|Kenyon Martin, PF 23 MIN | 1-2 FG | 1-3 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 3 PTS | +2
Kenyon left in the 2nd with a pulled abdominal muscle, (clearly incurred by over-bellowing with rage/joy at one moment or another) but he came back and played 11 perfectly K-Mart-ish minutes in the 3rd quarter (unless you count an airballed freebie that looked like he suddenly found himself clutching a pile of rancid Ethiopian food wrapped his used tube socks and shot-putted the fetid concoction away from his olfactory canal as quickly and unthinkingly as possible). In the post-game presser, Woody seemed unconcerned, stating that if this were a contest of great import, he could have returned. Naturally, given MSG’s somewhat-less-than-forthright policy w/r/t bruised, battered and bowed ‘Bockers, I’m still concerned. Martin’s become an invaluable part of the rotation. Get well. Try not to let Dr. Moreau/the rest of the fiendish Knick medical team perform a Lemur/Pygmy Marmot abdomen transplant.
UPDATE: Martin also seemed relatively nonplussed by his boo-boo. All available/non-injured body parts crossed.
|Carmelo Anthony, SF 27 MIN | 9-19 FG | 4-4 FT | 10 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 24 PTS | +9
You know those games where Melo’s trying to take the ball to the rim and he abso-Smurf-ly cannot get a call, leading him to become even more stubborn/insistent on driving into a swarm of bodies. Yeah, this was one of those games. He eventually got far more decisive with his moves/mid-range shots, leading to a nifty final shooting line of 9-19 that would have been niftier if he hadn’t missed a slew of easy tip-ins/layups. He feasted on the boards, partially due to the sea of little people that were on the court. So did Pierce, who finished with 15(!) and did a solid job covering the non-Jeff Green Celts he was tasked with guarding. A solid, if unspectacular outing. Nothing to write home about. And please don’t go writing your Mom, Dad, and Aunt Tilly about Melo’s performance. Tell them how you’re doing, what’s going on in your life, if you’ve met someone, if you’re healthy/happy/hale/hearty. That’s all they care about. C’mon, it’ll only take five minutes. Send a freakin’ email already. We’ll wait.
|Iman Shumpert, SF 27 MIN | 3-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | -6
Shump’s stroke continued to be plenty wet, but his on the ball D came and went. Considering he never seemed to be guarding anyone his size/was playing center (or whatever appositional spot you want to assign him when Son of Wood decided to Shrinky-Dink the Knicks, that’s somewhat excusable. We’ll definitely be discussing this further in a scosh.
|Raymond Felton, PG 31 MIN | 6-10 FG | 3-3 FT | 0 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 18 PTS | +7
Another sweet-shooting effort by Felton, who has been spending a lot of time playing off the ball during the current win streak, and I think it’s helped his shot selection. He’ In the 3rd, he dished a nifty pick and roll, banged home a long-range bomb and converted a lovely floater that drew a fifth foul on Avery Bradley. Important stuff to stem what was shaping up to be yet another evening in which the Knickerbockers built a fairly commanding evening, only to fritter it away in the 2nd half.
I can’t imagine what manner of devious, best-served-cold dish Earl’s got in store for Ray-Ray’s bogarting of his celebratory flourish. That just seems wrong, like James White pulling out the Discount Double Check.
|Pablo Prigioni, PG 33 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | +13
Hey, didja know that Prigs set a season-high tonight in minutes played with 33? I certainly didn’t. What I found most encouraging is that he heaved a shot or two without the Hamlet-esque dithering and pondering and checking and double-checking and retying his shoelaces and balancing his checkbook and making sure he hasn’t lost his keys that usually precedes such an event. The fact that they clanged off the rim more than not is irrelevant—if the defense thinks he’s a threat, it’s going to open up driving/passing lanes when he does decide to swing the ball or locate a cutter. Good job, Pablo. Keep on chuckin’.
|Chris Copeland, SF 20 MIN | 6-10 FG | 7-9 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 22 PTS | +13
So, I guess Cope abhors the Celtics with just as much bile-soaked fervor as
|Steve Novak, SF 20 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 10 PTS | +14
During the 2nd quarter flurry of treys that pushed the lead into the high double-digits, I counted approximately 4.562 times the Knicks missed Novak open on the perimeter, mainly in semi-transition but also in the half court. He hit a few adorable non-threes off pump fakes and, most importantly, announced that as a result of Marquette’s trouncing by Syracuse the tourney, would have to wear “Some sort of attire,” as a result of a bet he lost to Master Anthony. As of this writing, it still hasn’t been revealed what that garment is. I’m hoping it’s a thong made entirely of orange peels, but that’s just me.
|Jason Kidd, PG 21 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 3 PTS | +25
I might as well just cut n’ paste what we’ve been writing about Kidd for the last eight recaps. Good work on the boards. Fine help defense. Shot still isn’t falling the way one would like. Good things still generally occur when he’s in the game. Rinse. Repeat.
|James White, SG 6 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -2
JAMES WHITE EASTER ANAGRAM: I’M HATE, JEWS (Wait. That might be a tad problematic…)
|J.R. Smith, SG 33 MIN | 4-12 FG | 7-10 FT | 12 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | +20
J.R continued his single-minded devotion to attacking the rim, but tonight, the Ghosts of Auerbach double teamed him frequently and a few of the bunnies and runners just wouldn’t fall. It’s a great sign that he didn’t revert to 20’ fadeaways but the next step is learning how to hit crosscourt passes before he gets trapped in the paint. I can guarantee that he’s going to face this kind of attention moving forward. Still, 12 ‘bounds, 4 dimes and two steals, though. Even if his Mom gives him a tongue-lashing for the 3 gorted charity stripe tosses, I hope Mrs. J.R.’s Mom also mentions that this was anything but a negative outing and maybe treats him to a new tattoo and a Choco-dile.
He can smile! Who’d a thunk it? Up until this point, I assumed he was the NBA’s version of Joan Baez and Sinéad O’Connor—a person who’d rather run a cheese grater over his/her inner thigh than curl into a rictus of a grin. Flash them pearly whites more often, Coach. It’s nice to see. A+ for moving your facial muscles into anything but a grim, cold, fear-inducing glare (and the small-balling, which we are getting to, tout suite).
Six Things We Saw
- Eight in a row! That was nice. I always enjoy beating the Old Towne Team, mainly because EFF PAUL PIERCE. But also, I hate the city of Boston itself. For those of you who’ve never been detained in that faux-city, my theory is that someone developed a bomb that would only wipe out the people within the blast range while leaving the buildings, streets, highways, subways, cars, etc. – the non-organic components of a city – completely intact and unharmed. They tested it in Boston and it worked like a charm. The only drawback was, once all the city-folk were blown to smithereens, the residents of suburban and exurban Massachusetts saw this perfectly good city sitting there, unused, and decided to move in, creating a place where you’ve got people living in a metropolitan center yet still tend to be overwhelmingly provincial, narrow-minded and mean-spirited, mainly because they’ve made the terrible life-decision to call home a place that’s anathema to their basic sense of self. Ever heard the term “Masshole?” It exists for a reason. In short, I do not like Boston.
- Been waiting to get that off my chest for a while. Thanks for indulging me. Back to the game. For the most part, the Knicks did all the scrumptious things we’ve filled our bellies with during this eight-game winning streak—there were backdoor cuts and misdirection picks aplenty, the ball swung around the perimeter into the hands of eager three point marksmen, the defense was quick and aggressive, trapping when necessary and then rotating to close out on shooters, the lack of anything resembling a big man rotation didn’t cause them to get obliterated on the glass, with both J.R. and Melo chipping in with a double-double, and, when foul troubles and bruised tummy muscles forced K-Mart and Melo to the sidelines, they went uber-tiny and didn’t miss a beat, even in the 3rd, when history indicated that the smart money should wager vast sums of ducats that a collapse against the Men in Green was undoubtedly going to occur.
- Speaking of der kleine leute, The Goateed One actually ran a five guard unit of Felton-Prigs-Kidd-Smith-Shump out on to the floor with about two minutes to go in the half. Amazingly, this quintet rang up a Net-Rtg of 122.1 and is officially the single greatest Knick lineup of all time. [H/T to friend-of-the-blog/Cat Fancy subscriber Jared Dubin for that bit o’ calculatin’]. The Melo plus Cope/Novak or Melo plus four guards squad got plenty of time to spin as well. I’m not sure how well this group might perform against a team that’s tall enough to ride this ride, but it represents a bold, all-in version of the devotion to spacing and high-value threes that Woodson’s been gunning for all year. If you haven’t yet, read Zach Lowe’s brilliant analysis of how Miami has adopted this formula, creating a truly revolutionary offensive scheme (though having LeBron at the center of it takes the notion to a whole other level).
- Jeff Green. Wowza, I can’t tell whether he’s just putting it all together or he’s far more impressive as the focal point of a bad team’s offense – kind of like a far more athletic, talented, taller, dunk-ier, better-defending Cope. That said, damn son…
- To top it all off, the actor Emily Rossum attended the game and is evidently a serious Knicker-backer. Here’s the mash note she received from John Starks. I am jealous on so many levels. I want to receive scribbled message from John Starks. I also want to write such notes to Emily Rossum and have her gush about them on Twitter/Instagram. And I want a wife/girlfriend/dominatrix who will not only tolerate my all-abiding Knicks obsession, but will share in these delights with me. Dear Emily, if you enjoy our fine blog, call me. I’ll comb your hair and you can tell me about your thoughts, feelings, hopes and dreams. And then we’ll watch the game.
- And now things get a little bit dicey-er. Guess who’s coming to dinner? That’s right, our fine friends from the South Beach region. They even rested their weary heads v. San Antonio just so they’d be all fresh as daisies for Tuesday night’s titanic clash of civilizations. Hopefully, Tyson will have regained use of his neck by then, Good Lord willin’. Winter is coming…