2014 has been a good year to the New York Knicks. They proved their recent surge of improved play wasn’t a West Coast fluke tonight by knocking off the Miami Heat at Madison Square Garden, 102-92. This was a terrific, all-around team effort that was highlighted by the very un-Mike Woodson and Knick decision to bench JR Smith for his recent series of shoelace untying incidents (can’t believe I just typed that).
The Knicks were able to fully take advantage of a Heat team that was sloppier than usual with the basketball and made a higher than normal amount of defensive mishaps. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade did their normal damage (combining for 55 points) but the rest of the Heat were held entirely in check. 3-10 and 6 points from Chris Bosh. 1-4 and 6 points for Ray Allen. Norris Cole was the only other player in double digits with 12 points.
With Smith spending most of the game sulking on the bench, Anthony led the offense charge as usual with 29 points on 12-24 shooting. He also grabbed 8 rebounds and played spirited defense. Andrea Bargnani (despite a few ugly defensive sequences) had a very efficient 19 points on 9-13 shooting. Iman Shumpert knocked down four three-pointers, all in the second half, similarly Ray Felton had a big 4th quarter and ended with 13 points.
The Knicks only used a eight man rotation. Amare Stoudemire provided 14 points and 11 rebounds in 27 minutes (+19!). Tim Hardawy had this GIF-TASTIC dunk and finished with 5 points in 14 helter-skelter minutes. Toure Murry logged 10 minutes and held his own with 3 points, 2 steals and an assist.
The Knicks have won three in a row and four of five. They’ve clawed to 13-22 with a very winnable game against the Sixers this Saturday on deck. It will be interesting to see when and how JR Smith is acclimated back into the line-up, along with the 7,000 articles that are likely on the way about Woodson’s decision to finally discipline him.
I do know this – there is life back in this season again, with a special thanks to the dreadful Eastern Conference, where 40 wins might get you a 3 seed, the Knicks are alive and kicking. It is nice to see this team regularly play competent, effective team basketball again. NOW DON’T GO OUT AND RUIN IT SATURDAY NIGHT!
Check back tomorrow for further analysis on tonight’s win…