A combination of things made this a big game for the Knicks. Naturally, a division rival is always an important opponent at any point in the season, but when you haven’t won in Boston since 2006, it becomes a little more personal. Yes, there were many different Knick teams since 2006, but the general squad in place still hasn’t been able to get the job done in Boston. Coming off a home loss to the Celtics earlier in January, in a game where Boston was without Rondo, the Knicks knew they would have to show up to play on the road. It wasn’t the cleanest win as the Knicks shot under 40 percent, but a much needed one.
Kidd wasn’t very impressive in the Knicks win, but still contributed by chipping in a few steals, a couple leading to baskets, and 12 points on 5-10 shooting (2-7 3PT). Most of the issue with Kidd tonight comes with allowing his counterpart, Rajon Rondo, to record his 27th career triple double with a healthy line of 23-10-11 on 10-19 from the field. While Kidd did look better in some of the zone defense eventually used, Rondo wasn’t given much trouble last night by him or the Knicks.
It wasn’t too bad of a game for Shumpert, who like Amar’e, is still proving his health on the court. He knocked down 2-4 from three-point range and looked like he was able to move. Per usual, he was good on the defensive end. It was a little hard to keep track of specific defensive matchups as the Knicks were switching and adjusting during the game, but he also played a role in Paul Pierce only scoring 3 points in the second half.
There was much talk about the ‘Melo-KG drama that spawned in the last bout between the two teams. With the two brushing off the incident, it’s hard to believe that Carmelo truly was reserved about it because after all, he did have to serve a suspension for his antics following that game. Regardless of it being a big deal or not, it’s obvious that the Knicks needed a big game from Carmelo to win, wherever his inspiration came from, to get a long overdue win in Boston. Most importantly, Carmelo responded and took over the game, leading all scorers with 28 and adding 9 rebounds as well. He only shot 11-28, but started to warm up after a little while and was a consistent factor all game.
In only 20 minutes, Amar’e had his best output of his young season thus far, putting up 15 points (4-7 FG) and 9 boards. He also contributed by getting to the line, hitting 7 of 8 free throws, and with a surprising 2 blocks. He did get into a little foul trouble, but this is still an inspiring performance from him that the Knicks hope will project well over more minutes as he gets healthier.
Chandler didn’t really do much of anything on the offensive end, but he didn’t get much opportunity, going only 1-2 from the field and 3-3 from the line. Defensively, Chandler was a presence, pulling down 8 boards, blocking 2 shots and picking up a steal. It would be nice to see Chandler more active on the offensive glass and with so many Knick misses tonight, it’s a little surprising he didn’t have any more points off of second chances.
It wasn’t too pretty of a night for Smith at all in a game when a handful of his shots drew the “that’s a bad shot” reaction before the ball even left his hands. Shooting 3-16 from the field and 1-6 from three-point range is almost enough to wipe out any good that you can do, but not tonight. Smith played formidable D and most importantly, with 1:11 remaining in the game, hit his sole 3-pointer, putting the Knicks up 5. It’s hard to ignore a very poor overall performance, but Smith left his fingerprints on this game in a positive light when it was all said and done, giving him a rightful grade boost.
Most of the role players were nonexistent this game and there were only 10 points scored by others than were listed above (Prigioni with 6 and White with 4). Kurt Thomas and Ronnie Brewer only had to come out of their warmups briefly as they were fillers for a minute or two at the end of a couple quarters. Prigioni was pretty productive with 4 assists as well in only 16 minutes, leading to a +8 in +/-, but either lack of minutes, lack of shots, or a combination of both led to a pretty quiet night from the Knicks role players.