It was a fitting way to end the most recent stretch of games. The Knicks closed out the “easy portion” (well, for now) of the schedule with a tidy 101 – 95 win over the Wizards on Friday night. It was the end of the cake walk and the beginning of “the test,” but more on that later in the Knick/Wizards edition of the 5 things….
1. 30+ again for STAT – I really hate that nickname, but it fit in the headline. Amar’e had 36 points on Friday night, the seventh consecutive game he has reached the thirty point mark. This is the kind of influence teams need their superstars to have. Not only is it important for a big players to put up big number s, but it’s important for those numbers to have a direct impact on the win – loss record. What good is a seven game 30 points or more streak if the team is 3 -4 in the process? It’s been dubbed “The Secret,” and Amar’e seems to have it right now. Stoudemire was still putting up numbers earlier in the year, but the Knicks were losing. He was also making one or two head scratching plays per game. Don’t want to admit it? Ok, but he was. That’s not happening anymore and that’s why the Knicks have played so well.
2.Danilo Gallinari – Of all the numbers for Gallo tonight that could be written about, we’ll choose this one – he was 9 for 9 from the line. What does that mean? Well, no longer is Gallo settling for the outside shot and missing. He’s being a little more physical and it’s paying off. Other than the 9 -9, The Rooster scored 16 points and had five rebounds. He only attempted 1 three pointer on Friday (made it, too). That’s a little odd for him, but certainly better than the 5-16 clips from earlier in the season. 1 three, 9 – 9 from the line, 16 points. Sign me up.
3.Raymond Felton didn’t shoot well – This is the second straight game we’ve said that. On Wednesday night he was able to overcome it. Friday, he wasn’t. 5 – 17 from the field, 1 -4 from behind the arc, 13 points, and 4 assists. Not what we’re used to seeing from Felton. Surprisingly, his young, highly touted counterpart was worse. John Wall scored 8 points on 4 – 14 shooting and 6 assists. If you tuned in to watch Wall (which I’ll admit, I was excited for), it was a little disappointing. But, then again, the win streak may have ended if he was better.
4. Free throw shooting – It wins games. Period. 87% for the Knicks. 70% for the Wizards. Knicks won by six and made seven more free throws. ‘Nuff said.
5.The Schedule – Get ready to find out how good this team really is. Here’s the rest of the year for ya: Denver, Boston, Miami (dream week anyone), @ Cleveland, Oklahoma City, Chicago (on Christmas!), @ Miami, @ Orlando. Happy 2011!
I’m sorry, that’s just plain unfair. I’m willing to bet that it’s the most difficult three week stretch of any team in the Eastern Conference. It’s almost like “dream month.” It’s bound to be exciting and it’s bound to test the mettle of this team. Can they handle it? I actually think so. This team is playing better than it has in ten years and they’ve been competitive in almost every game this year.
Off the bat, here’s a few reasons why it won’t be as bad as it looks:
a) If not for a dumb Mike D’Antoni call at the end of the Denver game, the Knicks may have beat Denver at the Pepsi Center last month.
b) They blew out Chicago in Chicago early in the season.
I know Chicago is better now and I know the Knicks didn’t miss in that game, but that’s two winnable games right there. I’d say Knick fans need to be reasonable and be content with (not happy… content) with 3 -5.
Think that’s too low? Leave a comment. Remember , the winnable games will start up again.
About the Author
Written by Jordan Lauterbach
Jordan Lauterbach began his career in sports media when he was just 15 years old at WKWZ - Syosset. He hosted a sports talk show for nearly four years before moving on to WCWP - Brookville in 2006. Lauterbach currently hosts a sports talk show every Wednesday night from 9pm - midnight (eastern) and a College Football talk show on Saturday mornings from 11am - 12:30 (eastern) (can be heard online at wcwpsports.com and on Long Island on 88.1fm). Follow me on twiiter: jlauterbach1