After being easily discarded from the 2012 NBA Playoffs less than 6 months ago by the Heat, this year’s New York Knicks squad made sure to send a message on their opening night over the defending NBA Champions that they not only belong on the same floor, but could be one of Miami’s biggest challengers this season in the East.
Playing with heavy hearts over the widespread destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy, and amid many Heat players’ disapproving of even playing the game given the storm’s aftermath, the Knicks used a stellar 3 point shooting barrage (19-36, 52%) and a surprisingly feverish pace on defense to get the 104-84 win over the Heat at Madison Square Garden.
Carmelo Anthony led all scorers with 30 points and 10 rebounds, joining Patrick Ewing as the only other Knicks player in the last 50 years to hit 20-10 in a season opening game. Anthony connected on 4 of 8 from long range and helped set the tone early by helping New York get out to a 33-17 first quarter lead and never looked back.
NY point guards Ray Felton and Jason Kidd each made their mark in the season debut with Felton adding 14 points, 9 assists, and 3 steals and Kidd notching a 12 point and 4 rebound effort, highlighted by 3 treys of his own. Steve Novak added 17 points, including 5 threes, and 6th man JR Smith scored 11 points and played great defense on Lebron James.
Reigning league MVP James led the Heat with 23 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists, Dwyane Wade added 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists, and Bosh chipped in 12 points and 11 boards. New free agent signing, Rashard Lewis, impressed again with 16 points and 6 rebounds, while Ray Allen mustered only 5 points in 27 minutes.
The Knicks’ original season opening game that was to take place on Thursday against the crosstown rival Brooklyn Nets was cancelled due to the weather and has been rescheduled for November 26th.
In the waning minutes of the 4th quarter, amid chants from the MSG crowd of “Rasheed Wallace, Rasheed Wallace”, Knicks coach Mike Woodson made the classy move by asking Sheed if he wanted to get in the game. Wallace promptly obliged, scoring his first NBA points in more than 2 seasons, knocking down a 3 pointer late.
It’s only been a couple games now, but are the 2-0 NY Knicks for real?
Rasheed Wallace’s First Points As A Knick:
Allen Moll has been a lifelong NBA and NCAA College Basketball fan who watches and studies games religiously, and coaches youth basketball in his native Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania. Allen has also provided content to Bleacherreport.com, Upperdeckblog.com, Cleveland.com, CSN Philly.com, Buckets Magazine, in addition to being a tenured NBA and NCAA columnist for TheHoopDoctors.com.