Karl Anthony Towns Drops 45 Points, But Melo Nails Game-Winner in 106-104 Win


Photo Credit: USA Today Sports Images

When Karl Anthony Towns hit his first nine shots and scored 22 points in the first quarter, the Knicks knew they were in for a long night. But a timely Carmelo Anthony mid-range jumper with 2.3 seconds left was enough for the Knicks to hold off a 21-3 run from the Timberwolves to take a 106-104 win and get back to .500.


THE GOOD: The Knicks had stretches of excellent ball movement. They started off with every Knick getting an assist in the opening minutes and hitting their outside shots. Brandon Jennings (12 points, 7 assists, 2 steals) was our biggest spark in getting open looks for Porzingis (29 points, 8 rebounds) and Kuzmiskas (14 points, career-high). The team had 24 assists and looked primed for an easy win with a 17 point lead and 7 minutes remaining.

THE BAD: The Knicks also showed their bipolar tendencies by literally collapsing in the last six minutes and allowing the Wolves to go on a game-tying 21-3 run. The Knicks let Karl Anthony Towns live at the line while stopping the clock, didn’t secure loose balls, and gave up open shots. Worse yet, the Knicks stopped attacking and everyone looked scared to shoot, resulting in poor possessions and spacing.

THE UGLY: How bad was the free throw disparity? The Wolves had 39 attempts compared to New York’s 15. Towns had 20 attempts by himself. Speaking of Towns, the man hit a career-high with 47 points, and added 18 rebounds and 3 blocks. Luckily for the Knicks, they outscored the weak Wolves’s weak bench 43-5 to get some breathing after being down 31-28 after the first quarter.

REDEMPTION: Melo only took his first shot with 2 minutes remaining in the first quarter. He was clearly trying to be a faccillitator, and perhaps that was spurred by the boos he heard in Monday’s loss to the Thunder. In the second half, his shot wasn’t there and he ended up shooting a poor 5/16 from the field and was a -17. Nonetheless, Melo reminded us of his clutch gene on that game-winner over Andrew Wiggins.

Let’s be happy we only have to see Towns one more time on Friday.

[Video] Calderon Buzzer Beater Steals Show in Final Kobe-Melo Duel


The Knicks blew a 16-point second half lead but relied on late heroics from Carmelo Anthoy and Jose Calderon to pull out a 90-87 win at Staples Center.

The game came down to a broken play with the scored knotted at 87. After nearly two violations (inbounds and backcourt) and Melo not getting free, Calderon was left to make something happen.

He did by getting free behind the arc for his only three-pointer of the night.

The Knicks looked like they were going to pack it in when the Lakers went up by five with less than four minutes remaining. But Melo lifted them with seven straight points (12 in fourth) to get the Knicks back in it. Kobe Bryant, who was nursing a sore right shoulder, made three key jumpers in the final minutes to set up the thrilling finish.

The Knicks will need all the confidence they can from this game as next up are the defending champion Golden State Warriors.


[Video] Faux Comeback #34957934 – Kemba Walker’s Layup Stuns Knicks


Back to back losses on layups…LAYUPS. God hates us.

As commentator Mike Breen said in the seconds following Kemba Walker’s game-winning, easy layup drive, “The pain continues.” Coming from 20 points down mid third-quarter, the Knicks, lead by Carmelo Anthony’s game-high 32 points, staged an impassioned comeback that can down to one defensive stop with 4 seconds left. And as we’ve seen countless times over last two seasons, a speedy guard easily got into the pain the Knicks had their hearts broken.

For most the game, the Knicks appeared disjointed on defense. They couldn’t defend perimeter threes and guys like Lance Stephenson slashed to the basket at will. Melo had 15 first half points, but he still looked deflated from Thursday’s game where he shot a vile 21% from the field.

Then a light switch went off in the third quarter. Melo’s jumper started following along with And 1’s in the paint. Tim Hardaway Jr and JR Smith started going lights off from three. For most of the fourth, the Knicks hovered with an 8-10 point deficit before Melo’s back to back 3s gave the Knicks a 102-101 lead. NY had the chance to get the lead to 3, but Melo missed a short bassline jumper that set up Walker’s heart-breaking layup.

There were a lot of grumblings as to who was at fault on that drive. Should Prigioni have been more aggressive in taking the foul to give to get more time off the clock? Should Melo have jumped out quicker to stifle Kemba’s drive? Should Stoudemire have read Walker’s move quicker to get a better chance at altering the shot?

For me, teams win and lose together. Had the Knicks played with the 4th quarter intensity that had them outscore Charlotte 33-18 for the ENTIRE contest, the game would not have been decided in this manner.

[Video] Melo Ends Preseason with Game-Winner Against Wizards


A tie-breaking three-point play in the final 13 seconds from Carmelo Anthony was enough to hold off the Washington Wizards and close out the Knicks’ preseason record at 3-3.

Melo had 30 points on 11/19 shooting, along with 3 rebounds and 3 assists. As usual, the Knicks made it harder than it needed to be through a combination of leaky defense (3-point coverage, issues with guard penetration) and errant passes. Changing a team’s culture takes time, so fans need to be prepared for an uneven season. What is promising is that the effort and direction is there.

The Knicks will get thrown right into the fire next Wednesday when they open the season against the Chicago Bulls.

[youtube http://youtu.be/pWZW4PyWYA8]

[Video] Nowitzki Shocks Knicks With Buzzer-Beater

It’s a damn shame. – MIKE WOODSON


You have heard this story before. Knicks start slow only to go on a strong run late in the first or second quarter to make it a game by halftime. They play well on offense, but keep shooting themselves in the foot on defense in the second half, making the game a life and death struggle going into the fourth quarter. The team then fails to get any stops over the waning minutes and simply hope for Carmelo Anthony to bail them out, leading to another heart-breaking loss.

Last night was a Knicks rerun, in Dirk Nowitzki getting a lucky bounce on a buzzer-beating jumper to hand the Knicks their ninth loss in the last 10 games. This is the third game in a row the Knicks have collapsed down the stretch. If you’re looking for a silver lining, it can be that at least the game was tight for the most of the second half, as opposed to the 14-point and 17-point leads New York blew in the previous two games against Orlando and Atlanta.

There was another wasted Melo effort of 44 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and a block. If you told me before the season started that Melo would be posting these type of the numbers and we’d by this far below .500 and effectively out of the playoffs, I’d have laughed. And yet, here we are. Until we get guards who know who to defend the perimeter, we may not win a game for the rest of the season. When the ghost of Vince Carter is lighting you up for SEVEN three-pointer off the bench, there is literally no hope.

[Video] A Defensive Failure: Brandon Knight Stuns Knicks with Game Winner


It finally happened. After going life and death twice with the NBA-worst Bucks this year (blowing a 20-point game in the first game and needing double overtime to win the second), the Knicks finally hit rock botttom in losing a heart-breaker off a Brandon Knight three-pointer with 1.5 seconds left. The defensive was uneven all game, but the Knicks rode the back of Carmelo Anthony in the fourth to nearly win before our “point guard” Raymond Felton gave up back to back baskets to seal this defeat. And with the schedule coming up being a Western Conference trip against the likes of Portland, Denver and Oklahoma City, the Knicks face a strong possiblity of falling further out of the playoff hunt.

BACKCOURT BLUES: Small ball is supposed to be our specialty, but it sure didn’t look like it between our starting backcourt pf Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni, who managed a combined six points on 2/9 shooting.

A DIFFERENCE IN DOUBLE FIGURES: On the scoring front, it was all Melo (36 points, 52% shooting) and JR Smith (30 points). No one else on the team managed to score in double figures. Contrast that with the Bucks, who had five players in double figures, including a team-high 25 points from Brandon Knight.

TRASH FREE THROW SHOOTING AND PERIMETER DEFENSE: The Knicks gave away points at the line, shooting just 62% (15/24) with Tyson Chandler being the biggest culprit, shooting 1-6. After building a 29-22 lead in the second, the game became a come-from-behind race for the Knicks after giving up 32 points in the quarter and letting the Bucks go 5-5 from downtown.

FELTON: The last two Bucks possessions are the biggest indictment of Raymond Felton’s defense. First, he got beat on a backdoor play that made it 98-95 Bucks with 27 seconds remaining. Melo then drained a three-pointer from 25 feet to tie it with 19 seconds left. Knight promptly brought the ball up and knocked down a three-pointer over Felton to make it 101-98 with just 1.5 seconds left. Melo missed a 27-footer to seal the defeat.

Felton is a good guy on a personal level, but a lot of the team problems begin at the point guard position. He can’t penetrate consistently, starts our offensive sets too late, has a streaky jumper, and most damning, can’t stay in front of athletic guards. When it comes to trades, a competent PG should be the #1 priority for New York.

Comeback Thrwarted: Derrick Rose Game Winner Seals Knicks’ Fate


We competed tonight. It says a lot for our club. Now I just need to do a better job getting us through down the stretch. – Mike Woodson


After being dead in the waterfor the most of the game, a Knicks 12-0 run in the fourth quarter allowed them to storm back for a two point lead. But several bad possessions and a missed free throw from Tyson Chandler gave the opening the Bulls needed, as Derrick Rose hit a tough floater to defeat the Knicks 82-81 in the Bulls home-opener.

It was tough loss to swallow, especially considering this is the fifth straight time the Bulls had defeated the Knicks. However, New York showed flashes on succint execution and had a mental toughness to them that was lacking from last year’s squad. Had this been last season, this game would have turned into a blowout in the third quarter, when the Bulls went up by as much as 13 points. Onto the game’s highlights.

FIRST HALF UGLINESS: We know the Bulls pride themselves on defense and that made for an ugly first half of basketball as New York was relegated to contested jumpers. There were repeated bad passes leading to Bulls fast breaks and stupid fouls. Andrea Bargnani, in the span of a few minutes, had 3 offensive fouls. Iman Shumpert also got in three fouls. 13 first half turnovers is normally a death knell, but the Bulls lack of offensive weapons allowed New York to remain close even with just 33 points in 24 minutes.

BARGNANI SHOWS LIFE: After having an abysmal first half, Bargnani came to life in the second hitting multiple jumpers. This was crucial in helping to spread the floor. If the Knicks hope to do any serious damage, Bargnani has to keep hitting those shots.

CHANDLER ON FIRE: Tyson Chandler had an excellent game with 7 points, 19 rebounds, and 4 blocks. He gave our team numerous chances late to pull away, but our offense failed his effort. If he can stay healthy and keep up this intensity, the team will be in good shape. Problem is, the man needs help down low, and Amar’e and Bargnani aren’t the answer.

Some have harped on the missed free throw, but I can’t disparage the man’s performance last night. That free throw was not the sole reason we lost the game — lack of offensive execution in the last two minutes is what did us in.

STAR SLUMP: Neither of the stars of this game, Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose, shot the ball particularly well. Melo went 8-24 (22 points) while Rose shot 7-23 (18 points). But with Rose, all that is forgiven in light on his game-winner. Melo said he got the look he wanted, but I’m not a fan of long jumpshots to win games. Yes, he can hit them (and has), but a quick drive and pull-up was a better percentage shot. Using Rose as an example, he was able to get close to the paint in the same amount of time for his shot. Of couse, Melo isn’t as quick, but he could have got to the to the free throw line at least.

COMEBACK AND LATE EXECUTION: With a little less than 8 minutes remaining, the Knicks were down 66-76. Tim Hardaway Jr. ignited a 12-0 run starting with a three-pointer. Felton hit a three, Melo connected with a short jumper, and a Shumpert offensive reobund and putback dunk put the Knicks in front.

From there it all went bad, as the Knicks offense degraded into Melo isolations. This wasn’t the plan, but Felton’s pick n’ roll attempts were turned back by Chicago as well as the screen attempts. Several possessions that could have given the Knicks breathing room ended with the ball being dumped to Carmelo with less than 8 seconds on the shot clock.

NO PANIC: The loss sucks, but help is coming. JR Smith has three games left on his suspension, and Hardaway Jr. is making a great case to keep up his playing time. The team has the weapons and I’m confident we’ll see a dynamic aquad by mid-season barring injuries.

[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.

[Poll] Charlotte or Phoenix – Which JR Smith Game Winner Was Better?


JR Smith has activated his “clutch gene” this year courtesy of two dramatic game-winners over the Charlotte Bobcats and Phoenix Suns within the last month. Both shots were made under pressure from tight defense, but which jumper was the better shot? Personally, I give the Charlotte one more style points because of JR’s smug pose afterward while being mobbed by his team mates. But when you look at the difficulty of the Phoenix shot coupled with just a second left and the need for Jason Kidd to deliver a perfect pass, I’m going with JR’s dagger to the Suns. What really made both shots great was the Knicks fans being deep on the road and making the reactions look like Madison Square Garden.

Felton and Melo Are Out… JR Isn’t: Swish Hits Another Game-Winner In Phoenix


With Christmas being a disappointment courtesy of the Lakers, yesterday evening’s game against the Phoenix Suns was supposed to be an easy bounce back game. We had already bested them by a comfortable margin earlier in the season. That meant nothing as the Suns played inspired ball behind Jared Dudley, who dropped a career-high 36 points. But in the end, it was key defensive stops and timely buckets that lifted this depleted Knicks squad to a much-needed road win.

JR SMITH DOES IT AGAIN: Not only did JR hit the game-winner with just a second left, but the man from St. Benedict’s Prep also hit a contested circus shot the possession before to tie the game. If the latter shot doesn’t go in, we lose this game. Smith never lost his confidence despite bad shooting early in the game. Coach Woodson knew our chances of winning hinged on Smith breaking out at some point and that’s exactly what happened. Smith was also great on defensive with key fourth quarter steals and deflections. His stat line was awesome with 27 points, 5 assists, 5 steals and 6 rebounds off the bench. JR showed a bit of his nasty side too in taking out Goran Drajic.

JASON KIDD REMAINS YOUNG AT HEART: J-Kidd is our glue and proved it again last night with a phenomenal game on both ends of the floor. He mixed up his attack with three pointers (5-8) and driving to the basket. His 23 points were sorely needed, but his biggest contribution was on the defensive end during the last possession for the Suns with the game tied at 97. Kidd caused a deflection which lead to Telfair stepped out-of-bounds And with the game on the line, Kidd delivered a perfect inbounds pass to Smith and the rest is history.

CHANDLER AND CAMBY DELIVER THE 1-2 PUNCH: Candler shook of his bad Christmas game with an excellent effort (14 points, 12 rebounds, 2 blocks and just 2 fouls). Our rebounding normally goes in the trash can when Tyson sits, but Camby showed why he’s another invaluable pickup, notching 9 rebounds (4 offensive) in just 13 minutes! Camby is still rusty in regards to finishing around the rim and passing, but his defensive presence and rebounding is all we need from him right now. And lo and behold, with Camby playing well the Knicks win the rebounding battle 41-38.

BAD DEFENSE WE CAN LIVE WITH: Yes, seeing Jared Dudley drop 36 was annoying, but with several backups having to give heavy minutes with our injuries, we’ll have to live with it. Copeland got burned a few times with pump fakes, but he also made key buckets with his 14 points. With Steve Novak still struggling, another scorer was key to spreading the floor and Copeland was it.

While I’m not a fan of these down to the wire games against lowly competition, they serve as great confidence builders for our bench and can only help with poise when the playoffs come. Don’t get content, Miami. NY is still right on your heels in the standings.