This one was all Knicks from the start as they came out strong playing their best defense of the year. With everyone talking about the Sixers being a test for the Knicks, they came out and passed them with flying colors in a game that was nothing less than exhilarating.
The Knicks came out with the desire, ambition and drive to win that they’ve been lacking all season, and it paid off. They got off to a quick start outhustling the Sixers on defense and capitalizing on offense. Melo, who played the occasional point tonight, had the hot hand in the first quarter with 9 points, 3 assists and 2 steals. Josh Harrellson also contributed 7 points in just 4 minutes off of the bench to put the Knicks up by 13 at the end of 1 (28-15).
The second quarter would remain a defensive show put on by the Knicks. Though Melo went scoreless in the quarter, the rest of the team worked together to pick up the slack. Chandler hustled hard on the offensive glass, tipping rebounds out to the top of the key to give the Knicks a fresh 24. Stoudemire was also on target, consistently knocking down the mid-range jumper to maintain the 10 points lead throughout the second. The Knicks would finish the half up by 10 (45-35).
Things heated up to start the second half. While fighting for a rebound, Tony Battie was called for a flagrant foul on Tyson Chandler, who resulted in a bloody nose. But that was just the start of things. The Andre Iguodala vs. Carmelo Anthony matchup was a heated one all night. It was nothing less than entertaining to watch. After a bucket from Anthony, the two got tangled up and a double technical was called. On the next possession, the ball was passed into Melo and he hit a tough turn around jumper contested by Iguodala. The Garden was roaring, they liked what they saw. Minutes later Philly would bring themselves within 2 on an Evan Turner jump shot. Anthony responded by hitting contested jumpers on the next two possessions to put the Knicks up by 6, proving once again that you can count on him in the 4th quarter. With time winding down in the 3rd, Harrellson hit a corner 3 at the buzzer to put the Knicks up by 11 heading to the 4th.
After building their lead to 17 with 9 minutes in the game, the Sixers would finally put a run together. Philadelphia would go on an 8-0 run to put themselves within 9 with 6:30 left in regulation, but the Knicks would prove to be too much. The Knicks put together great defensive sequences down the stretch, coming up with big steals to put the game away. The Knicks would end the 76ers five game winning streak and prove to everyone that they were a strong team offensively and DEFENSIVELY.
BENCH: With only an 8-player rotation, there would only be 3 players on the bench. Toney Douglas and Bill Walker combined for a measly 8 points, which meant Josh Harrellson would have to come up big, and he did. Harrellson came out strong in the first quarter scoring 7 of his 13 points in just 4 minutes. He shot 3 of 5 from downtown, hitting a 3 ball to beat the buzzer in the 3rd quarter. Overall he shot 5-10 for 13 points, 2 assists and a blocked shot. Harrellson has given us some solid games thus far in the season. Though he’s been streaky, he also hasn’t been given consistent minutes.
Carmelo Anthony: Despite the second quarter, where Carmelo went scoreless, he played an exceptional game. With 27 points, 9 boards, 5 assists and 3 steals, Carmelo reminded us of the competitor he truly is.
Iman Shumpert: You’ve heard it again and again, but Shumpert IS the key to this Knicks offense right now. Though he struggled shooting the ball (5-15 for 10 points), he makes up for it in other areas. Playing spectacular defense last night, Shumpert came up with a couple of big steals at just the right time. He hassles and agitates his opponent until he can swoop in for the steal, that’s the hustle the fans love to see.
Tyson Chandler: Though Tyson had a mere 3 points, he was working hard all night on the glass and giving the Knicks extra possession on offense, something the stat sheet can’t show. With 13 rebounds, he really gives the Knicks a lot of opportunities and proves why he is so valuable to our team.
Amare Stoudemire: Amare had another solid night with 20 points & 10 rebounds. He was aggressive all night and was able to score when the rest of the team couldn’t.
Positive: The Knicks outrebounded a team that is 2nd in the league for rebounds per game. Averaging 46 rebounds a game, the Sixers were held to only 37.
Negative: The Knicks had 21 turnovers. Although they did make up for it with their defense, they need to cut this number in half.
Video courtesy of NBA.com