Detroit Pistons vs. New York Knicks: Postgame Grades and Analysis
Carmelo Anthony scored 27 points, Tyson Chandler became the first Knick since Willis Reed to grab 20 rebounds in three straight games, and the New York Knicks topped the Detroit Pistons 99-85 on Monday night for their fifth consecutive win.
The Knicks jumped out to a 26-point lead in the first half as the team hit on 10 of its 20 three-point attempts, but the Pistons made it tough in the second half, capitalizing on some mistakes and poor shooting by New York and trimming the lead to 12 in the fourth quarter.
Regardless, it never felt like the Knicks were in any danger of losing this game, even though they went four of 14 from long range in the final 24 minutes.
Jose Calderon led Detroit with 15 points.
Point Guard: Raymond Felton, B+
This was a decent game for Raymond Felton.
He didn't force anything, only attempting five shots, tallying four points, nine assists, five rebounds and a couple of steals.
After allowing Jrue Holiday and Jeff Teague to burn him in back-to-back outings, Felton's defense has improved dramatically over the last few games, holding some very quick and solid floor generals in check. Tonight, he did an admirable job on Brandon Knight, holding him to 2-of-10 shooting.
Felton also made some beautiful lob tosses to Chandler.
Shooting Guard: Jason Kidd, C
Jason Kidd was extremely active in the first quarter, knocking down a three, grabbing a couple of rebounds and hustling all over the floor. Outside of those few minutes, however, this wasn't one of Kidd's better games as a Knick.
Kidd shot 1-of-7 from the floor in 20 minutes, all seven of those shot attempts coming from beyond the arc. His shot looked off all night, and he also made a couple of uncharacteristically lazy passes in transition.
Kidd did have a couple of very nice finds (as he usual does), but his shot selection was fairly questionable in this one. A good chunk of the trifectas he took were well-contested.
Small Forward: Iman Shumpert, B+
It's going to be a little while before Iman Shumpert starts getting big-time minutes.
Mike Woodson is still limiting Shumpert, as the Georgia Tech product played only 17 minutes in the Knicks' win on Monday night. In those minutes, he scored eight points and picked up a couple of assists. He made a couple of very nice passes and played his usual solid defense.
What is really impressive about Shumpert thus far is that he appears far more under control offensively than he did last year. Remember when he would jack up shots with reckless abandon in 2011-12? He is not doing that in 2012-13, displaying great patience and only taking threes when they are open as a result of good ball movement.
Power Forward: Carmelo Anthony, A
Here is a little piece of advice for Lawrence Frank: Never assign Kyle Singler to defend Anthony ever again.
Anthony had his way with Singler from the start, blowing by him for easy buckets and, when he wasn't scoring, drawing extra defenders to free up his teammates for open looks.
In scoring his game-high 27 points, Melo shot 10-of-17 from the floor, connecting on three of his five three-point attempts. He also collected seven rebounds and dished out three assists, making this a very nice all-around performance for the All-Star.
This was just another day at the office for Anthony. 27 points? That's nothing for this man.
Center: Tyson Chandler, A
Yet another spectacular night for Chandler.
Not only did he haul in 20 rebounds yet again, but he played some fantastic defense on Greg Monroe, shutting him down for the entire first half and forcing him into four turnovers in the first two quarters as the Knicks built up their lead.
Chandler missed a few easy shots early on and finished 4-of-9 from the floor, but New York doesn't expect the 7'1" big man to provide the club with consistent offense.
Chandler's impact on the Knicks is undeniable. When he is locked in defensively as he was tonight, New York is incredibly difficult to beat.
Sixth Man: J.R. Smith, C
J.R. Smith scored 16 points off the bench and hit a three to stop a late Detroit run, but this was not a great game for the sharpshooter.
Smith shot only 5-of-15, 13 of those shots coming from deep, and had an awful stretch early in the fourth quarter where he was clanking threes left and right. He also took an awful turn-around jump shot that didn't even come close. He looked like the Smith of old that would get out of control far too often.
We haven't seen this side of Smith that much this season which is good, but he clearly still has it in him.
Also, an alarming statistic: 40 of J.R.'s last 45 shot attempts have been threes. For someone as athletic as Smith, that is inexcusable. This is a guy who can get to the basket and he should be doing that instead of jacking up that many long-range jumpers.
Rest of Knicks' Bench, A-
Chalk up another impressive performance from Amar'e Stoudemire.
The forward put in 20 points off 8-of-14 shooting in 28 minutes and came up with two steals to boot. It's obvious that Stoudemire has gotten his timing and explosiveness back, and it may be a matter of time before he finds himself back in the starting lineup. After all, Melo is naturally a small forward, so him shifting back to his primary position should only spell good things for the Knicks.
Outside of Smith and Stoudemire, New York's bench wasn't all that involved. Steve Novak canned a couple of threes and Pablo Prigioni hit one of his own, but that was about it. Still, due to Stoudemire's outing alone, the rest of the bench gets a nice grade.