Carmelo Anthony played with energy and desire, scoring 35 points in the second half to lead the Knicks past the Magic in a tightly contested game at Madison Square Garden tonight.
The game went into overtime after Magic Guard Jason Richardson hit an uncontested 3-point shot over Jared Jeffries with 5.7 seconds left in regulation.
The defensive call was curious when the Knicks had a 3 point lead at the time. Jeffries elected not to foul, and not to play tight on Richardson, giving him the easy 3 pointer.
After the game, Anthony mentioned a "will to win" several times. It was clear tonight that he gave 100% effort from the opening tip-off, grabbing 10 rebounds and playing better defense than we've seen from him lately. If he and his teammates can play with this kind of hustle and desire every night, we can expect a much better Knick team in the playoffs.
Dwight Howard said, "They played like the Knick team we saw earlier in the season." Tonight the Knicks got back to moving the ball around and playing up-tempo basketball, and they started in the first quarter. This is what they do best, and they need to keep it going,a nd continue to get off to a good start. Though we do need to temper our enthusiasm, because this was a win past a team missing a key player. Jameer Nelson did not play tonight because of a sprained left knee, and he has been a Knick killer as of late. The Magic committed 21 turnovers in his absence, and looked sloppy without their floor general. In addition, Carmelo did go with his isolation game many times, slowing down the flow.
The Knicks though showed good hustle and desire throughout the game tonight, a missing element in their previous six games, and that made all the difference. Obviously, the Knicks need to carry this hustle over to the next game Wednesday night vs. the Nets, or we could be back to the "same old Knicks" again. Speaking of which, not all was rosy tonight. Landry Fields continued his disappearing act, shooting 1 for 3 with 3 points, and a minus-8 on the floor, and Shawne Williams 2 of 6 and minus-10. The Knicks still need to get more players involved, but it's a start.
We'll take it.
Now, about that Jared Jeffries play...