Yes, it is only one game, but a win is a win. The New York Knicks barely beat the D- League Milwaukee Bucks as the Knick starters pulled the game out in the final minutes. Tonight against the Chicago Bulls the Knicks have a true test.
The season began at the sold out Madison Square Garden, with the Knicks showing playoff intensity. They finished the half with a 25 point lead, led by eight steals and excellent defense. What impressed me the most in the first quarter was the Knicks balanced scoring. Carmelo Anthony, Raymond Felton and Iman Shumpert each scored 12 points.
TALE OF TWO HALF’S
The second half showed a different Knick team, sloppy on offense and soft on defense as they allowed 33 points in the third quarter, versus 31 for the Bucks in the entire first half. The Bucks outscored the Knicks 33-18 in the third quarter and literally brought themselves back in the game.
Knicks head coach Mike Woodson needs to better manage the clock as they allowed the Bucks back in a game which should have been a blow out. The Knicks need to develop a killer instinct and control the pace and tempo of the game.
The Knicks were sloppy as the second half began and simply not the same team that played the first half. turnovers hurt the Knicks early in the half as they had more turnovers 9, then field goals 7. Felton played a solid first half but tweaked his hamstring and the Knicks were not the same team. Felton penetrated and was aggressive on both ends of the court and his return in the fourth quarter probably saved the game.
The Knicks started the fourth quarter with 7 turnovers which allowed the Bucks to tie the game and take the lead with four minutes to play. The Knicks at that point had 21 turnovers against a team without its starting two point guards. Woodson again moved to his comfort zone of a two point guard offense which is simply not the best utilization of Shumpert or Hardaway. He also played Bargnani at center, where he was simply overwhelmed and outmatched. Kenyon Martin played well in the first half but did not appear in the second half. With Chandler not on the floor the Bucks dominated in the paint. Woodson needs to either play Aldrich, or Steve Mills needs to acquire a back up center. Woodson must learn you cannot play three guards and two forwards and win. Bargnani is not a center and should not be played there, this will only hurt the team as it destroys his confidence.
After surrendering the lead in the fourth quarter, Chandler and Anthony willed this team to a win. Anthony’s tip in with 1.14 to play was pivotal to this win as it gave the Knicks a 5 point lead. A 10-2 run at the end of the game was germane to this win.
Chandler, led all players with 5 blocks showed why he was one year removed from being the defensive player of the year. Chandler scored 10 points and had 6 rebounds, to go along with his 5 blocks in 32 minutes. GRADE A
Anthony, led the Knicks with 19 points and 10 rebounds. In spite of the refs not giving him a call, Anthony showed grit and toughness at games end and would not allow the Knicks to lose. He and Chandler are the two reasons the Knicks won this Game. GRADE A.
Felton, scored 18 points in 34 minutes, but played with heart and intensity. He returned to temper the Knicks and return the Knicks lead even after aggravating his hamstring. GRADE A.
Shumpert, played a solid first half and a mediocre second half. He shot 5-13 and 1-5 from the three point line for 16 points with 4 rebounds. GRADE B
Prigioni, Pablo led the Knicks wit 5 assists, shot 3-3 from the field for 7 points. His defense triggered many turnovers for the Bucks. He was solid in the first half but his 4 turnovers were not in line with his normal play. He was Alan Hahn’s player of the game and was a plus 19. GRADE B+.
Bargnani, was nervous in his first game at the Garden and shot 3-9 for 6 points, 2 rebounds in 17 minutes. As it was only his first game and his second half improvement, he received a passing grade. GRADE C-.
Martin, Kenyon played only 5 minutes but looked solid in his 5 minutes where he shot 1-1 with 3 rebounds. Based on court presence and minutes played, he excelled on the court. GRADE B+.
Udrih, Beno did not play one of his better games and struggled with 2 points on 1-4 shooting with 2 points and 2 turnovers. He was simply sloppy with the ball and may have been nervous in his first Garden appearance GRADE C-.
Peace, Metta World for whatever reason only played 18 minutes but shot 2-4, for 4 points, along with 4 rebounds. his defensive presence gave the Knicks a lift in the second quarter. GRADE B
Hardaway, Tim shot 2-2 for 5 points with 2assists, in his first NBA game in 15 minutes and simply does not play like a rookie. GRADE A.
Woodson, I love coach, but he needs to work on his game management and better manage his rotations and not allow the Knicks third quarter collapse. He clearly misses Novak and Copeland and the Knicks may have to play the rookie more as they showed no offense in the 3rd quarter. The Knicks almost lost this one and Woodson did not know how to push the right buttons. He was saved by Anthony, Chandler and Felton, who saved coach from a failing grade. He needs to find more offense and more consistency. GRADE C.