This Christmas Day matchup was widely held as a marquee matchup between two of the heavyweights in the Eastern Conference, and it certainly lived up to the hype with play coming down to the wire and needing the final seconds to decide this one.
The Knicks lead big early, taking a 62-52 lead into halftime. This lead, however, did not last as the Celtics made a run sparked by their All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo, who finished with a game high 13 assists and a team high 31 points.
The Game was an up and down performance by the Knicks, who looked very good in the early going, including impressive performances by Iman Shumpert and Toney Douglas; yet the Knicks offense took a turn for the worse when Carmelo Anthony was forced to sit down with foul trouble. Without Melo, the Knicks offense became stagnant and they struggled to create options for their shooters off of the dribble. This could be an issue for the majority of the season, or at least until we get a chance to see which Baron Davis the Knicks are getting.
On the Brightside, Carmelo Anthony looked every bit the superstar he is; Anthony lead all scorers with 37 points which he accumulated on an efficient 10-17 overall, including 4-7 from downtown. Melo also grabbed 8 rebounds and tallied 3 assists. Statistics aside, it was his clutch shooting late in the game that kept the Knicks in it, and eventually gave them the win.
If nothing else, this game proves just how important Carmelo Anthony is going to be to this Knicks team going forward. The point guard play simply is not good enough at this stage to set the offense and create options for all of the other players on the floor, including Amar’e Stoudemire. This is where we will truly see the impact of Baron Davis, when he eventually returns.
New York’s other superstar Amar’e Stoudemire also had an efficient offensive game, scoring 21 points on 8-11 shooting. Tyson Chandler had 2 rebounds 7 points and 6 blocks in his New York Knick debut.
It was only one game, but the Knicks have showed both their strengths and their weaknesses early on. Should the Knicks work towards correcting those weaknesses, they could be a very scary team come playoff time.