Carmelo Anthony played through the pain, and that’s already a good sign from a guy that had has his effort and will to succeed with the New York Knicks questioned more than once during the season. His 25 points through 26 minutes helped in a 108-86 win over the Orlando Magic, who couldn’t keep up once the first quarter was over.
No Jeremy Lin, no Amare Stoudemire. But everything is going for the Knicks since Mike Woodson took over, making it 8-1 since Mike D’Antoni got booted from the team in the form of resignation. Are these happy times for the long run or another short phase of enthusiasm and soft scheduling? It’s probably up to Carmelo and how he chooses to lead this team.
Anthony wasn’t alone in the impressive win, running the Magic off the court from the beginning of the second quarter. Iman Shumpert scored 25 points as well, a career high for the rookie out of Georgia Tech. Steve Novak was the hot hand off the bench with 16 points (4 three pointers) and J.R. Smith added 12 points. More than anything, it was a matter of bad match ups for the Magic, with a head coach who didn’t make the right adjustments.
Without Stoudemire, Anthony played as a power forward, and three guards – Baron Davis, Landry Fields and Iman Shumpert roamed the outside while Tyson Chandler battled it out, doing a very good job with Dwight Howard. They were simply too fast for the Orlando Magic, especially for Ryan Anderson, Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson who were simply too slow.
There was a lot of posting up from Anthony, but there was no slow ball movement and too many isolation moves. Baron Davis spread the ball around very well, with players cutting constantly through their defenders. Dwight Howard, who has been disappointing since his announcement regarding him staying with the Orlando Magic, had a very hard time filling in all the gaps created by his teammates.
The Knicks are once again above .500, but more importantly, they look like a team with a lot more confidence in its best player, and its depth, and its coach. While the Lin fad quickly evaporated when the hate and discomfort with D’Antoni floated to the surface, things actually look happy with Woodson, no matter who’s playing, with everyone looking comfortable with their place in the rotation, at the moment.
When the losses come, and they will at a certain point, because the Knicks just aren’t that good of a team, it’ll be interesting to see how and who holds this thing together from deteriorating once again.