The Knicks can now breathe a long sigh of relief. They finally did what they were supposed to and blew a bad team out of the building as they rolled into Time Warner Cable Arena and put a whooping on the Bobcats.
The theme of the night was rebounding. The Knicks out-rebounded Charlotte 53 to 33 and they were led by Tyson Chandler‘s 17 boards, including 8 offensive. Chandler had a monster night, also finishing with 20 points in the blowout win. He was 9-10 from the floor.
Also chipping in with an excellent game in the rebounding department was Carmelo Anthony, who finished the game with 11 boards. That was pretty much it for Melo though, as he went 0-7 from the field and finished with a career-low 1 point. While it’s disconcerting to see him have that poor of a night scoring, it was encouraging to see him moving the ball, making the extra pass and not being a black whole that sucked all the shots into his orbit. The Knicks as a team shared the ball very well, collecting 26 assists on 39 baskets, an excellent ratio. Conversely, the Bobcats were assisted on just 10 of their 27 made field goals.
Also struggling from the field were Bill Walker and Iman Shumpert, who went a combined 2-15. Shumpert missed three lay-ups and a dunk. He did not have a strong game. It might be time for a move to the bench for the rookie, despite his strong outing against Denver last week. He’s clearly not a point guard, and that’s throwing off some of the rest of his game. If you move him off the ball and let him be a scorer on the second unit, he can start getting back in a groove. He’s got all the talent in the world, but he’s being mis-used right now, and you don’t want him to form bad habits. Get the kid back at the 2-guard position.
Amar’e Stoudemire had a strong game in the wake of his name surfacing in trade rumors yesterday. He had 18 points and 8 rebounds and looked as fresh and spry as he had all season. He threw down a couple of big time dunks and looked to have his explosiveness back, even if just for tonight. He only wound up taking 12 shots, but his minutes were down and for the most part he was much more involved in the offense when he was on the court tonight than in the last few games. If Amar’e can get back to playing good basketball, that’s obviously a huge development for the Knicks.
Let’s see, what else? Jared Jeffries hit a couple of outside shots early in the game and then of course took one of the ugliest shots in the history of basketball to realign the universe later on. Steve Novak was 3-3 from the three point line, Jeremy Lin got to spin and put up 8 points of his own, Toney Douglas looked more confident than he has in a while and Jerome Jordan had a monster jam in garbage time.
That’s really about it, other than to qualify all of this optimism by reminding you that the Bobcats are not a very good basketball team. They were also missing D.J. Augustin and Corey Maggette, two of their (sadly) best players. Next up for the Knicks are the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are finishing up a game against the Miami Heat as I type this. Of course, the Knicks also take on the Heat on Friday. Kyrie Irving should provide a nice test for either Shumpert or Baron Davis if that latter returns from injury. The rookie number one pick is off to a terrific start to the season.