USA TODAY Sports
I'd like to go do some celebratin', so I'm gonna keep this short: The Knicks have made a habit of starting terribly only to explode in the second half. The second half started early tonight, I guess. Thanks to some poor interior defense and inaccurate shooting, New York fell behind double-digits in the early minutes of the first quarter. It was 18-6 Kings seven minutes into the game, and if Tyreke Evans hit his layups, it might've been worse.
Then the Knicks got back into it with a 114-63 run. Just 41 or so minutes of unadulterated dominance. As you can see from StarksMiddleFinger's comment, it became evident during the second half-- somewhere amidst Amar'e Stoudemire's 10-10 shooting and the 12 combined threes from J.R. Smith and Steve Novak-- that the Knicks were going to hold on for the win. That kind of wanton trampling is exactly the kind of response I wanted to that nightmarish loss the Knicks suffered after making a huge comeback in Sacramento just over a month ago.
- 'Twas the bench that won this one. Carmelo Anthony shot just 4-12, pulling and bricking some truly ugly attempts before a little flurry of makes in the third. As in the previous game, though, Melo passed well out of doubles and didn't force so much. Raymond Felton, Iman Shumpert, and Jason Kidd all had quiet, adequate performances. Tyson Chandler ripped down another 20 rebounds. Whatevz. The bench set a team record (and beat the entire Kings rotation) with 82 points.
- Amar'e Stoudemire. Again. I gave the man a standing ovation in my living room when he checked out early in the fourth quarter. We saw everything: Big dunks off cuts and transition sprints, slipped pick-and-rolls for easy finishes, follow-ups off the offensive glass, driving dunks off the dribble, baby hooks out of prime post position, and best of all: two sopping wet elbow jumpers. He played a perfect offensive game. 10-10. That one charge call was bullshit. I could not be more thrilled with the week he's had.
- J.R. Smith's 7-14 three-point shooting bested his 5-13 from the previous game (27 three-point attempts in like 30 hours!) and included an absolutely incredible sequence in the third quarter in which he missed an awful pull-up three, caught the tip-out, missed another three, caught the tip-out, then drilled a three at the top of the arc. Every huge blowout that doesn't include J.R. Smith is a waste of a huge blowout.
- Steve Novak got rowdy as well, splashing aplenty as the beneficiary of some open space created by Amar'e's rolls to the rim. The Knicks stuck him on the strong side of that pick-and-roll and Steve followed through. Happy to see him rolling a bit again. Shitty perimeter defense helps him.
- Pablo Prigioni played an exceptional 22 minutes. He forced easily a half dozen turnovers by relentlessly pestering ballhandlers into shoving him or traveling or making other dumb mistakes. He also dished out seven assists (and three turnovers, but whatever) and shot the most excellent 1-1 from the field ever. His only attempt was a three-pointer from up top in which he held the ball, held the ball, held the ball, realized no one was coming to defend him and more or less shot a 23-footer from a seated position.
- Kurt Thomas played the whole fourth quarter, finished a couple mid-range Js and a pick-and-roll lay-in and DRILLED A GODDAMN THREE. THAT'S FOR YOU JAMES JOHNSON.
- Dominated the glass again. 52-35, including 15-5 on the offensive boards.
That's it for now. Tonight was wonderful. Feel free to share any good .gifs and videos you can find (I'll be on the hunt as well) so I can put together a great leftovers post tomorrow. <3