>Farewell To Mediocrity

Posted: February 24, 2011 by Keith Stone in Knicks, Melo

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There was an energy in the Garden tonight, a real energy, unlike anything I’ve ever felt. Yeah, I wasn’t there when Willis came out of the tunnel, Messier raised the Stanley Cup, or Ali fought Frazier. I’m not saying that tonight was even on the level of those events. It was just different.

I was shocked at how many Carmelo jerseys people were wearing (even some for Chauncey Billups) and how crowded it was before the Knicks came out for warmups. When they did, Melo got a standing O. When he made his first shot in the layup line, people cheered. It was great. It also shows how desperate we are as a fanbase. The Garden may have over-dramatized things with the “I’m Coming Home” song during the starting lineups, but it’s not the first time. And this time, I think it was worth it.

The Knicks came out blazing and slowed down a little as expected. The chemistry actually wasn’t half bad. Amar’e and Melo deferred to each other. When Melo was double-teamed, he got it to Amar’e and vice versa. When teams have to worry about both of them, it really opens the court for guys like Landry Fields and Shawne Williams. Toney Douglas also had an outstanding game and should play a bigger role if can consistently take the ball to the hole. Chauncey Billups proved that he’s more than just a throw-in to the trade. He was a significant upgrade from Ray Felton. The D and rebounding was a little shaky but that’s going to get better with practice and hopefully an additional big body acquired before the trade deadline.
When the game was on the line, nobody backed down. Not the new guys. Not the old guys. Not the fans. Melo, Amar’e, and Chauncey have an uncanny knack to get to the line and that helps you win games. Melo made two big shots and that’s why we got him. He took 25 shots but it didn’t feel like he forced it too much. The key is to make sure everybody is involved and exploit the mismatches the team has on offense.
The Knicks will continue to improve. The role players need to come into their own and contribute. Opposing teams need to be kept off the boards. It will all take time. Right now, we know the Knicks are tough and they can score. Will that be enough? It’s a start.

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