The game began and it was all Bobcats. Leaping out on a 10-0 run, the Garden was in disbelief. But it wouldn’t stay that way for long. Stoudemire drove to the basket and was fouled. He would make both foul shots to potentially break the ice and get the Knicks rolling, and it did.
From that point on, the Knicks took control of the game. Proving Mike D’Antoni and his staff made the right decision, Shumpert played with zest. He got the Knicks going on an alley-oop to the struggling Fields, and from there on we saw a different Knicks team. Throwing down countless alley-oops in just the first half, the Knicks were showing chemistry that we hoped we would see this season. The Knickerbockers led by 5 at the half (50-45).
Despite the lead at half time, the Knicks would have to rely on their defense to win this game. Shots just weren’t dropping. Stoudemire shot a repulsive 7-25 as he still managed to contribute 25 points. Carmelo Anthony also had trouble from the floor. Struggling in Saturday’s game vs. Detroit, he would continue that streak shooting a disappointing 6-18 for 22 points. Chandler, however, put up some of his best numbers of the season. Tyson shot a near perfect 7-8 (most of which were alley-oops) for 20 points, 13 boards, 3 steals and 3 blocks. There’s no doubt he was a huge contributor last night, as was the rookie Iman Shumpert. Shumpert managed 16 points, 4 assists and 3 steals, one of which resulted in an exuberant dunk with Diaw trailing closely behind.
The Bobcats shot lights out in the win vs. the Knicks last Wednesday (118-110), but it wasn’t the same story last night. After shooting 55.3% from the field, the Bobcats would only shoot 42% last night. Guard DJ Augustin shot a mere 4-13 for 14 points. However, Boris Diaw continued to play well at the Garden. Scoring a season-high 27 points last game, Diaw played another great game all around. Boris shot 8-12 for 19 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists.
“There’s going to be definitely nights where we’ve got to lean on our defense, but I think once we start clicking we’ll be in the upper 100s and these games will be blowouts,” Chandler said.
Like Chandler states, they would have to lean on their defense.
With 3:00 left, DJ Augustin hit a 3 pointer to tie the game at 82. But Carmelo Anthony came right back with an aggressive layup to put the Knicks up (84-82).
With 33.7 seconds left in the game, the Knicks had a 3 point lead (87-84). The Bobcats would have a chance to tie it up, but a missed jumper by DJ White would lead to a rebound by Fields who was then fouled. The pressure would be on Landry to knock down the clutch free throws. After missing the first and keeping Charlotte in the game, he would knock down the second to put the Knicks up by 4.
10 seconds remained, but the game isn’t over ‘til it’s over. DJ Augustin hit a fade-away 3 from the corner to bring the Bobcats within 1. But it just wouldn’t be enough after Melo knocked down 2 free throws to put the game out of reach. The Knicks take this one 91-87 in a satisfying win for all of the fans at the Garden.
Shumpert starting was proven once again a smart decision. He provides energy at both ends of the floor as he displayed tonight with 3 steals. The Knicks had to rely on their defense tonight, and they came up big. They made a lot of key stops towards the end of the game. Though they didn’t always capitalize on them, they showed improvement on D and it gave them another chance to put points on the board.
Shumpert left early with cramps again. He’s done this in the last couple of games. After being estimated to be out for 2-4 weeks, Shumpert came back after only 10 days. Though we appreciate his motivation to get back, he may be playing more minutes than he can handle right now.
Bottom Line: This was a great start for a team trying to improve their defense. They had many deflections, team steals (11) and contested shots. The margin they win by should only increase from here on out.