While it wasn’t easy to see a 23 point lead evaporate in the final minutes of the game, the New York Knicks did what they had to do in their 103-102 victory over the Boston Celtics in Providence on Wednesday night.
The Knicks got contributions across the board, as many players stood out in the game.
With that said, here are five key takeaways from the game.
Iman Shumpert improved his jump shot; looks great
Shumpert was perfect on the night—literally. Shumpert scored 18 points on 7-7 shooting (3-3 from three-point range) from the field and 1-1 from the free-throw line. Shumpert looked calm, cool and collected on the floor and offered a lot of hope that this year, indeed, will be his breakout year. If he can score like he did on Wednesday, the Knicks will be a much better team for it.
Tim Hardaway Jr. also showed his offensive prowess
Hardaway Jr. was active off the bench on Wednesday night, scoring 16 points on 6-10 shooting (3-5 from three-point range) while also calmly drilling the game-winning jumper. Hardaway Jr. certainly lived up to his first-round draft status, and gave the team a boost off the bench. With J.R. Smith recovering from his knee injury and then having to sit out the first five games upon his return, Hardaway Jr. will provide great insurance as a weapon off the bench.
Newcomers Metta World Peace, Andrea Bargnani and Cole Aldrich all had solid outings
World Peace had himself an efficient overall game scoring 13 points (on 5-9 shooting) to go with four rebounds and three assists. Bargnani didn’t have the most efficient of nights (shooting 3-8) but he was impressive nonetheless scoring 12 points and grabbing three rebounds. While Aldrich only scored two points (on 1-5 shooting), he was very active on defense and on the boards (5). Their progress in the preseason will be important as the Knicks shake out their rotation.
Toure Murry did not play
It was a curious decision for Mike Woodson to not play summer-league star Murry. While the Knicks are deep at point guard with Ray Felton, Pablo Prigioni and Beno Udrih all ahead of Murry on the depth chart, you would think that Woodson would have liked to see what Murry could do in a professional setting. Maybe Woodson wanted to get an extended look at Udrih, since he is new to the team and all. Maybe next game (vs. the Raptors on Friday), Murry will get a good look.
Key game-saving block could boost C.J. Leslie’s value
Although he didn’t play that much (playing just eight minutes and scoring two points in his only attempt from the field), Leslie made the defensive play of the game, blocking the Celtics Phil Pressey’s last-second jumper to win the game for the Knicks. Leslie has to impress the coaching staff if he wants to stick with the club and his defense late in the game will certainly endear him to Knicks brass.
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