Five and counting! The Knicks extended their winning streak to five games last night with a dominating 99-85 win over the Pistons. The Knicks are back to what they were doing in November and early December in destroying teams that aren’t on their talent level. Onto the game’s notable points.
NO FIRST QUARTER SLUMP: There was no slow start in this one as the Knicks held the Pistons to just 13 points, a record for their season thus far. Detroit was being out-hustled to every ball and their frontcourt of Andre Drummon and Jason Maxiell struggled to score over Tyson Chandler (a combined 4 points and 7 rebounds). The Knicks shooting was erratic (at times under 40%), but the defense and offensive rebounding gave them plenty of opportunities to the tune of six treys to take a 28-13 lead.
THE GAME ENDS: You know a team is doing well when they can laugh about an airball free throw (courtesy of JR Smith). Much to Coach Woodson’s chagrin, the team decided to turn this into a pickup game in spots with JR chucking threes and the team trying wild alley oops. However, the Pistons couldn’t take advantage with JR and Tyson crashing the boards and Novak getting hot from downtown. The half would end with the Knicks holding a 57-36 lead.
SECOND HALF SLOPPINESS: The Knicks mentally were clearly elsewhere no matter how much Woody yelled and glared. Chandler got lazy on defense and gave up easy layups to Drummond and Calderon early in the third. Melo, who had 19 points in the first half, also started slow in picking up his third and fourth fouls. Still, this is the lowly Pistons we’re talking about, and they could only get as close as 70-54 before some timely hoops by Stoudemire and Chandler helped to push the lead back up to 20 (76-56).
NOT MUCH REST: Since he was not pleased with the effort, it seems like Woody left the starters in for the fourth quarter to prove a point. The offense got bogged down in isolation ball for Melo and long JR treys. On defense, NY started getting beat a lot backdoor by speedy Detroit guards like Will Bynum. Nonetheless, three-pointers by Smith and Novak effectively iced the game at 91-75, and the starters were pulled at the 1:31 mark.
CHANDLER’ HISTORICAL MARK: Tyson Chandler had his third consecutive game with 20 rebounds, being the first Knicks player to do since Willis Reed 43 years. With the Wizards coming up next, he may just set a new record.