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Last Night in NBA: Knicks cop huge win in Milwaukee, but are they better without Amar’e Stoudemire?
- Updated: April 12, 2012
By: Kels Dayton
The Knicks earned perhaps their biggest win of the season by deeshing and sweeshing, driving and thriving, and just overall playing auspiciously Wednesday night in a 111-107 win in Milwaukee.
Carmelo Anthony poured in a statement-making 32 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, Tyson Chandler put up 18 and 11, and Good J.R. Smith triumphed over Bad J.R. Smith, knocking down a huge three-pointer with 1:04 to go that gave New York the lead for good. Smith finished with 14 points and a laughable -12 rating.
It was a huge win for the Knicks (30-28), who grabbed a 2.5 game lead over the Bucks with just 8 games to play in the race for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia remained 1.5 games ahead of New York for the 7th spot by pounding the Raptors, 93-75.
Monta Ellis was the main bright spot for Milwaukee, pouring in 35 points in his classic white and red Air Jordan Retro 12s. Ellis is averaging 16.5 points and 5.6 assists since coming over from the Warriors in the Andrew Bogut trade. Brandon Jennings had 22 for the Bucks.
Of course, the biggest story here is what a terrific win it was for New York; one that should punch their ticket to the NBA playoffs. But many anxiety-ridden New York sports fans will instead focus on the following stat:
New York improved to 6-3 without Amar’e Stoudemire in the lineup.
That means we will probably hear the following question hit the New York radio airwaves tomorrow morning:
Are the Knicks better off WITHOUT Stoudemiahhh?
WFAN’s Mike Francesa, lovingly known as the Sports Pope, has already said that he thinks they are…. although he doesn’t believe that there is a way for New York to jettison Amar’e because of his exceedingly player-friendly max contract. There’s no question that Anthony seems more at ease being “The Guy” in the lineup and having the offense run exclusively through him, but there’s no way the Knicks’ ceiling is as high without Stoudemire as it is with him.
Knicks fans need to do something they haven’t done since…well…ever. Take a deep breath. Relax.
Anthony and Stoudemire have only played seven games together under new head coach Mike Woodson, who has completely turned the team around in his short time in New York. (The Knicks are 12-4 under Woodson, after going 18-24 under the overwhelmed and underwhelming Mike D’Antoni).
This is still one of the most talented rosters in the East, and if it can stay healthy next season, could be a threat to make some serious noise–especially now that they have found a point guard in Jeremy Lin. (And yes, they HAVE found a point guard in Jeremy Lin. Just look at how Baron Davis has been playing lately…yikes).
@ New Jersey
vs. LA Clippers
vs New Jersey
76ers 93, Raptors 75
TORONTO — Philadelphia coach Doug Collins had a special request for Lou Williams before the 76ers faced the Raptors: Bring back ‘Show your Love.’
Before sending his team out on the floor, Collins asked Williams to share his special, simple message of unity.
“It was something that I came up with last year,” Williams explained. “I was just saying it when guys made a big shot or something, I would say ‘Show some love’ to them and it kind of snowballed from there.”
Collins hadn’t heard it in a while and noticed the sentiment missing from his team’s play, so he decided it was time to reinforce the message.
“Tonight, for the first time in a long time, we did the ‘Show your love,’ ” Collins said. “That, to me, is when we start getting the spirit back of who we are. And when we play with that kind of energy and spirit, we’re a damn good team.”
Elton Brand scored 11 points and Andre Iguodala, Spencer Hawes and Louis Williams each had 10 as the 76ers avenged a 21-point home loss to Toronto last Wednesday, a game in which the Raptors held the Sixers to 22 points in the second half, and just seven points in the fourth quarter.
This time, the 76ers blew the game open in the fourth quarter, outscoring Toronto 30-18 and coasting to victory thanks to an 11-0 run. The Raptors went scoreless for 4:16 late in the game.
“When we were winning, it was a joy to play this game,” Brand said. “We’re trying to get back to that level.
“The world was falling on us when we lost four in a row,” he added. “Now we win two, we’re right back to feeling good about ourselves.”
Jrue Holiday had eight points, seven assists and seven rebounds for the Sixers, who won back-to-back games for the first time since a three-game streak from March 7 to 11 and strengthened their hold on seventh place in the East.
“We’re fighting for our playoff lives,” Brand said.
Jazz 103, Rockets 91
HOUSTON — Running out of games and healthy bodies, the Utah Jazz turned to their budding star to keep their fading playoff hopes alive in Houston.