Melo, D-Rose and D-Wade Celebrate Thanksgiving

 

After an impressive win on Tuesday against the Trailblazers, Derrick Rose let it be known that he invited himself to Carmelo Anthony’s house for Thanksgiving. Earlier today, La La Anthony snapped a nice picture of the Knicks stars that also included Dwyane Wade.

During summer free agency, we had a few days were it appeared Wade was considering the Knicks. Imagine if that would have came to fruition? Sorry, Courtney Lee…

 

Triumphant Homecoming: Rose and Noah Lead Team Effort Win in Chicago

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CHICAGO — It was an emotional return for Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, but the former Bulls channeled it into efficient teamwork and ball control to score a much-needed Knicks win at the United Center. Coming off two sub-par losses to Detroit and Houston, New York saw every starter hit double figures and gave fans their first true glimpse of this team’s potential.

RED-HOT START: The Knicks came out with strong ball movement and sharp-shooting from Courtney Lee, who went 5/5 (10 points) in the first as the Knicks jumped out to a 16-point lead. Bulls were powered by Dwyane Wade’s (35 points, 10 rebounds) abnormally hot three-point shooting and offensive rebounding from Taj Gibson. Still, the Knicks held a 32-23 lead after 12 minutes for their best quarter of basketball since the Memphis game.

A SCARE AND RIGHTING THE SHIP: The Knicks’s bench unit couldn’t manage to score even with KP in the lineup. Wade continued hitting threes and Jimmy Butler got to the line, allowing Chicago to take the lead in the final minutes. Although New York was outscored 34-24, a breathtaking half-court lay-up drive from Rose with 4.7 seconds left narrowed the deficit to 56-57 at the half.

PORZINGIS FEASTS: It says something about this game that KP had 27 points and still seemed low-key. He was doing it all over court from threes to running the floor for dunks. The ball moved well and allowed him to exploit mismatches. He got into foul trouble and left the game with around 7 minutes left, but his damage had been done. As Coach Hornacek stated, good things happen when the team gets him involved early. This was an excellent bounce back from the previous game where he had no field goals.

ROSE AND NOAH CLOSE THE SHOW: The Knicks held an 87-84 lead going into the fourth against a Bulls team that refused to go away. KP’s hot shooting sparked a 10-0 run, but his foul departure allowed the Bulls back in it due to Melo’s presence stagnating the ball movement. Three straight bad possessions caused an 8-0 Bulls run that closed the Knicks lead to 98-91.

From there, Rose and Noah caused havoc. Their two-man game got Noah several lay-ups. Rose would nail a tough and-1 lay-up with the shot clock expiring to push the lead to 111-102. And on the next play, a drive and kick for a Melo three would ice the game.

Rose would finish with 15 points, 10 assists and 7 rebounds. Noah was equally strong in outplaying Robin Lopez with 16 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals.

STARTERS STRONG, BUT BENCH STILL WORRISOME: The starting five put in work. Aside from those already mentioned, Melo added 25 points and Lee 17. But our bench could only manage 17 points. Horacek will have to continue being creative with the lineups to prevent scoring droughts.

The Knicks are back home on Sunday to face the Jazz.

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] 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.