Once again the NBA season is underway. The Heat and Celtics took center stage last night to open the season with a record breaking 7.4 million viewers (the most for any cable basketball game). With the Celtics winning their home opener against the Heat and the Lakers taking Their home opener in a nail biter from the Rockets, it’s fair to say that everything is back to normal in the basketball world. The loss by the Miami Cheat, which was topped off by an “O-VER-RATED” chant from Celtics fans in the fourth quarter, couldn’t have made fans watching this game happier. The Heat are clearly having issue of chemistry and cohesion early in the season, and although they will likely fix those issues and become a great team, it was nice to see that they are human. It is also fair to say that you can forget about that 72 win season. Before I finish with Miami and move on to the Knicks, I would just like to say one thing. The Boston Celtics who beat Miami last night, are on their way to Cleveland to play the Cavaliers tonight. Wouldn’t it be something if the Lebron-less Cavaliers beat the Celtics tonight?
NY KNICKS / TORONTO RAPTORS
As you may or may not know, Anthony Randolph, the Knicks newest acquisition, sprained his ankle during practice yesterday, benching him for approximately one to two weeks. Since Randolph will not be coming off the bench this week, the Knicks will seek production from the likes of Ronnie Turiaf and Rodger Mason Jr.
Surprising preseason production for the Knicks second round draft pick Landry Fields has led coach D’antoni to make some last minute changes to the starting lineup. The decision came this afternoon when D’antoni decided to place Landry Fields in the starting lineup and remove Wilson Chandler. The Official NY Knicks starting lineup for Game 1 is as follows:
- Raymond Felton
- Landy Fields
- Danilo Gallinari
- Amare Stoudemire
- Timofey Mozgov
First Half Recap:
The Knicks come out looking strong and get off to a nice lead in the first quarter. Their offense, which has never really been an issue looked as if it is gaining momentum and new teammates are finding their chemistry. The defense as usual looked stagnant. A team offensively stronger then the Raptors would have taken advantage of the Knicks D. The Knicks end the first quarter up 7 points, 29-22. The Knicks begin to get excellent production from their bench in the second quarter, especially from Chandler, Douglas and Turiaf. This is exactly what the Knicks will need in order to be competitive this season and make a run for the playoffs. The Raptors look frustrated and have piled up a flagrant and technical foul in the second quarter. Bargnani continues to have a strong offensive presence as the Raptors make a push toward the end of the quarter. Bargnani finishes the quarter with 18 points, Knicks lead 51-47 going into the half.
Second Half Recap:
The Knicks look to limit their turnovers in the second half and increase ball movement. The most impressive statistic thus far comes from the Knicks bench. They have put almost almost half of the Knicks total points and are outscoring Toronto’s bench by a large margin. With their field goal percentage dropping in the third quarter, and the continuation of their stagnant defense, the Knicks finish the third quarter up just two points, 74-72. Surprisingly, the Knicks lead scorer is their newly appointed sixth man, Wilson Chandler who has racked up 14 to this point. The Knicks give up their lead for the first time this game during the fourth quarter but quickly gain it back. Chandler and Bargnani continue to be dominant, leading the way in scoring for each team. For once it is nice to se the Knicks up with two minutes left in the fourth. It is usually the Knicks who are looking for a stop late in the game but in this case they have the luxury of a five point lead. Hopefully a nice foreshadowing of things to come this season. Newly acquired video review rules come into play late in the fourth to review a ball that went out of bounds under the hoop. The Raptors have the ball with 11 seconds left, down three. Three pointer is missed. Knicks record their first victory of the season with a final score of 98-93.
Overall a nice win by the Knicks to start off the season. It is always important for the momentum of the team to start the season on a good note. Given you have a bosh-less Raptors who may be one of the worst teams in the league, it is fair to say the Knicks need to improve in order to compete with the top teams in the division. The Knicks continue to put up an overwhelming number of shots from downtown which should change as the season progresses. They must learn to work the ball and get some of their post players more involved in order to become a well rounded offensive team. Wilson Chandler must have felt insulted when he found out that he would not be in the starting rotation tonight so he did what any player in his situation should do. He went out, scored twenty-two points and grabbed eight rebounds, and let his game do the talking. The most positive thing one can take away from this victory is the production from the Knicks bench. If the bench can put up forty points every night, they will be in good shape. Amare who had nine turnovers will have to be more careful with the ball. Fields was impressive, as well as Felton putting up a combined twenty-six points. Overall a nice win to start off the season.
The Knicks have never had a problem scoring the ball. We know that at any given night the Knicks can put up triple digits. The issue with them always comes back to defense. In order to become a dominant team, they have to once again become that scrappy, tough team that New York saw under Pat Reilly and Jeff Van Gundy. We know that D’antoni is an offensive minded coach, but there needs to more of an emphasis on defensive prowess.
If the Knicks can continue to improve and stay healthy, NY Knicks fans will have an opportunity to see their team in the playoffs for the first time in six years.
Upcoming games: Friday 10/29 NY @ Boston…… Saturday 10/30 Portland @ NY (Home Opener)
About the Author
Written by Justin Sammartano
Born and raised in Long Island NY. Iona College Graduate. Die hard NY Knicks fan.