The Knicks are back on track and improve to 7-1 with a 88-76 finish against the Pacers. They put the game against Memphis behind them, and left the talking and energy to playing basketball instead of arguing with the calls. We saw a wide array of scoring from the Knicks players and spectacular defense, which led to yet another double digit victory.
The first half was tumultuous for both teams – the Pacers shot under 30% FG and the Knicks shot just over 30%. Although the offense for both teams got better in the second half, it was still was an overall sloppy game. Indiana finished with 19 turnovers on 39% shooting and the Knicks finished with 34% FG and 28% form behind the arc. Yes it could be attributed to great defense by the Knicks, but Indiana was short on most of the shots they took and lack the offensive scoring of Danny Granger who is out for 3 months with left knee tendinitis.
Enough about percentages, what was still great about this game was the energy by the Knicks. Even at the most sloppy points in the game, they still kept their head up and played with high intensity. Carmelo Anthony was constantly attacking the rim, even though he got blocked by Hibbert three times ,and finished with 26 points and 9 rebounds. He has such a knack for getting offensive rebounds off of his own missed shots as he had 4 offensive rebounds.
On the subject of rebounding, this was the first game by the Knicks where they beat their opponents in this category. Smith who once again played much more controlled on the offensive end taking high percentage shots, had 7 rebounds. Wallace also contributed 7 rebounds off the bench to go along with 9 points.
One highlight of this game was the performance by Ronnie Brewer. In the 23 minutes he played, he was all over the basketball, diving for balls, and hustling for rebounds. On offense he was cutting for easy layups off passes by Raymond Felton. He is really making up for the loss of Shumpert who will be out till January with torn ACL and MCL.
One thing to worry about:
Every fan can agree with me that Carmelo Anthony’s effort on defense it great. No longer are the days that he is a liability on one end of the court. By playing at the 4 position, Carmelo has mismatches on the offensive end. On defense he likes playing physical against these big forwards such as Glen Davis on the Magic, Zach Randolph on the Grizzlies, and today David West. But I think Carmelo is getting a little overzealous and keeps on trying to front the guy. I love his aggressiveness but running into foul trouble could play a negative toll on the team in close games especially since its their star. Against the Grizzlies, he picked up his 5th foul early in the 4th quarter and today he picked up his 4th foul midway through the 3rd quarter. Either he switches with someone on defense to avoid foul trouble or learns to contain the player and not get over-aggressive.
Woodson in the post game interview responded to a question regarding Carmelo’s impact on defense to the rest of the team:
“He’s supposed to play defense… [It's] no different from the last guy to come off the bench. It’s not just the star. If your committed and you’re all about team, your supposed to be playing defense.”
This type of coaching mentality is exactly what we need to push Melo into continuing to play this great defense.
- The leading scorer for the Knicks was Carmelo Anthony with 26 points on 9-22 shooting. For the pacers, Paul George, a player who has so much potential at the age of 22 finished with 20 points, shooting 4-7 behind the arc.
- A technical foul was picked up only 90 seconds into the game by Coach Mike Woodson – no one really knew the reason why.
- Jason Kidd had to leave the game in the second quarter after being hit in the head by Lance Stevenson when attempting a three pointer. He quickly got cleaned up to hit the 3 free throws but then left to receive 7 stitches in the head. He returned and finished the game with a headband around the band-air. The headband should definitely not be a style he should get used to.
- Roy Hibbert did not look deserving of a 4 year -58 million contract as he finished with 6 points on 3/10 shooting and 6 turnovers.
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