|Carmelo Anthony, SF 41 MIN | 17-27 FG | 5-6 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 40 PTS | +11
Quite the encore, amirite? At the start of tonight’s tilt, Melo seemed to want nothing more than to rectify the advanced statistic-nullifying outing from last night in South Beach, in which he scored and attempted ZERO field goals in the paint or at the rim. That’s unreal. With the help of my internet Sancho Panzo, Herr Bryan Gibberman, we were able to locate a fitty-point night that was comparable, but none/nada/zilch layups? It still boggles the mind. Anyhoo, the early stages were filled with the bully-boy drives to the tin that have become the trademark of this newfangled “Melo at the Four” thing that we’ve all grown so fond of. But then, blammo. The no-hesitation mid-range shots started to rain down like so much manna from heaven and it was once again off to the uber-efficient races. Another 20+ point first half, 15 of the Knicks’ 21 in the 3rd quarter and a high-kneed Nowitzi stepback. After co-opting a mini dream shake not 24 hrs ago, I can’t wait to see what he’ll unveil next. The Iverson crossover? Kareem’s skyhook? At this point, like all converted zealots, I’ll believe anything is possible. The great thing about it is, it’s not like he’s forcing shots. For the most part, they’re decisive moves that come within the flow of the offense. And when he does get doubled, he’s finding the holes in the defense in a gloriously November-ish manner. Like Kenyon Martin stated, “He said it before the game. He said, ‘The torch is still lit.’ So you got to go with his word. I’ve seen it before. So I’m not surprised.”
‘Member this photo? When you start talking like a Game of Thrones character, you know we’re in for an evening of blood, gore, random nudity and a slew of direwolf pelts. So kewl.
|Iman Shumpert, SF 23 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | +8
Shump, I have a feeling you’ll be hearing a spiel similar to this from the guy in the world’s ugliest polka dot shirt, but if nothing else, when rotating off yet another botched switch, the one guy you cannot leave to idle by himself way out yonder in three-point territory is the Caucasian who resembles Ashtmatt Kutcherdamon. That’s not you still fretting about the condition of your knee or skittishness at playing small forward, that’s realizing that the Hawks have their very own, prettier, better moving Steve Novak and that the Derrrrrty South Novak was already torching your team. And that’s one to grow on!
|Tyson Chandler, C 24 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | +4
The ’78 Lincoln up on blocks in the front yard still’s got a ton of rust on it. Gonna take a few days more shinin’ and rubbin’ and polishin’ before them there fellers from American Pickers will give us a decent price for her…Go on boy, git yer scraper. More worrisome is the fact that he was seen pawing at his Patrick Ewing© T-shirt at various moments. After the game, there was some idle chatter about once again having difficulty looking up. Here’s the quote in full:
He didn’t log any serious PT, and I was about to rage, rage, against the dying of the Woodsonian light for having him in the floor throughout the 4th quarter, but that’s before we learned that… [SEE MARTIN, KENYON]
|Raymond Felton, PG 36 MIN | 7-16 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 14 PTS | +11
Maybe Felton should only play in the final quarter, like a hoops version of Mariano Rivera. For the first three folios, Ray brought out every hoary song-and-dance routine/bit head-to-desk-inducing slapstick that makes one dig up the Jeremy Lin photos we’ve all got tucked away in a dusty file somewhere, get nekkid and curl up in bed with them. He dribbled aimlessly into traffic, hoisted ill-advised alley-oop attempts, heaved fadeaway 20 footers and couldn’t identify Jeff Teague on the pick and roll with a nautical compass of exacting precision. When the clock ticked down to the 4th quarter, suddenly he was getting to rim at will, forcing turnovers and picking out many a wide-open shooter on the perimeter. Dynamite stuff. Why it takes him a full 36 minutes of play to unleash this beauteous, Cinderallic debutante when he’s spent the rest of the ball squatting in the corner like an inanimate pumpkin is the Lord’s own private mystery
|Pablo Prigioni, PG 13 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | -11
Another James White-esque, starter-in-name-only performance from Prigs. He nailed a couple of open threes and tried to pester the Hawks’ ballhandlers, but not much came of it. Four shots notwithstanding, he looked oddly hesitant on offense
|Kenyon Martin, PF 24 MIN | 0-0 FG | 1-2 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 1 PTS | +9
After the final buzzer sounded, we learned that Kenyon Martin left the game with knee soreness of some sort and it’s been, “Bothering him for a few days.” Oh goodie. George Santayana was an effing ‘Bocker backer, I just know it. Luckily, the crack investigative team at KnickerBlogger has unearthed video of the diagnostic device the Knicks’ Mengele-esque physicians utilize in lieu of an MRI.
|Chris Copeland, SF 2 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -1
CHRIS COPELAND ANAGRAM FUN: PIC’D HORSE CLAN
|Steve Novak, SF 15 MIN | 3-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | +6
Though he hit all of his heaves, you can’t help but tense up when you see an eager ballhandler staring down our mayonnaise-complexioned friend, since Steve’s foibles on the defensive end are known far and wide. Of course, the New Yorkers’ penchant for handing off an opponent with nary a provocation is known far-er and wide-er. This leads to some knee-slappingly jocular pairings. Tonight, it was watching our fair-haired boy try to matchup physically with Ivan Johnson. It didn’t lead to a disemboweling or even a GIF-worthy poster-ization, but seeing two such anatomically dissimilar humans is existentially jarring. One of those two gentlemen can/should be classified as a professional athlete. The other should be working as a GS-9 examiner in a Regional IRS office.
|Jason Kidd, PG 30 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 7 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +12
Not sure if anyone else has noticed this, but Kidd’s shot’s gone to the bow-wow’s of late. If you’d like some swell insight as to why this is so, check out noted wise wag Dylan Murphy’s outstanding forensic investigation here. In brief: His shooting form can be either dandy or godawful. But read the whole thing. Pretty please?
|J.R. Smith, SG 31 MIN | 8-15 FG | 2-4 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 19 PTS | +16
Evidently there’s an unwritten rule somewhere that states that there always has to be one Knickerbocker who can be clobbered without repercussion, let alone a blown whistle from the arbiters. For the last couple of games, it’s been our buddy Earl. Granted, scouting reports and SportVU player tracking systems and the interwebs mean that it was hardly a secret that J.R.’s whole joie de vivre has gone rimward and teams would/will adjust accordingly. But he’s getting spanked. It looked for a moment like that would lead to the return of so much bad J.R., but a slew of nifty buckets in the final quarter, including a glorious three off a kick out from Melo and punishing, punctuation mark dunk (similarly off a feed from a triple-teamed Bernard King Anthony left us with another plus .500 shooting line. And that off-balance, I-can’t-tell-wether-I’m-shooting-or-trying-to-Mike-Rice-the-ball-at-the-ref-but-it-banked-in-anyway shot in the first? That’s so J.R.Dear Disney execs. Please greenlight the sequel to That’s So Raven, That’s so J.R.! I’ll watch it every day and twice on Sunday, even if the material does get a little blue, if you catch my drift.
Five Things We Saw
- Hey, ten straight! They dithered around with a Hawks team that struck me as oddly flat/bored, given the whole playoff seeding thing and gearing up for the gladiatorial struggles that are just around the bend. Then again, their so-called fans weren’t exactly in full-throated form either. It’s not just the “M-V-P” chants that rained down for Melo or the giddiness at the prospect of a Novakaine Discount Double Checking. They barely seemed to be paying attention. We’ve all made jokes about Atlanta’s fans not giving a crap, but this was startling and kid of sad/depressing. Maybe it was the disinterested audience, but the ‘Bockers started the game in a bit of a haze. Aside from Carmelo’s beastly dominance, not much was working on either end. The defense allowed Kyle Korver to do his best Mike Miller impression and if it weren’t for Josh Smith’s hack-a-Smoovery, they could very easily have found themselves facing a serious deficit. The dawdling and the dithering continued well into the 3rd quarter (Except for you, Melo. Like the one annoyingly smart kid in class, raising his hand ever higher to the sky with Martin Prince-like/Horshack-ian glee, you’re completely wrecking the bell curve. Pfft. Teacher’s pet…). Luckily, they toughened up down the stretch, using Melo primarily as a decoy and getting some movement back into what had been a fairly stagnant offense. Once Atlanta began coughing up the rock with regularity (some nifty helping defense and smart [as opposed to the idle, nonsensical kind that had run rampant prior] doubles aided greatly in this effort) they managed to build an insurmountable lead. The Emo-Hawks, though…it wasn’t fun watching them curl up in a ball, ad another photograph of their ex to their Instagram account, and die. It’s not an overly impressive win in and of itself, but I love, love, love the fact that instead of building a monstrous lead and, like the sands of an hourglass, watching it slowly trickle away, they’re making adjustments and putting teams away down the stretch. That’s a very, very good thing
- When I was a wee laddie, I went to see a Knick game during the 1984-85 Season. I can’t remember who they were facing, but in general, I liked to arrive as early as possible, because back in the dizzle you could wander down to the court during warm ups and stand right under the basket, watching the team go through layup drills, shoot jumpers, joke around…the whole magilla. I haven’t arrived to a game early in eons but considering the somewhat elevated prices and fatter-walleted fan base that tends to occupy those seats (along with a far more Draconian, less-friendly crew of ushers, bent on serving our corporate overlords), I can’t imagine that’s still a thing that a kid could do nowadays. (And a candy bar was only a nickel! And we had to drag a block of ice eight miles through the snow up a mountain to get to school while wearing an onion ‘round our belts, which of course was the style of the day…and we liked it!)
- This game, for whatever reason, Bernard wasn’t really participating in the warm ups, electing to lean against the stanchion, arms folded and more or less scowling at the rest of his court mates (including Ken “The Animal” Bannister, Pat “Short” Cummings, Bob Thornton…an eminently scowl-worthy motley crew). Still, I was gobsmacked. There was my hero, inches away, the most imposing — physically and otherwise — adult I’d ever seen in my life. Somehow, I mustered up the courage to walk up to him and ask for his autograph. And just like in that saccharine Mean Joe Greene/Pepsi spot from days gone bye, he turned and fixed his scowl upon me and I was petrified. I couldn’t tell whether he was going to bark, “Beat it, kid,” (or worse) or force me to go run drills alongside Darrell Walker because the latter just wasn’t cutting the mustard right about now. But he looked down, smiled, and took my proffered program and pen. I wanted to say something smart, to show Bernard that I wasn’t just any ordinary gawking fanboy, so I stammered, “You-you-you-you’re the greatest scorer the Knicks have ever had!”
Bernard cocked and eye at me, laughed and signed his name.
- I may not have Spike’s Nike ads to show for it, or a cushy limo to ride around in while I regale you with tales of my favorite ‘Bocker, but I was there for a slew of his awe-inspiring efforts. I never thought I’d see a Knick like that again—a guy who you could just dump the ball into in the post and know…know in your heart of hearts that no matter what obstacles, no matter how many legions of defenders were thrown in his path, the ball was going through the hoop. For stretches this season, Melo’s proved me wrong. The last two nights, if you blinked, you could just make out the short shorts and Bill Cartwright’s loping gait and Kevin McHale, Bird, Parish and all the long-loathed Celtic demons shaking their heads in disbelief. I don’t know about y’all, but for me, the memories were so thick I had to wipe them from my eyes.
- Just watch. Marv Albert and Butch Beard are calling the game. “Give it to B. Give it to B, they’re screaming.”
Tell me that doesn’t look just like the final shot Anthony banked to get to 40. Like Fitzgerald said, “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” Go Knicks!