For one night, the New York Knicks were able to put aside all the Carmelo Anthony trade rumors and win a big basketball game with out it’s best player.
Amar’e Stoudemire missed his first game of the season because of sprained toe but the Knicks were able to respond to the challenge with a huge 105-95 victory over the New Jersey in Newark on Saturday night. The win put New York back over the .500 mark and were able to keep ahead of the red hot 76ers for a day. It was just their second win in their last six games.
“It was very big for us,” rookie Landry Fields said. “We came into the game knowing Amare wasn’t going to play, so we needed that extra energy. I think Will put it on himself to be more aggressive tonight and he had a great night.”
Wilson Chandler stepped up to fill the void by Stoudemire by having himself a strong game with 21 points, 8 rebounds, and a season high 5 blocks. It was the first time that Chandler eclipsed the 20 point mark in nearly three weeks and he picked a great time to do it.
“He played great and I was hoping before the game when Amare wasn’t there people like Wilson and stuff would come out and have to do it and the pressure would be off because Amare’s not out there,” D’Antoni said. “So maybe it helps him to get his rhythm back.”
Toney Douglas had a strong game off the bench with 19 points and Fields had 14. Landry hit some big shots down the stretch and that included making three big 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. The last three proved to be the game clincher as Fields hit a wide open three from the corner to put the Knicks up 99-91 with 48.7 seconds and put the Nets away.
“This was a big win for us, because without Amare and the way we’ve been going and everything involved, this was a good win,” Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said.
Without it’s star player, the Knicks looked like a team that was a lot more relax and played with a lot more desperation. Stoudemire was out because of a sprained toe that he suffered during Friday night’s loss to the Lakers. Despite the injury, Amar’e says he should be good to go when the Knicks play their next game on Wednesday night against the Atlanta Hawks.
“Hopefully I’m 100% by Wednesday,” Stoudemire said. “If I am, then the All-Star Game will be a go. But if not, I won’t play as much
The Nets came out strong in the beginning as they raced out to an early 19-12 in the first quarter after Devin Harris free throw’s. However, New York would respond with a 15-2 run to end the quarter and lead 27-21 after the one. Without Stoudemire, the Knicks had to rely on the three point shot for the most part and were able to hit it when they needed to. They hit 6 of 10 three pointers in the first quarter.
The Knicks would open up the lead to as many as 11 in the second quarter as they had themselves a 44-33 lead with 6:47 left thanks to a Toney Douglas layup. By halftime, the Nets would cut the Knicks lead to 59-54.
There was not much going in a very lackluster third quarter as both teams combined to score 27 points and the Knicks shot 6 of 24 for the quarter. The third point shooting suffered for New York in the quarter with only 1 of 10 but somehow managed to have a 72-68 lead heading into the final quarter.
Sasha Vujacic’s three pointer tied the game at 72 with 11:08 left in the quarter. But the Knicks came back with a 11-0 run because of three pointers made by Bill Walker, Toney Douglas, and Landry Fields. After a New Jersey timeout, the Nets came back with a 12-0 run that was capped off by a Devin Harris three pointer with 7:02 left.
Both teams traded baskets until back to back three pointers from Chandler and Fields gave the Knicks a 93-89 lead. Lopez made a free throw before Timofey Mozgov converted a three-point play. Fields capped it off with his clutch three from the corner.
Fields improved his NBA-leading 3-point percentage in the fourth quarter to 64.5 percent (20 of 31), and pointed out toward the crowd and did a little showboating.
“Did you see Kim Kardashian?” Fields said as to the reason why he did his showboating.