Well a win is a win, but this was an ugly win for the New York Knicks. Up by as many as twenty, it took rookie sensation, Tim Hardaway Jr., to win the game as the Knicks win103-102. Metta World Peace said, “this young man showed me something, he showed me heart”. Hardaway scored 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting, with making 3-of-5 from the three point line.
As stated on earlier posts, in Vegas only Hardaway and Jeremy Tyler looked NBA ready. Tonight he showed he is the real deal. Coach Mike Woodson who doesn’t love to play rookies will have to find time for this young man.
The two-guard was the most impressive position in game one. As good as Hardaway was, Iman Shumpert was better shooting 7-for-7 from the field and looked sharp on both ends of the court. He sent a message to Woodson that he wants to start and based on tonight’s game, showed he deserves the opportunity. Possibly mad he didn’t start tonight; he showed this could be his year to prove he is an everyday player and future all-star. He led all Knick scorers with 18 points.
Andrea Bargnani, scored 12 points, but what was more impressive was his chemistry with Carmelo Anthony. They worked well together and made for a formidable front court with Tyson Chandler. Chandler looked bigger, stronger and showed his updated improved jump shot.
Bargnani and Chandler need to bang the boards better as the Knicks were out rebounded in the first half mostly dominated by key players. I like the Bargnani, Anthony chemistry.
World Peace looked fit and sharp and looks to be a great offseason addition. MWP scored 13 points on 5-for-9 shooting.
Anthony looked fit and showed no signs of his past shoulder problems.
Cole Aldrich remains the only backup center he played tough, but looked nervous. However with time could be an adequate backup to Chandler.
Raymond Felton looked thinner and had a decent game shooting 5-of-10 for 11 points and zero turnovers. The three headed point guard monster looked good, as Pablo Prigioni played strong defense and made a key three point shot. Beno Udrih looked good with four points and four assists. His ability to penetrate helped breakdown the defense easily.
All in all I was a good night until the end when the reserves looked like a D- League team versus the Celtic substitutes. The backcourt of Toure Murry and Chris Smith were destroyed by Celtics third string point guard Phil Pressey, who dominated the Knicks backcourt down the stretch. We did not see much from C.J. Leslie.
Leslie didn’t show much and Josh Powell looked like the best bet to help the Knicks frontcourt with limited time. Seeing no light, does not bode well to former Memphis star Cris Douglas Roberts.
This was a good first day. The Knicks team defense still needs to improve and they need to develop a stronger, better frontcourt. This team has talent, now it’s up to Woodson to get them playing together. My father used to say “a win, is a win”. We need to enjoy the night; however the Knicks need to play better defense and need to hit the boards on a more regular basis.
Dr. Eric Kaplan is a Best Selling author www.drerickaplan.com