Welp, that was less fun. The Knicks’ preseason-long goals of an undefeated preseason were shattered like so many preseason plates, not unlike that episode during the final season of Three’s Company when Larry Dallas’ (née Dalliapoulos) Greek extended family dined to their Hellenic hearts’ content (as the Greeks are wont to do) in Jack Tripper’s newly-opened boîte, Jack’s bistro…
I assume Woodson’s pregame speeches are not entirely dissimilar to Mr. Firley’s. In any case, like the above clip, all seemed full of joyous men dancing with other men and homophobic/sexist jokes about fat chix, mang, and playing of the Bouzouki, Udrih attempting Ritter’s finest pratfalls, an Melo cooking up some savory soup, until the final minutes of the fourth, when a snaggle-toothed, Imam-bearded Reggie Evans impersonator (if Reggie Evans could hit from the top of the key) absolutely smashed every single dish he could get his mitts on in a giddily rapturous frenzy, sending the ‘Bockers to defeat and wholly decimating Jack’s profit margin. THANKS OBAMA!!!1!
Sounds exciting, don’t it? Well, in truth, it was a tepid, listless preseason game and not nearly as much ribald fun as the above might lead you to believe. In the name of full disclosure, I missed the first quarter because I switched to the metric clock this week. These ten-hour days are darned confusing (but the 100-hour week really lends itself to productivity). So, if there are any nuggets of wisdom that could be culled from the 22-all deadlock, please feel free to add them in the comments section. I can share.
Feel free to reboot your PreseasonWillNotOverreact App. Up and running now? Swell.
The Knicks put out some prettily effective offensive sets in the 2nd, much of which came via utilizing Carmelo in a variety of ways out of pick and rolls/pick and roll action. Whether he was the primary ball handler or the screener, they were able to locate him for uncontested looks or free up Chandler’s dives or wide open shooter on the weakside. Then again, ven when he was ISO’ing, say when confronting former friends-of-the-program Landry Fields (more on this in a tad) or Steve Novak (<3 u Steve), he was tossing peas into the Caspian Sea and grinning like the proverbial Cheshire Cat sittin’ in the lesser-known proverbial catbird seat. A side note: Melo does NOT like Landry Fields. Feel free to speculate as to why, but you could see Anthony take particular sadistic glee in making him look stupid. Alas, the ‘Bocker defense (for lack of a better term) was downright putrid, save for Prigioni’s pilfering; and that includes Iman Shumpert. Seriously though, you’d think some shrewd coach would say, “Watch out for the tanned Modigliani paintin on inbounds,” or something.
DeMar DeRozan was nigh-unguardable, and they continued to miss rotations, allow any guard faster than a rhino to beat them off the dribble and double team haphazardly. Though all of this flailing and overpursuing did lead to 23 Toronto turnovers, it also resulted in many an open cuts down the lane, wide open trey, and sloppy, reaching-to-grab-a-gent-for-no-particular-reason-type fouls galore (even if some of the calls were a tad questionable. We should probably all practice hollering, “DARE I SAY IT, BUT THESE REFEREES SUCKLE DONKEY TESTES.” It’s the preseason for all our Knick-ly sense of victimhood at the hands of/perpetual outrage towards the arbiters too, dontcha know.)
Down the stretch in the 3rd quarter, a defensive-minded unit featuring Shump n’ Metta put the clamps on the Dinosaurs, forcing turnovers and leading to fast break hoops galore. Would this were a regular season tilt, and they’d returned the starting five to the floor, they probably would’ve prevailed. But as ten-point 4th quarter bulge was in the process of being whittled away, Toure’ Murry made his NBA debut, banked home a nifty up and under lay in, followed hard upon with a steal on the baseline and feed to a streaking Timmy Jr. for the flush. All seemed right in the known universe until…until…IT arrived.
Quincy Acy, the Demi-god, the Devourer of Worlds, the Great Colossus just plain went HAM. Here are my notes, presented without edits. They really do convey the totality of what shall henceforth be known far and wide as The Quincy Acy Game:
Quicky acy dunk,
Quincy Acy long three
Quicky acy interior D
Quicky Acy block,
Quicny acy steal off an out of control Udrih.
Quicny ACYYYYYY HuSTle offensive rebound, gets fouled.
Quincy Acy destroys Beno driving to the hoop w/13 seconds left. Because he’s Quicny Acy, that’s why.
Plus, he really does look like a slightly sub-par clone of Reggie Evans. This tweet put it best, methinks.
Might be a Russian Nesting Doll situation. RT @BobSaietta: Has anyone ever seen Acy and Reggie Evans in the same place at the same time?
— Chris Towers (@CTowersCBS) October 12, 2013
And so they lost. Poop. A few more thoughts on some of tonight’s participants:
Andrea Bargnani: Evidently, our neighbors to the north—the nicest, politest people (‘cept for the ones playing hockey) in the world—just do not like the cut of Andrea’s jib, unleashing a Vertsbergerian torrent of boos whenever he touched the rock. I was stuck watching the feed from Toronto, and even the announcers wanted MOAR HATE, bemoaning the lack of blood-curdling screams and dolls in your likeness that were hung in effigy. So as my offering to the great God Objectivity, there were some good things from our Italo-Canadian import and some that are going to be season long nails on our collective chalkboard. Melo was heard in the funny papers exhorting Bargs to lay off his eerily effective pump fake, mainly because open shots don’t need to be crafted out of some slo-mo, Butoh Dance moves.
On more than one occasion, Andrea got the ball at the top of the key, caught it, then waited, the mondered, then pondered waiting, giving the defender time to get in his grill, before rotating the ball out/passing back to the wing/or attempting the aforementioned jukes n’ jives. I never thought I’d be saying this, but shoot it Bargs! Confidence breeds success! For all his gifts, he’s just not instinctive. The same problem is manifest on defense. Though it can look like he doesn’t give a crap, I just think his reaction time is a tick or two short. That said, he hit a couple of nice runners and put forth more effort on the glass, even if said effort seemed to be composed of running into the fray and sending both ‘mates and opponents sprawling.
Metta World Peace: As was the case on Wednesday, the day dedicated to Wigge, wife of Odin, Peace seems to think he’s got a Melo-ian green light, especially when pared with the ostensible 2nd unit. This, to date, has not proved to be a good thing. We finally got to see his scrambling, scrappy defense in the stretch at the end of the third, but even more so than Bargs, I would consider myself a happy, well-adjusted human being if he would dispense entirely with his bullheaded, lift-free forays to the rim and off-balance, “low-post” rainbow jumpers. Corner threes and wide open spot up J’s for you, Metta. C’est tout. Learn it. Live it.
Beno Udrih: Beno’s defense. It is…what’s the word I’m looking for…not good. He racked up four fouls in his first five minutes of action and generally plays like an over-caffeinated/sugared child, often tumbling to the floor at surprising and peculiar moments. It’s odd, because at other times, he can appear fairly crafty and heady, but then he just loses all sense of coordination, often all in the same play; like the moment in the 3rd when he beat his man off the dribble, tripped over an imaginary line, lost the ball, grabbed it again and somehow fed Bargs for an easy layup.
Josh Powell: Josh Powell likes to foul. I’m a poet, and I’m unaware of the fact that I’m composing poetry. He’s undersized, even for the PF slot, but he’s quite the whirling dervish of energy. Occasionaly, that’s a good thing, as when he saved Timmy from an evening of chums sending him links to the ESPN clip of Landry Fields (!) shredding his ankles (!!) with a crossover dribble (system error) with a nice recovery and block.
But mostly, all of his grabbing and flinging himself about just led to led to hacks.
Tim Hardaway Jr.: Another night of silky-smooth jumpers, but you can see that he has a bad tendency to not stay balanced and lean to the side on his jumpers off the dribble, which makes him less accurate. Boffo dunk, though, even if Tim the Elder wasn’t around to poke the gentleman sitting next to him in the ribs as to indicate, “That’s my son!”
And that’ll do it. There were some nice signs and some disturbing (Yes, preseason caveats, but worrying/fretting’s practically an Olympic sport ‘round these parts) trends: the still-atrocious point-guard defense, inability to avoid dumb fouls and the bizarro ‘strategy’ of seeming to encourage corner bombs being three big ones. On the plus side, they did do a much better job on the glass, actually netted a few fast break points, and the veterans all seem healthy and ready to roll. If tonight’s game gave you a case of the sadz, fear not. They’ll be playing in Lord Jimeson “Irish Jim” O’CavanFitz’s stomping grounds/the one place on earth Clyde Frazier has never trod with his alligator shoed-feet tomorrow night. And even if as rumored Felt and Melo are planning to skip the proceedings, our brave, noble cub reporter shall attend in person to give y’all the skinny and the inside dope.