Sunday, November 18, 2012



The Knicks were able to put Thursday night's beating behind them and came out composed and intense.  Over the last decade the Knicks were immature and unable to maintain focus after tough losses.  This year's camaraderie off the court has been great.  More importantly, they are buying into Woodson's philosophy and trust in each other on and off the court.  The defense - which is all effort, awareness, and teamwork - was incredible; the Pacers scored 20 or less points in 3 quarters.

The x-factors in today's game were turnovers and rebounding.  The Pacers are at the top of the league in boards per game, and the Knicks have been out-rebounded in every game prior to today despite their 6-1 record over that stretch.  New York out-rebounded the Pacers 48-47 with contributions from Carmelo, Tyson, JR, and Rasheed.  Additionally, the Knicks were +11 in the turnover margin, a key indicator of the result of the game.  Felton was especially efficient, dishing out 8 assists without turning the ball over.

Carmelo was great today; 26 points on 22 shots isn't great but he got to the line a lot and had a few second chance opportunities that he cashed in on.  He had 4 offensive rebounds and either scored or drew a foul each time.  His 40%  completion percentage is a skewed stat because he missed a few layups and got the offensive rebound before putting it back in.  Melo was 7/8 from the line and was efficient throughout the game, regardless of the stat line.

Frankly, Melo has been much more consistent all season long.  He's still getting his points, but he's also getting offensive rebounds and hockey-assists (which don't show up on the stat sheet), and is playing tough defense.  If the Knicks want to be a legit contender this spring, this is the type of ball and attitude that Melo needs to play with all year long.

The Knicks were dominant in the Garden again today.  It's been a very small sample size, but they've won by double-digits all four games at MSG this season.  The pulse of the city is awesome; the Melo trade re-energized Knicks fans and the fact that the Knicks look like they are for real is going to make Madison Square Garden a tough place for opponents to play all year long.

The Knicks get a much-needed day-off tomorrow before heading on another tough 3-game road trip.  They play in New Orleans, Dallas, and Houston between Tuesday and Friday. Knicks fans should be riding high after this 7-1 start.

*I will be coming out with my take on how Woodson should deploy STAT when he is healthy and a comparison/what-if of the Kidd/Felton vs. Lin situation this week.

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