One guy, Carmelo Anthony, plays a level or two above the rest of his team, leading the New York Knicks to another win, this time 89-85 over the sinking Detroit Pistons. The other, J.R. Smith, gets booed by the home fans when he comes on the floor, and once again tries to pull off his magical trick of untying a player’s shoes before a free throw is taken.
Smith was warned by the league for doing it to Shawn Marion in the game against the Mavs, but it seems that until a fine or suspension lands on him, he won’t change .It didn’t actually work for him – Greg Monroe caught him in the act. Maybe that’s why Smith is doing that – to get into players’ heads, and have them worried about him untying his shoes instead of jumping for the rebound.
But beyond Smith becoming something of an unwanted caricature in the Madison Square Garden, having another poor performance with 6 points in 30 minutes, the Knicks barely had enough to scrape another win (their third in four games), with Carmelo Anthony leading the team with 34 points on 13-of-24 from the field.
Anthony hit three consecutive shots from beyond the arc as the Knicks went on a 15-0 run during the third quarter which was enough to settle the win. The Pistons came back in the fourth quarter, bringing it down to one point (85-86) with 9.9 seconds on the clock. Josh Smith, who else, had the ball in his hands, but instead of driving to the basket, something he lamented later on, he took an awful jumper that barely hit the rim with the Knicks grabbing the rebound and hitting the free throws to seal the win.
The Knicks continue to look bad, but in the microcosm that is the Eastern conference, it’s not that bad. All you need is solid defense, which the Knicks surprisingly put up in recent games, even with Tyson Chandler out. Kenyon Martin is able to put in some good performances in short time spans, and he once again provided what they needed, scoring 6 points, adding 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocks.
The Knicks were only 20-of-57 from the field if you disregard Anthony’s shooting. Iman Shumpert is taking bad shots again, while Amare Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani can’t really make themselves stand out, combining to score 22 points on 9-of-22 from the field. Having Raymond Felton back in the lineup didn’t really help them play better basketball, but at this point in the season, with the Knicks hoping that they’ll somehow climb up the easily scaled Eastern playoff race, getting wins is the most important thing.
But what about the long run and playing better? Mike Woodson is about the short-game. He has to be if he doesn’t want to get fired, and at 12-22, there isn’t a lot of wiggle room for the head coach. Simply riding the scoring ability of Carmelo Anthony and hoping everything else falls into place, which should be enough if a full lineup is available to him from now on.