The New York Knicks defeated the Philadelphia 76ers, 123-110, for their fourth straight win in a row. It was a little hairy in the beginning; the 76ers rushed out to a double-digit lead in the first quarter as the Knicks’ defense was virtually nonexistent. It would have been fitting for the Knicks to be the team to help snap the Sixers’ 16-game losing streak as New York tries to make a last-ditch playoff push.
Luckily, gradually building offensive cohesion allowed the Knicks to tick up the lead before exploding in the fourth quarter to cruise home to an easy victory. Four different Knicks scored over 20 points — the first time that’s happened since 2012. Here’s a look at the individual performances.
Carmelo Anthony – 32 minutes, 22 points, 9-24 FG, 0-7 3FG, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, 3 TOs, +13
Spent much of the night hoisting rushed or just ill-advised jumpers on his way to an ugly shooting performance. The pull-up three wasn’t falling, and in those cases, it usually prompts Anthony to keep launching, almost in spite of his arrhythmic release. A 37% shooting night ruined what would’ve been a more brief, well-rounded night.
Final Grade: C-
J.R. Smith – 39 minutes, 22 points, 8-18 FG, 4-11 3FG, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, +21
In that dreadful first quarter, Smith almost single-handedly kept the Knicks alive by dropping in 11 points, nine of which were from downtown. He continues to launch, unbridled, from beyond the arc, and he’s resembling his old self from last season. More of that, please.
Final Grade: B
Amar’e Stoudemire – 30 minutes, 23 points, 9-10 FG, 5-6 FG, 6 rebounds, 1 block, +21
23 points on 10 shots is quite an efficient outing. Manning the center position in Tyson Chandler’s absence, Stoudemire summoned some remaining 2010-11 strength and poured in a vintage performance around the basket, finishing pick-and-rolls, post-ups, and-1s, etc. He has virtually no explosion from the stand-still, so rebounding and trying to captain the paint is difficult for him, but it’s so terrific to see him look so good. Now, let’s keep those minutes down a bit more and those knees rested.
Final Grade: A+
Raymond Felton – 27 minutes, 14 points, 4-5 FG, 2 assists, 2 steals, +1
Engaged in a bit of back-and-forth with Michael Carter-Williams, Felton seemed to thrive off the Knicks’ slowly building momentum. 14 points on five shots is nice and efficient, too, as he had the three-point stroke going.
Final Grade: A-
Iman Shumpert – 31 minutes, 2 points, 1-3 FG, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, +13
Shump is dangerously falling into that play-him-for-10-minutes-until-the-other-guys-are-rested role. He couldn’t be less aggressive on the offensive end, and tonight in particular, he was part of several miscues on the defensive end.
Final Grade: D+
Tim Hardaway Jr. – 29 minutes, 28 points, 9-13 FG, 5-7 3FG, 2 rebounds, 2 TOs, +8
Props to Mike Woodson, who checked Hardaway Jr. in to exacerbate the Knicks’ defensive problems in the first quarter, only to get some really solid offensive production. Several of Timmy’s buckets came in garbage time, but when Junior is on, he’s the king of the momentum buckets. He delivered some of the bigger blows to Philly tonight.
Final Grade: A
Pablo Prigioni – 29 minutes, 3 points, 1-2 FG, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 2 TOs, +21
Prigioni’s getting more minutes than Felton still, which, I suppose is different in a blowout than tight game, but still…. Had some unusual defensive lapses, but otherwise ran the offense with aplomb and helped fellas out by finding them lingering on the perimeter for kick-outs in the PnR.
Final Grade: B
Jeremy Tyler – 18 minutes, 6 points, 2-4 FG, 5 rebounds, 1 steal, 2 TOs, 2 blocks, -6
Tyler got some legit first half playing time and ended up a -6 while still playing in garbage time. He wasn’t good tonight. Sans Tyson Chandler, Cole Aldrich is a much better fit to plug up the middle than Tyler, but nonetheless, Woodson stuck with Jeremy. Stumbled around, dunked some, blocked some, fouled a bunch. A Jeremy Tyler performance, basically.
Final Grade: C-
Shannon Brown, Earl Clark, Toure’ Murry
The New York Knicks travel to Boston on Wednesday to play the Celtics. Let’s make it five in a row. Go Utah Jazz in the meantime!
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