We needed a picture of Shump’s fade around here, so Iman Shumpert leads the Knicks notes.
Shumpert returned last game, against the Pistons in London, with a nice 8 points, 2 rebounds, and a steal, going 2 for 3 from three-point territory.
His return seemingly went better than Amare Stoudemire’s did a few weeks ago and if he can take some defensive pressure off Jason Kidd’s tired legs and be an improvement over a slumping three-shooting roster, he will be able to deliver enough for a guy coming off an ACL injury.
Speaking of Amare (when he’s not playing peekaboo with Steve Nash) he’s been a lot stronger on the court lately, exploding for 17 and 4 against Detroit. While his rebounding numbers still leave a lot to be desired, he has cured another of the Knicks’ ills: getting to the line.
In that game, he got to the line for 12 shots, hitting 11 of them. The Knicks lack an inside game if Carmelo Anthony isn’t driving from the post or if Tyson Chandler is not getting that great inside feed. His scoring off the bench, and drawing fouls from the opponent, will be important attributes when facing off against some of the elite teams in the NBA.
But today, Amare did something off the court that was very nice. According to Ian Begley of ESPN.com, Amare and his wife, through his foundation, supplied the entire Madison Square Garden staff with lunch today. “It’s on a special day as well, a day of unity. It’s great to bring everybody together for a nice cause,” Stoudemire stated.
The Amare lunch preludes a special Martin Luther King Day matinée.
The Knicks take on the Brooklyn Nets for the last time this season. New York has taken two of three so far this year, with the most memorable being Jason Kidd’s tie-breaking three coming at the end of a matchup that featured Melo scoring 45.
The Nets took the first game, while the Knicks had an easier time in the last game played. The Knicks will once again be without Raymond Felton, who should be returning as soon as the end of this week. They will be bolstered by the previously talked about Stoudemire and Shumpert, though, giving them a boost on the offensive and defensive end.
Brooklyn will be coming in hot, winning 8 of 9 in 2013 under new coach P.J. Carlesimo. The schedule has been favorable for them thus far, with injuries and suspensions impacting their games against the Hawks recently and bad teams otherwise. The Knicks will be a test to see if this team truly is better without Avery Johnson.
For a budding rivalry, it should be an interesting end for their 2013 series today.