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Baseline to Baseline recaps: Five in a row for the Knicks

Mar 22, 2012, 9:03 AM EDT

Carmelo Anthony, Jrue Holiday AP

What you missed while being thankful a rogue boulder didn’t destroy your home and car…

Knicks 82, Sixers 79: This was the ugliest win for the Knicks on their five-game winning streak, but it may also be the best. Not the best because it moves them within three games of the struggling Sixers in the Atlantic division (well, that does matter, too) but rather because they won it a grind it out game. This was one where both teams looked tired and neither could get a shot to fall (New York won shooting 36.7 percent overall and hit 2-of-13 from three) but good teams win ugly games. Mike Woodson made the adjustments — he went small and got a good game from Stoudemire (21 points) and good defense from Shumpert on Philly’s guards.

These teams are moving in opposite directions — Philly has lost 4 of 5 — and now the Sixers are just one game ahead of the Celtics and three ahead of the Knicks. The race to win the Atlantic and avoid the Bulls or Heat in the first round is now fully engaged for the next five weeks. Along those same lines, the Knicks are now four games and Boston two behind six-seed Atlanta.

Thunder 113, Clippers 91: This was close through the first quarter, when the Clippers shot 50 percent, hit 6-of-8 from three and trailed just 33-30 after one. But in the next three quarters the Clippers shot 32.2 percent and the Thunder pulled away for a relatively easy win. On the other end of the floor, the Thunder did a good job getting Kevin Durant isolated on Nick Young and Randy Foye and that led to him looking dominant getting 32 points on just 18 shots. Durant did a good job of recognizing his matchup advantages and taking Young down on the block when he could. The Clippers never really adjusted, which is another issue altogether. Russell Westbrook had 19.

Kendrick Perkins picked up an early technical when he gave a hard foul on Blake Griffin who was trying to go up and dunk over him. That’s a little payback for last time.

Lakers 109, Mavericks 93: What is it with this Lakers team winning the hard game s and losing to the bottom feeders? A night after dropping a game to a Rockets team without its starting backcourt, the Lakers go on a 20-4 run in the second quarter to take the lead and win relatively easily over Dallas.

One real key was the Lakers shot 58.4 percent on the night — Kobe Bryant was 11-of-18 (Dallas really missed Shawn Marion, who was out), Paul Gasol 13-of-16, and Ramon Sessions was 7-of-8 on his way to 17 points plus 9 assists. The Lakers offense looks so much better with the quickness that Sessions brings to the point — Mike Brown, stop the charade, start Sessions and say you are going to close with him, not Steve Blake. The Lakers ball movement all night was fantastic — the Mavericks doubled Andrew Bynum had and fast all night and while he had just 9 points he passed well out of the double team. Dirk Nowitzki had 26, Jason Terry ran the pick-and-roll well on his way to 23.

Nuggets 116, Pistons 115: On a night of entertaining games nothing beat this one. It didn’t look that way early when the Nuggets owned the first quarter and were up 22, but that’s when the Ben Gordon show started — he had 21 points in the second and 45 for the game. He was 9-of-9 from three. He was a force of nature and it looked like he was going to lead the Pistons to a rare road victory. But Denver closed the game out on an 8-0 run — and that doesn’t do it justice.

Denver was down three with 5.6 seconds left when Arron Afflalo drove and hit the spinning layup for with the foul. Hit the free throw and Denver ties the game. Afflalo misses — but the first game as a Nugget JaVale Mcgee makes the play getting around Greg Monroe for a putback slam that gave Denver the win. McGee had 15 points in the game. Gordon got a good look at his own game winner, but that seemed to be the only shot he missed all night.

Bulls 94, Raptors 82: You really cannot over-sell just how impressive all these Bulls wins this season are without Derrick Rose — they are now 12-4. Toronto led most of this game behind 23 points from DeMar DeRozan, but the Bulls went on a 20-0 fourth quarter run thanks to John Lucas III and Kyle Korver to get the win. Yes, Lucas and Korver were the heroes. Deal with it.

Magic 103, Suns 93: Dwight Howard got the better of a fun matchup with Marcin Gortat scoring 28 points, grabbing 16 rebounds, and adding a couple blocks for fun. But the real story was the Suns defense kept losing Ryan Anderson on pick-and-pops or just out by the arc and he made them pay with 7 three pointers on his way to 29 points. The Magic started to take control late in the first quarter and by the fourth this was garbage time.

Wizards 108, Nets 89: Nene had 22 points and 10 rebounds for Washington. Mix that in with Jordan Crawford having and efficient 21 points on 13 shots and you get a pretty comfortable Wizards win. Washington looked much more fundamentally sound and smart with Nene out there. We’ll see how long that carries over.

Hawks 103, Cavaliers 102 (OT): Josh Smith seemed to be everywhere and had 32 points and 17 rebounds. Early on it was Kyrie Irving (28 points) and Antawn Jamison (23) who had the Cavs up on the road, but the Hawks battled back and the fourth quarter was pretty tight. That’s when Joe Johnson, shooting 3-14 to start the night, hit a big three to send it to overtime. Then in overtime he hit the game winner. So I guess he really is worth all that money… nah. But he had a good night.

Warriors 101, Hornets 92: Klay Thompson (career high 27 points) and David Lee (25) fail to understand the concept of tanking and lead the Warriors to the win. The Hornets get tanking, they have been doing it all season

Spurs 116, Timberwolves 100: San Antonio was in control of this one from the start and used and 11-1 run late in the first quarter to really grab hold of a double-digit lead it would never relinquish. Tim Duncan had 21 and didn’t play the fourth quarter, Stephen Jackson had 16 for the Spurs off the bench. Kevin Love had 17 points and 12 boards because that is what he does. But the Spurs owned this one.

Tony Parker did leave in the second quarter with what was described as a tight hamstring. Something to watch.

  1. palakerfan - Mar 22, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    Sessions looked lightning quick last night. It was nice to see someone else control the ball and free Kobe up to get to his spots without it. Great trade Mitch!!

  2. cfroggerton - Mar 22, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    After watching the Bulls many times this season, they’re almost a better team without rose. Rose is their poorest defender and although he’s a great passer, the overall ball movement is better without him. You can thank Thibs though for making it happen without Rose.

  3. pbanach01 - Mar 22, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    Wheres all the Knick-bashers out there? Suddenly no one is posting about them or talking junk about how they beat a sloppy team or a sub-par team etc. NY is on the rise and if they continue to play hard every night come next season they will be able to legitimately compete for the eastern conference. Teams succeed when they have talent and players who know exactly what their role is. I am loving the way this team is coming together and everybody is learning their roles. Just do your job and don’t try to do more and you will be successful.

    • njsteeler - Mar 22, 2012 at 8:35 PM

      Exactly!!! I have been saying all along that the talk about the pieces not fitting, and the players can’t play together was pure bullspit!! It’s basketball, and as long as you have a coach that defines roles, trust his 6 and 5 time All-Stars/Olympians instead of a kid with 20 something games on his resume, things would be alright. Thank you for quitting Mike D, and thank god for Mike Woodson. Amazing what a little coaching can do, huh?

      • pbanach01 - Mar 23, 2012 at 3:23 PM

        Seriously I couldn’t agree more. So many people on these sites write comments that are so out of this world and couldn’t be farther from the truth. These people obviously know nothing about basketball or at least how the game is correctly played. Either way glad to see you agree..just like any person with even a little bit of a basketball iq would. GO KNICKS!

    • losangelasbasketball - Mar 23, 2012 at 5:01 AM

      where are the NY bashers….
      Why beat a dead horse?
      While I’m here…you might want to trademark iversanity….

      • pbanach01 - Mar 23, 2012 at 3:32 PM

        dead horse? The current NY Knicks are anything from that my friend. The first half of the season and up until like 2 weeks ago they were a joke. There are many reasons but mainly because the system did not fit the players and the coach did not define roles for the players. Now under Woody the players actually have specific roles, which if you know anything about basketball is exactly how you win games. They are playing the right way finally by focusing on playing as a team. You will never win games by letting an undrafted rookie run off a million screens when you have legit all-starts standing around. That is exactly what Mike D’s system entails and is a recipe for a lot of points but no d. Knicks will be better then the Lakers next year. Mark that down!

  4. pbanach01 - Mar 22, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    two superstars, dominant defensive big man, two solid point guards, garbage/hustle guy (fields), instant offense off the bench (j.r.), lights out 3 with Novak, lock down defender/athlete in shumpert and a solid backup big who is focused on defense. As long as htey keep playing hard every night this sounds like a great recipe for success to me!

    • losangelasbasketball - Mar 24, 2012 at 1:35 AM

      “Mark that down!”
      the starting pg can’t drive left, and my grandma can pick his pocket all day…
      So i’ll mark it down… but in pencil…..

      • pbanach01 - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:24 PM

        haha alright that sounds good

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