[Video] Melo’s 19 4th Quarter Points Steals Game from Wolves 94-91


With all the running around for the holidays, I finally got the chance late last night to sit down and watch the Knicks’s thrilling comeback victory over the Timberwolves at Madison Square Garden to finish our six-game home stand at 4-2. The same bad defense that defined our recent losses to the Rockets and Bulls was an issue in the first half, but the Knicks clamped down in the remaining two quarters to hopefully have some momentum later today in Los Angeles against the surging Lakers. Here’s my thoughts on our last victory to put us at 20-7.

REFS ARE STILL TRASH: The referees weren’t as bad as they were in the Bulls game, but their incompetence nearly cost us the game. There was no consistentcy in the calls and Melo’s late fouls that clearly showed a bias against him. One was a ridiculous offensive foul and the other was simply jocking for position inside for a rebound. Keep in mind Melo was getting hacked all night when trying to score in the post. You can’t even say the refs were trying to help out the Wolves because they gave us several make-up no calls down the stretch.

MELO the MVP: After every game it’s getting harder and harder to deny Melo’s MVP credentials. We looked to be dead in the water on offense during the closing minutes with Melo picking up his fifth foul and Coach Woodson a technical to give the Wolves a four-point lead. Instead, Melo would reel off 19 of the team’s 23 fourth quarter points. A three-pointer with less than 3 minutes left trimmed the Wolves lead to 86-85. A stop lead to Melo getting back in the post for a lauyp and a foul to extend the lead to 88-86. Melo would then live at the line the rest of the way in making six straight clutch free throws to seal the deal. We can’t expect this every night, but it’s great insurance to know Melo can bail us out even when overall he’s had a bad shooting night (10-25, 3-10 from downtown). Melo’s 9/10 from the free throw line was huge.

SAVED BY DEFENSE: The Wolves didn’t have Kevin Love, but that didn’t stop them from dropping 55 points in the first half behind a dominant post game from Pekovic, who had 21 points points and 17 rebounds. Tyson Chandler did his part in limiting Pekovic’s output to single digits in the second half. When that happened, it was all on the Wolves guards of J.J. Barea and Ridnour to score. While they had solid scoring nights of 14 and 12 respectively, their shooting was off during the key final minutes. The Knicks held serve with allowing only 36 points in the second half and forcing 17 turnovers.

The pivotal defensive stand of the game came in the final three minutes where the Wolves had four chances to score off two offensive rebounds and fouls. Each time the Knicks turned them back and Melo immediately drained a three to take the lead for good.

STAY THE COURSE, JR SMITH:  For the third straight game JR Smith has remained on point. As the only other player on the team talented enough to create their own shot consistently, the Knicks struggle badly when he’s off. Against the Wolves he had 19 points on 7-15 shooting and 7 assists. He’s finding himself coming into the game quicker these days as starting guard Ronnie Brewer (0 points, 3 rebounds) is in a horrible runt now that his three-pointer isn’t falling. Aside from a horrible blunder in the final minute that lead to the ball being taken away and the Wolves sinking an open trey, Smith was fantastic.

The Knicks are back at it later today against the Lakers. With the Heat playing the Thunder, this is a game we absolutely need to get back to our rightful spot atop the East.

Melo’s Return Lifts Knicks Over Nuggets 112-106


Carmelo Anthony had a great return after a two-game absence from a lacerated finger to drop 34 points, 6 rebounds and two steals on his old Denver Nuggets team to help New York remain the league’s only undefeated home team at 8-0. After a horrid road game in Chicago last Saturday that saw the Knicks shoot 32% (35% from three), New York did much better with Anthony’s offense back in rotation, posting a 43% field goal percentage (12-30 for 40% from downtown). Even so, Denver still played the Knicks hard and held an 88-80 lead at the beginning of a fourth. A timely Mike Woodson timeout lead to two Novak three-pointers and a Chandler dunk to tie the game, and the Knicks would go on to outscore the Nuggets 32-22 for the quarter. Jason Kidd was once again invaluable in the fourth, dishing six assists and keeping the offense balanced with scoring contributions from Smith, Chandler, Melo and Brewer.

The Knicks are back on the “road” tonight when they venture back to Brooklyn for a revenge game against the Nets, who took the first “Battle for NY” on November 26 in overtime.


Take the Night off, Melo — Knicks Stomp the Heat… Again 112-92


Y’all should’ve listened to Chris Bosh over the summer. When he was asked what team he thought would be their toughest challenge in the East, he mentioned the Knicks as being very underrated. Now everyone else sees what he meant, as the Knicks without Carmelo Anthony completely destroyed the Heat in Miami for their second consecutive blowout. It was a beautiful night for Knicks fans and a wake-up call to the so-called observers out there that who comes out in the East is not a foregone conclusion. Onto my thoughts.

Live by the 3 and Murder the Heat With It: For the second game, the Knicks took over 40 three-pointers (44). NY hit 18 of them (41%). No, the Knicks weren’t just jacking them up most of the time. They were open shots from ball movement — the Knicks did a great job with spacing (Miami Coach Spoelstra even called Tyson Chandler’s lob threat “vertical spacing”), preventing the Heat from just staying home on any particular three-pointer shooter. And the Knicks had them in abundance — Steve Novak dropped 18 points (4-9 from downtown) and Raymond Felton was 6-10 from behind the arc.

Felton Is Fearless: What more can be said about Raymond Felton? It’s an amazing story considering where he was last year with Portland. The man was drawing ohhs  and ahhs from how he was crossing over Miami guards and big men alike to get into the lane and sink jumpers. Felton’s stat line was 27 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals and just 3 turnovers. He rose to the challenge of picking up Melo’s scoring hole but also kept the rest of the team involved. By the middle of the third quarter, Felton was walking with a definite swagger in his step.

The Heat Was Beat Into Submission: A Mike Miller buzzing-beating three to end the first gave Miami a 26-23 lead after one. From then on it was all Knicks. It got really ugly in the second half with the Knicks outscoring Miami 37-27 in the third and 22-12 in the fourth. The threes and the defense just flat-out killed Miami’s spirit. LeBron became discouraged and the rest of the team followed suit. A defining moment came in the fourth when Chandler cut to the basket and the Miami bigs didn’t even both trying to contest, just walked to the bench while Tyson slammed home another dunk.

American Airlines Arena Became MSG South: The Knicks fans got louder and louder as the game progressed. It was a beautiful sight to hear the arena completely taken over for by the fourth quarter.

Let’s Not Rest On Our Laurels: Yes, we’ve embarrassed the Heat twice. Yes, NY has the best record in the Eastern Conference. It’s just December, and we still have a lot of basketball left to the play. There will be bad games, but the effort need to be there every night. We don’t play Miami again until March, but beyond that we know there’s a good chance we’ll be matched up with them at some point in the playoffs. Let’s be ready to meet the challenge.

Tomorrow night we head to Chicago to face off against the defensive-minded Bulls. Hope NY stays on the mental high from this win.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjRqKSJ4sn8&feature=youtube_gdata_player]

Amar’e Stoudemire Is Willing to Come Off the Bench… But Should He?

Big news came out of NY this morning courtesy of ESPN New York, who’s reporting from close “sources” that Amar’e Stoudemire will have absolutely no problem accepting a bench role if asked by coach Mike Woodson.

“All he cares about right now is helping the team and winning,” said one source, who has been around Stoudemire regularly in recent weeks. “He’d be fine with coming off the bench if that’s what they want.”

“He just wants to win,” the source says. “He sees how well they’re playing and just wants to help. He’ll be fine with whatever they want to do.”

There’s been a strong contingent of Knicks fans that are convinced our frontcourt of Melo, Stat and Chandler cannot work togather, citing spacing issues and the losing record Stat and Melo have together thus far. While that is a fair point, you can easily counter that by stating the majority of that losing record came under Mike D’Antoni. Under Woodson, the pair have a winning record together. So the question becomes does Stat automatically lose his starting job next month? Or do we give this team, who over the last two years has never been at full strength for any significant period of time, a final chance to make it work?

There’s no right or wrong answer to this, but from my perspective the middle ground is the best solution. With his mobility severely hampered by the surgery, throwing Stat right back in the starting lineup when he’s nowhere near game shape would be unwise. One look at the Lakers and Dwight Howard’s struggles to get back on track since his back surgery should be a good indicator of the arduous process ahead. And we saw last year with Amar’e’s back that it took him until after the All-Star break to get any semblance of a rhythm.

Stat should be coming off the bench, at least initially, until he gets back into condition. His offense is less erratic than JR Smith’s (who’s currently our needed but streaky spark for the second unit). With our nice trio f point guards (Kidd, Felton, Prigioni), there’s many different lineup choice the Knicks can go with. Not to mention, the majority of the teams out there would struggle with finding backups able to containing Amar’e. That either forces their starters to come in early, or Stat helps maintain or build leads. And in crunch time, Stat can still be out there as an extra weapon.

Now what happens if Amar’e, using his own favorite word, does “”phenomenally,” ala a James Harden in OKC, off the bench? Do we keep him there or see if he does even better in the starting lineup? If… and it’s a big if, Melo can hold up to the pounding he’s been taking at power foward, then NY probably shouldn’t tinker with what’s working great (and I don’t think Woodson would). However, when we are meeting big frontcourts like Grizzlies, then Stat should be in the starting lineup without question.

One thing’s for sure is that this team needs Stat. Last year, in what was arguably his worst season, the man still averaged 17 points and 8 rebounds. How we handle Amar’e’s comeback will have immense significance on how this season will turn out. Get well soon, Stat…

Back on Track: Knicks End 2-Game Skid With 121-100 Pistons Blowout

After getting ran off the floor in Houston and letting the refs and three-point shooting sink them in Dallas over their last two games, the Knicks needed to get refocused. New York did just that against the lowly Detroit Pistons yesterday, fueled by Carmelo Anthony’s 29 points and good contributions from Raymond Felton, JR Smith, Tyson Chandler and Steve Novak to notch another blowout and maintain a perfect 5-0 record at Madison Square Garden.

Melo had one of his trademark red-hot starts to kick off the first and never really cooled down for the rest of the contest. He started 6-6 and had 15 points in the quarter, while Tyson Chandler was aggressive on pick and rolls and getting to the line. Pablo Prigioni had a nice steal in the waning seconds of the quarter to push the lead to 32-22 on 61% shooting from the field and one turnover.

New York was very cold to start the second and the Pistons found new life behind guard penetration from Will Bynum. The lead was cut to 32-29, but Knicks were able to hold on with Marcus Camby keeping the Pistons off the offensive glass. Melo came back in and hit a tough turnaround jumper and dished a nice behind the back pass to JR Smith for a corner three. JR Smith had a great rebounding game (10), including an offensive one that lead to a Steve Novak three that pushed the lead to 50-38. Felton had back to back buckets off a jumper and back door cut pass from Jason Kidd, who then drained his own three-pointer to push the lead to 57-42 at halftime.

The Knicks had a mental relapse to start the third with three straight turnovers, two on fumbled passes from Tyson Chandler. This allowed the Pistons to reel off eight straight points. Melo got a tough call for “fouling” a three-point attempt from Kyle Singler, but showed the restraint that had been lacking the last two games. Coach Woodson even made it a point to pull Raymond Felton away from a referee. A Melo three-pointer pushed the lead back to 75-60, but the Pistons guard penetration kept them within striking distance. However, two threes from Steve Novak in the final minutes gave NY a nice 86-72 cushion going into the last quarter.

Novak stayed hot from downtown and immediately pushed the lead to 93-78 to start the fourth. Outside of a miracle three-pointer from Brandon Knight (21 points) with the shot clock winding down and Chandler in his face, the quarter was all Knicks. Novak hit another three and for the first time this season put on the belt as the lead ballooned to 98-81. It wasn’t a serious contest after the first few minutes of the fourth, but that didn’t stop Rasheed Wallace and James White from hitting a few more threes to put the exclamation point on the game.

This was all-around great game for the Knicks to end this woeful two-game losing streak. The contributions outside of Melo were fantastic from Felton (14 pts, 10 assts), JR Smith (15 pts, 10 rebs, assts), Wallace (15 pts), Chandler (13 pts, 7 rebs) and Novak (18 pts). Novak has been off for most of this year so to see him go 5-7 from three bodes well for our premier shooter.

Tonight is the biggest game of the season thus far when we met our crosstown “rivals” the Brooklyn Nets. Don’t miss it on TNT.

Oh the Shame: Rockets Embarrass Knicks 131-103

Let’s be brutally honest about Friday’s blowout loss to the Rockets in Houston. The Knicks shamed themselves and reverted back to the worst of their habits from early last year: no ball movement, iso heavy offense, no rebounding and weak interior defense.

The game was reasonable until the last minutes of the second quarter, when Coach Woodson inexpicably went with a frontcourt that included Steve Novak and Melo. The Rockets got to the line at will, with James Harden having more free throw attempts than our entire squad. Omar Asik destroyed Tyson Chandler inside on the offensive rebounding side and scoring at will in the post. At halftime, we had given up 72 points and were looking at a 72-57 deficit.

It got worst in the second half. We got as close as 10 (73-83) when yet again, our leaders left the refs take us out of the game. Melo got a technical for complaining and let a Rockets player waltz right by him on a fast break in the midst of his complaint for any easy score. Chandler wasn’t far behind on the whining, and the Knicks looked completely deflated and went into heavy isolation plays that lead to contested JR Smith jumpers and more fast break/free throw opportunities for the Rockets. Chandler got a flagrant 1 for elbowing Asik and by the end of the third we were down 80-104. Yes, you read that right; the Knicks gave up over 100 points in just three quarters. It was the same story in the fourth with Asik making Chandler is personal whipping boy. The 131 points we gave up is the highest scored by any team this season. Even Toney Douglas was draining shots (now that is unacceptable)

This game can determine how the rest of the Knicks season goes. Either they come together and acknowledge the team’s glaring faults or continue not trusting each other. There’s a few things I’d like to see in today’s game against the Pistons.

1. Stop letting the refs decide the game. It’s not right, but Melo and Tyson are not going to get the benefit of the doubt on any calls. I sincerely believe among refs they’ve gotten a reputation as complainers and the refs deliberately look not to call fouls in their favor. They need to suck it up, not complain outwardly, and get back on defense. Next dead play, mention respectively what’s happening to the refs and keep it moving. This starts with our team captains/leaders Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler

2. PLAY DEFENSE. We lead the league in points allowed and there’s no reason that should have been destroyed by the Rockets. Harden and company driving to the lane at will is unacceptable. Tyson has played badly on the defensive end and has to get it together.

3. Rebounding. Part of this ties into the coaching. We need Camby out there helping, period. Melo does what he can, but playing him at the 4 isn’t always going to work against the bigger teams. You’d think the Grizzlies loss would’ve have hammered that point home. Time to get creative with the lineups as teams are starting to figure us out.

Redemption starts today at 1pm.

Home Workout: Knicks Easily Dispose of Pacers 88-76

Another game, another double-digit win for the Knicks. The offense wasn’t exactly on fire, but  the Knicks defense, forcing 19 turnovers and nabbing 9 steals, held the Pacers to 76 points (the lowest the Knicks have held a team this season) for a 12 point victory.

Melo got back to his fast starting ways, dropping 12 points in the first quarter to give the Knicks a 21-18 lead. The defense held serve in the second, holding the Pacers to just 12 points to push the lead to 41-30 at halftime.

Fouls were still a problem for Melo this game; he had to sit early in the third when he picked up two quick fouls in the lane trying to guard Tyler Hansbrough. Novak came in and helped the offense with a few 3s, but also hurt the defensive closeouts, as Paul George got hot from 3-point range and sinked three in the quarter. The Pacers hovered around the 9-point deficit mark but missed 4 free throws down the stretch and Rasheed Wallace sunk a 3 to give the Knicks a 68-56 edge despite a 26-point quarter from Indiana.

New York put the Pacers in their place early in the fourth behind several JR Smith jumpers and Melo forcing fouls inside despite getting blocked several times. Marcus Camby got some valuable minutes and made sure Roy Hibbert stayed locked up (Camby got a massive block inside on Roy). JR got his own block on David West which lead to a 3-pointer that pushed the lead to 79-60. Later, a Novak 3 gave NY a 86-66 advantage, leading to the starters hitting the bench and the Pacers challenging no further in garbage time.

The shooting was weak from both squads: NY shot 36% and Indiana 39%. The defense was the difference-maker and the fact Indiana has been lost offensively without leading scorer Danny Granger. Melo lead all scorers with 26 points, followed on the Knicks end by JR Smith (13), and Raymond (11) as the only other guys to score in double digits. Paul George lead Indiana with 20.

On a very happy note, this was the first game we were NOT outrebounded; we won the boards battle (barely) 48-47. Hey, we gotta start somewhere. It was a nice bounce-back win from the battering we took from the Grizzlies and we have a pretty favorable run for the rest of the week (New Orleans, Dallas, Houston and Detroit) before the big showdown next Monday at MSG 2 (The Barclays Center) to face the Brooklyn Nets.

Next up is a road game tomorrow against the Hornets.

Unblemished No More: Grizzlies Frontline Wears Down Knicks 105-95

This was touted as a matchup between the teams with the two best records in the league. For the first two quarters, both teams executed plays and shot well. New York was shooting over 60% and making key steals, but still couldn’t get more than a 2-3 point lead due to giving up too much second-chance points on the offensive board. Melo was having to work extremely hard on defense, contending with Zach Randolph and Marc, Gasol who both outweighed him by 30-40 pounds. But as he’s shown over the winning streak, Melo made the right passes to guys like Kidd and Brewer for open shots. Unfortunately, Melo had to sit after getting two fouls, as did the Grizzlies’ Rudy Gay, leaving it a tight game of 29-25 in favor of Memphis after one.

Rasheed Wallace went to work in the post in the second, hopefully a sign of future things to come. That forced double teams and allowed for guys like JR Smith to get going with outside jumpers. Unfortunately for NY, Memphis’ outside shooters were hot, in particular their point guard Bayless. Matters would get chippy with him when a JR elbow and Bayless shove resulted in double technicals. The hard play continued and Melo began to complain too much about the lack of calls for him inside. The Grizzlies scrambled hard for every loose ball and even a Knicks block from Rasheed Wallace went in the Grizz’s favor, as the loose ball went to Mike Conley who hit a three to give them a 54-49 halftime lead.

Then disaster struck in the third. Melo caught a suspect third foul early and less than two minutes later got another while being tangled up with Marc Gasol. Melo got irate and earned a technical before hitting the bench. Tyson Chandler got his fourth foul and the team just became unglued. Think the playoffs last year in game 1 where the Heat got a bunch of fouls and ran the Knicks out of the building. This was very similar as the Grizzlies went on a ridiculous 19-1 run and ended up outscoring the Knicks 31-18 for the quarter. Chandler got his fifth foul, coach Woodson his own technical and next thing you know the score was 74-56 Grizzlies.

Chandler’s foul trouble forced Woodson to do something he should have done from the outset; put Kurt Thomas on Randolph. Immediately, Randolph had a much tougher time scoring and had to work harder in the paint for rebounds. Unfortunatly, the damage had been done. Although the Knicks rallied to pull as close as 8 points in the fourth, a few quick  Grizzlies scores off pick and rolls effectively iced the game to give the Knicks their first defeat.

You’d think we would have had a good shot of winning having shot 51%, but having our best players in foul trouble and Woodson being stubborn with the lineup sealed our fate. Thankfully, Woodson is already on record stating some of his substitutions hurt us down the stretch. This game is a clear example that while Melo has had success at the 4 spot, that can become a weakness against a team like the Grizzlies and we have to adjust accordingly.

Melo’s been great this year, but the one glaring flaw he needs to get in check continues to be the ref complaining. He’s going to start to get, if he hasn’t already, a reputation with the refs and the techs will start coming quicker. Our team follows his lead; when he became irate and unfocused in the third, the rest of the team followed suit. I’m sure his patience wasn’t helped matters by getting banged around by Randolph and Gasol, but he needs to check this behavior ASAP.

It’s back home on Sunday to face the Pacers. All in all, it was a good road trip going 2-1. Let’s hope we don’t see Melo trying to guard Roy Hibbert tomorrow.

Knicks-Lakers Christmas Showdown Jerseys Revealed

The NBA has released the special one-color jerseys that will be worn by all teams competing this Christmas. The Knicks-Lakers game at Staples Center, which now has new significance with the hiring of former Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni, will feature the below jerseys.

The Lakers jersey looks ok. I’m not sure about ours, though. It just seems it would be way too loud during the game. However, I’ll take it over those green Christmas jerseys we’ve been rocking the last few years. Save the green for our Atlantic Division rival Celtics. Our squad wearing green just felt wrong.

The rest of the one-color jerseys can be viewed HERE.

Iman Shumpert ft. Chrisette Michele – “Supaphly”

Iman Shumpert’s keeping busy behind the mic while finishing up the last months of his ACL rehab. Up until now, Shump’s rhymes have been solo joints and freestyles. Now he’s getting some big established names, having hooked up with the talented Chrisette Michele for “Supaphly.” So what’s the verdict? Not the worse track you’ll hear, but far from memorable. Chrisette’s voice sounds great as usual, but the production and overdone swag rap doesn’t help matters. Your thoughts?