Knicks Blowout Bobcats
Boy, did the Knicks need this one. Last night marked the start of New York's toughest stretch of the season-eight games in 12 days. After two brutal weeks without a win, the Knicks had to play well in Charlotte. They responded with their best game of the season.
The Knicks dominated the contest from the opening tip, beating the Bobcats 111-78. It was one of the few times all season New York's offense clicked on all cylinders. They took smart shots, making 50% of their field goals.
Before the game, Carmelo Anthony said he might start shooting less. He wasn't kidding. Melo took just seven shots and finished the game with a career low one point. Anthony was still able to help the Knicks in other ways, pulling down 10 rebounds and creating shots for teammates.
Coming into the season, the Knicks' frontcourt was supposed to be its strength. While it's underperformed for much of this year, it was dominant last night. Tyson Chandler had his best game as a Knick. He finished with 20 points, 17 rebounds and was a force on defense.
Amare Stoudemire had one of his best games of the season (as predicted by yours truly) after struggling mightily during the Knicks' losing streak. He scored 18 points, was efficient and didn't turn the ball over once. All season Amare has been reckless and tried to force shots. This time he took what the defense gave him, nothing more.
He also gave one of his better defensive efforts, forcing turnovers and shutting down Boris Diaw who's been a Knick killer. The 78 points by the Bobcats was the fewest the Knicks have allowed this season.
At 6-12, the Knicks had to come away with a win. Now they can put their recent skid behind them and focus on stringing a few good games together. If they can't do that, this win won't mean anything.
Knicks vs. Cavs
New York doesn't have much time to enjoy their latest win. They continue their road trip tonight as they head to Cleveland. It won't be the easy game it might have seemed like before the season started. The Cavs haven't been awful this year and the Knicks can't take any games for granted with the way they've played of late.
Cleveland has been decent against the lower echelon of the NBA, going 6-4 against teams that failed to make the playoffs a year ago. Like it or not, the Knicks are in the lower echelon.
If the Knicks share the ball like they did last night, they'll win this game. They're more talented than the Cavs, even if they're record doesn't reflect it.
It's only one game, but Carmelo Anthony showed an unselfishness that could be the key to New York correcting their offensive woes. Melo backed up his words against Charlotte. I wouldn't be surprised to see another offensive outburst in Cleveland against a team that allows 99 points per game.
The Cavs have been scrappy this season and they should be able to keep it close. Kyrie Irving has been the best rookie of the early year and will probably continue that against New York. I just don't think it will be enough.
Knicks 98, Cavs 92
Nets vs. 76ers
Before the season started, the Nets were not a good basketball team. With their recent injuries, they're a very bad basketball team.
Things don't get any easier for New Jersey. After losing in Chicago, the Nets travel to Philadelphia to play a talented Sixers team.
The 76ers have been the surprise of the season. They've dominated games both offensively and defensively. They're the most balanced team in the league, with seven different players averaging at least 10 points per game. That's too many weapons for the Nets to stop.
MarShon Brooks missed Monday's game with a sore Achilles and is listed as a game-time decision. The Nets' offense has been one of the worst in the league and they need all the help they can get. The Sixers have one of the leagues' best defenses. They should have no trouble slowing down New Jersey, especially if Brooks isn't active.
The Nets haven't beaten a team with a winning record. Philly has only one loss to teams with losing records. The 76ers should take care of business in this one.
76ers 101, Nets 87.