The Knicks Are Only Crying Tears of Joy

Blowout victory provides glimpse of how good things can be at MSG.

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    The Knicks have built their roster so that they find themselves well equipped to battle the Heat on the court in years to come, but they aren't yet following their example when it comes to post-game waterworks.

    Unless Andy Rautins was overwhelmed by actually getting five minutes of burn, there was no sobbing in the home locker room at the Garden on Monday night. Just a lot of smiling, laughing and thinking about how good things could get if the game against the Jazz was a harbinger of things to come.

    The 131-109 victory showcased everything positive about the partnership between Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire. Anthony had his best offensive game since coming to the team, nailing four threes and making 12-of-15 shots en route to 34 points. 

    Anthony had 21 of those in the first half as the Knicks built the big lead they'd never relinquish. He also had five assists working the pick-and-roll with Amar'e, and the big fella scored 14 in the third quarter to ensure that the fourth quarter was all about Rautins, Renaldo Balkman and Derrick Brown.

    It was just one night against a team that seemed to be looking for reasons to quit, so we won't call this the finest partnership since Jacoby & Meyers just yet. Eight games into their relationship, though, it does seem that the critics who thought Anthony couldn't share the offensive wealth were a bit misguided.

    As do those who thought the Knicks couldn't do anything on defense. The team is hardly perfect, see Al Jefferson's dominant performance in the paint, but Jared Jeffries's arrival has certainly placed the team on a better track when they don't have the ball in their hands.

    The non-Jefferson Jazz starters shot 27 percent from the floor and Jeffries's motor has clearly had a major impact on the team since his return from exile in Houston. His offensive ability remains something of an absurdist commentary on the entire theory of putting the ball in the basket, but his entire game feels different now that it doesn't come attached to an enormous contract provided by Isiah Thomas. 

    Remodeling an entire roster on the fly usually means some growing pains, especially when Chauncey Billups can't get on the floor. Outside of games against Cleveland, though, the Knicks seem quite comfortable with their new reality. That might not be enough to generate tears anywhere else in the league just yet, but you never know what will set off those sensitive souls in South Florida.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.