Knicks Beat An NBA Elite Team To Go To 16-9 On The Season

Published on: 12th December, 2010

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Knicks Beat An NBA Elite Team To Go To 16-9 On The Season  | read this item

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New York – No matter how many games the Knicks have won this season, there continue to be die-hard cynics who keep pointing to the soft, sub-.500 schedule the Knicks have won most of their games against. Today’s afternoon contest at Madison Square Garden against the Carmelo Anthony-led Denver Nuggets was viewed as the beginning of a real test of the New Yorkers’ mettle and talent level as it compared to the NBA’s elite teams.

Non-believers felt the Knicks would receive their come-uppance when they had to play  this next stretch of games, starting with Denver today and continuing with Eastern Conference showdowns with the Celtics on Wednesday and Miami on Friday.

Meanwhile, growing legions of Knicks believers have seen team chemistry developed in front of their very eyes, mixed in with a little superstardom from Amar’e Stoudemire and All-Star caliber point guard play from Raymond Felton.

After today’s Knicks 129-125 win against the 14-8 Nuggets, mark one down for the believers. These Knicks appear to be for real.

They won for the 13th time in their last 14 games, including what is now an eight-game winning streak. They improved their overall record to 16-9, which is the franchise’s best start to a season since 1996-97 when they started 18-7.

There were plenty of heroes for the Knicks today.

Stoudemire set an all-time Knicks franchise record with his eighth consecutive 30-point effort, breaking the record held by Willie Naulls in 1962. His dominance in the second half, when he scored 24 of his points, was both needed and timely as Denver made several runs during the half that had them in the lead after the Knicks had dominated the first half.

Felton had one of his best games of the season, posting 19 points to go along with a season-high 17 assists as he outplayed Chauncey Billups, the veteran point guard of the Nuggets.

Wilson Chandler tied his season high with 27 points, beginning the game 5-5 from the field. Landry Fields, who continues to be a rookie impact player, scored 18 to go along with nine rebounds in 44 minutes.

Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni is one of the believers in his team.

“We can talk about all of them,” he said. “Wilson was terrific. Wilson, Landry, Gallo, and Raymond kept us in there until Amar’e started heating up. It was a great game. A lot of fun.”

Today’s contest started off with the Knicks seemingly hitting every shot they took in the first quarter, en route to a 35-24 lead. Denver came back in the second quarter, putting 41 points to the Knicks 31 to close the gap at the half to 66-65. It was up and down like that most of the game as these two teams, not famous for playing hard-nosed defense, took turns scoring as if they were in the playground, putting on a spectacular show of shots and dunks. 

“It showed me a lot of character,” said D’Antoni. “Being able to throw punches and then get hit back. Being able to go down after being up the whole game. Having Amar’e in foul trouble and finding a way. You have to be able to find a way to win until you get everything straight. That is what these guys have been doing for awhile.”

As excited as Knicks fans are over the state of their team, the real backdrop to this game was the only appearance this season of perhaps, the future Knicks player, Carmelo Anthony. 

According to a report on espn.com, Anthony has told the Denver Nuggets he will not sign the nearly $65 million contract extension he has been offered unless he is traded to the New York Knicks.

According to espn, Anthony predicted the Nuggets will not trade him to a destination that is not on his wish list.

“I don’t think so. I don’t think that will happen,” Anthony said.

Asked why he would make such a definitive statement, Anthony demurred “I don’t want to answer that. I don’t want to talk about that.”

Knicks fans are keenly aware of Anthony’s contract status and despite the team’s great start this season, based on their reaction to Anthony during player introductions, they would love to see the still-young star in a Knicks uniform. He received a long standing ovation from Knicks fans during player introductions after hearing their pleadings on the streets ever since the Nuggets arrived in Manhattan late Friday night.

“Everybody’s yelling out the windows: ‘Melo we need you in New York.’ Of course that feels good when you know someone out there wants you to come and represent their team and represent their city. That’s what I took from that,” Anthony said.

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