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Knicks get exactly what they need in easy win against Magic

Mar 29, 2012, 3:08 AM EDT

New York Knicks' Anthony and Lin celebrate beating Orlando Magic in their NBA basketball game in New York Reuters

With no Amare Stoudemire (for a while) and no Jeremy Lin (for a night), there were the two things we said the Knicks needed if they were going to make the playoffs (and, in a dream scenario, make a run to the top of the Atlantic division).

First, a whole lot of Carmelo Anthony on offense. Second, really good team defense.

The Knicks got both of those things Wednesday night, and with them a blueprint of what they need to do from here on out. They also got an easy 108-86 win over the Magic. It certainly helped that Orlando pretty much rolled up into the fetal position and let the Knicks take the win, but still the blueprint is still there.

Anthony had 25 points and six assists, but it was how he got them that was key. With no Lin the Knicks largely went away from the pick-and-roll — they only had 9 shots by the ball-handler or roll man in that set. Instead they used Anthony more in the post and good ball movement (34 shots came on spot ups, 20 in isolations). Anthony in the post drew fouls, hit some turnaround jumpers and made smart kickouts. He made the offense go.

Defensively, the Knicks have the personnel to follow the book on the Magic — single cover Dwight Howard and stay home on the shooters. With Tyson Chandler on him Howard had just 12 points on 7 shots. Orlando’s game plan is to make you double inside and them beat you with deep shots, but the Knicks could stay home on the shooters and the Magic never got in a rhythm.

The Knicks got some other good play as well — Iman Shumpert had 25 points and played good defense.

It’s not always going to be that easy for the Knicks because most teams won’t roll over like that (it’s games like this that make you think the Magic will not impress in the plaoff. But the blueprint is there. And the Knicks are now 2.5 games ahead of the Bucks and solidly in the playoffs — and just 2.5 games out of the division lead.

  1. brandonlee321 - Mar 29, 2012 at 3:35 AM

    Run a damn spellcheck before you post! What is this amateur night?

    • losangelasbasketball - Mar 29, 2012 at 4:05 AM

      Information age + sports reporting = no spellcheck

      • drunkenjunk - Mar 29, 2012 at 7:05 AM

        He gets paid for this = garbage

        Also, anyone else catch Howard pouting like a little biatch? Ha, he probably thought beating the Bulls and Heat before the deadline meant something.

  2. midnite2020 - Mar 29, 2012 at 7:04 AM

    who that cares

  3. Mr. Wright 212 - Mar 29, 2012 at 8:12 AM

    Howard was getting ridiculous calls on both ends and still whining. Amazing.

  4. dysraw1 - Mar 29, 2012 at 11:45 AM

    beautiful game last night the team was firing on all cylinders, its a shame that the knicks are still pressed to win.

  5. md23rewlz - Mar 29, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    Carmelo Anthony is a cancer. The sooner they get rid of him, the better. THEY WILL NEVER WIN WITH THIS LOOSER. Ah crap, sorry, I was reading last week’s Knicks fan talking points memo (complete with rage-induced inability to spell the word “loser”). Good to see that he is now vital to the Knicks playoff hopes.

  6. pbanach01 - Mar 29, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    Any REAL Knicks fan knows that Melo was not the sole or even main problem with this squad. Only trolls and Lin band wagoners would really think that. He obv. did not play great in the first half of the year but there were a lot of team things that needed to be tweaked and him playing hurt did not help. Now the Knicks seem to be forming an identity and players are falling into their roles, which is what a team needs to be successful. Also gotta love Shump City going hard all night! Underrated rookie I think. REAL knowledgeable Knicks fans stand up the future is bright!

  7. pbanach01 - Mar 29, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    Also Woody is doing a phenomenal job of catering the team’s style of play to his player’s strengths. That is what great coaching is all about; adjustments (see Popovich, Greg). Now Melo is getting the rock where he is most effective (post) and it is helping the whole team. He either draws a double and kicks it for the open jumper, shoots his deadly mid-ranger or racks it. Back to the old Melo baby where he is most effective! Just wish Mike D didn’t have him standing on the wing for half of the season. Oh well better late then never.

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