, Novak has kept his hands up in the face(s) of opposing players. What's more, he's also been a strong help-defender, trapping ball-handlers in double-teams.
The list of the Knicks' defensive heroes this month could go on and on. Besides being a scoring machine, Smith is another player who likes flying around the court to man-handle opponents on defense. Having the ever intimidating, aggressive, and vocal Rasheed Wallace as part of your second unit doesn't hurt either.
Coach Mike Woodson has preached a stronger defensive presence from his team dating back to last season. As the Knicks continue to prove him right, that extra effort on defense has propelled the team to many victories during their strong start.
With all the depth that New York boasts across its roster, it's undoubtedly crucial that even the second unit buy into the same defensive mentality, so that the Knicks don't lose a step when the starters come out. So far, the players on the bench have done all that, and then some.
After losing to the Grizzlies on Friday night, many wondered if the Knicks' six game winning streak was just a lucky start to the season. Was the team just a fluke after earning a few easy victories? Would they actually be able to maintain a competitive edge throughout the entire season?
To be a contending team, one needs to be able to win on any given night. Beating good teams and bad ones without any sign of let-down is absolutely necessary night in and night out. To truly be respected, the Knicks need to build even more consistency this season.
And that's exactly what the team set out to begin doing on Sunday afternoon. Taking on the Pacers at the Garden, the game represented the first chance the Knicks have had to display some resiliency.
Yesterday's matinee was an early 12pm start. Sometimes getting things going when hitting the hardwood so early can be difficult. Perhaps not as awake as they could have been on offense, the Knicks luckily found out the Pacers were even slower out the gates than they were.
And then they pounced. Sensing a sign of weakness, the Knicks' used their defense (as they have in the early goings of the season already) to pester and frustrate the Pacers, enough to propel them to an 88-76 victory.
It wasn't pretty, but it was still rather gritty. Clamping down on defense, New York swarmed their opponent all game long. And wouldn't you know it, after struggling to crash the boards for seven contests, the Knicks broke out on Sunday, out-rebounding the Pacers.
With the shots not falling, the home town still found other ways to take down Indiana, who are competing without the help of star Danny Granger.
Instead, it was Paul George who led the Pacers' feeble effort with 20 points. Big Apple product Lance Stephenson also returned home on Sunday, but the biggest contribution he made was accidentally grinding his tooth into Jason Kidd's head after falling for a shot-fake. The Knickerbocker needed stitches, but later returned to the game.
The Knicks were led by Carmelo Anthony's 22 points. Though floor general Raymond Felton struggled to find his shooting touch from the field, so did many of his teammates. The guard still finished with 11 points and 8 assists.
Alas, the team's stars of the game emerged on the defensive end. Helping pace that effort was Marcus Camby, who was rewarded with 12 minutes of play after not appearing in the previous two contests.
The big man grabbed four rebounds and blocked two shots. More importantly, perhaps, was the all-out effort the second-time Knicks center displayed on the court. Camby played aggressively, swarming opponents and even getting down and dirty on the floor to fight for loose balls.
Needless to say, New York will continue to enjoy his potential contributions, should they keep allowing their defensive intensity to propel them to victories.
Next up for the Knicks is a matchup with the Hornets on Tuesday evening. Their level of consistency will continue to be put through the test.
Friday, November 16, 2012
In the early goings of this NBA season, the Knicks are off to what is their strongest start in years. The team's new winning ways can be largely attributed to Carmelo Anthony, who has emerged as an M.V.P. candidate while representing one of the league's very top scorers.
On Thursday night, Anthony displayed other reasons as to why this is truly his year, aside from his ability to score the basket.
Despite scoring 25 points against the Magic on Tuesday, and aside from what people may believe from checking out the box score from that night, the opponent made it difficult for Anthony to score. Orlando forced him to log a gritty effort on offense as they double-teammed and trapped him all game, not allowing the forward to drive to the basket.
This may not have been sufficient enough preparation, but certainly an even tougher matchup lied ahead for Anthony and his Knicks on Thursday evening. In a game between the teams with the NBA's best records, New York and the Spurs rumbled in San Antonio.
The game was truly a test for the Knicks to gauge where they might be as a contender. The Knicks, the media, and all the team's fans knew that heading into the evening. But what was interesting, however, was how the game tested New York's ability to come out victorious without Anthony's name at the top of the scoring leader board.
Use him as an offensive decoy. That's what the Syracuse product suggested to his team as the Spurs pestered him defensively. Shooting just 3 for 12 and scoring just 9 points in the contest, Anthony still managed to motivate the rest of his team to pour in the points as well.
With Anthony struggling to score, the Knicks fell behind the Spurs by double-digits heading into the game's final minutes. With time running out, it would have been easy to let up and realize a loss to the Spurs would have been as justified as any loss could be.
But the Knicks have become bulldogs. Displaying yet another gritty effort of his own, Anthony set the tone for his team. He willed his way to finding other ways to contribute. The forward fought for rebounds, grabbing a team-high 12 boards. What's more, Anthony was a vocal leader and helped moved the ball to get his teammates scoring opportunities instead.
And they couldn't have cashed in on them any better. In one of his better scoring performances as a Knickerbocker, Jason Kidd planted himself behind the three-point line and let it rain to help narrow his team's gap. He finished with 14 points. J.R. Smith also came up in the clutch once again. The swingman struggled early on, but added 17 points as he got back on track during the game's late goings.
But with Anthony not able to score and Amar'e Stoudemire still sidelined, a true second-in-command teammate needs to emerge. That's continuously been Raymond Felton so far, and Thursday night was no different. Helping command his team's offense throughout, the floor general led the way with 25 points and 7 assists.
This Knickerbocker squad has fight. It would have been easy to let this one get away from them, but the team is now full of veterans who don't like to lose.
That's been the difference. Whereas the Knicks have struggled over the years to put teams away late in the game, they now have winners on board. Filling out the roster are motivated and experienced veterans who know how to win during pressure-filled moments, and it showed against the Spurs.
Such a special effort resulted in a 104-100 victory on the road, good for New York's sixth straight win. They'll carry that winning streak (and the ever flowing momentum) into Memphis with them to face the Grizzlies Friday night.
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Just hours after returning to the Big Apple after taking in the Knicks/Magic game in Orlando, I joined my friend Anthony Donahue from TheKnicksBlog.com on Spreecast to talk some hoops.
Joining Anthony and myself was Spreecast's own Chris Delgado as we discussed the Knicks' hot 5-0. Can they maintain this strong level of play throughout the season? What have been the keys to their success so far? How will Amar'e Stoudemire's eventual return affect the team's rhythm?
All these questions were raised and addressed by us as the Knicks head into San Antionio later tonight (Thursday) to take on the 7-1 Spurs. It'll be quite a test for the undefeated Knickerbockers.
Watch the clip above for all that, some chat about the atmosphere in Orlando, and even some Raymond Felton vs. Jeremy Lin debate.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
The KnicksJournal.com team was in Orlando to watch the Knicks and Magic rumble at the Amway Center on Tuesday night.
Coincidentally enough, the most rumbling came from Magic fans, who were seemingly very excited that their team stayed in the game as long as they did.
As fate would have it though, New York fans came out in force as the Amway Center seemed like a sea of orange and blue "number seven"jerseys. Faint "Let's Go Knicks!" chants could be heard around the arena, and it was clear the opponent was represented quite well (sometimes better than the Magic), even on the road.
The contest was a rather mundane one for the Knicks' offense, but as Coach Mike Woodson has said repeatedly, if the team's defense is on point, they will more often than not come out victorious.
The Knicks' kept the Magic down long enough to come away with a 99-89 win, limiting their opponent to 13 fourth quarter points.
But the rest of the game didn't come so easy for the Knicks. Moving the ball well, the Magic spread the floor and fired from all cylinders. Dishing out nearly twice as many assists as New York did (28 to the Knicks' 15), the Magic had seven players score in double-figures. What's more, the home team also out-rebounded the Knicks by a considerable margin, and it showed. Orlando was aggressive on the boards, and their offensive efforts were paced by a bevy of second-chance opportunities.
Consider everything the Magic actually seemed to do well in this one, and then envision the Knickerbockers doing the exact opposite. Fluidity was not present in New York's offensive flow, which caused a complete stoppage on that side of the floor. A player that has emerged multiple times already this season, J.R. Smith delivered as "X-Factor" for his team once again. One of the more efficient members of his team, the guard still came up in the clutch with 21 points off the bench.
Carmelo Anthony did in fact score more, pouring in 25 points of his own, but Orlando didn't make it easy for him. Swarming the forward with double-teams as they prevented him from penetrating, the Magic limited Anthony to centering his offense around pull up jumpers.
Luckily for the Knicks, Raymond Felton stepped up as second-in-command too. The point guard had 21 points. Though he only converted 9 of his shot attempts (out of a total 23), it was Felton's fearless attitude that helped his team sink the Magic in the later goings.
Aside from those three contributors, however, the Knicks' offense didn't have the wheels turning too efficiently in motion on Tuesday. Thus, it was time to turn up the dial on the team's defensive intensity.
And that's exactly what they did. From Anthony barking and jabbing for the ball against the husky Glen Davis, to Smith attempting to hang on for jump balls, the harassment on defense was present.
From there, the Knicks' second unit turned some heads on defense as well. Though he only played seven minutes, Pablo Prigioni continues to prove why he deserves more playing time. His agility and quick hands are constantly throwing off opposing floor generals. And while he failed to help spread the floor much on the offensive end, Steve Novak's excellent help defense was enough to warrant keeping him on the court for almost 20 minutes.
Someone not starring on defense for the Knicks in the contest, however, was Tyson Chandler. Though he did end up leading New York in plus/minus, the big man appeared way too exhausted for his own good. His lazy effort was evident in the way that he trotted back on defense, and he allowed Orlando's big men to blow by him to the basket. He was sent to the bench early in the first half with foul trouble.
Aside from Chandler, though, the Knicks' displayed just enough extra pep in their step to come away with a win. Things certainly won't be so easy for the team in San Antonio against the Spurs on Thursday.
A big highlight of the Magic's gritty effort was St. John's' own Mo Harkless' spark off the bench. The forward was scrappy all game long, grabbing rebounds and putting the ball back in the basket for a few second-chance points. Finishing with 10 points, and 7 rebounds, Harkless also swatted away 4 shots.
A fun performance during a timeout at the Amway Center turned terrifying when cheerleader Jamie Woode was dropped and hit the hardwood head first. As she stayed down, Knicks' trainers and local paramedics attended to her and finally got her off the ground. She waved to the cheering crowd as medical officials whisked her away to the hospital. We at KnicksJournal.com wish her the best in her recovery.
Monday, November 12, 2012
After spending the second half of last season riding or dying on Jeremy Lin, it was obvious a stable floor general was crucial.
Kidd represents a number of things Lin does not. Perhaps most importantly, he's one of the most experienced players in all of the NBA. As a recent NBA champion, he knows how to win, and understands how to do it on a consistent basis. After playing the same role, elevating each and every team he's been on, it's safe to say Kidd knows how to be a leading man on both ends of the floor.
With so many offensive weapons in their team's arsenal, someone to help the Knicks connect the dots surely comes in handy. Kidd came to the Big Apple with his playmaking ability and veteran presence standing as two of the bigger (and more obvious) benefits to acquiring him.
But as he's helped pace the Knickerbockers to a perfect 4-0 start, Kidd has been playing a complete game, full with contributions on both sides of the floor.
As one of the best floor generals to ever play in the league, the veteran's playmaking ability and good instincts were a given. But after a slower campaign in Dallas last season, many had wondered if the 39 year old Kidd had already begun to lose a step or two.
Not a chance. Kidd has been a major X-Factor for the Knicks in the early goings of the season thus far. And though he's one of the elder statesmen in all of the NBA, he's been clamping down on defense and pestering opponents.
Whether it be to Lin or Raymond Felton, Kidd was signed with the thought that he would serve as a backup in mind. That said, he's been called upon to start at two-guard as a couple of his new teammates deal with injuries.
Playing the future Hall of Famer in the starting lineup has created an interesting dynamic for New York. Though Coach Mike Woodson has still managed to limit Kidd's minutes to 20.5 minutes per contest, inserting him in earlier during the game has already pitted him against some of the league's better offensive guards.
During the Knicks' matchup against the Mavericks on Friday, a switch called for Kidd to chase down O.J. May on defense. It was a change that made all the difference, as the floor general's intensity helped slow Mayo (and eventually, his team) down.
Everyone around the league knows Jason Kidd the playmaker all too well. But following last season in Dallas, many wondered if Kidd's time was running out.
Instead, as he helps propel the Knicks' efforts during their hot start, his opponents are getting to know Jason Kidd, the hard-nosed defender, all over again as well.
Saturday, November 10, 2012
Despite the pressures of being the NBA's lone remaining undefeated team, the Knicks proved they were up to the task of defeating the Mavericks on Friday night.
The team continued rolling, taking down Dallas, by a score of 104-94, to improve to 4-0 this season.
However, though the Knicks earned their previous first few victories in dominating fashion, the Mavericks proved to be quite the different opponent.
Dallas certainly put up enough of a fight to keep the Knicks on their toes throughout the game. A chippy matchup by any measure, players were barking, elbows were flailing, and technicals were distributed.
To win the game, gritty efforts were needed by a number of Knickerbockers, but plenty of them did enough to deliver. Despite not shooting well, Raymond Felton ran the floor nicely and distributed the ball to his teammates throughout the early goings of the game. It was his steady playmaking that helped his team's offense get started on the right foot. He finished with 9 assists.
But as it has been the case in the Knicks' other victories, the team's defensive intensity helped hold the Mavericks down the most. With Felton running the show on offense, Kidd's attention was honed in on the defensive end. The veteran guard came up with three steals, many of which ended up translating to points on the other side of the court for the Knicks.
Kidd may not be racking up the assists on the stat-sheet, but he's a player who's connecting the dots better than anybody on the squad. He's leading the way, guiding this team to making right decisions over and over. No one will ever blame the Knicks for making too many passes. Ball movement will eventually lead to something good on offense again and again.
Players like Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith were once again the beneficiaries of their floor generals' good ball distribution. The Syracuse product is playing with a certain amount of swagger, letting the momentum carry him on offense.
Playing like a true scoring assassin, Anthony poured in 31 points, pulling up for tough jumpers and knocking them down constantly. The star struggled to sink his free throws, though, which allowed to Mavs to stick around as long as they did.
But Smith was at Anthony's aid to help put Dallas away for good. In addition to grabbing a team-high four steals of his own, the swingman also added 22 points. He has also been able to score with ease, but Smith has been playing at a special level, thus far, with better instincts than the Knicks saw from him last season.
Talking about a player who competes well on both sides of the floor, it's impossible not to recognize Ronnie Brewer's efforts as of late. The guard continued his strong start to the season, knocking down a couple of long-range bombs and helping pace New York's defensive effort too. He finished with 13 points.
The Knicks will have the weekend to enjoy their still perfect ready, and will then head into Orlando to face the Magic on Tuesday evening.
Friday, November 9, 2012
In what's sure to be two interesting Friday night matchups, the Knicks and Mavericks will rumble at the Garden, and the Nets will take on the underdog Magic in Orlando.
With basketball fans anticipating the games, I joined my pals Tommy Dee and Moke Hamilton at SNY Studios earlier this afternoon to break things down. Brian Geltzeiler joined us for a segment as well.
Click here to listen in as we preview the contests, and also discuss things like the rise of O.J. Mayo in Dallas, the trade appeal of Iman Shumpert, and the keys to the respective success/struggles of the Knicks and Nets' early season starts.
With basketball fans anticipating the games, I joined my pals Tommy Dee and Moke Hamilton at SNY Studios earlier this afternoon to break things down. Brian Geltzeiler joined us for a segment as well.
Click here to listen in as we preview the contests, and also discuss things like the rise of O.J. Mayo in Dallas, the trade appeal of Iman Shumpert, and the keys to the respective success/struggles of the Knicks and Nets' early season starts.
Many key personnel to the Knicks' success hit the media circuit on Thursday afternoon to discuss the team's impressive 3-0 start.
While Jason Kidd and Coach Mike Woodson each made respective afternoon appearances on ESPN 98.7 FM, Raymond Felton rose up bright and early to call in to the "Boomer & Carton" show on WFAN.
The point guard talked about how good it felt to be back in the Big Apple for a second stint with the Knickerbockers, and also how strong team chemistry has played a big role in the team's solid early start.
But when asked about his struggles with the Blazers last season, Felton lamented he wasn't in the best shape during his one and only campaign in Portland. As the floor general asserted he wouldn't once again fall back into certain lazy habits, Felton also cited his immense amount of motivation to succeed with the Knicks as a factor.
What's more, Felton has made an effort to eat right, hiring a personal chef to help play closer attention to better nutrition.
Like the former Tar Heel champion, Chef Jerome Brown too hails from North Carolina. A cook for a multitude of stars over the years, Chef Brown is no stranger to NBA players, either. With a passion for keeping these said athletes healthy, he's also cooked for Shaquille O'Neal and has served as a personal chef for former long-time NBA guard Brevin Knight.
And now he's teamed up with Felton to help keep the Knicks' guard on the right track nutrition wise. Chef Brown also jumped on "B & C" briefly as well, adding that the floor general has him make "baked chicken wings" on a daily basis.
Hiring personal chefs is becoming quite the popular trend in the NBA. Upon his own respective move to the Big Apple, Amar'e Stoudemire added Chef Max Hardy to Team STAT as well, publicly addressing the chef's contributions in positive ways over the past year and a half.
To hear Felton's WFAN radio in full (as well as Chef Brown's brief appearance) readers can click here for audio.
Thursday, November 8, 2012
Though he's yet to hit the hardwood for the Knickerbockers this season, Iman Shumpert has remained front and center as he rehabs his way back.
A supportive teammate, Shumpert has already been seen sitting on the Knicks' bench during home games. He's worked out with Baron Davis, who is sticking around the team, as he too, nurses a similar injury, despite not having a contract.
Though as Shumpert logs the hours in the gym, he's just as much embracing that Big Apple lifestyle.
Otherwise known as "The Rook," the young gun has always kept his fans in the loop via social media. Now, the Knicks' fan base can have an even closer look and keep tabs on Shumpert by visiting his newly launched website, ImanShumpert.com.
Hoops and hip/hop music always seem to go hand in hand these days. One of the newer updates on Shumpert's site is the unveiling of a new song he's recorded with Grammy winning R&B singer, Chrisette Michele, who just happens to be a Long Island native.
Shumpert has been releasing music online over the past few months, and has even spit some freestyles about his team. With Michele's help, however, this is by far his best track yet. Take a listen below.
In what will become a weekly radio spot on ESPN 98.7 FM with Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco, Knicks head coach Mike Woodson talked about the team's early season success Thursday afternoon.
The coach (as always) preached the Knicks' defensive intensity as a key to continuing their success as the season goes on, but also recognized the emergences of players like Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd, and Rasheed Wallace, in addition to the leadership of Carmelo Anthony.
Woodson insisted that everyone has bought in to his vision since day one, and said that the entire Knickerbocker locker room believes an NBA championship is attainable by the roster already put in place.
But when it comes to maintaining that same level of play throughout the season, the Knicks are going to look to develop some consistency. And though, so far, the team is rolling without Amar'e Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert, re-inserting both players back into the lineup is certainly going to shake things up.
Sometimes shaking things up is good. Make no mistake, STAT and Shump are two pieces absolutely crucial to the team's future success.
In the interest of not allowing either to disrupt the Knicks' present rhythm, however, both players will need to be eased back in to the lineup. With Ronnie Brewer playing so well and fitting right in, who's to say Shumpert's best value to this team isn't coming off the bench to provide a spark when he returns?
The same consideration should be given when it comes to Stoudemire as well. Granted, the Knicks aren't paying the forward $100 million to become "Sixth Man of the Year," STAT may still be best brought back if it's done off the pine.
And Woodson seems to understand that. The coach couldn't say with 100% certainty that STAT would be thrust back into the starting lineup as soon as he returns from injury. While he lamented that a player won't lose a starting "job" due to injury, there was no guarantee the forward would be in the starting five the minute he's ready to hit the hardwood.
Frankly, why should he be? If Anthony is thriving so much as a post-player, why throw him off by inserting Stoudemire into the fray? Anthony, STAT, and the Knicks have continued to preach that time is needed for them (as well as the team as a whole) to ultimately gel as a unit.
Thus, it makes sense to ease Stoudemire back into things. In the thick of a playoff race, why rock the boat? It may serve the Knicks better to create a more balanced attack, featuring both players on offense at different times on the court. This has been suggested many times in the past, but STAT's return may present the perfect opportunity.
The Knicks will have time...before the playoffs, during training camp next season,---whenever--- to work things back to normal. But as they look to carry that same momentum with them throughout the season, why not add to what they already have, rather than take away? If players like Anthony and J.R. Smith are excelling, don't take the ball out of their hands in lieu of another offensive player. Instead, bring Stoudemire off the bench (or at the very least, play him during different periods), to ensure each weapon is just as lethal at all times.
The Knicks are three games in, and things (or more specifically, their success rate) could change in an instant. They just have to make sure that altering the team flow in favor of a player's return isn't what triggers a change for the worse.
Carmelo Anthony. J.R. Smith. Raymond Felton. Jason Kidd.
All four players have been key contributors to the Knicks' offense during their impressive 3-0 start to the season. After leading the league in field-goal percentage last season, one may even expect Tyson Chandler's to start getting things rolling on offense too. When multi-time all-star Amar'e Stoudemire returns from injury, he also will be a major factor on that side of the floor.
When assessing this Knicks squad from A to Z, it's safe to say the team puts together a nice balanced attack each and every night. With so many offensive weapons, however, the roster also needs a few steady defenders to help pace their efforts on that side of the ball as well.
And that's where Ronnie Brewer comes in. Praised by his Knickerbocker teammates from day one, Brewer's intensity on defense isn't matched by many. He's a very solid on-ball defender, and as a wing player, is faced with guarding some of the league's better offensive superstars on a nightly basis.
Needless to say, Brewer isn't one to shy away from a steep challenge. His presence should give New York confidence that an opponent's shooting guard and/or small forward will be slowed down if Brewer is the one guarding him.
Coach Mike Woodson has preached defense throughout parts of two seasons now, which is why the types of things Brewer does on the court are so crucial to the Knicks' success, not only as of late, but over the course of this season as well.
But as it just so happens, Brewer is also giving his new team a lot more than they originally bargained for.
In addition to helping pace the Knicks' efforts on defense, the wingman has also been an offensive weapon of sorts in his own right. What's perhaps more impressive than his 9.7 points per game average (currently good for fourth on the team) is the efficient manner in which Brewer is scoring the points.
Brewer was a late addition by New York this past offseason, and was acquired to step in during Iman Shumpert's knee injury recovery time. After letting Landry Fields sign with the Raptors, it's safe to say the Knicks didn't want to miss a beat in Shumpert's absence.
Coincidentally, Brewer has given the Knicks more than they could have ever hoped for from Fields. The new resident starting wing has been helping his new team spread the floor. Not only is Brewer shooting 50% from the field, his 56% shooting from behind the arc helps the Knicks keep opponents on their toes when players start to penetrate.
When players like Anthony and Smith aim to drive towards the basket or pull up for a jumper, the Knicks need other players spaced around the perimeter to make sure the defense is vulnerable and can't focus solely on the ball handler.
Brewer has been able to sneak right in and wait for his number to be called on offense. Though his shooting form is quite far from the norm of your everyday wingman, the Arkansas alum hasn't failed to continue knocking down jumpers from long range. He's found ways to make his teammates better by doing so.
And thus, Brewer hasn't only filled a certain void for his new team so far. He's moreover been able to surpass expectations as of late, fitting right in to the Knicks' offensive flow. It'll be interesting to see if Brewer can carry on his hot shooting start, but the team undoubtedly appreciates the multiple things he's been able to bring to the table.
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
The Knicks defeated the Heat in their home opening in front of the nation's eyes. After beating the 76ers for their second straight win, (and the first game of a home & home series with Philadelphia), fans may have expected the opposing team to come out with a bit more fire as the 76ers looked for revenge on Monday night.
Impressively enough, the Knicks kept the division-rival down for the second straight contest.
In dominating fashion, New York pulled away for their third consecutive victory, earning them a 3-0 start to the season---the franchise's best in over a decade.
Carmelo Anthony poured in the points early, allowing Coach Mike Woodson to relax him later in the game. The Knicks' star did finish with 21, but this game was about far more than just Anthony. It was about the team effort.
Over the last three games, New York has unleashed a balanced attack to help propel them to victory.
For a player who preferred not coming off the bench, J.R. Smith is already making an early case for Sixth Man of the Year. He's filling it up on offense, and doing it an efficient rate.
This is the Smith that Knicks fans have desired to see for months now. He's such a lethal weapon when he plays in smart fashion. He's learning when to take his shots, honing in on the defense and understanding when to explode. What's more, Smith has officially appeared to buy into the team concept (as has everyone else, respectively) and works on getting his teammates involved as well. He finished with 17 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals---a true stat sheet stuffer.
While Smith has shown a bit of playmaking ability himself, it's no secret the Knicks have thrived largely in part due to the contributions from their floor generals. As last season proved (for the wrong reasons), having steady point guards makes all the difference. Luckily for New York, they have the steadiest of trios.
Only played 23 minutes before sitting as his team cruised to victory, Raymond Felton dished out 8 assists and aded 16 points of his own. Felton surely knows how to get his teammates involved, and is confident enough to take the bold shots when they're not open.
Someone who shares Felton's flair for distributing the ball is Pablo Prigioni. If the Argentine's stat line wasn't enough to get a Knickerbocker fan going, (11 points and 6 assists), look below to relive this electrifying slam following the dish by Prigs below.
Prigioni and Smith may have provided the electricity, but in no way could Rasheed Wallace be overlooked in this contest. Inserted in the game during the third quarter, Wallace looked much more like himself (and a lot less like Brian Scalabrine) on Monday, pouring in 10 points in just 13 minutes off the pine.
Things are certainly heating up for the Knicks, and the team will be looking to add yet another W to the victory column on Friday against the Mavericks.
Monday, November 5, 2012
There are many Knicks fans proclaiming, "The Knicks are back!," following the team's 2-0 start with wins over the Heat and 76ers.
Perhaps a little bit more time is needed to assert such a statement, but one thing can be said for sure: the "offices" of KnicksJournal.com are back up and running following the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
As for the team, the Knicks certainly showed enough promise and positive things on both ends of the court to warrant excitement and hope from their fan base this weekend.
On Sunday afternoon, New York was raring to go (despite an early matinee start) and took charge of the game from the beginning and never looked back.
Not falling behind since a 2-0 76ers lead to start yesterday's contest, the Knicks proved for the second game in a row they understand now how to control the tempo of the game.
The Knicks' ball movement didn't exactly produce a fast-paced game, as Jason Kidd was the team leader with only 6 assists. That said, New York thrived with great spacing throughout the contest on offense. Kidd, Steve Novak, and even Raymond Felton did a great job spreading out around the perimeter.
Did the trio make every shot they took from beyond the arc? No. But just the fact that they were positioned properly at all times made Philly's defense quite vulnerable throughout. With their team's long-range shooters keeping the 76ers honest on defense, Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith were able to attack the basket and pull up for jumpers of their own again and again. The pair poured in the points all game long, with Anthony leading the way with 27, and Smith adding 20 off the bench.
Perhaps it was Anthony's attitude and mentality that helped set the tone for the entire contest, but defensively, it was none other than two of the NBA's old dogs that paced the Knickerbockers.
Kidd and Kurt Thomas helped New York keep the 76ers' offense down for much of the game. Fighting flu-like symptoms, starting center Tyson Chandler was limited to 20 minutes of play.
Jrue Holliday may have led Philadelphia with 27 points, but also led his squad with 6 turnovers as well. Kidd is one of the game's smartest players. He commands respects as chases and stays on his opponent. There's no doubt he made it tough for the 76ers' guards.
And then there's Thomas, the league's oldest active player. Not only does the big man look in as good of shape as anyone on the court, he also makes things difficult for opponents. With Chandler sitting down, the veteran was was a big part of what anchored the Knicks' defensive effort. Even his so-called flagrant foul earlier in the contest proved something: New York isn't going to get pushed around very easily this season.
The team obviously knows there's a lot at stake this season. That's a given. But the intelligence and steady demenior they bring to the court a team (should it stay at the same level) is going to help define their entire year.
And a big part of carrying all that through and maintaining it all season long is going to be not letting up. After suffering a frustrating loss on Sunday, the 76ers are undoubtedly going to come out with some fire against the Knicks in their second matchup of the home and home series. It'll be up to New York to hold them down once again, all the while displaying a bit of consistency.
Friday, November 2, 2012
Though the New York Marathon has been officially cancelled, the Knicks and Heat are still set to rumble at the Garden tonight. With their matchup against the Nets from Thursday now postponed, Friday night's contest will be the official opening night of New York's season.
With just hours remaining until the two teams hit the hardwood, let's take a look at where everyone's heads are at heading into the game.
Clearly, devastation has overtaken the state of New York this week. With all that's gone on in the area, Dwyane Wade is someone who isn't so sure his team should be playing at all. The guard sparked quite a controversy when he expressed his thoughts via Twitter. Though he appeared to complain about the traffic, what he was apparently expressing was frustration that members of his team needed to venture into New York City to a play a game, rather than aid the less fortunate.
Wade has since announced he'll be donating his salary from the game to Sandy relief efforts.
Whether Wade likes it or not, there's a game to be played nevertheless.
While they wanted to hit the ground running at full strength to start off what seemed (or still seems, perhaps) like a promising season, the Knicks have already been bitten hard by the injury bug. Abby Sims of CBS examines the long-term injuries to key players like Amar'e Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert, as well as the recent attempts to get healthy by players like Marcus Camby, Tyson Chandler and J.R. Smith in her latest work.
Though STAT and Shump are out for the long-haul, our pal Nate Taylor notes that the Knicks are surprisingly at full strength at the point guard position. With three solid floor generals in Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd, and Pablo Prigioni, perhaps New York will indeed start things off on the right foot.
Collectively, the said guards represent a much more formidable combination than the team was left with prior to the start of last season. Look for the trio to make an effort to take control of the offense early.
With the promise of Felton, Kidd, and Prigioni considered, it's easy to venture down a more positive road when it comes to thinking about the Knicks' prospects to start the season. With a player like Felton paired up with Anthony, New York has two ever so hungry players on board who plan to fight tooth and nail for Big Apple success. The depth the team owns across the roster certainly doesn't hurt either.
Keeping in mind the team's healthy players, who will emerge as the hero or two from the Knicks' matchup with the Heat? What kind of contributions can fans expect and/or hope for?
Just in time for the regular season opener, my good friend Tommy Dee gives his thoughts on what will be the keys to a potential Knickerbocker victory in this post here.
As the Knicks attempt to rise above and defeat the defending NBA champion Heat, the offices of KnicksJournal.com will keep looking for ways to conquer the frustrating aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Stay with us!
Thursday, November 1, 2012
Just days after waiving training camp invitees Mychel Thompson, Henry Sims, John Shurna, and Oscar Bellfield, the Knicks learned they'll be able to keep a closer eye on three of these same basketball hopefuls as the season progresses.
With D-League teams formulating their rosters a bit in time for their own respective training camps, the Erie BayHawks (New York's direct NBADL affiliate) claimed the rights of Thompson, Sims, and Bellfield.
As a rule, the NBA teams can "protect" three players they have previously waived in training camp for their minor league squad.
Such a strategy makes an immense amount of sense. What's perhaps a bit surprising, however, is quite the glaring omission from the list of pickups. After playing with Erie last season, and subsequently earning an NBA call-up with the Cavaliers, Thompson seemed like a shoe-in to return to town, and he probably was the entire time.
Sims showed a lot of potential in a few of his preseason games as well, so to keep tabs on him as he develops his skill set appears logical as well. If Chris Copeland hadn't emerged with such startling positive production, and had the Knicks not signed Rasheed Wallace right before camp, Thompson and Sims may have had better chances of making New York's roster.
But where does that leave John Shurna? Though he struggled to really shine and make an impression during his own preseason stint, his skill set is one the Knicks are quite familiar with. Nicknamed "Steve Novak Jr." or "Novak's brother" by many of his teammates, Shurna too is a sharpshooting stretch forward who has the potential to make it rain.
He didn't display enough of that potential during training camp. His inability to do so, coupled with the Knicks' dire need of more big men at the start of the regular season, made it difficult for Shurna to squeeze his way onto the opening night roster. That said, his talents should have been enough to warrant another look from the Knicks via their affiliate in the NBADL.
Instead, the BayHawks brought Bellfield aboard as the third and final player acquired from Knickerbocker camp. Bellfield struggled to get things going in the preseason, and thus, it's difficult to see how else he could have made any other extensive positive impression.
Nevertheless, where a Shurna omission occurs, an opportunity arises for Bellfield. It'll be interesting to see how he, Thompson, and Sims cash in on their opportunities to shine with the BayHawks.
The Harvard grad scored 12 points, dished out 8 assists, and grabbed 4 steals. Perhaps more impressively, Lin's had a team-high plus/minus of +23 (the second highest of his career) as he helped lead his team to a 105-96 opening night victory over the Pistons.
No, with that type of success, Lin won't be terribly easy to forget. But as he returns to the Big Apple for his second stint as a Knickerbocker, Raymond Felton hopes he can do enough to not only help New York achieve their own success, but also make a strong individual (second) impression on the team's fan base.
With Lin gone and the Knicks in need of a strong and steady floor general to take charge of an offense that has in the past struggled with miscommunications, all eyes will be on Felton. Newsday's own Al Iannazone examines Felton's predicament more in this piece here.
But with the pressure mostly on Felton, one of his fellow point guard teammates may have an easier road ahead. After turning heads and impressing many fans and media members alike, Pablo Prigioni could be poised to have a solid "rookie" season.
Though he can run the floor efficiently, the Knicks will also look to Felton as their secondary option on offense behind Carmelo Anthony while Amar'e Stoudemire nurses his knee injury. The returning Knickerbocker is a guard who loves to drive to the basket and score the basketball, so being asked to do so will undoubtedly be a task he embraces. Aside from Anthony and Felton, Tyson Chandler will also be looked upon to be a more prominent player on the offensive end. J.R. Smith and Steve Novak will together pace the offensive contributions of New York's second unit.
With so many players ready and able to pour in the points, what the Knicks need, in addition, are floor generals to help connect the dots. Jason Kidd is sure to be able to do that, but in his older age, he may do so at a slower and steadier pace.
The question then becomes, who will provide that ultimate spark? Though he himself is 35 years old, Prigioni's legs are without any NBA years. Make no mistake, he's anxious enough to hit the ground running.
High energy is part of what Prigioni displayed this preseason. It's obvious he relishes being able to run up and down the court with the ball in his hands, and he certainly has the court vision to find his teammates and help them finish on the offensive end. His speed and aggression also helps him thrive defensively, using his quick hands to come up with steals.
The Argentine guard made quite the impression last month, averaging 6 points, 6.2 assists, and 2.2 steals per game through six preseason contests.
Think of the types of things Iman Shumpert did for the Knicks last season. Even Baron Davis (when/if healthy) provided New York with quite the boost off the pine. The team needs a point guard to help push the tempo for the second unit, and Prigioni appears to have the tools necessary to do so.
Raymond Felton may be the point guard that is completely front and center on the Big Apple's biggest and brightest stage this year. In Jeremy Lin's shadow as he looks for redemption himself, that's almost guaranteed for the returning Knickerbocker.
Amongst all the hype, however, Prigioni may swoop on in to steal the show at times. He's a speedy guard with even stronger fundamentals, aiming to prove he has what it takes to compete in the NBA following a lengthy career in Europe. He and the Knicks need each other for different reasons, and their union couldn't have seemed to come at a more opportune time.