With the NBA season finally getting under way, the Jets playing the Giants in Week 16 and the NHL season in full swing, the past week was full of drama for New York sports fans.
On December 24, the Giants defeated the Jets in a game with huge playoff implications for both teams. The Jets struck first with a five-yard touchdown catch by Josh Baker, but the Giants responded with 20 unanswered points during the second, third and fourth quarters. The Jets scored again as quarterback Mark Sanchez ran for a touchdown in the final quarter, but the Giants struck back with a safety and a touchdown to win the game 29-14.
It was a forgettable game for quarterback Eli Manning, who completed just nine of his 27 passes, including one touchdown and one interception. The Giants had much better luck running the ball: Ahmad Bradshaw, Brandon Jacobs and D.J. Ware combined for 116 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Sanchez completed 30 passes to seven receivers, picking up a total of 258 yards. Unfortunately, he also threw two costly interceptions. Shonn Greene led the Jets with 14 carries and 58 rushing yards.
With this win, the Giants improved to 8-7 on the season and set themselves up to clinch the NFC East with a win over Dallas in Week 17. The Jets, who fell to 8-7, saw their own playoff hopes fade almost entirely. They need a win at Miami plus losses by Cincinnati, Tennessee and either Denver or Oakland to qualify for the postseason.
The game included a brief scare for Giants head coach Tom Coughlin. While standing on the sideline, he was hit in the knees by running back D.J. Ware, who had been pushed out of bounds by Jets linebacker Aaron Maybin. Fortunately, Coughlin received quick medical attention on the sideline and was up and able to coach the last few minutes of the game.
Playing in front of a sellout crowd at Madison Square Garden on Christmas Day, the Knicks started the 2011-12 season with a bang, coming from behind to beat the Boston Celtics 106-104. New York played well initially and took a 10-point lead into the second half, but Boston came roaring back in the third quarter and outscored the Knicks 35-17.
With an 8-point deficit entering the final quarter, the Knicks rallied behind an inspired performance from small forward Carmelo Anthony. Anthony, who scored 17 of his game-high 37 points in the final quarter, hit his fourth 3-pointer of the game to tie the score at 100 with 3:25 to go. The game remained tight until the end, when Anthony hit two free throws to take the final 106-104 lead.
Other standouts for the Knicks included Amar'e Stoudemire with 21 points, Toney Douglas with 19 and rookie Iman Shumpert with 11. Rajon Rondo led the Celtics with 31 points.
In the NHL, the Rangers are coming off a successful week including victories over three division rivals. Leading the charge has been forward Marian Gaborik, who scored five points in three games to take over as the league's leading scorer. Gaborik, who was honored as the league's No. 2 star for the week ending December 25, is currently on pace to be only the fourth Ranger ever to score 50 goals in a season. The Rangers now lead the Atlantic division with an impressive 22-8-4 record, best in the Eastern Conference.
Things aren't as rosy for the Islanders, who were on the wrong side of the Rangers' winning streak. They currently sit at 11-17-6 on the season and are dead last in the division and the conference.