Quick Reaction: Knicks 107, Wizards 93
|Jared Jeffries, PF 26 MIN | 1-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 2 PTS | -10
Some usual Jared-y goodness in this one, but repeated attempts to shatter the backboard via botched layups and doinked open jumpers seemed to take some of the pizzazz out of Jeffries’ game.
|Bill Walker, SG 27 MIN | 2-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 5 PTS | +7
Oh right, when Billy isn’t connecting from deep, he’s pretty much useless, much like Steve Novak. I dunno about you, but every time I see the two of them on the court together I think of Gummy chewing the fat with Chevy Chase on the beach in the movie Fletch. Naturally, in the film, Gummy is a drug-sucking fiend while Fletch (Novak) only feigns addiction to get the inside dope on the evil duo of Joe-Don Baker and Tim Matheson. Did I just suggest Bill Walker’s an unabashed imbiber of illicit substances? Me? Never!
While we’re here, Larry “Flash” Jenkins, who so nobly portrayed Gummy, is also known for playing one of the gas station attendants who go for an extended joyride in Cameron’s Dad’s Ferrari in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” The other attendant, Richard Edson (Vito from “Do The Right Thing,”) has a vaguely Balkman-esque vibe. What I’m saying is, they should greenlight remakes of 80′s films with members of the Knicks’ roster.as soon as possible. I’d watch ‘em, wouldn’t you?
|Tyson Chandler, C 34 MIN | 7-12 FG | 11-14 FT | 11 REB | 2 AST | 25 PTS | +10
Another monster game from Robo-Tyson. Yawn. Funny thing. Anyone here ever read Paul Shirley’s “Can I Keep My Jersey”? It’s not a great book but in a Jim Bouton kind of way, it is a fascinating expose into the day-to-day lives of NBA players. I mention it because at one point, Shirley royally tears a young Chandler a new one, lamenting his utter lack of intangibles/knowledge of the game/work ethic and describing him as a player wholly reliant on his a priori physical gifts. People, apparently, can change.
|Landry Fields, G 37 MIN | 6-11 FG | 4-7 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 16 PTS | +10
Oh there you are, 2010-11 Pre-Melo Trade Landry! It’s amazing how much more effective Fields is in a motion, uptempo offense. You know, like the one the ‘Bockers ran for most of last season. Two caveats: One, the botched (and altogether unnecessary) alley-oop to Shump Shump at the start of the 4th might have given Coach Pringles a debilitating brain aneurysm. Don’t do that again, Landry, or you’re sleeping on your own couch for the rest of the week.
Two, I get that Fields is trying to work out the kinks in his newfangled shooting form both from downtown and the line, but for now, it remains a serious work-in-progress. Not a, “The half-completed yet still fully operational Death Star in Jedi”-type work-in-progress. More like a, “Your shot is flatter than an emaciated 16-year old girl who’s either suffering from Bulimia or Anorexia but you’re scared to ask because she’ll ask if you think she looks fat”-type work-in-progress.
|Jeremy Lin, PG 36 MIN | 9-14 FG | 5-6 FT | 4 REB | 10 AST | 23 PTS | +18
As the old saying goes, once is a fluke, twice is a trend and three times is SO EFFING AWESOME AND COOL AND I LOVES YOU SOOOO MUCH JEREMY!!!!
Seeing Lin face off against the over-hyped John Wall was like having an imaginary, tiny Larry Brown sitting on your shoulder the whole game and Imago-Larry is repeatedly squealing with fits of apoplectic joy about, “Playing the right way!” As an athlete, Wall outpaces Lin by leaps and bounds. Lin just plays basketball…and that has made all the difference. He unerringly makes the right decision with the ball in his hands whilst Wall…well, he’s wicked fast. In the 1st half, when DC tried to take away his penetration, he found open shooters and cutters. In the 2nd, when they were looking for the pass, he finished at the hoop with aplomb. Simple, right?
On a side note, for those not watching on NBA TV, at one point the Wizards’ announcers went off on a tangent about a coterie from Harvard being in attendance to see Lin. Not surprisingly, it devolved into a series of rib-poking chortles about nerds and pocket protectors. Well guess what? That nerd with a band-aid dangling goofily off his chin for a good portion of the half just won the presidency of the Greek Council, boinked Ted McGinley’s cheerleader girlfriend and sang, “We Are the Champions,” in yo muthafluffin faces.
|Mike Bibby, PG 15 MIN | 0-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 PTS | +1
Evidently _______ is buried so deeply in a moldy corner of D’Antoni’s doghouse he’s more likely to give 15 pointless minutes to Mumm-Ra here.
|Steve Novak, SF 27 MIN | 6-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 19 PTS | +22
Speaking of twice being a trend, howzabout that Novak guy, huh? I’m paraphrasing, but in his Basketball tome, Bill Simmons mentions a list of celebs/entertainers who do one thing and only one thing well yet manage to achieve a measure of success/fame like Michael Buffer, Cytheria, Simon Cowell and Jeff Foxworthy. Well, it iooks like it’s time to crank out a third edition with Steve “The Overworked IRS Auditor” Novak added to your list, Billy boy.(P.S. If you’re reading this, Simmons…Ha-Ha!) On this team, floor-spreading and hitting open jumpers when the D collapses on the pick and roll is a VERY valuable single skill to have.
|Iman Shumpert, G 37 MIN | 6-11 FG | 4-4 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 17 PTS | +14
I think Shump heard about the shoddy sales records of the “21 Shump Street” shirts here at the Knickerblogger store, because Shumpty put in a vintage (is it okay to say “vintage” if I mean 10-odd games ago? It is? Thanks!) performance — ball-hawking defense, decisive forays to the rim and even a swished trey. In case anyone was still pondering the existential question, “Is Iman a point guard?” the answer is clearly NO, but a high-energy, shutdown, slashing two isn’t a bad thing to be from a Sartrean perspective.
Five Things We Saw
- This is fun. This is a fun team again. Both Chandler in print and Dennis “3D” Scott on air tonight have mentioned it, but Lin makes all the pieces fit in their proper places. Shump doesn’t have to try to run the show, Chandler is a killer in the pick and roll and shooters (even Bill “Gummy” Walker) open up the court. For those who worry that re-inserting Stat/Melo will be like cramming a polo mallet into the gears of this finely-tuned machine, think again.
- It goes without saying that the Wizards are pretty bad at basketball. That said, I really dig Trevor Booker. He’s not going to be an all-star anytime soon, but as a ‘tweener/enrollee at Paul Millsap School of Effective Bench Play he’ll carve out a solid, 10-year career.
- Via the right honorable Jim Cavan: “The fact that this guy can escape under the radar so many times just goes to show the lack of creativity / intelligence inherent in many an NBA front office / coaching staff. I feel like D’Antoni gets a slight pass for overlooking him simply because the team had no practice time in which to really evaluate him. But Golden State and Houston? Good lord. I mean, I know our “system” is more tailor-made to his abilities, but his skills I feel would translate effectively into any system.”
Here’s the thing, Jim. (And this is part of a MUCH longer thought) Executives (in any field) have a vested interest in seeing their decisions succeed. Plucking and playing an un-drafted player like Lin, even if they flourish, is an admission that somewhere in evaluation process, you and/or your staff failed. Thinking outside the box is a lose-lose scenario for those in a decision-making capacity, assuming your understand their real motivation — to remain in authority. This isn’t just a sports-centric problem. Over time, any system (whether it’s a basketball front office or a bank or government or whatever) that has a measure of power and/or authority will shift its priorities from the job the system was set up to achieve to protecting and sustaining the interests and power of those at the top of the hierarchy in the system. Governments exist to keep politicians in power, banks exist to funnel more money to bankers and on and on…More on this later, y’all.
- The word is Amar’e should return in time for Tuesday’s game at Toronto. Even if the Knicks had lost tonight, I can’t imagine any fan with even a semblance of a soul would begrudge him missing the next two games to spend time with his family.
- Speaking of which, the next two games are going to be downright tough. But for the first time since the preseason, I’m genuinely excited to see how this collection of players from the Island of Misfit Toys fares against stronger competition. And Rubio-Lin on Saturday night? Sweet fancy Moses, for fans of pure PG play, that’s some onanistic shizznit right there…
Hey, did you know that in addition to banging the keys here and occasionally for the NY Times, Robert is a playwright, an actor and a wand'ring mendicant/gadfly? He also once wrestled a bear...and lost.