Post Game Recap
Final Score: Hawks: 104 Knicks: 106
The Knicks looked like a totally different team from the one that got blown out in Philadelphia last night in beating the Hawks tonight. There was a lot more effort and better effectiveness from the players, but there was still some glaring deficiencies that will need to be worked on as the Knicks continue their path to the playoffs. This is a great time for the Knicks to work on things as the schedule eases up a little bit with four very winnable home games to end this home stand against the Magic, Bucks, Kings and Pistons. Tonight the Knicks did just enough to come away with the victory and move within 1.5 games of the Heat for first place in the Eastern Conference after the Heat dropped their game this afternoon to the Celtics in Boston.
Carmelo Anthony got off to a slot start tonight from the field, but eventually caught fire and carried the Knicks offense to the victory tonight. The Knicks needed every one of Anthony’s 42 points as the Hawks stuck right with Knicks throughout the game. Anthony finished the game 15 for 29, getting his name in the record book twice in the process. He made a franchise tying nine three pointers in the game, tying the mark of Latrell Sprewell, John Starks and Toney Douglas; he then tied the franchise record for consecutive 20+ point scoring games with his 29th in a row tonight, tying Knicks legend Richie Guerin. Anthony added five rebounds and one assist to round out his stat line.
Amar’e Stoudemire continues to play well for the Knicks and looks to be embracing his bench role and running with it. In 29 minutes tonight, Stoudemire scored 18 points on six of nine shooting and grabbing a team high eight rebounds. Stoudemire is still working and learning some things on the defensive end, but he is becoming less of a liability for the Knicks, as he closed out the game tonight and was able to do things that the coaching staff took notice of. Not being the main go-to guy on offense with Anthony on the court, Stoudemire has the chance to crash the boards and cause some havoc on the offensive glass; something he did tonight as he grabbed four offensive rebounds. Stoudemire is thriving off the bench against lesser opponents and looks comfortable in his role.
Raymond Felton looked light years ahead of where he was last night. After a rough game against the 76ers, Felton stepped up big tonight and was a big reason as to why the Knicks offense was humming along as efficiently as it was. Felton got his teammates going tonight en route to a 10 assist game. Felton would add 12 points on five of eight shooting and four rebounds.
As mentioned in the last bullet point, the Knicks offense was on fire tonight and a big reason was Felton’s play. Prigioni had a big hand in that also, as he was able to get Anthony going with a hot second quarter. On the night, the Knicks shot 54.2 percent from the field and a very impressive 59.3 from the three point line, led by Anthony’s nine and two from Prigioni, Felton and Iman Shumpert.
J.R. Smith was able to shake his shooting slump, at least for one game. Tonight Smith went seven of 15 from the field tonight, ending with 18 point scored, giving the Knicks a legitimate one-two punch off the bench when he is clicking along with Stoudemire. Smith finished the night adding three rebounds, two assists and two steals.
The defense continues to be lacking for the Knicks, particularly the interior. Tonight, the Hawks were able to get into the lane at will, scoring 50 points in the paint. The Knicks guards were unable to keep the Hawks guards out of the paint, as Felton was torched multiple times by Jeff Teague, who scored 27 for the Hawks. The Knicks also struggled to contain Josh Smith when he would realize shooting jump shots were not for him, as he shot seven of 10 inside the three point line and scored 20 points on the night. The Hawks, who are no offensive juggernaut, shot 60.0 percent from the field, which is an embarrassing mark for the Knicks to allow. Their defense will need to tighten up if they hope to make some noise in the playoffs as they cannot rely on the offensive prowess of Anthony every night to pull them from the doldrums of defeat.
Kenneth Teape @teapester725 – Knickswag Contributor
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