Wednesday night, everyone had the privilege of witnessing the best game of the NBA season. The New York Knicks took on the Golden State Warriors and Madison Square Garden once again proved why it is the ‘World’s Most Famous Arena’. Anyone who visits the Garden brings their A game. They want to showcase their skills on the brightest of stages. Jordan used to get up for games at the Garden, Kobe always brings it at the Garden, and most recently Lebron has shown that the Garden is a venue made for stars to shine. Last night, we were all witness to the greatest individual performance of the NBA season, so far. Stephen Curry showcased his skills in last night’s game and showed the world that he is an emerging superstar. In case you missed it, Curry’s night went a little something like this: 54 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds, and 3 steals. Curry also played all 48 minutes of last night’s game. He was 7-7 from the free throw line and went 18-28 from the field, including AN AMAZING 11-13 from 3-point range. He was launching shots from everywhere and they all kept finding the bottom of the net. Granted the Knicks should have started doubling Curry the second he got hot, but I’ll get back to that. Curry has one of the smoothest jumpers in the game today. He also requires very little space to get a shot off, and his release is lightning quick. Add that to an impressive handle, and you have yourself a nightmare match-up. As for his impact on last night’s game, he single-handedly kept the Warriors in the game (why do you think he played all 48 minutes even though he was in foul trouble?). Without his performance the Warriors would have been blown out. This goes to show you just how well the Knicks executed last night.
The Knicks won the game 109-105 in an absolute thriller. I thought the Knicks played a really good all around game. They had a well balanced scoring attack with 5 players scoring in double figures, and I saw something I’ve been begging for all year. As written in many of my previous articles, the Knicks have played their best basketball when Carmelo Anthony penetrates, attracts a double team, and finds the open man (most notably Amar’e wide open under the hoop for easy dunks). Now Melo took 26 shots so he still got his, but he also had a season high 8 assists. Everyone and their mama knows that when Melo gets the ball on the wing he is going to shoot it. However, if he puts the ball on the floor and starts taking it to the rack more often, he will either score at the basket, draw a foul, or draw a double/triple team leaving someone WIDE open. This is a recipe for success for this Knicks team. Now if only Jason Kidd could shoot a basketball, the Knicks would have another offensive option. At this point, you might as well bring John Starks out of retirement and put him in for Kidd. See, with Kidd it is not a question of ability (he is 3rd all time in 3 point field goals), it is a mental thing. Right now his confidence is shattered, and honestly he looks like a broken man. A fan who called into the Michael Kaye show yesterday said it best, “Jason Kidd is out there looking like he’s playing hot potato with the basketball.” Yeah, that about sums it up. Hey, quick question, who told Kidd that he has to keep shooting 3’s?!?!? Jason, here’s a wild thought: take 3 or 4 steps in and try making some 15 footers. Maybe when you gain some confidence there, you can inch your way back outside and continue launching 25 footers at will. As for last night, the player of the game on the Knicks was Tyson Chandler, hands down. Chandler had 16 points to go along with his 28 rebounds!! He brought everything to the floor that the Knicks desperately need to win; physical play, defense, and rebounding. He set the tone early grabbing 13 rebounds in the first quarter, and the rest of the Knicks seemed to feed off of his energy. Iman Shumpert found himself in foul trouble, but his intensity on the defensive end continues to improve night by night. Amar’e Stoudemire’s offensive efficiency continued as well, but his defense is still nothing to write home about. The Knicks success often relies on the streaky shooting of J.R. Smith, and last night Smith was on target, adding 26 points on 10 of 19 shooting. On the other hand, Raymond Felton’s shooting woes continued (as his poor shooting has been overshadowed by Jason Kidd’s efforts), but he came up with the big plays down the stretch to seal the game for the Knicks. The Knicks were lit up by Stephen Curry and gave up 105 points, but it was their defense that made the difference in the game. Down the stretch, they finally figured out that they should be double teaming Curry. Once they did that, they forced other players on the Warriors to beat them, and let’s just say they weren’t up to the task. Also, when the game was coming down to the wire, Felton forced a couple of key turnovers and came up with a HUGE steal off of a Warriors inbound pass that pretty much sealed the game. Overall I think there are a lot of positive things to take away from this victory. The Knicks stood up at the sign of adversity and were the last men standing when the final buzzer sounded. You can catch the Knicks in their next game Friday night @ 7:00 P.M. They will be in Washington as they take on the Wizards and look to start another winning streak as they have now won 2 games in a row.
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