What a difference a competent shooting guard makes. We’ve saw a flash of it during the Nets win earlier this season, and Iman Shumpert reminded us last night why most fans were so high on him going into this season as he dropped a career-high 27 points to lead the Knicks to their best win of the season over the Spurs.
1-2 PUNCH: The Knicks had an excellent inside-outside game going with Carmelo Anthony’s return and Shumpert’s fiery outside shooting. Melo chipped in 27 points on 50% shooting and nabbed 12 rebounds. When he drew double teams, he and the rest of the teammates looked for Shump behind the three-point line for open treys. This allowed Iman to not have to worry about putting the ball on the floor and keep the Spurs defense spaced out.
THE SPURS’ BEST WEAPON: Although New York kept Tim Duncan (9 points, 7 rebounds) and Tony Parker (12 points, 7 assists) contained, the game was close due to Marco Belinelli playing possessed and dropping 32 points (6 threes, 12-16 shooting overall). It wasn’t until the final two offensive plays, where he badly bricked two threes, that he finally came back down to earth.
SHOOTING WELL: The Knicks maintained a strong shooting percentage the entire game, hitting 51% of their shots, including a hot 9-17 (53%) from downtown.
MURRY OR UDRIH?: Beno Udrih go to play the crucial final minutes of the fourth and almost blew the game with a near turnover. His defense was also a struggle. Murry is still learning out there, but I haven’t forgotten how Udrih blew that Wizards game by not being able to keep his man in front of him. I hope to see Murry’s minutes get around the 20 minute mark until Felton and Prigioni’s return.
NO TIME TO REST ON LAURELS: The Knicks are now 11-21 and 4 1/2 games behind the division-leading Toronto Raptors. The upcoming schedule features the Rockets (tonight), Dallas, Detroit and Miami through next Thursday. The team will need to bring the same effort we saw yesterday to get through this stretch with a winning record.