Sunday, December 2, 2012
Halftime Report: Knicks 59, Suns 42
By Jared Zwerling
The Knicks are looking for their first three-game winning streak since the early part of the season. Here are several observations at halftime against the 7-10 Suns:
Offense: The Knicks took advantage of the worst defense in the NBA (102.5 points per game allowed), scoring 59 points in the first half on almost 50 percent shooting. Carmelo Anthony got hot at the end of the second quarter, finishing with 17 points by halftime.
Defense: The Knicks forced nine Suns turnovers in the first quarter (a season best). Every Suns starter except Shannon Brown had two turnovers. The Knicks suffocated the Suns' pick-and-roll, featuring new starting point guard Goran Dragic (with Steve Nash in L.A.), and they closed out passing lanes well. The Knicks made the Suns look like they were playing their first game together.
Offensive rebounding:Tyson Chandler, Kurt Thomas and Chris Copeland (more on him below) did a great job in the first quarter of keeping the ball alive for second-chance opportunities. There was no Marcus Camby today, as he's dealing with a sore left foot.
Copeland-sanity: After checking into the game at the start of the second quarter, he hit two jump shots, made a layup and dished to Steve Novak for a baseline corner 3-pointer in about a two-minute span. To punctuate his production, he had a ridiculous one-handed putback dunk halfway through the second quarter. Overall, he had eight points in 10 minutes. While you may call him a rookie, the 28-year-old played well overseas for many years -- same with the 35-year-old Pablo Prigioni, who's been stepping in nicely for Jason Kidd, who missed his fourth straight game today.
Anthony, J.R. Smith and Raymond Felton's attacking: They are the Knicks' best penetrators, and they all got into the lane to find open shooters. Anthony especially did a nice job of getting deep post position to kick the ball out. The Suns chose not to double-team that much. While Melo hasn't been passing to cutters really, he's been finding his teammates along the perimeter, or facilitating the quick pass to get the ball moving to an open shooter.
On the other hand, Dragic and the Suns' other attackers weren't getting into the lane. They scored through their go-to inside duo, featuring starting center Marcin Gortat (10 points) and backup Luis Scola (nine points). Speaking of Scola, it was the first time he and fellow Argentine Prigioni were on the court together since the Olympics.
The old Sheed:Rasheed Wallace made a name for himself in the past for his technical fouls. Well, not only did he pick up a tech in the first quarter after a foul call, he got T'd up right after continuing to yell at the refs, and he got ejected. It was the first time that's happened to him this season, and it all went down within only 85 seconds. According to The Elias Sports Bureau, that's the fastest he's ever been tossed.