The New York Knicks have begun their 2013-2014 season. They survived a late comeback by the Boston Celtics to win their first preseason game 103-102. The Knickerbockers needed a go ahead jumper by Tim Hardaway Jr. with 8.2 seconds left and a block by C.J. Leslie to secure the game.
Most of the game was controlled by the Knicks until the new look Celtics made their failed comeback attempt in the 4th quarter. The Knicks outscored the Celtics 34-21 in the 3rd quarter to take a 79-65 lead into the 4th. The lead grew to 20 points before the Celtics reserves made it interesting. The Knicks also played their reserves the entire 4th quarter. Rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. saved what would have been a disappointing loss with his late jumper.
Knicks fans are used to seeing Tim Hardaway’s Jr.’s father, Tim Hardaway Sr., hit late shots against the Knicks as a member of the Miami Heat. Today son made Dad proud by sealing the game for the Knicks. In addition to the game winning shot, Hardaway Jr. scored 16 points on 6-10 shooting, including 3-5 from three point range. Throughout the game Hardaway Jr. displayed a confident shooting stroke. The rookie made an early case for playing time when the real season begins.
Shumpert Shines/World Peace plays well
Earlier in shootaround Mike Woodson indicated Shumpert’s starting shooting guard spot from last season was not guaranteed. Woodson said that last year’s sixth man, J.R. Smith, and Shumpert were still competing for the spot. “I don’t know who’s going to start,’’ Woodson said. “Camp will determine that. It’s a competitive game. Anything can happen.” The coach might have lit a fire under Shumpert. He was perfect from the field (7-7), and 3-3 from three, scoring 18 points. The 3rd year guard came off the bench tonight, but if Shumpert’s inspired play continues he won’t be there for long.
Metta World Peace also had a good showing. He scored 13 points (5-9) in 22 minutes.
Raymond Felton, Pablo Prigioni, Carmelo Anthony, Andrea Bargnani, and Tyson Chandler started the game for the Knicks. Melo and Bargnani looked good together early on. Anthony was only 3-9 from the field but had 4 assists and 4 rebounds. Bargnani scored 12 points. Bargnani and Melo are still learning to play off of each other. If they can find a rhythm it could be scary for opposing teams.
Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton also had strong games. Chandler had 8 points and 5 rebounds. Felton scored 11 points (5-10) and added 5 assists. Felton said he worked in the offseason to get quicker. He had a few lightning quick moves to get into the lane and score easily. If Felton can keep the pace of the Knicks offense at a high level they will be able to get easy baskets in transition.
The Knicks will take on the Toronto Raptors Friday at 7 P.M (ET). The rest of the preseason will be important for players like Cole Aldrich, Josh Powell, and Ike Diogu. They are assumed to be battling for one of the final roster spots. None of the players outplayed the other in the first game.