Thursday, March 1, 2012

Bad start and bloody nose doesn't deter Knicks and Lin

The Knicks bench led a 29 point swing in the 2nd half against Cleveland on Wednesday. The bench was led by forward Steve Novak who scored 17 points in only 18 minutes. His shooting ignited the Garden crowd after the lackluster first half. Iman Shumpert contributed 12 points including a an impressive alley-oop from Jeremy Lin late in the game. Baron Davis also had his best preformance of the season with 8 assists and 0 turnovers off the bench.

Lin and Carmelo Anthony both also played well in their starting roles with Melo leading the team with 22 points. Lin scored 19 points with 13 assist in his first game since his sloppy preformance against the Heat last Thursday. Early in the game, Lin suffered a bloody nose following being elbowed by Cavaliers foward Omri Casspi. But Lin appeared to be alright and came back soon after being hit.

The most interesting part of the night was the energy that the bench (especially Novak) was able to spark. Following the first half, where the Cavaliers outplayed the Knicks, things were looking pretty bad. But the Knicks were able to close to gap during the third quarter in large part due to Steve Novak's great shooting. Novak hit a pair of tough three pointers that sent the Madison Square Garden crowd into a fervor. Late in the game the Cavaliers got back into the game, and fans started chanting for Novak. Mike D'Antoni said Novak's play was "ridiculous."

D'Antoni also said that he was not surprised that the Knicks bench outplayed the starters. "That group has kicked our first group's butt. It wasn't different." says D'Antoni. "They've been playing that way."
He also said that the bad play in the first half was a result of "rust" from the All-Star Break. "It was a little bit of rust... it was a little bit of Cleveland, who played last night, played better than we did,"

The Knicks will have another short three day break before hitting the court again against the Boston Celtics on Sunday.

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