Last night’s battle of New York was more like a contest to see who is the worst team in the Big Apple. The answer was made very obvious, as the New York Knicks destroyed the Brooklyn Nets by 30 points, winning 113-83. It was only the Knicks’ fourth win of the season, but it was the first time all year that they played like last year’s 54 win team.
Last year, the Knicks’ offense was based on low turnover rates, good ball movement and knocking down open threes. That all happened around Carmelo Anthony in the post, where is by far more effective than when he is on the perimeter. The Knicks finally got back to that style play of last night, and the Nets simply had no answer.
As a team the Knicks shot 57.1% from the field and 59.3% from three, huge improvements on their season averages. They had 24 assists as a team compared to just 12 turnovers, and their ball movement was excellent throughout the night. The Knicks have been absurdly isolation heavy this season, and hopefully last night’s game will teach them that they are a far better team when they keep the ball moving.
Anthony only scored 19 points, but he played his best game of the season. He added 10 rebounds and 6 assists to those 19 points, and he shot 8/12 from the field. This was the first time all year that Anthony finally had good shot selection, and he is an extremely high percentage shooter when he makes good decisions. There are going to be times the Knicks need Anthony to shoot 25 times in a game, but for the most part they will be much better off if he plays like he did against the Nets.
Andrea Bargnani proved to be a solid secondary option again, adding 16 points, while Iman Shumpert broke out of his slump in a big way by shooting 5/7 from three and scoring 17 points. Raymond Felton, Tim Hardaway Jr. and even Amar’e Stoudemire all had solid contributions, making this the most complete performance we’ve seen from the Knicks all year.
The Knicks should get Tyson Chandler back soon, and his return will give them the defensive and rebounding boost they need. Of course, the Knicks have played poorly for most of the season, and blowing out a heavily injured and poorly coached Brooklyn team is not a huge accomplishment. However, it is the way that they did it that gives reason for optimism, and if they can continue to play like that it won’t be long before the Knicks start putting together some wins.