WELLS FARGO ARENA, PHILADELPHIA — It was the epitome of a “trap game.” After delivering a 100-84 thrashing to the Sixers yesterday in the first of home back to backs, it was as Walt “Clyde” Frazier called “human nature” to expect for the Knicks to collectively slack and possibly suffer their first loss. Very early it looked like that might very well be the case. Philly jumped out to a quick 14-4 lead as the Knicks started sluggish, going 2-7 from the field.
Then the sleeping giant was awakened.
The Knicks would go on a 21-7 run to finish the quarter with a 25-21 lead and went on to break Philly’s will by the third quarter for their third straight blowout and first road win of the season.
The Sixers stayed in it through the second quarter with their ridiculous three pointers. Outside of that, there wasn’t much they could get going due to our superb guard defense. Felton and Prigioni would get several steals leading to multiple Chandler dunks. Although Melo’s jumper was off (5-12 in the first half), the rest of the team picked up the scoring to the tune of seven Knicks players getting in double digits. A Nick Young three would trim the lead to 56-48 in favor of the Knicks, but their play made the deficit seem much larger.
The Knicks came out for the third with the intention to take Philly’s soul and did just that. Melo kicked off the proceedings by making his first two buckets and swatting a weak Kwame Brown shot. Ronnie Brewer, who’s scouting report cites him as a week shooter, was in an amazing rhythm and knocking down open treys, one of which pushed the lead to 13. Moments later another Brewer 3 pointer would push the lead to 18, effectively putting the game would be out of reach.
Rasheed Wallace got in some valuable time and scored eight points in just five minutes, including two 3 pointers. By the time the quarter had ended, the Knicks had outscored the Sixers 33-20.
Did the Knicks let up in the fourth quarter? Nope. Matter of fact, the squad kept the defense strong as if they wanted to completely embarrass Philly. JR Smith played with ice water in his veins, hitting long threes and a fast break dunk off a Pablo Prigioni steal that effectively snatched any remaining fight out of the Sixers.
We’re now 3-0 which is the best start since the 99-2000 season. That season just happens to be the last time we were in the Eastern Conference Finals, a goal most fans believe we should be shooting for this year. The Knicks played with playoff intensity and sent a clear message to a division rival that they’re on different levels. I can’t get over how great our guard play has been. Brewer was on fire (13 points, 5-8 shooting, 3-4 from downtown). If that man can show consistent range from three, that just gives us yet another weapon on the outside. Raymond Felton continued his excellent play, scoring 16 points and dishing 8 assists.
Three games, three blowouts and three teams held under 100 points. This team has me so excited and the rest of the league is starting to take notice. We had a tough Western Conference road trip looming so these next few days of rest will serve us well. The next victim… I mean opponent will be on Friday when the Knicks take on the Mavs at home.