In the pre-game locker room talk, Mike Woodson stressed that in the past 5 games they have given up 30+ points in the first quarter, and tonight he wanted this lack of defensive intensity to end. The Knicks only gave up 23 in the opening quarter. They lead the league in fewest turnovers with 10.8 per game (on NBA record pace) – tonight they only had 7. They allow on average around 96 points per game. Tonight they gave up 86. This game just couldn’t have gone any better against a solid team like the Nets.
While the Knicks held only a three-point lead at the half, the Knicks blew the doors wide open with an 18-6 run late in the third and never looked back. Carmelo who said that he’s still in pain with his sprained ankle showed no signs of it as he scored 31 points, knocking down 4 threes.
I often get frustrated with JR Smith’s game, but I absolutely loved the way he played tonight – he played aggressive defense, went after loose balls, took quality shots and looked to pass the ball. Smith finished with 19 points on 7-11 shooting with 5 rebounds, and a team high +/- + 24.
When he plays with this type of maturity, he is such a valuable asset to the team. The problem is his lack of consistency.
The most dominant force on the offensive end however was Tyson Chandler, who has excelled against the weak pick and roll interior of the Nets, especially Brook Lopez. He finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds, mostly off of wide-open alley-oops. I prefer to watch the game on a national televised station(ESPN or TNT) rather than MSG. I have nothing against Mike Breen or Walt Frazier, its just that I like listening to a non-bias opinion – and the camera time is pretty much equal for both teams. Most of the analysts feel the Knicks are a team that have potential to go far in the playoffs. With Melo on the court, the Knicks with their renewed energy, looked good. Just by viewing the amount of hand slaps and positive energy exerted by the Knicks, I could tell who was winning this game. Whether it was going up or down the floor after making a shot or going to the bench when a timeout was called, the Knicks players were high-fiving constantly. This is the type of drive helps the Knicks win games. When the Knicks are complaining about calls and making mental errors, they lose their games.
The Knicks once again proved that they are the better team in New York with a double-digit win over their interstate rival Brooklyn Nets. They now sit at a 19-6 record and maintain the best record in Eastern Conference. The Knicks are 17-2 when scoring 100+ points.