Third Quarter Melo Gives Knicks Their Third Road Win

N.Y. earns a good win before facing the champs tomorrow night

Photo: via @NBA

It’s not how you start, but it’s how you finish. That’s the way you can define tonight’s game versus the Heat.

The Knicks started off ice-cold from long distance. No one could get their shot to fall until nearly halftime. Carmelo Anthony hit the team’s first and his first three, followed by a buzzer-beater to end what was a lackluster, subdued first half of basketball. While Melo had a slow start, he took over in the third quarter; scoring 13 of his 35 points. It seems like ‘Melo having big third quarters have been a trend this season.

Derrick Rose kept up his consistent streak of being an active playmaker with a few flashy plays in the first half. Defensively, he had a couple of nice sequences where he forced turnovers. At some point, , it was reported that Rose was having back spasms. He didn’t return for the second half.

What worked well:

  • Kyle O’Quinn — who is this guy? Because he’s not the same Kyle we started out the season talking about on the podcast. It’s as if he’s become a different player. That’s great for the Knicks’ bench rotation. He’s particularly shown a propensity for setting up teammates much in the way Brandon Jennings can: like he did on this feed to Carmelo.
via The Knicks Wall/Twitter
  • Joakim Noah — he had several tip-ins, going 5-for-6 with his first double-double as a Knick. With foul trouble, he had to sit for the second half. But in 14 minutes, he disrupted Hassan Whiteside enough that Whiteside was forced to defer to the outside shooters. His physical intensity is what made a lot of difference on the boards.
  • Brandon Jennings loves his teammates. I don’t mind having a score-first guard like Rose. But when you have other guys around you who can shoot, it’s nice to see a floor general who opts to set them up. With Rose out, Jennings racked up assists feeding Justin Holiday, KP, and Lance Thomas. In fact, the bench as a whole came up big tonight. Jennings even added two buzzer beaters of his own!

Photo: via @NBA

What didn’t work so well:

If you had to pick one negative about this game, it’d have to be the fact that the Knicks shot so poorly from three-point land. They were 28 percent overall. Notably, KP was 0-for-4. In contrast, the Heat were 44 percent from beyond the arc.

The Heat overcame its weakness of having any depth by attacking the Knicks’ primary weakness of not being able to close out the perimeter. They were able to score over 100 points in doing so, however it wasn’t enough.

This was a quiet, unremarkable game for Porzingis. Even if you take away the foul trouble, he was throwing up shots that looked flatter than usual. He had just one block. He went 6-for-15 and only went to the line four times. Several times, he had the upper hand on the mismatch and he didn’t take advantage of it. We’ve had discussions about what Porzingis’ offensive inconsistencies are and it’s been written about here too. He’s going to be “the guy” for a long time for New York. So these are the type of easy games that he’s going to have to dominate in. (KP would finish with 12 boards as well.)

Tomorrow night–the reigning champs Cavs in Cleveland. Gulp.

James Woodruff, site writer

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