Extremely Tardy Reaction: Knicks 104, Hasselhoffs 97
|Amare Stoudemire, PF 33 MIN | 4-10 FG | 3-4 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 11 PTS | -18
Remember when Dirk Nowitzki used to routinely barbecue Amar’e Stoudemire in the Playoffs? Dirk Nowitzki does. Now, Stat wasn’t tasked with guarding Dirk very often — not exactly shocking, considering Amar’e Stoudemire would have a hard time keeping in front of an engine-less Buick — but when he was, it was, well, quite ugly. The good news is four of Stat’s boards were off the offensive glass, which helped keep alive a number of key possessions down the stretch.
|Iman Shumpert, G 19 MIN | 2-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 5 PTS | -14
While attempting to face guard Dirk was certainly noble on Shump’s part, really it was more funny than anything. Dirk’s reaction was particularly priceless, jogging down to the defensive end after scoring or hitting a pair from the line with a smile so incredulous you’d have thought the Knicks had put Herb Williams on him. Credit Iman for his stints of suffocating D, but his offense? Woof!
|Tyson Chandler, C 35 MIN | 5-7 FG | 4-4 FT | 10 REB | 0 AST | 14 PTS | +9
|Landry Fields, G 27 MIN | 6-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 13 PTS | -11
Credit Fields for quickly forgetting his poop-riddled performance Friday night against the lowly Hornets, and for getting back to what he does best: Picking his spots, slashing inside, and hawking passing lanes. The arrival of J.R. Smith might’ve spelled confidence-slaying doom for a lesser player, but Fields should recognize that his is a role not only tailor made for this kind of offense, but for this collection of talent in this offense.
|Jeremy Lin, PG 46 MIN | 11-20 FG | 3-6 FT | 4 REB | 14 AST | 28 PTS | +14
Considering they were playing a top-5 defense, this may have been his most impressive performance to date. Yeah, I know, he torched the Kobes too, but now that he’s been scouted six ways from Sunday and teams are literally designing their entire defensive strategies to prevent him from getting into the lane…wow. Just wowzers. My absolute favorite part about watching Lin? He never, NEVER looks rattled. He’s rattle-free. If he were a rattlesnake he’d have no rattle, thereby making him more of a regular snake-type snake. You get my point.
|Jared Jeffries, PF 28 MIN | 1-5 FG | 2-4 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 4 PTS | +17
Like one o’ us babbled about in the Times Lin has been amazing but what’s even more amazing (amazinger?) is the fact that the Knicks do not win this game without dear, noble Jared. Feel free to bum-rush the court to raise Jeremy’s jersey to the rafters, but try not to trample sweet-faced, comely Jared on the way (like every other player in the league seems to do as they barrel down the lane).
|Steve Novak, SF 23 MIN | 5-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 14 PTS | +17
New nickname: Novakiller. I will brook no counterargument.
P.S. – If you haven’t seen this GIF of our unassuming SF/PF pulling the Aaron Rodgers “Champeenship belt” move after a Novakiller corner three, peep it pronto, yo. It’s a hoot!
|J.R. Smith, SG 30 MIN | 6-16 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 15 PTS | +21
As advertised, The Earl of Smith the 3rd is a conscience-free gunner. Unlike the players whose PT he seems destined to swipe or inherit by default, Messrs. Walker and Shumpert, he can hit a fair number of them. He’s a better passer and a more capable defender, but calling him a 6’5″ Nate Robinson (if Nate also sported “The Bishop” instead of his usual faux-hawk), is apt. Apt I say! Scout’s honor, that’s not meant to be an insult. Even if he’s bricking 10 heaves, the defense still has to respect the shot, which wasn’t previously the case. Color me thrilled.
Five Things We Saw
- Guys, this isn’t trying to hit a Rivera cutter. It’s a free throw. It’s maybe the easiest thing to do in professional sports, from an amateur’s perspective. The Knicks still rank 11th in the league in this category, but the last few games have been pretty ugly as far as charity stripe prowess. Lin in particular would be averaging three to five more points per outing if he just KEPT HIS HAND IN THE %$^@& COOKIE JAR!
- I hate to mess up all this feel-goodery, (No, I’m not going to pre-bitch/speculate on what the mere presence of Melo’s pheromones may do to the rotation. I’m beyond nauseated by this ongoing speculation by the wags of the basketball word already and the ish hasn’t even happened), wait where was I? The mere act of writing about Carmelo Anthony has disrupted my ability to put together a coherent sentence in this lil’ recap. He’s a cancer! Anyway, the rotation is about to get AWFUL crowded. As we all know, our Coach Pringles don’ts likes to play more than eight fellers, period. Starting tomorrow, that means Smith, Jeffries and Novak ONLY off the bench, with maybe a slight dash of Shump added to the recipe. And Baron Davis is poised to gobble up Shump’s minutes like so much poi as soon as Davis is healthy enough to begin B-Dizzling. In all honesty, Shump needs the time off, not because of the dreaded, “rookie wall,” but rather to spend this season learning and developing as opposed to being forced to produce for lack of better alternatives in the backcourt.
- Speaking of the Baron, lawdy do we need a backup to the all-powerful, all-knowing, beneficent deity that is Jeremy Lin. If D’Antoni keeps Lin marathon dancing for 40+ minutes a game, the only way he’s going to resemble Secretariat is that they’ll both end up in the glue factory. I really wish Stern…er…Commissioner Kenny Smith hadn’t dragooned him into the Product Placement Rising Stars thingamawoogit. I’d far prefer it if he were shoved into a hermetically sealed hyperbaric chamber so he can, you know, rest n’ stuff.
- For once, the Knicks played an early afternoon game like they’d actually managed to get a few hours of sleep the night previous. Against a tough opponent riding their own, largely under-the-radar hot streak, the Knicks came out with energy and enthusiasm from the word go. J.R. Smith in particular, ten minutes from de-planing the plane, couldn’t wait to grab the front of his jersey by the N and the K and juice the crowd.
- My Dad wants all’s y’all to know that he predicted this win. You happy now, Dad? Can I move out of the garage? Gawd! Sorry about the delay in getting this to you, oh recap-hungry Knickerblogger-backers, but you see, I thought Jim Cavan was gonna write it and he thought I did and so like, you know, a couple of hours later I says, “Yo Jim! Where’s the recap, son?” And he’s all like, “Yo! I thought youse was doin’ it!” And I’m like, “No way! It’s like totally your turn, you know?” And he’s like “Hahahaha!” And I’m so like. “Lols. That’s Lol-sy. I’m lol-sing like all over!” Good times. So we did it together. I’ll let y’all figure out which players/bullet points are mine and which are Jim’s. First one to provide all the correct answers wins a sooper-awesome prize!
Okay, for serious, there’s no prize, but you’ll be the winner! Just like THE MOFOING KNICKS WERE TODAY, PUTTING SOME SAD, SAD-FACED FROWNS RIGHT ON THE GRILL OF THAT KVETCHING TEUTON. Yay! Winning!
Hey, did you know that in addition to banging the keys here and occasionally for the NY Times, Robert is a playwright, an actor and a wand'ring mendicant/gadfly? He also once wrestled a bear...and lost.