Friday, October 12, 2012

Knicks Take Preseason Opener in Washington

Thursday, October 11, 2012
Final Score: New York Knicks: 108 Washington Wizards: 101
Knicks Take Preseason Opener in Washington
In what is out of character for a Mike Woodson led team, the Knicks did not have to rely on defense tonight as they scored at a ferocious pace in beating the Wizards 108-101.  The first preseason game saw the Knicks knock down 18 of 33 three point attempts, good for 54.5 percent.

The Knicks got off to a hot start tonight, as Raymond Felton was working the pick-and-roll game fluently with Tyson Chandler.  The Knicks scored 38 points off 11 assists, four of which were from Felton, in the first quarter which ended with the Knicks up 17. 

Felton, whose conditioning has been called into question, looked to be in great shape last night, running the offense well and pushing the tempo when needed.  He showed great explosion and looked like he could have played a full compliment of minutes. 

For as good as the first quarter went, the second quarter was bad.  The starting lineup in the second quarter was Felton, Pablo Prigioni, John Shurna, Steve Novak and Chris Copeland, an average lineup at best that has a very small likelihood of being on the court in regular season play.  The Wizards took advantage of the Knicks lineup, racking up a 22-0 run to start the quarter and get them back in the game. 

The pick-and-roll options were no where to be seen, as Chandler was getting a rest and Amar’e Stoudemire and Marcus Camby were both out with injuries.  The Knicks offense became very stagnant in the second quarter, as they settled for too many jump shots and allowed the Wizards to get into a rhythm and get back into the game. 

The game was close until the fourth quarter, when the Knicks, specifically Steve Novak, J.R. Smith and Prigioni started to heat up and light it up from distance.

Novak was a big difference maker in the game, as he continued right where he left off last season as the best 3 point shooter in the NBA, going 7 for 7 from downtown.  Novak led the Knicks in scoring tonight, totaling 21 points.  Carmelo Anthony, who rested for long portions of the game, totaled 17 points thanks mostly to a strong opening quarter ands taking the Knicks to an early lead.

Anthony will be someone to keep an eye on this season.  He is now the most prominent player in the NBA without a ring with Lebron James winning his first last season and has a lot of people to prove wrong.  Could that change this season?

Anthony is said to be in the best shape of his career, after winning another Olympic gold medal this summer.  Anthony is also healthy this season, as last year he battled through right thumb and left wrist injuries that played into him losing accuracy on his shot.  If Anthony can bring the perimeter shooting from the Olympics with him to the Knicks, he will be a major headache for opposing defenses.  It will be yet another weapon in the arsenal for the Knicks and Mike Woodson to put to use.

The injury report for the Knicks tonight was pretty lengthy, with Stoudemire sitting out with a bruised knee, Camby out with a left calf strain, James White with a sore right hamstring, Rasheed Wallace with a lack of conditioning and Ronnie Brewer, Iman Shumpert and Chris Smith all with knee-related injuries. 

Next up for the Knicks is a visit to the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut to take on the rival Boston Celtics on October 13 at 7:30 P.M.

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