Feb 7, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks power forward Amar

Player Report Cards: New York Knicks 117, Denver Nuggets 90

Feb 7, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks center Tyson Chandler (6) dunks the ball against the Denver Nuggets during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Amidst swirling rumors of coach firings and team dysfunction, the New York Knicks came out and took care of business over the Denver Nuggets. After a rocky start — building a lead, losing it, regaining it — the Knicks used a late first-half surge to build a lead going into the second half. When that second half began, they capitalized on the Nuggets’ sloppy play by jumping on them and stacking that lead into the double-digits. From then on it was blow-out city, the Knicks pouring on jumper after jumper, skipping through the porous Denver defense. The whole team played as the Knicks finally hit the 20-win mark in their 50th game of the season.

The individual performances:

Carmelo Anthony – 33 minutes, 31 points, 12-21 FG, 4-9 3FG, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 3 TOs, +18

Playing a more traditional Denver lineup, Carmelo Anthony took advantage of the Nuggets, regardless of who they sent at him. When it was Kenneth Faried or Anthony Randolph, ‘Melo squared up on the elbow, jab-stepped and launched on-target mid-range jumpers, or simply blew by them. He was efficient in his scoring, setting himself up for easy baskets by acting as a screener and popping out to the perimeter where the Knicks’ collectively found him. ‘Twas a short, simple, successful night against his former employers.

Final Grade: A

Iman Shumpert – 17 minutes, 5 points, 2-5 FG, 2 rebounds, 4 TOs, +18

Shump was his usual aggressive self, but lately, that aggressiveness rarely translates to any sort of overwhelming resort. Mike Breen was correct when he said that Shump relies far too much on the three-pointer. I think we’d all love to see Shump hang around in a Knicks uniform for awhile (and don’t be fooled, he still has tremendous value to this team), but the Knicks would be foolish not to explore trades for him.

Final Grade: C

Tyson Chandler – 23 minutes, 12 points, 6-7 FG, 8 rebounds, 3 steals, 4 TOs, +15

It was great to see Chandler look engaged on both ends of the floor, which, frankly, hasn’t been his M.O. lately. He utilized the Knicks’ spacing to romp around the floor as the roller and finally got to see some real action as the finisher on those plays. He also had his hands full on defense trying to keep the Nuggets out of the paint, and he did a decent job of it.

Final Grade: B+

Raymond Felton – 28 minutes, 9 points, 4-5 FG, 2 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals, +16

Felton had one of his better showings of the year, squiggling into the lane in the PnR, finding rollers, poppers, or skipping right through the defense to find spot-up shooters waiting on the wings. In the second quarter, his own little scoring run helped things turn around for the Knicks. More this Ray Felton, please.

Final Grade: B+

Pablo Prigioni – 22 minutes, 0-0 FG, 2 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 steals, +18

Love the unselfishness, Pablo. Love the instinct of where the ball should zip to next. Love the ability to pester opponents, read the defense, force turnovers. Don’t be afraid to shoot it just a little bit more.

Final Grade: B-

J.R. Smith – 24 minutes, 13 points, 5-12 FG, 2 assists, 2 steals, 2 TOs, +3

Another balanced, under-control game for J.R. in which he took good shots, attacked the paint, and set up his teammates for good looks. His highlight of the night was pump-faking past an opponent, driving towards the basket, drawing the D, and going behind the back to Jeremy Tyler for an and-one layup. More of this J.R., too, please.

Final Grade: B+

Amar’e Stoudemire – 20 minutes, 17 points, 7-12 FG, 8 rebounds, +2

Not afraid to admit that I scoffed a little bit at the idea of Amar’e complaining about needing more minutes. Since then, he’s followed it up with two games in which he’s averaged 16 points and 7.5 rebounds. He’s playing smart, efficient basketball, draining mid-range jumpers like it’s 2010, rolling to the basket and finishing like it’s 2008. He looks springy, he looks happy, and moreover, like he belongs in the rotation.

Final Grade: A

Tim Hardaway Jr. – 30 minutes, 10 points, 4-9 FG, 2 assists, +13

Timmy used garbage time to boost his scoring line a little bit, but nonetheless, the spacing he brings to the court is so vital when this team goes small. In the pick-and-roll, he just waits on the wings and finds himself the beneficiary of some lovely kick-out passes for good, open looks. Watching him on defense is an entirely different story….

Final Grade: B-

Toure’ Murry – 10 minutes, 3 points, 1-2 FG, 2 rebounds, 1 steal, 2 TOs, +2

Toure’ Murry has a little bit of that rookie-year Iman Shumpert mystique when he’s on the court: he’s low to the ground, he pushes the pace, he hounds his opponent. He’s much more raw than Shump was as a rookie, but if Murry sands out those edges, he’s a real ball-player. In related news: I like Toure’ Murry.

Final Grade: C+

Jeremy Tyler – 22 minutes, 12 points, 5-9 FG, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 TO, +18

In related news: I REALLY LIKE JEREMY TYLER. Seriously, Woodson, seriously, management — let Tyler play and keep him around. Good things just happen when Tyler’s on the court. In this one, he helped spur a little comeback in the second quarter, and everything afterwards was energetic, smart, graceful bliss. He’s nimble and agile for a big body and he’s also skilled. He’s got the outside jumper, he understands when to cut and when to roll, and he’s always around when there’s a loose ball. I hope Jeremy Tyler is a part of the Knicks’ future.

Final Grade: A+

Cole Aldrich & Metta World Peace (combined) – 11:50 minutes, 5 points, 2-3 FG, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 TOs

Cole Aldrich and Metta World Peace got to play the victory cigars. I like them in garbage time. I hope they don’t find a way into the rotation.

That’s it for this one. The Knicks take on the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday afternoon.

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Tags: Amare Stoudemire Carmelo Anthony Jeremy Tyler New York Knicks Player Report Cards

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