Eddy Curry looked good on offense. He has good hands when receiving the ball & is too strong for players to guard in the post. Curry does use his bulk too much, and had 2 first half turnovers. Unfortunately Curry looked pitiful on defense, especially early on. The Nets were scoring almost all of their early points in the paint, taking advantage of the small Knicks backcourt. Curry committed a flagrant foul by grabbing Richard Jefferson around the waist midair. Eddy’s problem seems to stem from a lack of knowledge on how to properly defend. He seems too eager to use his hands and not his body. If the Knicks stay with Marbury & Francis, Curry is going to need to be more active defensively. Remember the Nets were without Kidd & Carter, so you’d have to think that those two All Stars would have done more damage than their substitutes.
Speaking of which, Francis & Marbury played a lot of time together and both took turns running the point. Even on the same possession, one would pass to the other and relinquish PG duties. They have some qualities that compliment each other. Francis is a tenacious rebounder for a guard, and is much better at pushing the ball up the court quickly. Both these skills were apparent when the Nets missed a shot. Francis would attempt to rebound on each Nets’ possession and if he didn’t get the rebound he would demand the ball from the Knick that did. Steve would then speed up the court giving the Knicks the quicker pace that Isiah is trying to instill into his offense. On the other hand the pair have skills (or lack thereof) that don’t complement each other. Neither is a good spot up shooter, and neither looks comfortable moving without the ball.
Quentin Richardson was the first man off the bench, and was the Knicks’ second higher scorer with 14 points. With New York grabbing 2 small forwards during the offseason, Richardson coming off his worst season looked to be the odd man out. However if Q-Rich can contribute like this on a nightly basis, it would certainly make him a strong rotation player, and a fine 6th man.
Watching Jared Jeffries play tonight, I’m found myself considering printing out what I wrote about his signing. Should Jeffries play the rest of preseason the way he did tonight, I would then salt and mustard said print out. And if the Knicks new SF plays that way for the first month of the season I would definitely take the seasoned writing and devour it, hence eating my own words. Having a player like Jeffries helps stabilize the Knicks defense, especially when he plays with the small guard combo.
David Lee is one of those players that makes Isiah Thomas look like a draft day genius. He was all over the offensive boards, which is even more impressive considering Lee was the center of the Knicks’ small lineup. I’m not sure how many minutes Lee played at center, but when he manned the 5 he was flanked by Jeffries or Balkman at the 4. On one series (one that should be shown on local replays of the game) Lee and Balkman kept after an offensive board until David got control of the ball, and tipped it to Balkman for an easy bucket. In fact it’s Lee’s glasswork and both Jeffries & Balkman’s height that allows Isiah to play this small combination. If nothing else it’s an interesting solution to the Knicks’ center dilemma.
If you like reading blogs, you should check out this month’s Dime Magazine. They asked bloggers to contribute a few words on their team’s upcoming season, and Henry Abbott of TrueHoop.com does a fine job introducing the series.