The New York Knicks won’t back down without a fight this season. Not too long ago, this team looked like it was starting to unravel, but after a win today over the Milwaukee Bucks, the Knicks find themselves in the middle of a rare six-game winning streak. The victory over Milwaukee puts New York within striking distance of the Atlanta Hawks for the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
At Madison Square Garden, the Bucks were no match for New York’s balanced attack offensively. Carmelo Anthony led the way with 23 points and seven rebounds to lead the Knicks to a 115-94 win, which comes as no surprise from the NBA All-Star. However, the effort he got from his teammates today was the real shocker in this game. Tim Hardaway Jr. and Iman Shumpert‘s performances off the bench fueled the Knicks to a much-needed victory.
Hardaway Jr. finished with 20 points in an impressive showing from the rookie. He shot the lights out while on the floor to finish the game by going 8-for-12 from the field. His teammate, Shumpert, didn’t score quite like Hardaway did, but he provided more than just his offense. Against the Bucks, Shumpert scored 14 points, pulled down four rebounds, and dished out four assists in 27 minutes of action off the bench to help push the game in favor of New York.
However, as good as Shumpert and Hardaway Jr. were, the defense stole the show. The Knicks’ defense has been atrocious for the majority of the season, but lately ,they’ve shown some signs of improvement. They held Milwaukee to only 43.2 percent shooting from the floor, and really buckled down on the Bucks’ best player, Brandon Knight, today. Knight finished the game with a mere 14 points on a bad day shooting the basketball. New York’s defense made him go 5-for-13 from the field by forcing him to take some contested shots.
Going forward, if the Knicks can continue to get production from other players besides Anthony, they have a real shot of sliding into the playoffs, especially with the effort New York has shown on the defensive side of the ball lately as well. When the team wants to play defense, as evidenced by their current six-game win streak, the Knicks have a chance to win every single game as the season goes on.