New York Knicks: Philadelphia 76ers

Rapid Reaction: Knicks 123, Sixers 110

March, 10, 2014
Mar 10

NEW YORK -- No one is certain whether Phil Jackson is coming to New York or not. But all the Jackson talk doesn’t seem to be distracting the Knicks.

Mike Woodson’s club continued its climb up the Eastern Conference standings Monday with a win over the 76ers.

The victory -- New York’s fourth straight -- moved the Knicks into sole possession of ninth place in the conference, percentage points ahead of the Pistons.

The Hawks beat the Jazz later Monday so the Knicks' deficit for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference remained at 3 1/2 games.

New York had four players score at least 20 points against Philly.

Tim Hardaway Jr. led the team with 28 points. Amar'e Stoudemire had 23. Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith added 22 apiece. The last time the Knicks had four players score at least 20 points was April 17, 2012.

New York struggled early against a Sixers team that has lost 17 in a row, trailing by 12 in the first quarter.

But Carmelo & Co. bounced back in the second to tie the score at 61 by halftime and reeled off a 10-2 run to start the fourth quarter. The Knicks are looking to become just the third team since 1984 to make the playoffs after facing a deficit of at least five games with fewer than 25 games to play.

Amar’e revival: One of the keys to this Knicks win streak has been Stoudemire's play.

The veteran power forward has been incredibly efficient since being inserted into the starting lineup five games ago. What Stoudemire did Monday only supported that theory. He had 23 points on 9-for-10 shooting to go along with six rebounds. Stoudemire also played 30 minutes, no small feat for a player who was on a minutes limit earlier this season.

Tim’s time: Hardaway continued to show that he had no business being selected with the 24th pick in the 2013 NBA draft. The rookie poured in 28 points on 9-for-13 shooting, including five of six 3s.

Potent offense: The Knicks shot 54 percent from the field and hit 40 percent from 3. Four players had at least three assists. New York forced Philly into 18 turnovers and scored 28 points off those turnovers.

What’s next: The Knicks will play the Boston Celtics on Wednesday.

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Rapid Reaction: Knicks 99, Sixers 93

February, 24, 2013
The losing streak is over. The division lead is safe -- for now.

The New York Knicks snapped a season-high four-game losing streak with a 99-93 win over the Philadelphia 76ers at Madison Square Garden on Sunday night. New York is two games ahead of the Brooklyn Nets, who lost to Memphis on Sunday, in the Atlantic Division.

Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire led the way for the Knicks. Anthony scored a team-high 29 points and Stoudemire gave the Knicks a much-needed punch off the bench with 22 points in 22 minutes.
He hit nine of 10 field goals.

The Knicks took control in the second quarter -- thanks to seven points from Stoudemire -- and went up by 20 early in the third. From there, they held off several Sixers rallies to walk off the floor with a win for the first time since Feb. 8.

Philadelphia has lost five straight and 16 of 18 on the road.

DEFENSE SHOWS UP: The Knicks had allowed an average of 104.8 points per game during their losing streak.

They tightened up on Sunday, holding Philadelphia 18 points in the second quarter and a 43 percent field goal percentage for the game.

Jrue Holiday had 30 points and Evan Turner had 21 but no other Sixer scored more than 11.

THAT'S AMAR'E: Stoudemire was efficient and assertive in the post. He scored on an array of quick moves in the lane. He also had five rebounds. The Knicks outscored Philly by 10 when Stoudemire was on the floor.

TYSON'S PUNCHOUT: Well, almost.

Midway through the third, Anthony hit Philly center Spencer Hawes in the back of the head. Hawes took umbrage and approached Anthony. Tyson Chandler came over and shoved Hawes away from Anthony.

Referees had to separate the two centers. Both Hawes and Chandler received technical fouls for the dustup. Anthony was whistled for a flagrant.

Chandler had a strong game for New York, 12 rebounds and three blocks in 35 minutes. J.R. Smith scored 14 off the bench, including two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to quell a Philadelphia rally.

FELTON HURT: Raymond Felton left the game late in the third quarter with a bruised right heel. He returned to the bench early in the fourth.

Before leaving with the injury, Felton had 14 points and three assists in 29 minutes. He returned to the game with 6:30 to play in the fourth and the Knicks up, 11.

KENYON DNP: Despite the MSG crowd's best efforts, Kenyon Martin did not get in the game. The crowd was chanting Martin's name late in the fourth, but coach Mike Woodson left the veteran on the bench with the outcome still up in the air.

WHAT'S NEXT: The Knicks host Mark Jackson's Golden State Warriors on Wednesday.

W2W4: Knicks vs. 76ers

February, 24, 2013
For the first time since Mike Woodson took over as head coach, the Knicks have lost four straight.

Is it time to panic?

That depends on what happens Sunday night against the Sixers.

Here are a few things to watch during the game:

GETTING STOPS: The last time the Knicks faced Philly, they were embarrassed by All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday, who put up a career-high 35 points in a 97-80 Sixers win on Jan. 26.

Bad news for Knicks fans: The team's defense hasn’t improved much since.

New York showed an improved effort against Toronto on Friday night, but still gave up 100 points and allowed Rudy Gay to torch them for 32, including 17 in the third quarter.

Switching on pick-and-rolls has been an issue for most of the season. The Knicks tend to switch on the play, which often creates a mismatch for the opposition.

It will be interesting to see how the Knicks defend Philly’s pick-and-roll Sunday.

In the Jan. 26 loss to the Sixers, many Knicks said the Sixers used Holiday in the pick-and-roll on nearly every play.

DON’T SETTLE: Woodson was upset with his team after the Toronto loss because the Knicks often settled for jumpers late in the game instead of attacking the rim and getting to the free-throw line.

Will they change their ways against Philly?

If they do, it would come at the expense of the 3-pointer -- and that could be a good thing. The three has been a staple of the Knicks’ offense all season. They lead the league in both attempts and makes per game. But the threes haven’t been falling as regularly recently.

The Knicks were hitting 41 percent of their threes after play on Dec. 15. They are down to 37 percent now. You can't make a direct correlation, but it's interesting to note that New York is 14-15 since Dec. 15.

LINEUP CHANGE? Woodson said Saturday that he wasn’t sure who his starting five would be against Philly. He’s said the same thing in recent days, but has ultimately remained consistent with his starting five: Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd, Iman Shumpert, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler.

Some fans/media have suggested that Kidd should be benched and Amar'e Stoudemire should start. We'll see how it shakes out on Sunday afternoon.

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Notebook: Smith's slump a 'major concern'

January, 27, 2013
Amar'e Stoudemire Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty ImagesAmar'e Stoudemire recorded his best game since returning from injury in the Knicks' loss.
PHILADELPHIA -- J.R. Smith is in the midst of a miserable shooting slump.

The Knicks' sixth man missed all eight of his attempts on Saturday against Philly.

In all, he's missed 21 of his last 24 shots.

Mike Woodson called Smith's shooting slump a "major concern."

"J.R. is a big part of what we do on both ends of the floor. He didn’t even make a shot tonight (so we've) got to program him back to playing, Woodson said. ".... We're going to need it."

Smith said after the game that he may be overthinking things on the offensive end.

"I couldn’t do anything offensively, from turnovers to not making shots, couldn’t find the right man open. So my frustration was high," he said.

Smith was asked if injuries are playing a role in his struggles.

"I think that’s a copout. We get paid a lot of money to play this game, so, I don’t think that’s an excuse," he said.

NO TEARS SHED: Smith added that he isn't disappointed that he didn't make the All-Star team. Eastern Conference coaches voted for the substitutes and Smith did not make the cut.

"Not really," Smith said when asked if he was upset. "Guys who are having better years than I am (got snubbed)."

GREAT DAY FOR AMAR'E: One positive coming out of Philadelphia was the play of Amar'e Stoudemire.

Stoudemire scored a season-high 20 points on 8-for-13 shooting against Philadelphia. He was extremely effective with his back to the basket and around the rim.

It seems like his timing and confidence on offense has improved with each game.

"Amar’e’s been great," Mike Woodson said. "I can’t help but think he’s going to continue to get better."

MELO FELLOW: Carmelo Anthony extended his streak of games scoring 20 or more points to 28 games with a 25-point effort on Saturday. He is tied with Patrick Ewing for second-longest streak in franchise history. Richie Guerin did it 29 games in a row in 1961-62.

But Anthony struggled with his shot, going 9-for-28 (32.1%). That is the second worst single-game shooting percentage of his career in games with at least 28 attempts. Anthony averaged 24 points per game on 50 percent shooting in his first two games against Philly.

COLD FOR COLLINS: Sixers coach Doug Collins left the bench in the third quarter and was diagnosed with a sinus infection and blocked nasal passage, according to the Sixers. Assistant Michael Curry took over for him.

Woodson rips Knicks' effort

January, 27, 2013
Mike WoodsonJesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty ImagesMike Woodson will try to put this loss behind him when the Knicks host Atlanta Sunday evening.
PHILADELPHIA -- Mike Woodson was just like any Knick fan forced to watch his team's awful outing against the Philadelphia 76ers: absolutely disgusted.

"We just didn’t have any effort tonight. It started right from the beginning -- layup after layup," Woodson said after the Knicks' 97-80 loss in Philadelphia. "We didn’t come to compete tonight, and that’s kind of disappointing."

It was a rare display of public frustration from the Knicks coach. But he had every right to be upset.

The Knicks came out flat on offense and disinterested on defense.

"We just can't have nights like that," Woodson said. "That's not us."

Woodson's club shot 34.6 percent against the Sixers -- missing plenty of quality looks. Making matters worse, the Knicks -- who allowed 31 points in the third quarter -- were torched by newly minted All-Star Jrue Holiday (career-high 35 points), and fell behind by as many as 29 points in the second half.

[+] EnlargeCarmelo Anthony
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty ImagesCarmelo Anthony
"Tonight we didn’t have it," Carmelo Anthony said after missing 19 of 28 shots, one of the biggest reasons the Knicks (26-15) "didn't have it" on Saturday.

"All across the board -- offensively, defensively, from an effort standpoint -- we just didn’t have it tonight."

Raymond Felton's long-awaited return didn't do much to spark the Knicks, who have lost five of eight.

Playing for the first time since fracturing his right pinkie finger on Dec. 25, Felton was out of synch and a step slow, which was to be expected.

He scored eight points on 2-for-8 shooting and had three assists, two steals and two turnovers in 29 minutes.

Holiday torched Felton for 10 first-quarter points. Felton switched on to Nick Young to open the second half. Young proceeded to score 10 points in the first five minutes of the third quarter as the Sixers took control.

But it wasn't all on Felton.

The Knicks missed 12 straight field goals over a seven-minute stretch in the third, allowing Philly to build a 29-point lead.

So there was plenty of blame to go around.

"It wasn’t just Raymond. Across the board we were awful -- coaches, everybody," Woodson said.

The Knicks shot a mind-numbing 4-for-27 from beyond the arc and turned the ball over 16 times, an uncharacteristically high number for a team that prides itself on ball control.

Jason Kidd, Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith combined to shoot 0-for-17. Woodson called Smith's shooting slump (he's missed 21 of his last 24) a major concern.

An even bigger concern?

Kidd did not have an assist in 15 minutes, and Woodson sent him to the locker room in the fourth quarter to get treatment on his balky back.

But the most alarming thing coming out of the Knicks locker room on Saturday night was the team's admitted lack of effort.

How can a team hopeful of making a deep playoff run come out flat on the road against a division opponent?

"I don't know. I can't answer that," Tyson Chandler said. "[Effort] should never be a question. It should be X's and O's and missed shots and execution -- never an effort thing."

Added Anthony: "That’s a great question. I wish I knew the answer to that one. It’s kind of hard to answer that question."

Hard question to answer. Harder game to watch.

Rapid Reaction: Sixers 97, Knicks 80

January, 26, 2013
WHAT IT MEANS: Just call it a Philly flop.

Raymond Felton was rusty in his return and the the Knicks were flat on offense and disinterested on defense. It all added up to a 97-80 loss in Philadelphia.

Playing his first game in nearly five weeks, Felton looked a step slow on defense as Jrue Holiday scored a majority of his 19 first-half points on the Knicks point guard.

Felton, who hadn't played since Dec. 25 due to a fractured right pinky, also had a tough night from the floor, shooting 2-for-8 to finish with eight points in 29 minutes.

But he wasn't alone. The Knicks, who trailed by as many as 29 in the second half, shot 34.6 from the field, including 4-for-27 from beyond the arc.

New York has lost five of eight.

KNICKS NOT IN HOLIDAY SPIRIT: Holiday showed why coaches voted him to the Eastern Conference All-Star team.

He set a career-high with 35 points on 16-for-25 shooting.

Felton, J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and anyone else Mike Woodson stuck on Holiday struggled to stay in front of the third-year guard.

He had 12 in the third quarter as Philly built a 22-point lead.

The Knicks' leading man, on the other hand, had an off night.

Carmelo Antony missed 18 of his first 25 shots and finished with 25 points on 9-for-28 shooting.

: J.R. Smith's shooting struggles continued on Saturday.

Smith missed all eight of his attempts, including four from beyond the arc. He has missed 21 of his last 24 shots.

He also had three of Knicks' 16 turnovers.

: One bright spot for the Knicks? The play of Amar'e Stoudemire. Stoudemire had a season-high 20 points and continues to look more comfortable on the offensive end. He shot 8-for-13, pulled down four rebounds and added an assist, a steal and a block in 27 minutes.

Stoudemire was strong with his back to the basket and in the post, scoring 18 of his 20 points in the paint. After receiving a DNP in Boston, Chris Copeland played 16 minutes against Philly, scoring two points.

WHAT'S NEXT: The Knicks head home to play the send game of a back-to-back against Atlanta on Sunday at 6:30 p.m..

That starts a stretch of five straight home games for New York.

Halftime Reaction: Sixers 53, Knicks 41

January, 26, 2013
SO FAR, NOT RAY'S DAY: Raymond Felton showed some rust in his first game back in nearly five weeks.

Felton, playing for the first time since fracturing his pinky on Dec. 25, finished the first half with five points, an assist and two turnovers. Philly is outscoring the Knicks by 10 when Felton's on the floor (to be fair, that's an extremely small sample size).

The Knicks' point guard is also having a tough time on defense against Holiday.

Holiday has continuously gotten to the basket against Felton in the first half. He's scored 10 of his 19 points in the paint.

STAT STRONG: On the positive side for New York, Amar'e Stoudemire has looked extremely strong around the rim and with his back to the basket.

Stoudemire has 12 points on 5-for-5 shooting. He also has a rebound, a block and an assist.

Sharing the floor with Tyson Chandler and Carmelo Anthony, Stoudemire found room to operate on the post and made the most of it, getting to the line on one trip and converting in the post on another.

Stoudemire is coming off of a strong 15-point, nine-rebound night against Boston on Thursday.

OFF HALF FOR MELO: While Holiday has 19 points on 14 shots in the first half, Anthony has scored 14 points on an inefficient 16 shots. He is 5-for-16 and 0-for-3 from beyond the arc.

Opening Tip: Toughest division rival?

January, 21, 2013
Williams/Rondo/HolidayUS PresswireWhich Atlantic Division foe will be the toughest for the Knicks in the playoffs? Weigh in below.
Every weekday throughout the season, will tackle a burning question about the Knicks in our "Opening Tip" segment.

Today's Burning Question: Who will be the toughest Atlantic Division opponent in the playoffs: the Nets, Celtics or Sixers?

Looking ahead to this week's opponents, the Nets, Celtics and 76ers, Amar'e Stoudemire called it a "big, big, big stretch for us."

"Those are three tough games," he said after Sunday's practice.

With that noted, there's a good chance the Knicks will face once of these three rival teams in the first round of the playoffs. So let's briefly examine the matchups:

None of them have a scorer quite like Carmelo Anthony. What's especially great having him on your side is that he starts and finishes games strong. This season, he's tops in the NBA in first-quarter scoring (9.2 points average) and third in fourth-quarter scoring (7.9).

It goes to show how good of a scorer he is and what good shape he's in. His MVP-like play also emphasizes the significance of the team's veteran "pieces to the puzzle," as Mike Woodson always says, that have helped everyone get easier shots and play harder on defense. In fact, Melo said no other team he's been on compares to this season's Knicks.

"By far," he told reporters in London. "As far as being a complete team from top to bottom, this is the best team I've been a part of."

The Knicks were simply missing perimeter playmakers last season, which showed in last year's first-round series against the Heat, who were able to throw more bodies at Melo, taking him out of his game. The Knicks didn't have enough offensive firepower to balance out the court. Now, that's not the case with the additions of Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd, Chris Copeland and the return of Iman Shumpert. Where they're lacking is with their frontcourt depth defensively.

When it comes to the Nets, Celtics and Sixers, it all starts with their star point guards: Deron Williams, Rajon Rondo and Jrue Holiday. These kinds of players have given the Knicks fits all season. Entering the new year, in terms of points per play allowed, the Knicks ranked 22nd defending the pick-and-roll ball-handler and 21st defending the roll man.

We'll first see on Monday if Shumpert can help rattle the Nets' pick-and-roll featuring Williams, which has facilitated their recent 10-2 stretch. Shumpert could be the most important Knick after Anthony, strictly for his perimeter defense.

The Nets also have depth like the Knicks, but the Knicks' bench is more experienced, anchored by Pablo Prigioni, J.R. Smith and Stoudemire. Also, whether they play at MSG or Barclays, the Knicks have the homecourt edge.

With the Celtics, you know they'll hang in games no matter what, so consistency, rebounding and matching their physical play will be keys for the Knicks. This could be their toughest matchup. Meanwhile, the Sixers are still without an elite wing scorer, as Evan Turner hasn't yet emerged. On the flip side, the Knicks, Nets and Celtics all have one in Anthony, Joe Johnson and Paul Pierce, respectively.

Who do you think will be the toughest Atlantic Division opponent? Leave us your comments below.

You can follow Jared Zwerling on Twitter.

Rapid Reaction: Knicks 110, 76ers 88

November, 5, 2012

WHAT IT MEANS: Just about everything has gone right for the Knicks so far this season.

They opened the season with a win over the Heat. Then came a drubbing of Philly at home on Sunday. And on Monday night, they completed the home-and-home sweep of the Sixers with a 110-88 win.

After a slow start, the Knicks thoroughly dominated Doug Collins' club on Monday.

They finished with seven players in double figures, led by Carmelo Anthony's 21 points. And for the third straight game, they were dominant on the defensive end, holding Philly to 33.7 percent shooting.

What does it all mean?

New York's 3-0 to start the season for the first time since 1999-2000.

MELO, FELTON FUEL 'EM: The Knicks seemed a step slow early on, missing their first five shots as Philly took a 9-0 first-quarter lead.

But Ray Felton and Anthony brought New York out of its funk.

The power forward and point guard combined for 25 first-half points, with Anthony doing the bulk of his damage inside on Thaddeus Young -- just as he did Sunday.

Anthony had a tough time from beyond the arc (1-for-6) but hit 4 of 5 from in close. The Knicks outscored the Sixers by 20 when Anthony was on the floor.

Felton, clearly motivated in his second stint in New York, had eight assists and 16 points in just 23 minutes. He turned it over just twice.

NEED FOR 'SHEED: Rasheed Wallace got a hero's welcome in Philly, his hometown. Fans at the Wells Fargo Center screamed "Sheeeed!" when he entered the game midway through the third. Wallace knocked down two 3-pointers and a turnaround jumper -- his second 3 coming at the third-quarter buzzer.

The Knicks' bench -- and Philly crowd -- exploded after Wallace knocked down the buzzer 3.

SMITH SIZZLES: Maybe something about Philly lights a fire under J.R. Smith?

Smith was fantastic off the bench on Monday. He had 17 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists and converted a cloud-scraping dunk off of a feed from Pablo Prigioni in the second half. Smith lit up Philly for 20 points and nine rebounds on Sunday.

Earlier in Monday's game, Smith got into a little skirmish with Royal Ivey. Smith and Ivey got tangled up in the paint early in the second quarter after it appeared that Ivey pushed Smith. Smith pushed back but the two were separated before anything escalated.

Smith and Ivey both got personal fouls and Smith was assessed a technical. (The second guy always gets in trouble.)

Smith's wasn't the only technical issued to the Knicks.

Tyson Chandler was whistled for a technical after he hit Thaddeus Young with a late elbow. Chandler had vowed not to get T'd up this season. Oh well.

Chandler played well despite being hampered by strep throat. The center finished with 14 points and six boards in 29 minutes.

WHAT'S NEXT: The Knicks will likely have the day off Tuesday after a back-to-back. With a veteran team (or any other team, really), it doesn't make sense to practice after two straight games. They'll practice on Wednesday and Thursday to prepare for Friday's home game against Dallas.

If all goes well for Mike Woodson's crew, Marcus Camby should make his debut against the Mavs.

Camby missed the entire preseason and the first three regular-season games with a calf strain that was originally supposed to sideline him 7-10 days.

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Halftime Report: Knicks 56, 76ers 48

November, 5, 2012
PHILADELPHIA -- Here are a few observations from the first half of Knicks-Sixers.

REBOUNDING AFTER A SLOW START: The Knicks looked a step slow early on in the second game of a back to back.

They were a half-step behind on defensive rotations after the tip and Philly jumped out to a 9-0 lead. New York also missed its first five shots, running an offense largely devoid of any ball movement.

But Ray Felton and Carmelo Anthony took over midway through the first quarter and the Knicks took control.

Anthony and Felton combined for 25 points in the half, with Anthony bullying his way into the paint just as he did Sunday.

Anthony finished the half with 15 on 5-for-12 shooting. Felton had 10 points and six assists. He also knocked down two threes.

One thing that Felton's made clear in the first two-plus games: He's in much better shape this year than he was last season in Portland. Felton's had an easy time getting into the lane and either finding teammates or finishing, thanks to his quickness and lighter frame.

CHANDLER BATTLING THROUGH COLD: Tyson Chandler looks pretty sharp despite playing with a strep throat.

You can tell that he's a bit winded, but Chandler's been active: he has two dunks, including a thunderous alley-oop finish off of a Felton feed. He had 10 first-half points to go along with five rebounds in 18 minutes.

SMITH, IVEY GO AT IT: J.R. Smith and Royal Ivey got into a skirmish under the basket early on in the second quarter. Smith and Ivey got tangled up in the paint after it appeared that Ivey pushed Smith. Smith pushed back but the two were separated before anything escalated.

Smith and Ivey both got personal fouls and Smith was assessed with a technical. (The second guy always gets in trouble.)

Smith, the Knicks' first guard off the bench, had a pretty productive first half. He finished the half with seven points, five rebounds and two assists. He's coming off of a 20-point, nine-rebound afternoon on Sunday.

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

W2W4: Knicks at Sixers

November, 5, 2012
The Knicks are off to a 2-0 start for the first time since 1999-2000. The last time they went 3-0? 1999-2000. They'll be looking to duplicate that start Monday night when they take on the Sixers in Philly.

Here are a few things to keep an eye on:

DOIN' IT WITH DEFENSE: Mike Woodson must've been a happy man on Monday morning.

The Knicks have done plenty right during their first two wins of the season, but more than any other aspect of the game, they've gotten it done on the defensive end.

And that's what Woodson's built his reputation on.

"I think we got started on the right foot," he said on Sunday.

The Knicks' stingy effort on defense started Friday when they limited the defending champion Heat to 84 points, including just 16 points in the paint. Their one-on-one defense was strong on the perimeter, particularly against the pick and roll. This prevented Miami from penetrating and creating easy buckets.

The defensive effort continued on Sunday, when the Knicks limited Philly to 84 points on 43 percent shooting. They played clean defense as well; Philly made just 10 trips to the free-throw line.

It all adds up to this: The Knicks have held their first two opponents to 84 points or fewer for just the second time since the 1954-55 season.

Can they keep it up on Monday against a Philly team without Andrew Bynum (knee) and Jason Richardson (ankle)?

EFFICIENT ANTHONY: Carmelo Anthony's never been known as a strong defender, but he's helped spearhead the Knicks' effort on defense in the first two games.

He was extremely physical against LeBron James on Friday night and seemed engaged on nearly every possession. His high-energy approach continued on Sunday. Take this play as an example: he knocked the ball away from Nick Young on the Sixers guard's attempt at the rim and then dove into the second row of seats to try and save the ball.

"It's really contagious when you see your star player going out there, diving in the crowd, giving up open shots, going for loose balls," J.R. Smith said. "It really filters throughout the team, so as long as he keeps doing that, I think everybody won't have a problem doing it."

Anthony also had an efficient afternoon on the offensive end against Philly. He had 27 points on 18 shots, a departure from Friday night's performance (30 points on 28 shots).

THE COLLINS FACTOR: Melo knows how tough it is to beat a team on back-to-back nights in the NBA.

"I mean, the X’s and O’s go out the window at this point. We know what they’re going to do. They know what we’re going to do," Anthony said. "Pretty sure (Sixers) coach (Doug) Collins is going to make some adjustments, so it’s just a matter of us going out there and competing."

Jrue Holliday (27 points, 11-for-18 shooting) had a big game on Sunday, as did Thaddeus Young (16 points, 7-for-14 shooting). So the Knicks will no doubt make some adjustments themselves.

On Philly's end, can Collins devise a plan to temper the Knicks' ball movement and ability to create open shots? That'll be the key for the Sixers.

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Felton: 'Maybe we pass a little too much'

November, 4, 2012
Raymond FeltonJoe Camporeale/US PresswireRaymond Felton, who finished Sunday's game with 11 points, puts up a 3-pointer against the Sixers.

Are the Knicks passing too much?

After their 100-84 win over the Sixers, Steve Novak said "it's a good problem to have," which is especially true for a team with new pieces like the Knicks while they develop chemistry early on this season. Raymond Felton also chimed in, playfully commenting about the extra ball movement, while also stressing its importance.

"It's been great," he said. "We kind of laugh and joke about things like, 'Maybe we pass a little too much,' but it's been good, though. As long as everybody is sharing the ball, we'll take turnovers by over passing. If we're over passing to each other and we turn the ball over, we would rather do that than taking bad shots."

Through their 2-0 start, the Knicks are averaging 22.5 assists per game, while shooting 47.6 percent from 3-point range.

Ball movement was something Mike Woodson started stressing in training camp, and he had to because too many times last season the ball died when Carmelo Anthony had it in his hands. Now, Melo and the other players can rely on three seasoned point guards -- Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd and Pablo Prigioni -- for facilitating better team execution in their halfcourt offense.

"At training camp, we had all the guys touching the ball and it became contagious," Jason Kidd said after the game. "This afternoon, we had a lot of players get open looks. There's multiple touches and you can't guard the pass. No matter what you do, the ball is always going to travel faster and the guys get wide-open looks."

Just like Friday night against the Heat, the Knicks benefited from their two point-guard lineup of Felton and Kidd. They both got into the lane and initiated quick ball rotation, which found the open shooter.

"They like passing the ball. That's what they've done throughout their career," Woodson said. "They also have the ability to score the ball, so it's really a double threat for our ball club. The difference is we've got guys that can make plays off the dribble and can make other shots, and that's going to be a key factor."

In the first quarter alone on Sunday afternoon, the Knicks had five 3-pointers, each one from a different player.

That's a true definition of team basketball.

"The fact that we have so many guys that can make shots, you don't know who's going to get you on any single night," Woodson said. "I think it's fantastic that we're sharing the basketball. We just have to continue to do it."

You can follow Jared Zwerling on Twitter.

W2W4: Knicks vs. Sixers

November, 4, 2012
The Knicks tip off their first back-to-back of the season on Sunday against the Sixers at noon ET. Here are three things to watch from the Knicks:

1. What will the starting lineup look like? This could be one of the biggest questions every night, given the Knicks' ability to match most teams defensively. Since the Sixers will likely go with a smaller lineup because centers Andrew Bynum and Kwame Brown have been battling injuries, Mike Woodson could once again start Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd, Ronnie Brewer, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler (or Kurt Thomas if Chandler doesn't get over the flu).

That lineup will enable Brewer to stick Evan Turner and Anthony to stay on Thaddeus Young -- Philly's most dangerous scoring threats. Offensively, having Kidd at shooting guard gives the Knicks an advantage with two seasoned point guards on the court at the same time, which helped them establish efficiency and scoring in Friday night's win over the Heat, as they built a 33-17 lead in the first quarter.

After Saturday's practice, Anthony said there's probably not a smarter player in the league than Kidd, who's been the glue guy on the team.

"He's been doing it for like 20 years," Melo said. "Jason is very vocal, especially in the locker room, on the bench, on the buses. The one thing he brings to this team is knowledge."

2. Where will the additional attacking come from? The Knicks realize they won't make 19 3-pointers every night, as they did Friday, so what does that mean? They need to develop a reliable penetration-to-scoring game this season, and it can't be all Anthony. On Friday night, he took the majority of the shots (28) and accounted for nearly half of the team's free throw attempts. The Knicks can't get too comfortable shooting the long ball, and because of the Sixers' top-notch defense, they should work on getting to the basket more and drawing fouls. Here's looking at you, Felton and J.R. Smith.

3. Can they close out on backdoor cuts? The Knicks' defense smothered the Heat, but they left one area of breathing room open. Several times, the Heat (usually Dwyane Wade), caught the Knicks sleeping on the backdoor, leading to uncontested scores at the rim. Doug Collins is one of the smartest coaches in NBA history, and you can bet when he watched game film of the Knicks-Heat game, he noticed that. The Knicks will especially have to be wary of Young's presence down low. His length, athleticism and finishing ability make him a threat whether he has the ball or not.

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Opening Tip: Can the Knicks win Atlantic?

October, 19, 2012
Every weekday throughout the season, will tackle a burning question about the Knicks in our “Opening Tip” segment.

Today’s Burning Question: Can the Knicks win the Atlantic Division this season?

Carmelo Anthony hasn't made any guarantees before the season starts. During a recent sit-down interview with, the Knicks forward said he expected the parity of the Atlantic Division to match the Pacific Divison when he played for the Nuggets.

“(The Atlantic) is wide open,” he said. “I’ve been in the Western Conference for seven and a half years, and every year that’s how it was. Two games separate everybody. You lose one, you fall back, so it keeps you on edge. Now in the East, it seems like that’s the new trend. As long as we do what we have to do, we’ll be fine.”

How the Knicks can establish an advantage in the Atlantic Division:

1. Celtics: While Boston compensated well for the short and long-term losses of Avery Bradley and Ray Allen, who is their backup point guard?

Boston will lean on Rajon Rondo to play heavy minutes, and that may backfire later in the season. In addition to Rondo’s workload, the age of Paul Pierce (35) and Kevin Garnett (36) always plays a factor. Overall, the Celtics’ situation is very similar to the Knicks’; if both teams stay healthy, and Bradley and Iman Shumpert recover well from their injuries, the two longtime rivals should be favorites for the top seed.

2. Nets: While Brooklyn has an All-Star backcourt in Deron Williams and Joe Johnson, how will their front court benefit?

The bigger question for Brooklyn is whether or not Brook Lopez, coming off a foot injury, can contribute on offense and on the boards while staying out of foul trouble. Overall, the Nets are deep offensively, but they’ll have to prove themselves on defense.

Although the Nets have D-Will, the Knicks have more depth and experience at point guard, which will boost the team's frontcourt production immediately. Brooklyn's backcourt and frontcourt, on the other hand, will need some more time to develop, especially because it's younger.

3. Sixers: It’ll be interesting to see how Philly jells its new pieces this season.

The 76ers essentially have two different offensive systems: one through center Andrew Bynum and the other through the team’s young perimeter players. If Philadelphia finds a solid offensive balance, the team should be able to score enough points to win most games.

The 76ers' 3-point shooting from Nick Young, Dorell Wright and Jason Richardson will especially make this team dangerous. But losing Andre Iguodala left a big hole on the perimeter. That assignment is now for Turner, who in his third season will be expected to be the team’s main wing player. Depending on how he plays will be key to the team's success.

4. Raptors: The Raptors shouldn’t be knocking too loud on any team's doors this season.

They’re a fairly young team, and star players Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan are still ironing out their chemistry. There’s also concern about Bargnani’s bruised left calf, which cost him 35 games last season. Bargnani admitted that he didn’t come into training camp 100 percent. If the power forward does find his groove, the team's solid point guard trio, featuring Kyle Lowry, Jose Calderon and John Lucas III should help him.

Do you think the Knicks can win the Atlantic? Leave us your comments below.



Carmelo Anthony
27.4 3.1 1.2 38.7
ReboundsC. Anthony 8.1
AssistsP. Prigioni 3.5
StealsI. Shumpert 1.2
BlocksA. Bargnani 1.2