About Last Night: Knicks Show No Fear

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Next time you’ll listen when Amar’e Stoudemire tells you the Knicks are not afraid of the Miami Heat.

The Knicks showed no fear at Madison Square Garden in battling from behind and then out playing the Heat down the stretch on TNT last night. It was the sort of performance that exposes all the reasons why these Knicks, with a key addition (Carmelo Anthony) here or there, could be trouble for the rest of the Eastern Conference come playoff time and beyond.

When people try to simplify this win for the Knicks by pointing out that Mario Chalmers missed a wide open shot that could have tied the game in the final seconds and that the Knicks just took care of business late, they are doing a disservice to the home team.

The Knicks snatched this game, using that 17-8 fourth-quarter surge to turn back Dwyane Wade and LeBron James at crunch time. Those four straight 3-pointers during the run, two each from Danilo Gallinari and Landry Fields, proved to be the difference as the Knicks doubled the Heat’s fourth quarter production.

Predictably, many of those that witnessed the game in person made it about James, his off night and the fact that he didn’t help Wade finish, Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News:

Meet LeBron, mortal.

This was James as Garden fans have never seen him before.

While Dwyane Wade wore goggles, James seemed to be playing with a blindfold on as the Knicks posted a surprising 93-88 victory Thursday night.

James was never this bad when his old buddy out in Cleveland, Dan Gilbert, accused him of tanking Cavalier playoff games.

Here was LeBron’s line: 24 points on 7-of-24 shooting.

“I missed 10 or 12 layups and I made some difficult shots,” James said. “That’s when you know it’s one of those games, when you make hard ones and miss the easy ones.”

We never remember Michael Jordan uttering those words as he was leaving New York.

But that’s not what made the biggest impression on us after this game. This was about Stoudemire making good on his claim that the Knicks, a solid but not great team filled with young talent that is still evolving, would not back down.

It was about these youngsters, Fields and Gallo, refusing to step aside for the hype and the Heat. And it was about Stoudemire solidifying his reputation as the head Knick in charge. He got the big win on the same night he was became the Knicks’ first All-Star starter since Patrick Ewing in 1992.

This is what Spike Lee and all those Knicks loyalists have been waiting for — a reason to believe in their team, a star to carry the mantle of a proud franchise that has spent the last decade in limbo.

It probably looks like baby steps to some of you.

That’s fine.

But we see something more than that. The Knicks just might be on to something big, something that has the potential to get a whole lot bigger in the days, weeks, months and years ahead.

You’ve got to take the baby steps first. And the Knicks are getting those out of the way right now.


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  19. BasketballFan says:

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  21. K says:

    Okay, good win by the Knicks last night, not great but good. Here’s what I don’t understand, if Miami is not one of the elite teams and not really a true contender for this years NBA Championship; then why is it that everytime a team beats them ( the Heat), people start talking about that team should now be considered as a contender for a championship? I have never seen such a hatred for a team as I’ve seen for this Miami Heat team. This is truly the characteristic of “Us vs the World” for this Miami Heat team.

    I watched the game last night and here’s my assessment of that game. Miami loss because their coach (Spoelstra) offered absolutely no guides for them down the stretch. I counted on eight (8) straight posesession that Miami went down and run absolutely nothing resembling an offense. All eight (8) posessions lead to either LBJ or D-Wade going one on one and then ending the posession with a missed shot. It wasn’t until Fields 3 point shot that tied the game up at 77 that Spoelstra signaled for a timeout. Unfortunately by then, the damage had already been done.

    Until Miami’s coaching staff figures out an offense that will compliment the talent that they have been given, this team will continue to struggle. The NBA is too great of a league for any one player to be able to when by themself. The Heat have to develop true trust for one another. This team will never be able to compete for a championship if their only offensive sets are D-Wade going one on five or LBJ going one on five while everybody else just stands around watching.

    Last nights game was so frustrating to watch because in my opinion Spoelstra should have stopped that cramp long before he did. A coach’s job is only to make good decisions with play calling and ensure that you have the right personnel on the court to get the job done. You do not stand on the sideline with your thumb up your backside while your team crashes and burns. In the last posession when Chalmer missed the three point shot that would have tied the score; why is it that Eddie House was not on the floor? I have absolutely no problem with the shot because it was a wide open look. However, why do you have Mike Miller on the floor during that situation? I am a Mike Miller fan however; this guy is still hurt and with the exception of the game that he had against Toronto, he hasn’t show anything to make me believe that he is ready to come back an contribute anything consistently to this Miami Heat team. You put Eddie House in the game during that posession because that’s his job to be able to come of the bench ready to shoot. He’s being doing it his whole career. So, not trying to take anything away from the Knicks; good win. However, that loss belongs to Coach Spo more so then what the Knick did to win.

  22. LOL says:

    WOW…we learned a 100% healthy Knicks team can BARELY beat an 80 to 85% healthy James, a 90% healthy Wade, and no Bosh at all. Wow good stuff. Yea this game means ALOT, JUST to Knick fans. Not to mention Miami already blew them up when they were 100% 2 times in a row. So yea this game pretty much meant nada. Sorry bout it.

    • LOL says:

      And actually that 100% REALLY wasnt 100% with no Miller OR Udonis Haslem LOL.

      • HEATSUCK says:

        The Heat are going nowhere @LOL this game means that the Heat were not able to hold a lead and they LOST this game bottom line. the Heat SUCK 100% or not they are not going far without some role players to back up the super friends or super choke.

  23. Knicks33 says:

    How could you say Chandler will become superfluous if the Knicks get Carmelo, if they do get him, they will need someone to come off the bench to score points, grab rebounds, and play tough defense.

    In spite of his shooting percentage going down since there’s been talk of trading him, don’t forget he’s one of the major reasons the Knicks were winning before the slump. Chandler is a much better all around shooter, rebounder, and defensive player than Gallinari. Even though the Knicks website showcases Gallinari over Chandler, do you hear of any team wanting Gallinari over Chandler in a trade?

    • silverstream055 says:

      I agree that Chandler is currently a more valuable player than Gallinari, with a better all-around game. I didn’t say otherwise. But I actually think this is part of the reason that Chandler becomes superfluous when/if ‘Melo arrives. Chandler really is ‘Melo light — a guy who plays a similar game, but at a lesser level. He does not complement ‘Melo, he is at best a backup for ‘Melo. And he would be a very expensive backup since he is going to demand a big contract next season. Moreover, I’m guessing that Chandler would not be happy backing up ‘Melo, since ‘Melo is going to get the lion’s share of the minutes at his position.

      Gallinari is different, and so is his game. Gallo could complement ‘Melo — as a player who could hit 3’s from anywhere on the court (not just the corner) on kickouts from Carmelo (and also from Stoudemire). At 6’10”, Gallo rarely gets his 3-pointers blocked, and can see over defenders rushing to cover him on kickout passes. Gallo still has work to do on defense, but he’ll get better, and he has more length than most of the guys he will be guarding. Gallo could share time with Landry Fields at shooting guard, and could also backup Carmelo at small forward when needed (noting again that Carmelo is going to get most of the minutes at that position, barring foul trouble or injury). If it were up to me, and I had to give up either Chandler or Gallinari, I’d let go of Chandler first (for all the reasons given above), even though Chandler is the better all-around player….

  24. silverstream055 says:

    When he wants to be, Carmelo is a good defender and a good rebounder, as well as being a great scorer. On the Knicks, Carmelo would lift his game in all these areas, and would make the surrounding role players better, too. Carmelo would also take much of the pressure off Stoudemire to be “the man” every night, and would reduce the physical pounding that Stoudemire has been taking all too often.

    I like the Knicks’ young players (Landry Fields; D. Gallinari, Wilson Chandler) but none of them has Melo’s skill set or ability. If Carmelo joins the Knicks, I think Wilson Chandler becomes superfluous, and maybe Gallinari, too. If possible, I’d like the Knicks to keep Landry Fields, to start along with Felton, Carmelo, and Stoudemire. If the Knicks can then just get a big guy to get rebounds and play defense at the center position (no scoring necessary) they’d have a shot at an NBA championship (maybe even this season!) Maybe Timofey Mozgov could play this role by the end of this year (I know the Knick coaches are working with him daily). Or maybe the Knicks could pick up a veteran center cheap for the rest of the season. If not, perhaps get Tyson Chandler in the off-season, and shoot for the title next year.

    The Knicks are definitely on the upswing. Donnie Walsh is a smart guy and a good poker player. He’ll get Carmelo before the Feb 24 deadline, and give up as little as he can. Once that happens, the Knicks will become a team that can compete with anyone (and maybe even better than that…) Stay tuned!

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  26. Tha REAL Truth says:

    I agree Blak…Mike Dantoni is a great Coach and I have much respect for what he has done both in Phoenix and New York. He is a great offensive-minded Coach but in the NBA it is DEFENSE that goes far and wins championships!! The Knicks are a solid team and with Melo we would be even better but even still they would have to put an emphasis on defense cuz come playoff time that run and gun style of play might not be so effective (especially against elite teams like Boston and Orlando). Point blank, either replace Mike with a defensive minded coach like the bulls head coach Tom or get some assistant coaches with some defensive expertise cuz with this style of play I dont see the knicks getting out the first round of the playoffs (even with Melo)

    • Tha REAL Truth says:

      Also, although Turiaf does a solid job it would help alot to get another big body in there to help stoudamire get sum boards. My suggestion: Give Anthony Randolph some PT!!! Another thing I noticed is that the Knicks have Azubukie on the roster and he never plays either!? I remember when he used to be with Golden state n from what I remember he was pretty solid as well (has solid defense and can also knock down the three)…lets get it together Coaching staff!

  27. Blakpharoah says:

    The Knicks have been victims of inconsistency on the court and by their head coach. MDA seems to know what he is doing most of the time. However, he seems to get caught watching sometimes when he should be making changes; sometimes he makes changes when he shouldn’t. Case in point, Danilo was taken out early in the game yesterday when it was clear that he was starting to get into his groove taking it hard to the basket. Then there was a stretch where Danilo, Chandler, and Stoudamire were out and there was no continuity on the offense. Next point, Toney Douglas has been a hound on defense lately, why play Felton on Wade when TD is clearly better at it? Lastly, the Knicks although they fought hard for this win, are still being out-rebounded; they almost always seem to be out of position. if you look closely, they rarely box out as a team and their communication is barely noticeable. They are already very small so they have to get back to the basics and put a body on someone every possession. At their pace and size, the Knicks simply don’t have the luxury of big bodies to get rebounds by out jumping their opponents, nor are they able to get down the court to get up shots before the opposing defenses can set up. The coaching staff has to do something to get them thinking about rebounding at all times, the offense will come. I don’t know which assistant coach helps with the defensive schemes, but that coach needs to step it up or the playoffs may be short-lived or worst, a pipe dream gone up in smoke!! NYK fans have waited long enough to see the franchise go through some tumultuous times. It would be a shame to not make the necessary (basic) adjustments and give this team a chance at achieving all it may be capable of. Improving their consistency will give the Knicks a better shot at becoming a champion–by the way..having ‘Melo wouldn’t hurt!!

  28. trix says:

    Knicks has a chance to finally put together a good team after a long time. With some additions going forward they could be a contender soon. That being said, i dont think adding melo would help this team as much as it sounds. I dont think they need to bring in a go to scorer like melo because they have amare now and that might mess up some chemistry because melo being a great player but does tend to stop ball movement alot. On the other hand adding quality pieces around the core they have right now (amare, felton, fields, galo) will help in making this team a contender soon