The New York Giants got the week rolling by crushing Dallas on Monday. They own Cowboys Stadium so far, with a 2-0 record. And Eli Manning owns October, with a 20-4 record, which is the best mark of any QB in the Super Bowl era. Yesterday, the New York Jets were shut out against Green Bay. Was Matt Cain pitching for the Packers? The two local basketball teams got their seasons off to rousing starts, but the New York Knicks promptly lost their next two, though they fought to the end in both contests, while the New Jersey Nets went an un-Net-like 2-1. Unfortunately, it was a tough week on the ice, as our three hockey teams went a combined 2-7. And now without further ado, the Player of the Week . . .
Devin Harris: New Jersey won their first two games of the year, so a Net has to be named Player of the Week. Harris led his team to two victories in their first three games, which is already a monumental improvement over last year. After a sluggish 2009-'10, the Net point guard is playing up to his capabilities so far in this fledgling season. After an opening-night 22-point, nine-assist performance, he made two crucial buckets near the end of Saturday's win over Sacramento, with a three-pointer to take the lead and a jumper to put the game away (and finished with 21 points and 10 assists). The Nets didn't have a chance yesterday against Miami, but Harris scored 13 points and dished out eight assists. Brook Lopez is also off to a good start to the season, with 25, 29 and 20 points.
Runners Up & Other Notables
Hakeem Nicks: The Cowboys had no answer for Nicks, who is fast becoming a star this season. He made the Dallas defenders look flat-out foolish. The second-year receiver was seemingly toying with his opponent on his two touchdown catches. If Nicks keeps this kind of thing up, he may wind up as the best receiver the Giants have ever had. Nine catches, 108 yards and two TDs isn't a bad night's work in front of a national TV audience--not to mention with a distraught Jerry Jones looking on as well. For the season, Nicks has 45 catches, 525 yards and eight TDs, with 100 catches and 1,000 yards all in sight. Steve Smith is right up there with him. Though not as spectacular, Smith has stickier hands. He had nine catches himself on Monday (43 for the year), good for 101 yards and a touchdown, to boot. The second half of the first quarter through the third quarter version of Eli Manning was incredible. He was like a killing machine, with four TDs and no picks. He sized up the Dallas D, and picked them apart with ease. It was the beginning and end Evil Eli we'd like to forget. Ahmad Bradshaw, despite his Bear Pascoe's butt-inducing fumble, was his usual dynamic, impressive self, and he's just plain fun to watch. Michael Boley gets a shout out for hammering Tony Romo with a clean hit. Barry Cofield had a sack and two forced fumbles. And Matt Dodge had his best game, with three punts averaging 55 yards, including a booming, long 69-yarder--it's just too bad Duke Calhoun missed that tackle, and Dez Bryant ran it back for a TD. But you can't blame Dodge for that.
Wilson Chandler: Either he's taking his "demotion" from the starting lineup personally and channeling his energy in a positive way or he's playing for a contract extension, but either way Chandler's been the best Knick so far in the young season. One of the questions coming into the year for the team was whether the young guys like Chandler and Danilo Gallinari would step up their game to give Amar'e Stoudemire some support. While Gallinari has been MIA, Chandler's play has risen. He's becoming the new Vinnie "The Microwave" Johnson--instant offense off the bench. In the three games this week, he's scored 22, 19 and 22 points (along with eight, six and 16 rebounds). Stoudemire's had a semi-successful start to his Knick career, taking over the opening game at the end and lifting the Knicks to victory. But while Chandler's hardly turning the ball over, that's part of Stoudemire's game that fans will have to get used to.
Ryan Callahan: Like the Knicks, the New York Rangers were also counting on the young core guys to keep developing and take a big step up this season, and Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov have answered the bell. Callahan's working hard all the time as usual, and is on an offensive hot streak to add to his hard-hitting ways. He had three goals and two assists this week (including converting on a penalty shot), and has a four-game goal streak going, along with a point in his last six games. Henrik Lundqvist shut out the Leafs on Saturday in a shooting gallery-like atmosphere, making 36 saves. He also played exceptionally well in the team's loss to Carolina on Friday, even though he let in four goals. And Brian Boyle unexpectedly scored two more goals. Now if he can just learn to use his strength and size to his advantage on a more consistent basis.
David Harris: It was all defense and no offense for the Jets yesterday (and the special teams and coaching weren't much of a help either). Harris led the team with eight tackles (and one assist) and also had a sack. Bart Scott was right behind him with six tackles and an assist. The offense was shut out so we'll shut them out when it comes to Player of the Week kudos, too.
James Wisniewski: It wasn't a good week for the New York Islanders, and they find themselves with a four-game losing streak. Wisniewski racked up a goal and two assists in Wednesday's game, and now has two goals and nine assists for the year. All but one of those points has come on the power play. Frans Nielsen scored on a penalty shot (two penalty shots in one night for the New York teams) and also had an assist this week.
Patrik Elias: The New Jersey Devils won one game this week, and Elias scored the winning goal. And that's about the only good thing that's happened to New Jersey lately.
Rookies: Landry Fields impressed in his first three NBA games (11 points/four rebounds, 11/10, 11/eight), as did Derrick Favors (8 points/10 rebounds, 10/7, 13/13). Devil Alexander Vasyunov notched his first career point, when he assisted on Elias' game-winner on Friday, and Islander Matt Martin netted his first career goal, a one-timer off a Nielsen pass on Friday.
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