Knicks 111, Bobcats 102: "New York Knicks: Where second halves don't matter."

USA TODAY Sports

Seven straight!

I don't think I have much to say. Like our own Vinny Chase said in the comments, "I am Queens Boulevard" the Knicks developed a bit of a habit this week of napping during second halves. Thankfully, they've been dominating first halves thoroughly enough to get away with it. This one was just a sillier version of Wednesday's win over the Grizzlies. Iman Shumpert's offense got the Knicks off to a hot start, Carmelo Anthony had an inefficient but productive game scoring from the baselines, and J.R. Smith led the way with another domineering game off the bench.

After laughing through the first two quarters, the Knicks predictably mailed in the second half (and just started missing shots) while the Bobcats asserted themselves a bit. Charlotte struck within seven and forced the starters into big minutes, but proved too calamity-prone to realllly threaten. The Knicks got a few stops and buckets to prevent the margin from narrowing any further, then the teams exchanged passive-aggressive fouls and timeouts over a two-minute stretch of clock that lasted roughly a decade. And then the Knicks won. It was cool.

I'll save some notes and videos and stuff for the morning, but let's just briefly address what J.R.'s been doing: Damn, J.R. those are some cool things you've been doing. An interesting aspect of his newly persistent rim-ward bent (he relented a bit and took some bad jumpers in the fourth, but attacked almost exclusively before that) is that he spends part of many drives with his back to the basket. J.R.'s not quite a "slasher". He gets most of these easy buckets by galloping to the edge of the paint, then abruptly picking up his dribble, planting a foot, and pivoting like mad to find a slot for a right-handed finish. That oblique route-- it can kinda resemble a K-turn, maybe in a car with hydraulics-- gets folks into the air, too, which is part of the reason he keeps getting these fouls (11-12 at the line tonight). J.R.'s first step and ball-handling skills usually aren't enough to gain separation, but he's got the strength to get close and this marvelous footwork to carry him the rest of the way. We previously saw this only once or twice a game, and I don't know how long it's going to last, but it is exceptional. J.R.'s been playing like a superstar, and it feels like it's just a matter of determination, especially against these shitty defenses.

We'll talk about a few other individual performances and relive the evening's frivolities in the morning. Have a good one, friends. I had fun watching the game with y'all tonight.

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