By, Max Marcilla – Knickswag Contributor
Earlier in the day the Knicks received horrible news. Amar’e Stoudemire, who has been producing nicely off the bench, is in need of surgery on his right knee and will be out at least 6 weeks. On top of that, the team was also informed that leading scorer Carmelo Anthony would be out for the third straight game with a sore knee. The question was, would the Knicks second unit be able to score the basketball and who would step up in the absence of the superstars?
The answer was yes! The Knicks would be able to score the ball. In fact, they scored with ease, dropping 113 points on 51% shooting. What made this feat even more impressive is due to the fact that the scoring was balanced. The Knicks had six players in double digits in points, including two over 20.
Offensively, the Knicks had everyone step up. Steve Novak was the star of the game, as he finished with 20 points (a season high) and 4 three-pointers. However, probably the most encouraging part of Novak’s game was his ability to score off the dribble.
Another bench player that was just as impressive as Novak was J.R Smith. Smith finished with 24 points and shot an efficient 10/18 from the field. After Smith scored 36 against Oklahoma City, he has shown his ability to score with the absence of Anthony.
However, the offensive success was overshadowed by the outstanding defensive effort New York showed. The Knicks held Utah to 39% from the field, including 30% from beyond the arc. The defensive success could be attributed to the switches and defensive schemes that the Knicks played to perfection tonight.
Kenyon Martin once again showed his athleticism and ability to take over the paint. This was the 2nd straight game for Martin where he has gotten minutes in the double digits, and thrived in his playing time. With the injury to Stoudemire, Martin will most likely be the player to fill in his role.
Furthermore, it is hard to single out any other Knicks, as all of them played great defensively. Steve Novak is starting to play better defense without fouling, Tyson Chandler is blocking anything that comes his way, as he is averaging 1.8 blocks in his last 10 and once again, Iman Shumpert is looking explosive on defense.
Overall, tonight was one of the best nights of the year for the Knicks, as they showed their potential, even without STAT and Melo. This is a great game to build off of, especially if Melo is out for more time.
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