“No exhibition games!” – Iman Shumpert
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Aside from a frustrating fourth quarter collapse, there was a lot to like about the new and improved New York Knicks, who kicked off their preseason with a go-ahead corner jumper from Tim Hardaway Jr. to hold off the Celtics 103-102.
Melo took it easy tonight (7 points on 3-8 shooting), but did show some nify two-man game moves with Andrea Bargnani. The latter’s outside shot wasn’t falling (0-3 from downtown), but he did a decent job of getting to the line and keeping the floor spaced.
The offensive star of the game was Iman Shumpert, who was a scorching 7-7 from the floor (3-3 from behind the arc). There was no holding back — Shump was full speed ahead the entire game. If his shooting remains consistent, Coach Woodson would be hard-pressed to keep him out of the starting lineup.
Metta World Peace was a solid contributor last night as well, chipping in 13 points and 4 rebounds. He was one of five Knicks in double figures, including Raymond Felton (11), Hardaway Jr. (16), Shumpert (18) and Bargnani (12).
With the lead up to 23 points with a little over eight minutes remaining, the Knicks bench was emptied and the Celtics went on a run. They briefly took the lead behind Chris Babb scoring 12 points in the quarter.
Thankfully, Hardaway Jr. was also on fire, dropping 10 points in the final stanza. His jumper in the closing seconds put away Boston for good, and shows the Knicks have another capable offensive weapon to help out Melo. Woodson should be giving him as much play as possible to get his confidence strong for the season.
Next up on Friday are the Toronto Raptors.