Following Sunday night’s game against the Bulls, each and every Knick stood tall with a positive plus/minus highlighting their stat-line.
In a perfect world, what does that equal, exactly? More often than not, it results in a victory, and that’s just what the Knicks got.
Despite a lethargic first quarter after which New York found themselves down by three, the home team broke out to rip the game open in the second and third quarters. In addition to asserting themselves defensively with a certain toughness and physicality that has otherwise been absent much of this season, the Knicks also went on an offensive rampage in the middle quarters.
As the offense continued to flow, more players became involved, and the Knicks began to pull away. While Tim Hardaway Jr. poured in 20 points to lead the way, there were other Knickerbockers who stepped up in the clutch with some of their best outings of the season.
This season has been a tough one for Iman Shumpert, who had an extra pep in his step on Sunday en route to scoring 10 points and grabbing 7 boards. His plus/minus of +8 was third-best on the team. Cole Aldrich also had a stellar night on a seemingly off and/or quiet night for Tyson Chandler. The big man had 6 points, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks, and also used his four fouls effectively.
Not to be overlooked was Raymond Felton, who helped pace his team’s offense while taking command with 14 points and 7 assists of his own. With nothing to lose and nothing to gain, the floor general looked the most confident he has all season long.
Amar’e Stoudemire (12) points and Carmelo Anthony (17 points) both had solid outing as well. J.R. Smith hit five daggers from deep en route to scoring 17 points of his own. There’s no doubt that the Knicks came out with a bit more bark to them as they fought the Bulls hard enough to earn a victory. Such an effort should be commended, but it’s unfortunate that same urgency wasn’t present earlier in the year.
Despite Chicago’s loss, Joakim Noah played like a man possessed. The big man from Brooklyn narrowly missed a triple-double, logging 13 points, 17 rebounds, and 9 assists. He could often be seen bringing the ball up and orchestrating the Bulls’ offense. Forget Dwight Howard. Forget Roy Hibbert. Noah is undoubtedly the NBA’s top center.