In spite of their double overtime 123-120 loss, the intensity and energy was there tonight as the New York Knicks prepare for the upcoming season. This was a fun game to watch as the Knicks fell to 2-3 in the preseason.
With only nine days left to the start of the season it was exciting to watch the Knicks in this game. Up by three points with eight seconds to play, coach Mike Woodson chose not to foul which came back to cost him the game.
When will Woodson learn the value of fouling a player when up by three points with less than nine seconds, versus giving the opposition a chance to make the three point goal?
Walt Frazier was clearly upset Woodson didn’t choose to foul. ”I just don’t understand why they don’t foul” he stated.
Ironically the Raptors chose to foul the Knicks with 8.7 seconds as Beno Udrih made the three which would have tied the game, but the foul was called before the shot. Clearly fouling before a desperation three can be shot is the correct strategy. The Raptors proved this tonight. Hopefully Woodson will make this strategic change during the upcoming season.
In spite of this loss the Knicks showed heart and intensity as no starters finished the game. It was the subs game to win or lose. The Knicks showed many mental lapses at games end, in both regulation and both overtimes.
The first half showed many positive signs and the Knicks are starting to get ready for the season. New York started Udrih at the point as Raymond Felton is out with a minor hamstring injury and looked solid running the club.
Carmelo Anthony. Again looks in great shape and although he didn’t shoot great in the first half showed a great defensive presence. Andrea Bargnani has yet to find his shooting touch and struggled from the field, but he continues to go to the foul line and affects spacing for Anthony.
The Knicks again gave up 30 points in the first quarter, which was the only negative. The biggest positive was Tyson Chandler, who not only looked healthy, but showed his new outside shot. Last year Chandler took only 16 attempts all season from 10-19 feet, but in the first half made two 16 footers which again stretched the floor.
Once again the second team led by Metta World Peace and Toure Murry, added a strong defensive presence in the second quarter. MWP looked solid on both ends and looks fully recovered from his ankle sprain. With Anthony out, MWP took over the offense and looked solid with Melo on the bench. He finished the half with 10 points and the Knicks finished the half with a 60-51 lead. The Knicks were led by Chandler with 10 points.
Murry looked solid and Woodson may have to find a place for this young man who finished the half with seven points. Frazier doesn’t see him making the team as the Knicks have a full backcourt once J.R. Smith returns, but I think Woodson has tough decision here.
The third quarter started off sloppy for the Knicks as Toronto quickly erased their 13-point lead. The Knicks turnovers and soft interior defense hurt them during the start of the third quarter .Early in the third quarter Anthony blocked his third shot and showed great defensive toughness.
The third quarter ended with a highlight reel three-pointer from half court by Murry and the Knicks finished the quarter with a 79-77 lead. Bargnani had a solid offensive quarter and finished the quarter with 13 points and looks to be a solid addition and a good offensive weapon. His offensive skills will only enhance Anthony’s game.
The fourth quarter was led by Knick subs Ike Diogu, MWP and Tim Hardaway Jr. Hardaway continued to look strong and made some three pointers down the stretch. Frazier said of Hardaway, ” he is fearless a precocious neophyte “. Diogu finished with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting, seven rebounds and two blocked shots and clearly deserves a spot on this team.
C.J. Leslie was given a good look tonight and showed improvement but he although he has potential, he does not look NBA ready. Chris Smith and Cole Aldrich saw no playing time which does not fare well for either young man. I would have liked to see more of Aldrich who never saw more than 16 minutes of playing time in any game. Chris Douglas- Roberts played well but there doesn’t seem to be a place for him in the Knicks crowded backcourt.
Once again the Anthony, Bargnani combination looked strong, with excellent chemistry. Chandler, looked motivated, improved and the combination of him and World Peace brought a good defensive toughness to the Knicks frontcourt.
The fact that we have yet to see Amar’e Stoudemire, J.R. Smith and Kenyon Martin, who the Knicks reported tonight are now all ready, show that the Knicks talent and depth make them a team to contend with.
In spite of the loss, the Knicks looked like they are getting ready for the season. Once the cavalry arrives this will be a good Knick team. The key to winning their division and a potential championship will be staying healthy as the season wears on. This team truly has the talent to win it all.