A rough season for the New York Knicks got even rougher by losing Tyson Chandler, but it doesn’t mean all hope is gone. Carmelo Anthony, no matter what, is an elite scorer. It also seems that Andrea Bargnani might be doing better as the sole big man on the floor although it might have something to do with playing the Charlotte Bobcats and not a different team.
The Bobcats are still without Al Jefferson, which means Bismack Biyombo (3 points, 4.5 per game) is their main scoring option in the paint; a lot easier for opponents to handle. The Knicks won 101-91, led by Carmelo Anthony, scoring 28 points. Andrea Bargnani had his first big game for the Knicks, scoring 25 points and for once looking great on defense, grabbing 8 rebounds and adding 5 blocks.
We played like our backs were against the wall. It was a must-win for us. This early in the season when you talk about must-wins, something obviously is going wrong. But we corrected that.
Anthony is right. Teams aren’t supposed to feel like it’s all-or-nothing after less of two weeks than NBA basketball, but the Knicks are always a special case. More expectations, more pressure; more than anywhere else, which makes the early setbacks even harder to pull through. Andrea Bargnani playing like the Knicks actually need him to might provide some solace to their big issues that come from scoring problems and even more on defense without Tyson Chandler.
The Knicks had their big breakthrough during the third quarter, hitting 75% of their field goals during that quarter. It was also a return to their biggest strength from last season – their three point shooting, although the ball movement is still very slow compared to most teams who rely on outside shooting. The Knicks hit 46% of their three pointers, making 12-of-26.
An interesting tidbit of the game was Patrick Ewing having his first game as a head coach. No, Michael Jordan didn’t let go of another one. Steve Clifford underwent a procedure, so Ewing was elevated, for now, from assistant coach to head coach, after over a decade of sitting on NBA benches.
It just happened to be against the team he spent 15 seasons with, reaching two NBA finals. Ewing was actually taller, by quite a lot, than most of his players, not to mention the referees he was towering over during the short moments he got off the bench.
The Knicks played what was probably their best game this season, getting 25 assists, including 6 from Anthony. For them to get over losing their most important defensive player while Amare Stoudemire career continues to near its edge with another cameo (only 9 minutes), it’s going to be about Anthony managing to ignore his tendency to shoot every time he touches the ball, and for Andrea Bargnani to show he’s not the bad player everyone warned the Knicks about.