(Supposedly) Stumbling Knicks Somehow Find A Way To Recover

VIDEO: Knicks handled the Hawks at Philips Arena in a “must-win” game

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Is this what passes for pressure these days in the NBA? This is desperation mode?

You couldn’t tell from watching the New York Knicks in the lead up to their “must-win” victory over the Atlanta Hawks Wednesday night at Philips Arena, a game that was overshadowed by loads of off-court drama and the guarantee from Knicks owner Jim Dolan that his team would prevail on this night.

Not when the rookies, led by Tim Hardaway Jr., show up with a chocolate cake (lit candles and all) for Metta World Peace on his birthday at the post-shootaround team luncheon in a hotel ballroom. (That rousing rendition of Happy Birthday won’t get any of the Knicks’ youngsters or veterans on The Voice, by the way.)

Not when your current trade rumors swirl around Iman Shumpert and he and his coach, Mike Woodson, brush them aside and move on to the business at hand like nothing’s going on.

It’s not that the Knicks weren’t smarting from their sluggish start to this season or their humiliating home loss to the San Antonio Spurs Sunday at MSG. They were and they still are and will continue to do so with another test tonight against the Houston Rockets at the Garden (8 p.m. ET, TNT).

But they’re not going to let the drama consume them. They issued their own guarantee with their win over the Hawks, a game they led at one time by 17 points, only to have to come back in the fourth quarter to secure the win. They’ll find a way out of this current rut, even if it takes a little longer than the outside world (mainly Knicks fans and Knicks haters) can stomach, guarantee from the owner or not.

“He said what he said but we had to come out here and play,” Carmelo Anthony said after leading the Knicks with 25 points, which included a six-point spurt in the fourth quarter that helped preserve the win. “We had to win for ourselves first and foremost. But now that we’ve won, we can give him that satisfaction.”

VIDEO: Carmelo Anthony on the Knicks’ win in Atlanta

The Knicks are taking their cues from Woodson, who has spent as much time in the pressure cooker this season as any coach in the league. But Woodson has done some of the best work under pressure at Philips Arena over the past decade (including his six seasons as the Hawks’ coach) than most any coach anywhere.

There’s no sense in driving his team to the brink when everyone outside of it assumes they are already there. Sure, he tweaked his starting lineup, inserting J.R. Smith in just his second game back from a five-game suspension. His lineup tweak also served Andrea Bargnani well. Bargnani will never be able to replace the defensive presence that Tyson Chandler (broken fibula) is for the Knicks. But Bargnani played well, finishing with 20 points and a season-high 11 rebounds while knocking down two critical fourth-quarter 3-pointers.

Anthony, in particular, seemed surprisingly at ease after the game.

“This was a great way to kind of get back on track,” he said. “Anytime you can win on the road, it’s always a big win. We came through with a much better effort than we had against San Antonio. I’m glad to see how we responded and put that game behind us.”

The drama won’t go away, of course. It never does in New York. The trade rumors, the overreaction after every stumble, the seemingly never-ending speculation about Woodson’s job security, it’ll all be there again in the next 24-hour cycle of panic.

It’s how they handle it that matters.

The Knicks’ renewed focus on defense and a return to their low turnover ways (just three against the Hawks) plus Woodson’s unwavering approach will help the Knicks find a way.

“Bottom line,” Woodson said, “we’re here to win. And when we step on the floor I expect guys to play to help us win.”

VIDEO: Knicks coach Mike Woodson pleased with team’s effort vs. Hawks


  1. lucky fri says:

    the knicker teams with success i remember alsways had gread hustlers – ny style – people in ny like that way. but then they started only to buy potential.
    every time they get a nice rookie with attitude they trade him. i never thought they stick on shumpert because those are the players they always give up because there someone who scores more.
    sometimes melo motivates himself to play defense. thats only against other great players and in playoffs – nice attitude. melo is a looser his whole career, he never made a good team big trozble in the playoffs. he thinks he is better than the other guys because he scores that easy. i was about 16 years when i realized that scoring is not the game. i really loved chandler last year. he played so effective because he really konws about his weaknessess. hown ever melo he has weaknessess and there is no way to tell him – so he is just not smart enough. mention tim duncans brain in melos body with his scoring potential. and mention 38 duncan with melos brain ,- he wouldnt play in europe

  2. Davro83 says:

    Bargnani had another great game last night against the rockets. Hi pleayed well defending Howard. I have confidnese in this man now. He just needs to continue.
    The knicks still need a big man, or we wont win anything. Asik from the rockets is needed. Especially as he has said he wants a trade.

  3. squala96 says:

    If they gave the now-retired Iverson a chance, they wouldn’t have been this pathetic. Or they would have had a proper scorer in Monta Ellis had they taken him on board. The shooting of starters Felton and Shumpert are just too inconsistent. Amar’e is still not close to 100%, if ever he will heal completely someday. The Knicks should have been big, but the unfortunate happened and they were too poor in responding to it.

    For now, it might be better to start Metta over Iman.

  4. u cant handle the lies! says:

    amare’s contract has crippled (pun intended) this team. until his contract is off the books, the knicks will be doomed.

  5. NYK Fan says:


  6. Qui Bird says:

    so what he shot 25 time to be a great score u have to take shot if he get his fouls like Durant or harden he will shoot good from the field too melo is d only one who came to ny he need to go 2 da bulls

  7. kayebop says:

    We have to do better and be better.
    Yeah, we won, but we shouldn’t be satisfied.

  8. frank says:


    carmelo anthony 9 on 25 and you say they had one of the best shooting night?

    you dnt know what you are speaking about man…

  9. DJ says:

    I think the caricaturize teams. The Knicks slow start is not in anyway unique in the East. The topic should be the struggles of the Eastern Conference, not the Knicks.

  10. Davro83 says:

    Bargnani played well and if he continues like that, im glad the knicks traded for him. The Toronto fans can hate on him all they want. I see potential in this man. He didnt seem to give up in this game, hustling for the loose balls.
    Hardaways shooting still needs to be rained in. He has a bad habit already of just chucking up shots and he is brand new to the league.
    I would like to see Felton step up more and/or be traded for a better PG.
    Other than that, i was happy with the knicks performance. Even JR Smith attempted some defense.

    • jason says:

      i predicted bargs having a rebirth in new york. SInce he’s taken over as center, he’s had 2 monster games in winning efforts.


        @Jason, 20 and 11 is a double double not a monster game but a good game. You set your bar too low for Bargnani he was a number 1 pick. I hope he keeps it up, wish him the best but I’m glad my Raptors traded him. Good luck Bargs stay confident! The Knicks will have a bad year this year sorry Knick fans cause its gonna get ugly lol

      • 0_o? says:

        heatfansincewade is a bandwagon idiot.. 20 and 11 is above average for a shooting center… and if bosh gets double double you rant about him being a hall of famer? idiot..

    • alp says:

      hardaway has a bad habit of chucking up shots? wow…. have you seen carmelo anthony ever play basketball?

    • Lea says:

      I would say, trade Felton, but god only knows who they would pick. I say stop putting him in the starting line up. Woodson, needs to pull the boy out more. We have other players that can do his job and do it better.

  11. LBJKIN6JAMES says:

    The Knicks are becoming a JOKE. they had one of their best shooting games and still only beat the Hawks by 4 points ! HAHAHA