The Knicks celebrated their 70th home season opener with a hard-fought 111-104 victory tonight over the Memphis Grizzlies. Derrick Rose finished with 13 points and provided several dazzling highlights with his drives to the hoop. Unquestionably, the best play featured Rose crossing up Mike Conley. Remember the talk earlier this year about whether we should have made a big money offer for Conley? Haaaaa
What got into Arron Afflalo tonight? AA produced a 7/7 first half for 15 points and finished the game with 20 as Knicks beat the Pistons 102-89. Afflalo’s most memorable play came in the first quarter with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope being victim of an ankle-breaking crossover. It was only right that the basketball gods rewarded Afflalo with a friendly rim bounce.
With the Knicks out the playoffs, New York fans will take any small victories we can get over these last two games. Iman Shumpert has been terrorizing Paul Pierce on the defensive end since last year’s playoffs. But tonight, Shump gave old man Pierce the business on offense via this sweet crossover. The Knicks ended up pounding the Nets the entire game and won 109-98.
What a difference a month makes. Around this time in December, the Knicks were getting embarrassed in Cleveland with Kyrie Irving running amuch for 37 points and 11 assists. That was against a Knicks team with no identity. Last night, New York never let the Cavs in it after blitzing them with a 38-21 first quarter, and holding off all comeback attempts over the remaining 36 minutes to take a well-deserved 117-8 6 win at Madison Square Garden. Like all Knicks blowouts this year, it was a total team effort on this one.
JR’S BACK?: After being on the verge of getting shipped out just a few weeks back, JR Smith is finally returning to the excellent form we saw at the end of last season. Starting in place of the injured Iman Shumpert, JR sliced up the Cavs defense with strong drives to the rim and long-range jumpers. It was a case of erratic shots falling — JR played within the offense and shot 8/16 for 19 points, including this collection of breath-taking plays below.
THJ!!!: Tim Hardaway Jr. continues to shine in his expanded role and thank God Coach Mike Woodson is riding the hot streak. Tim dropped a career high of 29 points, going 11/17 from the field and 6/12 from downtown. Once this kid learns defense, watch out.
EFFICIENT TO THE LAST MAN: Melo (29 points, 5 rebounds), Chandler (11 points, 8 rebounds), and Felton (12 points, 9 rebounds) had good games, along with Jeremy Tyler (8 points, 6 rebounds). The team was shooting over 60% for most of the game while holding the Cavs under 40%. New York would wrap up the contest on 57% shooting from the field and a hot 46% (12/26) from downtown.
The Knicks get to put their win streak to the test against the defending champion Miami Heat on Saturday.