No coach will ever claim a moral victory. No player will ever claim a moral victory. Rarely will a fan claim a moral victory for their favorite team. I will not claim a moral victory for any of my favorite teams, no matter what the situation may be.
The Knicks’ loss to the Bulls tonight, however, is a good sign. A very good sign.
Amar’e Stoudemire led all scorers in the 105-102 Chicago win with 34 points on 16 of 27 shooting, and Derrick Rose led the Bulls with 32 on 12 of 26.
Following an eleven point halftime deficit, a great second half surge by the Knicks resulted in a chance to send the game into overtime on their last possession, but a Carmelo Anthony three pointer fell short at the buzzer.
The teams were even in rebounding and turnovers, as both grabbed 37 boards and committed 14 turnovers. This wasn’t the only case of even play; the stats were relatively close across the board, as the Bulls and Knicks treated us to a great game.
So, yes, the Knicks lost a game that they had a great chance to win down the stretch. Nevertheless, they, and we as fans, should be very satisfied with this performance.
The Knicks shot nearly 49%, 7% better than their average, while ball movement and offensive flow was significantly better than normal. You can look at their assist to turnover ratio for proof of this, but there is a different stat that I would like to focus on.
Three point shot attempts.
The Knicks shot 16 three pointers, nearly eight less than normal. Keep in mind that two of those threes were on their last two possessions, when they had virtually no other option. When they found themselves down by double digits at the break, they did not panic nor did they play undisciplined, as they have tended to do in those types of situations this year. Instead, they pounded the ball inside, and when they did take jump shots, they were high percentage ones.
Who should gain credit for this? Well, let us not kid ourselves, it is Mike D’antoni. The guy who has been coaching as if he wants to get fired may finally be figuring it out, even if it is just one game.
Not to mention, this is the second straight game where this has been the case; the Knicks took just 18 threes on Tuesday night, making half of them, and shot 60% overall. The Knicks could be realizing that shooting three pointers makes them weaker, not stronger. As I have said multiple times, shooting threes is not always a terrible thing, but the Knicks do not possess any reliable three point shooters; it just is not their game.
Another good sign was the play of Amar’e Stoudemire, whose struggles have been immense this season. Amar’e played like the Amar’e we expect him to be, scoring 34 points on 16 of 27, and grabbing 11 rebounds. It’s just one step, but the Knicks need, absolutely need, Amar’e Stoudemire to play to his full ability in order for them to succeed. If nothing else, tonight should be a confidence booster for the All-Star power forward.
Yes, it’s just one game, but the way the Knicks played tonight combined with their Tuesday night performance against Detroit is very encouraging. Maybe the Knicks are headed in the right direction. Maybe the Knicks could revive their season. Maybe the combination of Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Mike D’antoni can work out after all. It’s way too soon to tell, and I certainly am not yet sold, but maybe, just maybe.
About the Author
Written by Michael Burke
I'm Mike. I'm 16 and love sports. I'm a Knicks, Yankees, Colts and Notre Dame die-hard. My dream is to cover the Knicks professionally, so I hope that PSB can help me reach that goal. Follow me on twitter: @michaelburke47