Friday, December 14, 2012

Top Moments of the Year

Go to and check out the rest of the top twenty moments of 2012 in New York Sports.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What to Watch For: New York Knicks vs. Brooklyn Nets December 11

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012
Pre Game News and Notes
New York Knicks vs. Brooklyn Nets

The Knicks will look to get some revenge in round two of the Battle of the Boroughs as they travel to Brooklyn to take on the Nets.  The first time around, the Nets won a hard fought overtime game 96-89.  In the first meeting, it was the Knicks who were not at full strength; tonight it will be the Nets who will be playing short-handed.  Here are some things to watch tonight:

-Jason Kidd in the Lineup

In the first matchup of the season, the Knicks were without guard Jason Kidd.  Thankfully, this time they will have Kidd at their disposal and he should assume his regular role in the starting lineup. 

Without Kidd in the lineup, the Knicks offense struggled; the ball movement was stagnant and the offense was over reliant on isolations, especially with Carmelo Anthony.  With Kidd in the lineup, the ball movement is crisper and everyone is on top of their game.

Kidd also brings veteran intangibles that are irreplaceable for the Knicks.  He is 39 years old, but he has the hands of a 24 year old and can still make things happen on the defensive end of the court and still makes precision passes not every point guard is capable of. 

-Attack the Paint

The Nets this time will be the team without a key piece in their lineup, as starting center Brook Lopez will miss the game with a foot injury.  It will be the sixth straight game that Lopez misses, meaning Andray Blatche will take over at center for the Nets tonight again.

The Nets are 1-4 without Lopez in the lineup, with their only win coming against a lowly Orlando Magic squad.  The Nets will also have Reggie Evans in the starting lineup, replacing Kris Humphries to try and replace the defense lost with Lopez sitting out.

Without Lopez in the lineup, the Nets are allowing 11.5 more points per game; 102.2 without Lopez compared to 90.7 with him.  The shooting percentages also see a drastic change without Lopez in the lineup, as the Nets are allowing teams to shoot 50.7 percent from the field without him compared to 44.9 with him. 
Blatche has filled in admirably for Lopez, scoring 17.2 points per game to go along with 9.8 rebounds, but he leaves a lot to be desired on the defensive end, blocking only 0.4 shots per game compared to the 2.5 Lopez provides.

-Bench Play

With the injuries the Nets have, their starting lineup will be shifted around much like the Knicks in the first meeting.  That means that their bench is weakened, meaning the Knicks have to take advantage.

Since Lopez has been out, the productivity of the Nets bench players has suffered as well.  Jerry Stackhouse has been shooting 30.4 percent from the field and C.J Watson is averaging only 1.5 assists and shooting 37.5 percent.

The Knicks bench has been coming alive of late, with Steve Novak finding his touch and Rasheed Wallace giving strong minutes as well.  J.R. Smith has struggled with his shot recently, but the effort he gives on defense and how he fills other stats still helps the Knicks.

With the Nets lineup change, the Knicks now have the superior bench and will have to take advantage as they cannot rely on Anthony, Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler solely to carry the offense.  

Monday, December 10, 2012

Run Game, Defense Propel Jets to Victory

Sunday, December 9th, 2012
Post Game Recap
Final Score: New York Jets: 17 Jacksonville Jaguars: 10
Run Game Propels Jets to Victory

The New York Jets were able to overcome an ugly first half yesterday and pull out a victory against the woeful Jaguars 17-10 Sunday afternoon in Jacksonville.  A dominant run game mixed with a dominant third down defense equaled a victory for the Jets, who are on their first winning streak of the season. 

The Jets are capitalizing on their weak schedule right now, keeping alive their slim playoff chances as they moved to one game under .500 with a 6-7 record.  The critics will be quiet, at least for one week, as the quarterback controversy can be put to sleep as Mark Sanchez led the Jets to the win.

For at least another week, Sanchez has staved off a benching, as he bounced back from a rough start.  The play calling was ultra conservative, as Sanchez was relegated to handing it off most of the afternoon and was not able to air it out. 

This is not a cure-all win by any standards for Sanchez or Rex Ryan for that matter, as Sanchez still showed skittishness in the pocket and was only asked to make one big time throw; albeit he did complete that pass to Jeff Cumberland for 37 yards on third down to seal the win. 

Ryan did show confidence in Sanchez though just with his pre-game lineups, as he chose to start him and dress Tim Tebow as the backup, moving Greg McElroy back to third string; Tebow didn’t play a single snap as he is still battling through rib injuries.

It wasn’t the greatest played game by Sanchez, but he did not implode in the fashion he has been accustomed to at times this season.  He did a good job of handing the ball off to the Jets running backs, who had a very successful day on the ground and wore the Jaguars defense down.

Sanchez finished the game with 111 passing yards on 12 of 19 attempts.  He did not throw a touchdown or interception, but fumbled once for his 19th turnover of the season.

The Jets running game this week was a two-headed monster led by Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell.  Each running back scored a touchdown and combined for 166 yards on 39 carries; 77 on 20 carries for Greene and 78 on 19 carries for Powell, as the Jets have moved into an equal time share at running back.

The Jets terrible luck of injuries continued Sunday as well, as rookie wide receiver Stephen Hill suffered what is thought to be a serious knee injury.  Hill slipped on a wet spot on the grass and television replays showed a gruesome scene.  An ACL injury would be awful for Hill, who has struggled at times but is a big part of the Jets future.  An injury like this would most likely sideline him through workouts and preseason, something a young player benefits greatly from participating in.

With the injuries, the Jets were without their top three receiving threats in Hill, Santonio Holmes and Dustin Keller.  This in turn forced the Jets to use an underwhelming receiving crew of other team’s castoffs and practice squad players.

The Jets defense was dominant once again, but it is nothing that was not expected.  They were facing off against an already bad offense, was also injury ridden as well.  The Jaguars were down to their second string quarterback, fourth string running back and their top receiver missed the game with injury. 

For a second straight week though, the Jets owned third down, allowing the Jaguars to convert only two of 16 attempts.  They also put immense pressure on Chad Henne, the Jaguars quarterback, sacking him three times and hitting him on multiple occasions with a vast array of blitzes and coverage schemes.

Next up for the Jets is another road game, this time on Monday Night Football against the Tennessee Titans.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Knicks Continue Strong Play at MSG

Sunday, December 9th, 2012
Post Game Recap
Final Score: Denver Nuggets: 106 New York Knicks: 112
Knicks Stay Undefeated with Hard Fought Victory

In his first game back after a two game absence, Carmelo Anthony returned to the court, helping the Knicks back into the win column.  With the victory, the Knicks continued their home winning streak, winning all their home games thus far this season.  Under Mike Woodson, the Knicks are 19-1 at home in the regular season.  Also, the Knicks continued an amazing stretch in which they have only lost back-to-back games in the regular season only once.


  • Anthony struggled early, but got his shot going when the Knicks needed it most; Anthony missed 12 of his first 17 shots. The fourth quarter Anthony finished strong, going five of seven and scoring nine key points as the Knicks were able to hold off a scrappy Nuggets squad.  Anthony finished with 34 points and six rebounds, going 10 of 24 from the field and 11 of 16 from the foul line.  Anthony showed tonight how much he really means to this Knicks team and how much a team can benefit from having a superstar to close out games.

  • The ball security was at a premium for the Knicks coming into the game, as the Nuggets thrive in the open court and on fast breaks.  The Knicks were able to limit those opportunities by turning the ball over only nine times.  When the Knicks turn the ball over 12 times or less, they are now 13-0; but when they turn it over 13 times or more they are 2-5.  The Knicks shot poorly from the field, at only 43 percent, but was able to make up for that by not turning the ball over. 

  • The Nuggets came into the game as one of the top rebounding teams in the NBA with players like Kenneth Faried and JaVale McGee in the middle.  Without Rasheed Wallace tonight and Marcus Camby, the Knicks were dangerously thin up front with only Tyson Chandler and Kurt Thomas, equaling a potentially disastrous situation on the boards.  The Knicks weren’t having any of that though, as they were outrebounded by the Nuggets by only one, 40-39, thanks to a dominant performance by Chandler with a game high 12 and a surprising nine from J.R. Smith.

  • Jason Kidd was amazing for the Knicks tonight, showing that age is just a number once again.  As Alan Hahn has said plenty of times, Kidd’s body is 39 years old but his hands are still 24.  Kidd was instrumental in the Knicks coming back tonight and holding onto the lead.  He made timely baskets and led the Knicks with seven assists.  The Knicks look much better on the court when Kidd plays.

  • Chandler continued his spirited play Sunday night, playing with tenacity and energy knowing the Knicks really needed him with Wallace and Camby both sitting out; he responded with another double-double, his eighth of the season.  Chandler finished with 15 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks, changing the Nuggets shots on numerous occasions. 


  • The Knicks struggled from the free throw line tonight, but thankfully it did not hurt them at the end.  Even when struggling from the line, going 36 for 27, they made more free throws than the Nuggets, who went 21 for 29.  If the Knicks had knocked down more free throws, the end of the game would not have been so close and in question.  Five of the misses came from Anthony in the first half before he got going and into the flow of the game.

  • The Knicks got pounded in the paint tonight also, as Chandler was the only big man along with Thomas the Knicks had to employ tonight.  The Knicks were able to keep the Nuggets off the boards pretty efficiently, but they allowed the Nuggets to live in the paint; they scored 62 points in the paint, compared to only 32 for the Knicks. 

  • The Knicks were able to pull the game out night, but it should not have been this close.  The combination of poor defense (the Nuggets shot 55.6 percent from the field) and poor shooting (43.0 percent from the field for the Knicks) goes together like oil and vinegar.  Nonetheless, the Knicks scored when they needed to and got the stops that were necessary in picking up the victory tonight.

Next up for the Knicks is round two in the Battle of the Boroughs as the Knicks head to Brooklyn to take on the Nets Tuesday night and will look to exact some revenge from the loss earlier in the season the Nets handed them.

Wilson has career day in Giants 52-27 win over Saints

Twenty minutes before the Giants and Saints kicked off Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins completed their comebacks to get within a half game of the Giants.

Now the Giants were officially in a must win game.

After Eli Manning threw his 14th career interception returned for a touchdown, MetLife stadium was about as quiet as it has ever been. Manning threw a pass behind Jerrel Jernigan, and Saints corner Elbert Mack picked it off and took it back for six.

On the ensuing kickoff, the stadium erupted as the speedy rookie David Wilson took the kick back 97 yards to tie the game at seven.

The Saints then handed the ball back to the Giants after Saints fullback Jed Collins was stripped by Antrel Rolle.

Manning led the Giants on a 35 yard scoring drive capped by a touchdown pass to tight end Martellus Bennett.

The Saints made it a one point game with back to back field goals, but Eli and the Giants offense executed another one of their patented two minute drives. Manning found Domenik Hixon in the back right corner of the end zone to give the Giants a 21-13 lead at the half.

The Giants defense, who played with a bend but don't break mentality, stepped up and forced two more turnovers in the second half.

Stevie Brown intercepted Drew Brees' first pass of the second half after it was deflected by Antrel Rolle and Jimmy Graham. Brown's sixth pick of the season set up a David Wilson touchdown to make it 28-13 Giants early in the third.

Trailing 35-13 in the third quarter the Saints put together a quick scoring drive ending with a Darren Sproles touchdown to cut the lead to 35-20. The Saints picked off Eli Manning again, and another Darren Sproles score made it an eight point game.

On the ensuing kickoff, the Saints kicked it short to keep it away from the speedy Wilson, but Jerrel Jernigan took the return deep into Saints territory to set up a Victor Cruz touchdown and give the Giants a 42-27 lead.

The Saints threatened to cut into the Giants lead, but Stevie Brown picked off his second pass of the game at the Giant eight yard line, and returned it 70 yards down to the Saints twenty two yard line.

Up 45-27 in the fourth, the Giants let their first round draft pick display his talents in the backfield.

David Wilson broke through the Saints defense and ran 52 yards for his second rushing touchdown of the night.

Wilson finished the night with a franchise record 327 total yards (100 rushing and 227 return yards) and three total touchdowns.

Victor Cruz had another big game for the Big Blue pulling in passes for 121 yards and a touchdown.

Eli Manning, who looked shaky at points in the game, finished 22 of 35 for 259 yards, four scores, and two picks.

Drew Brees threw threw for 354 yards, and hit eight differen receivers, but also threw two more interceptions. Brees has thrown 16 interceptions this season, two more than he threw all of last year.

If there was a game ball to be handed out tonight it would most certainly go to rookie David Wilson, but Wilson would have to share that with his kick return squad for opening up those lanes for him.

The Giants are 8-5 and maintain their one game lead in the NFC East with three games to go.

The Giants will travel to the Georgia Dome next week to take on the Matt Ryan and the 11-2 Falcons.

Dallas will host the Pittsburgh Steelers while the Redskins travel to Cleveland.

What to Watch For: Denver Nuggets vs. New York Knicks December 9

Sunday, December 9, 2012
Pre Game News and Notes
Denver Nuggets vs. New York Knicks

The Knicks saw firsthand Saturday night how tough life can be without Carmelo Anthony and his return could not come soon enough.  Tonight will be the end of a four games in five nights stretch for the Knicks before getting a lengthy stay at home, as they will get to stay in New York for the next 16 days.  But before then, they have to take care of business against the Nuggets; here are some things to watch for:

-Will Melo Suit Up?

Carmelo Anthony has missed the last two games because of a laceration on his left middle finger that required five stitches and the Knicks went 1-1.  Anthony warmed up prior to both games, but decided to sit as the bandage caused Anthony discomfort; he was also unable to catch the ball with both hands.

Unlike the other two games, Anthony has something to prove tonight as the Knicks will be playing against his former team in the Denver Nuggets. 

Anthony is warming up again prior to the game tonight, with a noticeably smaller bandage on his finger.  He is also catching the ball with less of a problem and going through low post moves; I would say there is a high probability he suits up tonight.

-Return to MSG

In the trade for Anthony, the Knicks sent multiple players packing.  Raymond Felton has returned to play for the Knicks, but the others are not as lucky.  Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov and Wilson Chandler will all be returning to the first place they called home in the NBA. 

Chandler will not be playing because of injury, but Gallinari and Mozgov will be suiting up.  Gallinari is coming to the Garden this time on a cold streak; having shot only five of 20 in his last two games and is shooting a putrid 37.5 percent on the season.

Returning to MSG might bring out the best in Gallinari though, as last season in a double overtime victory Gallinari scored 37 points and pulled down 11 rebounds.

-Felton Bounce Back

Felton has been relied upon heavily by the Knicks with Anthony sitting out because of injury.  He scored a team high 27 points in both games; each being much different 27 point games. 

Felton was super efficient Thursday, knocking down a career high six three pointers, but was off Saturday making only nine of his 30 attempts.  Which Felton will show up tonight?

Felton will have his hands full again in guarding the blur that is Nuggets’ point guard Ty Lawson.  You know Felton will bring his A game though, as he will be motivated to play against his former team and bounce back from his poor performance last night.

Knicks Drop Sloppy Game in Chicago

Saturday, December 8, 2012
Post Game Recap
Final Score: New York Knicks: 85 Chicago Bulls: 93
Knicks Drop Sloppy Game in Chicago

The Knicks dropped a tough, hard fought and sloppy game in Chicago Saturday night, falling to the Bulls 93-85.  It was the fourth game in five nights for the Bulls and third in four nights for the Knicks; it showed as both teams looked tired, having trouble knocking down shots and struggling to get anything going.
The Bulls came into the game sporting the best rated defense, and it showed as the Knicks shot only 32.1 percent from the field.  As expected, the Bulls out-rebounded the Knicks, but the margin was much closer than expected at 47-40 in favor of the Bulls.  Here are some positives and negatives from the game tonight:

  •             James White gave the Knicks good minutes off the bench again with Carmelo Anthony sitting out with a laceration to his left middle finger that required five stitches.  White was rewarded with 13 more minutes tonight after 17 against Miami Thursday and made the most of them.  White finished with a team high +10 +/- and gave the Knicks a good defensive effort, doing a solid job on Luol Deng for the portions he was in the game.
  •            Tyson Chandler was again a monster in the middle for the Knicks, grabbing a season high 18 rebounds to go along with 14 points.  Chandler also showed up big time on the defensive end like Knick fans have become accustomed to seeing, taking his counter-part for the night Joakim Noah out of the game and out playing him.  Noah scored 10 points and had 11 rebounds, but turned the ball over a career high nine times.  It is an impressive feat for Chandler, as Noah came off a career game Friday in which he went for 30 points and 23  rebounds and added six assists.
  •             Kurt Thomas again put in a strong effort for the Knicks.  He does not play many minutes,   but you know what you are going to get when he is on the court.  Thomas also helps the Knicks in areas they are weak in, like rebounding.  The Knicks were outrebounded by the Bulls tonight, but they showed effort and energy in attacking the glass even though they were under-manned and lacking some size.  The Knicks were paced by Chandler’s 18 rebounds.

  •          The offense lacked without Anthony tonight.  The Knicks were unable to find a consistent scoring threat, as no one had the hot hand for the Knicks tonight.  Against the Heat, the Knicks relied on the pick-and-roll; against the Bulls they had no such success.  Because of this, the Knicks were unable to get many open looks from the perimeter, making only eight three pointers compared to the 12.1 per game they had been making entering the game.

  •          J.R. Smith once again struggled, unable to pick up the slack left with Anthony being injured.  It wasn’t for an effort of trying for Smith, as he took 14 shots, eight of which were three pointers, but made only four shots and two from long range.  Smith also struggled with his handle tonight, turning the ball over five times.
  •          Ball Security was not where it needed to be for the Knicks tonight, as they turned the ball over 15 times.  The Bulls scored 14 points off the Knicks turnovers and the lack of cohesion led to a stagnant offense that the Knicks could never get going.  The defensive pressure put on by the Bulls definitely played a part, but some of the struggles for the Knicks tonight were self-inflicted.
  •         Raymond Felton put on a masterful performance Thursday against the Heat, but he struggled some against the Bulls.  With Anthony out, the onus fell upon Felton to carry the offense, leading to Felton taking 30 shots from the field.  Felton was able to only make nine of his attempts, scoring 27 points but not doing it efficiently.  Felton said after the game that taking 30 shots is not something he wants to do often.  Not to make excuses for him, but he was hit on his injured left hand early in the game and could have affected him as the game went on.