On a night where the Knicks got some devastating news, they stood up against adversity together; as a group. For those of you who haven’t heard, Amar’e Stoudemire is having a procedure done on his knee that will cause him to miss at least 6 weeks. It is the same procedure he had done on his right knee, only this time it will be done on his left knee. This news comes at a time where Stoudemire’s game was finally in full swing. He was showcasing possibly the best stretch of offensive efficiency of his career, and he finally looked like he was “getting” it defensively. However, with Carmelo Anthony already sidelined with a bum knee, the Knicks would be without both of their stars Saturday night. To that they said, no problem. They went ahead and mopped the floor with the Utah Jazz. They beat them by a score of 113-84. As usual, the Knicks started out slowly finding themselves in an early hole, 11-4. Before you knew it the Knicks went on a 15-0 run, and the rest is history. It truly was a team effort as the Knicks had 5 players in double figures. Kenyon Martin filled in very nicely in Amare’s absence, and the Knicks could use more solid play from Martin the rest of the way. Steve Novak also added 5 3-pointers. The best part of this victory was the style of defense the Knicks played. Each and every member of the Knicks was swarming around the ball and forcing turnovers left and right. It is that style of play that the Knicks must continue in order to make some noise in the Eastern Conference (especially when Melo returns). With Carmelo out of the lineup it seems that the Knicks will have to turn to J.R. Smith as their leading scorer. As long as Smith can continue to attack the basket, he should be up for the task. The problem with Smith is when he becomes a ball handler or confuses himself with Steve Novak, he gets into trouble. For example, when he dribbles too much, he makes poor decisions. And when he decides to strictly be a shooter, we get to see the ugly side of Smith’s game. He is far too streaky to carry a team like the Knicks on his back while shooting 10 or more times from outside the arc. All in all it was an inspiring performance the Knicks put forth against the Jazz. Not only did they show the rest of the league they can win without their two stars, they showed that they can demolish a playoff contender. We shall see if the Knicks can continue their solid play Monday night at 10:30. The Knicks will be in Golden State to take on the Warriors. This is the first game on their treacherous 5 game road trip.
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