In their preseason opener against the Celtics on Wednesday, the Knicks held on in the final seconds for what proved to be an exciting victory.
The same couldn't be said for New York on Friday night against the Raptors, as the third and fourth stringers entered the game for the Knicks with time expiring. Needless to say, they couldn't prove capable of holding off Toronto's late fourth quarter push. The Knicks lost 100-91.
But of course, the preseason isn't all about winning or losing. It's about figuring out which players mesh well together, and which ones progress as October goes on. With that in mind, there was a lot to be seen, learn from, and take note of.
Taking the good for what it's worth, Carmelo Anthony looks ready to roll into the regular season. He had good rhythm going against Boston, and simply continued by truly pouring in the points against Toronto. Scoring 24, Anthony took former teammates Landry Fields and Steve Novak to town by beating each of them off the dribble in a bevy of different ways.
And though his long range prowess disappeared, Iman Shumpert also had yet another promising contest. His shot wasn't falling, but the third-year guard still managed to stay very active on both ends of the floor. His 10 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 steals proved that. Arguably New York's best player on the floor Friday, Shumpert had a team-high plus/minus of +12.
Shumpert, along with Metta World Peace and Tim Hardaway Jr. (who each scored 13 points), collectively kept New York in the game until the squad's bench warmers took over late in the contest. Among such players was Toure Murry, who appeared in his first preseason game. He had a couple of nice moves in his 9 minutes of play, but let loose a couple of bricks from long range. It'll be interesting to see more of him and get a larger sample size with regard to what he can do and how he competes at this level.
Andrea Bargnani remained active and assertive offensively for the second straight game. He added 10, and Tyson Chandler scored 6 while attempting more of those jumpers we're likely to see as the season begins.
Through two games, it's been difficult to get as excited about Beno Udrih. He's looked a little tired and rusty out the gate. Putting it simply, he hasn't displayed that extra pep in his step necessary to get the Knicks going offensively. But alas, it's only been two games, and there's more time for him to come into his own with the new squad. Instead of letting him run the ball up so often as a backup point guard, perhaps it'd be beneficial to insert him into the lineup next to Raymond Felton or Pablo Prigioni to see how he does playing off the ball as well.
In any event, there was a lot to see from the Knicks on Friday night. They're not playing to win, rather to simply evaluate. So far, the games have given all involved a decent chance to begin doing that.