Thursday, January 12, 2012

Knicks 85, Sixer 79 - Recap

The Knicks tried their damndest to throw this one away in the 4th quarter, but it just wasn't meant to be. So, instead, the Knicks beat the Philadelphia 76ers, the league's hottesr team, and extended their own win streak to four.

Photo by Jim McIsaac
It's been awhile since we've been able to call a Knicks game a defensive battle, but that's preciasely what this was. The Knicks only allowed the Sixers to shoot 39.5% FG, which is impressive even if the Sixers were playing the third night of a back-to-back-to-back.

Take the jump for some notes and such
The Knicks came out hot in the first quarter, as Carmelo Anthony and Iman Shumpert took turns snapping the net from mid-range and long-range alike. On the other end, the Knicks were hardly allowing the Sixers any sort of clean, easy looks.

However, after the opening quarter, things slowed down considerably. To my memory, Amar'e Stoudemire and Josh Harrellson did most of the scoring, however, both teams tightened up even more and going into the half, the Knicks were ahead 45-35. Surely this score pleased a bunch of nostalgic, 90s-Knicks fans.

The second half was a different show, however. The Sixers came out with more energy, and for the better part of 24 minutes, the Knicks stood around and let Melo iso his way into stunningly smooth shots, or terribly frustrating turnovers. In the end, the Sixers could not get "the hoop to get them over the hump" (thanks, Clyde), and the free throw contest in the 4th quarter went the Knicks; way.

Here's where the notes begin:

 - Did Carmelo Anthony have a good game or bad game? That's a legitimate question. 27 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assist and 3 steals certainly seems like it, but factor in his 9-24 shooting (37.5%) and 5 turnovers, and it might not be as splendid. Melo got into a back-and-forth with Andre Iguodala in the second half - mainly the 3rd quarter - and it either ended in Melo hitting some really difficult fadeaway jumpers and taunting the Sixers, or having the ball stolen, or being forced into offensive fouls or travels. It was a mixed bag, but in the end, Anthony was pretty much the only guy to keep the Knicks afloat when Philly came hurrying back.

 - Amar'e Stoudemire had a quietly efficient game with 20 points on 8-14 shooting, with 10 rebounds. It was actually one of his better outings on the season, as he didn't settle for jumpshots and instead attacked the basket and made a few nifty floaters and baby hooks in the lane. He didn't fall asleep or drift on defense too much either, though there were a few slip-ups.
  • At one point, a Sixers player drove baseline and skyed up for the jam, while Amar'e idly stood and watched. At first, I was angry at STAT for just standing, but then I realized the Sixers player was Andre Iguodala, which surely would have ended in a posterization of Amar'e had he jumped to contest.
 - Iman Shumpert kind of proved that he's still only a rookie, and that this was only his sixth NBA game. Shump produced a Shump-like stat line: 10 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 1 block, but he only shot 5-15, including 0-6 from downtown, and had 4 turnovers, some of them particularly costly in the Sixers 4th quarter surge. He did have a brilliant series of plays in the 4th quarter though. On offense, he nailed a deep jumpshot, then harrassed Lou Williams on defense and coming up with the steal, where he pulled the ball back to the right 3-point elbow, and dished it off to Stoudemire, who was filling the lane and got an easy dunk. Once this kid gets it all figured out, he's going to be something else.

 - Jorts Harrellson had himself a game! His defense was impeccable (though his stats don't show it) and had 13 points off the bench on 5-10 shooting, 3-5 from beyond the arc. That's all, really. Good job, Josh!

 - The 4th quarter saw the Knicks get completely stagnant and either turn the ball over, or dump it to Carmelo Anthony and watch him try and score. The Knicks didn't have a field goal in the last 9 minutes of play. It was entirely free throws or turnovers.

 - The Knicks have held their last three opponents under 88 points, and their last five opponents to 41% FG. Thanks to Ian Begley for the stats.

That's about it, folks! The Knicks moved to 6-4 with this win. The next tow games are real tests on the road against the Grizzlies and Thunder; we'll see if they can pull out some more W's. Also, as a side note, my laptop isn't working and I'm writing this from my terribly old and slow desktop computer at home. To avoid more frustration, unless my laptop is fixed, I may not type full length previews. This recap has taken me over an hour to write because of the computer's sluggishness.

So good luck tonight! Go Knicks!

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