It wasn’t easy and didn’t come without some doubt, but the New York Knicks preserved in a 98-96 overtime victory over the visiting Phoenix Suns on Monday night, thus pushing their winning streak to five games.
Did anyone say break up the Knicks?
After a tortuous start to the season, the Knicks have finally found their groove and have flipped the page ever since the start of the new year. With the Eastern Conference a crapshoot after the Heat and the Pacers, the Knicks have a chance to make some major headway in a diluted conference.
This recent stretch is certainly lifting the spirit of the Knicks and their fans. That all said, let’s examine four initial observations from Monday’s game.
Carmelo Anthony plays another complete game
Give credit where credit is due. The Knicks would be a total mess if they didn’t have Anthony, the reigning NBA Player of the Week, on their roster. He once again was the engine that drove the Knicks, scoring a game-high 29 points (9-24 from the field) to go along with a team-high 16 rebounds while also adding four steals. The Suns had trouble containing Anthony and he was clearly the difference in this affair.
Kenyon Martin provides solid, stealth play under the basket
Not known for his scoring prowess, Martin was a factor in this game nonetheless, finishing up some misses with some momentum-changing dunks. Martin went on to score eight points (4-9 from the field) to go with nine rebounds (tied for second most on the team) and provided a spark to the team in the frontcourt.
Although empty on assists, Raymond Felton comes through with big baskets
Felton did not have the best of nights spreading the wealth (just one assist), but he came up huge in the scoring department (19 points on 8-16 shooting). He made a lot of key baskets to bail out the Knicks. Make no mistake, Felton has played a huge role in the Knicks current five-game winning streak.
J.R. Smith plays another solid game
While Smith has done more bad than good for the Knicks this year, credit him for at least taking his recent benching to heart with some inspired play after the admonishment. In Monday’s game, Smith scored 10 points on 5-11 shooting, while only attempting one three pointer. In his last two games vs. Philadelphia and Phoenix, Smith has averaged 12 points and is making better decisions on offense. We can only hope it lasts and Smith has turned over a new leaf.
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