So Carmelo Anthony still wants to be a Knick, reportedly, but save for an ovation for Melo during player introductions, yesterday’s game wasn’t about Carmelo Anthony, or about what the Knicks roster might look like in the future. It was about a team that has the Garden rocking once again, that’s getting contributions from everyone in the starting five, that’s seeing its best player take over games when it matters, and that’s now won eight straight games for the first time since 1994–95. Yes, some of those games were against some terrible basketball teams. But not yesterday’s.
Amar’e Stoudemire scored 30 once again — that’s eight straight games, and that’s a franchise record — and he did it with another monster second half. (It’s only December, of course, but those chants of “MVP” will only get louder if he keeps this up.) It should probably be noted that foul trouble required Amar’e to watch from the bench as Denver crept back into the game in the fourth quarter. But once he returned, Stoudemire would score on the Knicks’ next three possessions, and momentum would shift back to the Knicks, for good.
The Garden would erupt when Amar’e added two more baskets to get to 30 once again, just as it would erupt when Wilson Chandler drained a three to give the Knicks a 125–122 lead with 30 seconds remaining (the Knicks shot 13–30 from beyond the arc on the day), or when Raymond Felton (nineteen points, seventeen assists) sunk four free throws in the final seconds to seal the 129–125 win. As great as Stoudemire has been, he’s not winning games alone, and that’s a good thing.
It’s been years since the Garden felt like this for Knicks games, and it’s only going to get more electric, what with games against Boston and Miami coming up this week. We’ve learned a lot about the Knicks over the last couple of weeks, and we’re going to learn even more over the next five days. We cannot wait.