The New York Knicks knocked off the Milwaukee Bucks in their season opener 90-83. This had the look of a laugher at halftime, as the Knicks jumped out to a 25 point lead. But of course, these are the Knicks who still haven’t cured last season’s issue of putting inferior teams away. They were actually trailing 81-80 in the final two minutes but thanks to a final flurry led by Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler, they were able to secure the victory.
Anthony only finished with 19 points on 7-16 shooting and was scoreless in the 4th quarter until he put in two critical baskets in the final minute to help the Knicks regain control. On both buckets, he showed his physicality around the rim. Bully ball. Tyson Chandler finished a monster alley-oop late in the game as well that basically iced it but as usual he made his biggest difference on the defensive end with 5 blocks, endless poses and plenty of yelling.
The Knicks 3rd quarter and most of 4th quarter meltdown (they were outscored 33-18 in the 3rd and 19-16 overall in the 4th) occurred due to sloppy ball handling. They had an uncharacteristic 22 turnovers, including 4 from Pablo Prigioni, who more than made up for it with 3 steals, 5 assists and a gaudy +19 (team high). Ray Felton left for a big chunk of the second half but did return late with a strained hamstring which is going to be an issue to monitor all season. The Knicks badly missed him when he wasn’t out there as Felton had 18 points (7-12 from the field) and 3 steals.
Woodson used a 10 man rotation, giving rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. 15 minutes and he responded by hitting both his shots and dishing out 2 assists. Andrea Bargnani struggled in his Knicks debut (Don’t boo the man yet, Knicks fans!) shooting 3-9 from the field, including 0-3 from downtown. Metta World Peace had a relatively tame debut with 4 rebounds and 4 points.
While it was disappointing to see the Knicks get so sloppy in the second half. They did gut out the victory, thanks mostly to a strong, energetic defensive effort. It is hard to complain about allowing only 83 points and forcing 23 turnovers.
1-0 and on to the next one tomorrow night in the Windy City.