By Kenneth Teape
Post Game Recap
Final Score: Hawks: 92 Knicks: 98
The Knicks ended their most successful season in 16 seasons with a win against the Hawks Wednesday night giving them some momentum heading into the playoffs. It was a tough game to watch at some points as the Knicks only had seven players appear in the game tonight, ending with only six available. The Knicks finish the regular season with a 54-28 record, going 31-10 at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks will head into the playoff series against the Celtics, which starts Saturday night, on a roll winning 16 of their last 18 games.
Iman Shumpert put together a great all around game tonight for the short-handed Knicks. Being forced into point guard duties after Pablo Prigioni went down with a sprained ankle in the first quarter; Shumpert led the Knicks to a very successful second half. Shumpert went seven of 11 from the field tonight, knocking down one of his two three point attempts and all three of his free throws for 18 points. He stuffed the rest of the stat sheet as well, grabbing seven rebounds, hanging out eight assists and getting two steals as well. The Knicks had a scare at the end of the game as Shumpert motioned to come out about halfway through the fourth quarter, but it was revealed later that it was only cramps that Shumpert was dealing with.
Pablo Prigioni was having a great night for the Knicks through the first 11 minutes of the game. Prigioni looked like he was on his way to his best statistical game of his first NBA season, scoring eight points, grabbing five rebounds and handing out three assists while getting one steal before being forced from the game with a sprained ankle. Prigioni is being listed as day-to-day right now and there will be more information made available tomorrow when the Knicks practice in preparation for the first round playoff series against the Celtics.
Chris Copeland did what he did best tonight and that is put the ball in the basket. He scored a career high 33 points on 14 of 29 shooting from the field, making a living in the paint as he struggled with his shot going one of four from the three point line and four of eight from the foul line. Copeland became the first Knick rookie since Bill Cartwright during the 1979-1980 season to score 30 points in back-to-back games. Copeland added three rebounds, one assist, one steal and two blocks on the night as he put on his best Carmelo Anthony performance tonight.
Earl Barron literally came off the street tonight and got inserted into the Knicks starting lineup and did what he did the last time he suited up for the Knicks at the end of the 2010 season; rebound the basketball. Barron tonight played 37 minutes for the shorthanded Knicks, being visibly tired after not playing basketball for three months and last appearing in a game December 21st, 2012 with the Washington Wizards. Tonight Barron pulled down a career-high tying 18 rebounds to go along with 11 points. He showed good touch on his jump shot, showing he can knock down a 15-footer if asked. The other newest addition to the Knicks, Quentin Richardson, survived the game but looked tired at the end as well, not playing since the preseason with the Orlando Magic. Richardson knocked down his first shot of the game but missed his next 10 attempts. He did grab 10 rebounds though and brings toughness to the Knicks that is needed in the playoffs.
Like the game Monday night against the Bobcats, tonight’s main goal was to have no one suffer any injuries; easier said than done for the Knicks. Tonight they saw Prigioni go down with an ankle sprain in the first quarter and his status for the series opener Saturday afternoon up in the air currently. Copeland suffered a shoulder injury, as he said in his post game interview that the shoulder popped out and back in after a second. Copeland was able to finish out the game but was in obvious pain. Shumpert asked out of the game with an apparent injury but it ended up being cramps, something Richardson and Barron looked to be suffering from as well after not playing for such a long period of time. Barron was also seen holding his knee leaving the court after the game.
Steve Novak did nothing to instill confidence in Mike Woodson to use him in the playoffs as a rotation player as he went one of eight from the field tonight, missing his first seven attempts of the game. Novak only managed to grab one rebound as well, and got three assists too. Novak will most likely see only spot minutes in the playoffs as a weapon off the bench depending on matchups in the game.
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