[Video] Porzingis Drops Career-High 35 Points in Close Win Over Pistons

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We are privileged to watch the growth of a future superstar. Kristaps Porzingis delivered a career-high 35 points to lead the Knicks to a close 105-102 win over the Pistons at Madison Square Garden. Despite a focused game, the scrappy Pistons made sure the Knicks worked for this win until the final buzzer.

FEED THE BEAST: Melo said before the season that he’s never played with a weapon like Derrick Rose. That applies even more so to Porzingis, who feasted to a 25 point first half and truly showed how versatile (and scary) his game is. He worked unblockable fadeaways in the post, ran the floor for contested layups on fast breaks, and burned Detroit for three three-pointers. He shot 13/22 from the field and managed to get to the line seven times.

I said earlier in the week that Porzingis can take the reins at the #1 option in 2-3 years. But if he keeps up this pace, we might have a changing of the guard by next year.

MELO’S NOT TOO SHABBY: All the attention on KP should not negate another efficient game from Carmelo Anthony: 22 points (13/22), 5 rebounds and 3 assists. For this team to work, both guys need to continue being the one-two punch on scoring.

IMPROVED DEFENSE: We’re still a work in progress, but the last two games have shown some marked improvements. The Knicks are playing defense with their legs and stayed in front of their assignments. The Pistons were held to 12 free throw attempts compared to 19 for the Knicks. Joakim Noah’s (7 points, 15 rebounds, 3 blocks) defense, particularly in the first half on Andre Drummond, proved very effective. Drummond was contained to 15 points and 9 rebounds.

The glaring problem remains the three-point defense, which allowed Detroit to claw their way back in the fourth and nearly force overtime on the final play. Once that area gets under control, we’ll see a lot more easier wins.

SOLID BENCH PERFORMANCES: Justin Holiday (9 points, 5 rebounds) continued his solid play on both ends of the floor. Brandon Jennings was hot-dogging out there too much (got called for a carry), but his 7 assists keep the offense flowing in his 17 minutes. Kyle O’Quinn got the nod over Hernangomez and made the most of his 15 minutes. He tallied 6 points, 5 rebounds, 3 blocks (including one on Drummond) and 2 assists. Outside of KP, O’Quinn just might be our best post defender.

The Knicks complete their back to back tomorrow night in D.C. against the Wizards.

[Video] Watch Arron Afflalo Break Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s Ankles

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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.

Check out the link below for more angles.

 

Knicks Contain Drummond, Defeat Pistons 108-96

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NEW YORK — The Knicks received by efforts from Robin Lopez (11 points, 6 blocks) and Derrick Williams (18 points) to snap a four-game losing streak and beat the Pistons 108-96 at Madison Square Garden.

Melo lead the way with 24 points and kept the Knicks close throughout until Williams exploded for 16 points in the fourth on 5-6 shooting. The team effort was rounded out with Calderon (15 points), Kyle O’Quinn (12 points) and Kristaps Porzingis (10 points).

The main threat coming in was Andre Drummond, and the Knicks did a superb job of throwing different bodies at him and keeping him from dominating the glass. Although no Knick had more than 7 rebounds, Drummond was held to 13 points (5/15) and 9 rebounds. Leading the way for Detroit were Ersan Ilyasova (19 points) and Reggie Jackson (17 points).

A big positive to take from this game is the Knicks are 11-2 when they score at least 100 points. But a glaring problem this season has been the losing streaks — this was the third time the Knicks had lost four straight. If we hope to get a playoff spot, these stretches of futility cannot keep happening.

The Knicks are back in action on New Year’s Day against the Bulls.

Boos, Cheers and Late Hustle: Pistons 97, Knicks 81

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Make that 10 straight losses. The Knicks suited up just nine players tonight against the Pistons and spent most of the game in an offensive and defensive fog, going down by as many as 30 points before settling on a 97-81 defeat. Game like this don’t yield many positives. However, the game’s last few minutes allowed for a few moments of cheering.

 

EARLY PROVIDES A SPARK: Rookie Cleathony Early suited up for the first time since mid-November after going down with a knee injury. Nothing about his numbers tonight will jump out at you — 5 points, 1 rebounds and a steal in 14 minutes of play. But the rook showed strong effort. His most notable moment was a coast-to-coast drive that resulted in a three-point play opportunity. His ethusiasm picked up the energy of the rest of the team and got JR nailing a few threes to bring the lead back under 20.

With only a two minutes left, the fans knew the Knicks wouldn’t be overcoming a 16-18 point deficit. But the fact the team actually gave a damn resulted in loud cheers that would make you believe we were watching a tight playoff game.

Early hasn’t been tainted yet by the constant losing. Fisher should keep him in rotation and maybe his youthful enthusiasm will get contagious.

 

ANGRY BOOS: Before the late run, most of the night was filled with irate boos from the Garden faithful. The Pistons started pulling away in the second via an 11-0 run that put them up 40-27. With their best players out (Melo, Hardaway Jr, Stoudemire etc.), that Knicks were relegated to contested jumpshots and were shooting well under 40% They were outscored 33-18 in the second and down 58-37 at halftime.

The hammering continued in the third with Brandon Jennings sinking repeated threes. The fans were booing at every intermission and each time it seemed to sap the team’s focus and confidence. The lowest point came with Jennings hitting a three at the end of the third that put the deficit at 82-52.

 

RANDOM NOTES: JR Smith lead the team with 22 points, going 8/20 from the field (mostly due to chucking threes in the final minutes). Cole Aldrich had a solid outing against Andre Drummond with 11 points, 14 rebounds and 3 blocks. Drummond had a low scoring night (7 points), but was a beast on the boards with 20 rebounds.

Andrea Bragnani was playing just his second game this season when he re-aggravated his right calf and left after a minute. No word on how much time he’s expected to miss.

The Knicks’ challenges mount as the team will play tough teams over the next week in the Grizzlies, Rockets, and Wizards.

 

 

No Relief in Sight: Knicks Drop 7th Straight in 96-85 Loss to Pistons

I’m running out of comments – CARMELO ANTHONY

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AUBURN HILLS, MI — Is it the offseason yet? For the Knicks, it might as well be since from their play it’s become quite apparent they no longer care. This is what a broken team with no confidence, pride nor sense of duty in what they do looks like. At this point, predicting how a Knicks game will go is quite easy. They’ll jump out to a quick lead (this time 14 points), blow it as soon as they get, and let their defensive woes get them blown off the court in the fourth when they fail to get stops. Oh, and let’s not forget letting someone on the oppoosing side notch a career-high in some category.

BACKCOURT TRASH: Our starting backcourt of JR Smith and Raymond Felton was absolutely woeful with both going scoreless for the entire first half. JR managed 16 points for the game, but that was only due to gunning when the game had already been decided in the fourth. They shot a dismal 6-26 for the game. Iman Shumpert (5 points, 2/7) and Tim Hardaway Jr. (0 points, 0/6) couldn’t provide much of a spark off the bench, either.

ANOTHER GUARD GOES OFF: During this losing streak, we’ve seen the likes of Stephen Curry (triple double) and DJ Augustin have monster games. Last night Will Bynum got in on the fun, scoring all of his 16 points in the fourth quarter. Opposing guards seem to realize by the start of the fourth that our guards can defend and start picking us apart.

LATEST CAREER HIGH: Andre Drummond was a beast last night. Aside from schooling Amar’e Stoudemire in the paint during the third quarter (six straight points on various spin moves), he pulled down a career high 28 rebounds.

STAT N’ MELO: When it came to offense, New York only got consistent production out of these two. Stoudemire scored 22 points and Melo added 28. While their shooting percentages were strong, the ball movement wasn’t consistent, so a good bulk of their points had to come through isolation plays.

WOODY: Raymond Felton continues to get paraded out for heavy minutes despite being a clear detriment on the floor. Felton played 32 minutes, going 1/9 from the floor (4 points). Any competent coach would have benched him a long time ago for Prigioni and Toure Murry, who can’t possibly do any worse.

We’ll see if the Knicks can make the bleeding stop on Wednesday when they head to the Target Center to face the Timberwolves.

Clueless Knicks Drops 3rd Straight, Fall to Pistons 92-86

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It’s starting to look like that ESPN prediction of a 37-45 record was on the generous side. The Knicks put together a decent first half, imploded defensively and offensively in the third, and then had to play catchup in the fourth. They couldn’t get the stops they needed and most alarmingly, our leader Carmelo Anthony was a petulant, unfocused player who had his teammates tuned out and the refs non-calls in his head.

 

NEW LINEUP: With Felton sitting out with back spasms, Coach Woodson elected to go with Iman Shumpert and Beno Udrih in the backcourt. The frontcourt was manned by Melo, Andrea Bargnani and Kenyon Martin, who NY hoped would bring some toughness and interior defense.

The first quarter was solid with Bargnani getting off to a quick start (7 points in the quarter) by driving to the rim. The interior defense was still a problem, but it didn’t become damning until the second half.

Udrih went scoreless and managed five assists while Shumpert chipped in 11 points. Even with Felton out, the perimeter defense was still abysmal as noted by Rodney Stuckey going for 21 points off the bench and getting into the paint at will. 

Melo had a horrid first half where he shot 3-12. He complained about the lack of calls, missed several free throws, and overall played with tunnel vision. This is one the games were you could clearly see he wasn’t trusting his teammates and rushing bad shots. The whining earned him a tech in the third and he didn’t settle down until the fourth. He missed a three with the Knicks down 82-87 which basically sealed the game.

 

INEXCUSABLE DEFENSE: Sometimes a picture is worth more than any game analysis. For a synopsis of how bad the defense is and why the Knicks have been playing from behind in nearly every game, click on the image below and watch Amar’e Stoudemire. Also note Melo’s reaction on the bench.

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This is the reason the team went down by as much as 15 early in the fourth (63-78) and ran out of time despite clawing their way back into it with two minutes remaining.

 

MORE PAIN TO FOLLOW: It’s not going to get better, as tonight the Knicks have to face the Indiana Pacers, who sport the best record in the league. I see no other scenario but a blowout that rivals what the Spurs did to NY last week.

Without Melo, Knicks Win Ugly in Detroit

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Nothing comes easy for this Knicks team, even when playing a banged up Detroit Pistons with only eight available players. New York got some scares throughout the night, but this one was decided in the end by talent and execution. A win is a win, but we better see a massive improvement tonight if our team hopes to be competitive against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

 

WHITE AND THOMAS STARTING?: When I saw James White and Kurt Thomas in the starting lineup, I expected a long night. They played for a combined 12 minutes in the game, so there wasn’t too much damage from this. But when you see Kenyon Martin still languishing on the bench, you wonder what could possibly be going through Coach Woodson’s head. Marcus Camby got six minutes, so at least there was some progress made in opening up the lineup.

 

STAT EATS UP DETROIT: The Pistons only had two players (who happened to be rookies) 6’10 or taller in the lineup last night, making it a feast on the inside for Stoudemire. Stat bullied his way to 10 points in the first quarter and 17 at the half. Woody made a misstep in taking Stat out with a few minutes left in the second. That, combined with the horrid ball-handling (15 turnovers), lead to a Pistons 13-2 run to get within six (44-38).

Stat started the second half, but the Knicks were more interested in chucking long jumpers than really working through Stat again. He would only post five points over the second half, but contributed solidly on the boards (9 rebounds, 6 offensive).

 

CHANDLER OUT OF SYNC: Tyson Chandler was mentally out of it on defense and offense for most of this game. The interior defense, which starts with him, was inconsistent and particularly bad in the opening quarter with Detroit scoring the majority of their points on layups and dunks. With Detroit’s lack of bigs, Tyson should have been feasting inside like he did to the Warriors last week in the absence of David Lee.

 

JR FEAST AND FAMINE: The Knicks kicked off the third quarter on the wrong side of a 10-2 run and a big part of that was due to JR chucking from the outside (4-16 early on). Brandon Knight got hot due to lazy defense and the run extended to 18-4 with the Knicks facing a 65-55 hole with just over two minutes left. JR then found his three-pointing (as did Raymond Felton) and helped erase the lead and tie it at 65.

JR nailed three treys in the fourth but his most significant contribution came when he got three big steals to help deflate Detroit.

 

FELTON CAN’T MISS: When Melo’s out, no other player on this Knicks squad decides to pick it up on the offensive end more than Raymond Felton. He did it in the December when he lit up the Heat for nearly 30 points and did again last night, going 10-15 from the field (4-5 from trey) for 26 points. How in the zone was Felton? The man caught a lob from Pablo Prigioni like he was Chandler.

 

MORE FROM SHUMP AFTER THE FIRST: I’m liking this trend of Iman Shumpert coming out aggressive and being…well… a shooting guard that actually shoots. He dropped 9 points in the first quarter off three treys but like previous games, his offense disappeared after that.

 

KNICKS SLOPPY BUT PISTONS “SLOPPIER”: The Knicks average a league-low 11 turnovers and had 20 last night. However, the Pistons also had 20 and theirs were way more costly with six of them coming in the fourth quarter.

 

WHEN MELO COMES BACK: Can we just cut the nonsense now, Woody? You’re getting a lot of deserved heat for the constant and unnecessary defensive switching and parading these crazy lineups out there. Our starting lineup needs to be Felton, Shumpert, Melo, Stat and Chandler. Mix and match as you please, but our Big Three needs to start and end games. They either prove definitively they can play together or they crash and burn. This team was put together to “win now” and that only happens with your best players on the floor.

No time like the present to get that lineup going tonight against the Thunder.

[youtube http://youtu.be/6XFCRgoPoDY]

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[youtube http://youtu.be/ycemt85J4n0]

Knicks Complete Perfect Home Stand with 99-85 Win Over Pistons

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Five and counting! The Knicks extended their winning streak to five games last night with a dominating 99-85 win over the Pistons. The Knicks are back to what they were doing in November and early December in destroying teams that aren’t on their talent level. Onto the game’s notable points.

 

NO FIRST QUARTER SLUMP: There was no slow start in this one as the Knicks held the Pistons to just 13 points, a record for their season thus far. Detroit was being out-hustled to every ball and their frontcourt of Andre Drummon and Jason Maxiell struggled to score over Tyson Chandler (a combined 4 points and 7 rebounds). The Knicks shooting was erratic (at times under 40%), but the defense and offensive rebounding gave them plenty of opportunities to the tune of six treys to take a 28-13 lead.

 

THE GAME ENDS: You know a team is doing well when they can laugh about an airball free throw (courtesy of JR Smith). Much to Coach Woodson’s chagrin, the team decided to turn this into a pickup game in spots with JR chucking threes and the team trying wild alley oops. However, the Pistons couldn’t take advantage with JR and Tyson crashing the boards and Novak getting hot from downtown. The half would end with the Knicks holding a 57-36 lead.

 

SECOND HALF SLOPPINESS: The Knicks mentally were clearly elsewhere no matter how much Woody yelled and glared. Chandler got lazy on defense and gave up easy layups to Drummond and Calderon early in the third. Melo, who had 19 points in the first half, also started slow in picking up his third and fourth fouls. Still, this is the lowly Pistons we’re talking about, and they could only get as close as 70-54 before some timely hoops by Stoudemire and Chandler helped to push the lead back up to 20 (76-56).

 

NOT MUCH REST: Since he was not pleased with the effort, it seems like Woody left the starters in for the fourth quarter to prove a point. The offense got bogged down in isolation ball for Melo and long JR treys. On defense, NY started getting beat a lot backdoor by speedy Detroit guards like Will Bynum. Nonetheless, three-pointers by Smith and Novak effectively iced the game at 91-75, and the starters were pulled at the 1:31 mark.

 

CHANDLER’ HISTORICAL MARK: Tyson Chandler had his third consecutive game with 20 rebounds, being the first Knicks player to do since Willis Reed 43 years. With the Wizards coming up next, he may just set a  new record.

 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtmnauL7YjY]