|Raymond Felton, PG 44 MIN | 8-16 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 19 PTS | +7
There are going to be a ton of caveats in this one, so please gird your loins. If you don’t have a metal stucco loin-girder, use a carbon-fiber loin-girder. Let’s start with the poor ol’ Penguin. Yes, he hit more than his share of step back 20 footers (and I hated every man jack of them), and the corner trey that he nailed to put the Knicks up 92-90 was clutch as heck (NOTE: This blog is neither authenticating nor denying the existence of ‘clutchness,’ we are merely stating that it was nice to see Ray-Ray hit that shot, because if he didn’t, the Knicks would have lost, which would have made us really, really angry) but dear [Deity], the defense.
There’s something noble in the utter state of shock/childlike innocence that is inevitably Felt’s reaction to a pick being set in the general vicinity of his person. “Ye Gods! What manner of obstruction be this! I was roaming free, attempting to hinder the path of my courteous opponent, when this scalawag appears before me, attempting to physically dislodge me from my appointed task! I shall allow another fellow ‘Bocker of virtue true to sally forth with said ‘ball-handler’ whilst I ponder this damning course of events! My Italianate friend, please attempt to curtail this Brazilian fellow. He is blurry and mendacious little gadfly!” (I’m not sure why I imagine Felton as a Victorian dandy/fop, I just do. Can’t you see Felt looking great in a ruff? You can’t? Kay…) It took half of the gobsmackingly dumb fourth quarter before Mike, Son of Wood realized that he shouldn’t be guarding Goran Dragic, because bulldog mentality.
Watching Raymond Felton try to stay in front of his man is like seeing an Oompa Loompa try to fuck a mudslide. it’s sort of sad and kind of hilarious, but you can’t help but wonder what in the name of all that is holy and good he’s trying to accomplish. Seriously, he’s terrible.
|Kenyon Martin, PF 35 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 8 PTS | -10
Speaking of defending the PG, where exactly would the Knicks be without K-Mart? Before you start conceiving of levels of Hell that’d make Dante and Virgil blush, let’s just give thanks for the portrait of Tyson Chandler that Martin’s got tucked away in his grim, steel-reinforced survival bunker. You know, because he’s stealing/borrowing his basketball skills and the two of them never seem to be at the peak of their powers at the same time. No, I have no knowledge that Mr. Martin fears the coming zombie apocalypse/Ebola-type plague, it just feels like he’s the kind of cat that’s going to be prepared.
Anyway, where were we? Oh, right. The original model for Cheese Wagstaff from The Wire is actually the team’s best (and perhaps only) on-ball perimeter defender, snuffing both Barbosa and Dragic in OT after a shiftless switch or two. And the alley-oop pass to Melo/the gonzo putback of a gorted three point heave from Felt gave the team the razor-thin margin of victory. It’s amazing. I hated, HATED K-Mart for years and now I want to have his portrait tattooed on the delicate parts of my person. <3 u, Kevin. And yeah, you got screwed on that foul with 1.2 ticks left in regulation. After getting whistled for a tech in the 2n quarter, MSG’s cameras caught him saying, “I don’t get upset for nothing.” Well, you can get upset about that. We got hosed. Stupid refs.
|Andrea Bargnani, PF 33 MIN | 3-8 FG | 4-4 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | +22
Bargs has appeared to have settled into a somewhat tepid, but predictable game pattern: he’ll hit his share of pick and pop feeds or low-post-ish moves, miss every three, even if time itself seems to stop while he cranks up the equivalent of the steam powered cotton gin that raises his arms into the air. He’ll do one endearing thing per game (EnT/36MPG), whether it’s finding an offensive rebound that has landed in his lap like manna from Heaven or a herky-jerky dribble drive and he’ll play his usual brand of wretched defense. Tonight’s secret mystery prize was the swell job he did in extra/free basketball dealing with Phoenix’s two-headed PG monster, Gorandro Drarbosa on switches, harassing them into to putting up an off-balance, ill-considered shot at the tin.
|Carmelo Anthony, SF 46 MIN | 9-24 FG | 8-9 FT | 16 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 5 TO | 29 PTS | +2
Here’s the epitome of the bifurcated reaction one has to have to this game. Yes, Melo was a beast in the first half—using that I’m-definitely-going-to-send-someone’s-head-flying-into-the-pricey-seats-like-Baxter-getting-punted-off-the-bridge windmill block, deflecting passes, hoarding rebounds like a fat kid grabbing every single Ring Ding on the plate at a birthday party and slinging some of the sweetest passes seen ‘round these part since that guy who ate Vaseline was running the show (Seriously, go peep a Marbury YouTube mix sometime. Marbs was/is deeply flawed but…BOLD STATEMENT ALERT…he’s still the best point guard the Knicks have had since Clyde.) He picked out a streaking Kenyon Martin down court like Colin Kaepernick firing a laser to a wide receiver running a post pattern and the cross-court passes to find weak side, uncovered shooters? He would’ve racked up far more than four dimes if the Knickerbockers had been a tad more accurate from deep. The dish to Felt in the corner was just an extra dollop of icing on the previously mentioned Ring Ding. Beyond that, he routinely did the Little things that shant show up in your precious, precious stat sheets, NERDS. With the Knicks clinging to a 78-76 advantage, J.R was trapped at the free throw line with the shot clock running down. Melo cut to the corner, taking two defenders with him and leaving Timmy Jr. wide open for a simple pass from three. SEE. WE REALLY DO WATCH THE GAMES.
But here’s the thing that gives all the ‘haterz’ about 14,000,000 characters worth of bile-infused ammo. Whether or not he’s calling his own number, he absolutely copulated with the canine in the fourth and for a big chunk of overtime (the boffo turnaround being the exception that proves the rule.) It was all the stuff that makes us grind our teeth down to the nerve: pounding the rock till the ball resembles a deflated prophylactic, the jab steps that’d annoy/bore Bob Fosse, the contested mid range heaves in lieu of taking the ball to the rim all added up to a 4-14 line in the final 29 minutes of action. That’s…not good.
|Iman Shumpert, SG 38 MIN | 2-5 FG | 1-2 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 6 PTS | +13
A quiet night for Iman, though there was another yeoman effort on the glass and one clutch steal after the lead had swelled to a heart-and-rage-increasing five with five minutes to go, and a predictably abortive fast break attempt following the deft swipe, taking on anywhere between 3 and 15 of the Arizonans. While hobbling on a tweaked ankle. Please don’t try that again.
|Amar’e Stoudemire, PF 19 MIN | 2-5 FG | 5-6 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 9 PTS | +3
After an atrocious first half in which he seemed to turn he ball over every time he got it in the post (Yeah, it was a couple of travels and a questionable moving screen, but it just felt like more, mannnnnnnnnnnn.), he got to the line frequently in the 2nd and looked particularly spry in snaggling seven ‘bounds. Yeah, “spry” is a word you only use w/r/t an aged, wizened individual even if it doesn’t literally have to refer to the kind of gentleman/lady who spends his/her time shouting at clouds. But that’s where we are with STAT. Spry.
|Toure’ Murry, SG 9 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -2
You know what’d be nice? A SERIOUS blowout, where Toure’ Murry could get something like 25-30 minutes of PT. Hopefully, that’d be a blowout win, but I’d stick around for another 40-point thrashing (just not by the Celtics, please) just to see how Toure’ would do if given the wheel of this no-longer-beached-but-still-really-expensive-and-yacht-like ship for more than the brief, “Don’t do anything dumb like airball a silly floater or Woody’s soooooo gonna yank you, Rook,” outings he’s currently getting. It does seem like he tries to do something capital-I Impressive when he knows his floor time’s gonna be brief, like that Euro-step drive in the 2nd was boss and the weird, “I’m the point of a dreidel,” move as he tried to dislodge himself from the paint after securing a rebound. So I’d like more, please. Perhaps a whole lot of the THJ/Smith/Hardaway/STAT/Kmart quintet that’s been starting the 2nd/4th quarters. They’ve looked good!
|Tim Hardaway Jr., SG 15 MIN | 1-1 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | -10
Timmy Jr. good at shooting, evidently taking lessons on defense from J.R., where he just plain forgets to stick to his man, especially on backdoor plays, and on the boards from Bargs, who teaches us that staring straight ahead into the middle distance until everything goes blurry and/or you start to see a magical green alien from the future in the corner of your eye is always the best strategy. #MENTORING.
|J.R. Smith, SG 25 MIN | 5-11 FG | 0-2 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 10 PTS | -15
J.R. wasn’t booed. I kind of expected at least a smattering of jeers from the bleacher creatures. That’s a good thing, I guess (and I’ll have some longer, better-formed thoughts on the past ten days of Earl’s life at a later date). For the most part, it was another somewhat sleepy if in-control effort, save for a YOLO-ish step back followed hard upon by a rushed trey. He still looks stiff/sluggish when driving, though he banged home his only two attempts in the paint. More importantly, LARRY LEGEND UNTIED AN OPPONENT’S SHOES SO THAT FINE IS TOTAL BOJAZZ. BOJAZZ I SAY. Granted, it was Chuck Person and nobody likes/liked that jagoff. Still, I was jonesing for last year’s JR, the one who gives exactly zero fucks, and would’ve hit the last-second shot to win it in regulation, even if there are lost tribes in Papua, New Guinea that knew that the Goateed One was going to run the exact same effing goddamn play.
Just for fouling Channing “Once a Knick, Once a guy we used to seriously describe as ‘A young Rasheed Wallace’ but has collapsed his game into a really tall, just as goofy/nerdy if definitely better defending Steve Novak (that’s a good thing!) Always a Knick, aka a guy who doesn’t know he should purposely brick the second free throw and looks over to his coach to see what he should do but somehow misses mouthing said coach saying ‘Miss it!'” Frye, you get’s a bright, shiny, brand spankin’ new A plus.
Five Things We Saw
- I think how one ultimately views tonight’s game depends a lot on your long-term outlook for this team. Yes, to paraphrase Gertrude Stein, a win is a win is a win (and that does make five wins [of all different stripes] in a row). Considering this is exactly the kind of game that they either gave away because certain individuals weren’t aware of the score or certain pariah-esque point guards are ISO’d against the other team’s hottest scorer or they go into an ISO-heavy funk or Woodson eschews timeouts or… Excuse me. My NBA primal scream sesh is starting and for some reason they require that I strip naked first, run a cheese grater over my inner thigh and douse my body in lemon juice whilst rubbing Himalayan Sea Salt in my eyes. They say it’s less painful than all of the ‘Bockers ulcer-inducing calamities and collapses that occurred in the year of our Lord, 2013. GAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!
- Much better, thanks. Yes, the fact that they held on, (and if Hornacek had kept Gerald Green off the court, they very well could/should have) is certainly a positive sign. And they looked great during the multiple stretches that fattened the lead to a ripe 14—slinging the ball around the perimeter, gang rebounding, collapsing the paint and recovering to outside shooters and holding foes to 30% from deep ; doing all the things that have led to a top-10 defensive rating during this 6-1 stretch. And most importantly, they fouled up three! That was smart! It may have been a complete and total accident, but they did it! YAY!
- On the other hand, he guy/gal who not only sees the glass half full, but filled with radioactively brackish water that would put the poisonous liquid that’s coming out of the tap in West Virginia to shame—you know, the guy who just brought up Gerald Green (I’m a crummy optimist)—would say that a team that’s headed in the right direction would have put away a tired, playing-their-fifth-game-of-a-five-game-road-trip-weary team, especially considering the deadly four-games-in-five-nights gauntlet the Knickerbockers are about to embark upon. This dour cat would definitely bring up the Knicks’ utter inability to execute a two for one, or that they allowed the Suns to score in the final seconds of every period (save OT) and that for a supposedly markedly improved defense, their were gobs of missed easy layups and bricked open threes. Is the improvement real? You can’t argue with the results, but you can certainly find a few stray threads in this winning sweater they’re knitting and pull at them till you’re staring at giant heap of useless wool. In a related story, I have some OCD issues.
- Some funzies. I always wondered if one Morris twin got ejected, he could sneak back into the game in his brother’s uni. Markieff got the boot tonight, and it’s entirely possible that he played the second half. YOU CAN’T PROVE IT DIDN’T HAPPEN. Hell, I think I saw Bobby Valentine in the stands in a mustache, for what it’s worth.
This is my favorite tweet ever.
"This is my new 3-pt celebration based on Julian Jaynes theory of the bicameral mind." *waves fingers over left hemisphere of the brain*
— netw3rk (@netw3rk) January 14, 2014
JULIAN JAYNES ORIGIN OF CONSCIOUSNESS IN THE BREAKDOWN OF THE BICAMERAL MIND POSSE, YO
In the ongoing George and Martha/Felix and Oscar-ish relationship between Walt and Mike, Clyde asked, “Would you ever wear one of my minks, Mike, if I loaned it to you?” Breen then replied, “it would be dragging on the floor.” Clyde countered, “No, to your ankles.” I wonder if they’d ever be willing to share an apartment and bicker but you know they really love each other and I could be their wacky next-door neighbor. That’d be bliss.
- So it’s off to Charlotte tomorrow, in search of 6 (SIX!) in a row. Someone go tell Melo.