It was lights out in Madison Square Garden for Arron Afflalo last night. He came out against the Atlanta Hawks and put up one of the best scoring performances of his career.
Afflalo has struggled over the past few games, but has not stopped shooting and was finally able to come out of his slump. Shooters shoot and Afflalo lived up to that mantra, going 14-17 from the field, including 7-8 from behind the three point arc.
His shocking 38 point performance made head coach, Derek Fisher, a happy man and the former point guard commented on his guard’s play, “To shoot the ball the way he did and chase Kyle Korver defensively, which is about as hard of a job as you can have defensively as a guard in the NBA, was very impressive”.
Knicks’ fans understand that Afflalo is a key player in the success of this team, but they probably don’t realize how important he actually is. In games that he has scored more than 15 points, New York is 8-2 on the season.
Afflalo had help from his two big men, Robin Lopez and Kristaps Porzingis in this game as well. Lopez had 16 points and 11 rebounds, while the fan-favorite rookie, Porzingis, scored 14 points.
Phil Jackson brought in Afflalo to take some of the scoring stress off of Carmelo Anthony, and he has done so at different times throughout this season, but Afflalo has not been able to do so consistently.
Consistency has been the biggest problem with this Knicks team, and Derek Fisher understands that they have to find a way to get their offense running consistently to be successful.
He commented on this goal following their game against Atlanta yesterday, “How do you [move the ball well] 60 nights out of the season as opposed to however many we end up with this year? That’s what we’re trying to work toward”.
While the team is continuing to develop through their growing pains, it’s hard not to be impressed with how much the organization has turned around in just a year. Yesterday’s victory was their 16th on the season, something that took until the second to last game of the year last season to accomplish.
Playoffs at this point seem like a far stretch, but if the Knicks continue to improve on their offense, and find a way to become more consistent offensively, there is a chance they can squeak in at the bottom of the lowly Eastern Conference.