|(8-8, 6-4 away)|
|(5-10, 2-5 home)|
“I told them we have good news and bad news. The good news is we have a five-game winning streak. The bad news is we’re .500. Let’s be real.” — Mike D’Antoni
“The difference [from last season] is everybody cares. Losing for so long, it was like the norm. This year everybody wants to win.” — Wilson Chandler“I’m not going to sit here and single me and Amar’e out as the reason we’re winning. Gallo’s been great, Will’s been great, Landry (Fields) and Ronny’s been great. Me and Amar’e have been playing great but so many other guys are contributing. You can’t win with just two guys.” — Raymond Felton
There are so many things to like about this game and therefore this team at this point. The fact that this is the first five game win streak under Mike D’Antoni is relatively minor in relationship to the confidence and comraderie the team exuded in winning two games they easily could have lost to the Bobcats, a playoff team, with Felton, last year. The bottom line is that it is about winning games whatever stage your team is at and the Knicks proved they can beat a mid-level team by weathering the storm with pure hustle and employing whatever talents they have to win. Who would have thought Amar’e Stoudemire would have had six blocks in a game? The most important block of course was when he rose up to the challenge by Stephen Jackson who was certain he could force the ball down Studdy’s throat and through the nets. Stoudemire’s response said “No, No. Get that stuff out of here.”
If you love ball, you must love the Knicks recent exhibition of the “will to win.” Since Stoudemire’s show of public disgust regarding the Knicks losing culture, his teammates have responded. This is leadership.
Speaking of leadership, co-captain Raymond Felton (23 points, 13 assists, forget the 6 turnovers for now) has clearly shown us that he is a brawler-baller. They told us he was tough, but that is not really a basketball term that tells you your team has a really good starting point guard. The Knicks may not have the point guard they need to win the Championship, but they certainly have one they can be proud of in terms of his hustle and desire to win. After watching the last five games, I think it is safe to say that playing Charlotte was not the motivating factor for the good play, but the culmination or the accumulation of improved team chemistry and confidence. Felton’s strip of the rebound showed grit and hustle that the Bobcats did not exhibit.
Landry Fields only had 8 points but he had 10 boards and two steal which barely tell you how good he is. Walsh must get major credit for drafting this find. This guy is very, very solid and heady. I would say he is born to be a Knick, but he is probably more of a trade asset than anything else as long as D’Antoni is coaching his nephew, Gallo (9 pts on 2-9 shooting), whose play has improved significantly now that he is focusing and driving the ball instead of being perched on the arc. But let’s give D’Antoni credit for starting a rookie and showing complete confidence in having him out there. As obvious a good decision as it was, wot many coaches would play a second round rookie like that.
D’Antoni should also get credit at this point for not being smug or satisfied. Up to this point he has rarely taken responsibility for his team’s poor play which is nauseating. It’s always the players: they don’t shoot well, they don’t play defense, they aren’t athletic enough, yadda, yadda. That’s still irritating, but for him to be dissatisfied with .500 is what we want to hear.
One also must like that the Knicks have had different players step up in different games and situations to facilitate a win. As Felton stated, several players have played well.
Right now, I don’t want to focus on the Bobcats because I don’t want to take too much away from the opportunity to savor a win. There will be plenty of time to do a more in-depth critique of our team, but I must say this about the Bobcats because I hate stupid ball. The Bobcats are a very talented bunch with an utter disregard for possession of the ball. Ball don’t lie and you gotta make love to that creature by taking care of it and not letting it go freely unless it’s to a teammate, a ref or through your own hoop. The Bobcats don’t have enough love for the ball. Some of their decisions with the ball are just dumb and mindless; like they could play with us at the Y some time.
Let’s Go Knickerbockers. Jamal Crawford, Joe Johnson, Josh Smith and Atlanta are next.
Other KFB Joints You Might Enjoy
Knicks v. Bobcats II, Live Blogging Event @ 7pm (BYOB)
Felton Draws First Blood Against Former Team
Knicks Hold Off Bobcats, Win Streak At Four
Knicks Fanatics’ Pre-Game Q and A with Bobcats Planet
KnicksFanaticsBlog Radio Show, Episode 14 — West Coast Upswing
It’s All Isiah’s Fault: Knicks Fanatics In Not-So-Rare Form During LBE