By Kenneth Teape
Post Game Recap
Final Score: Wizards: 99 Knicks: 120
It is a great time to be a Knicks fan, the first time a person could say that in a very long time. With the rolling of the Wizards the Knicks did tonight, they run their win streak to 13 games and also clinched their first Atlantic Division title since the 1993-1994 season. The Knicks did it in convincing fashion tonight as they came out hot and just kept piling it on the poor Wizards. The Knicks were unconscious from the field on offense and never let the Wizards get into the game. The Knicks will have a little time to celebrate the Atlantic Division title, but there is still work to be done, as the second seed in the Eastern Conference is still up for grabs. However, at this point looks like the Knicks have a stranglehold on it. The Knicks will start a back-to-back in Chicago Thursday night; the same place the Miami Heat lost their lengthy winning streak a few weeks back.
The Knicks offense clicked like a well-oiled machine tonight as the Wizards had no chance in slowing them down. The Knicks shot 56.3 percent from the field, going 45 of 80 from the field and were unconscious from deep, shooting 55.6 percent from the three point line on a franchise tying 20 makes on 36 attempts. Carmelo Anthony, Iman Shumpert, Raymond Felton, Steve Novak, and Chris Copeland all knocked down multiple three pointers tonight. All in all, six players scored in double-digits for the Knicks tonight to lead a well balanced assault on the Wizards.
Playing against another strong rebounding team in the Wizards tonight, ranked seventh in the NBA with 43.4 rebounds per game, the Knicks showed up and battled on the glass, actually winning the rebounding battle 39-38. Without Tyson Chandler in the lineup it would have been understandable for the Knicks to get hammered on the boards, but a strong effort from Anthony with eight and Copeland with a career high nine rebounds helped swing the numbers in the Knicks favor.
Anthony once again had an amazing game scoring wise and decided to fill out the rest of the columns in the stat sheet tonight also. Anthony scored 36 points tonight, giving him five straight games of 35+ points, on 13 of 21 shooting from the field. Anthony went three of four from the three point line and seven of nine from the foul line. Anthony went off in the third quarter, scoring 21 of his 36 points in the period on seven of nine from the field. Anthony made his presence felt on the boards again for the Knicks who desperately needed someone to help in the rebounding department with Tyson Chandler sidelined to rest his neck injury. Anthony also added six assists tonight and did not turn the ball over once, again showing that he is willing to get his teammates involved for the good of the squad.
Iman Shumpert got the Knicks going in the first quarter and kept it going throughout the night. Shumpert went seven of 10 from the field for 18 points, four of six from the three point line. He also added four rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block for a very good night of basketball. Shumpert has been huge for the Knicks with knocking down corner three pointers, as he enhanced his game after having that knee injury against Miami last year and no longer having to rely solely on his athleticism to get him by.
Copeland and Novak have been forced into playing time with all of the Knicks bigs falling to injury but they are making the most of their opportunities. Each knocked down four three pointers tonight, scoring 17 and 12 points respectively. Copeland earned himself bigger minutes as well with how much work he is doing and how improved he looks to be on the defensive end and on the glass, grabbing a career high nine tonight in a night the Knicks desperately needed help in the rebounding department.
The weather was nice in the New York area these last few days, so the bugs and insects are back out and one bug that might be as revered as any is the injury one, and it has visited the Knicks again. Chandler was unable to play tonight because of the bulging disk in his neck, but Kenyon Martin also went down tonight in the fourth quarter. Martin did not even reach his 20 minute limit before hurting his right leg after coming down awkwardly on it from grabbing a rebound. The x-rays came back negative. The Knicks have to hope that the injury isn’t serious, as the Knicks cannot afford another injury to a big man heading into the playoffs.
The Knicks won in blowout fashion but that does not mean it was a perfect win. The Wizards have one player that you have to game plan against in John Wall and the Knicks witnessed that again tonight. Wall torched the Knicks with a Melo-esque 33 points on 11 of 19 shots and 11 of 14 from the foul line. The Knicks were able to cause some problems for Wall, as he had four turnovers in the game, but for most of the night he had his way against the Knicks defense.
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