Knicks Win!

It was one of those games where everything seemed to go right for one team, and wrong for the other. Except this time, the Knicks were on the winning side. The Knicks beat the Suns tonight handily 126-99. How improbable was tonight’s win? Well Phoenix had an inverse record of 14-3 and hadn’t scored under 100 points in any game this year. Jared Jeffries scored 10 points without a turnover. He also had 4 assists and 4 blocked shots. Danilo Gallinari led the team in minutes played, shots attempted, points and rebounds. Larry Hughes had 12 assists. The Knicks shot 14-31 from downtown, while Phoenix was 4-17. New York got off to an 11 point first quarter lead and didn’t trail from that point forward.

If you have to nitpick from this kind of game Chris Duhon still played poorly and Nate Robinson hardly played at all. Duhon had 5 points on 8 shots, including not attempting a wide open three in the second half. Robinson failed to score in just over 10 minutes of action. And although Hughes dished the ball well, he only made 4 of 11 shots, and forced a few bad ones up.

But all in all the game was one that Knick fans have been waiting for, a blowout laugher. Gallinari looked great in many facets of the game. He had a few shots inside moving off the ball. He buried a loooong three with the shot clock expiring. He had a couple of nice blocks, and hit the boards. David Lee only missed 3 shots all night, and picked up 4 steals. And of course Jared Jeffries improved his trade stock. At the end Hill, Douglas and Landry all received some playing time as well, which is always a plus for these kinds of games.

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Mike Kurylo

Mike Kurylo is the founder and editor of His book on the 2012 Knicks, "We’ll Always Have Linsanity," is on sale now. Follow him on twitter (@KnickerBlogger).

35 thoughts to “Knicks Win!”

  1. A few interesting factoids courtesy of Martin Manley at Upon Further Review (KC Star):


    * Part I: The Phoenix Suns were 14-3 before playing the New York Knicks (3-14) Tuesday night. NY won 126-99.
    * Part II: It was the first time in NBA history that an < .800 team was beaten by a >.200 team by 20+ points.
    * Part III: It was also the first time this season the Suns have been held below 100 points.

    Oh, and read up on my guy Danario Alexander (WR, Missouri). He is killing it. Unfortunately, MU’s toughest games were back-to-back-to-back losses where the QB was injured. But this kid is going over through and around people like nobody’s business. It looks like Missouri is headed to the Insight Bowl on the NFL Network. So nobody’s going to get to see him.

  2. Had to work the president’s speech so only caught the game on the computer. So did the knicks run the offense thru rooster or did hughes decide he needed to play point and feed the big *** (said affectionately by a fellow pisan)?
    The numbers were great and hughes should run point. Duhon should be his second.
    I noticed nate hardly played. So can someone explain the approach d’antoni used?

  3. Frank O. – Hughes’ passing has been a pleasant surprise this season, and he has proven he is a better passer than Duhon. We also know he is a solid defender. Unfortunately, he is an erratic shooter with poor shot selection at time. But should he play over Duhon? Absolutely. It leaves the 2 open, maybe Nate?

    On another note, It really is too bad the Knicks got off to such a disastrous start and lost all those home games. A lot of teams in the East (Phil., Tor., Wash., Chi.) haven’t exactly gotten off to rip-roaring starts, so the playoffs (playoffs? you’re talking about playoffs???) would be well within reach. Now to stay relevant, they’ll have to actually put together a real winning streak, which for this team will be a challenge.

  4. They got a couple of back door or motion cuts by Gallo and one more to someone else that Hughes found him on very early and it took off from there. There wasn’t so much Gallo standing out by the elbow. He was much more active and it seemed like the whole team was.

    As to Nate he came in end of 1st and early in the 2nd Hill or someone hits a layup and Nate gets called for a foul for according to the announcers pushing Dragic to give them a 3 pt opportunity. Then non long thereafter I noticed Nate was not in anymore. Whether one had anything to do with the other I don’t know, just relaying my impressions.

  5. I’ve been a supporter of Duhon for quite a while now. I always said he was just what this team needed – a pass-first floor general. No more. The dude has fallen off the charts.

    I did a little search to find out how many guards in the past 10 years have played more than 600 minutes with a TS% under .400. The list was fairly entertaining. The two most recent players: Duhon and Mardy. Out of the 9 players that fit the parameters, Duhon by far had the worst FG% – .279.

    I agree that Hughes should be starting. That said, it looks like Hughes had 10 assists before the half, but then only finished with 12. I didn’t get to see the game, so anyone care to explain what happened.

    I was kind of hoping to see the Human Victory Cigar last night, but it looks like Darko has fallen deeper into Mike D’s doghouse than N8.

  6. Sorry to have to bring us down from the high of last night’s win but 10 reasons we still need to worry.

    1. The Knicks made it to the line 27 times last night (good), but hit only 66.7% of the attempts (bad). Lee went 4-7 missing 3 from the line to go with the 3 missed from the field.

    2. Knicks are still taking more three pointers than free throws 31 vs. 27. Fortunately, the Knicks knocked down 45% of three pointers taken. The Knick average 3p fg% in home games–32.8%. Anomaly , or a sign that the stoke has been found?

    3. JJ having an all around great game (a + 30!!)–now there is your anomaly.

    4. The big win masked poor shooting nights from Duhon (2-8), Chandler (4-11), and Hughes (4-11) but I’ll excuse Hughes since he was such a good little helper (12 dimes), plus he nabbed 6 boards.

    5. Let’s not forget that the Suns are in the bottom 3rd of the NBA in defensive efficiency (24th at 109.9) and defensive eFG% (21st at 50.0). The Suns pretty much just beat teams to death with buckets rather than defense. So its not like it would take much other than an off night on offense to derail the Suns.

    6. The Knicks scored 71 first half points. Average first half point coming into last night’s game–48.5. Previous high 60 points at Denver.

    7. The Suns still managed to shoot 53% in the first half.

    8. The Knicks scored 129 without a single bucket from Robinson, thats not likely to happen often.

    9. Al Harrignton still isnt sharing–1 dime.

    10. Sandy was right. Really, now how often is that going to happen? :-)

  7. Frank O.

    I think the reason Nate didn’t get as many minutes as usual was that the starters were playing so well and thus got a few more minutes than usual and Jeffries played very well and got a lot more minutes than usual. This cut down the minutes available to Nate. And the way the team was scoring, he wasn’t needed as a spark off the bench. I thought he played pretty well overall in the limited time he was in. He took only two shots, and I seem to remember they weren’t bad shots. He didn’t score any points, but he seemed to be looking to pass and did it pretty well. He did get 2 assists in 10 minutes, which isn’t bad. So overall, I would say lack of need for him, rather than the doghouse, limited his minutes.

  8. The odds of picking a knick win with arbitrary consideration of the opponent are probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 1-16.

    They’re probably better when you factor in giving a shit about who they’re playing, but maybe–considering this team–worse.

  9. Thomas B. I agree this win is a building block and nothing more based on the box and your 10 points.
    But a team needs to perk up when they have the best 3 pt shooter in the.league. And as rough as hughes shot selection can be, he’s a way better option than duhon. Pnr with him is a far more credible threat than if duhon is running it. I think d’antoni’s tolerance for stupid is about at its end, which means nrob could have more nights like this. Of course if the knicks are sucking and d’an is looking for options nrob will get the call.
    I tried to drink the koolaide on jeffries…it tastes like shit. If he can have a few more anomalous games we can get rid of his boney ass.
    I think there is no surprise that duhon and chandler shot poorly. I think chandler gets no playing time or d league status on many, if not most, nba teams.
    From the box it looks like the knicks played some d. There appeared to be a fair number of blocks and they defended their boards.
    But i wrote on my facebook page today,note to self: don’t get your hopes up for the knicks…

  10. i was looking at gallo’s per/36 stats compared to dirks at the same age and they look very similiar (seemed to me like a great sign!) what are everyones opinions that gallo can possibily become the next dirk but only with better 3 pg%? also how do their advanced stats compare?

  11. J Weezy – You kind of have a point there.

    Dirk made a big his third year, especially with the rebounding. I think a major part of his success is being able to defend and rebound as a PF/C while scoring as efficiently as Ray Allen. I don’t know if I see Gallo developing in quite the same way physically. I see him going more the Peja route. But it’s possible.

    It was a great game and Gallo is a ton of fun to watch when he is on…

  12. Frank O.,

    Was a great game to be a Knicks fan. They were firing on all cylinders: the ball was moving, the players were moving, the shots were falling, they were going hard defensively, and as someone said in the last thread they just had a swagger to them. The Suns, on the other hand, looked a lot like the Knicks usually do. A step slow, besides for the occasional play by Amare and several ridiculously good plays from Nash. Hill got going for a stretch (I think in the 2nd) when they made a comeback that sputtered out, they started locking in on D and the Knicks missed a few in a row but then regained their composure and the shots started falling again. Channing Frye took the ball baseline for a reverse dunk early. The Suns generally stunk, though.

    Al Harrington may have only had one assist, but even he was moving the ball. It wasn’t the stat quo, where every time Harrington or Chandler get the ball at the 3-pt line you know already that either a long J or head-down drive is coming. Harrington actually got some of his points by moving off the ball and cutting to the basket, as unusual as that is. I was watching leaguepass and the Suns announcers were commenting on how Harrington has really brought energy and intensity off the bench.

    Jeffries was really good. His length really stood out against the Suns, and he used it to block shots, get offensive rebounds in traffic, corral Steve Nash, and finish at the hoop. Took advantage of no one even noticing he’s on the court offensively and cut to the basket, where his teammates actually found him. Most teams with some interior defense make Jeffries look silly around the basket, though, so he probably can’t do that every night. He did have a couple of stupid fouls (clumsily ran into Nash in the backcourt at one point, I think maybe when the Knicks were already in the penalty), but as people said in the last thread he looked like a $6-7 mill per player. We’ll see how long that lasts.

    I wouldn’t say the offense really ran through anyone; although, it was nice to see Gallo lead the team in FGAs. I guess you could say he was “featured.” The ball was just flying around, the spacing was good, people were moving off the ball, and the Knicks actually looked like they knew how to play basketball for once. I don’t know what D’Antoni did, but it worked and he should do it more often. Of course, he probably knows the Suns’ system and personnel better than Alvin Gentry does, the Suns lack of size actually made the Knicks look big, and for once the Knicks interior defense looked good compared to their opponent’s. Thomas B. is right on a lot of his points, but I’ll take any wins that come our way. Especially ones that are as enjoyable to watch as that one.

    I don’t know how Hughes got so many assists so quickly… He was playing well, but the 10 assists snuck up on me. He was a catalyst early, which was probably a key to the game.

    Danilo’s night may actually have been better than his line, in a way, because he missed 3 or 4 3s in a row when the game was already over. He makes a couple of those and his night looks even better, but of course he didn’t make them.

    Lee continues to exhibit an improved offensive repertoire. He went right at Amare in the post a couple times.

    One reason Nate didn’t play is that D’Antoni had a wing on Nash most of the night (Chandler and Jeffries are the two players I recall guarding him for stretches), and then the Knicks PG on a Suns wing. Hughes and Duhon are obviously both more physically capable of matching up with a wing. Nash was also guarding Knicks wings. Nate came into the game when Dragic did with 25 seconds left in the 1st, then came out right after Nash replaced Dragic. Then Nate wasn’t seen again until the game was over and all the 3rd teamers were in the game. He didn’t look very happy to be out there, and didn’t assert himself at all or play with any intensity. I took it to be an insult on D’Antoni’s part to play Nate with the scrubs in garbage minutes. Hard to question him with as well as they played.

    Rookies got in for garbage time. Landry looked good defensively. Douglas looked pretty good. Hill was impressive (had one monster dunk and a couple of post moves where he had nice, if a little belabored, footwork and then missed gimme chip shots… possibly from concentrating so hard on the footwork… Spurs draft pick Tiago Splitter used to do the same thing when he was developing a post game), but also looked raw and left his man (Robin Lopez) wide open under the basket at least a couple of times by overcommiting and going for blocks.

  13. Frank O.
    “But a team needs to perk up when they have the best 3 pt shooter in the.league. And as rough as hughes shot selection can be, he’s a way better option than duhon.”

    Agreed but my concern is that the team drinks its own Kool-Aid and now takes threes until they start making them–oh wait they already do. They still dont shoot well enough replace three with free throws. I do hope they take from this game that:

    1. They should really try to make sure Gallinari is part of the offense
    2. They must out rebound the other team
    3. They need to get to the line 25+ times
    4. They need to be in the habit of attacking. For some reason this is the first game that I recall seeing Lee really go at the other PF/C rather than just waiting for an open pop or PNR to develop. Nice work by Lee with that. Wilson did okay with early before the foul trouble.
    5. They are capable of playing high energy and effective defense

  14. Thomas/Frank,

    The biggest difference last night was that they were moving the ball and getting good looks in the flow of the offense. I don’t know if D’Antoni told them you have to make 3 passes before shooting (which I’ve been thinking of suggesting he do for a while) or what, but most nights it’s just one pass then long three or crappy Harrington/Chandler/Hughes one-on-five… Last night the ball was flying around and finding its way into the right hands. I want to say part of it is that Duhon usually controls the offense, and a lot of times he passes it to someone and they shoot. Whereas last night was more democratic. Maybe I’m going too far, though.
    I’d like to see them take those things away, Thomas, but most teams will not be munchkin sized like the Suns. Frye was largely a non-factor and is one of the softer 7-footers around. The Knicks usually get out rebounded and abused inside on both sides of the ball because they cannot match up physically. Amare is pretty close in size to Lee, for example, but it’s harder for him to take it to a legit 5 in the post (as we’ll probably see against Howard and Gortat tonight). Jared Jeffries usually can’t waltz to the basket and stuff in a dunk because there is actually someone there to defend the basket, but I do think the Knicks should at least try to keep the ball movement, cutting, etc. alive. It’s what I’ve been asking for all season, and really for years now.

    J Weezy & Owen,

    Here’s Gallo, Dirk, Peja, and Hedo all in their 2nd NBA seasons:

    It is amazing how Dirk suddenly transformed himself into a bigman on the boards, and there’s at least a chance Gallo can do that too. Gallo actually has the lowest usage rate and lowest assist rate of the group so far, something that I hope he and the team make a conscious effort to change. His rebounding is decidedly more Peja then Dirk. He does block shots better than the other 3, and hopefully last night’s game is a sign that he’s got room to grow on the boards (some of his boards were the a few Knicks standing around waiting for the board to fall and it happens to fall into Gallo’s hands variety, but I guess every bigman gets a few of those). 8.7 3PAs/36 is crazy… Good that he can take so many 3s and still be efficient, but he’s been unable to do much else. His only real move is the pump-one dribble-long 2… and a Suns defender was all over that last night, probably because the scouting report said that’s his only move. Pretty unique to take so many 3s and be so efficient:

  15. Im not surprised the Knicks won at all. D’antoni put their system in place, who better to beat them at it?

    If we coudld do this tonight against the Magic it would be a miracle…final score; magic 110- NY 87

  16. This game had to be a real mindfuck for D’Antoni. He probably went into the game thinking, “Oh well, another loss. Maybe the team will learn a little about how this system is meant to be played,” then left the game thinking, “The Suns played like we usually do. Maybe the team can use the memory of this game as a look in the mirror. ‘This is what it’s like for teams that play us.'” Of course, he couldn’t say either of those things…

  17. Knicks should learn a few things from this win:

    1. Hughes should play PG and concentrate on defense and ball distribution. Let others be the scorers. D’Antoni’s experiment with Duhon as the starting PG should officially come to an end.
    2. David Lee should never play center and should be made the main scorer along with Gallinari.
    3. Harrington should come off the bench with instructions to be agressive, use his speed to penetrate and then throw the ball back to open teammates. I know, I know…easier said than done. I think Harrington would be a truly great player if he could do that.
    4. Gallo will become a star if he plays with the movement and energy displayed last night. On defense and offense. The Knicks need him to be one of the two main scorers. Every night.
    5. To have a chance to compete with most teams in the League and get a decent record (like 35+ wins, which I think is very doable), the Knicks need that Gallo and Lee combine for 40+ points per night.
    6. Jordan Hill and the other rookies should be given more minutes at the expense of Chandler, Duhon, Jeffries & Nate. For the simple reason that a team of Douglas, Darko, Hill & Landry is not worse than the other group.

    None of the above would make the Knicks into any sort of contenders (they still need 2 franchise players), but I feel it would bring them back to respectable (around 35 wins) status.

    I’m a certified dreamer, I guess…

  18. Apparently D’Antoni was really pissed at a foul Nate took at the end of the 1st quarter I believe because someone, I think Isola, asked him about it in the post-game press conference and you can tell that question got him pissed thinking about it.

    Its safe to say this is Nate’s last season with the Knicks as long as D’Antoni is the head coach.

  19. It is pretty well established that I tend to weigh in on the optimistic side of things, so here goes:

    Knicks are 3-5 in their last 8 games.
    Beat Indiana and Nets, as they should have
    Lost to Celts in OT in a game lots here were expecting a Celts blowout
    Lost to Lakers in LA but played reasonably well
    Lost to Kings, terrible effort but Sac had it all going and would have beaten many a team the way they played
    Lost to Denver in a very competitive game
    Lost to Magic, but stayed close despite everything the Magic shot going in, including 2 buzzer-beaters and a 3-pt bank shot.
    Mauled the Suns, a team with the best record in the league.

    So, overall they played as well as can be expected, winning one improbable game and losing one clunker. The rest of the losses came against elite teams in very competitive games, and two convincing wins came against bottom feeders, including the “trap” game vs. the woeful Nets. Can they go 8-6 for the rest of December? That would put them at 12-20. January and February look to be much kinder months schedule-wise, so being close to .500 by the beginning of March would not out of the question if they can end December on a positive note.

    And that’s w/o big Eddy coming back to save us…

    Other thoughts…
    I was very harsh on Harrington earlier, but I must say, he has been a beast offensively during this recent stretch. I think Ted’s point is well taken that despite his lack of assists he is moving the ball somewhat better and taking less bad shots. He just flat out can get to the basket, is a threat to score from anywhere, and has big cohones. IMO he is hustling his ass off, despite rotating too slowly at times. Not that i want to keep him past this year, but this is as good as I feel I can reasonably expect him to play.

    I saw Gallo close up at Open Practice way back in last fall and was taken by his sheer length…he seemed to tower over Jeffries and Lee and had very long, lanky arms. His wingspan has been in full evidence in the last couple of games. If he could only move his feet a bit faster…

    I feel that Chandler has improved lately as well, he is going to the basket with more regularity and authority and being more selective on 3’s. He is still inconsistent and makes some dumb decisions, but still deserves to be in the rotation (Landry is not, in my judgment.) His ball-handling on the drive is troubling. This presents a dilemma as his turnovers neutralize any advantage he gains by driving, so hopefully he will become better at this. He does seem to be taking somewhat better shots and less shots. Lately, D’Antoni seems more willing to pull him when his game deteriorates.

    Duhon has played much better in the last 2 games, case closed. He is still far from great, but he works the pick and roll much better than everyone, including Hughes. Still, would like to see more of TD, he is not a liability on either end.

    Hughes is the best defensive guard I’ve seen in a Knick uniform for a long time. He also has the flattest shot I’ve ever seen.

    Love the way D’Antoni is handling Nate.

    Totally agree with Ted’s assessment of Jeffries

    Lee has been a rock. His D seems to have picked up in recent games, or maybe the team is just playing better D around him. Or both.

  20. 1. I wonder why so many people are making lists? Holidays?
    2. Not sure what to put here other than enjoyed the blog today.
    Interesting back and forth

  21. Set play for a Gallo 3 to start the game. Then five straight minutes of Danillo standing around the arc while everyone else plays basketball…

  22. Set your Tivo’s y’all: at the 5:37 point of the 1st quarter Chris Duhon makes the worst pass I’ve ever seen in all my life. Don’t miss it!

  23. Never seen this lineup:

    Hughes, Jeffries, Harrington, Gallo, and Lee.

    I guess Gallo’s playing the 2?

  24. Robinson definitely in the doghouse: Douglas in the game before Nate (and Toney’s sparking some energy in the rest of the team– 7-0 run!)

  25. Hey, did y’all not realize this was a 7 pm start? After the best Knick performance in years no one else is watching?

    (Well, I guess I’ll filibuster this thread then…)

  26. some instant offense off the bench would be nice right about now… wonder who could give that?

  27. stepped out after 1st quarter…just tuned in to this 20+ pt butt whuppin…i guess we’re back to business as usual :-(

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