Finally the New York Knicks find themselves back in the W column after a blowout against the injury ridden Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night at the Barclays Center. For the Knicks, I’m sure they’ll take the win any way they can get it the way this season has started and it’s got to feel good beating those cross town rivals in round 1 of what is sure to b a more exciting game when both teams are healthy. The Knicks started the game hot from behind the arc and never looked back. There was a different feeling during tonight’s game, the team was more focused, showed better effort and even played solid defense for what might be the first time this season.
- In the first quarter the Knicks jumped out to a 15 point lead at one point that eventually squandered to a measly 6 point game by the time the quarter came to a close. Some, including myself, were probably thinking ‘oh here we go again,’ but the Knicks were able to continue their hot shooting throughout the game. They finished with a team field goal percentage of 57.1% and shot even better from three with an astonishing 59.3% from behind the arc. It was great to see some shots finally drop for players other than Carmelo Anthony.
- The Knicks finished the game with 24 assists on the night, a trend that will need to continue if they hope to get back to the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference. Who led the team in assists on the evening? None other than Carmelo Anthony with a team high 6 assists. If there has been a criticism of ‘Melo since his time in New York, aside from the defensive end, it’s that he hasn’t always been a willing passer. Part of that is the guys you put around him, but tonight they all stepped up and hit their open shots for the most part. It would be nice to see more nights, like tonight, where Anthony finishes with 19 points (8-12) with 10 rebounds, 6 assists and 1 block.
- The “third quarter of doom” didn’t plague the Knicks tonight and in a bizzaro like fashion it was actually the Knicks best quarter of the evening. They more than doubled the Nets in points, 34-16, and managed to play some solid defense in the process. It was good to see the Knicks not come out of the locker room flat and continue to be aggressive on the offensive end. They didn’t settle for difficult perimeter jumpers, but instead also attacked the basket while forcing the Nets to respect their perimeter game.
- Iman Shumpert might have finally turned that corner in getting his rhythm and confidence back. He finished with 17 points (5-8) and all of his points came off three pointers, aside from that he had 6 rebounds and 2 steals. Shumpert had a look of sheer determination on his face all evening and looked like he wanted to shoot every time he touched the ball. He even got into a little skirmish with Brooklyn Nets PF/C Andre Blatche. It’s good to see that something lit a fire under Shumpert, who has been in the news due to rumors of the team dangling him out there as trade bait.
Side note to Mr. Dolan and Mr. Mills, don’d trade this kid without getting something decent in return or you’ll regret it.
- Quick turnaround for the Knicks as they head back to Madison Square Garden on Friday night to play the Orlando Magic on what will be a trap game. The Knicks cannot take the Magic lightly as they have a bunch of young fresh legs that are ready, willing and eager to run the Knicks out of the gym. It will be interesting to see if this win over the Nets will spark a winning streak desperately needed to salvage this season and stay afloat until the return of Tyson Chandler.