The return of Tyson Chandler had quite the impact on the defense for the New York Knicks, but eventually their 107-101 win over the Milwaukee Bucks belongs mostly to Carmelo Anthony, who had an awful shooting night until the second overtime, where the team’s big star rectified all the damage done by J.R. Smith and Andre Bargnani.
Why Bargnani? With the Knicks leading 94-92 in the first overtime, Carmelo Anthony missed a three-pointer. Tyson Chandler grabbed the offensive rebound and kicked it out to Andre Bargnani. Less than 24 seconds on the clock, all the Italian big man had to do was wait to be fouled or simply dribble out the clock. Instead he took a three pointer no one understood, and almost cost the Knicks the game, as John Henson scored on the other side to send the game into a second overtime.
Why J.R. Smith? Becuase when a player is doing badly, he doesn’t go an take 27 field goals shots, let alone 17 three pointers. J.R. Smith, however, doesn’t care what’s going on, or how badly he’s doing. The New York Knicks aren’t a team with a system, or at least one that seems to be working. It’s simply giving the ball to Anthony and Smith, watch them shoot and try to hustle hard enough in order to make up for when their shooting doesn’t work.
Anthony was off for most of the night, finishing with 9-of-29 from the field. He did score 29 points, but 8 of them came late in the second overtime, when he finally started playing like the clutch player most people regard him as, in a win that’s not just a small step on the road back from an awful start, but also a sign that with Chandler, even all the mental and selfish mistakes this group of players can make, there’s always a way out.
Teams don’t often win games when they shoot 37.6% from the field, but the Bucks are truly awful and in full tank mode. They turned the ball over 20 times, and aren’t even trying to hide the fact that they prefer losing with their young players anymore, leaving guys like Luke Ridnour, Gary Neal and O.J. Mayo out of the equation. Not that it worked so well with them in the lineup or coming off the bench, but the direction is quite clear.
As for the Knicks, this great escape might be the beginning of something great. Well, not great, there’s quite a potential limit to this team, but certainly better than what we’ve seen from them so far. At 8-17, the 8th spot in the Eastern conference doesn’t seem so far away, and if Tyson Chandler can make such a huge difference (9 points, 9 rebounds, 3 blocks) on his first game back from a long injury that really crippled this team early this season, than anything can happen. Chandler played a lot more than he should have (37 minutes), cramping up at the end of the game.
Tyson Chandler – I was willing to do whatever it took to get a win. I told coach, don’t put me on a minute restriction. Whatever you feel like you need or whenever you need me out there, just keep me out there.