Knicks Trade Pablo Prigioni to Rockets for Alexey Shved

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While other NBA teams are mulling over franchise-altering trades, the New York Knicks made a low-key deal at the trade deadline in moving veteran point guard Pablo Prigioni to the Houston Rockets for Alexey Shved and two second round draft picks.

The 37-year-old Prigioni spent 3 seasons in New York, averaging 4 points, 3 assists and 1 steal in 18 minutes. From the field, Prigioni shot 44% (41% from three).

The 26-year-old Shved was acquired by Houston from Philadelphia earlier this year. In 9 games with the Rockets, he’s averaged 3.2 points, 0.3 assists and 0.4 rebounds in 6.6 minutes per game. For the season, the Russian point guard is averaging 7.6 points, 1.9 assists, and 1 rebound on 39% shooting.

Before the All-Star break, Prigioni had not played in eight of the last 12 games, fueling rumors he was on the trade block.

Prigioni  will be joining a play-off bound Rockets team that is currently fourth in the Western Conference with a 36-17 record.

 

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No more sneaky steals and spot-up three-point shooting in NY. Prigioni will be missed, but this is yet another move that benefits both parties. The Knicks get another young point guard to try to mold, and Prigioni gets to join a contender where his sticky hands and floor leadership will be well-served in spot minutes.

Shved is a 6’6 point guard and I’m sure we can put that to good use. His recent teams have given up on his potential, so hopefully he views this as a “last shot” of sorts to show he’s a valuable player.

A toast to Prigioni.

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[Video] Get This Man Some Help! Melo’s 42 Ends Knicks 3-Game Skid, Beat Pelicans 98-91

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We actually won a close game! When Raymond Felton (SMH) hit the deck and allowed Tyreke Evans to put the Pelicans ahead (91-90) with roughly 2:00 remaining, the game was ready to become a replay of Tuesday’s defeat to the Grizzlies. Instead, Carmelo Anthony put forth a Herculean effort, punctuated by 42 points (13 points in the fourth), to will the Knicks to much-needed victory. But as usual, it was the game the Knicks made harder than it needed to be.

STARTING LINEUP DISAPPOINTMENTS: Outside of Melo, no one in last night’s starting lineup (Shumpert, Chandler, Felton, Prigioni) managed to score in double figures. Shump was 1-6 (4 points) before leaving the game in the second with a left ACL sprain. Felton was 1-8 (5 points), while Chandler managed 4 points and Prigioni 6. With that type of production, it’s a wonder Melo didn’t gas out again in the fourth as we’ve seen in recent games. Whether you like Melo’s game or not, it’s clear to everyone watching Knicks game that he’s the main reason this beleagured squad still has a chance of making the playoffs.

BENCH GUNNERS: JR Smith (19 points) and Tim Hardaway (16 points) stepped up big time to keep the team afloat. They were essential in getting the Knicks the lead in the second, and pushing it to double digits in the third quarter.

4TH QUARTER COLLAPSE AVERTED: The Pelicans ripped off an 11-0 run to take a 83-81 lead with 7:25 left. From there, the game became a seesaw battle for several plays. Coach Woodson re-inserted Tyson Chandler, who had some key rebounds (11 for the game) but also a few blunders. The worst was turning his back on the ball, which allowed Prigioni’s man to burn him for an easy layup and put the Pelicans back up 89-88 with 3:50.

Luckily for us, Melo went into God mode for the remaining minutes. With the towering Anthony Davis in his face, Melo recovered from a block and knocked down a jumper. On their next possession, Chandler keep a baseline loose ball alive that allowed Melo to hit a layup to make it 94-91. With Davis again all over him, Melo drove for a stop and pop jumper to push the lead to 94-91. To put the nail in the coffin, Melo got a steal and then hit another stop and pop jumper (this time over an inspired Luke Babbitt) to make it 98-91.

It’s a shame Melo has to run himself into the ground every game just to barely pull out wins. Unfortunately, the Knicks have no choice but to ride the man’s talent in hopes of securing a playoff berth.

OTHER INJURIES: Amar’e Stoudemire sat this one out and Kenyon Martin is also nursing nagging injuries.

Blazers Hold Off Knicks at MSG, 94-90

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We can’t say we didn’t have our chances in this one. Despite the uneven defense and streaky offense, the Knicks were down by just two points (89-87) with 1:30 left following back to back treys from JR Smith and Tim Hardaway Jr. But an inability to get stops resulted in New York dropping their third straight game and now sitting at the 10th spot in the East with no relief in sight.

BENCH OUTPLAYS THE STARTERS: Our bench took full advantage of the Blazers’ weak second unit, dropping a total of 50 poitns with several guys hitting double figures: Stoudemire (15 points), Hardaway (12 points), and JR (18 points). Outside of Melo (26 points) and Prigioni (5 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists), our starters just didn’t get it done. Shumpert was held scoreless while Chandler botched several layups and only managed 2 points in 31 minutes. Raymond Felton wasn’t as horrible as he had been against the Bucks, adding 7 points and 3 assists in 21 minutes.

JR lead a great second quarter surge, utilizing dribble penetration to feed Stoudemire and Jeremy Tyler for several big slams. The defensive intensity picked and was a key reason the Knicks were down just one point (46-47) at halftime despite a late 9-0 Blazers run.

MELO GASSES OUT: Melo had a hot start, dropping 14 points on 6/7 shooting in the first quarter. He was also active on the defensive end, getting a big block on Wesley Matthews that lead to a fast break dunk. And even in the third with the Blazers threatening to pull away, Melo dropped 11 points to keep NY in it. Unfortunately, all that expended energy left him weakened in the fourth when his offense was needed most. He missed all four of his shots while the Blazers executed just enough to squeak by.

For Melo, it must have been an eye-opener to see how a complete team like the Blazers picks up the slack when their star is having a bad night. LaMarcus Aldridge shot just 5/17 from the field (15 points), but his struggles were negated by big contributions from Nicolas Batum (20 points), Wesley Matthews (18 points), and defensively from Robin Lopez (3 blocks). Melo got no such help from his starting crew.

MORE THAN ENOUGH CHANCES: Melo and Hardaway had multiple chances in the fourth to swing the momentum in NY’s favor. Each missed open shots and with every one, you could see the confidence in winning deflate from the team. Aldridge’s fadeaway over Chandler with 35 seconds left took the remaining fight out of the team.

Friday Night Knicks is in effect tomorrow with NY hosting the Denver Nuggets.

[Videos] Backcourt, Where Art Ye? — Celtics 90, Knicks 86

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BOSTON, MA —  Considering it was “Friday Night Knicks” AND Friday the 13th, another ridiculous and painful loss should have been expected. After a masterful third quarter filled with excellent ball movement with our frontcourt of Melo (26 points), Bargnani (22 points) and Stoudemire (18 points) carrying the scoring load behind nice pick n’ rolls and sweet passes from the likes of Pablo Prigioni, it all went to hell in the fourth with ice-cold shooting, broken plays, and a fatigued Melo trying to bail the team out with seconds remaining on the shot clock (he couldn’t). As you can deduce from the title, the bulk of this defeat falls on our backcourt and the coaching rotations of Coach Woodson.

BACKCOURT INEPTITUDE: Let’s get started with the reason the game was lost. Our guards shot a combined 3-20. Prigioni was 1-6 (although he did contribute 8 assists), Iman Shumpert 1-8 (including several airballs), and JR Smith went 0-1 despite playing 26 minutes and the entire fourth quarter (he sheepishly said afterward he was trying to get his teammates involved). There’s no way a team can win getting that little from their guard rotations.

The main issue that stood out is when the defense tightens, none of our guards can break down their man and get to the rim. This leads to a lot of passing on the perimeter that fails to set up the plays and leaves Melo, the only player that can consistently take his man one on one, being left to try to make something happen (many times 20 feet away from the basket). Secondly, our backcourt can’t keep anyone in front of them, putting a lot of pressure on a frontcourt that isn’t the most savvy defensively with Chandler still out.

4TH QUARTER CHOKE: The Knicks had a 73-68 going into the quarter but had to go at it without Kenyon Martin , who left the game limping with an abdominal strain. That hurt on the defensive end because K-Mart was having a strong game altering lay-ups and snatching down rebounds (8 points, 7 rebounds). Our defensive rotations got sloppy and the Celtics went on a 13-2 run to tie it at 81. A Melo drive for a three-point play would give NY their last lead to 84-81. Open back to back threes from Courtney Lee (18 points) and Avery Bradley (13 points) put the Celtics up for good 86-84. New York had their opportunities — Bargnani had a few open mid-range jumpers that bricked, and Melo’s pass out of a double team for an open JR Smith three could have put the Knicks back in front. The team could only manage 13 points in the quarter and were outscored 22-13.

STAT POSITIVITY: Amar’e Stoudemire continued his excellent offensive play, shooting 7-9 (18 points) and nabbing 5 rebounds. Once again, he seemed to be phased out for much of the 4th despite hitting a bailout jumper to put the Knicks up 81-78. We’ll all continue to be skeptical in wondering if his knees hold up, but so far he’s looking spry and strong in the post. As a precaution, he’ll likely sit today’s game against the Atlanta Hawks.

MORE HOPE ON THE HORIZON: From comments yesterday, it appears that Tyson Chandler will return this coming week. That won’t fix everything, but at least the interior defense and rebounding will get a boost.

The Knicks are back at the Garden tonight to face the Hawks at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Knicks Blow 25-pt Lead, Hold Off Bucks 90-83

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The Knicks got a lesson on the importance of closing out teams last night as they ended up in a seesaw battle in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter in fighting off the Bucks to a 90-83 victory.

After a first half which saw the Knicks dominate defensively (forcing 16 turnovers) for a 56-31 lead (punctuated by a 32-13 second quarter), New York would only score 34 points in the second half while giving up an astounding 33 points in the third quarter! It would have been great for the starters to rest considering the Bulls await them tonight, but this dogfight may just be what the team needed.

STRONG BACKCOURT: Coach Woodson went with the 2 point guard backcourt of Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni. The Knicks caught a big break when Bucks guard Brandon Knight left the game two minutes in with a strained hamstring. Luke Ridnour also didn’t play, ensuring the Bucks offense would be stalled in parts without their point guards. Felton executed several excellent fast breaks off steals and had his jumper working to the tune of 18 points. There was a brief scare with him having to leave the game due to a strained hamstring, but he worked through it.

Prigioni was his usual pest on defense, notching 3 steals and keeping the ball moving with 5 assists. Iman Shumpert started slow (0-3), but began showing the range and even finishing at the rim (a problem for him last year). Shump ended up with 16 points.

FLAT THIRD QUARTER: The Knicks came out very weak. This was an issue last season where the guys just seemed to get unfocused on their rotations. Before you knew the it, the lead went from 18 to 11 to single digits. The stupid fouls contributed to the Bucks getting easy baskets as well. Melo looked to get teammates involved, but several wide-open jumpers were missed and the Bucks continued to surge.

4TH QUARTER SCARE AWAKENS MELO AND CHANDLER: Caron Butler had a solid game for the Bucks (14 points) and managed to tie it with 4:30 remaining off a three-pointer. Milwaukee even took the lead off a John Henson free throw (81-80). From there, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler were the catalyst for a game-sealing 10-2 run. Prigioni got a steal for a fast break, leading to Melo missing a layup and Chandler putting home a putback dunk. Melo then scored on his next two plays, a tip-in and a post-move, to make it 86-81. Another Chandler dunk made it 88-81 and effectively iced the game. Melo finished with a solid double-double of 19 points (7-16) and 10 rebounds. Chandler added 6 points, 10 rebounds and 5 blocked shots.

BARGNANI BOOED: Based on this game, the New York faithful won’t have much patience with Andre Bargnani this season. He struggled with his shot and defense for most of the game and finished with 6 points (3-9 shooting) and 2 rebounds off the bench. He was unsure of himself and that’s one thing NY doesn’t tolerate. To be fair, he’s still learning the offense and I’m willing to wait 25 games before pulling out the pitchforks.

BETTER EFFORT NEEDED AGAINST CHICAGO: The Bulls smacked around the Knicks every game last year. NY will have to be much better tonight if they hope to get a win, as Chicago is having their season-opener with Derrick Rose returning. We’ll see how the lineup tweaks work with Amar’e Stoudemire getting burn tonight. Game starts at 8 p.m. ET on TNT.

GAME HIGHLIGHTS

[Video] New York Knicks: The Top 100 Plays of the 2012-2013 Season

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The 2012-2013 season is at an end for the New York Knicks. But that doesn’t mean you can’t relive all the great moments from the last seven months that returned the Knicks to prominence. From our team captains (Melo, Chandler, Stat) to our tough role players, you’ll see plays you vividly remember (like J-Kidd’s four-play against Brooklyn), to others just as spectacular, but forgotten over the course of the year (like Novak and JR smashing on the Spurs). Even if you’re still down about the second round playoff exit, these highlights will undoubtedly bring a smile to your face.

Much respect goes to www.obglobal.net for taking that time to put together this awesome collection. Go there to register and talk Knicks all throughout the off-season.

100-90

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89-80

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79-70

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69-60

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59-50

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49-40

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39-30

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29-20

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19-11

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TOP 10

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Happy Easter, Boston! Knicks Dominate Celtics 108-89, Take Season Series

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2004. That is the last time the Knicks won a season series against the Boston Celtics. Here we are nine years later with the Knicks breaking that drought emphatically with three straight wins (two in Boston) over their Atlantic division rivals to win the season series 3-1 and extend their winning streak to eight. Are the Knicks about to peak heading into April and the playoffs? There’s many reasons from this game to think so.

BLOWN OPEN IN THE SECOND: The Knicks had a 28-23 lead after one solely based on their hot shooting (52% from the field), punctuated by 4 three-pointers. The Celtics were right there with them courtesy of Jeff Green (27 points), who attacked the rim like JR Smith has been doing lately. But when the second quarter came around, the Knicks ran them out the building.

Chris Copeland provided some key offense with Melo on the bench by hitting his first two three-pointers. Steve Novak added a few treys and Jason Kidd added a shot-clock bailout one that extended the lead to 60-44. The three-point shooting was the main factor in the huge lead, as the Knicks hit 11 of them at the half. The ball movement was on point (15 assists for the team), and the scoring was evenly distributed.

You’ll recall the Knicks ran away with the last Celtics game in the second and capped their excellent play with a deep JR trey at the buzzer. Well, Raymond Felton did one better with a beyond half-court floater that banked in to make the lead 65-48. When shots like that are going down, you know you’re in trouble.

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NO THIRD QUARTER MELTDOWN: Over the first 4-5 minutes of the third, the Celtics were the team with momentum. They were getting to the line and hitting threes, which got them as close as 11 on a few occasions. However, the Knicks responded with timely buckets each time, the biggest being a Felton 3-point play that gave Avery Bradley, the Celtics’ best perimeter defender, his fifth foul. NY finished the quarter strong and Boston faced a 86-69 hole headed into the fourth.

BOSTON SUCKS!: These type of Madison Square Garden chants have come back to haunt us in previous games, but not tonight. The chants started at the beginning of the fourth and the Celtics never could provide any reason to shut the Knicks fans up. Paul Pierce had a good night (24 points, 15 rebounds, 5 assists), but sat the entire fourth as coach Doc Rivers knew it was a lost cause.

JR COOLS OFF: JR Smith’s 30 point game, 50% shooting streak ended tonight on a very good note. I say that because we all wondered if JR would go back to his chucking ways when his shots weren’t going down. He was 4/12 from the field, but made sure to get to the line (7/10) and swallow up rebounds (12) on the small ball-minded Celtics. Tonight he faced one of the best defenses in the league and didn’t mentally have a setback, the clearest sign thus far that the “New JR Smith” is here to stay.

PABLO PRIGIONI REMAINS UNDEFEATED: Since Prigioni entered the starting lineup, the Knicks have been on this season-high eight-game win streak. It shouldn’t be surprising as Prigioni expertise in ball movement and steals/deflections have made sure the offense remains diverse with everyone being a scoring threat (except himself, of course). Pablo will get his biggest test on Tuesday against the Heat.

MELO’s 27 MINUTES: Carmelo had under 20 shots tonight (9/19) which is always a plus for the ball movement. The reason he ended up with 24 points instead of 32 is his struggles converting at the rim. A lot of them were point-blank shots that were just rimming out. But like JR, he contributed in other areas, namely in nabbing 10 rebounds. His defense was lazy at times (being late on switches and not contesting Green’s drives to the rim), but these lapses weren’t a huge detriment.

KNICKS SURVIVE THEIR TOUGHEST MONTH OF THE SEASON: How difficult was the month of March? We lost Tyson Chandler, Kurt Thomas and Amar’e Stoudemire to injuries, leaving just two bigs on the team. Melo missed several games with a bum knee and appeared in dire straits at times. Our West Coast trip proved to be a disaster going 1-4, and the Brooklyn Nets at one point were one game out of the top of the Atlantic Division. This winning streak helped the Knicks finish the month 12-6, stay atop the Atlantic by 4.5 games, and remain poised to have a healthy and confident team headed into the playoffs.

We’ve vanquished Boston. Now it’s time to make a statement to Miami and win that season series on Tuesday.

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No Mercy in Beantown — JR Smith Powers Knicks to 100-85 Thrashing of Celtics

Let’s just be quite frank about them. We always want to beat Boston. New York in anything wants to beat Boston and when we do, it’s a great feeling. – Carmelo Anthony

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There are few things sweeter for a Knicks fan than smacking around the Boston Celtics. Both teams have dealt with severe injuries in recent weeks, but it’s been the Knicks that have weathered the storm to nurse a 4-game winning streak heading into tonight. On the other hand, the Celtics were on a 4-game losing streak. With both teams missing their notable defensive bigs in Tyson Chandler and Kevin Garnett, this one was decided by who could dominate the hustle plays.

SLOOOOW START: Being that it took over 2 minutes before anyone scored, this game looked like it could be an ugly one when it came to offensive execution. On the Knicks side, the ball movement was dead with lots of useless perimeter dribbling and Carmelo Anthony isolations. Matters really didn’t start clicking until JR Smith came in. Like the other games on this winning streak, Smith kicked off his night by getting to the rim at will for acrobatic layups. His 10 points off the bench offset Jordan Crawford abusing Jason Kidd in the post for the Knicks to hold a 28-24 lead after 12 minutes.

KNICKS RIDE JR’S HOT HAND: With Melo sitting, the offense had to work solely through JR. With Boston’s solid perimeter defense, Smith wisely kept the outside jumpers to a minimum and kept attacking the basket. At one stretch, he scored 11 straight points to power the Knicks back in front after the Celtics had taken a 33-31 lead behind 7 straight points from Jason Terry.

When the run extended to 14-0, the Celtics attempted to get physical on defense. In years past, this was when they slowly broke the Knicks down and climbed back in it.

Not tonight.

The ball movement picked up and all of sudden Steve Novak was duping Paul Pierec on pump fakes and nailing threes. Pablo Prigioni was wreaking havoc defensively with steals and Melo was shoving the physicality back down Boston’s throat, most notably with a bully ball 3-point play inside (and a war yell added for good measure). By halftime, the Celtics were staring at a 58-44 deficit.

PUSHED BACK IN THE THIRD: The Celtics made a nice 16-9 run to get to within seven (67-60) due to the Knicks forgetting about penetration and settling for jumpshots. That all changed when JR came in around the six-minute mark. He righted the ship by going right back to Boston’s big weakness (lack of shotblocking) with a shot-clock beating short jumper over Brandon Bass. Now Melo’s post-ups were resulting in better perimeter shots (like a timely Jason Kidd trey to extend the lead to 74-62). Kidd had a lot of crucial cleanup plays in the final 3-4 minutes (rebounds, steals, drawing charges) to keep the Knicks in control.

And if the Celtics needed any reminder this wasn’t their night, the below JR heave from way downtown reminded them.

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A FOREGONE CONCLUSION: There was never any real drama in the fourth except how many shots was Melo going to chuck up. Melo went a horrid 10-30 to get his 29 points. To be fair, a few of them were due to not getting calls inside and getting his own rebounds (six on the offensive glass) for second chance scores. Bottom line is the Knicks don’t win tonight without his scoring output, but better efficiency is needed.

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PRIGIONI, KIDD AND K-MART: This trio didn’t have big numbers, but they were highly effective in making sure the Celtics got no momentum throughout the game. Prigioni in particular chose most of his four fouls wisely (stopping fast breaks), had two steals and five assists. Aside from the previously mentioned cleanup plays he made, Kidd even put it on the floor and got a nice driving layup over Avery Bradley. Martin had his quietest stat line of the win streak with 9 points, 5 rebounds and 1 block, but he protected the paint (causing a few blown layups) and set hard screens to get guys open. K-Mart’s toughness is a big reason the rest of the Knicks were emboldened to push back the Celtic attempts to push them around.

There would be no Knick-killing heroics from Paul Pierce tonight, as he had 16 quiet points. Four of Celtic starters got into double figures, but there was no flow to their offense — everything was disjointed and Boston never had a serious chance to get back in this after the middle of the third.  After going winless in Boston for years, it’s an excellent sign to see the Knicks win two straight there as this is a potential playoff matchup. And the final icing on the cake is that this win is the worst loss the Celtics have had at home since 2010.

The Knicks will be right back at it Wednesday night when they face the Memphis Grizzlies, a squad that beat New York up and handed them their first defeat this season. Let’s see how much Martin’s presence makes a difference.

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Knicks Fight, But Falter Down the Stretch to Blazers 105-90

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Well, at least we didn’t get blown out by 20-plus points. The Knicks’s losing streak has extended to three as they remain winless on this five-game West Coast swing. JR Smith urged the team to find their hearts after getting drubbed by the Nuggets on Wednesday. While the team did fight, there were some key bad stretches to put this game out of reach.

IT STARTED OFF WELL: The Knicks came out with lots of energy and ball movement courtesy of an inspired Raymond Felton, who was returning to Portland for the first time and got greeted with boos every time he touched the ball. He penetrated often and Kenyon Martin was the main recipient in notching 8 first quarter points. The isolation plays that did happen were for Chris Copeland, who made sure to take it to the rim. He had 6 points and the Knicks nursed a 30-22 lead after one stanza on 62% shooting.

The big bright spot for the Blazers was Damian Lillard, who had a few three-pointers to keep his team in it. The Knicks’s second unit did a strong job with Pablo Prigioni working the pick and roll to perfection with Marcus Camby, who got about four easy layups inside. In addition, Camby crashed home a putback dunk that had me checking the calender, as it was straight out of his ’99 form.

NO ADJUSTMENTS: Unfortunately for New York, once Portland stepped up their defense and clamped down on the pick and roll, the Knicks offense degraded into shambles. The Knicks led by as much as 13 (41-28), but Portland went on a 8-1 run to get back in it, and then a crushing 13-0 burst to close the quarter and go up 51-48 at halftime.

The Knicks spent way too much time on the perimeter during this stretch and there were costly turnovers. Coach Woodson, for whatever reason, kept Copeland on the bench which hurt our opportunities to score with Steve Novak completely off from three-point land.

3RD QUARTER OFFERS NO RELIEF: Over this losing streak, the Knicks have had at least one quarter where nothing goes right. I have no qualms with anyone picking the second, but for me it was the third. The Blazers outhustled them badly for rebounds and loose balls. There was zero guard penetration for the Knicks and the Blazers reeled off another game-changing run (11-2) while the Knicks’s shooting dipped to 42%. Overall, the Blazers outscored the Knicks 27-14 in the quarter and took a big 78-62 lead into the fourth.

THE LAST STAND:  You can’t say the Knicks didn’t make a go of it. Copeland hit a three followed by two more from JR Smith and a layup that brought the deficit to 80-73. Prigioni’s energy was essential during this climb back — he made two key steals, one of which was converted into another Smith three to bring the Knicks within 4 (80-76) with about seven minutes left.

Prigioni’s decisions weren’t all good — he had a fast break on the first steal but opted to reset on the perimeter with the defense closing in, and had a turnover on a bad pass. But Woodson made a mistake pulling him, since as soon as Felton came back in, Lillard burned him for a three-pointer.

Felton, much like he did in the games against Jeremy Lin, got caught up in trying to prove himself and his decision-making lead to more turnovers. The ball movement relied on long jumpers which were cold while the Blazers sizzled behind the arc with the likes of Nicolas Batum going off. By the time the barrage ended, the Knicks were down 78-95 with just four minutes remaining.

As a fitting conclusion, Felton bricked a three-pointer for the Knicks’s last possession.

ANOTHER INJURY:  As if matters couldn’t get any worse, Kenyon Martin left the game with what was later diagnosed as a bone contusion in one of his knees. No word yet on if he’ll miss any time.

Right now I’ll say the Knicks are at the lowest point they’ve had all season. There is no identity on defense or offense, and the team’s confidence is suffering for it. We can only hope they’ll focus on the good play they had in the first quarter and early part of the second for the next game (Clippers in LA on Sunday).

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

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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.

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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.

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RICHIE GUERIN MIX

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