Knicks Win First Division Title Since 1994 - The Jewish Voice
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Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Knicks Win First Division Title Since 1994

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For the first time in 20 years, the New York Knicks win the NBAs Atlantic Division title
For the first time in 20 years, the New York Knicks win the NBAs Atlantic Division title
The Knicks hadn’t won a division title in almost two decades, hadn’t finished atop the Atlantic since Patrick Ewing was in his prime. The wait seemed interminable as the Knicks reached one of their goals by winning the NBA”s Atlantic Division in a 120-99 thrashing of the Wizards last Tuesday night, it’s finally over

New York (51-26) captured the division crown for the first time since 1993-94, and officially ended the Boston Celtics’ five-year monopoly atop the division. The main reason for Tuesday night’s division-clinching win was the play of Carmelo Anthony. The league’s scoring leader led the way with a game-high 36 points as the Knicks cruised to the win.

Anthony, who added eight rebounds and six assists, became the first player since Kobe Bryant in 2006-07 to notch at least 35 points in five consecutive games. Anthony’s scoring streak was about the only drama, because determining the winner of the game was essentially confirmed by the end of the first quarter when the Knicks held a 36-23 lead after one quarter and were ahead 58-30 by halftime. The Knicks fell into a 2-0 deficit to start the game, but they never looked back after taking the lead for good just seconds later.

Knicks’ head coach Mike Woodson has been difficult to impress, as he’s always looking at the big picture. But he was even captivated with the play of his team — specifically Anthony. Woodson could only shrug his shoulders during his post-game press conference when discussing his star’s hot streak.

Conversely, the Wizards’ best player, point guard John Wall, failed to make his complementary players better. The Wizards (29-49) got 33 points from Wall, but it was his failure to get others involved that ultimately doomed the team. Wall finished with a team-high 19 attempts (the next highest was 12 by Cartier Martin off the bench), but he had only three assists to four turnovers.

The Knicks had a well-rounded effort, as six players reached double figures. Iman Shumpert had 18 points — a boost considering he went scoreless in Sunday’s win at Oklahoma City — while Chris Copeland added 17 points. Both Shumpert and Copeland knocked down four 3-pointers. Jason Kidd is an 18-year NBA vet and has seen about everything a veteran can see, but even he sounded impressed with how well the Knicks have adapted to adversity and are able to take any hit in stride.

The Wizards came into the game stout on the defensive end, allowing just 91.2 points in their previous five games, but the Knicks hit them with a barrage of 3-pointers (9-for-12) to take the early lead. New York finished with a franchise-tying 20 made 3-pointers on 36 attempts. Anthony notched eight points, including two 3-pointers, as the Knicks took a 36-23 lead after one quarter. Shumpert had a rare productive opening quarter, contributing six points on two 3-pointers. Wall scored 12 first-quarter points but they still weren’t enough to help keep the Wizards within striking distance, as they fell behind early and remained down at the half, 58-43.

The Knicks’ shooting had a lot to do with that early deficit, as they shot 12-of-21 from behind the arc in the first half and even had more 3-pointers than 2-pointers in the first half (21-of-39 overall). Eight Knicks’ players dropped at least two 3-pointers in the game. The nine 3-pointers in the opening quarter tied a season-high for the squad, while the dozen treys in the first half also tied a season high for most in a half.

Woodson acknowledged that the amount of 3-pointers may turn off some critics who see this style of mainly winning via the outside as unconventional, but he noted that the shots are basically coming within the framework of his ball-swing offense.”We’re one of the top shooting teams in the league, and that’s pretty much what we do. But they’re not bad shots,” Woodson said. “We have guys that can make them, because if we didn’t, trust me, they wouldn’t be shooting them. We’ve shot it with a high percentage this year so when you got them (open looks), you have to take them.”

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