The New York Knicks may have lost their final preseason game 85-83 to the Charlotte Bobcats, but won over fans with the Madison Square Garden makeover.
The Garden reopened after completion of its $1 billion renovation that spanned the last three offseason’s, featuring a giant new video board, two overhead bridges with views of the court and an expanded entrance from Seventh Ave.
What hurt the Knicks tonight, as in their last game versus the Milwaukee Bucks, was poor shooting. The Knicks had a 19-point lead in the first half but then missed 18-of-22 shots in the third quarter. As was the case often last year the third quarter was their downfall. The Knicks fought back to regain the lead on Carmelo Anthony’s jumper with 2:26 remaining before Kemba Walker made consecutive jumpers in the lane, the second making it 85-83 with 1:31 to play.
The Knicks still had a chance to win this one as Anthony missed the potential tying jump shot. Melo scored 13 points but shot only 4-of-17. The Knicks were out scored in the final quarter 25-16.
The positive news that comes from this loss is the recoveries of J.R.Smith and Amar’e Stoudemire. Smith and Stoudemire made their preseason debuts after recovering from knee surgeries. Smith scored 11 points and Stoudemire had six points on 3-of-4 shooting. Both looked both good and healthy in their limited minutes.
THE KAPLAN REPORT CARD
Raymond Felton shot 1-of-7 and showed his rust. For the Knicks to repeat last year’s numbers Felton must up his game and score more than 2 points. Grade: F
Andrea Bargnani, scored 7 points on 2-of-10 shooting, I would have given him an F, except he had six rebounds, up from one last game. Grade: D
Tyson Chandler, although he only shot 2-for-5, he had nine rebounds and showed some toughness in his 27 minutes. Grade: C+
Iman Shumpert was the Knicks leading scorer with 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting and had the Knicks best offensive game. Grade: B+
Carmelo Anthony did not shoot well, only 4-for-17, but had 13 points and seven rebounds. Grade: C+
Amar’e Stoudemire gets an A for effort scoring six points on 3-for-4 shooting in 12 minutes in his first preseason game. Grade: A
Metta World Peace scored 12 points, on 4-for-10 shooting, knocking down 3-of-7 from beyond the 3-point line. Grade: B
Pablo Prigioni only scored 3 points in 20 minutes, but led the Knicks with a plus-8, while playing tough defense. Grade: C+
J.R. Smith looked strong and healthy. In his first preseason game, Smith scored11 points on 5-for-9 shooting in only 13 minutes. If it wasn’t for his five-game suspension, he would have earned an A. Grade: B
Tim Hardaway Jr. scored five points on 2-of-5 shooting in 15 minutes but was a respectable + 2. Grade: C+
Coach Mike Woodson the Knicks were outrebounded 57-46, trailed in assists 18-16, and were outshot 41-37 percent. They still looked out of sync and offensively and cannot allow to give up a 19-point lead at home. They were outscored in the paint 38-20, had 12 turnovers and did not lead in any important statistic category. Grade: C-
Preseason or not, Woodson must play the players playing well and not follow a set schedule. He let this game get away from him.
The season begins Wednesday against the D- League Bucks; hopefully the real Knicks will show up.
Dr. Eric Kaplan is a best-selling author www.5minutemotivator.com, or follow him on twitter @drekaplan