Knyckes 102 Pystones 87
Editor’s note: This recap wouldn’t have been possible without some hefty contributions from @netw3rk (player names – brilliant) and Kblogger’s very own Kevin McElroy (@knickerbacker – some song recommendations). So send them all a pence each, ‘Bocker bloaks.
|Prince Carmington Mellon-Von-Hammersworth, inveterate gambler 40 MIN | 8-19 FG | 7-9 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 5 TO | 26 PTS | +14
This guy knows his way around London better than an heir’s tart on a gin binge, owing to a Summer Games that left many believing — correctly, as it turns out — that this was to be the breakout year. The early going was strong evidence in the affirmative, with our Lorde and Saviour punishing the Pistons from all over the court to the tune of 18 first half points (on eight shots, including three straight threes to get things going in the first) and one gorgeous feed for a Tyson dunk in the game’s early moments. As Seth over at P&T reminds us (his name’s actually just Seth, not that whole string of letters), this was the same building in Which Melo embarrassed poor Nigeria in his U.S. record-breaking performance. Right-o!
But a steady diet of Fish ‘n Chips ‘n Earl Gray will only keep you peaking for so long, as Melo’s mostly ice-cold second half proved indubitably. The final line was fine, if not spectacular, and Melo – like most of his teammates, it seemed – mostly treated the night as an entertaining encore to a week of basketball diplomacy. Now can we get him on a Delta full of wholesome American food like pretzels and genetically modified peanuts and urinal cakes?
BRITROCK ANTHEM: The Libertines, Time For Heroes
|Squire Christiane Co’lan, Merchant Marine 18 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | +4
Can you get jet-lagged flying from London to Brussels? Is that possible? Whatever. Not much of mention here, save for an over-anxious first quarter and a few garbage time jumpers. It’s looking like Cope’s going to be our starting three, at least in the immediate. I mean, assuming he didn’t decide to just keep his punch card going and sign up for the Newcastle-Upon-Tyne River Slugs.
BRITROCK ANTHEM: The Jam, All Around the World
|Lord Tysonne Channingfeldt, Sheriff of Hoopse 30 MIN | 3-4 FG | 4-4 FT | 14 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | +11
There was the aforementioned dish from Melo for the Yorkers’ first bucket, of course, but Tyson’s early contributions can be summed up in this single stat: FIRST QUARTER REBOUNDS – Tyson Chandler 7, Detroit Pistons 3. Just hammered the boards, like a randy rector would some 13th century mead wench. Obviously we all had a collective aneurysm when Tyson’s would-be fast-break slam was cut short by Austin Daye’s hooligan hack, which sent Chandler horizontal to the ground with such tremendous force I thought for sure his momentum would incinerate the first 10 rows of fans and then himself and then just burn London to the ground. Again.
By God’s grace (Or whatever the Anglican equivalent is. Michael Caine I guess.) Tyson was able to get up and move without the aid of three cranes and a wheel barrow, and even managed a vintage tap-back for a lead-extending J.R. triple a few seconds later. More vintage than a Mod scooter, I’d say.
BRITROCK ANTHEM: Oasis, Wonderwall
|Lord Jaston Kiddeux, Distributor of the Dole 27 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 4 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 5 PTS | +6
Someone apparently forgot to inform Kidd that “they drive differently in England” doesn’t mean “you don’t have to dribble the ball anymore over here — it’s like rugby with rims,” though he probably figured that out after the pair traveling calls in the game’s first two minutes. A fairly pedestrian outing on the whole, although there were peppered throughout a few vintage rebound-into-transition gems. Enough to be knighted by a sword the size of Hasheem Thabeet.
BRIT-ROCK ANTHEM: The Kinks, A Well-Respected Man
|Sir Imanhue Shumperton, defender of the crown 15 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | +11
If this is rust, I want to sprinkle bags of it on my oatmeal. Few players have captured the collective unconscious of Knicks fans – artificially inflated though it may seem by the Twitters and such – quite like Iman Shumpert. His injury was the twisted insult to a brutal spring demise; his recovery a rallying cry for those of us eager for a puzzle piece that would help it all make sense; his fade – fucking spectacular.
Finally, after months of creepy Instagram stalking and pining from afar, our prodigal Shump — the only player the Knicks have drafted since Patrick Ewing — finally came home. Well, not home, exactly. The game was in England you see. But the opening bars were mighty impressive: a couple of smooth corner threes, a nice little Euro-step lay-in off a Cope deflection, a gorgeous feed to Chandler (Chandler feed is usually made of human bonemeal and spelt, so passes from Shump are really just empty calories — they’re Rollos is what I’m trying to say), and the kind of in-your-face D we all felt would be the first thing reconjured. That’s not to say Shump was sans pocks; he got beat on a couple back-door cuts and looked a smidge indecisive on screen switches (probably because even he recognize almost instinctively how fruitless the policy really is).
Honestly though, if Iman Shumpert had spent the entire game scoring on the wrong basket and licking center court on defense, I still would’ve wet myself. Welcome back, Iman. Your knee’s been #taped.
BRIT-ROCK ANTHEM: The Clash, Clampdown
|Amar-Pasha Al-mire, the moorish-Jew. 20 MIN | 3-5 FG | 11-12 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 17 PTS | +3
By far STAT’s most (offensively…. OFFENSIVELY) impressive performance of the still-young year. He didn’t just settle for poor-postured jumpers, instead aggressively taking it to the tin and right at the capable if somewhat stone-footed Monroe and Maxiell whenever he had the chance. The whole I-have-the-ball-and-I-have-no-idea-where-any-of-my-teammates-are thing remains a bit of an issue, as does his complete inability to guard a big with any semblance of offensive talent (which Greg Monroe absolutely is), but the baby steps are now toddlers, and that, as they say in England, is bloody lorry wankers.
BRIT-ROCK ANTHEM: The Stone Roses, I am the Resurrection
|Right Honourable Ronald deBruyer, Keeper of the Infirmary 4 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +3
The Knicks dropped Ronnie off at the Olive Creek Orphanage, where he immediately marshaled a cult following and will stake his future lot on charging the other children 10 spent cigarette butts for private shows of him rotating his elbow 180-degrees in either direction.
BRIT-ROCK ANTHEM: The Smiths, Girlfriend in a Coma
|Stefane Nonfaque, Director of the Royal Post 24 MIN | 5-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 13 PTS | +16
Despite a few bouts of lazy closeouts and amorphous post D, Novak’s Merlin touch came in handy during both Piston storm-backs. Most of the crowd didn’t see any of this, however, as the sight of a 6’10” Saxon immediately induces genetically-borne bouts of terror that sends the fair-skinned masses scuttling beneath their seats like droves of feeble druids on a full moon.
BRIT-ROCK ANTHEM: Babyshambles, Delivery
|Lord Paulson Pritchion, Abbot of Seville 21 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +9
They almost didn’t let Prigs through Heathrow customs after he started screaming incoherently about “Malvinas!” and “Imperialistic swine-sodomizers!” or something, but Tyson was able to thatch him into his beard and sneak him through. Pablo must’ve been pretty shaken up by the whole episode, though, because he was pretty quiet, unable to exploit Detroit’s inexperienced – though awkward-fitting and not very good – backcourt.
BRIT-ROCK ANTHEM: Kaiser Chiefs, Spanish Metal
|Sir Earl Pensmithe the II, gentlemen about town 38 MIN | 6-15 FG | 3-4 FT | 6 REB | 4 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 16 PTS | 0
STOCKHOLM SYNDROME: The phenomenon by which young men in eager need of fornication partake in brief sojourns to Sweden (Norway works, but not Finland — they’re savaves), receive satisfaction, and then return, of sound mind and spirit but slightly below average occupational fortitude.
True, J.R. tossed up enough bricks to broaden Hadrian’s Wall to that feral westerly isle and then encircle their filthy papal slaves West of the River Shannon for the good of….Just… here’s another Morrisey song. Anyway Smith’s on-ball defense was pretty outstanding. He even overtly switched on to Greg Monroe at one point, sacrificing his body so that Pablo wouldn’t have to. Mostly because Monroe would’ve incinerated Pablo, but also because J.R. has been flat-out engaged on that front for a vast majority of the season thus far. Yes, we’ll need him to be the second – and perhaps the third – scoring option from here on forward. But to the extent that that proposition will always be a give-take, it’s nice to see this kind of effort night in, night out. He just likes being close to people. At night. It’s a pheromone thing.
BRIT-ROCK ANTHEM: Elvis Costello, Clubland
Five Things We Saw
- After giving up the game’s first bucket, the Knicks made plum pudding out of the home team (I thought the only things they made in England anymore were dole queues but apparently they manufacture car parts too) with an 18-2 run that pretty much gave them all the buffer they’d need. The Pistons were just soft as sheep shit on the perimeter, and gave the Knicks clean looks that fell early and often thanks to quick passes out of the post and cross-court swings and generally letting the ‘Bockers dictate the terms more aggressively than the barons at Runnymede.
- … And then the Knicks throwing the ball away like teeming chamber pots out of tenement windows, letting the Pistons get back into it by way of quick transition buckets and an offense that finally started to recognize that it’s best option for the next 15 years is probably going to be running the offense through Greg Monroe. The refs certainly didn’t do the Knicks any favors, and the subsequent London foul fog was enough to get the Pistons back in it and take the Knicks out of their early offensive rhythm. The runs were eventually repelled, but a lot of old habits – over-switching, not boxing out, a defense more porous than Albion’s legions at Hastings, burning Catholics at the stakes (whoops!) – were laid bare for an uncomfortable amount of time. I had to start blasting Wham!’s back-catalog just to keep me chipper. Alright, we’ll just call it “the catalog.”
- So I think Lawrence Frank might be an idiot. Not quite “I come from a royal line of vaguely Anglo-Saxon land theives who had sex exclusively with their siblings and cousins and now my tongue just kind of hangs out serving no real purpose and I’m 12 years old and bald and have seizures like three times a day and I can only issue decrees to invade feeble villages or have the Welsh killed between three-hour long porridge spoon-feedings.” But not smart, either. Yes, Andre Drummond is the rawest of rookie projects. Yes, you should be looking to ease him into the NBA grind without risking too taut a rookie wall. But to think this kid isn’t already a more capable cog than Jason Maxiel – who isn’t completely terrible, by the way – is dumber than Wallace and Gromit. If anything, he’s the ideal compliment to Monroe; a guy who can carve out position on the low block and just hammer home spoon-feed after spoon-feed again and again until the rim just melts off the backboard. The Pistons have a lot of charming superlatives working in their favor – scrappy, up-and-coming, dangerous, what have you. But I’m not sure Frank – about as imposing as a gin-addled Dickens tramp – is the man for the job.
- With both the Celtics and Nets losing last night, the win means a little bit of breathing room in the Atlantic. But with both our coastal foes on the docket in the next week, the Mardi Gras fervor surrounding the Knicks’ European Vacation should probably left at the Heathrow boarding gate. Believe me, I’m happier than a Pict in blood over Reshumpification – count me as one of the cabin crazies committed fully to the idea that his presence will prove a spark on both ends of the floor. And this second stint of rest will be much welcome; a few more practices, a few more opportunities to figure out exactly what it is we have here. Because the hoards are coming, Britons. The hoards are coming.
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.