Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks ended their losing streak Sunday afternoon with a 121-100 blowout win at home over the Detroit Pistons. The Knicks won this game the way they won their first handful of games this season: with three-point shooting and quality jump-shooting in general.
Anthony, Steve Novak, Jason Kidd and the rest of the Knicks chose to live or die by the three-pointer ball again. Today, they lived by it. Novak led the team, going 5-of-7 from deep. Melo was 4-of-5, while Kidd was 2-of-5.
As a team, the Knicks shot an impressive 17-of-33 from three-point range, outscoring the Pistons by 24 points on three-pointers. They also shot jump shots well in general and were efficient from the charity stripe. They shot a white-hot 28-of-31 on free throws.
The one possible danger in this type of game is that the Knicks did not get back to defense as some had hoped. After being third in overall defense in the NBA early in the season, they have already fallen to 11th. They allowed the normally weak Pistons offense to shoot over 45 percent.
The Knicks are now 9-3 and are outperforming the expectations of most. However, the expectations need to be very high if the Knicks want to be the true contenders that New York fans hope they will become. And they need to play defense better than they did today.
Defense continues to be the key for the Knicks. They are now 9-0 in games where opponents score 100 points or less, but they are 0-3 in games where opponents score more than 100 points. Sunday's game had some similarities to the 131-103 loss against the Houston Rockets, the key difference being a weaker opponent.
Carmelo, Tyson Chandler and the rest of the Knicks showed what team defense can accomplish early in the season with dominant wins over the Miami Heat and Phildadelphia 76ers. Sunday afternoon, the Knicks were out-rebounded 38-37 and were generally poor on defense, despite the blowout win. They continue to rank bottom five in the NBA in team rebounding.
One cannot complain too much about an easy victory. The Knicks shot circles around the overwhelmed Pistons defense. However, head coach Mike Woodson would do well to emphasize defense after games like this one. If history tells us anything, it is that Woodson already knows this.
The Knicks next go on the road (a very short distance) Monday night to face the Brooklyn Nets and initiate their new rivalry.