The New York Knicks improved to 2-2 in the preseason with a 98-89 victory against the Washington Wizards. The Knicks got off to a bad start defensively, giving up 30 points in the first quarter, but rebounded to get the win. It was a good night for the Knicks in Baltimore and a homecoming for Carmelo Anthony.
Anthony moved to Baltimore when he was 8 years old. Anthony grew up and matured as a basketball player in West Baltimore. It was his first time playing in Baltimore as a professional and Melo did not disappoint. Anthony scored 22 points in 29 minutes, adding 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Andrea Bargnani and Anthony continued to work well together to start the game. Bargnani was 4-7 for 13 points, and added 3 blocks. However, Bargnani only had 2 rebounds in 25 minutes. He has to have a bigger impact on the boards for the Knicks to contend.
The day started with more speculation about Anthony’s free agency future, after the New York Observer released quotes with Melo indicating he would pursue free agency this summer. However, the night ended on a positive note. As the Melo said, “We made history tonight.”
Toure’ Murry continued to impress for the second straight game. The training camp invite scored 14 points, 5-7 from the field, and showcased a strong defensive effort. More importantly, Murry only had 1 turnover in 25 minutes. He has been the most consistent training camp invite thus far. Murry’s play has warranted a roster spot, but he could be the odd man out. The Knicks already have three point guards under guaranteed contracts in Raymond Felton, Pablo Prigioni, and Beno Udrih. Mike Woodson has already indicated the Knicks will look to sign one or two of backup big men Ike Diogu, Josh Powell, and Cole Aldrich. It is unlikely the Knicks will keep four point guards, but Murry is making it extremely hard to cut him.
Tim Hardaway Jr. also had another strong game. The rookie continued his efficient three point shooting (3-6), scoring 14 points. He also grabbed 5 rebounds.
Beno Udrih had his best game as a Knick. The veteran had 12 points on 5-9 shooting. Udrih only had 2 turnovers in 26 minutes.
Iman Shumpert and Pablo Prigioni both suffered sprained elbows. Neither injury was serious, but Shumpert was limited to 10 minutes. Both players were seen icing their elbows during the game. Hopefully for the Knicks there will be no lingering effects for either player.
The Knicks still need to work on their rebounding and defense. They are not the most physical team, especially on the front line. Anthony, and specifically Bargnani, have to show a concerted effort to rebound and defend at the rim with Tyson Chandler.
The Knicks will head back to training camp. Their next preseason game is Monday, October 17th against the Toronto Raptors. As the Knicks approach their final week of preseason games, it will be important for the players to stay healthy. As for the coaches, tough decisions will have to be made on who makes the final 15 man roster.