Monday, February 28, 2011

Miracle Away From 34th Street!

Amar'e Blocks LeBron to Win Game! See YouTube video, below
As in the Vanessa Williams song Save The Best for Last, Sometimes the snow comes down in June. Sometimes the sun goes 'round the moon.” Last night the Knicks burnt the Miami Heat 91-86 behind Carmelo Anthony’s 29 points, a big block by Amar’e Stoudemire on LeBron James when the game was on the line and Chauncey Billips taking over the game in the fourth quarter with key steals and big shots. No wonder he is called Mr. Big Shot.
In a game that had a playoff atmosphere with as many cheering for the Knicks as the Heat, even LeBron James’ 27 points and Chris Bosh’s 20 couldn’t pull it out for the Heat on this strange night, where fans booed LeBron. The key was tough Knicks defense. It is said that if you can hold one of the Heat’s big three down, you have a chance to win. In a matchup that featured four of the league’s top scorers, the Knicks held Dwayne Wade to only 12 points.  Ending each half strong, the Knicks went on a 16-0 run at the end of the first half and saving the best for last, the Knicks went on a 13-2 run to end the game. 

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Can New-Look Knicks Take Heat?

Just two games after the Knicks blew up its roster to get Carmelo Anthony and sent four of its top players to the Denver Nuggets, is New York ready for tonight's ‘Battle of the Superstars’ in Miami against the Heat? Chemistry is the problem when so many new players arrive to a starting lineup. It took the Heat a quarter of a season to gel into one of the top teams in the NBA after the arrival of its big three, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

Since the Knicks got Anthony, Chauncey Billips and a bunch of new players with only 26 games left in the season, they do not have that luxury – especially if they want to win now and make the playoffs – much less go past the first round. Add to that that ‘Melo will be playing with a very sore right arm that he hurt in the last game. In fact, he was taking shots in practice only with his left.
Let’s face it; Miami is a formidable team and the Knicks’ Amar'e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony Chauncy Billips and company will have a nearly impossible task in tonight’s battle of the superstars. The Knicks chances of winning against the Heat this time are very slight, but Knicks fans can always hope. In any case, the real victory will come when the Knicks gel and become one of the best like the Miami Heat!

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Carmelo Anthony the Good & Bad

How will the big trade shape the Knicks future? Will 'Melo and Billups make the Knicks competitive with Boston, Miami and LA or did the Knicks mortgage its future by giving up too much? This article will try to answer those questions.

By now, you now that the New York Knicks made a blockbuster 13-player trade with the Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves. It sent Danilo Galinari, Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Timofay Mozgov, Eddie Curry, Anthony Randolph, 3 draft picks and six million dollars to those two teams for Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups. The Knicks unloaded two players they did not want in Curry and Randolph and got players back to make up the salary difference, but I doubt they would have traded for any of them if 'Melo was not included.

There is a lot of controversy about whether the Knicks gave up too much or even more than they had to for Anthony. It is said that Knicks owner James Dolan acting on advice from Isiah Thomas ignored Donnie Walsh's and Mike D'Antoni's pleas and gave the Nuggets just about everything they wanted. Knicks management did not want to trade Gallinary, who is a budding star or Wilson Chandler, both who are having their best season. Nor did they want to swap their young point guard Raymond Felton for the 34-year-old Chauncey Billups, who has turned out to be a major acquisition. But Dolan feared that Carmelo would sign with the Nets or re-sign with Denver rather than risk as much as twenty million dollars on the new collective bargaining agreement. Consequently, the Knicks owner even threw in Mozgov, the raw but talented 7'1" Knicks starting center. NY gave up four of its seven best players to make certain it got Melo. Lets examine whether it was worth it.

The Good:
  • Carmelo Anthony playing alongside Amar'e Stodimire should attract other superstars who will be eager to team up for a title run. Chris Paul toasted at 'Melo's wedding that he was looking forward to being part of the Knicks big three in 2012 when his contract expired to compete with the Miami Heat's LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. Derron Williams who is so upset about being traded to the Nets that he has not signed an extension may also escape to the Knicks as may Dwight Howard. According to Donnie Walsh, the Knicks will have cap room for two more max players in 2012 so the sky is the limit!
  • The Knicks no longer have to beg stars to play here. With two superstars, the Knicks are now an attractive destination.
  • Carmelo is a scoring machine! There is no doubt that the Knicks got a great offensive player in Anthony. It has been said that Carmelo Anthony scores more easily than any player in the NBA. You only have to see him slice through a crowd on the basketball court as easily as a hot knife through butter to see that he has an amazing handle. With athleticism and agility he posts up using his ability to soar or he hits a fall back jumper that are nearly impossible to block. His speed and range is among the NBA's best.
  • The Knicks now have three go-to players in Melo Amar'e and Billups who can take over a game and score 30+ points. Now, if one is ill or fouls out the other two can still win.
  • 'Melo and Amar'e demand double-team defence. Double team one and often you will leave the other open. 
  • All three superstars are good passers. They will make teams pay for double teams by hitting the open man for easy shots and unguarded threes.
  • Now 'Melo and Amar'e will be able to score more easily while playing less time. Anthony and Stat have had to create a lot of their own shots by going one-on-one and they had to be on the floor in order for their teams to win. Now, both will be able play less and catch-and-shoot more, making it easier for them to score. Less playing time and easier shots will not only make them more productive, it will also lengthen their careers.
  • All three superstars are very consistent in their play and scoring. Unlike Galo and Chandler who had great games one night and disappeared the next, Amar'e, Melo & Billups come up big more often than not.
  • Chauncey Billups even at 34 is much better point guard than Raymond Felton. Known as "Mr. Big Shot." he has led the Detroit Pistons to a championship and the US Olympic Team to a gold medal. Billups is a great distributor and makes clutch shots. When the Knicks were having a bad game against the Cavs, Billups took over the game with 20 points in the fourth quarter and near perfect free throws (he's second in the NBA at 92%). He brought them within two points three times.
  • 'Melo & Billups bring veteran leadership, toughness and an urgency to play defence. Both players know how to win and motivate their teammates by example and inspiration. Billups has a solid reputation for defence but 'Melo did play excellent D in the Olympics and emphasises that the Knicks have to be able to stop teams, at least for a few minutes in order to win.
  • The Knicks picked up two competent backups in the trade in point guard Anthony Carter and 6'9" forward Shelden Williams
  • The Knicks have added two role players off the waver wire. Center/Power Forward Jarred Jefries & Forward Derrick Brown have been obtained off waivers.
The Bad:
  • Some say that 'Melo and Stat are a bad fit and cannot play together.
  • Anthony is often defensively challenged.
  • Carmelo and Amar'e are 1-on-1 players who hold the ball too long.
  • Exchanging point guards will make it harder for players to blend.
  • Billups is 34 and prone to injuries.
  • After giving up 7'1" center Mozgov, 6'11" Galo, and power forward Chandler, the Knicks lack height and rebounding.
  • The Knicks bench is weak due to giving up so many players.
  • With only 26 games left in the regular season, it will take time for the team to gel and the new players to fit in.
  • The Knicks were unable to take advantage of trades for big men and a backup point guard because it had little left to trade.
I feel that the Knicks superstars will find a way to work well together. It took the Heat 17 games. In my opinion this season is not that important, even if the Knicks don't make the playoffs. By next season, the Knicks should become competitive and if they add another superstar the following year they will challenge for a title. If so, adding Carmelo Anthony should be well worth the exorbitant cost!
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