One day after stomping the Brooklyn Nets by 30 points on Thursday night, the New York Knicks notched their second-straight win against the Orlando Magic.
The 113-83 victory on Friday was just as important as the team’s first appearance of the season at the Barclays Center. Had the Knicks taken a beating from Orlando, the victory over Brooklyn would’ve meant nothing.
Winning is always more fun than losing. But these past two games—New York’s first pair of back-to-back wins this season—have been especially enjoyable for Iman Shumpert and Mike Woodson.
When times are tough, fingers start pointing and people get blamed. All kinds of speculation, primarily surrounding potential trades for Shumpert and rumors that Woodson is on the hot-seat, has arisen with the team off to a 5-13 start. But after two consecutive triumphs, all of that nonsense has quieted down considerably.
In his third NBA season, Shumpert has struggled. But his best game of 2013-14 came at an opportune time, as he torched the Nets for five three-pointers and a season-high 17 points. Shump played with fire in his eyes throughout the entire game, proving to all who mistakenly wanted him gone that he can really contribute to this team.
Let me get everything straight, here. This guy won 54 games, finished atop the Atlantic division, entered the playoffs as the second seed in the East, and did it all with the oldest roster in NBA history last season? Sure, let’s fire him after 15 games this year!
Woodson is an extraordinary coach whose center and defensive anchor has been injured for all but two games this season. J.R. Smith has been awful, Shumpert has had his struggled and Raymond Felton missed time with injury, too. Let’s give Woody a break.
Stephen A. Smith boldly told Woodson on ESPN Radio 97.8 FM Wednesday afternoon that his “sources” implied that the Knicks’ coach could be gone if New York lost to the Nets. Let’s keep in mind where that’s coming from, but the thought wasn’t inconceivable. Plus, James Dolan is a maniac.
New York hit more than half of their three-point attempts against Brooklyn (59. 3 percent) and Orlando (50 percent), and smacked them both in the mouth, so clearly that should be the formula for success moving forward. And with Shumpert connecting on 5-10 from long range in the past two games, Woodson would be wise to get him some more looks.
The nonstop buzz surrounding Shumpert and Woodson’s potential exit from New York has finally ceased after the Knicks mustered up their first (mini) winning streak of the season.
Now let’s hope the Knicks stay that way—quiet and winning.