Quick Recap: Knicks 111, Bobcats 78
|Carmelo Anthony, SF 30 MIN | 0-7 FG | 1-1 FT | 11 REB | 4 AST | 1 PTS | +13
Three days ago, Carmelo Anthony held something of a press confessional in the Knick locker room following the team’s spirit-crushing double-overtime loss to the Nuggets. Therein, the star forward admitted that maybe – just maybe – he was shooting a wee too much. A mere seven shots in tonight’s contest aside, we won’t tally this up to the classic Kobe Bryant “I’m Not Shooting” game just yet. To the contrary, Melo – who looked noticeably pained at points – genuinely appeared to be looking to get everyone else involved. It might go down as one of his worst performances ever statistically – though 11 boards and 4 dimes might render that thought moot – but psychologically, Melo’s dud couldn’t have been better timed.
|Amare Stoudemire, PF 29 MIN | 7-12 FG | 4-4 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 18 PTS | +21
No one’s entirely sure how Stat’s “talk” with Melo actually went down – or whether it happened at all. Personally, I like to imagine Stat inviting Anthony over to his Manhattan pad for one of his famous pre-game meals. At least that’s what he tells Melo. Only, when Melo gets there, Stat instead just shows him Chef Max Hardy’s extensive culinary blade collection, which probably includes some kind of 17th century Japanese boning knife capable of sawing through elephant tusks. Then, before even letting him see the menu, Stat nonchalantly escorts him back to the elevator, presses the lobby button, waits until Melo steps inside, before telling his beleaguered and now completely terrified front court mate, “Good talk” just as the door closes. Which is going a long way to say that Stat had his best game in many moons.
|Tyson Chandler, C 30 MIN | 9-10 FG | 2-4 FT | 17 REB | 2 AST | 20 PTS | +13
SO MUCH BOBCAT BLOOOOOOOOD!…. I know I usually make some quip about how Chandler’s hard to notice unless you’re really paying attention and blah blah blah. Well, Tyson was pretty hard to miss in this one. Whether the product of the palpable anger I saw scrawled across the recent champ’s veteran grill in the locker room this last Saturday, or Michael Jordan taking his championship ring in a Monday night poker game, Chandler straight-up punked his former team, putting up one of the more dominating performances we’ve seen from anyone — regardless of team – this year. Now someone go tell him he needs to do this every game. Not it.
|Landry Fields, G 30 MIN | 6-12 FG | 5-6 FT | 4 REB | 5 AST | 18 PTS | +29
I wasn’t around for the Renaissance, but I imagine there was a museum dedicated to this performance from Landry Fields. Probably somewhere in Florence, right along the Arno, where the sunsets shimmer in orange and gold and the cobblestone streets…. Alright I’ve never been to Italy, and that entire scenario I just outlined would require a time machine anyway. The important thing here is that Fields really does look like he’s breaking out of his months-long slump – and at just the right time. Constant motion, confidence, and aggressive drives have been the hallmark for the lately struggling Soph these last few games, and it looks like it’s working.
|Iman Shumpert, G 25 MIN | 1-9 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 3 PTS | +14
The Shump giveth, and the Shump taketh away. It was a rough shooting night for Manhattan’s favorite Yellowjacket. But he didn’t let it get to him, and five rebounds, a few assists and a pair of steals later, Iman proved once again that his is a stat line never starved.
|Mike Bibby, PG 16 MIN | 1-3 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 4 PTS | +15
His shot was once again covered in grave dirt, but Bibby established some nice chemistry with Stoudemire early in the second quarter, hitting the struggling big on a number of deft cuts tin-ward. In short, he didn’t try to eat his teammates brains. Which is all we’re really asking for.
|Jared Jeffries, PF 26 MIN | 3-5 FG | 4-4 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 11 PTS | +15
What a weird human being this guy is. The whole time he’s in I’m thinking to myself, “Damn, Jeffries is playing really, really well.” Truth be told, he did play pretty well, taking a couple charges, hitting a corner three, and nearly rendering Gerald Henderson headless — the closest Jeffries has come to killing a living thing since last month’s playoffs, when I very nearly tore my own head off after his Game 2 boner. I guess we’ll just let the zero boards go for now.
|Steve Novak, SF 6 MIN | 3-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 9 PTS | +9
If you spliced together Novak’s shots this season, you’d have roughly 75% of the Jimmy Chitwood footage from Hoosiers.
|Renaldo Balkman, PF 4 MIN | 1-1 FG | 1-2 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 3 PTS | +6
Exclamation Joint. Also: Human Victory Blunt.
|Toney Douglas, PG 15 MIN | 4-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 0 REB | 4 AST | 9 PTS | +9
In what’s sadly become something of a Dodo-rare phenomenon, Toney Douglas looked like a professional rotation basketball player tonight – nothing spectacular, and maybe nothing that might reasonably be called a harbinger, but a solid outing nonetheless. TDDWTDUTD.
|Jeremy Lin, PG 6 MIN | 2-2 FG | 4-4 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 8 PTS | +9
I’m giving Jeremy Lin an A+ for two reasons: 1) The dude had a triple double in his only D-League game; and 2) Bob Silverman insisted that it would “get his parents off his back.” Racist.
|Jerome Jordan, C 5 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | +8
At a certain point in the fourth quarter, I witnessed a lineup consisting of Jeremy Lin, Landry Fields, Renaldo Balkman, Jerred Jeffries, and what I thought was Tyson Chandler. Needless to say, I was terrified. Is D’Antoni trying to kill this man, I thought? As it turns out, that man was actually the recently D-League recalled Jerome Jordan. Poor guy: His vicious garbage time baseline dunk was Grindhouse violent, and yet was probably the third most vicious slam of the night behind Chandler’s terrifying throw-downs.
|Bill Walker, SG 18 MIN | 1-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 5 PTS | +4
How did Walker end up on the bottom, anyway? Wasn’t he the second guy off the bench tonight? Is it the dreads? It’s the dreads, isn’t it?
Five Things We Saw
- For the first time since the Kings game, the Knicks were able to put pedal to metal and foot to throat early, thus providing some much needed starter rest at the front end of what promises to be a taxing four-games-in-five-nights road stand that only gets harder (Cavs, Heat, Rockets) from here on out.
- Baron Davis must be some kind of hipster magician – it’s the only logical explanation I can conjure for the kind of fluid, seamless ball movement that the lately languishing Knicks employed tonight, just a day after the back-hobbled Davis made his much-anticipated return to the court. It’s far too simplistic to point to Melo’s lack of hoists as the principal reason for D’Antoni’s offense suddenly kickstart… but it is a hell of a coincidence, no? Methinks there must be a happy median here.
- Kemba Walker is no joke. Like so many franchise-changing injuries past, DJ Augustin’s recent toe injury might very well yield a platinum lining for a franchise mired since its conception in ceaseless crapitude. To be sure, Walker’s super streaky, and his court vision still leave much to the imagination. But the kid can clearly ball.
- You know that feeling when you eat something really delicious a few days in a row – or too many times in one week – and you suddenly get burned out by it? I feel like Boris Diaw burned out on eating the Knicks. Which is a shame, because if there was ever a time to go bonkers at the ‘Bocker buffet, it’s when you’re wearing the home stripes AMIRITE!?!?!?
- Mike D’Antoni still has a job. Also, the Knicks scored 100 points in regulation for the first time in 938 cigarettes, by my count.
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.