The New York Knicks entered tonight’s game on a four game winning streak, which some were writing off because of less than stellar competition. However, despite not having Tyson Chandler again they ran their winning streak to five games with a thorough beating of the Boston Celtics in their own building, 100-85. Yes, they were without Kevin Garnett but Boston is never an easy place to win, particularly without your All-Star Center. The Knicks have now won back to back games in Boston this season, a good sign if the two teams meet in the first round of the playoffs.
After a relatively even first quarter, the Knicks began to pull away in the second quarter led by JR Smith who continued his recent streak of terrific all-around basketball. When Smith isn’t settling for too many three-pointers, he can be a devastating offensive weapon as showed tonight with a 32 point performance. The Knicks took a 14 point lead into the half and never really looked back.
The Celtics were sluggish on defense, also allowing Carmelo Antony to frequently get to the rim and put up 29 points. On the flip side, the Knicks played with high energy on defense by forcing 19 turnovers, including three steals apiece for Smith and Anthony.
They are now 5-0 since moving Pablo Prigioni into the starting line-up. He had another effective, stat-stuffing performance finishing with 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and 7 points. Steve Novak also gave the Knicks three 3 pointers off the bench.
Knicks Game MVP – JR Smith. “Good JR” means the New York Knicks are the most difficult team to beat in the Eastern Conference, not named Miami. Smith has been attacking the basket and playing terrific all-around basketball the past few games and it didn’t stop tonight. He racked up 32 points on 13-24 shooting and only attempted three 3-pointers. Smith also grabbed 7 rebounds and had 3 steals. He was good enough to overshadow a 29 point, 8 rebound, 3 steal performance from Carmelo Anthony who played an aggressive, physical game.
Knicks Game LVP – Hard to say in one like this, it was a quiet offensive night for Iman Shumpert as he only had two points but he did grab 3 rebounds, a steal and showed improved mobility on defense. It would be nice for him to attack the basket a little more.
Play Of The Night – JR Smith burying a 3 as the clock expired at the end of the third quarter. Jason Terry had came down the court and hit a three of his own to cut the Knicks lead to 12, which could have given Boston momentum to start the 4th quarter but Smith ended all that with his buzzer beating 3. The Knicks never looked back in the fourth quarter.
Turning Point – Boston cut the lead down to 7 at one point in the third quarter but again led by Smith, the Knicks were able to turn momentum and build a 15 point lead heading into the fourth quarter where the likes of Terrence Williams and Shavlik Randolph got to run out the clock for the Celtics…but yea they are better without Rondo, right?
What’s Next – The Knicks kick off a three game home stretch against the Memphis Grizzlies tomorrow, Wednesday, March 27th at 7:30 P.M. ET. It will be interesting to see if Tyson Chandler returns from injury or if the Knicks hold him off until Friday against Charlotte or Sunday against Boston.