Hawks 100, Knicks 90
|Carmelo Anthony, SF 40 MIN | 11-24 FG | 13-14 FT | 9 REB | 2 AST | 36 PTS | -7
We’ve all indulged in our fair share of hand-wringing over Melo’s propensity for “going it alone.” Well, when most of your teammates look like they went to the arena straight from the Gold Club, sometimes that kind of bootstrap-grabbing gumption becomes necessary. If it weren’t for our junk-hobbled Captain, we might’ve been looking to the inevitable post-game Waffle House brawl for some kind of legitimate competition. And cheesy hash browns. Delicious cheesy hash browns.
Tasked with manning up — out of position, it might be added — a clearly vengeance-addled Josh Smith, Melo was somehow able to conserve enough energy to rattle off a second consecutive blitzkrieg of a game — shot-sprayin’, board-crashin’, dime-dishin’, the whole nine. He keeps this up, we might soon be asking the same stupid question posed during the Linsanity’s apex: Namely how the other would respond once brought back fold-ward.
|Landry Fields, G 27 MIN | 3-4 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 7 PTS | +2
Back in February, it looked as if Fields had recaptured 2010′s bygone form. Tonight — with the exception of a few purposeful drives, or at least ones not being sent into the rafters for lack of proper flushing — Fields seemed more than anything like he was taking up space; not doing anything wrong, per se, but not challenging the defense either. If it were legal to wheel out a spring-loaded basketball pitching machine to the wing when the Knicks were on offense, just to make the “extra pass,” we’d have basically filled Landry’s role tonight.
|Tyson Chandler, C 39 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-3 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | -10
Chandler’s myriad bumbles and boners made this one of his worst outings of the fast-dwindling year. With resident nuisance Zaza Pachulia nagging his every move (and scratching him in the eyes, probably), Tyson seemed unprepared for passes which — while undoubtedly zippy — still probably should’ve been reeled in. On the night, Tyson’s -10 was second to only Baron Davis and J.R. Smith. Baron Davis and J.R. Smith, who right now can be found in the Phillips Arena parking lot hitting each other in the head with tire irons, and laughing.
|Baron Davis, PG 24 MIN | 2-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 4 PTS | -11
I think we all knew where this night was going when the first two possessions saw Baron cough up two mind-bendingly stupid turnovers. He’d go on to spend most of the night grasping at Jeff Teague’s shoelaces, pulling up for awful jump shots, and riding a stationary bike with his hamstring packed in ice. Really, it’s remarkable that we’ve managed to weather Lin’s absence this well.
|Iman Shumpert, G 41 MIN | 9-14 FG | 4-8 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 25 PTS | -8
First off, kudos to Shumpert for not doing what I tend to do when revisiting my college stomping grounds, namely being very lazy and doing very dumb things. For the second consecutive game, ‘Pert Plus kickstarted a slow start into a tremendous overall performance, banking 25 (likewise for the second straight game), mannin’ up something beastly on Josh Smith and Joe Johnson both, and picking his offensive spots in what has become a fast-expanding range.
On a night when Melo was the only other semi-reliable option, Shumpert played a pretty good Sundance Kid. Which I guess makes the Hawks a bunch of ill-secured banks, and the Atlanta fans the Bolivian Army… ABORT ANALOGY ABORT ANALOGY
|Mike Bibby, PG 6 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 PTS | -3
WOODSON: Alright, Bibbs. We’ve been through a lot of battles together in this building. I know you’re as read as I am to get back at these $%^&*!#^, right?
WOODSON: Alright, that’s my boy!
WOODSON: Awwww man. Toney, sew that back on.
|Steve Novak, SF 20 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 3 PTS | -2
No use in getting upset about Novakaine’ dearth of touches. I mean, it’s not as if J.R. Smith took, like, shot five times as much as he did, right? That would be ridiculous. Novak did hit a timely fourth quarter three, but didn’t do much beyond trying in vain to man Josh Smith, Willie Green, and — my personally favorite — Williams, MARVIN.
|J.R. Smith, SG 33 MIN | 2-10 FG | 0-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 5 PTS | -11
When I was two years old, my folks took me up to this beautiful lake house in Northern Michigan. For a solid week, every morning at 4am I’d walk into my parents’ bedroom and start yelling “THROW ROCKS IN LAKE! THROW ROCKS IN LAKE! THROW ROCKS IN LAKE!” like a savant. Invariably, my Dad — being the good sport that he was and still remains — would get up and lead me outside to the lakefront, where I’d spend the next two hours hurling stone after stone into the vast liquid abyss. I couldn’t give two shits where the thing landed. I didn’t care whether it landed two feet in front of me or five feet behind me. I just wanted to throw a bunch of %$@#^@& rocks in the lake. That’s basically J.R. Smith.
|Josh Harrellson, F 9 MIN | 1-3 FG | 4-4 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | 0
You’d figure being back in his SEC stomping rounds might serve to steal a rise out of our mustachioed muscleman. As it was, Jorts made a couple of nice contributions, allbethem largely offset by a handful of defensive miscues and silly fouls…. No, not fowls, Jorts, FOULS! FOULS with a U! OK Josh put the rifle down… JOSH PUT THE RIFLE DOWN!
Five Things We Saw
- Particularly given the Knicks’ out-of-body snipery against the Magic, it was only appropriate that their next foe would come out cooking. It’s not that the ‘Bocker D was bad; they did force 17 turnovers, were quick on rotations, and effective in many a help and double-down. The Hawks simply hit a lot of tough, tough shots, including no less than four, improbable continuations which — combined with their relative competence from the stripe — helped stave off a number of Knick mini-runs….
- Speaking of which, the Knicks went 22-33 from said stripe tonight. According to my trusted cheese grater, that means the Knicks basically lost the game on free throws. Down the stretch, if there’s one thing the Knicks both need to correct and have some semblance of control over correcting, it’s this.
- Willie Green scored 20 points on 8-9 shooting off the bench. The narrative here is far too tired to parse out again, but suffice it to say your chances of winning plummet fast and very hard when guys like this really get going. Guys like Willie Green.
- I don’t know if you know this about me, but I’m a poor sport. Like, the worst. So when things don’t go my way, I like to take it out on people or objects that have nothing to do with the actual outcome. I’ll throw pens, lamps, pens, cell phone chargers, hats — doesn’t matter. Every now and again, I like to take my anger out on the other team’s broadcast duo. For those of you who’ve never had the pleasure of listening to Bob Rathbun and Dominique Wilkins call a basketball game, here were some of the highlights:
“You think that if that had been punted 20 rows up at MSG we would’ve gotten the ball back!?!?!?” – Bob Rathbun, referring to a ball inadvertently kicked by Tyson Chandler 20 rows into the Phillips Arena crowd, above which no one was sitting
“Hawks looking to build on this two point lead….” – Bob Rathbun, budding soccer telecaster
“OH COME ON, GET YOUR HANDS OFF OF HIM!” – Bob Rathbun, objective sports journalist
“HOW DOES HE DO IT!?!?” – Bob Rathbun, amazed by the $100 million Joe Johnson making an 18-foot fall-away jumper
- Milwaukee beat Cleveland by 37 points tonight. Thirty-seven points. On the road, too. Might want to check those rear view mirrors, folks, cuz those plucky Bucks aren’t going anywhere any time soon.
Beyond his work for KnickerBlogger, Jim is a contributor to the New York Times Off the Dribble NBA blog, ESPN.com, and The Classical. He is currently working on a biography of Robert Silverman, titled "Clownin' and Astoundin.'" Follow him on Twitter @JPCavan.