The Knicks top the Nets 88 to 82 in the final pre-season game. The next sentence may seem excessive but its true. The Garden was electric last night! Almost every seat was filled in the newly renovated arena, the energy from the fans was roaring through the hallways, it definitely felt like a regular season game, maybe even a playoff game.
“Everything is kind of new,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “New digs, new team, the past is gone. Let’s focus on the future. It’s a great way to start”
In May, it will be 42 years since the Knicks won the first of their two NBA titles. The championship drought is coming up on 39 years and counting but for the first time in more than a decade the Knicks are making progress toward that ultimate goal instead of regressing.
“I think for us, the sky’s the limit,” Anthony said. “I think the organization did a great job of just building a very unique front court. We’re ready to take on the challenges that are to come. Line ’em up. We’re ready to play.”
If you watched closely last nights game, you would have easily noticed a change in game speed for this new Knicks team. The “seven seconds or less” strategy did not seem to be in effect during these two pre-season games. The emphasis on defense was real by the players, you could hear the chatter of Tyson Chandler talking to his teammates during the game, letting them know where they should be when making defensive switches.
The Knicks rookies looked impressive as well. Iman Shumpert and Josh Harrellson played big minutes, Shumpert with 30 and Harrellson aka “Jorts” with 24. ‘Shump is expected to have a big role in the Knicks rotation, not so much for Jorts, but they may have to change according to Mike D’Antoni.
“I just think that the two rookies just need to keep think that they’re going to a part of everything, that they’ve earned some time. So that’s one question mark that was answered.” D’Antoni said during the post-game interview.
The Knicks will have the day off tomorrow before returning to training camp on Friday afternoon. On Sunday, the Knicks host the Celtics in a Christmas Day showdown.