Knicks Continue to Preach Defense, Sign J.R. Smith

Knicks Continue to Preach Defense, Sign J.R. Smith

One of the sentiments in the headline above is true. The other is that the Knicks preach defense.
Former Denver Nugget J.R. Smith tweeted early on Friday afternoon that he has agreed to a deal with the New York Knicks now that international basketball rules allow him to do so. Smith signed a contract to play in the Chinese Basketball Association during the NBA lockout when state-side negotiations looked bleak and had to wait for his Chinese season to end before he could return.
For those of you unfamiliar with his work, Smith is a previous teammate of Knick superstar Carmelo Anthony and one of the single most freakishly astonishing athletes in the game. That said, he is also known as something of a gunner and has never been nearly as invested on his own end as he has been on the attack.
Smith's addition really makes the New York Knicks even more like the team they already were: crazy fun to watch on offense and Mike D'Antoni on defense.
As far as potential rotations or lineups go, with the emergence of Jeremy Lin, the signing of Smith and the returns of Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire, you could see the following on the court for the Knicks at any given time:

1. Lin 2. Smith 3. Anthony 4. Stoudemire 5. Tyson Chandler

And that's with current 2-guard Landry Fields just resting on the bench.
Your Philadelphia 76ers still lead the division by 4.5 games, but the Celtics rebounded after a dreadful start to go 10-2 over a 12-game stretch from Jan. 18-Feb. 7 (though they've stumbled since) and the Knicks -- on the back of "Linsanity" -- just added yet another dynamic scorer. Doug Collins & Co. are also expected to be without starting center Spencer Hawes for the near-future; Hawes will be in a walking boot for at least the next two weeks.
With the Sixers about to see an increase in road games over the second half of the season and the Knicks and Celtics both seemingly improving, things are about to get a little tougher down the stretch, both in the Atlantic division and the Eastern Conference.

College hoops wrap: Penn State steamrolled by No. 21 Purdue

College hoops wrap: Penn State steamrolled by No. 21 Purdue

Villanova headlined Philly college basketball action today with a 78-68 win over Providence, led by Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins (see full recap). The win is dampened with the news that Phil Booth is increasingly unlikely to return this season as he still deals with knee discomfort (see story).

Here's a snapshot from the rest of area hoops today.

Penn State steamrolled by No. 21 Purdue
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- The way it played this week, No. 21 Purdue is acting like a team that is determined to be in the race for the Big Ten championship all the way to the end of the regular season.

Caleb Swanigan had 19 points and 12 rebounds, Purdue built an 18-point halftime lead and coasted to a 77-52 victory over Penn State on Saturday, four days after shooting 60.4 percent in a 91-68 victory against Illinois.

Against Penn State, the Boilermakers (16-4, 5-2) got 13 points from freshman guard Carsen Edwards and 10 each from Dakota Mathias and Vince Edwards.

"I would just say we were coming out ready to play," said Vince Edwards, who added seven rebounds and three assists. "Our goal is to win the Big Ten. Our focus is to take care of business."

Josh Reaves led Penn State (11-9, 3-4) with 12 points. The Nittany Lions made only 20 of 64 field goal attempts (31.3 percent) and were outrebounded 39-30. Purdue shot 56.6 percent (30 of 53) (see full recap).

Drexel drops road game at CAA-leading UNC Wilmington
WILMINGTON, N.C. -- Devontae Cacok scored 12 points and set a Colonial Athletic Association record with 24 rebounds, helping UNC Wilmington stay perfect in conference with an 87-74 win over Drexel on Saturday.

Cacok, whose previous career-high rebounding was 16, broke the school record (21) and conference record (22) late in the second half as the Seahawks cruised to their ninth straight home win, tying the best mark in program history.

UNC Wilmington (19-2, 8-0) led 53-51 with 15:01 left before four players combined to rattle off 12 straight points. Cacok capped the run with one of his 11 offensive rebounds and a dunk to give the Seahawks a 65-51 lead with 11:23 remaining.

UNC Wilmington is off to its best start ever and has won 24 of its last 26 conference games, including 12 straight. Chris Flemmings led the Seahawks with 17 points.

Sammy Mojica had 15 points and Rodney Williams added 14 for Drexel (7-13, 1-6), which has lost seven of eight (see full recap).

Delaware swept in season series with Towson
NEWARK, Del. -- Mike Morsell and Arnaud William Adala Moto pulled down a dozen boards as Towson won its fourth straight and a season sweep of Delaware with a 75-58 win on Saturday afternoon.

The Tigers are fresh off a win over Hofstra that saw them erase a 16-point first-half deficit, and momentum carried over when they built a 17-point lead at halftime.

Alex Thomas and John Davis added 13 and 12 points, respectively, but Towson saw its streak of three-straight games shooting better than 50 percent end. The Tigers hit 26 of 55 shots from the floor (47.3 percent), including 6 of 15 from deep.

Delaware snapped a six-game losing streak Thursday with a win over Northeastern. Ryan Daly scored 21 points for Delaware and became the first freshman in school history to post six 20-plus efforts in a season. He reached double-digits for the 12th time in 13 games (see full recap).