In a game where Knicks fans were hoping the team could work out any last-minute kinks as long as nobody got hurt, there was quite the scary moment. On a drive to the hoop, starting shooting guard, Pablo Prigioni took a long step that sprained his right ankle. The expression on his face indicated there might be a reason to worry but thankfully the X-rays were negative.
Prigioni was well on his way to a triple-double in this one racking up 6 points, going 2/2 from behind the arc, 5 boards and 2 assists with 6:24 left in the first quarter. It was nerve-racking to see him come out but once the results of the X-Rays were revealed and a sigh of relieve came over Knicks fans everywhere, the focus of this game quickly went to Chris Copeland.
Copeland resembled Carmelo Anthony out there tonight. He was scoring from behind the arc, off drives to the hoop and in tough mid-range spots. He reached 30 points by the end of the 3rd quarter making him the first Knicks rookie in 33 years to put up back-to-back 30-point performances.
Another encouraging sight during tonight’s game was the strong play from Iman Shumpert, James White and newly-signed big man, Earl Barron. Shumpert filled the stat sheet with 18 points on 7/11 shooting, 8 assists and 7 rebounds. White scored 20 points on 8/15 shooting and showed flashes of athleticism all Knicks fans know lies within him. Barron scored 11 points on 5/14 shooting but also contributed 18 rebounds, tying his career-high. That is where his biggest contribution will come from, on the glass; so in a season where the Knicks have had to deal with several injuries to their front-court, this signing could be a big help.
The Final Score: Knicks – 98 Hawks – 92
Knicks Game MVP – Chris Copeland. Copeland showed the Knicks and fans what he is capable of when he is given a shot and it is exciting to witness. He scored 33 points on 14/29 shooting.
Knicks Game LVP – Steve Novak. In a game where almost every player showed at least some promise, Novak went 1/8 from the field. He is a player that absolutely needs to step up his play when the playoffs begin. He is put on the floor to hit some threes and create a spark but if he is not going to deliver, he is too great of a liability in all other facets of the game.
Turning Point – Tip-off. Once the Knicks scored their first field goal, they never looked back. The Knicks led from then on.
Play of the Night – In the 3rd quarter, Copeland completed a three-point play off his own offensive rebound. It was a play that displayed his multidimensional talent and he reached his 30th point on the free throw. Although the alley-oop from Shumpert to White in the fourth quarter was also a great sight to see, the play by Copeland provides more confidence as the playoffs have now arrived.
What’s Next – Playoffs baby! The Knicks take on the Celtics in Game 1 of the NBA Playoffs on Saturday at 3 PM.