Here I was all ready to sit and scout the Knicks. I had a good time slot on my PVR (PC used as a TIVO) and set the game up to tape. I had a good idea of a study I wanted to do concerning Eddy Curry (which I’ll save for another day). And I actually had some free time, something that’s rarer than all of the above.
Unfortunately for me, Eddy Curry failed to co-operate with the deal. Easy Eddy decided to put in a half day’s work, which I can only assume he did in order to catch some March Madness on a hidden am radio under his chair. Curry played for only 16 minutes, and was a non-factor with 5 points and 1 rebound.
With all that could have gone wrong, I guess I couldn’t have asked for more in terms of the Knicks game. After suffering through another Knick let down Friday night (and I use the term suffering lightly since I was treated to a night at one of the Garden’s luxury suites), I was thrilled with the result of today’s game. Without their outstanding rebounder David Lee, their rejuvenated small forward Quentin Richardson, and their only guard that knows how to get the ball into the post Jamal Crawford, the Knicks blew out the Raptors 92-74.
Marbury and Frye led the Knicks in scoring with 21 and 20 points respectively, but it was the play of Renaldo Balkman that surged New York past their division rivals. Balkman stuffed the stat sheet with 15 points, 12 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 3 steals. He shot a perfect 7 of 7 and had a bevy of dunks, some in transistion and others off of missed shots. Not only is Renaldo pleasing to the statistical eye, but he is a firecracker on the court. On defense Balkman is a fine shot blocker. He had one block in the post and his other was behind the three point line. Balkman also seems to have a good eye for the ball, and isn’t afraid to dive after a fumble. Balkman excels in transition; he’s quick up the court, can handle the ball, and is especially strong in finishing around the hoop.
With the absence of Lee, it was thought that Frye would pick up some of the slack. While Channing has stepped into the starting lineup and had back to back 20 point games, he doesn’t bring Lee’s hyalophilia or energy. But these are Balkman’s strengths. So maybe Isiah would do well to get Balkman in the game more often in Lee’s stead. Although it’s unlikely that Balkman will play like this every night, he’s a low risk player. Renaldo isn’t likely to demand the ball or take a cluster of careless shots. And when Balkman is on, he can lead the Knicks to victory.