The New York Knicks took care of business this afternoon against the worst team in the NBA. This game extended the Knicks season-high win streak to six games.
- Carmelo Anthony once again led the Knicks in scoring with 23 points, but also had seven rebounds on the day. Tim Hardaway Jr. helped shoulder some of the scoring load with 20 points of his own along with J.R. Smith and Amare Stoudemire who both chipped in 15 points a piece. It’s amazing the results when the Knicks aren’t relying on Anthony to do all the scoring. Continuity is what’s helping the Knicks on the streak and into this playoff push.
- The Knicks out-rebounded the Bucks 41-32 on the day, which is usually a statistic the Knicks never come out on top in. Surprisingly the leading rebounder wasn’t Tyson Chandler, but J.R. Smith with eight boards. Carmelo Anthony also had seven rebounds, followed by Stoudemire and Jeremy Tyler with six boards a piece. So the pattern here is the Knicks are playing team basketball right now and it’s going a long way.
- One problem the Knicks still have is the lack of ball movement and that was evident in their assist total on the day, which as a team was 14 total. That’s a low number even for a team that plays a lot of isolation basketball. Point guard Raymond Felton only had two assists and backup Pablo Prigioni only had one assist. This will continue to plague the Knicks moving forward on days when shots simply aren’t falling. I know Mike Woodson predicates himself on the isolation style at this point, but that’s not going to get it done against upper echelon teams in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
- One of my keys to the game was defending Brandon Knight, who torched the Knicks last time these two met for 25 points. Well, the Knicks certainly kept him contained this time around, as Knight finished with 14 points on 5-13 shooting and only took one three pointer, which he missed. Another big key to this run has to be the Knicks defense on point guards, which has been a noted flaw going back to last season. If the Knicks can keep point guards contained moving forward it would help spark this last ditch effort at the playoffs.
- I love to use the plus/minus stat and in this game no Knick player had a minus in that stat except Iman Shumpert, who had a -2. Carmelo Anthony finished this game with a +19 and not too far behind him were Tyson Chandler and J.R. Smith with +18 a piece. Once again, it just shows the balance the Knicks are playing with right now, which needs to continue moving forward.
- Next up for the Knicks is a huge game against the top seed in the Eastern Conference, of course, the Indiana Pacers. This is becoming a heated rivalry going back to the days of Reggie Miller and beyond, but after the Knicks were embarrassed in last years playoffs its evident that these two teams don’t like each other very much. If the Knicks want to make a statement that they really want to be around come playoff time, what better way to do it than defeating the team you will likely face in the first round if you can sneak into the playoffs?