In his first game before his hometown fans in Baltimore, Carmelo Anthony dropped 22 points to lead the Knicks to a 98-89 preseason win over the Washington Wizards.
Despite the ongoing issues with rebounding and defense, there managed to be several bright spots on the roster. Forward Ike Diogu continued his good play with 10 points and 8 rebounds in 23 minutes. Toure Murray was another standout with his tight perimeter defense keeping John Wall contained. He also chipped in 14 points and 2 steals, prompting Melo to say afterward that Murray had a “bright future” in this league.
Andrea Bargnani (13 points) also showed signs of what hopefully leads to a comeback season. In the first half, he was aggressive getting to the rim and exhibited solid post-defense (3 blocks). While his rebounding was abysmal (just 2 boards), it wasn’t a huge detriment against this Wizards team.
INJURY SCARE: In the first quarter, Iman Shumpert sprained his right elbow after colliding with a driving Bradley Beal. He could have returned later in the game, but was wisely left out as a precaution.
BACKCOURT BLITZ: Beno Udrih is getting more comfortable every game. He had a few nice drives into the lane, one of which resulted in a three-point play. He finished with 12 points on 5-9 shooting. Tim Hardaway Jr. was another offensive spark with 14 points.
DOGHOUSE: You know that old saying about it’s not about the size of the dog, but the size of the fight in the dog? It’s the perfect saying to describe how the battle is playing out over our final roster spots. It’s no secret that we need a legit center to back up Tyson Chandler, but thus far guys like Cole Aldrich have looked clueless out there. Meanwhile, Diogu is all grit and determination, grabbing boards and finishing around the rim. Yeah, he’s only 6’8, but rebounding isn’t just about size — it’s positioning and awareness of the ball. Diogu has shown that while others like Josh Powell and the aforementioned Aldrich have not. It looks like Coach Woodson sees that as well, so I expect he’ll make the team over his bigger and younger counterparts.
The Knicks will be back in action on Monday (October 21) against the Raptors.
1st HALF HIGHLIGHTS