One Giant Leap Backwards
After narrowly defeating the Cowboys in what would have been a colossal collapse last week (New York led 23-0 during the second quarter, but trailed Dallas by the end of the third), the Giants have now succeeded in snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in Sunday’s game against the Steelers.
Once more, the Giants had built up a lead against their opponents only to watch it slip away. Andre Brown ran the ball in for a 1 yard touchdown after a questionable personal foul call salvaged a drive for Manning and company (the hit was certainly hard, forcing Victor Cruz to writhe in pain on the ground for several minutes, but it was not a blow to the head as the penalty suggested). Two minute later, Osi Umenyiora batted the ball out of Ben Roethlisberger’s hands—Big Ben’s arm was moving forward before the ball had left, and the call could have been made for an incomplete pass, but it wasn’t—allowing Michael Boley to pick it up for a 70 yard touchdown.
The Giants were up 14-10 after the first half, and padded that lead with two Tynes field goals during the third quarter, but it would not prove sufficient for a victory. Roethlisberger connected with Mike Wallace for a 51 yard touchdown to kick off the last quarter, then saw Isaac Redman complete another touchdown drive with a 1 yard run later on. Now down 20-24 with 4 minutes left in the game, Eli Manning was tasked to hash together one more of his famous fourth quarter comebacks.
He fell short. New York proved unable to score any points after the third quarter, falling to 6-3 on the season. Eli ultimately had his worst showing of the season on this day, going 10/24 for a measly 125 yards. Though Big Blue’s defense did rack up four sacks (2 for Tuck, 1 for Pierre-Paul, and a strip sack for Umenyiora), the secondary was ineffective for much of the game.
To the Giants’ benefit, they were not the only NFC East team to lose this week. Washington fell to Carolina 21-13, Dallas lost to still undefeated Atlanta 19-13 during the Sunday night game, and Philadelphia succumbed to a struggling New Orleans 28-13 on Monday. With their lead as secure as they had left it before the weekend started, the Giants look ahead to a match against the Bengals at 1:00 PM this Sunday; the Jets, who had a BYE this past week, will play the Seahawks at 4:05 PM.
The Nets Make Their Regular Season Debut in Brooklyn
Originally scheduled to start the season with a game against their now cross-town rivals, the New York Knicks, the newly dubbed Brooklyn Nets found their plans as interrupted by Hurricane Sandy as the rest of New York. Instead, the Barclays Center saw its first regular season NBA game on Saturday with Brooklyn facing off against the Toronto Raptors.
Though they trailed 35-27 after the first quarter, the Nets rallied back with a 33-17 second quarter. The second half was far less lopsided; Toronto put up 48 compared with Brooklyn’s 47, which was sufficient for the team formerly of New Jersey to win by a final score of 107-100. Brook Lopez did the lion’s share of the work—putting up 27 points with 5 rebounds—while Deron Williams scored 19 and had 9 assists.
Their second game of the season was less uplifting. Though the Nets led 86-75 against the Timberwolves after three quarters, they were only able to put up 10 points in the fourth. A 32 point rally from Minnesota put Brooklyn down 107-96 by day’s end. Not a single player for the Nets broke the 20-point mark for the game; Joe Johnson came closest with 19, followed by Deron Williams at 18 (and 13 assists).
Now 1-1, the Nets play their next game in Miami against the 3-1, reigning champion Heat tomorrow night at 7:30.
The Knicks Start With a Bang
That one loss for Miami came at the hands of the Knicks. Despite being without Amar’e Stoudemire for the next 6-8 weeks (he is out with a knee injury) and letting go of break-out star Jeremy Lin during the offseason, New York got off to an early 17-6 lead over the Heat and never looked back. Carmelo Anthony, who broke the US Olympic record for points in a single game this past summer, gave the most impressive performance on the court yet again with 30 points and 10 rebounds. Steve Novack backed him up with 17 points, while the team as a whole put up 57 from beyond the 3-point arc.
Across the court, Lebron James was held to 23 points and was the only Miami player to score over 20. A 23-21 fourth quarter cemented the Knicks’ victory, 104-84.
Those 84 points would prove a significant tally for New York, as it was the same number to which they kept Philadelphia in their second game of the season. As expected, Anthony put together another dominant performance, this time scoring 27 with 5 rebounds. J.R. Smith took on the number 2 role this time, stringing together 20 points with 9 rebounds and two assists. The Knicks won 100-84.
The Knicks followed the 76ers back to Philadelphia for a rematch the next night, where they put on a slightly more dominant show. Outscoring Philly in every period of the game, New York won by a final of 110-88. Though Carmelo slipped to a total of 21 points, a solid output from the bench and other starters (6 other players scored 10 or more) helped the team cruise to victory.
Now 3-0, the Knicks play their next game against Dallas on Friday at 7:30.