It’s been a LONG time coming, as the great Sam Cooke sang decades ago. After nearly 14 years, the Knicks have won the Atlantic division and did so in grand fashion by burning the Washington Wizards for 20 three-pointers (!!!) in a 120-99 rout last night at Madison Square Garden.
It was a grand celebration for most of the night except for a freak injury that may have a large effect on our playoff run.
KENYON MARTIN SPRAINS LEFT ANKLE: K-Mart was having a solid game keeping the Wizards bigs under wraps. In the third, he came down from a routine rebound and ended up badly spraining his left ankle. The crowd gasped in fear as most of us thought he had further damaged his knee, which was sore and had made his status questionable for this game.
Although Mike Woodson didn’t rule out him playing against the Bulls on Thursday, the Knicks need to be extra cautious and let him rest. I love this streak and want to extend it as much as any fan, but not at the expense of a deep playoff run.
MELO REMAINS MR. APRIL: Carmelo Anthony continues his amazing month and equaled his season-high for most points in a quarter by dropping 21 in the third (8-11 from the field). The Wizards are a solid defensive team but had no answers for Melo anywhere on the court. Whether it was deep jumpers, drives to baskets or post-ups, Melo had his way.
And unlike his other games, it wasn’t hocket assists but direct passes out of double-teams to our open guards that made Melo flirt with a triple double (36 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists).
COPELAND-SANITY: Melo told Copeland to remain aggressive and boy did he ever, going for 17 pointsand making the most of the mismatches that had seven-footers trying to guard him. Defensively, Cope had a tough time trying to bang inside with guys like Nene and Okafor, but his five fouls paled in comparison to the floor spacing he gave with his three-point shooting and drives to the rim. Excellent game.
GUARD PLAY: John Wall went off for 33 points, but he had to work hard for them. The Knicks guards made sure everyone else on the perimeter couldn’t get going with the exception of Cartier Martin (16 points) in garbage time. Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd pulled off a beautiful inbounds trap in the backcourt on John Wall which lead to a turnover and layup, capping a 7-0 run to end the first half with a 58-43 lead.
Iman Shumpert was one of the main reasons this game stopped being competitive in the third. After going 0-9 over the last two games, Shump had hit several treys and pullup jumpers, notching 8 points in the quarter and 18 for the game.
20 THREES-POINTERS: When the Knicks shooting is hot, this squad is very hard to beat. And when you nail 20 threes, it’s an impossible barrage to overcome. What stands out regarding this performance is it was predicated on constant ball movement (to the tune of 20 assists).
With the Atlantic now locked up, it’s time for the Knicks to close out a few more games to secure the #2 seed and home-court advatnage through the first two rounds of the playoffs.[youtube http://youtu.be/zr2k_LUo16U]