Last Night in NBA: Knicks cop huge win in Milwaukee, but are they better without Amar’e Stoudemire?

By: Kels Dayton

Knicks 111, Bucks  107

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 looks more at ease without Stoudemire and Lin in the lineup. (AP Photo/ Jeffrey Phelps)

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.

Amar'e Stoudemire has gone with a Unibomber look for his pregame workout routine. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps).

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).


Remaining Schedule:

vs. Washington

vs. Miami

vs. Boston

@ New Jersey

@ Cleveland

@ Atlanta

vs. LA Clippers

@ Charlotte


 Remaining Schedule:


@ Detroit

vs. Indiana

@ Washington

@ Indiana

vs New Jersey

vs Toronto

vs Philadelphia

@ Boston

76ers 93, Raptors 75

Associated Press

TORONTO — Philadelphia coach Doug Collins had a special request for Lou Williams before the 76ers faced the Raptors: Bring back ‘Show your Love.’

Thaddeus Young scored 17 points, Nikola Vucevic had 12 and the 76ers beat theToronto Raptors 93-75 on Wednesday night, an important victory in their chase of a playoff berth.

Lou Williams and the Sixers are taking a page out of Jackie Moon's book. Everybody Love Everybody. (Photo: Dreamworks Pictures)

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 IguodalaSpencer 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

Associated Press

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.

Former Butler Bulldogs hero Gordon Hayward is becoming a star in Utah. (Photo: Bill Baptist/Getty Images)

Gordon Hayward scored a season-high 29 points to lead the Jazz to a 103-91 win over the Rockets on Wednesday night.

Utah came into the game holding the No. 10 spot in the Western Conference, but only 1½ games behind Denver for the eighth and final playoff berth. The Jazz had five players sidelined with injuries, so the starters knew they would log heavy minutes in such a pivotal game.

That didn’t faze Hayward, who went 9-for-14 from the field and sank four 3-pointers and delivered six assists in 39 minutes.

“The mentality now is that we’ve just got to find ways to win,” Hayward said. “We’re down to 10 players now, or something like that. We’re just out there fighting, competing and trying to find ways to win.”

Paul Millsap added 21 points and Al Jefferson had 15 for the Jazz, who shot 51 percent (40 of 78) and led by as many as 18, taking advantage of Houston’s poor shooting.

“Considering the circumstances,” Hayward said, “this is a pretty big win for us.”

And just as big a loss for Houston, which started the night in the sixth spot in the West. The Rockets had a four-game winning streak snapped, and slipped behind Dallas in the standings.

“We weren’t sharp, we had some turnovers,” Houston coach Kevin McHale said. “We had opportunities but could not seem to make that big shot, or that big play that would kind of get us over the hump.”

Goran Dragic scored 19, Kyle Lowry added 15 off the bench and Marcus Camby grabbed 13 rebounds for the Rockets, who shot 36 percent (31 of 87) from the field.

Other Headlines: C’s win again, Spurs tank again, Thunder fall to Clip Joint.

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