Knicks 99, Hawks 82
|Carmelo Anthony, SF 27 MIN | 7-16 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 15 PTS | +7
Judging by a pair of early passes that looked like they’d been shot out of a cannon, Melo’s forearms are doing quite fine. It’s the wrists – specifically of the shooting variety – that still need time to heel. Ditto the timing and the chemistry, both of which you can tell are coming back quickly and surely.
|Amare Stoudemire, PF 24 MIN | 3-8 FG | 1-1 FT | 10 REB | 0 AST | 7 PTS | +9
Amar’e Stoudemire is the worst free safety in the history of basketball. We all figured Josh Smith would be upset, having been overlooked for the All-Star game not once, but twice – after Rajon Rondo, days removed from literally throwing a basketball at a referee, got a replacement nod – in the span of a few weeks. But leaving dust snacks for Amar’e on the first few Hawk outlets threw that anger into pretty high relief. Credit Stat for beasting the boards and handling Smith pretty well thereafter. Silver linings aside, sooner or later he’s going to be summoned to court to answer for all this rim heel abuse. Note it.
|Tyson Chandler, C 34 MIN | 3-4 FG | 1-4 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 7 PTS | +15
Man, Chandler was hitting the floor like a boomtown drunk in this one. Word has it that TC was icing his back afterwards, which would be far worse a sign if the Knicks weren’t one meatgrinder of a game away from All-Star weekend. As per usual, the stat line doesn’t even scratch the surface of Chandler’s defensive presence, which continues to set tones and soil trousers in equal measure.
|Landry Fields, G 33 MIN | 7-12 FG | 2-3 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 16 PTS | -1
For a guy pegged for being something of a lumbering oaf off the dribble, Fields has been attacking the tin with lightning aplomb of late. What’s more, he’s not just looking for his own – something he’s managed to do quite effectively – but working deft dishes into the program as well. Which makes watching his first three point attempt die like a birdshot-riddled mallard measures more forgivable. Meanwhile, Landry running some spot point was pretty intriguing, and further testament to his burgeoning passing skills. I smell another D’Antonistein monster rising.
|Jeremy Lin, PG 32 MIN | 6-11 FG | 4-4 FT | 2 REB | 9 AST | 17 PTS | +9
After weeks of using a Spalding as his own personal paintbrush, it was inevitable that Jeremy would finally have a spell where it looked like he was trying to yo-yo a granite boulder. Not so much with the turnovers — he only had four — as with sheer indecisiveness and clumsiness. But after an extended Baron Davis spelling, Lin was quickly back to form, penetrating the lane and spearheading a potent fast break that helped the Knicks extend the lead into halftime and beyond. Hey, if The Human Highlight Reel says you’re for real, you best respect.
|Baron Davis, PG 14 MIN | 0-3 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 6 AST | 1 PTS | +6
Things once again didn’t get off to the most auspicious of starts for the recently activated Boom Dizzle, who still looks a smidgen too anxious to set roof to sky. Still, I’ll take six dimes in 14 minutes…. No, not THAT kind!
|Jared Jeffries, PF 26 MIN | 2-6 FG | 3-4 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 7 PTS | +11
Jeffries had maybe the loudest quietest 26 minutes in NBA history. First of all, dude accepts more charges than Saks Fifth Avenue AMIRITE!?!?!? Second, I know JJ wanted that barely-contested fourth quarter garbage time drunk so bad, but just throwing the ball over the rim and into the ninth row made my day. Third – and I don’t know if this is a new thing or not — the Knicks’ PA team blasting Mellencamp riffs every time Jeffries scores shouldn’t go away ever.
|Steve Novak, SF 22 MIN | 6-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 17 PTS | +14
Can we go back in time and have Steve Novak destroy the first Death Star? We promise he’ll have a much longer career than Mark Hamill! Seriously though, dude had as many bombs as the entire Hawks team! How do you leave a guy like this that wide open?………..Who the hell is Larry Drew?
|J.R. Smith, SG 25 MIN | 4-8 FG | 3-6 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 12 PTS | +13
Smith buzzing his Bishop ‘doo might have been the most disappointing follicle decision since Carlos Boozer’s Crayola fade. I swear I watched Smith brick at least 15 jump shots, but the numbers don’t lie. Unless your Enron or something…. Anyway, five steals!?!? Smith might’ve have arrived packaged as inconsistent insta-offense, but so far it’s his versatile D that’s helping him carve out major burn.
|Jerome Jordan, C 2 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | +2
Sooner or later, someone’s going to write a story about Jeremy Lin and Jerome Jordan riding on the same hay truck from Erie to Manhattan. And it will be grand.
Five Things We Saw
- Early on it was all like “you take the ball, Hawks,” and then the Hawks being all like “Nah brah, it’s yours,” and the Knicks just givin’ it right back to ‘em all “No for real, take it, we don’t wan it.” For all the flashes of beautiful ball displayed by our ‘Bockers, let’s not forget that they still committed 21 turnovers. Which added up to a combined 3,021 by both teams.
- As per @TommyBeer, the Knicks have allowed but one of their last 18 opponents to score over 100 points. That’s impressive. Earlier in the year we were all kvetching angry about Mike Woodson’s supposed “switch all the time even on double dates” defensive philosophy. But clearly something’s stuck, namely hawking passing lanes and late-shot-clock lock downs. Yeah, we know the Hawks were playing their 15th game in three nights or whatever. But 24 forced turnovers is downright nasty.
- Hey, these Hawks TV guys (Bob Rathbun and some guy named ‘Nique) are pretty straight shooters! Not only that, but they’re under-the-radar funny, too. My three personal favorites: 1) referring to a foul on Stat early in the third quarter as a “reach-around”; 2) Rathbun: “Boy, Jeremy Lin is such a cagey player.” — ‘Nique “….That’s exactly how I’d describe him…. cagey….”; and 3) Rathbun’s “I don’t think they’ll be sending tape of this second half to Springfield.”
- Alright, which one of you got the memo that Jerry Stackhouse would be making an appearance tonight?… No one? OK. For having made his last All-Star team during the Bronze Age, Stack Attack sure made the most of the few minutes he played during the second half. By that I mean he hit a couple corner threes. But really, nothing can compare to seeing one more time his one-of-a-kind, ass-to-floor free throw. Except maybe some really intricate form of magic.
- …That smile on Melo’s face after making a really, really good pass. You can see the Open Man concept spreading like a sublime contagion before our very eyes. I give it a few more games before a possession where every player touches the ball three times and a shot snaps the rim with ten seconds left on the 24 results in a MSG decibel level illegal in most cities.
Beyond his work for KnickerBlogger, Jim is a contributor to the New York Times Off the Dribble NBA blog, ESPN.com, and The Classical. He is currently working on a biography of Robert Silverman, titled "Clownin' and Astoundin.'" Follow him on Twitter @JPCavan.