11/15/2012 - KNICKS 104, SPURS 100
The Knicks have won the last 3 games by closing out games with authority. The Knicks held the Magic to 13 points in the final period on Tuesday. They were even more impressive tonight; they outscored the Spurs by 8 and finished the game with a 22-11 run with huge 3-pointers by Jason Kidd and JR Smith and a tremendous effort by Ray Felton overall.
New York used Melo, who was drawing double and triple teams all night, as a decoy. Contributions from Brewer and Wallace in the first half, Kidd in the 4th, and Felton and JR Smith for pockets throughout the game. The Knicks had 7 players with 9 points and 8 players that went at least 15 minutes. Felton was brilliant on offense at times. Jason Kidd hit two huge 3s back-to-back in the fourth quarter to cut the 12 point deficit in half. JR Smith has proven to be a more consistent threat on offense; although he may take some awful shots (see late 3rd/early 4th), he has a knack for making tough shots and big shots.
Glen Grunwald and Mike Woodson used the Spurs' model for building this year's roster. Veteran depth and tough, smart, crafty scorers and defenders up and down the bench. Even when Melo scores less than 10 points, the Knicks had an efficient offense. They put Kidd in at the end of the game to manage the flow and keep everyone composed. They put in Felton when they need a spark and know he can take Tony Parker off the dribble. JR Smith gets big minutes because he can turn on the switch and score points in streaks. When Melo is the focal point of the defensive strategy like he was tonight, help defense breaks down and lanes open up for everyone else. Kudos to Woodson for managing minutes effectively and to GM Grunwald for putting the right role players around Melo and Chandler.
Showdown in Memphis
Memphis is a big, tough, talented team that are right behind the Spurs, Lakers, and Thunder in the West. This will be a tough match-up in a rowdy environment and I am curious to see how physical the Knicks can be after an exhausting effort like tonight's.