Ranking the NY Knicks' 10 Best Highlights of the 2012-13 Season to Date
The New York Knicks have opened lots of eyes with their flashy play this season. A little over a month in, they've left us with no shortage of plays that leave us with our jaws on the floor.
Their 13-4 record has featured several plays with outstanding passing, hustle and slam dunks. Their newfound determination and will for victory has translated into first place in the Eastern Conference, as well as a plethora of highlight reel material.
Without further ado, let's take a look through the 10 most action-packed moments of the Knicks' 2012-13 season.
Honorable Mention: Melo's Would-Be Backwards Prayer
In the final minutes of the Knicks' attempt to spurn the Dallas Mavericks last month, Carmelo Anthony was taking on much of the work by himself. He finished with 23 points in the inter-conference matchup, but that total really should've been a bit higher.
'Melo wasn't getting the calls he probably should've on drives to the lane, which possibly contributed to his last-second jumper that ultimately missed, handing the Knicks their second loss of the season.
Here, Anthony drives to the cup, takes contact and finishes with his back to the basket, meeting a sliding Vince Carter underneath. Suspect officiating led to a charging call on Carmelo, voiding the miraculous make.
The miracle heave still deserves recognition, so here it shall rest as an honorable mention. Now, onto the ones that counted.
10. James White Steals and Throws Down Hard
James White has always been known for his athleticism. Some would say it's what earned him his spot on the Knicks this season. Regardless, it's definitely what earned him his place on this list as the No. 10 Knicks highlight of the year.
New York's contest with the New Orleans Hornets was well past decided with five minutes left in the final quarter, so Mike Woodson decided to let his prime suspects ride the pine and rest up. Because of this, Flight White got some burn at the guard spot, and he made the most of his 15 minutes.
In the fourth quarter, White used his trademark tenacious defense to swipe the ball from Hornets center Robin Lopez. He then was off to the races and slammed it home, taking off from the dotted line in the paint.
They call the man Flight for a reason.
9. Tyson Chandler's Monster Put-Back Slam, and the Foul
Dating back to the beginning of last offseason, Tyson Chandler has had hard feelings about the Dallas Mavericks. He did, after all, lead them to a championship the season before. Yet the Mavericks were steadfast in standing their ground and not retaining the seven-footer at the steep price tag of $58 million.
The Knicks were not so steadfast. So when Chandler's new team faces off against his old one, it always means that much more to the bearded center.
On Nov. 21, the first three quarters of the contest were predominantly back-and-forth. The Knicks had won every game to that point by double-digits, and the Mavs were the first team to give them trouble. Until the fourth quarter.
Chandler's put-back slam put the Knicks up by eight, and put the stamp on the team's fourth consecutive win to start the season. Add in the fact that he was fouled, and Chandler couldn't help but let out a little fire and inspire his team to close out the game.
8. Pablo Prigioni Finds Rasheed Wallace on Pick-and-Roll
The pick-and-roll hasn't been Rasheed Wallace's go-to method of scoring this year, but it sure did the job against the Indiana Pacers.
35-year-old rookie Pablo Prigioni found 'Sheed using the screen-and-roll, and it worked to perfection.
Actually, a combined 73 years of age teaming up on the oldest play in the book shouldn't be all that surprising.
Even Rasheed couldn't turn down the wide-open lane here, and the 38-year-old big man threw it down just as ferociously as he would have a decade ago.
If only 'Sheed would scrap the long threes from his repertoire and team up with Prigioni for a little more of these.
7. Raymond Felton Lobs to Tyson Chandler at the Basket
In the first quarter of the Knicks' Nov. 15 game against the San Antonio Spurs, New York found themselves in a dogfight to retain their undefeated title. It would undoubtedly be their toughest challenge, facing last year's No. 1 seed in the West, in their house.
With Carmelo Anthony having his first off-night of the season, Raymond Felton and the surrounding cast stepped up their play extraordinarily.
With the score tied halfway through the first, Felton appeared to be driving for a layup against the Spurs defense, until he tossed up a duck that seemed to be a blown shot. That was until Tyson Chandler flew over to gobble up the rock and slam it down for two.
6. Ray Felton Slices Up the Heat D, Dishes to 'Melo for Three
The Knicks opened their season firing on all cylinders, especially from beyond the arc. Here, we saw the kind of point guard Ray Felton has the potential to be in his new offensive system.
Felton blew past Chris Bosh, crossed over LeBron James, and turned down the layup by kicking to an open Carmelo Anthony in the corner via the no-look pass.
It put the Knicks up 15-6, and they never looked back. They won their initial matchup 104-84.
5. Thrilling Comeback Victory over Spurs to Remain Undefeated
The Knicks' undefeated run to begin the 2012-13 season looked all but over halfway through the fourth quarter against San Antonio. That was until the team caught fire in the final minutes and stunned Tim Duncan and the Spurs.
With just seven minutes left on the clock, the Knicks found themselves down 89-77. With Carmelo Anthony having scored his lowest point total of the season, pulling out a win on the road seemed unlikely.
Led by three Jason Kidd three-pointers, and one by J.R. Smith with just under two minutes left to give the Knicks the 97-95 lead, New York stunned the San Antonio crowd in just five minutes.
The Knicks passed their first real test of the season, and defeated the Spurs 104-100 by closing the game out on a 27-11 run.
4. 'Melo, with No Regard for His Body, Leads the 'Break Versus Phoenix
Carmelo Anthony showed up to Knicks camp this season with a brand new attitude, featuring undeniable hustle and willingness to move the ball. It has been the mantra all year long, and last week against the Phoenix Suns, 'Melo displayed this to a T.
Following his own steal, Anthony dove to the floor in pursuit of the loose ball. He batted it to Ray Felton, who tossed a perfect lob pass in Tyson Chandler's direction for the picture-perfect alley-oop.
3. J.R. Smith's Reverse Alley-Oop
To finish out play in the month of November, the Knicks held a scrimmage at the Garden against the Washington Wizards. The final outcome was wrapped up by the third quarter, so in the final frame the 'Bockers decided to have a little fun.
With J.R. Smith streaking toward the hoop, Pablo Prigioni tossed an errant lob that forced Smith to adjust his body. Although unplanned, the improv-oop provoked awe from the MSG fans, and in return, they received a passionate kiss blown by J.R.
It was, quite simply, the "Stylistic Stuff," as Clyde put it.
2. J.R. Smith Takes Flight
J.R. Smith appears again on this list at No. 2, but maybe not for the last time. In the season's third game, New York was hosted by the Philadelphia 76ers, and handily defeated them. The victory was chalked up with much of the fourth quarter left to play, which left some time for J.R. to do J.R. things.
Pablo Prigioni's slight of hand forced the steal from the Sixers' Evan Turner. Turner and Jrue Holiday trailed Prigioni down the other end for a surely would-be contested layup.
Little did the two Philly guards know know that the Argentinian maestro has a tendency to generously pass away from scoring chances. So when Prigioni turned 180 degrees and slung it to J.R. Smith who was near half court, nobody even thought twice. Except Turner and Holiday.
Smith, coming on with a full head of steam, took off from near the free-throw line. He was fouled by the retreating Holiday, who at the time was still wondering how Prigioni didn't take the layup. J.R. slammed it down, and so modestly gazed into the Philadelphia crowd, admiring their admiration of his work.
1. J.R. Smith Beats the Buzzer to Crush the Cats
In Wednesday's game against the Charlotte Bobcats, the Knicks couldn't knock down anything. They wound up shooting 42 percent from the field and 32 percent from three-point range on a season-high 41 attempts. But because the Knicks are the Knicks, and the Bobcats are the Bobcats, New York came out on top.
But it was never free of doubt. Halfway through the fourth quarter the Knicks were down by eight—their largest deficit of the game. With two minutes left, and the Knicks trailing by two, Carmelo Anthony decided to dive after a lose ball (that's kind of his thing now), even though the Bobcats' shot clock had already expired.
According to Newsday, 'Melo lacerated his hand and needed six stitches. New York would have to close out the game sans their Option A for the first time this season. Jason Kidd was finally back, would they turn to him? What about Felton—he had 17 points? Maybe lob it to Tyson Chandler who had shot 8-for-10?
Definitely not J.R. Smith, who was shooting 5-of-15 at that point, right? Wrong.
And, in predictable J.R. Smith fashion, he knocked it down for the thrilling win on the road. He then broke out the mean mug as Steve Novak did the celebrating for him, and the Knicks will head to Miami for a rematch with the Heat on Thursday night.
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