Knicks Win Over A Tired Sixer Team

Published on: 24th February, 2013

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New York — Mike Woodson and his players seemed to breathe a collective sigh of relief after tonight’s “must-win” victory over the Philadelphia 76ers at Madison Square Garden. But the reality is, they shouldn’t be patting themselves on the back too much.

In beating the Sixers, 99-93, they were also defeating a team with a 22-32 record, one of the worst in the NBA. On top of that, the Knicks had also beaten an exhausted team that was playing the second game of a back to back, having lost last night to the Miami Heat.

But, Mike Woodson’s job, in the midst of the Knicks sub-.500 play over the past 29 games (14-15) is to prop up his team, no matter how easily one can dissect the win’s significance.

“For the most part, I thought we came out ready to play and our defense was pretty good,” he said. “The bottom line is that we had to win this tonight. This was a must game for us.”

Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 29-points while Amar’e Stoudemire came off the bench to hit for 22. Anthony was only 6 of 18 from the field, but made 16-of-18 free throws for the Knicks, who have fallen behind Indiana into third place in the Eastern Conference and whose Atlantic Division lead over the Brooklyn Nets is down to two games while losing its last four games.

Anthony knew the importance of tonight’s game, as well.

“Losing games, games we think we’re supposed to win, you come into a game like this, we want to win,” Anthony said. “Definitely want to be a very high-intensity game, a very high-energetic game back here on our home court and we didn’t want to lose this game.”

Mission accomplished, tonight. But the longer term ramifications of what truly ails this team have not been solved. Not by a long shot.

Jason Kidd continues to play as if he’s 40-years old, although he’s only 39.

Iman Shumpert has not come back from his wrecked knee and subsequent surgery last year, playing very unsteady basketball on both sides of the floor.

J.R. Smith has become the personification of erratic, both on and off the floor.

The offense has come to a halt as Raymond Felton’s point guard play has not returned to the form he was displaying over the first 25-games of the season.

The defense has gone from very good to very lousy. The Knicks have been unable to guard the perimeter, allowing an inordinate amount of three-point shots to opposing guards who are regularly outscoring the Knicks guards by huge margins.

The defense has been even worse on the interior, where Tyson Chandler has received little help on the boards from either Anthony or Stoudemire, neither of whom has made their reputation on their board skils. It’s what led Knicks General Manager Glen Grunwald to sign Kenyon Martin, at age 35 one of the younger players on this Knicks roster, to a 10-day look-see contract.

Knicks Signed Kenyon Martin To a 10-Day Contract

The Knicks are hoping and praying Martin can fill the bill as far as rebounding and toughness underneath the rim, something that has been in short supply with the chronic injury status of Marcus Camby, 39 in a month, and Rasheed Wallace, 38.

Those are just a few of the problems facing the Woodson and the Knicks, not to mention the teams behind them in the conference standings are nipping at their heels as the losses mount.

Nothing is trending the right way but the Knicks and Woodson are hoping tonight’s win, even over a tired, losing Sixers club, will be a positive sign of things to come.

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