That score was indeed the final score of a 48-minute NBA game in 2013. In a largely hideous game in which the Knicks blew a huge lead, they executed just enough down the stretch to defeat the shorthanded Bulls, registering their third win in their last five games. When you’re 6-15, stretches like that, even if they include 41-point blowout losses, are worth pointing out. Some observations:
- So much for minutes restrictions, right? The Knicks’ two most important players in this game were Kenyon Martin and Amar’e Stoudemire. K-Mart played 35 minutes, while Stoudemire played 30 after playing 27 the previous night in Cleveland. Martin was a game high plus-16, which was 10 points higher than any other player in the game. He hauled down seven rebounds, had four blocked shots and one massively hard-but-clean foul. Kenyon things. And when Kenyon is healthy and does Kenyon things, the Knicks are a better team.
- As for Stoudemire, he hit the biggest shot of the game. The Bulls had come all the way back to tie things at 74, and Stoudemire turned the clock back to 2010 and knocked down a seventeen footer that gave the Knicks the lead for good. He also stepped up defensively down the stretch, knocking the ball loose from Joakim Noah on a post-up, and going to the floor to challenge Kirk Hinrich for a loose ball than ended up bouncing out of bounds off the Bulls. You have to wonder if Stoudemire can continue to play these types of minutes moving forward (he probably can’t), but the more consistent playing time he’s received this season, the better he’s looked.
- Carmelo Anthony had a pretty rough 4th quarter, shooting just 1-of-7 from the field. Despite that, he was able to score nine points in the frame, getting to the line and making most of his important free throws. His final shooting line of 9/21 wasn’t great or terrible, but I think it’s a performance worthy of some love. The Bulls were missing Luol Deng and Jimmy Butler, two of their best defenders and guys who have given Melo trouble in the past, but he did produce 30 points against a stingy Bulls defense, in a game the Knicks scored just 83 points in. He continued his good rebounding season as well, pulling down 10.
- Beno Udrih gave the Knicks some nice minutes, and without Ray Felton he has a chance to make an impact here. Eight points on 4-of-5 and 2 assists in 17 minutes is pretty efficient, although we can do without the team-high four turnovers. As a team, the Knicks got back to their ball security ways – they won the turnover battle 22-13.
- This should buy Mike Woodson at least a few more games. Is that a good thing?
- Thirty-three percent of the Knicks’ victories this season have come on the second game of a back-to-back. They’re 2-3 in those games this season, which isn’t that terrible considering the team is 6-15 overall. In looking at the Knicks’ records on other lengths of rest, the thing that sticks out is that they’re 0-9 with one days’ rest. That’s pretty difficult to do. I guess if you’re a bad basketball team, as the Knicks have been to this point, it doesn’t really matter how much rest you’re coming into a game on. The Knicks will head into Friday’s rematch with Boston on one days’ rest.