Mozgov Makes Pistons Obey

The Knicks trounced the Pistons last night 124-106, and undoubtedly the story of the night was Mozgov’s outburst. Due to Shawne Williams’ suspension and Wilson Chandler’s injury, Mike D’Antoni looked further down his bench for production. Timofev Mozgov ended the night with 23 points on 15 shots and grabbed a team high 14 rebounds. Uncharacteristically, he had only 4 fouls and 2 turnovers in nearly 40 minutes.

However I’m dubious that Mozgov’s line shows marked improvement. The Russian made a handful of mistakes. Here are some of my notes on the game with regards to Mozgov:

  • Looks tentative on the boards.
  • Missed easy layup!
  • On pick & roll, left Gordon wide open for a three.
  • On a fast break, let a pass from Toney Douglas go out of bounds.
  • Failed to get the ball to a wide open Anthony Randolph under the hoop (pass was deflected).
  • Gave away easy in-bound pass for 2 points.
  • Alley-oop went right off his hands. Luckily Amar’e recovers it for an easy stuff.
  • Overall I thought his biggest weaknesses were his hands and inside scoring. In a one and a half minute stretch, Mozgov missed 2 hook shots, a lay-up, and a tip in. I didn’t see the instant replay on the pass from Douglas, but the alley-oop that bounced off his hands was Braylon Edwards-esque.

    Watching the game I concentrated intently on Mozgov and Randolph, given their scarcity of court time. I thought Randolph played inside of his game. He was aggressive on the boards (5 rebs in 8 minutes) and concerned with defending the paint (1 block). Randolph was largely overlooked on offense – there were a numerous times he was open on offense waving his arms, only to be ignored (a few times by Walker who was doing his best Al Harrington impersonation). After grabbing defensive rebounds, he quickly looked to get the ball up court – on one play he took the ball up himself, only to turn around and give it to Toney Douglas. Comparing Mozgov and Randolph, the latter played low key and made much fewer mistakes.

    To be fair to Mozgov he showed lots of positive attributes. He’s quick up the floor for a center, and hit a few outside shots. Mozgov did look good on the offensive glass, and that he kept his fouls down could indicate improvement in that area. He converted 3 put-backs and 1 alley-oop, and those aren’t going to be there every night. Given how good his line was, I’m not sure what of that is sustainable. It should be interesting to see how much time Mozgov gets going forward.

    New T-Shirt

    Thanks to John Kenney whose comment gave birth to this idea:

    Well it’s not a J.S.G. Boggs, but I think it’s a good way to sum up how the Knicks have been over his tenure. Donnie Walsh hasn’t built a title contender (yet) and there have been a few missteps along the way, but he’s done an admirable job thus far. If nothing, Walsh has shown patience and the ability to bring in players that match his coach’s needs. Certainly he’s done better than the average GM over the same span.

    With the league’s GMs playing poker and Carmelo Anthony being the big prize, Walsh hasn’t thrown everything in to risk getting the All Star forward. The press has reported that the Nets were ready to trade the farm, but so far it has appeared that Walsh isn’t willing to dismantle the Knicks for a player of his caliber. With the trade deadline looming, as a Knick fan I’d normally have a few restless nights wondering how the team would blow this one. Have to say that hasn’t kept me awake, because Walsh hasn’t given me many reasons to think he’s going to botch this move. In Donnie, I Trust.

    Knicks 93, Heat 88

    Every now and then there comes a basketball game that electrifies an entire city. Fans are glued to their television to see the greatest players in the world. Unfortunately, Madison Square Garden has been in the shadows for the past few years. For the last decade or so, the most anticipated Knick games of the season were ones that featured the league’s upper echelon teams. The only reason why the Heat vs. Knicks or Cavs vs. Knicks games were on national television were because the league’s best players traveled to the Mecca of Basketball. The match-ups weren’t necessarily amazing nor were the games always competitive. It was just a chance to watch the LeBrons and Wades of the NBA perform under the lights of New York City.

    While the Knicks were a sub-.500 team last year, this year’s team is bound for the playoffs. Coming into tonight’s game the Knicks were the sixth seed in the East with a record of 23-21. Unlike the previous seasons, this Heat-Knicks matchup was significant because the Knicks are a relevant team in the NBA again. And the result of yesterday’s game confirmed it.

    The Knicks beat Miami 93-88, in a tightly fought contest. New York got off to a good start in the first quarter, and matched the Heat’s intensity. In the second quarter, the game got feisty as Juwan Howard and Amar’e Stoudemire got into an altercation. Ultimately Howard was whistled for a technical foul, and the fight brought back memories of the Knicks-Heat rivalry of the early 2000s.

    The halftime ended with the Knicks trailing 48-46. New York’s leading scorer was Amar’e Stoudemire with 14 points on nine shots. Landry Fields contributed with 11 points, five rebounds, and three assists. The Knicks had to feel lucky going into the locker-room trailing by only two points, because they shot 18-45 from the field and only attempted eight free-throws. In addition, Raymond Felton had a less than impressive first half, with two points and +/- of -6.

    The last time the Heat played the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, Miami completely dominated in the third quarter. In their previous meeting the Knicks were stagnant on the offensive end, and trailed by double-digits by the end of the third. This game appeared to be a replica of the last, as New York failed to have any offensive continuity. The Knicks missed seven of eight three point shots in the quarter, most of them were of the wide open variety.

    But instead of yielding to a great team, New York clawed back in the fourth quarter. Unlike the period prior, New York began to hit their threes. With the Knicks trailing 84-83 and less than two minutes to go, Danilo Gallinari and Landry Fields hit back to back treys giving New York a 5 point advantage that would sustain them for the rest of the game. The Knicks outscored the Heat 29-15 in the quarter. Amar’e ended with 24 points on 17 attempts, and the Knicks also got efficient scoring from Gallo (20 points on 15 shots) and Landry Fields (19 on 11 shots). Fields also added 13 rebounds and 6 assists, and finished +14.

    The Knick crowd was electric with a playoff-like atmosphere. For once a game at the Garden against one of the league’s best team’s was great television. And this time it wasn’t due to the star power of the opposing team.

    Unsung Knick History – Dentistry 1, Knicks 0

    This is the twenty-first in a series (of indefinite length and regularity) of examinations into different games, events and decisions that impacted Knicks history in some way, shape or form. Stories that are not as famous as, say, “The Dunk” or Willis Reed playing Game 7, but still have a place in Knicks history, especially for die-hard fans. Here is an archive of all the stories featured so far.

    I’ve written in the past about how the Knicks had a stretch of high draft picks in the early 1960s that was particularly brutal for the team, as it seemed like none of the players turned out the way that the Knicks hoped. However, according to an old WolfStreet article, none of them can quite compare to the Knicks’ first round pick in the 1950 NBA Draft (seventh overall) who spurned the Knicks’ advances to instead pursue…a career in dentistry!

    Read to discover more about the City College of New York (CCNY) basketball great (and longtime dentist) Irwin Dambrot, and how his legendary run with CCNY in the 1950 college playoffs was later tarnished forever.

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