Sorry Pat, Nothing Personal — Bargnani and Melo Spoil Ewing’s Coaching Debut


He had that shoot-first mentality. He had some of the same looks but he wasn’t hesitating, which I like. He was very aggressive on the offensive end tonight. I guess he was tired of hearing [he wasn’t]. – Carmelo Anthony on Bargnani

I’m still trying to learn him as a coach. I told our coaches, hell, he needs to speak up and talk more and act like he’s a part of this. He was pretty good tonight. He can’t be a tease because I’m going to expect that from him every time. – Mike Woodson on Bargnani

The Knicks finally got what we’ve been waiting to see since day one of Andrea Bargnani’s contract signing with the Knicks — frontcourt chemistry with team captain Carmelo Anthony. The two combined for a massive 53 points, 16 rebounds, 9 assists and 6 blocks as the Knicks cruised to a 101-91 win in Charlotte over the Bobcats.

The Knicks had a strong first half powered by ball movement and drives to the rim. Bargnani was not hesitant with his shot and hit several treys and even executed a crossover at the top of the key. He took 16 shots in the first half and scored 15 points. Equally important was Raymond Felton, who chipped in 10 points, 4 assists, and made sure the ball was either swinging around the perimeter to the open man, or attacking the interior defense. Melo crashed the boards with 4 offensive rebounds in the first half in addition to 16 points on 6-13 shooting.

THIRD QUARTER ATTACK: After missing his first three shots in the third, Bargnani caught fire starting with a block and hitting a three-pointer to make it 61-49. He hit a mid-range jumper off a pick n’roll with Felton, and Shumpert added a corner three off an assist from Melo to make it 66-49. The Bobcats sped up the tempo and got some easy looks to get within 10 (74-64), but a trio of threes from Metta World Peace, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Pablo Prigioni pushed the lead to 88-69. The Knicks would finish with seven threes in the quarter.

4TH QUARTER EXECUTION:  The Knicks were a little absent-minded early in the fourth. Behind NY nemesis Kemba Walker, the Bobcats were able to get the deficit down to 11. However, Bargnani again sparked the Knicks on both sides of the ball, getting a block and hitting a three-pointer to make it 97-81. Melo’s jumper was working, allowing him and Bargnani to space the floor with both being inside and outside threats. The danger of a Bargnani three late in the quarter made the defense collapse and allowed for a sweet pass inside for Melo and an easy layup.

CAN BARGNANI DO THIS EVERY NIGHT?: No, we can’t expect Bargnani to start dropping stat lines of 25 points, 8 rebounds and 5 blocks at will. Let’s keep in mind this was the Bobcats. However, we should expect the effort and focus he showed tonight. Knicks fans got on him in his Garden debut because he was passive and unfocused, not because he was missing shots. If he brings this effort every night, the Knicks will be exactly where they hope to be on offense and defense.

MELO COMES ALIVE: So far this season, Melo has been good in every area except his shooting. That changed tonight with his 28 points on 54% shooting. He was great on the boards (8 rebounds, 5 offensive) and looked to get teammates involved at every turn (6 assists). This is a glimpse of how effective the offense can be when it isn’t predictable with the entire load falling on Melo’s shoulders.

TEAM MEETING WORKED: After a weak effort against the Bobcats earlier this week, the Knicks held a private players meeting to hash out their problems. The result was a team who put together their first solid 48 minutes of basketball the entire season.

OFFENSE LIFE COME SUNDAY: The Knicks will have their hands full when they meet the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday. The offensive will get another lift with JR Smith making his season debut.

The Downward Spiral: Chandler Injured, Bobcats Beat Knicks 102-97


The Knicks suffered their third straight loss, this time to the lowly Bobcats. As embarrassing as that is, it wasn’t even the worst even of the evening. Tyson Chandler, the defensive and rebounding archor of the team, went down early in the first quarter after banging/twisting his right knee against a driving Kemba Walker. Chandler had to be carried off the court and left the arena on crutches. The speculation is  that he has a bad sprain.

I don’t think I need to explain to any Knick fan how disastrous it’ll be for the team if Chandler is gone for any extended period of time.  Just look at this game as a sample. The Bobcat guards were able to waltz in the paint at will. Kemba Walker dropped 25 points and Gerald Henderson added 18. Even the backups (Ramon Session 10 points, Jeffrey Taylor 13 points) took full advantage of the Knicks’ defensive woes.

The offense was still weak as well. Melo dropped 32 points, but did it on 18-32 shooting. He was an integral part of a late fourth quarter run, but as usual the Knicks couldn’t get over the hump and Kemba Walker hit a dagger stepback over Kenyon Martin in the final minute to ice to game.

Going into last night, the Bobcats were the worst shooting team in the league at under 40%. Leave it up to the Knicks to allow them to move up to 29. The Bobcats were shooting 60% in the first quarter (courtesy of easy drives and open threes) and scored 31 points. Deep into the second quarter they were still around 58% and had 64 points at halftime. In the third, the Knicks went down by as much as 13 points before making a run of it.

This team is LOADED with problems. Andrea Bargnani’s lack of defense and rebounding is killing the starting lineup. Melo was seen giving him stern assignment directions in the first half. Our offense is the most predictable in the league — take away the pick n’ roll and it’s all isolation. Outside of Melo and now occasionally Metta World Peace (who played well and chipped in 18 points off the bench), there’s no one that can get easy buckets inside. Amar’e Stoudemire was absolutely wretched — 2 points, 5 turnovers and had his shots repeatedly sent back at the rim in 11 minutes.

We all wait with bated breath today to hear the results of Tyson Chandler’s medical tests. In the meantime, Coach Woodson better think long and hard about his offensive and defensive sets to ensure the Bobcats don’t embarrass our squad again on Friday.

Rasheed Wallace Announces Second Retirement


After suffering another setback with his left foot injury on Monday, Rasheed Wallace has announced a second retirement.

In his 21 games this year, the 38-year-old Wallace was an instrumental part of the Knicks early season defense and three-point shooting success. However, he hasn’t played a game since mid-December due to a stress fracture on his left foot.

Wallace underwent surgery and attempted a return on Monday against the Charlotte Bobcats. After 3 minutes he was forced to sit after re-aggravating the injury.

“Rasheed has given this team everything he had,” said Knicks head coach Mike Woodson said in a statement. “He is a winner, true professional and leader on and off the court. Due to his injury, he will not be available to play for us during the playoffs.”

Wallace averaged 4 points and 4 rebounds during his Knicks tenure. His retirement opened a roster spot which the Knicks have already filled with former Wizards players Earl Barron.


Sad news but not surprising. I wasn’t expecting Wallace to come in and be a big contributor with so much time off. The fact that he couldn’t even go five minutes made this an easy decision. Still, you have to salute Sheedfor making the move quickly to allow the Knicks a chance to work in a new player.

As has been for the last three years, Knicks fans are left to wonder what this team could have accomplishedwith everyone healthy for a full season.