No one takes preseason games too seriously, but for the New York Knicks, beating the Boston Celtics and especially seeing their big rivals looking so hopeless going into the new season is quite cheerful site to kick of the preseason with.
Amare Stoudemire still isn’t playing for the Knicks, who started with Andrea Bargnani at the power forward position and Carmelo Anthony back to small forward. Unless something very surprising happens, this is going to be the starting forwards duo for the Knicks, joined by Tyson Chandler, Iman Shumpert and Raymond Felton, although Shumpert came off the bench this time, with Pablo Prigioni starting next to Felton.
Encouraging signs? Tim Hardaway Jr. knocking down a game winning shot, making a jumper with 8.2 seconds left in the game, handing the Knicks a 103-102 win. The rookie out of Michigan finished with 16 points on a strong debut performance, as the Knicks are looking for players who can give them some kind of scoring while J.R. Smith is going to miss the beginning of the season, healing from his surgery.
It was great, everything you’ve asked for, you’ve dreamed of, and it’s coming to reality. Just got to live in the moment and take advantage of your opportunities.
Metta World Peace also made his preseason debut for the Knicks, playing 22 minutes and scoring 13 points. There is a chance that his presence will allow Anthony to play at the power forward position, either with Bargnani at center or on the bench.
The Knicks do have more options than last season in terms of the lineups Mike Woodson can use without losing offensive power in them. However, defensively this team isn’t very strong aside from Chandler and Shumpert, while the whole issue of style and offensive gameplan has to be revised into something more than just give Anthony the ball and waiting to see what happens. Anthony finished with 7 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists during his 22 minutes on the floor.
As for the Celtics, it’s going to be a rough year for them. Without one real center in the lineup, we’re going to see a lot of small ball and experimental lineups, which sorta fits what Brad Stevens, formerly the Butler head coach, is trying to do with this team. However, aside from Jeff Green who isn’t the most consistent of performers, finding ways to win games is going to be very difficult until Rajon Rondo returns, and even then it’s hard to see the Celtics being too much of a threat to anyone next season.