The rest of the trip will be telltale for the Knicks.
Sure, they looked good last night in crushing the Bobcats by 33 points on a night when Carmelo Anthony didn’t make a basket and scored just one point.
It was against arguably the worst team in the league, but you don’t want to take anything away from the Knicks performance because they played with the passion and urgency and selflessness that has been lacking.
Tyson Chandler was dominant. Amar’e Stoudemire showed some explosiveness. Landry Fields was aggressive and productive. Toney Douglas played with confidence. Mike Bibby ran the offense well. And Jared Jeffries made all four of his foul shot tries.
“I liked the way we played,” Chandler said after a 20-point, 17-board performance. “We had a good energy about us. The way we approached the game, the energy, it was a lot better. I felt in the locker room, coming out there. We had great ball movement. We had pep in our step. That’s the way we have to play.”
The trip continues tonight in Cleveland before the Knicks go to Miami and Houston at the end of the week. Going forward, the Knicks can’t afford many 0-for-7 games from Anthony.
It would be surprising if he wasn’t more aggressive tonight, presuming his sprained thumb, sprained wrist and sore ankle don’t take him out of his game completely.
Anthony is happy the Knicks won but you know 0-for-7 and one point doesn’t sit well with him. He’s going to want to get that out of his system.
The first question to him postgame was what did he have to do to adjust his game when his shots weren’t falling? Here’s Anthony’s response:
“Me? I didn’t take many.”
Anthony seems very aware of what has been written and said about him recently, capped by the 30-shot night against his old team the Nuggets.
After he spoke about shooting less, you had to expect he would last night, but you couldn’t have predicted he’d miss every shot he took.
“I just wanted everybody to get back their confidence,” Anthony said. “I told you the other day I’m going to try to do a good job, distributing the ball and getting guys more involved.”
That has to be how the Knicks play from the start of the game and then if Anthony is healthy, you run the offense through him in the fourth period.
He’s got to be the Knicks’ closer and during the game everyone needs to be involved and feel part of the offense instead of standing around watching.
It worked last night, but the rest of the trip and beyond will be telltale for the Knicks.