Summer League: Knox Struggles and Robinson Dominates in Loss to Celtics


The Knicks’s Summer League campaign hit another pothole with a 82-75 loss to the Celtics. While Kevin Knox had his worst shooting game to date, Mitchell Robinson gave Knicks fans a lot to cheer for as he was a terror in the paint (and even defensively on the perimeter.

Our loss to the Lakers gave us a preview of how bad this squad is without a competent point guard. Once again missing Ntilikina, the offense failed to get any consistency. this made Knox feel like he had to force the issue. He didn’t get many calls on his drives and he looked uncomfortable on post-up attempts. He went just 5/20 from the floor for 15 points. I like the idea of Knox trying to work in the paint, but I believe that won’t get consistent until he gets some “man strength” a few seasons in.


Robinson had a loaded stat sheet with 17 points (8/10), 12 boards (7 offensive) and 6 blocks, including another close-out one on a three-pointer. The kid is just a ridiculous athlete. He caught a few flashy alley oops and was there to clean up missed layups and jumpers. Let’s also not overlook that he once again disrupted the passing lanes and snatched 3 steals.


Allonzo Trier had a solid scoring and shooting night (17 points, 5/8) and got to the line (6/6). But most observers have been focusing on his “ball-hog” tendencies. I feel that’s been highly unfair over the last two games since he’s been forced to play out of position. Trier is clearly not a PG. However, it is reasonable to expect him to work on his playmaking and off-ball movement. I’m interested to see if he make the main roster. Even with his flaws, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Trier get the nod over a slumping Damyean Dotson.

The Knicks are back in action Friday afternoon (4:30 pm ET) on ESPN3 against the New Orleans Pelicans.

[Video] Taken Out By the Refs: Knicks 87, Celtics 115


BOSTON — Nobody told the Knicks tonight’s game was 8 on 5. A second quarter ejection, 6 tehcnical fouls and uneven officiating throughout the game helped demoralize the Knicks as they dropped a disappointing game to the Celtics.

WEATHERING THE STORM: The Celtics came in determined to snap their three-game losing streak. Led by Isaiah Thomas (29 points, 23 in the first half), the Celtics were hot from long-range and held a 31-27 lead after the first. Carmelo Anthony kept New York in it with his offense, scoring 12 points in 12 minutes. And during his early second quarter rest, Hernangomez (8 points, 12 rebounds) played well as the first big off the bench. Particularly effective was the Knicks nabbing 14 offensive rebounds in the first half.

Then, disaster struck…

THE EJECTION: The game was heating up in the second when Melo was call for dubious loose ball foul. Melo complained vehemently and earned his first tech. He walked away but made sure referee Tony Brothers was within earshot to hear his displeasure. Whatever Melo said was enough to earn his second technical.

The ejection couldn’t have come at a worst time since the Knicks had slashed the deficit to six. Boston promptly went on a 9-0 run and later extended the run to 17-3.

The Knicks were lucky to only be down 61-51 at halftime.

NO MELO, NO CHANCE: Knick fans remember that last year’s team couldn’t muster a win without Melo. Tonight was no different. Porzingis (5-15, 14 points) was frustrated by the physical play of Marcus Smart and never truly got in rhythm. Derrick Rose (3-10, 11 points, 7 turnovers) had a few decent drives in the first half, but ultimately his turnovers and erratic shooting eliminated any comeback hopes.

Compounding the problems was the lopsided foul calling and bad shooting. The Celtics got 43 free throws to Knicks’s 17. New York only managed 39% from the field and 25 turnovers. With those numbers, you can forget winning on the road.

MISSED OPPORTUNITY: The Celtics were without Jae Crowder and Al Horford. With the red-hot Raptors on the schedule tomorrow, the Knicks are in danger of being three games under .500 by Sunday.

WHY DO THE REFS HATE US?: Do we have a bad reputation around the league? The sheer amount of foul calls (and techs) on us is now becoming very alarming. The Knicks aren’t allowed the same physicality as other teams. I’m speculating, but I think we have a reputation as complainers among the officials (hence no calls).

Nonetheless, the Knicks have to learn to channel their anger. Good teams don’t let the officials decide their fate.

JENNINGS JOINS MELO: Brandon Jennings had another poor game (1-7, 6 points) and did his best to get tossed in the fourth. The refs obliged him.

The only silver lining is no one lodged big minutes. The squad should be fresh for tomorrow’s important game in Toronto.

[Video] Team Effort: Grant and Porzingis Lead Knicks over Boston 120-114


NEW YORK — Despite losing Carmelo Anthony to injury in the second quarter and Kristaps Porzingis to fouls late in the fourth, the Knicks received a spark from Jerian Grant to hold off the Celtics 120-114 in a Madison Square Garden thriller.

FIRST HALF BRILLIANCE AND LATE SCARE: The Knicks ball movement has been rolling and that continued in the first half. Porzingis (26 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks) blitzed Boston for 16 first quarter points, including 3 three-pointers.  Melo chipped in 12 and looked fantastic as our main ball facilitator.

Then, disaster struck.

A freak accident happened when Melo was going back up the court and twisted his right ankle on the ref’s foot. We all held our collective breaths and breathed a sigh of relief when he walked out under his own power. X-rays later turned up negative, and just one half of play showed what a tear he was on with 17 points (7/10), 4 rebounds and 3 assists.

A PLAYOFF-LIKE BATTLE ENSUES: Melo tried to give it a go, but felt too much pain and had to come out just 19 seconds into the third. That left Porzingis as our primary scorer, but he was benched quickly after collecting his fifth foul. The Knicks had every reason to fall apart with Isaiah Thomas (34 points, 8 assists) cooking them on drives and threes for a 12-point third quarter. But New York never gave up the lead due to timely hooping from Robin Lopez (15 points) and Derrick Williams (15 points, 10 rebounds) to take a narrow 85-81 lead into the fourth.

THE TEAM DELIVERS: In crucial moments, every Knick carried his weight. Robin Lopez kept working in the post on both ends, D-Will got out on breaks, and Arron Afflalo (24 points) abused Jae Crowder in the post. These contributions kept the Knicks competitive with Porzingis not coming until under 5 minutes. Unfortunately, KP then fouled out with over 2 minutes remaining.

Boston briefly got the lead due to KP’s foul being on a three-point attempt (105-106), but New York scored on back to back possessions via a Lopez hook and Williams dunk to take the lead for good.

CONFIDENCE BUILDER: This was a fantastic win. First, we need to overtake Boston if we hope to get a playoff spot. Second, the role players discovered they can compete and win by moving the ball, playing smart defense and trusting each other even in the absence of Melo and Porzingis.

Most important was Jerian Grant having his best game as a Knick with 16 points and 8 assists. He was what we sorely need at point guard — a two-way threat. If this game marks a turning point, the sky is the limit.

New York is back at .500 (20-20). The last time that happened, we promptly went on a four game losing streak. This time, it feels different. We’ll know for sure tonight when the Knicks are back in action against the Brooklyn Nets.





Guard Blues: Knicks Drop 4th Straight in 100-91 Loss to Celtics


BOSTON — New York’s slide continued in Boston with the team showing urgency too late and dropping their fourth straight in a 100-91 defeat to the Celtics.

As was the case last night, the Knicks looked outmatched against a team that showed more poise, execution and diversity in their offense. This game was an alarming example of how inadequate our guard play is on both ends. The backcourt (including subs) produced 14 points on 6/23 shooting. Meanwhile, Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas alone had 21 points and a field day against Jose Calderon. The guards couldn’t keep their assignments out the paint, forcing the defense to collapse to help and opening up other opportunities for Celtics scoring.

On offense, no one is taking it to the hole consistently. We’re a mid-range shooting team that can’t shoot.The Knicks are 43% in field goals for the season. Last night, New York shot 21% from three and 37% from the field, making any hopes of a comeback nil despite getting within 5 points with five minutes remaining.

With no help from the guards, the scoring load fell on Melo and Porzingis, who both put up numbers but couldn’t be efficient. Melo lead all scorers with 29 points (11/26) and 10 rebounds, his second double double on back to back nights. KP went for 16 points (4/13) and 12 rebounds.

Every game is making it clearer is that the Knicks need to make a move for a dynamic guard (or two) before the trade deadline.

[Video] Sweet Revenge: Knicks Pummel Celtics 114-88


It’s always a great evening when the Celtics get smashed. The worst defeat the Knicks suffered this season was an embarrassing 41-point defeat to Boston at home, so it was highly appropriate that New York returned the favor with this rout. 


MELO SETS THE TONE: The Knicks came out the gate with Carmelo Anthony dropping 2 assists via backdoor cuts from Iman Shumpert. The team quickly followed the ball movement lead to a 12-0 run that had New York up 18-5. JR Smith added two triples and when the first quarter ended, the Knicks had 9 assists on 62% shooting for a 31-15 cushion. The sparks for this great start were Melo (11 points, 2 assists, 2 steals), Tyson Chandler (5 rebounds) and Kenyon Martin (4 points, 1 block).

BENCH FIREPOWER: There was no dropoff when the second unit came in to start the second quarter. In fact, the Knicks bench blew the game open. Lead by Jeremy Tyler delivering his best game of the season (17 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks), New York had 63 points from the reserves, allowing Melo and company to get extended rest in the second and all of the fourth quarter. JR chipped in 17, and Tim Hardaway Jr. added his dribble penetration and deadly 3-point shooting for 16 points.

CHANDLER ON THE RISE: It was a struggle his first few games back, but Chandler is starting to get back into a groove on offense and defense (12 points, 13 rebounds). He was the recipient of several nasty alley-oops, and when Tyson gets those touches his defensive intensity picks up. 


AUDITION FOR RONDO?: In the off-season, stories began circulating that Melo was pushing for the Knicks to sign Rondo. A few months back, Rondo’s high school coach said Melo was actively trying to recruit him. Rondo is just six games back into his comeback from ACL surgery, so he doesn’t have his legs and looked pretty bad out there (7 points, 5 assists, 4 turnovers). 

However, if Rondo can get back to his old form, he’d be a huge asset for Melo’s game. All ACL injuries aren’t created the same, so I’m sure the Knicks will be monitoring his progress closely to see if he bounces back like Shumpert, or slides  further like we’ve seen with Derrick Rose. I’m banking on the former happening.

THREE AND NO REASON TO STOP: The Knicks are on a three game winning streak and have the Cleveland Cavaliers next on Thursday (January 30). The Cavs are struggling having lost four of their last five, so the Knicks should keep this streak going.

SOUR NOTES: Shumpert left the game early with a right shoulder strain, a re-aggravation of an injury he suffered in the pre-season. K-Mart was also forced to sit after re-aggravating his left ankle sprain. Metta World Peace returned, so we’ll just have to pray he can step up with spot minutes if K-Mart misses any extended time.



[Video] Preason, Game 1 – Knicks 103, Celtics 102: Shump the Sharpshooter, Hardaway Jr.’s Game Winner

“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.

Knicks Blow 26 Point Lead in 4th, Hold Off Celtics to Take Series


Nothing comes easy in the playoffs, and the Knicks found that out in spades over the course of six games against the Boston Celtics. It was smooth sailing in the first three games until New York found themselves in an absolute dogfight from games 4-6. As nerve-wracking as these battles were for Knicks fans, the adversity the team had to endure can only help them since this round to the championship will not get any easier.


THREE QUARTER FOCUS: For the game’s first 36 minutes, the Knicks played like a squad determined to make amends for their putrid effort in game 5. The defense was absolutely stifling in the first half, causing the Celtics commit 11 turnovers off 6 blocks and 8 steals. While Carmelo Anthony was still struggling to shoot the ball, he was getting mostly good shots and not forcing the issue as others stepped up. Pablo Prigioni was the first half X-factor in nailing three treys. At one point, the Knicks lead 21-5. After one, it was a 24-10 cushion in favor of NY.

There was a 5-minute scoring drought in the second that allowed the Celtics to pull within nine, but a Melo three-point play off a pullup bank shot pushed the lead back to 39-27 at halftime.

The third quarter was a clinic with the Knicks hitting five three-pointers. The catalyst here was Iman Shumpert, who swished two of them and helped the ball movement immensely with his scoring. He did an appropriate “jet taunt” aimed at Jason Terry following the last one that pushed the lead to 67-47. Outside of a Raymond Felton tech for complaining, it was a near-flawless 12 minutes.


THE NEAR-COLLAPSE: The fourth quarter was one of the most absurd things I’ve seen all year from the Knicks. They continued attacking the rim and got the lead up to 75-49 off a Shumpert putback dunk just a few minutes in the quarter. You’d think it was a wrap on but once again, the Knicks showed a complete lack of killer instinct and let Boston go on a completely inexcusable 20-0 run (yes, you read that right), that allowed them to get within four points (77-73). Not only did the Knicks commit four sloppy turnovers, but they weren’t getting set on defense and shying away from the big moments on the offensive end. Felton and JR appeared unsure of themselves and everything went back to Melo isolations. To our superstar’s credit, Melo was able to hit some clutch free throws and a pullup jumper to get the lead back to six (81-75). However, putting Iman Shumpert back into the starting lineup is what stopped the bleeding as he got another steal taht lead to a fast break layup.

Melo’s three-pointer, followed by a block on Paul Pierce and JR three-point play, finally iced the game with a little under two minutes remaining.


THE POSITIVES: Iman Shumpert was the MVP of this game as far as the Knicks are concerned. He was all over Paul Pierce (4/18, 14 points), and contributed 17 points on 6/9 shooting. Shump was two-way player last night and never got flustered during that 20-0 run. Tyson Chandler’s been hurting the whole series, but he’s made gradual progress returning to form and did well on the rebounding and defensive front (9 points, 12 rebounds, 2 blocks). He got his team a few needed offensive rebounds down the stretch, and did a good job on Kevin Garnett (15 points, 10 rebounds) late in the fourth despite being burned on post moves a few times.

Felton didn’t have a monster game (11 points on 5/14 shooting), but he was very consistent in moving the ball (7 assists) and driving to the lane. My only issue with him was the complaining. He runs this offensive ship and has to stay focused with the game of the line.


THE GAUNTLET ONLY GETS WORSE: If the Knicks thought the defense of the Celtics was rough, they’re in for absolute hell when they take on the Indiana Pacers tomorrow. Roy Hibbert and David West will be all over anyone that comes into the lane. The Knicks, specifically Carmelo Anthony, need to ready themselves mentally for the pounding and inevitable missed calls inside. The whining only turns the refs against them, so that needs to be hammered home by Coach Woodson.

The Knicks also need to realize that no lead is safe. Every tem that’s made it this far in the season is dangerous. When you get in position to have your foot on someone’s neck in a game, you don’t let up — you break it. Death blows kill confidence and prevent 20-0 runs.


MELO: This is the one player I’m worried about in this Indiana series. Melo’s nursing a shoulder injury and since this Celtics series wasn’t wrapped up quickly, the Knicks get right back into a dogfight tomorrow. Along with the physical issues, Melo’s been struggling with his shot over the last three games. If the Knicks have any hope of getting off to a good start, they need their leading scorer to at the very least have a decent game.

With all that said, the Knicks have accomplished another season goal of getting out of the first round of the playoffs. After a 13-year drought, that’s cause enough celebration (and relief).


Aw, No Sweep? Celtics Outlast Knicks in OT


Was that a game 7 atmosphere or what?! I had to check my emotions and remind myself that we were still sitting on a 3-1 lead after Jason Terry lead Boston on an overtime surge to pull out their first win of the series, 97-90. The game was the Knicks to lose in the 4th quarter, and boy did we ever behind Melo’s worst performance in recent months.


MELO GIVES THE GAME AWAY: Carmelo Anthony (10-35, 36 points) has had some bad games during his Knicks tenure, but this was one of, if not the worst shooting performance I’ve seen from him. I’ve said before that I could care less about his field goal percentage as long as he scores when it counts in crunch time. For the first three games in this series, he did just that. Yesterday, he couldn’t covert if his life depended on it.

Playing iso at point forward, Melo missed repeated drives and pullup jumpers. Tyson Chandler (11 rebounds) and Iman Shumpert (12 points, 12 rebounds) got repeated offensive rebounds, and still Melo couldn’t buy one. I knew it wasn’t his night when he couldn’t even nail a short 5-7 footer, and bricked two free throws that could have extended the Knicks lead to four late in the fourth. No worries, as Melo will redeem himself on Wednesday.


CAN WE GET ONE COMPLETE GAME?: Much has been said about the Celtics blowing a 20 point halftime lead and not being able to play a full 48 minutes. Well, it’s not like the Knicks have had a complete game either this series — the difference is NY has been turning it on in the second half and running the Celtics out the building. But with JR Smith, that extra punch was missing yesterday afternoon.


FELTON GOES OFF: Raymond Felton (27 points)  is the man. His 16-point third single-handedly brought the Knicks back from 20 down in less than eight minutes. And that long three-pointer at the third quarter buzzer to bring the Knicks within three (68-65) was absolutely breath-taking.


WOODY’S HEAD-SCRATCHERS: Coach Woodson made two calls that ended up being disastrous. First was going with Quentin Richardson to start the second, which began the big Celtics run. Second was repeatedly going to Melo at the expense of Felton, who Boston had no answer for. Yes, conventional wisdom said Melo would hit something, but Felton should have gotten about 3-4 of Melo’s 4th quarter shots.


ALL BECAUSE OF A DAMN ELBOW: JR Smith learned the hard way how one sneaky elbow can result in another 48 minutes of work. I expect him to take this personally and go for at least 25 points on Wednesday when the Celtics come back to town.

Flagrant Elbow Earns JR Smith Suspension for Game 4 Against Celtics


The NBA announced late last night that JR Smith will serve a one game suspension for his flagrant 2 elbow on Jason Terry during the fourth quarter of game 3 against the Celtics Friday night.

The play came when Terry attempted a hard swipe of the ball on the perimeter, resulting in Smith swinging an elbow that first landed on Terry’s chest and then face. Terry had to be restrained by teammates and officials. Smith was ejected after the play was reviewed.

The Knicks went on to win the game 90-76 and take a commanding 3-0 series lead. Smith has been averaging 16 points thus far in the playoffs and is the Knicks second leading scorer.


This decision is just another reminder to the Knicks that as one of the premier teams in the league, they’ll be extra scrutiny on everything they do. Much like Kevin Durant got a BS fine for simply doing a throat slash, the Knicks have been victim of overreactive disciplinary actions from the NBA front office. Melo got one earlier in the season for attempting to confront Kevin Garnett after the game despite no punches or up-close confrontation happening. Hell, KG choked a Knicks players after a game in the 2011 and there wasn’t a peep from the NBA about a suspension.

In a way, I’m glad JR learned how important he is to the team and not to risk his contributions on silly retaliatory shots. Nonetheless, I still want the sweep today so someone else needs to step up and bury the boys in the green. I’m looking at you, Chris Copeland.


Baking Beans in Boston – Knicks Smash Celtics, Take 3-0 Series Lead


It was a beautiful game last night for Knicks fans as our squad broke the spirit of the Celtics with a commanding 90-76 victory. The narrative coming into the contest was how the Knicks would deal with the emotional energy of a Boston team looking to inspire their city after the tragic Boston Marathon bombing. Knicks fans will recall we had our own emotional lift to start the season when we blew out the Heat in the season opener on the heels of Hurricane Sandy. Unfortunately for Boston, they were facing a team that had them beat in talent and focus.


TAKEN OUT EARLY, BLAME PRIGIONI: The Boston fans wanted something to cheer for, but the Knicks would have none of it. Pablo Prigioni set the tone with two quick treys. Neither side shot well particularly well in the opening quarter (each squad below 40%). However, you never got the feeling this game would be competitive. Raymond Felton was penetrating at will and kicking out for open shots, one of which being a JR Smith triple. The Celtics got open looks but were shrinking away from meeting the challenge by blowing layups. And even with Melo struggling with his shot going 2-7, the Knicks still lead 23-18 going into the second.



OFF TO THE RACES: You know the most impressive thing about the 2nd quarter? For me, it was the fact the Knicks built the lead with Steve Novak in the lineup. Seriously, Novak had been woeful on offense and defense during this series. Last night, he moved well and wasn’t a liability. The Knicks defense as a whole completely stifled the Celtics guards — passing lanes were clogged up and their offense completely imploded. A JR Smith three-pointer brought the lead to double digits (34-23), and there it remained for the rest of the game.

Melo (26 points), dubbed the “ball hog” by the Celtics media pundits, promptly re-entered the game and drained three straight long jumpers and an alley-oop courtesy of Jason Kidd to push the lead to 47-31 at halftime.

Where was Paul Pierce, you ask? The Celtics main scorer was held to just 4 points on 2-10 shooting. In addition, he was forced into 3 turnovers, mostly courtesy of some stifling defense from Iman Shumpert, who ended up with 3 steals and 8 rebounds for the game.



MORE DOMINATION: Outside of a quick 7-0 Celtics run to the start the third, the Knicks were never seriously challenged in the second half. Without Rajon Rondo, the Celtics couldn’t protect the ball (17 turnovers). Melo continued nailing jumpers, and Felton blew past his defenders throughout the game to the tune of 15 points and 10 assists. The Knicks held a 68-52 lead after the third, and the fourth was decided early on when Novak hit his first three of the series to push the lead to 73-54. After that, the game was basically extended garbage time for 7-8 minutes.


THE ONE BLEMISH: JR Smith had a solid game (15 points, 4 rebounds), but committed a costly reckless moment when he responded to a hard swipe from Jason Terry by elbowing him in the face. Terry sold it a bit, but it was enough to get JR tossed early in the fourth. To his credit, Smith walked away immediately, got a stern talking to from Coach Woodson, and headed right to the back. It looks like a suspension isn’t coming, so the Knicks dodged a bullet.

It JR’s defense though , Jason Terry has a face that’s begging for a good elbow.


CHANDLER WORKING HIS WAY BACK: Tyson Chandler’s recent bulging disc injury at has made his contributions this post-season very sporadic. Last night’s game was promising in Chandler showing some good rolls to the basket for dunks like the Tyson we all know. His numbers don’t jump out at you (6 points, 8 rebounds), but watch out when he truly gets back to form.

I have a good feeling Sunday will be the last we see of the Celtics this season.