|Kenyon Martin, PF 27 MIN | 7-11 FG | 4-5 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 18 PTS | +19
There was one particularly enjoyable sequence when Martin slapped the ball out of Kyle Lowry’s hands as he was driving rimward. It was clearly a foul, but the arbiters declined to flag him for his transgressions. The following trip down the court, Martin found himself guarding DeMar DeRozan on a similar foray to the hoop and, as if personally offended that his bullyboy antics hadn’t been properly penalized, wound up and cold cocked him. If K-Mart had ripped out the Raptor’s heart, slathered his face in Canadian blood and performed some sort of ritualistic sacrifices to the great, good old ones, muttering in Aramaic, “”Accept, O Mason and Oakley, our supplications, make us to be worthy to offer unto thee supplications and prayers and bloody sacrifices for all thy people. Selah,” I wouldn’t have been the least bit surprised. Given he’s had his tattooed tootsies propped up for the first 60-odd games of the season, it’s not altogether unsurprising that he appear s so durned spry, but I don’t think any of us expected this degree of mini-Tysoning. Speaking of which, there’s a moment in Season Seven of The West Wing during the Presidential campaign in which the Dems decide to tar their aged Republican challenger by saying how, “Spry” he looks. That’s not the case here. Kenyon looks pretty indistinguishable from the cat that so bedeviled the Marbury/Tim Thomas/Wilkens-era Knicks
That said, the next step in his total Tyson embodiment is this—Kenyon’s guttural, celebratory, post-dunk screeches don’t invoke a conquering Visigoth/monstrous, unholy beast the way Tyson’s do, but rather the spastic, anguished wails of a poor schlub who accidentally stepped in a bear trap and is contemplating hacking off their own mangled limb. That’s some Fugazi primal screaming, mang. Work on it, yo.
|Carmelo Anthony, SF 30 MIN | 9-19 FG | 10-10 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 28 PTS | +16
After a 43-minute work day was deemed absolutely, wholly necessary to secure the first end of this derrière-a-derrière avec les Nucks, I don’t know ‘bout you, but I was praying for a blowout, just to save and wear-and-tear on his formerly-sopping wet knee. His three point shot appears to still be a bit dodgy, but his burst is starting to return to pre-injury levels, leading to many occasions in which he brutishly imposed his will/got more or less any shot he wanted, though it’s not like Landry Fields provided much of a challenge/impediment (more on this later).
|Iman Shumpert, SF 21 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 4 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | +16
There’s a swell take on Shump’s struggles from our man in Casablanca, Max Fisher-Cohen from earlier today. Give it a read. I’ll wait…In retort, I offer tonight’s performance. Instead of forcing layup attempts/botching PnR action, he did a dandy job of hitting cutters/open shooters on the perimeter as well as burying a corner trey or two himself. I’ll say this again before this recap’s over, but even though the Great White Northerners generally wan attitude, should cause you take any Knick’s defensive prowess in a pretty low sodium manner, Shump just keeps rediscovering the aspects of his game that made us all swoon and blush with excitement.
|Raymond Felton, PG 29 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | +15
Generally speaking, quiet games equal good Ray-Ray games. A few tortuous, pretty layups, some deft kick-outs, decent defense when switched onto any number of loftier ‘Ptor wings, some pesky, Prig-like thefts, and very few, “SWEET FANCY MOSES, JUST BECAUSE THE DEFENSE IS DARING YOU TO LIKE, YOU KNOW, SHOOT A WIDE OPEN TWENTY-FOOTER, DOESN’T MEAN YOU’LL, LIKE, GET COOTIES OR NUTTIN’ IF YOU LIKE GIVE UP THE ROCK/KEEP DRIVING,” ill-conceived heaves. All this and less makes for a solid evening by ManBullPenguinDog.
|Pablo Prigioni, PG 28 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 6 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +25
I like when I’m right. I’ve been begging for more Pablo time for a while now. Seeing him start and flourish just give me a big ol’ case of the self-righteous smiley smiles. And that wrap around pick and roll feed without picking up his dribble to Cope? Beeyootiful. I’m right about a lot of things, ya know. Care to hear about them? Whoops, no time. On to…
|Chris Copeland, SF 21 MIN | 5-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | +7
…Cope. Chris Copeland can do many things—tote a Hello Kitty backpack, wear his PJ’s on a road trip, finish cannily around at the hoop, tickle the twine from distance, and tonight, do a better job on D and on the glass than we’ve seen in prior outings. The thing he absolutely, positively, cannot do, is sing.
|Steve Novak, SF 25 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +5
Everyone knows the, “Say the name of your first pet and then the street you grew up on to generate your porn name” game. (Mine’s “Frisky Blueberry”. I anticipate a long career in adult cinema.) Less known is the, “Say your name backwards to generate your alien super-villain” game. I’m Trebor Namrevlis and our wayward stretch four is, “EVETS KAVON”. Evets has clearly fought with Doctor Who/Captain Picard for galactic supremacy at some stardate in a galaxy far, far away.
|Jason Kidd, PG 23 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 3 PTS | +13
Happy Birthday, Jason. Try not to strain any intercostal muscles blowing out all them candles. A relatively demure outing from our statesmanlike floor general, but all of the things we’ve grown to appreciate—the magician’s hands, the smart help defense, the ball movement on offense—were present in spades, even if the alley oop toss to K-Mart made me flash back to the days when I absolutely loathed everything about Kidd. Think back, y’all. It wasn’t that long ago…The ‘Kiss the fingers’ thing when shooting freebies, his wife’s irrepressible, camera-seeking presence courtside with adorable, unibrowed moppet in tow, his penchant for spousal abuse, his resemblance to Vladimir Illyich Ulanov, the whole Knick-killing kit and caboodle. His sole trey tonight was the 100th of the season, making him the first NBA player to have triple digit bombs during his age 40 season.
|James White, SG 5 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +2
When asked by MSG’s crack PR team to name one word to describe Jason Kidd, Mr. White went with, “Old.” You’re already 30, Jimmy. The Big 4-0’ll be here before you know it. Trust me. Like my Polish-born cousin who just stinks of gravitas is prone to say, “Time is the fire that burns us all.” (If you’re a moody, brooding Pole with an accent so thick you couldn’t cut it with a well-sharpened Ginzu, you can get away with slinging lines like that.)
|J.R. Smith, SG 31 MIN | 9-16 FG | 7-8 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 25 PTS | +12
I would give anything to hear the conversation between J.R. and Mrs. J.R. Smith’s Mommy about the former’s aborted free throw attempts. That’d be some epic, Paddy Chayefsky-esque kitchen sink drama, methinks. I am pleased, though, that Earl’s recent insistence on taking the ball to the hole is the casus belli of these minor familial skirmishes. Fun fact: Prior to tonight, Smith was shooting only 36% from the field on Saturdays and Sundays. In the first few minutes, when he forced terrible shots or coughed the ball up with nary any provocation, it looked like we were heading for an effort in which the vodka fumes and Escalade-limo new car smell left an awful stain all over the court, but luckily, ‘twas not to be. I’m not sure how efficacious the give-the-ball-to-Earl-at-the-top-of-the-key-and-let-him-do-his-thang strategy will prove when they’re facing stiffer foes with sturdier paint protectors than Utah, Orlando, Toronto and Toronto, but I do dig the thought
Five Things We Saw
- That was a pleasant, if unexciting/uneventful win. The first quarter was eerily similar to last night’s game. AThough the ‘Bockers were outplaying the Universal Heath Carers, and had pushed to a 21-12 lead, a spate of silly turnovers kept the deficit at a mere four by the time the buzzer sounded. The back and forth trading of baskets continued till the end of the second quarter, when the Knicks stretched the lead to double digits and that, more or less, was all she wrote. I’m not sure how much of Toronto’s paltry effort to ascribe to Rudy Gay’s absence, but boy-oh-boy, they’re awful. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s hard to properly assess the current state of our favorite cagers’ talents given the paltry opposition. There’s certainly talent there, but I can’t even begin to fathom what a coherent plan for utilizing that ability might be. When you add that to the state of their cap, with the crippling Bargnani/Fields/DeRozan/Gay/Johnson contracts, they’re seriously boned. Like 2007-08 Knicks-level screwed. I like wins as much as the next guy, but I can’t help but feel a serious rush of pity for any and all long-suffering fans of this team. We’ve been there and the road is long and treacherous. I feel their pain.
- So…Landry and Melo don’t particularly cotton to one another, huh? It’s not just the forearm shiver that Melo delivered in response to an accidental zetz, you could just tell that, when he saw that Dwane Casey had decided to single-cover him with Fields for the majority of the night, Anthony’s eyes began to widen, his jaw stiffened, and he wanted nothing more than to obliterate his former teammate. On the automatic Twittering machine, there was some idle chatter about Landry’s Mom blaming her son’s decline in production on Melo’s arrival. There’s no printed mention of it and all of Landry’s press conferences were blandly, “I thank the Knicks for the opportunity/It was time to move on,”-ish, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were simmering tensions. It’s all gossip and unfounded speculation, but I think one can say with a good amount of certainty that Landry was on Team Linsanity in what appears to be a bit of a fractured, cliquish 2011-12 locker room. Whether that means it was a good thing or a bad thing to let a talent like Jeremy walk remains to be seen, but I don’t think you can ignore personal relations in how one goes about composing a team. I still think it was profoundly dumb to ditch Lin, but if there were those who just didn’t like the cut of his jib, I get going all in. This isn’t a Dolan apologia, just a different perspective. Take it for what you will.
- At one point, Clyde let loose with this zinger: “Oh what I wouldn’t give to be forty again,” followed by an audible sigh. I’m not sure what the pleasures of youth are that Herr Frazier feels he hasn’t sampled but if he does locate the fountain of youth, I really want to hang with him.
- Amazingly, after all the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune that have befallen this blighted professional basketball team o’ ours, they’re exactly back where they started; in second place in the division, after the Nyets, Meatpackers, and Cornfielders all fell on Saturday night. I can’t tell whether that speaks more to the paltry/flawed competition in the East or the persistence of this team but it is what it is. As of this writing, they’d face the Garnetts in round one, which would surely be gut-wrenching but profoundly fascinating.
- And now the schedule returns to a particularly nasty, playoff team-laden stretch. The right proper Bostonians, followed by the Elvises. Both are missing injured bigs—Gasol the Youngers on the shelf too, in case you missed it—but unless Tyson’s return is more imminent than we’ve ben lead to believe, both games should be tough to win. So let’s just enjoy the victory while we can, and try not to get pissed at the fact that a weird combination of the ’09 Nuggets and the hated ’02 Nets are central to our chances. The New Jersey Kniggets? So be it….