he True Fans Bleed Blue and Orange: Marbury's buzzer beater should lift the Knicksh

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Marbury's buzzer beater should lift the Knicks

Recap:
As the world knows by now, there was a brawl at the Knicks-Nuggets game on Saturday night, leaving the Knicks with four suspended players. Combined with an injured Steve Francis and Quentin Richardson, the Knicks were left with only eight players available for Monday night's game against the team with the second best record in the NBA, the Utah Jazz. 41 minutes of terrific defense (it wasn't too good in the first quarter) and Stephon Marbury domination later the Knicks are victorious. Stephon Marbury and Jamal Crawford were the only two true guards available for the game, although Renaldo Balkman played a little guard, but only when Crawford or Marbury were sitting. Combined the two guards played 88 minutes in the 53 minute game. Crawford struggled mightily from the field in the game, but Marbury had his second straight terrific game. With season highs in rebounds (five) and in free throws made (nine) to go along with his 29 points, and eight assists. However, Marbury had the two biggest points of the game, a layup with time expiring, after running full court after a jumper that gave the Jazz a one point lead with 3.0 seconds remaining. Marbury's buzzer beater was the first true buzzer beater in his career, and capped off a terrific night for him. Marbury has been vilified by the fans this season, and this was his second straight game where he heard cheers.

Outlook:
The Knicks haven't beaten a team all season that figures to make some noise in the playoffs, with the exception of Cavaliers, who didn't have Larry Hughes, the team's best defender and third scoring option, at the time. The Jazz were 5-2 in the month of December before the loss, and the Knicks showed themselves that they can compete with the better teams in the league. In fact, the Utah Jazz were a remarkable 16-2 whenever Carlos Boozer recorded a double-double, and he had 23 points and 10 rebounds in the victory. The team's inspiring victory, despite the injuries and suspensions should raise the spirits of the Knicks, and the run that we have all been waiting for may be coming.

Upcoming games:
With the Charrlote Bobcats coming in on Wednesday, and a good but beatable team in Chicago coming in on Friday the Knicks have a chance to do some damage. The Bobcats are going to be without sophomore Sean May, who was averaging 17 points and 7 boards in only 25 minutes for the month of December. In addition, super-assist man, Brevin Knight, will miss his second straight game. Knight was averaging nearly a double-double in December with 9.0 assists and 10.0 points a game. The Bobcats are 1-5 without Knight this season. The Bobcats averaged 18.2 assists per game (counting a game where Knight left after ten minutes) in Knight's five missed games this year, while averaging 21.6 assists with him in the lineup. With Knight and May out expect the Knicks to come out strong, and playing hard right away. The Bobcats are 2-8 on the road.

Meanwhile, the Bulls have been on a tear ever since their home and home series against the Knicks. Including that series the Bulls are 11-1, with a game against the Lakers pending tonight. However, only three of those wins came at home, and the Knicks will be home against the Bulls. Chris Duhon has been battling a thigh injury and he missed one game, but he is playing against the Lakers tonight. Meanwhile, P.J. Brown has been complaining about his time in Chicago. Also, Brown has suffered from plantar fascia, the same injury that plagued Jerome James earlier this season, and Jalen Rose last season. The Bulls have many threats at the guard position so it is hard to prepare for their team, because if one guard has an off night the other two may light up your team for 30-40 points. The Knicks will need to compete with the Bulls good shooting and enthusiastic play in order to pull out a victory.

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