If the first half of the New York Knicks 131-118 win over the Toronto Raptors was any indication of how the Knicks’ will play during the playoffs, then both the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat will likely want to avoid a first round match up with the Knicks.
The Knicks ran out to 13-0 lead, scoring 78 points in a first half where they led by as much as 29 points. They looked as unstoppable on offense as they have since Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups joined on. The Knicks finished off the Raptors with the score much closer than the game actually was.
Anthony was spectacular when he did play, knocking down shot after shot, connecting on five 3-point shots in the first half. He finished with 23 points and nine rebounds in just 28 minutes. If it were a close game and Anthony played his usual allotment of minutes, he would have probably scored in the 40s – he was that on. Amare Stoudmire finished with 23, and Toney Douglas hit six threes, finishing with 28 off the bench.
It wasn’t a great fourth quarter for the Knicks, but before anyone chastises them for getting lazy, realize that Stoudemire was the only starter who got any real run in the entire fourth quarter. Mike D’Antoni has said that he will rest players heading into the playoffs, and tonight he chose to rest Anthony and Billups. The Knicks played the entire fourth quarter with Stoudemire and a bunch of bench players, with seldom-used Derrick Brown even playing the bulk of the quarter. The game was never out of reach, and it seemed that D’Antoni would have gone down with the likes of Brown, Anthony Carter and Bill Walker instead of going back to his starters. A very prudent choice, it should be noted.
The Knicks have now won four in a row, against mostly lackluster competition, But with the Philadelphia 76ers loss to the Boston Celtics, the Knicks are now just a half game behind Philadelphia in the standings for 6th in the East, and are tied in the loss column. The two teams face off tomorrow in what should be a very entertaining and interesting game.