What a night for the New York Knicks. Not only did they pull in their 11th win over the Bucks, but they also celebrated the 40th anniversary of the 1972-1973-championship team.
Phil Jackson, Earl the Pearl, Willis Reed, and the whole rest of the team (besides Dave Debusschere) were there. It was a special moment to witness.
As for the Knicks Performance against the Bucks, they started off very slow trailing by 9 by the end of the half. They were playing stagnant basketball and were very lazy on defense. But the Knicks turned it around in the third quarter scoring 42 points (more than the whole first half), knocking down their threes, and Carmelo (41 points) and Smith (30 points) completely took over the game. They finished the quarter on a whopping 25-2 run. The Bucks cut the game to 6 points with 4:39 remaining in the game, but the Knicks closed out the game on a 14-2 run.
Here are the Player Report Cards from tonight’s game:
Carmelo Anthony – 37 minutes, 41 points, 17-28 FG, 3-7 3FG, 14 rebounds
Melo, Melo, Melo. Why are you so damn good? Melo tied the franchise record with 3 consecutive games of 40 points or more. He was the reason the Knicks stayed close in the first half with his knockdowns and ferocious drives to the basket. His ability to create space when a defender is right up in his jock in is just unbelievable. Even though he was isolating himself a little too much in the first half, I really didn’t care – when your scoring at will, he can do whatever he want to do.
Final Grade: A+
J.R. Smith – 34 minutes, 30 points, 11-22 FG, 5-11 3FG, 10 rebounds, 3 assist, 2 steal
Smith did not have a great first half but that didn’t stop him from exploding in the second half as he hit three after three to create breathing room for the Knicks. He is playing by far his best basketball of his career due to his matureness in his shot selection and becoming such a more efficient scorer. The Knicks needed him as much as they needed Melo to pull out the win.
Final Grade: A
Raymond Felton – 36 minutes, 9 points, 4-9 FG, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals
At the beginning of the game Felton tried to do way too much – he over dribbled, played nonchalant and contributed to the Knicks hole in the first half. In the second half he played calmer and with more poise and had an overall solid game.
Final Grade: B
Iman Shumpert – 19 minutes, 0 points, 0-7 FG, 3 rebounds
Shumpert did not have a great night offensively missing layups and wide open shots but he did do a solid job defensively of Monta Ellis (11 points) and Brandon Jennings (25 points).
Final Grade: C-
Tyson Chandler – 37 minutes, 6 points, 3-7 FG, 10 rebounds, 3 assist
Chandler’s probably could’ve had 5 or 6 more baskets if he made his layups and didn’t have butter on his hands all night. But overall he locked up the pain forcing Jennings and Ellis to take outside shots and rebounded well. I don’t agree with him playing 37 minutes after just suffering a neck injury. I think he should stay in the 20-30 minute range so he can be fully healthy come playoff time.
Final Grade: B-
Pablo Prigioni – 17 minutes, 2 points, 1-4 FG, 3 rebound, 4 assista,
Prigioni added some nice defense on Ellis and make some nice decisions. He’s done a solid job at the starting 2 position so far, as it gives Kidd less minutes so that he can be fully rested and healthy for the playoffs.
Final Grade: C+
Jason Kidd – 24 minutes, 5 points, 2-4 FG, 0 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assist, 1 steal
Kidd had one of the classic Kidd games where he did a little of everything. But his highlight came at the end of the third quarter where he hit a three-quarter court shot off the backboard. It gave the Knicks a double-digit lead entering the fourth quarter.
Final Grade: B
Steve Novak – 15 minutes, 2 points, 1-4 FG, 0-3 3FG
I got to the game early today and saw Dave Hopla (world-renounced shooting instructor) working with Novak on his shot, and there were times he couldn’t miss. But Novak for the most part was taking spot up threes, none off the dribble, none with a defender coming at him. He’s got to learn to become a better shooter with a defender in his face because he is not getting the open shots he used too. Teams know he is too good of a shooter to leave open. So tonight when he received the ball with a defender coming at him, Novak just released it 10 times quicker and it didn’t look very pretty. Players don’t speed up the release to get a shot off, they make a move or do something so that they can get a quality shot in.
Final Grade: D
Chris Copeland – 21 minutes, 6 points, 2-4 FG, 2-4 3FG, 0 rebounds, 0 assists
I do like Woodson’s decision to have Copeland in the rotation since it gives Melo and Kidd more time to rest and he has the ability to hit the knockdown three. But Copeland has to step it up in all other areas of play – rebounding, defense, passing – pretty much everything else but scoring.
Final Grade: C+
James White – 1 min
White did a great job relieving Melo with a minute left to play in the game.
Kenyon Martin - DNP – Sore Left Knee