Atlantic Notes: Defense, Melo, Smith, Garnett

Through two games, it sure looks like multitude of veteran additions that the Knicks made this offseason have made them a more complete team.  In the Atlantic division's only contest today, the Knicks stayed unbeaten in impressive fashion with a 100-84 win over the rival 76ers.  They are now 2-0 for the first time since 1999.

Let's round up some other Sunday night links from around the Atlantic divsion here:

  • ESPN Boston's Chris Forsberg breaks down first round pick Jared Sullinger's night on Saturday, a game in which he was thrust into the Celtics starting lineup in his third game as a pro.  Sullinger responded admirably, grabbing 7 boards in more than 30 minutes of action.
  • 76ers head coach Doug Collins is still hopeful that he can help "unlock" third-year swing man Evan Turner, and thinks it could be just one breakout game away, writes John Finger of CSN Philly.  Turner, the second pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, has showed stellar rebounding skills but the rest of his game has yet to develop as planned. 
  • Brook Lopez spent much of the offseason in the weight room in an effort to improve his rebounding abilities, writes Roderick Boone of Newsday, but the Nets big man has yet to see the results of his hard work translate on the court.

Earlier updates:

  • The Knicks have held their first two opponents to 84 points or less for the first time in 60 years, writes Jared Zwerling of ESPN New York.  Carmelo Anthony seems to be buying into Mike Woodson's defensive philosophy, and his teammates have noticed and followed suit.
  • One of those teammates is Knicks guard J.R. Smith, who was told to shoot on Sunday by Woodson and responded with 20 points off the bench, writes Ian Begley of ESPN New York.  Smith, who is normally prone to jacking up too many bad shots, joined the Knicks last season after returning from China and reupped with the team on a two-year deal in July. 
  • The rebuilt Celtics may take longer to mesh than originally expected, opines Sherrod Blakely.  Blakely says that Kevin Garnett's defensive abilities make him uniquely critical as all the new pieces try to find their place on the team. 

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