December 04, 2022

The Knicks start out strong, but ultimately lose to Philadelphia 76ers 104-94

The clocks were turned forward one hour just a few hours before the New York Knicks faced the Philadelphia 76ers Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden. When they stepped on the floor, they played as if they were still asleep.

Coming into the game, the first place 76ers (24-17) were riding a two-game winning streak with wins over Boston and Utah. The Knicks, however, were coming back home after losing their four previous games, all on the road. With Tyson Chandler back in the starting line-up after missing the last 2 games (hamstring and left wrist), New York was hoping his presence, especially on the defensive side, would help bring the end to the losing streak.

With Carmelo Anthony coming out with a purpose (10 points), the Knicks took an early first-period lead (21-14) before Philadelphia outscored them 8-3 to end the period trailing only by two (24-22). Evan Turner (7 points) and Louis Williams (coming off the bench to add another 7) helped close the gap.

The teams went back and forth in the second period with no lead getting bigger than 6 (Philly 49-43) after Thaddeus Young, getting additional bench help, scores four straight points. He finished the period with 10 points. Louis Williams led the team with 13. Anthony, Jeremy Lin, and Landry Fields scored the Knicks last 6 points in the final 1:08, but ended the first half trailing by 2 (51-49).

The Knicks started the third period only trailing by three (65-62) after a Lin lay-up. Then New York went into its sleepwalking mode. Not hard to see how the Sixers dominated the rest of the period and showed why they have scored more points than any other team in that period. Philadelphia outscored the Knicks 24-11 over the rest of the period (38 points for the period) to take a 16 point lead (89-73) entering the final period. Williams continued his hot shooting scoring 14 points.

With both Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire benched in the last period, head coach Mike D' Antoni was hoping the second unit would spark a comeback. It wouldn't happen as Philadelphia continued to hammer the lifeless Knicks. With Young, Williams, and Evan Turner outscoring New York 9-4 to begin the final, the Sixers upped their lead to 21 (98-77). The Knicks got as close as 10 points (104-94) with a little more than 1 minute left but the game had long been decided.

The defense that had been a big part of the Knicks during the Lin-Sanity run not only allowed Philadelphia to shoot 51% from the floor but an unacceptable 57% from 3-point land.

"Collectively we didn't play well. Collectively our spirit isn't good. Collectively, our defense wasn't good. Collectively we just didn't do what we needed to do. We have to solve that," said D' Antoni.

If there was a team the New York Knicks needed to face in order to break their 3-game losing streak, it was the Phoenix Suns who came into Madison Square Garden Wednesday night with a 4-9 record and losers of 5 straight. The Knicks, playing the 2nd of 4 straight home games, were coming off their Monday matinee loss at the hands of the Orlando Magic. Both teams split the two games they played last year with each team winning on the road. Head coach Mike D' Antoni, who coached Suns guard Steve Nash for years, knew the team would have its hands full.

"He's one of the best players to ever play the game," said D' Antoni. He works exceptionally hard at what he does. He knows the game exceptionally well. He does everything well."

Steve Nash lived up to the praise D' Antoni heaped upon him as he led all scorers with 16 points and 4 assist in the first half as Phoenix took a 45-42 lead. With Carmelo Anthony still dealing with a sore wrist and ankle, the Knicks wanted to get Amar'e Stoudemire into the offensive flow right from the start. He took the team's first 3 shots, scoring 3 points finishing the quarter with 5 points along with Tyson Chandler. It was enough to give them a 1 point first quarter lead (20-19) even though they shot a paltry 37% from the floor missing 6 of 7 three-pointers.

The second quarter was slightly better for the Knicks as the shooting increased to 42% but they trailed by 3, as the Suns extended the lead to as many as 6 (43-37) after a Marcin Gortat (5-13, 11 points) jump shot. Anthony would miss 4 of 5 shot attempts with Stoudemire ending the quarter with 15 points. Two themes that stood out and would be a factor in the loss was New York's inability to convert free throws and take advantage of them dominating the boards. The final stats would show why.

The Knicks kept things close in the 3rd only trailing by as many as 4 points during any period. Landry Fields, (6-12, 17 points) who played his best game of the year, led all scorers with 10 points. Both teams only scored 19 points leaving the Suns in front (64-61) to begin what would be a back and forth last period. Neither team would trail by more than 3 points in the 4th until the Suns pushed the lead to 7 with 3:22 left after a Shannon Brown slam dunk.

New York battled back with rookie Iman Shumpert (8-14, 20 points) scoring 10 of the team's last 17 points. He hit 2 consecutive 3-pointers, the second bringing the team within 2 points 85-83. With the time running out and no timeouts left, New York was forced to foul sending Nash to the free throw line. He sank 6 in a row, as his team ended its 5-game losing streak. New York took 30 free throws (14 more than Phoenix) and missed 10. They also out-rebounded the Suns by 16 (15 more offensive) and could not take advantage, as they finished shooting 37%.

"It's killing us," stated D' Antoni after the game of the offensive futility. "We won almost every statistical category but couldn't put the ball in the basket." Dominating the boards would normally lead to the team getting out to more fast breaks but for whatever reason, the Knicks were not able to do that. "We tried and did a little better in the fourth quarter. Overall it was not good enough."

After the 91-88 loss, the New York Knicks record fell to 6-8. "We're in a little bit of a crisis," D 'Antoni admitted. "The good thing about it is that they're playing hard, they're playing good defense, they're rebounding."

They're just not winning games.

New York Knicks Defeat Charlotte Bobcats 91-87

It wasn't pretty. In fact, it almost turned out to be worse than the last time these two teams played each other. In the end, it was the New York Knicks making 30 of 40 free throws in escaping with a 91-87 over the Charlotte Bobcats in their second meeting in less than a week at Madison Square Garden.

When they met last Wednesday, the Bobcats totally embarrassed the Knicks. This was after the Toronto Raptors did the exact same thing 2 nights earlier. Blame the early schedule, lack of a regular training camp and missing players due to injury. Still, New York had no excuse losing to two teams that didn't even qualify for the playoffs last year. The Knicks did regroup the last two games on the road defeating Washington and Detroit on the road to get their record back to .500 sitting in second place behind Philadelphia. Now it was time to get revenge against a Bobcat team that hadn't won a game since they left the World's Most Famous Arena.

Said head coach Mike D' Antoni before they faced Charlotte "the Bobcats played extremely well last game and we didn't. We didn't bring the defense like I hoped we would have."

With rookie Iman Shumpert (16 points, 4 assist) starting his second game in a row, the Knicks looked to get off to a strong start. Before you could say "Ground Hog Day" the Bobcats raced out to a 10-0 lead. With the "boo birds" out early, the Knicks regained their composure and with the help of 3 alley-oops, outscored Charlotte 24-11to take a 24-21 1st quarter lead.

"They responded well," said D' Antoni. "

The defense failed to play in the first game and at the start of Monday night's game quickly changed as New York contested more shots, limited second-chance opportunities and they did not give Charlotte carte blanche from 3 point land. Amar'e Stoudamire, (25 points, 11-13 free throws) who was torched by Boris Diaw for 27 points last Wednesday, scored 15 first-half points. Diaw did score 12 but no other starter hit the double figure mark. Shumpert contributed 12 points and 3 assists giving the Knicks a 5-point (50-45) halftime lead.

Tyson Chandler (20 points, 13 rebounds) led all scorers with 10 third-quarter points as New York took an 11-point lead (72-61) with less than a minute to play. Charlotte would not go away, as they battled back after falling behind by 8 points (79-71), the largest deficit of the quarter after watching Stoudemire hit a running hook shot. With 4:49 left, D.J. Augustin brought them within 1 (80-79) after nailing a jumper. He wasn't done, tying the game at 82 sinking a long 3-pointer, as the shot clock was expiring. D' Antoni then decided to put the ball in Carmelo Anthony's hands. It paid off as he scores 8 of the last 10 points leading to the 4 point victory. Melo was on shaky ground in the waning minutes as he played with 5 fouls down the stretch.

"I just didn't feel like anybody else could produce any points," said D' Antoni.

It wasn't pretty but the New York Knicks came away with a victory against the same team they lost to last week giving up 118 points.

"We seem not to shoot the ball well against them," said Anthony. "Tonight we won the game on the defensive end."

Knicks Defeat Raptors 106-87 and Stay Perfect Under Mike Woodson 

The three-game winning-streak followed the six-game losing streak cost the New York Knicks head coach Mike D' Antoni his job. The winning-streak has breathed life back into the team's NBA playoff life. It has given interim head coach Mike Woodson a platform to instill in his players how much is at stake as the season winds down.

There were 21 games when the Knicks hosted the Toronto Raptors Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden. They will face each other for the last time this year in three days in Toronto after splitting their previous two games both teams winning on the road. Except for pride, Toronto has nothing to play for with their 15-30 record. That may have been the only reason they gave the Knicks a hard time.

Led by DeMar DeRozan (6 points) Toronto and the Knicks were tied 3 times in the first period, with no team leading by more than 1 point after the first Raptors basket gave them a 2-0 lead. Down by one, the Knicks go on 7-0 run to take a 21-15 lead. Toronto closed the gap to three to end the period (27-24) after a Linas Kleiza three-pointer at the buzzer.

With New York sensing that the longer they allowed Toronto to feel they belonged, the harder it would be to put them away, Woodson once again called on his bench to slow the Raptors down. With the game tied once again at 29, Steve Novak hit his customary three-pointer, extending the lead to 7 again 36-29. Toronto clawed back to two (36-34) after a Gary Forbes lay-up. It's as close as the Raptors would get the rest of the period as the Knicks outscored them 13-4 over the next 5-plus minutes for the biggest lead of the half (49-38). J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, Jared Jeffries and Steve Novak contributed 17 points off the pine.

Except for an early lapse at the start of the third period, the Knicks defense stiffened when the Raptors dwindled the lead to 7 (57-50) after an Andrea Bargnani running hook shot. Thirteen must have been the lucky number for the Knicks as they once again rattled off those points allowing Toronto only four, taking a 16-point lead (70-54) and never looked back in the 106-87 victory.

Said Raptors head coach Dwane Casey, "they turned up the juice and we didn't meet the challenge. Anytime you give up 16 offensive boards, our turnovers are the two things that hurt us."

When the New York Knicks lost to the Chicago Bulls last week, they gave up 22 offensive rebounds leading to 24 points in the five-point loss. It was an eye-opener for the team.

Said Woodson, "that's been a big problem all season," he started. "Us putting bodies on bodies to secure the rebound. I stress that every game before every game. Five guys are going to block out and rebound the basketball. Then we go and play offense. We've done a better job as of late."

Although Jeremy Lin and the "Linsanity" have quieted down, his numbers are starting to reflect what put him on the map in the first place. He finished his night with his seventh double-double of the year scoring 18 points and 10 assists.

"We just moved the ball and try to pick apart the defense and took whatever the defense gave us. I thought we were patient as a team," he said.

Amar'e Stoudemire led all scorers with 22 points with Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler adding 17 each.

The New York Knicks traveled by Amtrak right after the game to face the division-leading Philadelphia 76ers. They are looking to avenge the March 11th home loss.

Landry Fields knows how important the game is: "We have already talked about it. We're trying to rise in the standings. It's an important game for us."

New York Knicks defeat the Philadelphia 76ers with the final score of 85-79

One of the hottest teams in the NBA came into Madison Square Garden Wednesday night riding a 6-game winning streak. With a 7-2 record and leading the Atlantic division, the Philadelphia 76ers had not given up more than 100 points during the streak. The New York Knicks meanwhile was riding a modest 3-game winning streak of their own after Monday's win against the Charlotte Bobcats. They began the night two games behind the Sixers and looked to close the gap before starting a two-game road trip against Memphis and Oklahoma City.

They faced each other four times last year splitting the series. Prior to the game, Knicks head coach Mike D' Antoni stressed the importance of limiting Philadelphia's fast break.

"We have to get back in transition," he started. "We can't feed their fast break."

New York caught a break when Sixers center Spencer Hawes, one of 7 players to average more than 9 points a game, did not play due to a strained lower back.

For the first time all year, New York came out with a purpose. They ended the 1st quarter on a 13-0 run and a 28-15 lead. Carmelo Anthony scored 9 points and rookie Josh Harrellson (7 points) came off the bench and hit his first two jumpers, the second a 3-pointer.

Tony Douglas continued the long-range assault burying his first jumper, another 3-pointer to extend the lead to 31-15. Defensively they limited Philadelphia to only 32% from the floor, as they missed 6 of 7 three-pointers.

Where Anthony left off in the initial quarter, teammate Amar'e Stoudemire took over in the second. He scored 9 points to lead both teams as the Knicks took a 10 point (45-35) halftime lead. The Sixers did not attempt a 3-point shot in the quarter but their overall shooting rose to a respectable 42%. When the Knicks defeated Charlotte two nights ago, they attempted 40 free throws making 30 of them. They only saw the free stripe 3 times in the first half converting all of them.

Philadelphia began the third quarter outscoring New York 10-4 narrowing the lead to 4 (49-45). Anthony extended the score to 8 (58-50) after two straight baskets. After the first basket (a driving lay-up), he got tangled underneath with Andre Iguodala and both are hit with technical fouls. It seemed to light a fire under Anthony as he hit his next two jumpers giving them a 62-56 lead. After two more Anthony free throws, that man Harrellson burns the Sixers again hitting his third 3-pointer of the game taking an 11-point (67-56) lead into the final quarter.

Said D' Antoni of Harrellson's play so far this year, "Josh played well a lot. Some of the things you don't see. He's very strong, very smart defensively. I just think he's going to keep getting better if he can consistently make that outside shot."

The Sixers dug themselves into a deeper hole at the start of the final quarter as the Knicks opened up a 17 point lead (78-61). The hot shooting that propelled New York suddenly went cold and the Sixers took advantage going on a 10-0 run to close the gap to 7 points (78-71). From that point, neither team could find the basket for the rest of the game. No field goals were scored in the final 5:51. In that span, Anthony missed 5 shots and turned the ball over 3 times. It caught the attention of the head coach, as he witnessed the offensive woes that kept the Sixers in the game.

"We'll talk about it," a giggling D'Antoni said. "Carmelo is very effective at what he does. You got to be careful about talking too much. He's a competitor and he knows how to play. We just got to get things straight with the whole team."

Philly wasn't much better as they missed their 6 shot attempts. New York hit 7 free throws, Philly hit 8 down the stretch, but could not get any closer than the final score of 85-79.

The New York Knicks have now played two division games and have won both of them. They have struggled offensively more than they would like to. Defensively, they seem to be improving.

"We added two really good pieces in Shumpert and Tyson (Chandler) when you have that, then they feel even more engaged. It's just contagious."

Lin-Mania Streak Hits 7

February 16, 2012

When Jeremy Lin came out of the game he sat next to Carmelo Anthony. Both had Cheshire Cat smiles on their faces

It was his first game back at Madison Square Garden since he torched Kobe Bryant and the Lakers last Friday to the tune of a game, season, and career-high 38 points. Add to that two come-from-behind road wins (including the game-winner against Toronto) and you knew why the sold-out crowd erupted when Jeremy Lin was introduced prior to the game against the Sacramento Kings. Given how the Knicks have fared against teams with losing records at home, the Kings and their 10-18 mark were no easy target. That was before Lin was propelled into the starting line-up.

Jeremy Lin rebounded from his 8 turnover night against the Raptors recording six assists to go along with five points and zero turnovers all in the first period alone as New York jumped out to a 12-point lead (25-13). They converted on 10 of their first 12 shots before Lin sat down late in the first quarter.

"I just thought we played really exceptionally well in the first quarter," said head coach Mike D 'Antoni.

The team didn't skip a beat while Lin rested. After a 3-pointer by Jimmer Fredette cut the lead to 5 (25-20) Iman Shumpert, Bill Walker and Jared Jeffries scored the next 9 points to extend the lead to 13 (35-22) before Lin returned with 7:38 in the second. Steve Novak, who has stepped up his game during the winning streak, hit his only basket of the half. After a Landry Fields rebound, he finds Novak in the corner who promptly steps up and drains a 3-pointer, getting fouled in the process. He calmly sinks the free throw giving the Knicks a 15 point (49-34) lead.

As well as New York did well offensively shooting 51% for the first half, they did better on the defensive end. The Kings shot only 33% and missed on 9 of 11 3-point attempts.

"Any time you play with good offense, you get excited, D 'Antoni continued. "Tyson (Chandler) anchors the whole thing. Then you have Shumpert who comes off the bench that you can put him on the point guard. With those two guys it's contagious. If you want to win, you play that way."

The Knicks began the third period up by 18 (54-36) and did not let up. At one point, they extended the lead to 25 points after a Fields layup. Walker added 8 more points, Fields 4 while Lin chipped in with 4 more assists. As a team, they increased their shooting percentage to 56 while the Kings dropped a point from the first half to 32%. It gave D 'Antoni a chance to rest not only Lin but Chandler as well. Neither played a minute in the last period. Lin had averaged 38 minutes in the last 6 games. Because of their lead from beginning to end, he only played 26 minutes. Important in that they will play 3 games in the next 4 nights. The scheduled amount of games and minutes do not concern D 'Antoni when it comes to Lin. "He's 23 years old. He should be able to go forever."

When Jeremy Lin came out of the game he sat next to Carmelo Anthony. Both had Cheshire Cat smiles on their faces, while they chatted and giggled as the reserves continued piling on points.

"We were just having fun talking about how we will be excited when he comes back," said Lin. He's looking forward to the first time they will play together. "He (Anthony) is a lethal scorer. Coming off the pick and roll, he can come off the pick and rolls too. We should be more dangerous offensively."

It's been 7th heaven for Lin and the Knicks since he came off the bench to score 25 points against the Nets in a win that may have just saved his head coach's job. The ride continues Friday night when they face a New Orleans Hornets team that had only 5 wins at the start of the evening.

Can anyone say the 8th Wonder?

Brooklyn Nets take the first Battle of the Boroughs defeating the New York Knicks 96-89; Brook Lopez scores 22 points and 11 rebounds

It took 13 games and one overtime before the official birth of the Brooklyn (still sounds kind of weird) Nets.

Both teams were supposed to face each other to start the NBA season but then Hurricane Sandy blew into town forcing the game to be canceled. When they finally stepped on the floor Monday night at the Barclays Center, both teams had gotten off to a good start. The first place Knicks had a 1 game lead over the second place Nets who were eager to see if their fan base would truly make this a "home game" for Brooklyn.

Said Nets head coach Avery Johnson before the game, "my first two years was an 80-20 split for their side. I'm hoping for an 80-20 split on our side this time." It was more like 50-50 at the beginning after both teams were introduced in front of the sold out (17,732) crowd.

The Knicks were without Jason Kidd who was out with a sore lower back so head coach Mike Woodson had to tinker with the line-up starting veteran Kurt Thomas and moving Ronnie Brewer to the shooting guard spot. Both teams relied heavily on their bench and in the end, it came down to gritty defense and stamina that allowed Brooklyn to come away with the 96-89 win.

Neither team would lead by more than seven points the entire game. The game, tied 12 times, also had 13 lead changes in regulation. The Nets took a 5-point lead (81-76) with 4:01 left in the 4th quarter after a Brook Lopez dunk. Knicks Carmelo Anthony quickly answered that with a 3-pointer of his own to get them within two points (81-79). It began an 8-0 Knicks run that put them up by 3 (84-81) with 1:38 left and victory in sight.

The teams would trade baskets down the stretch, as a Lopez lay-up and free throw tied the game at 84 (he missed the second attempt that would have given them the lead) once again giving New York a chance at stealing the victory but Anthony's jump shot hit off the rim sending the game into overtime.

Brooklyn then took advantage of the extra five minutes outscoring the Knicks 12-5 to take the first Battle of the Boroughs. The win overshadowed New York's center Tyson Chandler and his career-high 28 points. Anthony, who played 50 minutes, finished with a game-high 35 points on 11-25 shooting. On more than one occasion when Melo went to the free throw line, he was serenaded with chants of M-V-P which were quickly drowned out by the Brooklyn fans.

Nets guard Deron Williams, who finished with a double-double (16 points, 14 assists) was very aware of the home crowd, "It was good to hear them cheering for us the entire game," Williams stated.

Joe Johnson noticed the support as well.

"Every time some sort of Knick contingency started to cheer, our fans got louder and this is what we have been dreaming about since I've been here," Johnson said.

A victory will do that.

For the New York Knicks at 3-4, defeating the Atlanta Hawks tonight 95-91, seven games in and 75 more games left to complete their 82-game campaign, their world is already crumbling before they can experience enough time to be wholesome. Those to blame for their less than impressive start to their season include the cheerleaders, the president, and general manager, the hot dog vendors, as well as, the vending machines.

The blame game has already begun as well as the finger-pointing. One would assume that there would be a level of confidence attached to the New York Knicks label based on the season they enjoyed not too long ago capturing the Atlantic Division Crown, and winning 54 games in the process. To the naked eye, this team hardly resembles the team that accomplished those achievements last year due to the numerous roster changes in personnel but what’s most alarming about their start is their current mindset. Last year's Knicks team, although it struggled to play defense throughout the year, a re-occurring theme for the past decade, played with a certain level of intensity, focusing on competing against all challengers no matter the match-up and the strain. Last year’s Knicks team entered the season with expectations that they placed upon themselves of what they envisioned for themselves, revolving around the prime objective of winning an NBA championship, and with wins against the Spurs (which made me feel for the first time in a decade that the Knicks had arrived), three victories against the Miami Heat, as well as, winning a game on the road against the Oklahoma City Thunder, fans, the public as well as myself believed that a championship was actually within reach. Sadly, thus far, I have not seen that same aura that surrounded the Knicks last year.

When you hear starting point guard Raymond Felton state that "I've got to play harder," team owner James Dolan requesting must-wins against the likes of the Atlanta Hawks, and star forward Carmelo Anthony having to validate the coaching of head coach Mike Woodson to the media, there is obviously a problem.

Tonight's win should grant the Knicks some breathing room until they face the Houston Rockets tomorrow night at home in an early season test against a Western conference contender. The result should indicate the direction of where this season’s destination will be.

The loss of center Tyson Chandler, out 4-6 weeks suffering a non-displaced fracture of his right fibula courtesy of a penetration dribble by Charlotte Bobcats guard Kemba Walker last week, will definitely impact the Knicks defense around the basket. The black cat has not left MSG as yet. This latest loss to their frontline makes their inside presence as soft as gummy bears relying on center Andrea Bargnani to be the last line, the enforcer. This loss to their front-court has prompted management to inquire about the services of Forward Kenneth Faried of the Denver Nuggets a rebounding demon for G Iman Shumpert, in my opinion, an absolute mistake not because of what Faried can provide but because of what Shumpert can become, and that's one of the best two-way shooting guards in the league.

All in all, I believe it is too early to panic regarding the Knicks current state due to the infant stages of this 2013-2014 NBA season. Mike Woodson is still trying to find the correct ingredients in assembling the first and second unit. J.R. Smith has just returned furthermore planning to remind us all who the reigning 2012-2013 Sixth Man of The Year is. Bargnani is not comfortable yet, although recording a double-double in tonight's affair with 20 points and 11 rebounds seem as though he’s getting his feet wet, enjoying his new role and responsibilities and at the end of the day Melo is still on the roster right? Let them play.

As for Thursday's nationally televised wine and dine between the Knicks and the Rockets, I expect a shootout, if the Knicks are willing to respond because I know the Rockets will. James Harden is only scratching the surface of becoming the best shooting guard in the league behind Lakers G Kobe Bryant and Heat G Dwyane Wade. Every player in the NBA salivates at the opportunity to lace them up against their former employers and look for G Jeremy Lin to expose the Knicks as well as Felton. I do not know who on this roster is capable of defending Rockets C Dwight Howard but it will be fun to observe the Knicks and the schemes they will entertain and execute against arguably the best big man in the NBA. The only way the Knicks will be successful this season is if they replicate the production they relished last season and that is scoring more than the other team, a feat that Anthony has to spearhead being the Numero Uno. We'll see how much the Rockets fare under the Broadway lights as well as the North Pole conditions that we love so much as natives.

This one really hurt, riding a - game winning streak and creeping closer to the final playoff spot, the New York Knicks faced the Cleveland Cavaliers knowing the team they are chasing (Atlanta Hawks) had already lost earlier in the day. That news seemed to bolster the Blue and Orange from the very beginning as they jumped out to a 34-27 first quarter lead paced by Carmelo Anthony's 12 points.

The bench kicked in scoring a combined 17 points between Pablo Prigioni, Tim Hardaway, Jr., and Shannon Brown to take a 1- point halftime lead. For a change, it appeared that New York regained the home court confidence they established last year. Then, Cleveland led by Jarrett Jack's (31) and Dion Waiters' (22) points played with the mindset that if they can't make the playoffs, neither should the Knicks.

The comeback began with the Cavs outscoring the Knicks 28-23 in the third getting within 7 (84-77). Then, New York could not hit a shot and could not defend the pick and roll. They missed 13 shots while turning the ball over 5 times. Meanwhile, Cleveland took advantage on the inside, scoring 40 points in the paint. They shot a ridiculous 77% in the second half erasing a 17-point deficit after a Jack 3-pointer with 3:54 left gave them their first lead of the game.

Waiters scored his last points with a trifecta and Anderson Varejao victimized the Knicks with yet another pick and roll ending in his slam extending the lead to 6 (100-94). A J.R. Smith jumper and two Anthony free throws got the Knicks within 2 (102-100) but that's as close as they would get.

As a unit, the Knicks knew they blew an opportunity to not only extend their winning streak to 8 but to get within 2 games of the Hawks. Especially knowing they are about to embark on a 5 game western swing that starts Tuesday night against the Kobe-less Lakers.

Head coach Mike Woodson wanted this game as a springboard to the upcoming trip.

"This was like a getaway game for us to get us set up for the road," he said afterward. "We didn't close it out. So we got to go on the road and win all 5 if we can."

Center Tyson Chandler (4 points) coming off the game against Philadelphia in which he scored 17 points in the win gave kudos to Jack.

"Jarrett Jack took control of the pick and roll in the second-half. He made some tough shots especially down the stretch."

The New York Knicks have 12 games left in the regular season, eight of them on the road.

If they do make the playoffs, they will face either Miami or Indiana. They will be facing teams that are still jockeying for playoff positions. That's why games like last night were one they could not afford to lose.

Can Knicks center Tyson Chandler make up for his missed free-throw against the Bulls? Breaking down the New York Knicks vs. Minnesota Timberwolves preview

The 2013-14 NBA season is upon us once again and the New York Knicks and their fans are looking for a championship this season. As team orange and blue gets ready to take on the Minnesota Timberwolves, one game on the road to hopefully snagging the Larry Obryan Trophy in June, let's do a recap.

Looking Back

The Knicks opened their campaign with an unimpressive 90-83 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks at home. On the second game of a back-to-back, the Knicks came two points short of a morale-boosting win against the Chicago Bulls. The Knicks lost a heartbreaker to the Bulls, 81-82. One of the culprits for the loss was a missed free-throw shot by center Tyson Chandler with 10.8 seconds left in the 4th quarter. A bucket could have sent the game into overtime and then with a higher basketball IQ in place and perhaps, luck, a win.

If there are any positives to take away from this loss is that the Knicks can hang with a top tier team in the Eastern Conference. However, on the flip side, Carmelo Anthony and the guys are still dogged by the failure of registering a win against Chicago in five straight contests dating back to last season. What's ironic about the Knicks' struggles against the Bulls is that they have enjoyed overwhelming success against the Miami Heat, the reigning defending champions. The Knicks took three of four victories against the South Beach kids last season.

The Knicks are an enigma, but aren't we all? All-in-all, it's too early in this brand new season to label the Knicks. The team has experienced a roster overhaul replacing nine players from last season to this season's reduced collection of seven additions most notably rookie guard Tim Hardaway Jr., forward Andrea Bargnani, forward Metta World Peace, and JR Smith's little brother Chris, also a guard. So the Knicks need time to gel.

Looking Forward

Tomorrow evening, the Knicks will return home to host a Western Conference opponent, the Minnesota Timberwolves at 7:30 pm in the world's most famous arena, Madison Square Garden. Unlike the Knicks, the Timberwolves have yet to experience defeat. They are currently sitting at the top of the Western Conference undefeated at 2-0. They defeated the Orlando Magic in overtime 120-115 and the Oklahoma City Thunder 100-81. Although the Knicks have made significant alterations to their roster gaining youth opposed to last year's AARP (American Association of Retired Persons), the Timberwolves are still younger and probably faster.

Floor General Ricky Rubio, a Spanish import, has established himself as one of the premier point guards in this game due to his advanced ability to find teammates anywhere on the court for easy baskets. He is capable of dominating the game by passing exclusively. Forward Kevin Love, who missed a substantial amount of time last season due to a variety of injuries enters this season relatively healthy. He's looking forward to reminding us all who the best power forward is in the game today behind Spurs future Hall-of-Famer Tim Duncan. The rest of the wolves feature a well-balanced team in bigs, wingmen, and guards that include rebounding machine F Nikola Pekovic, F Dante Cunningham, F Derrick Williams, F Corey Brewer, F Chase Budinger, G Kevin Martin, and rookies G Shabazz Muhammad and C Gorgui Dieng.

The Western conference in totality has remained consistent in providing a tough night for any team and that's what I believe the Knicks are in for.

The Wolves are going to look to run as they have the personnel to rebound and push the break. Star players always salivate at the opportunity to play in the Mecca of Basketball. I expect Love to take full advantage in showcasing his skills. I expect the Knicks to come out hungry to relieve the stress of receiving a loss to the Bulls earlier this week. They will offer a spirited effort in their return from a one-game road trip. Every night Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony steps on the hardwood, the NBA community, as well as the fans, expect a scoring clinic and I expect Anthony to deliver the goods. The Wolves desire to be taken seriously within the Western Conference and the Knicks are anxious to step foot on the basketball court to avenge their previous loss. Expect a good quality and grind-it-out back and forth contest.

 

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