The Knicks trounced the Pistons last night 124-106, and undoubtedly the story of the night was Mozgov’s outburst. Due to Shawne Williams’ suspension and Wilson Chandler’s injury, Mike D’Antoni looked further down his bench for production. Timofev Mozgov ended the night with 23 points on 15 shots and grabbed a team high 14 rebounds. Uncharacteristically, he had only 4 fouls and 2 turnovers in nearly 40 minutes.
However I’m dubious that Mozgov’s line shows marked improvement. The Russian made a handful of mistakes. Here are some of my notes on the game with regards to Mozgov:
Overall I thought his biggest weaknesses were his hands and inside scoring. In a one and a half minute stretch, Mozgov missed 2 hook shots, a lay-up, and a tip in. I didn’t see the instant replay on the pass from Douglas, but the alley-oop that bounced off his hands was Braylon Edwards-esque.
Watching the game I concentrated intently on Mozgov and Randolph, given their scarcity of court time. I thought Randolph played inside of his game. He was aggressive on the boards (5 rebs in 8 minutes) and concerned with defending the paint (1 block). Randolph was largely overlooked on offense – there were a numerous times he was open on offense waving his arms, only to be ignored (a few times by Walker who was doing his best Al Harrington impersonation). After grabbing defensive rebounds, he quickly looked to get the ball up court – on one play he took the ball up himself, only to turn around and give it to Toney Douglas. Comparing Mozgov and Randolph, the latter played low key and made much fewer mistakes.
To be fair to Mozgov he showed lots of positive attributes. He’s quick up the floor for a center, and hit a few outside shots. Mozgov did look good on the offensive glass, and that he kept his fouls down could indicate improvement in that area. He converted 3 put-backs and 1 alley-oop, and those aren’t going to be there every night. Given how good his line was, I’m not sure what of that is sustainable. It should be interesting to see how much time Mozgov gets going forward.