The best thing about being a fan of the New York Knicks, or any New York sports team, is a player can go from being the most hated man in the city, to the king. Knick's fans especially are not shy about displaying their displeasure of mediocrity, but are just as quick to give credit where it is due.
After 4 consecutive subpar games to start his Knicks career, Andrea Bargnani came to play tonight against the Bobcats. From the get go it was clear Bargnani was looking to make a statement, playing aggressively on both the offensive and defensive ends of the ball. Bargnani finished the game with season highs 25 points, 5 blocks, 8 boards to help pace the Knicks to a 101-91 victory over the Bobcats.
While Bargnani surprised the Knicks faithful, it was just as reassuring to see Carmelo Anthony look comfortable on the floor once again. After the injury to Center Tyson Chandler, Melo returned to the PF position that he excelled in last season. Much like Bargnani, Carmelo came out aggressive from the opening tip, and put together a performance of a leader in a huge game for the Knicks psyche. Anthony finished off the night with a team high in points, rebounds, and assists. (28,8,6 respectfully).
Another positive for the Knicks was the cohesion of the games as Bargnani and Anthony as a duo. Tonight was a prime example of the combination the Knicks were expecting when they made the deal for Bargnani with the Raptors. Carmelo isolating on the block and Bargnani stretching the floor and creating more space. Considering it was a game against the Bobcats and a small sample size, the chemistry Anthony and Bargnani showed was still very encouraging.
When played correctly, basketball can be a very simple concept. For the most part, if you rebound, limit turnovers, move the ball, play solid defense, and hit shots, you will win. Over the Knicks 3 game losing streak, the team struggled in evwery facet of the game. As Clyde touched on in the broadcast, what separates a good team from a bad one is continuing momentum. Tonight's game was a step in the right direction, but the Spurs will be in town Sunday and present a superior challenge. As for now, enjoy this one Knicks fans. It has been a tough stretch.
Player of the Night: Andrea Bargnani: 25 points, 8 rebounds, 5 blocks, 3 assists in 35 minutes.
Stat of the Night: Assists: Knicks- 25 Bobcats- 13
Next Up: Sunday vs. Spurs at MSG