Going into the Knicks’ game Saturday night at the Garden against the Utah Jazz, the team received terrible news that Amar’e Stoudemire would be undergoing a right knee debridement, the same procedure he had done on his left knee earlier in the year, and miss six weeks. Do the math, and that comes out to the rest of the regular season.
The remaining healthy Knicks responded.
The Utah Jazz are a very solid team. They currently hold the 8 seed in the Western Conference, and play pretty well as a team. The Knicks went out there last night, helped by a seemingly effortless performance by the Jazz, and showed that they are a tough team to beat with or without their stars. The biggest positive I took out of Saturday’s game was the 18 shots taken by J.R. Smith. Yes, only 18 shots. He’s been known to take that many with both Carmelo and Amar’e still playing, so it was nice to see him take 11 less shots than the night before without those guys. He did make 55% of the shots he took, and when that’s the case, I have no problem with how many he takes. But there was a lot of ball movement and the Knicks spread the court very well, and when that happens, it gives guys like Steve Novak a chance to score 20 points.
Which he did. Which included a runner off the glass off the dribble. From Steve Novak. Yeah, that really happened. The ball was moving around and it gave Novakaine a little more space to take his three-pointers. He doesn’t need much space, and he showed how lethal he can be with enough, shooting 5-10 from three point range. They’re going to need to get Novak some more good looks down the stretch if they want to win some games in the playoffs.
(Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images)
It was also a welcoming site to see Kenyon Martin score 10 points on 4-6 shooting, with 6 rebounds, 2 steals and an assist, in what was by far his longest outing of the year, playing 22 minutes. There doesn’t seem to be much rust on K-Mart, a guy who can and will have to come up big for the Knicks off the bench down the stretch, especially with the absence of Amar’e Stoudemire. No need for the Knicks to go get another forward in the wake of STAT’s absence. He’s already on the team, and he played great last night (so did Copeland, but I don’t see Woodson showing us too much more of him).
The Knicks had 21 team assists last night, only turned the ball over 12 times, and gave up just 84 points in a victory that looked like the Knicks of old. And by that I mean, the Knicks at the beginning of the season. They did this without their stars, against a pretty good team, which should give Knicks fans hope after the devastating news about their man who Stands Tall And Talented.