As the New York Knicks came back to a newly refurbished and remodeled Madison Square Garden, the effort was there in the beginning of their last preseason game, but the Knicks ultimately fell to the Charlotte Bobcats, 85-83, on Friday night. The Knicks finished the preseason with a 2-5 record.
If this was a regular season game it would have been a devastating loss, as the Knicks were absolutely cruising early on and were up by as much as 18 points. However, Kemba Walker (who loved playing and thriving at the Garden when he played college ball at Connecticut) and the Bobcats came back and ultimately defeated the Knicks. The Knicks had a shot to tie it in the waning seconds, but Carmelo Anthony missed a 10-foot jumper as time expired.
The best news, though, is nobody got hurt and the Knicks can go into the regular season raring to go with their 15-man roster (which maddeningly include Chris Smith?!) intact.
Carmelo going through the motions
Anthony, who missed the game-tying shot, was lethargic for most of the night. He scored just 13 points on 4-17 shooting in 34 minutes of action. Hopefully, Anthony gets it in gear and brings his A-game for Wednesday’s opener. There’s no reason to expect otherwise.
The struggles of Andrea Bargnani
Bargnani could not build on his fine preseason start, scoring just seven points on 2-10 shooting on this night while missing all three of his three-point attempts. That said, he did start again and his role as starter seems to be fortified as we get set to start the regular season.
Iman Shumpert keeps on impressing
Shumpert just keeps on doing his thing this preseason. He was yet again a force on both ends of the court. On the night, Shumpert scored a team-high 16 points (5-10 from the field) while also knocking down four of seven three point tries. As the season starts, Shumpert will definitely be the x-factor for this team.
Amar’e Stoudemire, J.R. Smith and Kenyon Martin all play
It was nice to see the three most banged-up players on the Knicks get into action in the preseason finale. Stoudemire did well in his limited minutes (12) by scoring six points on 3-4 shooting. Martin hardly played (nine minutes) but scored a layup on his only attempt. Smith also shined in his last game before having to sit out the first five games for his suspension, scoring 11 points off the bench. Along with Ray Felton, who had been nursing a strained hamstring, all of these guys (sans of course Smith due to suspension) look primed and ready to go when the games count for real on Wednesday.
Metta World Peace gets warm ovation; plays solid game
Coming off the bench, World Peace got a nice ovation from the Garden crowd and did well in his first game at the Garden as a Knick. World Peace scored 12 points on 4-10 shooting while also notching two steals.
Understandably, Chris Smith and Cole Aldrich did not play, but why Toure Murry?
After all three made the club, you knew their chance to receive minutes would be scant, but Murry who has stood out in camp should have been given a look on this night. While it’s small potatoes in the bigger scheme of things, it would have been nice to see Murry get his chance at playing in the Garden in a meaningless game.
Now, let’s get this party started for real on Wednesday, when the Knicks host the Milwaukee Bucks in their first game of the 2013-14 season.
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