Maybe the most impossible team to understand in the NBA happens to be the New York Knicks, who travel the line between mediocre and awful and are still just one game away from making the playoffs, beating the Golden State Warriors 89-84 thanks to J.R. Smith taking over for Carmelo Anthony and pretty much having just one good quarter throughout the whole game.
The Knicks won the second quarter 32-12, which included going on a 15-10 run to end the first half, and simply lived on the surplus from there. The Warriors got to within one point of the Knicks thanks to a Klay Thompson shot but Carmelo Anthony put the Knicks ahead by three on the other end with two free throws before Stephen Curry turned the ball over, not getting up a shot in time as the Knicks came away with a surprising away win, putting them only one game behind the Atlanta Hawks.
Smith had 21 points and Carmelo Anthony had 19, but some people still don’t understand how the Knicks won this game, aside from a few key stops on defense. The Warriors stated out hot in the first quarter with 32 points, but instead of going to the pick & roll, something the Knicks can’t defend, did everything else that helped New York open their huge lead. Anthony shot badly and everything looked completely random offensively, finishing with 40% from the field. However, the Warriors were even worse. Stephen Curry alone had 32 points, but the rest of his team just didn’t show up, especially Klay Thompson with 6-of-18 from the field.
Curry hit a game tying 3-pointer as the Warriors produced a furious rally to end the game with 2:42 remaining, but without Andre Bogut and David Lee, him alone while his teammates were malfunctioning was simply not enough. The Knicks stated out the fourth quarter with 2-of-15 from the field. They pretty much did everything wrong for three and a half quarters in a road game that should be a very tough one for a bad-to-mediocre Eastern conference team. However, things just went the Knicks way.
Amare Stoudemire finished with 15 points and Tim Hardaway had a good game off the bench with 15 points as well, including some clutch shooting late in the game. Shannon Brown scored the final two points of the game with his steal off of that bad Curry pass in the Warriors’ final possession. Tyson Chandler had only Jermaine O’Neal to battle instead of Bogut and Lee, as the Knicks allowed just 24 points in the paint. Surreal and surprising were some words that came up to describe the victory, but the Knicks are a step closer to making the playoffs.
The Knicks don’t look too impressive, but for once they didn’t need Anthony to carry the home. Maybe it’s a turning point, or possibly, like a lot of things that happen in the NBA or especially the Knicks’ offense, it’s all simply random.
Our defense finally stepped up. We can’t worry about Cleveland, Atlanta, Charlotte — none of them guys. We control our own thing. If we play like tonight and just play hard and really lock in and focus on what we have to focus on, I think we’ll be all right.