The New York Knicks beat the Indiana Pacers 115-100 on Friday, thanks to strong performances by JR Smith, Steve Novak, Tyson Chandler and Jeremy Lin, as well as the guidance of interim-coach Mike Woodson. Linsanity may be over, but NY fans can hop right on the Woodsanity bandwagon.
Mike Woodson, who will coach New York for the rest of the season before facing re-avaluation from the Knicks' owners. He has admitted to the press that his focus is on defense, a noticeable weak-spot in the Knicks' game during D'Antoni's reign. The new coaches devotion to defense showed on Friday night; in the first half NY limited Atlanta to just 31 points, pulling away with a 19-point lead at the break. Woodson also appears to be focusing on not tiring out his players, which seemed to be D'Atoni's fatal flaw, as he pushed Jeremy Lin too far and then kept the lineup in constant rotation meaning that no one got any real rest. Woodson kept the Kncks well rested. No player was on the court for over 35 minutes on Friday night, with many playing under 25 minutes total.
Jeremy Lin scored 13 points in 25 minutes on the court. Tyson Chandler scored 16 points in 26 minutes. Jr Smith scored 16 points in 26 minutes and Steve Novak added 12 points in the same amount of time. Carmelo Melo Anthony shot poorly, finishing with just 12 points. Amare Stoudemire scored just eight points. Neither of the two stars played for more than 28 minutes.
NY may have also been fueled by their bitter rivalry with Indiana. The Knicks-Pacers' mutual hatred dates back to 1993, and quickly became one of the most bitter in the NBA. The two teams have met in the playoffs six times between 1993 and 2000 and their rivalry was described by the New York Times in 1998 as combustible.
The Pacers had their two game winning streak cut short. Granger shot 4 for 15 with nine points. All-Star Roy Hibbert scored four. Darren Collision led Indiana with 15 points. Indiana missed nine straight shots during a 14-2 run that put NY in the lead 21-6 in the first quarter. In the final two minutes of the first quarter the Pacers were able to cut the Knicks' lead to 24-14. By the half the Knicks still led 50-31 with a three-pointer by Lin at just 4.3 seconds left.
The New York Knicks will face off against the Indiana Pacers against on Sat. March 17 at 7 pm.