If there were any questions regarding the reason for the Knicks lack of effort in their previous six straight losses, they were answered tonight. The answer, of course, was Mike D’antoni.
In no way am I advocating the Knicks not giving it their all under D’antoni as of late; all the pieces were in place for New York to be successful with him.
However, reports have made it clear that D’antoni lost the locker room, and Carmelo Anthony can get the majority of the blame for this. Anyone who would like to deny that Carmelo caused a rift between D’antoni and the team is kidding themselves.
Just think about it, the team was the hottest one in the league with Carmelo out, and when he came back they went through a dismal 2-8 stretch with an absolute lackluster effort given at times.
Could it have worked with Carmelo and D’antoni? Yes, but Carmelo didn’t do nearly enough to make it happen, and ridding him was never an option. The NBA is a superstar league, and guys like Carmelo are too valuable to just trade away. Unfortunately, because of Carmelo, D’antoni’s resignation was what was best for the team.
Tonight, under new interim head coach Mike Woodson, the Knicks were rejuvenated, to say the least.
The team held the Portland Trail Blazers—a team going through serious woes of their own—to just 79 points, including just 29 in the first half, while five different players scored in double digits for the Knicks en route to 121 points on nearly 54% shooting.
J.R. Smith led the way with 23 points on seven three pointers, while Carmelo Anthony dropped in 16 along with seven assists, and Steve Novak, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Iman Shumpert added 20, 17, and 16 points, respectively.
The Knicks also shot 50% from downtown as a team, as they made 19 of their 38 attempts, but what was undoubtedly most impressive was their defensive effort.
The Knicks held Portland to just 37% shooting, and no single Blazer scored more than 15 points.
Mike Woodson is a defensive mastermind, and while the team playing inspired in their first game under him probably had more to do with the defensive brilliance than anything else, more efforts like this can be expected in the future.
The first game under Woodson was without a doubt a huge success, and as long as he can win over the locker room and the support of Carmelo Anthony, more good things should be on their way.
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