The Knicks came into this one needing a W, and that’s exactly what they got. Trailing the 76ers by three games going into this one, the Knicks needed this game badly to keep pace with Philly for the all important 6th seed in the East. The 76ers won last night, as did many of the teams trailing the Knicks, heightening the pressure for tonight’s matchup against New Jersey at the Garden.
Having played a game last night, the Nets looked tired down the stretch, and their performance as a team suffered accordingly. They began turning the ball over (nine in the first 14 minutes of the second half), missing shots, and forgetting how to play defence. The Nets were also slow getting back in transition at times, and their offence became a bit stagnant.
However, even with all these problems, this game remained a back and forth affair until the end. The reason? A young chap by the name of Deron Williams.
Williams took control down the stretch, creating shots for himself and driving to the basket nearly at will. The Knicks are not exactly renowned as a great defensive team, and their defence (or lack thereof) against Williams was a prime example. Luckily, D’Antoni’s crew did pick it up late in the ball game, salvaging the win for the Knicks.
Speaking of the Knicks, Carmelo Anthony played a fantastic game for New York. Melo finished with 39 points, including 20 in the Knick-controlled third quarter. Even more impressive, Anthony finished over 50 percent from the floor, including 75 percent from beyond the arc and perfect from the foul line. Anthony Morrow also finished with 30 for the Nets.
In the second half, the Knicks converted some bad Nets’ possessions into easy transition buckets, including a great bounce pass from Anthony Carter to set up a three on the fast break.
Both teams went cold in the last two and a half minutes though, with the game tied at 114. Both teams missed open shots, including two bone headed plays from Jersey’s Travis Outlaw. Outlaw took a contested fade away over Melo, and followed it up with a travel off a fast break from Williams.
The cold streak finally ended with 1:08 left though, with cold blooded Carmelo Anthony draining a pull up J to give the Knicks a 116-114 lead. After a Nets miss, Toney Douglas picked up a huge offensive board on the next New York possession. The Knicks were in the bonus, and Douglas stepped up to the line and calmly knocked his two freebies down.
Nothing’s ever easy with the Boys from Broadway though. After a Kris Humphries tip in and an Anthony miss, the Nets had one last chance to tie or win the game, down by two with eight seconds left. Luckily for the Knicks, Deron Williams missed his open 17 footer, and Billups picked up the board. Billups knocked in his two free throws as expected, and the Knicks went home winners.
With Billups’ two clutch free throws, and a good push down the stretch, The Knicks were able to take this all important game. Melo had arguably his best game as a Knick, both offensively and defensively, Billups and Carter shared the point effectively, and the Knicks played huge in the second half. If they can play the rest of their games like they played in those last 24 minutes, New York will be just fine. This team could potentially be a huge threat in the postseason, and won’t be the type of team that any of the favourites would like to face in April.
About the Author
Written by Daniel Sailofsky
Aspiring sportwriter and/or broadcaster from the great city of Montreal. Love to write about all four of the American professional sports, particularly the NBA. I'm an extremely opinionated and passionate writer and hope to offer a fresh take on the world of sports. You might agree with me and you might not, but regardless, I'd love to hear all your comments. Enjoy!