It was not the longest pre season in the world as the New York Knicks sure would love to have more time to get acquianted with each other before their season opener.
However, the Knicks are going into Sunday afternoon’s season opener against the Boston Celtics with two games and out.
Carmelo Anthony scored 15 of his game high 21 points in the first half and added eight rebounds as New York took down the New Jersey Nets, 88-82.
Amar’e Stoudemire added 15 points, Tyson Chandler made an immediate impact with 8 points and 12 rebounds , as the Knicks made their first appereance at the newly renovated Madison Square Garden. It was Chandler’s first game as a Knick at the Garden and seemed to have enjoyed every minute he was out there.
” The moment I ran on the floor, I’m usually snarling and serious but I couldn’t help but smile,” Chandler said. ” Running on the floor and being at the Garden — fans just knowing I’m not on the opposing team and to come in here and actually represent the city of New York in the Garden was an amazing experience. It was hard for me to not stop smiling in the first couple of minutes.”
New York did not have a great shooting night from the floor as they shot 34 percent from the field and a putrid 8 of 30 from three point territory.
” It is pre season. It’s early,” Knicks coach Mike A’ntoni said. ” We couldn’t throw it in the ocean. A lot of ragged play. That is going to be expected. It is going to be a couple of things we need to iron out.
Anthony had the best night from the field out of all the Knicks as he shot 8 of 17 and did a good job at distributing the ball when needed.
“We know it’ll be a lot different Sunday against the Celtics,” Anthony said. “They’re preparing for us, we’re preparing for them. We have the first NBA game of the season and we’re excited about that. We’re just ready to go out there and get this thing rolling.”
After an explosive first game, rookie Iman Shumpert struggled shooting the ball with a 2 for 11 performance but has shown enough promise on both sides of the ball that can mean a lot of minutes at the expense of the other guards on the roster.
” His defense is really good,” D’Antoni said. ” He is a big guard, point guard, small forward that can guard a lot of people. He is quick, and atrong, and long and his shot will be fine.”
Josh Harrellson made quite an impression in front of the Garden faithful with several hustle plays and contributed well under the boards with 10 rebounds. He has shown he can knock down the three ball by shooting 2 of 6 from beyond the arc. The rookie from Kentucky can bring much needed size and insurance for Chandler and Stoudemire.
” I really love how tough and rugged he is under the boards. He really suprised me,” D’Antoni said.
The team will have the day off tomorrow before returning to training camp on Friday afternoon. On Sunday, the Knickerbockers host the Celtics in the NBA season opener for the 2011-12 season.
Before the game, the Knicks claimed Steve Novak off waivers from the San Antonio Spurs. Novak shot 55 percent from the three point line last season while averaging 3 points in 23 games with the Spurs.