Brandon Jennings, Kindly STFU – Knicks Ride 3rd Quarter Blitz & Melo’s 41, Down Bucks 101-83


40 years ago, the New York Knicks were the NBA champions. The names of those players still ring out heavy among Knick fans: Walt “Clyde” Frazier, Dick Barnett, Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, Phil Jackson, Willis Reed, Hawthrone Wingo, Bill Bradley and the late Dave DeBusschere. Tonight, most of that team made it out to the Garden to be honored by a very appreciative Madison Square Garden crowd. The only thing needed to cap a beautiful evening was the Knicks extending their winning streak to 11. There were some bumps in the road, or better yet, bumps over the entire first half, but the current Knicks delivered on their end and then some…

UGLY FIRST HALF: The Knicks played their worst basketball of this winning streak in the first 24 minutes against the Bucks. The Knicks could literally not hit anything, including wide open shots. Most of their three point attempts were uncontested and they still went an atrocious 1-12. Meanwhile, the Bucks went 7-14, anchored by a hot second quarter from J.J. Redick, who sunk four in the quarter to help propel him to 13 points.

With the shots not going down, the offense degraded to predictable post isolations for Melo. Unfortunately, Melo had problems holding onto the ball (5 turnovers) and finishing over Bucks’s big frontcourt, lead by the league’s top shot-blocker in Larry Sanders.

Having shot 34% from the field and down 36-45 at halftime, the only bright spot for the Knicks was that there was no way they could play that horribly over the next 24 minutes.

BRANDON JENNINGS GETS HIS DUE KARMA: The Knicks came out strong in the third and quickly got the deficit to two before making some blunders on Brandon Jennings, who made a four-point swing by turning a missed free throw into a foul and three-point play. Jennings would hit a three later to push the Bucks lead to nine. As usual for him, Jennings was feeling himself way before the game was decided, and shot a smug glare at the Garden faithful.

Wrong move, especially on this night.

The Knicks promptly broke the game open on an absurd 25-2 run, which saw them at one point score 16 straight points. Remember those three-pointers that wouldn’t go down in the first half? JR Smith hit three of them in quarter. Felton added one for three of his nine points in the quarter. Melo had two three-points plays, treys and assorted jumpers for a blistering 18 points in 12 minutes.

What was the icing on the cake to this 42-21 third quarter? On a late Jennings drive, he was smacked right in the face by Tyson Chandler and laid out to no call. While he languished on the floor holding his face, his defensive assignment in Raymond Felton drained a three-pointer. When Jennings tried to hold for the final shot, Felton was all over him and made sure he was denied the ball (causing Brandon to have a short tantrum much to the delight of the crowd).

And for the final cap to the Knicks’s highest scoring quarter of the season, Jason Kidd heaved a three from the opposite three-point line behind halfcourt. The result was a banked-in shot and a 78-66 lead going into the fourth.


MELO EQUALS HIS IDOL: Although the Bucks hung around for most of the fourth and got as close at six, you never got the feeling the Knicks were in trouble with Melo on the floor. The Bucks got three-point happy, and Melo coolly closed the game out on them with back to back long jumpers to put the Knicks up 91-81. From there, Melo was sitting on 38 points and the crowd gave him a standing ovation and “MVP!” chants, hoping he could hit 40 again.

He did it easily on a pull-up three-pointer to push the lead at 96-81.

With his 41 points tonight, Melo equals his idol Bernard King as the only Knick to score 40 points in three straight games. Not only is this Melo eighth 40-plus game this season (the most in the NBA), he’s the first player in 28 years to have 3 straight 40 point games while shooting over 60% from the field.

And finally, let’s not forget another great stat for Melo — 14 rebounds.

CHANDLER SLOWLY COMING BACK: Tyson is far from his usual self yet, but he did well on the rebounding front (10) and like the rest of the team woke up on offense in the second half. With Kenyon Martin resting, it was important Chandler do well on the boards and he stepped up to the challenge.

JR SWISH: This man was key in that 3rd quarter barrage as he couldn’t miss from three. He turned into the old chucking JR for a bit in the fourth, but I couldn’t blame him with how he had been shooting. And more importantly, he kept his head on defense. Off the bench JR gave us 30 points (11/22 shooting) and 10 rebounds.

THE LEGENDS GET A PROPER HOMECOMING:  With the 1973 championship team in the house, the Garden wanted a fun win and that’s exactly what they got. I’m sure they imparted some team wisdom to the current Knicks that they’ll hopefully take with them into the playoffs.

Now at 11 straight wins, the streak faces its biggest danger on Sunday when the Knicks meet the Thunder.


[Video] One for History: Melo Sets Knicks Record in 113-97 Win Over Magic


We started slow but ended strong at Madison Square Garden last night as the New York Knicks notched their third win over the Orlando Magic this season. Our prolific scoring leader Carmelo Anthony had a “quiet” scoring night by his standards with 20 points, but it was enough to put him alone in Knicks history with 30 consecutive games of 20 points or better, surpassing Richie Guerin’s 51 year record. With the rough month that’s been January, the Knicks showed improvements in crucial areas in the second half that will hopefully translate into additional easy wins during a favorable February schedule. Onto the game’s notable points.


MAGIC GUARDS ON FIRE: Once again, poor Raymond Felton found himself getting lit up by the opposing team’s point guard. Jameer Nelson went at Felton from the outset and got deep into the lane at will (19 points in the first half). Iman Shumpert fared no better in attempting to guard J.J. Redick, who drained numerous three-pointers for a 17 point first half.

Coach Woodson was irate at the defense which had the Magic shooting 63% at one point and the Magic guards accounting for 46  of the 51 first half points. Thankfully, the Knicks shooting was equally as hot with guys like Shumpert hitting their own threes and Tyson Chandler establishing his offense down low, which keep the game even after the first (31 all) and second (51 all) quarters.


PRIGIONI LEADS CHARGE: Pablo Prigioni once again provided a huge spark off the bench. He was aggressive looking for his shot (11 points, 9 from downtown), which forced the guards to stay with him on pick n’ rolls and allowed Amar’e Stoudemire to feat at the rim.


FRONTCOURT EFFICIENCY: We’re finally starting to see how devastating our Big Three frontcourt of Melo, Stat and Tyson can be. The trio shot a combined 25-35 from the field for 55 points, nabbed 18 rebounds (7 offensive), 11 assists and 3 blocks. Stat in particular went 7-7 (14 points) from the field and Chandler (21 points) really opened up the offense by driving to the basket and even shooting a jumper. And with the additional offense, Melo was able to be much more efficient and ease back on the Iso ball.



DEFENSE STILL WINS GAMES: Even with the offense flowing in the second half, it was the defense that closed this one out. Jameer Nelson finished with 21 points but only 2 came in the second half. Redick had a game-high 29 points, but found it much more difficult to get open down the stretch. The Magic would end up shooting 46% compared to the Knicks 57%.


NOVAK FINDS HIS SHOT: Steve Novak had been in a bad shooting slump the last few games and finally opened up, albeit mostly in garbage time. Novah had 8 points but nailed two long three-pointers which we can only hope will get him going.


MELO NEW RECORD: Richie Guerin set the Knicks record of 29 straight games of 20 points or better back in the 1961-1962 season. Melo’s 20 points last night was his 30th to set the new mark, much to the happiness of the the now 80 year old Guerin, retired in Florida.


The Knicks will look to hold off our Friday night curse when we face the Bucks at home tomorrow.







Defense for 2 Quarters? Melo Drops 40 to Rally Knicks Past the Magic 114-106


After a dominant, defense-heavy win over the San Antonio Spurs last game, most of us were hoping a light bulb had gone off for the Knicks in realizing their defense has to be like that every game. At the very least, we hoped the defense wouldn’t go to shit in the very next game.

That’s exactly what happened in the opening quarter last night against the lowly Orlando Magic, who blitzed the Knicks for a 36-point first quarter and replicated another 30 point-plus quarter after the half to go into the final quarter with an eight point lead. But luckily for us, NY has this MVP candidate on the squad you may have heard of… Carmelo Anthony.

It wasn’t pretty at times, but Melo’s 40 points (16 in the fourth) was a joy to watch. Onto the game’s notable points.


WE’LL HAVE TO LIVE WITH OPPOSING GUARDS GOING OFF (FOR NOW): Face it, Knicks fans. We’ll have to live with the fact that any team with quick point guards are going to give us fits until Raymond Felton and Iman Shumpert make it back. Jameer Nelson lit up Jason Kidd in the first quarter last night for 12 points. Kidd couldn’t keep up on screens or when Nelson drove to the basket. Pablo Prigioni did marginally better, but it was a recurring problem in the first and third quarters.


ONLY DEFENSE FOR 2 QUARTERS, BUT IT WAS DAMN GOOD DEFENSE: The Knicks again played hard defense when they wanted to. But when they did, the team had phenomenal results. After giving up 36 points in the first, the Knicks held the Magic to just 19 points in the second while scoring 32. The offense was spurned on by a aggressive Carmelo Anthony, who came in at the 9 minute mark and was able to draw a third foul on Vucevic. This helped to open up the lane and the rebounding for the Knicks. JR Smith took full advantage, earning three-point plays at the rim and driving at will. Aside for some late defensive lapses in the second that lead to JJ Redick hitting a three to pull the Magic within 2, the Knicks played strong to take a four-point lead, 59-55, at halftime.

The Knicks started the third strong but inexpicably fell apart halfway through. This coincided with Nelson, and Arron Affalo for that matter, getting hot from mid and long-range. A coast to coast Nelson drive off a jump ball gave the Magic the lead for the quarter, and he added further damage with three pointers. Affalo got in his own and even a four-point play earlier in the quarter to give the Magic a nice 87-79 lead going into the fourth.

The Knicks woke up again and held the Magic to just 17 points. NY somewhat got a break in the Magic waiting a little too long to put Nelson back in, but even then the defense was stifling. With the game on the line, we had the ultimate closer in Melo and the Magic had no one.


JOSH MCROBERTS ON MELO?: Poor Josh McRoberts probably woke up this morning in a cold sweat and shivering from the lingering effects of that torching he received from Melo in the fourth. Melo was literally toying with him: exaggerated dribbling, holding the ball to the end of the shot clock, and chuckling repeatedly after every bucket. Vucevic got some abuse too when he had to guard Melo on switches. Melo pretty much lived in the post with short jumpers and the Magic had no answers. A double team late in the quarter led to an open Kidd three-pointer which served as the dagger in putting them up 111-1104.


MELO’s DEFENSE: Lost in Melo’s 40 point performance was his great defense on JJ Redick in the fourth. It seemed like a crazy move to have Melo chasing Redick on screens, but he stayed with him most of the time. Redick is a rhythm shooter and you could see he never felt comfortable shooting over Melo. He had several possible game-changing three-pointers that bricked and finished the game shooting 3-10.


CAMBY LIMITED AND RIGHTLY SO: The Spurs game had a lot of people saying Marcus Camby in our starting lineup was the solution to our defensive woes. Well, Camby had 2 points, 1 rebound and 0 blocks yesterday. The lineup needs to be adjusted to the competition and that was proven in spades last night. The most promising thing I liked about Camby’s time was his passing out of the high post. His teammates fumbled some of them (including Melo on what looked to be an easy alley oop) and hopefully that improves in the coming weeks.


STAT TRYING HARD: It was rough watching Amar’e Stoudemire. On the positive end, he was getting to the rim easily on pick and rolls and his first step. But once he got there, he couldn’t finish for anything — either his shot got swatted or rimmed out. You could see it was bothering him and Melo had some encouraging words. I liked that the team kept going to him even with the repeated misses. He started the fourth good with a three-point play and a open dunk, so that’s promising. The defense is still shaky, but 11 points and 4 rebounds in 17 minutes is solid.
JR, TYSON AND KIDD: JR Smith couldn’t extend his 20 point game streak to six, but his 18 points, 6 rebounds and 2 steals were very important. If he didn’t get his fifth foul early in the fourth, I’m sure he would have been even more aggressive. Kidd did get lit up for 29 points from Nelson, but he dropped 15 points, going 5-8 from downtown. Chandler couldn’t keep Vucevic off the boards (18 rebounds), but he contributed another strong double double with 14 points and 12 rebounds, going 6-6 from the field. And all three were very strong defensively in the closing fourth quarter.

I want the team to get all the rest they need because we have the division rival Celtics next, who are currently on a two-game winning streak and looking to pick things up to get back into the playoff picture.