Thursday, February 28, 2013
Notebook: Curry big, but Smith clutch
By Jared Zwerling
For most of the first half Wednesday night, J.R. Smith was the only Knick who made a 3-pointer. He was 2-for-4, while the team was 4-for-14, hitting only two long balls late in the second quarter.
Those misses continued after halftime, and the Knicks finished the game 11-for-34 (32.4 percent) from downtown.
But Smith continued to sizzle. In fact, while Stephen Curry was going off in the second half -- connecting on seven 3-pointers -- the Knicks' sixth man had two big, quick-release 3-pointers down the stretch that gave his team the lead both times. Then, he knocked down the final go-ahead shot of the evening -- a 7-foot jumper in traffic with 1:09 left to put the Knicks up 107-105.
"We had opportunities to make some 3s. We missed them," Carmelo Anthony said afterward. "J.R. stuck with it. He came up big for us tonight, and that's the J.R. we've been looking for. That's the J.R. we know we have on this team."
Smith ended the game 6-for-11 from 3-point range, continuing his recent hot streak. While the Knicks haven't shot 40 percent or better from beyond the arc since Feb. 4, Smith has been mostly above 40 percent since then.
Carmelo Anthony finished with 35 points and 8 assists in the Knicks' win over the Warriors.
THE DEBUT: After not playing against the 76ers on Sunday, Kenyon Martin made his Knicks debut Wednesday night. He checked into the game with 10:26 remaining in the second quarter to a rousing ovation. He played five minutes, but without a stat.
"It felt great," he said. "The fans appreciate me. That's always a great feeling. Just to be out there, just to be back, putting the uniform on again, being around the guys. To get a couple of minutes in, I'm trying not to hyperventilate."
He said he "made some decent traps" defensively, but he's more concerned with getting more playing time, which he projects, to make a bigger impact.
"I'm not worried about nothing right now, man -- just getting minutes," he said. "That's it. I'm just trying to get past this 10-day [contract]. That's all I'm concerned about."
SURGERY FOR SHEED: Earlier Wednesday, the Knicks announced Rasheed Wallace needed surgery to repair a broken bone in his left foot and he would be out eight weeks.
"It's very disappointing," Tyson Chandler said. "You never ever want to see a guy go through an injury, have to have surgery. So he's in all of our thoughts and prayers right now."
Chandler said he's hopeful Wallace will return. When Martin was asked whether Sheed's injury opened any doors for him, he said, "That doesn't mean I'm going to stick."
RAISING SHOTS FOR CHARITY: Entering Wednesday night, the Knicks had improved dramatically with their free throw attempts in the previous four games, averaging 24 makes on 31.5 attempts, compared to around 15 makes on 20 attempts per game in previous weeks.
On Wednesday, they continued that improvement, shooting 26-for-33. What has been positive about their recent foul shot numbers is that through their 3-point misses, they've been going inside more and capitalizing.
After the Warriors game, coach Mike Woodson especially credited Anthony, who has been scoring out of the post more in recent games. He was 13-for-15 from the line Wednesday night.
"Melo's been aggressive," the coach said. "When we do get in the penalty, we've got to take advantage of that, and I thought we let them off the hook again somewhat tonight down the stretch. ... Melo's doing a good job of getting to the line, so that's great for us."