After a sluggish start to the game, the New York Knicks routed the Denver Nuggets at Madison Square Garden last night and possibly extended Mike Woodsons time as head coach, at least for now.
- Multiple reports this week are indicating that New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson is on the hot seat, which seems to be a debatable topic among Knicks faithful, but after a dismal season thus far someone has to take the fall. Anyway, more on Woodson I’m sure to come in the near future. Last night was more about the Knicks as a team playing defense. Holding the Denver Nuggets to just 64 points from the second quarter on shows that this team has the ability to defend, but still seem to get complacent on that end of the floor at times.
- Carmelo Anthony once again led the Knicks in scoring with 31 points, but otherwise had a sub par evening in other departments. He totaled just 3 rebounds, 2 assists and had 3 turnovers. Anthony continues to be the offensive juggernaut we all expect him to be, but with every passing month of losing basketball we inch closer and closer to his free agency period. No one seems to know which way Anthony is leaning, but certainly every Knicks fan will be on pins and needles for the next four months.
- Both Amare Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler had really good nights for the Knicks. Chandler finished the night with 12 points, 8 rebounds and 4 steals. Stoudemire was the Knicks second leading scorer on the evening, tallying 17 points and 8 rebounds. Stoudemire still struggles with team defense, but it becomes a bit easier to swallow when he’s scoring in the post. The Knicks will need both of these guys to continue producing if they hope to even be in the playoff discussion at this point.
- Worth noting is the fact that behind Carmelo Anthony’s almost 33 minutes on the floor, the player who received the second most minutes on the night was Tim Hardaway Jr. with nearly 30 minutes of court time. Of course keeping in mind the fact that he did play some garbage time, but why is this worth noting? J.R. Smith only played a little over 23 minutes and Iman Shumpert only played 16 minutes. These three players are intertwined on the Knicks roster because they all play either the shooting guard or (small ball) small forward position. Shumpert is playing with a shoulder sprain so that could be limiting him playing time, but something worth keeping an eye on down the stretch will be these three players minutes distribution.
- Stat of the night goes to the Knicks defense. They were playing the passing lanes and staying in front of their man the entire evening. They came away with 16 team steals on the night, with the team leader being Pablo Prigioni with 4 steals. While the Knicks didn’t shut down players like Ty Lawson and Wilson Chandler the entire evening they did a pretty good job on those guys and really held the Nuggets bench in check. The Nuggets only shot 42.1% on the night including a pitiful 26.9% from three, while the Knicks shot 56.5% with a 39.3% mark from behind the arc. All in all solid team win by the Knicks.
- Next up for the Knicks will be a road trip to Oklahoma City to take on the Thunder. Last time these two teams met the Knicks got routed at Madison Square Garden on Christmas Day by 29 points. The Knicks will not need to worry about containing Russell Westbrook this time around, but point guard Reggie Jackson scored 18 points against the Knicks in that game. Needless to say the Knicks will have to try and contain the one player competing with LeBron James for the MVP award this year, Kevin Durant. In the Christmas Day game Durant finished with 29 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists. Hopefully the Knicks defense is up for the challenge this time around, because the assignment will be a lot tougher.