A day after being mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, the Knicks responded by getting an effort win against a tough Chicago Bulls team.
- Despite starting, Carmelo Anthony got rest during most of this game. He played just 28 minutes, which is ten minutes below his season average. He did play well when he was in, however, scoring 17 points on an efficient 7-of-13 shooting.
-Cole Aldrich had an opportunity to prove himself to teams tonight. The upcoming free agent played 18 minutes in the win. He gave a great effort, especially on the defensive end, as he blocked three shots and grabbed eight rebounds. The former lottery pick does not have any shining qualities, but a tough, physical back-up center is always coveted in the NBA. Aldrich will get more time to work on his game in the last few games. Coach Woodson said before the game that he’d look at Aldrich, along with Jeremy Tyler and Toure’ Murry.
- Amar’e Stoudemire has stayed healthy for most of this season, and has returned to “vintage STAT” form. In a game where his minutes were unnecessary, the six-time All-Star played with energy, on both ends of the court. Defense has been a struggle for Stoudmire, but he has picked up his effort the last few weeks. As always, his offense was on point too, scoring 12 points on eight shots.
- Tim Hardaway Jr. and Iman Shumpert have been inconsistent. Both are young wing players and both are really good at one end of the court, and pretty bad at the other. However, they both played good games tonight. Hardaway Jr., who has gone into a shooting funk, found a way to put points up on the board by running, and getting fouled in transition. He scored a game-high 20 points, and eight came off of free throws. Shumpert had the play of the day, with a monster poster dunk, ten points, and he even snatched-up seven rebounds. Both players have a ton to improve on for next year, but they both have great potential.
- Enough about the Knicks for now. Let me talk about Joakim Noah. This guy is a beast. He was one assist shy of a triple-double (13 points, 17 rebounds), and he has transformed into a legitimate MVP-type player. With Rose out, Noah has been the leader of the now 47-33 Bulls. He is by far the best passing center in the league, and is having a historic season in that regard. His 5.3 assists per game are the most for any center this season, and just 0.4 assists behind Knicks point guard Raymond Felton.
- The Knicks are out, but it was nice to see them play hungry. You could tell they wanted this win, despite the Bulls needing it more. This year will be the story of what could’ve been, and this is one of the final chapters.
- New York will end their season with a back-to-back, as they play in Brooklyn on Tuesday, and return home for the season finale against Toronto on Wednesday.