Carmelo Anthony: New York Knicks

March 24, 2012 by staff 

Carmelo Anthony: New York Knicks, Mike Woodson (from l.) again has plenty to applaud as Carmelo Anthony, Jeremy Lin and Knicks roll to 4-0 under interim coach with rout of Raptors at Garden. It’s all fun and games for the Knicks now. They have won four in a row under interim coach Mike Woodson. They toyed with the Raptors at the Garden Tuesday night, doing to Toronto what other teams – good and bad – have done all season long.

Just when Toronto thought it had a chance, the Knicks extinguished it with smothering defense. They forced 17 turnovers (seven in a crucial stretch of the fourth quarter), making the game a 106-87 rout.

All of this renewed energy, commitment to defense and accountability have become more than a mantra for the Knicks under Woodson. It has become applied science.

“We know what we have to do to win,” said forward Amar’e Stoudemire, who had 22 points and 12 rebounds. “Coach Woodson put that ultimatum on us. We know what we have to do to go out there and win. We know how great we are from a personnel standpoint. We all want to win a championship. We have to take it one step at a time.”

Every time someone on the Knicks whispers the “C” word, things tend to crumble. Best to keep that out of the vocabulary.

They can erase some doubts about the authenticity of this resurgence on Wednesday when they visit the 76ers, who stand atop the division and are four games ahead of the Knicks
(22-24). This will be a good measuring stick for the Knicks. The last time the two teams hooked up, the 76ers emphatically demonstrated they were in another class all together by beating the Knicks, 106-94.

“They have a team full of talented players that play together, play the right way and get after you defensively,” Woodson said.

It is the kind of statement that Woodson would like for Philadelphia coach Doug Collins to utter about the Knicks after Wednesday night’s game. It certainly could be something said about the Knicks after Tuesday night’s rout of Toronto (15-31).

When the Raptors cut the Knicks’ lead to eight points with 8:24 to go, the Knicks picked up their defensive pressure. Steve Novak, who had 11 points off the bench, forced a turnover and then hit a three-pointer to make it 87-76. And then Stoudemire came up with a big block of a shot by Raptors center Andrea Bargnani to thwart more thoughts of a comeback.

And so it went. The Knicks turning up the defensive pressure, getting steals and turnovers, and the Raptors slowly wilting, until it became a blowout. In the blink of an eye the Knicks went on a 14-3 run and took a 20-point lead with 3:25 to play.

“We got a good rest coming out of the third quarter,” said Jeremy Lin, who had 18 points and 10 assists for his seventh double-double of the season. “We all sat at some point in the fourth. When we got out there we just tried to bring as much energy as we could. We knew we just needed one more push to put the game away.”

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