There was almost no defense played in tonight’s matchup, and it turns out that for the Knicks that’s not always a bad thing. The shootout left the Knicks and Hawks shooting 54.2% and 60.0% from the field respectively. Carmelo Anthony had a career night, and tied the Knicks’ record for most 3-pointers made in a game with nine. For the Hawks, Jeff Teague and Josh Smith played well, but turnovers (the team had 19) ended up being an issue.
Here are the grades for the Knicks’ player’s performances:
Raymond Felton (12 points, 10 assists, 4 rebounds, and 3 turnovers on 5-9 shooting): Felton started off hot scoring all six of the team’s first points. He played with confidence after his only okay return in Philadelphia. Felton hit open three pointers (he went 2-4 from behind the arc), and drove to the basket in order to create for his opponents. His 10 assists were a huge boost, especially with Jason Kidd missing the second half of the game. Grade: B+
Jason Kidd (0 points, 2 assists, and 1 steal on 0-0 shooting): J-Kidd’s back has been bothering him lately, and it was evident tonight. He played only 5 minutes in the first half, and did not return for the second. Coach Woodson had been relying on Kidd heavily with Felton out, so it is not unreasonable for him to need a few days rest in order to heal. Still, with only 5 minutes he proved to be effective. Grade: C
Iman Shumpert (8 points, 1 assist, 1 rebound, 2 steals, and 1 turnover on 3-5 shooting): Shump continued his return from ACL surgery in tonight’s game. He played only 19 minutes, but provided a defensive spark that resulted in Hawks’ turnovers. He was also effective with his shot, and moved the ball well. Grade: B-
Carmelo Anthony (42 points, 1 assist, 5 rebounds, 4 turnovers on 15-28 shooting): ‘Melo showed everyone why is considered to be one of the most versatile scorers in the league tonight. He passed his career high in three pointers made by two, knocking down 9 from deep tonight. Anthony had been struggling slightly with his shot as of late, but tonight after a rocky start turned it on. He converted an and-1 on a critical play with the clock running down that ended up sealing the deal for the Knicks. Grade: A
Tyson Chandler (2 points, 1 assist, 3 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 0 turnovers on 1-1 shooting): Chandler had an off night against the Hawks. He couldn’t secure rebounds, and didn’t look to get easy shots near the rim. He played solid defense, but Al Horford scored 16 points on 8-8 shooting from the field. Overall, an atypical performance for Chandler. Grade: C+
J.R. Smith (18 points, 2 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, and 1 turnover on 7-15 shooting): J.R. played a more efficient game than we have seen from him recently. His three-point shot continues to be a problem, especially considering how many are wide open. He continued to make a name for himself as one of the best bad shot shooters in this league (I am looking at you Jamal Crawford). Smith played solid defense down the stretch, and his play forced Woodson to leave Shumpert on the bench in the final minutes. Grade: B
Amar’e Stoudemire (18 points, 1 assist, 8 rebounds, 1 block, and 3 turnovers on 6-9 shooting): STAT’s return to dominance is a work in progress, but he is doing a great job of proving his worth. He continues to be one of the only free throw threats on the team (he went 6-8 from the charity stripe), and his defense is slowly improving. STAT also had a powerful slam in the third quarter reminiscent of vintage Amar’e. He is thriving off the bench, and providing a unique punch to the second unit.
Steve Novak (0 points, 1 rebound, and 0 turnovers on 0-1 shooting): Novak’s season can be easily described as underwhelming. Every team has him on their scouting report to cover tight, and his defense leaves much to be desired. This results in him playing only 13 minutes, and not scoring, which is unacceptable for a three-point specialist. Coach Woodson needs to figure out how to help him get open. Grade: D+
Pablo Prigioni (6 points, 4 assists, and 2 turnovers on 2-3 shooting): Prigioni is one of the best pickups the front office pulled off during the summer. He plays solid backup point guard minutes, and has shown he has a nice stroke on his jumper. 4 assists in 10 minutes is not too shabby if you ask me. If Kidd’s back continues to be a problem, then look for an increase in quality minutes from the Argentine. Grade: B
Kurt Thomas (0 points, 1 rebound, and 0 turnovers, on 0-0 shooting): Thomas played 4 minutes tonight, and wasn’t asked to do much. He has played productively when needed to this season, but tonight was nothing major. Grade: Incomplete
James White (0 points, o turnovers on 0-1 shooting): Flight-White played 4 minutes all night, and did not produce much on the floor. He was able to foul a Hawk player in his limited minutes, however. Grade: Incomplete
Ronnie Brewer: Brewer played less than a minute in tonight’s game. It seems the once prominent defensive swingman has been fully removed from the rotation by Mike Woodson.
Chris Copeland (DNP – Coaches’ Decision)
Marcus Camby and Rasheed Wallace both did not play as they are still recovering from foot injuries.