The Bleeding Stops — Knicks Outlast Sixers 93-99, End Four Game Skid


A win! It’s been a long time, 2 weeks actually, since the Knicks had notched a victory. While the ship wasn’t completely righted with this W, the Knicks showed signs of life in the areas of ball movement and getting timely defensive stops.

MELO FEASTS AT THE LINE: One of the indicators that the offense is stagnant is when you see Melo shooting 20-plus shots. Tonight, he took 18 shots but was masterful in drawing fouls and getting easy points at the line. He had a season high in free throws (16) and for the first time this year had more points there than from the field (13).

STAT UNSTOPPABLE: After a passive first quarter where he wasn’t looking for his shot, Stat came alive at the start of the second with back to back tip-ins. From there the man couldn’t miss, banking long-range jumpers and punishing Philly in the post. In the end it was fouls (5 by mid-fourth quarter) that muzzled him. Nonetheless, the damage had already be done to the tune of 22 points on 9-10 shooting and 4-6 at the line coupled with 5 rebounds.

THE TURNER AND HOLIDAY SHOW: On Philly’s end, the offense was anchored by Jrue Holiday (30 points) and Evan Turner (21 points). They did the majority of their damage in the second half and had to play from the behind. On the bright side, these two at least are highly talented as opposed to the unheralded players that had been lighting the Knicks up in recent weeks.

KENYON MARTIN ALREADY RUBBING OFF ON THE KNICKS?: Looks like that old Denver “Thuggets” mentality is creeping into the Knicks. In the third quarter, Melo took exception to a Spencer Hawes box out and promptly slapped the bigger man in the back of the head. Hawes immediately got in Melo’s face only to be shoved hard by Tyson Chandler, earning our All-Star center a technical and a very appreciative chant from the Madison Square Garden faithful. Melo got a flagrant 1 out of it, but it was great to see our team not only playing well, but showing a legit “take no shit” attitude instead of the bitchiness and ref whining we’ve seen over the losing streak.

Speaking of Martin, he didn’t get any playing time tonight (Woodson didn’t want to play him off one practice). From the problems the Knicks had with pushing back guard penetration in the paint with Holiday and Turner with Chandler off the floor, you can’t help but be hopeful that Martin will be able to quell some that defensive bleeding.

FELTON PICKS UP THE BACKCOURT SLACK: Jason Kidd was abysmal again, scoring just three points on 1-7 shooting (0-6 from downtown). It wasn’t a killer as it’s been in recent games since Raymond Felton was aggressive in attacking the rim and scored 14 points.

A FOURTH QUARTER THAT WOULD NEVER END: The Sixers just refused to go away. The lead hovered around 12-13 points before the Sixers chipped it down to eight. Luckily, JR Smith’s three-point silder was high and he drained several treys to keep the Sixers at arm’s length. In addition, Smith forced a turnover late on Turner. The Sixers got as close as 98-93 with a little over a minute remaining before Jason Kidd’s free throws sealed it.

With this win, the Knicks take the season series over the Sixers 3-1.

New York makes another national TV appearance on ESPN this coming Wednesday (February 27) against the Warriors.


Ran Off the Court: Sixers Rout Knicks 97-80


The hell with this game. That was my thoughts just a few minutes into the third quarter when the Sixers extended their lead to 20-plus and it became obvious the Knicks had completely phoned it in. How bad was it? Melo, Shumpert and JR shot a combined 9-42. The team well into the third was shooting 32%. The lane was wide open for any Sixer player that wanted an easy bucket *stares at Tyson Chandler*. Jrue Holiday abused a returning Raymond Felton (and anyone else that tried to guard him, for that matter), to the tune of 35 points.

The sole bright spot for the Knicks was Amar’e Stoudemire got going for his first 20 point game and played decent defense. Other than that, the Knicks are lucky that the Bulls and Nets also dropped games allowing NY to keep their tenuous #2 spot in the East.

All in all, it was an absolutely disgraceful night of basketball. The Knicks better had redemption on the mind today when they face the Hawks on ESPN.

JR for 3… Swish! Knicks Make Easy Work of Sixers 100-84

MADISON SQUARE GARDEN, NEW YORK CITY –After the high that was Friday’s beatdown of the NBA champion Miami Heat, there were a few select detractors amongst the media (this pathetic ESPN article by Ian Connor being the main culprit), that the Knicks big win was simply an aberration at best and at worst an indication of “fool’s gold.” Today’s matinée against the Sixers proved the Knicks are indeed a team with renewed focus, as they’ve improved on shot efficiency while maintaining excellent defense in a 100-84 win.

The Knicks opened up with good outside shooting again spurred by excellent ball movement. In what is hopefully a continued trend, Carmelo Anthony was tenacious on defense and got a standing ovation from the MSG faithful for a Charles Oakley-like dive into the stands. Outside of a few forced alley oops that lead to turnovers, the Knicks stayed strong and lead after one 31-25.

The bench, lead by Jason Kidd and JR Smith, had strong performances throughout the second. An out-of-bounds bassline pass from Kidd to Smith lead to a 3 pointer that ballooned the lead to 10, and Melo continued having a field day at the expense of Thaddeus Young, freezing him with a vintage spin move for a three-point play opportunity. Our 35-year-old guard Pablo Prigioni was productive as well in drawing charges on Nick Young and getting a steal that lead to a Novak trey. At halftime, the Knicks were sitting on a 57-44 lead after holding Philly to just 19 points in the second quarter.

The third was not as fluid; the offense started to stall badly around the eight-minute mark. Luckily, JR Smith was the spark with a few bailout jumpers on 4-7 shooting to keep the lead at 9. Nonetheless, Philly had some encouragement on the lights out 3 point shooting from Jrue Holiday (who went 5-6 and finished with 27 points).

A few more Smith 3s off steals from Prigioni and Kidd would help seal the deal in the fourth. In addition, Melo’s post game couldn’t be handled by the Bynum-less Sixers (Thaddeus Young fouled trying to keep up with Melo). And in a final “victory cigar” for us Knick fans, Chris Copeland got his first NBA points and Rasheed Wallace hit a nice post-up hook shot.

The final stat lines were great across the board. On defense, the Knicks forced 18 turnovers, had 12 steals and 5 blocks. On offense, the Knicks shot 50% from the field (39-77) and 40% from downtown (11-27). And our star Melo was able to drop 27 on 10-18 shooting.  Consider that against the Heat, he went for 30 but needed 10 more shots to do it. JR Smith was great in dropping 20 points, grabbing 9 boards and 2 steals. 18 years into his career, Jason Kidd continues to show was he can be invaluable to any team. His stat line for today was 12 points, 6 assists, and 2 steals.

Unfortunately, we won’t have long to celebrate as tomorrow night the Knicks head to the Wells Fargo Arena (MSG West) for their first back to back of the season. This is the epitome of a “trap game” as the Sixers will be highly motivated to get revenge on their home floor after getting worked today. But with Bynum still out and now Jason Richardson likely gone with that ankle injury, the Knicks had a very good chance of starting this season 3-0 since God knows when.

Until tomorrow night, Knicks fans…