[Video] JR Smith Sets Knicks Record with 10 Threes Against Heat

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Yesterday’s loss to Miami further dampened the Knicks’ playoff hopes, but that didn’t stop JR Smith from going down fighting. Our streaky point guard made a record 10 three pointers for a new franchise record, and notched an overall NBA record with 22 attempted treys.

The Miami contest caps a three-game stretch which saw JR nail 24 shots beyond the arc. Now if we can only get the team to play some competent defense to go along with this crazy shooting to close out the season…

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This Is Our Town! Knicks Destroy Brooklyn 110-81, Continue Playoff Push

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With the Nets having the best Eastern Conference record since January, a few Nets fans have started to become too vocal. Some even have the audacity to claim they’ve “taken over” basketball in New York. Well, the Knicks had to remind them of their status with a beatdown last night at Madison Square Garden. After going 3-2 on the recent West Coast trip, there is no room for error with less than 10 games left in the season. The Knicks needed to make a big statement on national TV and boy did they ever deliver…

67%: How hot were the Knicks to start? How about jumping out to a 29-20 lead after the first and shooting 67% for the entire first half to hold a 63-38 lead. The ball movement was strong and the Knicks fed the paint (31 points) via Stoudemire post-ups (13 points) and Melo. On the perimeter, Tim Hardaway Jr., Iman Shumpert, and JR Smith all had their jumpers flowing. In addition, all three attacked the old legs of Brooklyn (who were on a back to back without Kevin Garnett) with aggressive drives, including the best finish at the rim Shump has had all year.

BRIEF LITTLE SCARE: In the third, Raymond Felton came down hard on his back and ribs during a rebound, leading to some deep contusions in those areas. His injury seemed to spark a five-minute period of lethargy where the Nets were able to pull within 14-points. The surge was finally put to a halt by a Prigoni three, and key shots from Melo and JR Smith to push the lead back over 20 headed into the fourth quarter.

LOCKDOWN SHUMPERT: Despite picking up five fouls, Shumpert never wavered in his defensive intensity. Everyone he guarded was harassed and forced into bad leads. His work caused him to be a +29 on the court, to go along with 10, 3 rebounds and 2 assists in 24 minutes.

With Shump leading the defensive charge, the Nets were reduced to sub 40% shooting for the majority of the game.

THJ N’ JR: Hardaway got 28 minutes off the bench and was a sharp-shooting 7/10 from the field (17 points). JR was lethal behind the arc (6/12) and had one of his best all-around games with 24 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists.

NO PRESSURE ON MELO: All the big contributions allowed Melo to take a step back on offense. This allowed him to be highly efficient from the field (8/16, 23 points), get to the line (7/8), and focus on rebounding (10).

IN THE PLAYOFFS…FOR NOW: Atlanta lost to the Bulls last night, allowing this win to put the Knicks into the playoffs. The hold is still very tenuous — New York’s next game falls on Friday against the Wizards, followed by the Heat on Sunday.

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[Video] Walt “Clyde” Frazier Interviews Knicks President Phil Jackson

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Right after the big press conference yesterday, new titled Knicks president Phil Jackson sat down with friend and old teammate Walt “Clyde” Frazier to discuss his new position and the future of the franchise. Jackson spoke about the need to revamp the roster (“the players have to have a certain sense about themselves…”) and the importance of going back to the fundamentals of basketball (read: DEFENSE). Jackson specifically pointed out the problem with our perimeter players being blown by and relying solely on Tyson Chandler for rim protection.

What I already like about Jackson’s approach is the sense of calm and logic he’s bringing to his role. Lord knows the Knicks have been a chaotic, roller-coaster bunch. It’s readily apparent that Jackson already knows what he wants to do with this squad.

Knicks Hammer Celtics 116-92 for 5th Straight Win

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The Knicks extended their winning streak to five games with a wire to wire win over a fiesty but ultimately hapless Boston Celtics team playing without Rajon Rondo. New York was short-handed as well, missing Amar’e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler, but got a strong double double from an unassuming big man making his first NY start.

ALDRICH DELIVERS: While Melo put up the big points, Cole Aldrich was the game’s most essential player. In 25 minutes, he scored 12 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and swatted 3 shots. His presence was a +19 on the floor, and he provided much-needed rim protection in the early fourth quarter when the Celtics made a run behind a monster night from Jeff Green (27 points).

Aldrich isn’t the most polished player, but this game is a good indicator that he can provide solid spot minutes. The early second and fourth quarters, when the Knicks are prone to blow leads, would be an ideal place to incorporate Aldrich.

MELO’S EFFECTIVE AND INEFFECTIVE GUNNING: Carmelo Anthony was gunning for most of this game. In the first half, it wasn’t a problem as he scored 19 points (3/4 from downtown). The Knicks as a whole were pretty much hitting everything, shooting 61% from the field for 68 points.

The shot selection became an issue in the third with Anthony going too heavy into iso mode and chucking well contested shots. On the other end, Green was driving to the rim and hitting jumpers, allowing the Celtics to pull within 9 points (84-75) after being down by as much as 24.

Thankfully, Melo and company settled down early in the fourth. On the first play, Melo drove and kicked to Prigioni for an open trey. Later, a shot-clock beating three from Melo made it 95-77, and the Celtics never fully recovered.

HARDAWAY CONTINUES TO SHINE: After a spell of bad games, Hardaway Jr. looks to have regained his confidence. No longer relying on just threes and aggressive drives, the rookie has incorporated a very reliable mid-range jumper. Last night, he got big minutes (38) off the bench and delivered 22 points on 7/11 shooting.

EVERY GAME CRUCIAL: The Knicks moved within 3 games of the eighth and final playoff spot, currently held by Atlanta. The Knicks will need a lot of help to make it, but their play on this streak indicates they’re up for the task.

[Video] Race to 8th Seed: Knicks Offense Overwhelms Sixers 123-110

I love nights like this. Four guys with 20-plus points. Sharing the ball. Making plays. Having fun out there. Taking the load off me. I love nights like that. – CARMELO ANTHONY

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As bad as the Knicks have been this season, it could be worse. Dont’ believe me? Just take one look at the Sixers, who are not only out of playoff contention, but currently on a 17-game losing streak. The Knicks added to Philly’s misery last night, overcoming a 12-point deficit (29-17) in the first quarter to score a much-needed home win to remain in play (3.5 games back) to catch the Atlanta Hawks for the 8th and final playoff spot.

SLEEPWALKING: The Knicks came out very lazy and allowed the Sixer guards like Michael Carter-Williams and Tony Wroten to get in the paint at will. With Tyson Chandler out due to personal reasons, the Knicks missed his defensive presence and rebounding. In addition, Melo wasn’t his usual self, looking lethargic coming off a cold last game. He didn’t have good lift on his inside game nor on his jumper. Thankfully, the Knicks only had to settle for a 31-26 hole after hitting a few timely threes to close out the first stanza.

DEFENSE PICKS UP: By the second quarter, the Knicks realized their were playing the Sixers and started playing defense. They took a small five-point lead following two Raymond Felton threes, but hurt themselves by going in the penalty six minutes in, allowing Philly to stay close at the line and keep it tied at halftime, 61 all.

THE BEST PLAYER ON THE FLOOR: Amar’e Stoudemire has been beasting and his output was sorely needed yesterday to keep the pressure off Melo. Playing at the 5, Stat was too fast and quick for guys like Thaddeus Young, dropping 23 points (9/10 shooting). Stat’s defense was adequate as well, including a nice block at the rim that lead to a JR Smith three on the other end. A 9-0 run late in the third, after a few minutes of back and forth buckets early on, allowed the Knicks to take the lead for good.

FOUR OVER 20: The Knicks had four different plays score over 20 points: Melo (22), Stat (23), JR (22) and Hardaway Jr. (28). Tim’s output was the most scorching, including 13 points in the fourth that allowed Melo to rest the entire period.

The Knicks head to Boston Wednesday night to take on the Celtics. I wonder if Melo and Rondo will have any “side” conversations.

No Competition: Heat Destroy Knicks 108-82

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Like there was ever any doubt. The Knicks limped into last night’s showdown in South Beach on a three-game losing streak and left in tatters after getting a 108-82 beatdown. As usual, we got to see what a competent team looks like vs. the mess we’ve been putting on the floor for most of the season. Here’s how the massacre went down.

TEAM GREATNESS: Melo upheld his end going toe to toe with Lebron. Melo scored 29 points (55% shooting) and nabbed 7 rebounds. He kept the Knicks in it after a shaky first quarter, and helped ignite the second and third quarters runs that pulled New York within single digits. In addition, our leader put LeBron on a poster via a two-handed stuff at the rim. Masked Lebron wasn’t shabby either, dropping 31 points (68% shooting) along with 4 rebounds and 4 assists.

So why was the disparity so great on the score despite the two biggest stars competing on even terms? It’s the fact LeBron has an excellent team around him to pick up the slack. When Melo goes out the game, the team goes into freefall. When Bron sits, he has the luxury of his fellow All-Stars in either Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh stepping up. Last night it was Wade, who scored 23 points and helped push the lead to double digits in both halfs. The Heat team defense was also surperb with multiple players guarding Melo for different looks and forcing the rest of the Knicks team to try to make plays.

Melo had 24 points at the half (nearly have of the Knicks points). The starting Heat backcourt of Wade and Chalmers finished with 34 points on 71% shooting. Meanwhile, the Knicks tandem of Rayond Felton and Pablo Prigioni finished with 2 POINTS ON 10% SHOOTING. Add to JR Smith trying to guard LeBron (and losing him multiple times in transition for dunk just seconds after the Knicks scored), and you had a recipe for a bad defeat.

WADE ABUSES THJ: It’s no secret that Hardaway Jr.’s biggest weakness is his defense. Last night, he fell for every Wade pumpfake and move you can think of. To make it worse, we didn’t get his usual offense to offset the schooling, as Tim managed just 6 points on 2-15 shooting.

BLACK HOLE OF DEFENSE: We don’t have many lineup choices, but one that must never be seen again is any that includes Amar’e Stoudemire and Hardaway together. Combined, the two were a horrific -64 in the +/- department with the score quickly running back up to the double digits whenever they shared the floor.

The Knicks have little time to lick their wounds, as they’ll host the Golden State Warriors tonight at MSG.

[Video] Deadly Range – Melo Sets All-Star Game 3pt-Record

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We might need to re-tally that MVP voting. Carmelo Anthony delivered another stellar All-Star game last night in New Orleans, setting a benchmark with a record 8 three-pointers.

Anthoyn started the game with a trey and remained the game’s most consistent shooter, shooting 55% from the field (10/18) and 8/13 from downtown. He finished with 30 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists. The East would win the game 163-155 with Kyrie Irving taking home MVP honors (31 points, 5 rebounds, 14 assists).

In last year’s game, Melo lead the East with 26 points, 12 rebounds and 3 assists in losing effort (143-138).

Melo getting hot from the three when among fellow All-Stars is no new phenomenon. In the 2012 Olympics, Anthony set a U.S. Men’s team record with 37 points (10 three-pointers) against Nigeria in a 156-73 win.

Check out Melo’s All-Star game barrage below.

[Photos] Manny Pacquiao, Meet Carmelo Anthony and Ashanti…

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Photo Credits: Chris Farina/Top Rank

NEW YORK CITY, NY — Despite another tough loss last night to the Portland Trailblazers, Carmelo Anthony and Ashanti were all smiles afterward in greeting former champion Manny Pacquiao at the Garden.

Pacquiao was in town to complete a two-city press tour to begin the hype for his April 12 rematch with Timothy Bradley. Melo is a big boxing fan so he was definitely up for the meeting. Knicks  and boxing fans will recall that Melo was ringside last year to witness Guillermo Rigondeaux’s big win over Nonito Donaire at Radio City Music Hall.

Think Melo would be up to spar a few rounds with the Filipino phenom?

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Blazers Hold Off Knicks at MSG, 94-90

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We can’t say we didn’t have our chances in this one. Despite the uneven defense and streaky offense, the Knicks were down by just two points (89-87) with 1:30 left following back to back treys from JR Smith and Tim Hardaway Jr. But an inability to get stops resulted in New York dropping their third straight game and now sitting at the 10th spot in the East with no relief in sight.

BENCH OUTPLAYS THE STARTERS: Our bench took full advantage of the Blazers’ weak second unit, dropping a total of 50 poitns with several guys hitting double figures: Stoudemire (15 points), Hardaway (12 points), and JR (18 points). Outside of Melo (26 points) and Prigioni (5 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists), our starters just didn’t get it done. Shumpert was held scoreless while Chandler botched several layups and only managed 2 points in 31 minutes. Raymond Felton wasn’t as horrible as he had been against the Bucks, adding 7 points and 3 assists in 21 minutes.

JR lead a great second quarter surge, utilizing dribble penetration to feed Stoudemire and Jeremy Tyler for several big slams. The defensive intensity picked and was a key reason the Knicks were down just one point (46-47) at halftime despite a late 9-0 Blazers run.

MELO GASSES OUT: Melo had a hot start, dropping 14 points on 6/7 shooting in the first quarter. He was also active on the defensive end, getting a big block on Wesley Matthews that lead to a fast break dunk. And even in the third with the Blazers threatening to pull away, Melo dropped 11 points to keep NY in it. Unfortunately, all that expended energy left him weakened in the fourth when his offense was needed most. He missed all four of his shots while the Blazers executed just enough to squeak by.

For Melo, it must have been an eye-opener to see how a complete team like the Blazers picks up the slack when their star is having a bad night. LaMarcus Aldridge shot just 5/17 from the field (15 points), but his struggles were negated by big contributions from Nicolas Batum (20 points), Wesley Matthews (18 points), and defensively from Robin Lopez (3 blocks). Melo got no such help from his starting crew.

MORE THAN ENOUGH CHANCES: Melo and Hardaway had multiple chances in the fourth to swing the momentum in NY’s favor. Each missed open shots and with every one, you could see the confidence in winning deflate from the team. Aldridge’s fadeaway over Chandler with 35 seconds left took the remaining fight out of the team.

Friday Night Knicks is in effect tomorrow with NY hosting the Denver Nuggets.

[Video] No JR Needed – Knicks Soar Against Heat 102-92

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The Knicks put together the best home win of the season last night with a complete team effort in defeating the Heat. After two months, the team (sans JR Smith) finally looks to have turned a corner.

MELO GETS HIS HELP: The question going into every game is who will help Melo with the scoring load. At their worst, the Knicks predictably dump the ball to Melo, many times with less than 10 seconds on the shot clock, for a low-percentage isolation shot.

Outside of the first few possessions, the Knicks were at their best in terms of ball movement, guarding the passing lanes, and attacking Miami’s weak interior defense. Andrea Bargnani (19 points), Iman Shumpert (12 points, 9 rebounds), Amar’e Stoudemire (14 poitns, 11 rebounds) and Raymond Felton (13 points, 14 assists) were the “secondary Big Four” that took the load off Melo and allowed him to operate more freely on offense.

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MELO VS. LEBRON: We didn’t get to see as much of this as we should have. When they did guard each other, Melo got the better of it. LeBron was still able to have a monster stat line (32 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists) just because he’s the best player in the league, and poor Bargnani found himself switched off onto him way too many times.

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MIAMI HELPS OUT AT THE FREE THROW LINE: The Heat could have made this a tighter game simply by hitting their free throws. They shot a very poor 52% (11/21) with Dwyane Wade being the main culprit (0-6). New York wasn’t any better at 50% (5/10).

TIM HARDAWAY JR: THJ made a new poster at the expense of Jesus Shuttlesworth aka Ray Allen. Yeah, our rookie got game.

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THE 16-0 RUN: After getting embarrassed by a LeBron baseline dunk, Bargnani came right back with a three-point play on Wade to ignite a 9-0 run to end the fourth, highlighted by two Melo treys and Hardaway’s spectacular tip-in dunk. Usually with JR Smith in the 2nd unit lineup that starts the fourth, the Knicks have been giving up leads and momentum. This time, the point guard play of Toure Murry had Bargnani and Stoudemire carving up the Heat in the post and at mid-range.

CLOSING STRONG: When Felton came back in, there wasn’t any drop-off. Ray continued attacking the paint, which collapsed the Heat defense and got nice looks for Melo and Stat. And when Melo got what appeared to be an isolation play, Felton and others cut to basket allowing for easy layups and dunks. Felton also keep the defense honest by hitting several long jumpers.

ROLES DEFINED: The Knicks are finally playing like a team and everyone appears to know their roles. You can see the confidence and they should have it, considering two of their last four wins have come against the defending Eastern and Western Conference champions.

JR SMITH: Our knucklehead shooting guard sulked on the bench most of the night, but did put up an obligatory standing ovation at the final buzzer. In the locker room, he pouted about whether he still has a “future” on the team. We’ll see if JR finally wakes up, but I think he’s earned at least 2 games on the bench.