At the beginning of this game, I was watching with my older brother and how the New York Knicks were looking in the first quarter (and how they looked last night against the Chicago Bulls), he just looked at me and said: “It’s gonna a longggggggg year.”
And it still might be a – “longgggg year”. Though if this win against the Cleveland Cavaliers, in their home opener, in their big ‘welcome back home’ night for LeBron James, doesn’t give the Knicks a major boost in this season, I don’t know what will.
For the Knicks show up like this, after a beat down in their home openers against the Chicago Bulls, is impressive. Sure, the Cavs don’t have it together yet, but it’s a huge confidence builder.
So far in this season, the Knicks have gone through a very bad lost and a great win. And having the lost come first, could be a positive.
The team executed this win, like a big playoff team would. Unlike years prior, where they would just throw up three-point attempt to win the game. They made plays and got key shots; they made the extra pass; they cut to the basket — the Knicks did, almost, everything right offensively, to win this game.
I thought the defense was superb. Starting with Shane Larkin – who was outstanding, defensively. With the tough news of Jose Calderon being out 2-3 weeks, who was suppose to be the starting point-guard, Larkin came up big.
Hearing that Calderon was out and witnessing how the Knicks played in the first half of this game, this season did not look good, at all. But the way Larkin played, making big steals and banking smart shots, the feeling went from hopeless to hope, for me. Also, this is a big break for Larkin. He’s got a chance to show everyone why he should be the starting point-guard and he’s gotta show Derek Fisher why it’s gonna be tough to remove out of the starting role, once Calderon returns.
Larkin brings a different aspect to this Knick team — which is speed. This Knick team for the past couple of years, lacked speed in the point-guard position. They’d always had older, slower point-guards. Now they have young kid, who MIGHT have talent. We’ll see.
If Larkin plays well, that means the Knicks are gonna have young, athletic backcourt with Iman Shumpert by his side.
When the team is struggling to score and you have Shumpert missing shots, every Knick fan would yell: “trade Shumpert!” Because he’s mostly a defensive player. But, when the Knicks are playing well and leading in the fourth quarter in the game, they need Shumpert. He guards the opposing guard very well. Knicks need that type of player.
Shumpert did make big baskets, as well. He tied with J.R Smith with 12-points in this game. When Shumpert is making baskets, he all of sudden becomes a pretty good all around player.
How about J.R Smith and Carmelo Anthony leading in assist in this game. The two main scorers on this team with 7 assist for Smith and 6 for Anthony. That stat already shows me that this team has bought in the triangle.
There was a play in the game where Smith passed the ball to Amare Stoudemire, then Stoudemire passed it to Anthony for the open dunk underneath the basket. It was so refreshing to see something like that out of this team.
Sure, there were some moments where the Knicks look stagnant, but after a bad possession they came back with great one.
You had to love Anthony only have 25-points, then getting the final shot over LeBron James. Not only the shot over James was big, but he also had the big three in the fourth, to keep the lead alive for the Knicks. What Anthony showed you tonight, is what you want to see daily. Have him show up in the beginning, then let the team takeover in the middle, then he closes.
I thought Derek Fisher, on this first coaching win, had a great game as well. He immediately took out Samuel Dalembert, who was struggling earlier in the game and replaced him with Jason Smith and Quincy Acy. He does not mess around and I like that. Fisher will sit you down if he doesn’t like what he sees. He’s setting the right mentality for this team.
And Jason Smith was outstanding. For a 7-footer, he can really dribble the ball down the court well and shoot it well. Solid player. He was big for the Knicks tonight. Once he started draining shots, the team began to join in.
This Knick team has a balance of strength, size, athleticism and speed. If they can use all those parts correctly, they’re gonna be a tough team to deal with this season.