|Patrick Ewing, C 32 MIN | 5-17 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | -22
Another beastly effort for the Big Fella tonight. 44 points on 24 shots? That’s better than the Wonderbra! Patrick’s step-back jumper was falling like manna from heaven (And yes, he probably does travel whenever he takes those huge, loping steps into the paint for a hook shot). He provided yeoman defense on both Brad Daugherty and John “Hot Rod” Williams and Ewing’s slam-the-rock-with-such-earth-shattering-intensity-it-soars-into-the-blue-seats-and-resembles-nothing-so-much-a-used-prophylactic-when-it-finally-does-land block of Mark Price’s breakaway layup attempt was a key turning point in the game.
|Charles Oakley, PF 20 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 2 PTS | -9
I’m scared of Oak. (Tyrone Hill nods vigorously). Now, I love Oak, don’t get me wrong, but they should pay the photographers under the bucket hazard pay. I don’t care if your job is merely to visually document the team’s efforts, unless you’re wearing orange and blue, you are the enemy in Charles’ Armand Assante-type seethingly intense eyes. How can a cat snaggle 22 rebounds whilst being unable to jump over the NYC yellow pages? Because, like Rudy Ray Moore said, if you see the Chairman of the Boards coming, “Man, move over and let me pass ‘fore they have be to pullin’ these Hush Puppies out your motherfuckin’ ass!” Dear Hollywood honchos, please remake Dolemite. Oak’s ready to put in work, mang.
|Charles Smith, SF 39 MIN | 12-19 FG | 2-2 FT | 8 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 29 PTS | -18
I’m still smarting over what happened in game five last year v. Jordan and his gang of shoe-shilling Hessians, so I may not be entirely objective with regards to our long-limbed, not-at-all-Small Forward. I cringe whenever he launches even an uncontested fifteen footer and the team just looks much, much better when Mase takes his slot. There’s no way that Danny Effing Ferry should be able to go off for 21 points on 9-14 shooting, especially since he looks like the world’s tallest IRS GS-9 examiner.
|John Starks, SG 19 MIN | 3-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -10
Another brickfest from our favorite gunner, who was shut down by former-friend-of the-program Gerald Wilkins. I don’t know about y’all, but I really think Riley’s refusal to take Starks out when his shot is still stuck in a grocery bag somewhere in Tulsa is gonna come back to haunt this team. Mark my words. You marked them? Sweet. Mark it an eight, Donnie. But all of that was redeemed by the gorgeous bomb with 1.7 seconds left on the clock that sent the game to overtime. He’s at the exact polar opposite of Emily Dickinson on the self confidence/esteem-o’-meter. She remembers all, all John knows is the moment. Luckily, tonight the result was still pure poetry.
|Doc Rivers, PG 21 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -6
Doc Rivers really is the perfect point guard for this team. Though it’s never flashy, he always makes the right pass and knows exactly how long to feed a hot hand. Tonight, when every shot looks as smooth as Dolores O’Riordan’s plaintively-voiced crooning…
…you’ll get 11 dimes. Call me an Altacocker, but I dig the old school short-shorts too.
|Anthony Mason, PF 27 MIN | 7-10 FG | 1-1 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | -1
8 points, 4 boards, 6 assists is a nice filling of the box score (I wonder if there are more stats that we could possibly learn? Ones that might tell us more about this noble game of basketball. Nah, I’m thinking crazy thoughts. Hold on. I have to go check my answering machine. I might have missed an important call watching the game!) Where were we? Still, this wasn’t Mase’s finest effort on D (a team-wide problem for the bulk of the first half, really). Might want to shave “Terrell Brandon is really good at beating people off the dribble such that it’s okay to leave Chris Mills open,” into your menacing dome. Hopefully, you have a barber that can make it work, hairstyle-wise, because it’s a more important lesson than lookin’ good.
|Hubert Davis, SG 2 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | +1
The Hube had some key minutes (and buckets) down the stretch. Is the Armani Suited One cobbling from Donnie Walsh’s playbook? Nah. That’s more crazy talk. Can’t win in the NBA without size. Size matters. Is this getting into a disturbing area? Let’s move on…
|Tony Campbell, SF 27 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 9 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -6
And here’s another newcomer that hasn’t entirely earned the aforementioned coach’s trust yet. A couple of errant heaves and out comes the designer hook. Note to Ernie Grunfeld. Don’t trade away a first round draft pick for Tony Campbell unless you’re absolutely, 100%, positively sure that a shoot-first, no-defense small forward even vaguely fits into the rotation
|Greg Anthony, PG 2 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | +1
When Price and Brandon were running amok, Greg’s timely steals were the only thing that managed to stem the tide, but for the Love of Courtney, can someone (Doc?) please teach him how to make a half-decent entry pass into the post? If he can’t master that, he’s a Clear and Present Danger to the offensive game plan. See what I did there? I’ll show myself out.
|Herb Williams, C 22 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | +4
|Rolando Blackman, SG 29 MIN | 5-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 14 PTS | -9
Hi Rolando! Boy you got old fast! Bye Rolando!
|Anthony Bonner, SF DNP SORE LEFT ANKLE MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS |
Every time Anthony Bonner checks in, it takes a few minutes before I realize that it isn’t Anthony Mason. Having the same first name doesn’t help.
Five Things We Saw
- 2-0! Though they looked sloppy as h-e-double hockey sticks for vast stretches of the contest, even trailing by as many as 14 points just before halftime, once the defense decided to show up and they started dominating the offensive and defensive glass, they looked like the Knick team that everyone expects to be there at the end without a certain baseball-playing (Cough, Suspended for gambling! cough, cough, sputter, hack, wheeze, stop smoking now, cough) demigod. And yes, one might put an asterisk after any title (and I’m definitely getting ahead of myself here) but eff THAT. It’s been 21 painful, tortuous years since Clyde and Willis and Dollar Bill and Pearl reigned supreme. I don’t care if the rest of the league gets wiped out by an Ebola-type plague—a chip’s a chip.
- So yes, tonight, as was the case in the season opener v. the dreaded (and kinda dreadful) Bostonians, they surrendered wide-open shots and didn’t come close to pressuring the ball the way they needed to. But the ability to come back, especially against a solid Cleveland squad that slows it down to a Fratello-an pace, is a good thing even if Slick Patrick shares some of my worries:
“I think we’re getting a little bit lulled by winning eight out of nine games, thinking we can win playing poorly,” Riley said at the morning shoot-around. “If we come with any kind of attitude like that tonight, we’re going to get our butts kicked. Our big guys are not playing the kind of post defense, or blocking out, or putting the kind of ball pressure on that we’re noted for that makes us successful. We’re headed toward danger.”
I heed these dire warnings, of fearless leader. On to Philly y’all!
- Alas, it isn’t 1994. Rudy isn’t the Mayor (Okay, maybe that’s a good thing) and now is not a fun time. In the world beyond my fantasy of blogging in the mid-20th Century, we root for a bad, passionless team, coached by a witless imbecile or a pathological liar. Read these quotes. You’re not taking crazy pills, FYI. This is real.
Asked Woody why Pablo doesnt start when he usually helps NYK get back 2 last yr's principles. "The East is big, man." Cites need to match up
— Chris Herring (@HerringWSJ) December 10, 2013
Woodson suggested he feels Eastern Conference is too big and tough to match up with defensively w/ 2 smaller guards on the floor.
— Chris Herring (@HerringWSJ) December 10, 2013
Woodson said he might opt to go back to Prigioni at some point. But was in clear in saying he doesn't see it as ideal to start 2 smaller PGs
— Chris Herring (@HerringWSJ) December 10, 2013
- And of course, when the game rolls around, they got sliced into equidistant strands by Kyrie Irving, because of course. Felton was injured, and save for one clever block, couldn’t guard him if the NBA took the broadest interpretation of the 1st Amendment possible and allowed Ray to point some military-grade hardware at Irving’s person. JR put forth what could kindly be described as a fecal fajita and wasn’t taken out of the game. Bargs missed easy looks galore and (save for the solid one-on-one harassment of Bynum) was his usual atrocious self in space, and wasn’t taken out of the game. They resorted to ISO-ball most of the time, especially to start the game when the Lake Erie Knights built a 27-9 lead. There were spurts of ball movement and pesky D, like when Prigs was in the game (GO FIGURE), and Melo/STAT carried what tattered remnants remained of the so-called offense. Didn’t matter. This is a bad, bad basketball team. Instead of engaging in the silly above fantasy, I could easily have written an Onion-ish headline ten-word recap: “Bad basketball team plays bad game of basketball and loses,” and pretty much summed up everything we witnessed tonight. It’s the same as it ever was.
- Post-game, it got worse (because of course it did). Here’s a bad idea:
All coaching change can really do w/current state of roster is get NYK playing harder. But momentum sure building for A. Houston as interim
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) December 11, 2013
And here’s another bad idea:
Well, *I* can't, but you actually can! RT @HerringWSJ: Woodson, on Bargnani's open looks: "You can't tell him to stop shooting."
— Seth Rosenthal (@seth_rosenthal) December 11, 2013
And they take on Chicago tomorrow, because the Universe has a sick, sadistic, gallows sense of humor. I’m not looking forward to it by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ll be there. So will you. We go on