The Knicks entered tonight’s game and despite Carmelo Anthony’s absence needed to get a win against a weaker Detroit Pistons team. They are in a tight competition for the no. 2 playoff spot and they are about to enter a tough seven-game stretch against the Thunder, Jazz, Warriors, Nuggets, Trail Blazers, Clippers and Jazz again. The Knicks got off to a very sloppy start with 11 first quarter turnovers but in the end players stepped up and the three-point shooting that has lifted the Knicks all season emerged once again to bail them out.
Despite finishing the first quarter with a 24-19 lead, it was the Knicks’ carelessness with the ball that stood out. The Knicks were averaging 11.9 turnovers per game heading into tonight’s game and they pretty much reached their usual game’s worth with three quarters still left to play.
The game was tied at 65 heading into the final quarter and the Knicks needed a boost after letting the Pistons go on a couple of deflating runs including a 13-4 run to close the half. A few of the Knicks shooters were able step up and make the big shots they needed. Smith who has been rocky the past two games hit three consecutive three-pointers after missing his first five attempts. Kidd and Felton also hit some big threes that helped seal the 87-77 victory.
For the second time in two games, the Knicks got off to a poor start. Although they were able to successfully turn it around in both games and get much-needed wins, they need to step it up against teams that they should not be having this much trouble with if they are to get that desired second seed.
Knicks Game MVP – Raymond Felton. He finished with a game-high 26 points (10-15 shooting). He also contributed six rebounds, four assists and a big steal down the stretch. Although Amar’e Stoudemire was also very deserving it was Felton’s clutch three-point shooting in the fourth quarter that put the Knicks ahead for good after heading into the fourth quarter tied at 65.
Knicks Game LVP – Steve Novak. He is brought into the game pretty much exclusively to hit threes and provide a spark off the bench. Tonight Novak went 0-5 from the field; all shot attempts were threes.
Play Of The Night – In the second quarter, Jason Kidd made a beautiful pass to Amar’e Stoudemire who threw it down with ease. This was a refreshing connection for Knicks fans to see because now that Kidd has been moved into the second line, as the sole point guard he needs to make passes like this that get playmakers involved and lead to high-percentage opportunities.
Turning Point – In the fourth quarter, J.R. Smith and Raymond Felton hit back-to-back three-pointers to put the Knicks up by 6. From there, there was nothing the Pistons had left to challenge them. The Pistons only scored 12 points in the fourth.
What’s Next – The Knicks take on the Oklahoma City Thunder tomorrow, Thursday, March 7 at 8:00 P.M. ET. The game is at Madison Square Garden. Hopefully between their 22-point comeback against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night and a win tonight on the road without Carmelo Anthony the Knicks will continue their momentum during their upcoming, tough seven-game stretch.