Knicks got the win they needed over the Nets
NEW YORK – The Knicks wanted everything Thursday night at Barclays Center. They wanted to quiet the talkative Kevin Garnett, they wanted to remove all doubt about who ruled NY, but most importantly, they just wanted to win.
Locked in from shootaround to the final horn, the Knicks played with intensity all evening en route to a 113-83 win. Carmelo Anthony went for 19 pts and 10 rebounds, while “sacrificial lamb” Andrea Bargnani, as Anthony called him, poured in 16 on 7-13 shooting, and was ejected after jawing at Kevin Garnett.
“I guess I’ll have to check the rule book…talking,” Bargnani said of the technical that was called on him leading to his ejection, following a previous technical for getting up close and personal with Garnett.
Bargnani, without a doubt, earned the love of Knicks fans by playing a gritty 28 minutes, and keeping Brook Lopez in check, for the most part. He showed once again he is a lockdown one-on-one post defender, and a viable option on the other end scoring the basketball. Most of all, he disproved the theory that he’s soft.
"That's what you need from him. We needed him to get upset like that. We needed him to get engaged more. He played great," said JR Smith, who yielded a +29 rating in 25 minutes on the floor.
The seven-footer, acquired from Toronto this offseason, has had the opportunity to prove his worth to the organization with starting Center Tyson Chandler out. Over the past five games, he’s averaging 18 points, and nearly two assists and three blocks per game, courtesy of Tommy Dee (@_TommyDee_). He’s provided the Knicks with a viable #2 scoring option in light of last season, when Carmelo Anthony had no one to turn to when his offensive game struggled.
Look for Bargnani to continue to get big minutes even when Chandler returns – but Mike Woodson should be careful where to place him. It’s clear he can play the Center position very well, so maybe a spot in the second unit would be ideal. But judging from Woodson’s attraction to a big lineup, the frontcourt may be Anthony-Bargnani-Chandler. And if there’s one thing we can take from Thursday, it’s that Carmelo Anthony definitely plays better at the four.