Carmelo Anthony’s season opener with OKC was against his former team, the New York Knicks. It was clear during the off-season that the Knicks wanted to go in a different direction. Phil’s Jackson was fired and the players never really bought into the triangle offense. The arrival of Porzingis was a sign of new things to come when he joined the team 2 years ago.
The game started off with OKC pushing the pace as usual , putting a lot of pressure on the Knicks defense, Melo and PG13 didn’t hesitate to pull the trigger on open shots. They couldn’t connect on their very first shots but that was to be expected. Every fan is waiting to see what OKC big 3 is all about so I can understand how Melo and PG13 even as veterans in this league could be nervous, hence the missed shots. The knicks were forced into 8 turnovers in the first quarter, OKC’s length and athleticism was the difference. One thing I will say about the Knicks though is that their defense has definitely improved. There is effort and the players are paying attention and not just going through the motions. It was also clear that New York was no longer interested in the triangle offense- they were pushing the ball, even ran the floppy set a couple of times. But the focal point of their offense was obviously Porzingis, who lived up to his new role. He was hitting his three’s, getting on the boards for second chance points; even in the low post you could see that he improved his footwork. At one point, he used the Kevin Mchale up and under move. But after the second quarter it was clear that this league is a league of superstars, and without talents, no team can win game. Melo and PG13 finally got into their groove and literally dominated the game with reigning MVP Russell Westbrook who ended the game with his first triple-double. The second half was pretty much dominated by the BIG 3; as the season progresses I believe coach Donovan will definitely figure out how to properly utilized the offensive weapons at his disposal.
For the Knicks, better things are yet to come, it was good to see that the team is trying to reestablish itself on the defensive end. I don’t think they’ll make the playoffs but they are heading in the right direction.
Here are the highlights of the game courtesy of Real GD’s Latest highlights