Relatively Quick Reaction: Knicks 100, Sixers 84
DISCLAIMER: Yet again, there remains a glitch in the recap generator’s HTML code, and like Mr. Cavan I am incapable of fixing this Rube Goldberg device. Hopefully, we’ll resolve the issue(s) and have it looking better than a poop taco by tomorrow evening’s tilt. Until then, if you’re having trouble dissecting the misplaced graphics and whatnot, get Jim on Skype and he’ll perform an interpretive dance of today’s game that will be infinitely more pleasing to the eye.
Carmelo Anthony, SF 39 MIN | 10-18 FG | 6-9 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 27 PTS | +5That was beautiful. I’d start kvelling for paragraphs about how that might have been the most complete game at both ends of the floor we’ve seen in the 1.5 years that Melo’s been garbed in Blue and Orange, but his basic psychic makeup would probably force him to get peeved and start launching 30-footers from his nipples. This, of course, assumes that Carmelo Anthony reads Knickerblogger recaps and bases all his life choices on our sage advice, droll witticisms and obscure references. I’m going to hold on to that fantasy for a while, just as I’ll clutch vainly to the notion that one game is a large enough sample size to state with total confidence that the source of the most heated debates ’round these parts is finally “getting it”. Seriously though, ‘Melo was unstoppable. If the Sixers doubled, he moved the ball to the open man. If they played off him, he swished an open shot. If they pressed, he drove to the hole. More importantly, he was a plus defender, forcing multiple turnovers, rotating to help (I know. I can’t believe I just wrote that either) and getting a 9.9 from judge Charles Oakley on his swan dive into the stands. If this is to become the “new normal”…hoo-doggie. Look out. We’re talking a fully-operational Death Star here. The graphic’s been lost in the swirling seas of indecipherable code, but Melo gets an A+, obvs.
Tyson Chandler, C 21 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | +7I thought robots weren’t susceptible to the various microbes, viruses and bacteria that plague we humans? Tyson was clearly feeling icky and as a result we saw a few glimpses of Tyson-y things scattered hither and yonder, but for the most part it’s probably best that he only got 21 minutes of floor time. Rest up, Tyson. Drink a lot of fluids. Don’t take zinc tablets. That’s a placebo. And if you need someone to bring you orange juice or wipe your nose or anything, you know how to reach me.
Jason Kidd, PG 25 MIN | 4-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 6 AST | 12 PTS | +14In the sake of full disclosure, I was firmly against the Jason Kidd signing this offseason. His metrics have been plummeting faster than shares of Netflix the last two seasons and I just personally do. Not. Like. Jason. Kidd. It’s not just the spousal abuse charges, the weird kiss of his fingers before launching a free throw or the fact that when his playing career ends in 2037 he’ll be able to ease into his future employment as a full-time Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov impersonator. For reasons beyond my understanding, the cat just rubs me the wrong way. That said, after two games, color me impressed. He’s so effing smart. And if he can continue to spread the floor and play serviceable defense against shooting guards, he’s a serious asset. Is it okay if, empirical evidence to the contrary, I still don’t cotton to the cut of his jib? It is? Thanks.
Raymond Felton, PG 30 MIN | 5-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 11 PTS | +19A bit of a mixed bag for our man Raymond (no, not a mixed bag of leftover Halloween candy). He started out doing a nifty job of pushing the tempo, breaking down the defense, hitting open jumpers and finishing at the rim. His final numbers don’t reflect it, but I counted more than a few “hockey assists” (a pass leading to the pass leading to the bucked. Ray’s the guy behind the guy behind the guy. What was I saying? Oh right…) In the 2nd half, he had a gaggle of sloppy, unforced turnovers, but overall, another quality outing. Like my fellow recapper/Yoga aficionado, Jim Cavan, I’m going to do my best to resist the notion to compare every single millisecond of on-court activity to whatshisname down in the Lone Star State, but the whole “fits the team” better argument (which I still think is a load of bunk) is climbing in my internal polls.
Ronnie Brewer, SG 26 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-2 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 9 PTS | +12One of the nice things about watching Ronnie Brewer is that I feel better about my own disjointed, wonky jump-shooting form. Granted, I don’t have a mangled limb to use as an excuse. Ronnie’s a plus defender and constantly in motion on offense. Even if he’s not the greatest finisher at the rim, he’s contributed to the pass-happy, unselfish vibe that your humble correspondent didn’t see coming — especially hard on the heels of a mainly ISO-centric preseason.
Kurt Thomas, PF 18 MIN | 2-4 FG | 1-1 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 5 PTS | +5Kurt popped his flagrant foul cherry and honestly I’m surprised it took as long as it did. He clearly whomped whichever Sixer that was upside the head (and, for the record, I think trying to prevent concussions is a good thing) but if anyone finds a hole in the space-time continuum/wormhole that goes back to 1994, please do not bring an in-their-prime Anthony Mason and/or Charles Oakley back with you. If those two were to suit up in today’s NBA, they’d receive so many fines from Stu “The Dean of Discipline” Jackson, that they’d rack up debt that would rival that of the United States Government. [The US Debt Joke's for our own John Kenney, who we'll hear from later in this here recap.] Speaking of which, if Mase shows up in the state of Wisconsin, he’s going straight to debtor’s prison. Don’t believe me? Peep this. [h/t Kevin McElroy] (Seinfeld voice) What is the deal with Knickerbockers and financial difficulties with the Cheeseheads? Latrell’s houseboat wouldn’t even cover that bill. Yuks notwithstanding, like many an AARP member of our surprisingly spry roster, Kurt’s a SMART ballplayer. He’s all-too-aware of his own limitations, but within this relatively limited domain –setting bone-jarring picks, rebounding, hitting the occasional 15-footer, pulling awesomely crazy faces at the arbiters — so far, he’s been durned effective.
Rasheed Wallace, PF 4 MIN | 1-1 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 3 PTS | +5We’re all clearly pleased as punch to have
Uncle Drew Rasheed Wallace back in the League. As friend-of-the-blog netw3rk noted on the Twitter: “Sheed gets a board; crowd erupts. This crowd would applaud Sheed’ going to the bathroom.” I hope further maladies, bumps, bruises and boo-boos don’t force Sheed much past his designated “infinitely cooler version of Brian Scalabrine” role, but given how things have gone so far (every available digit crossed, knock on wood and even rapping some wood-grained Teflon to be sure) I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he played smart ball and kept this wacky “team” concept rollin’.
Steve Novak, SF 24 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | -4“It’s still oh-so-surprising and pathologically disappointing when he misses. Do that less, Steve, Kay? Much has been made of Novak’s defensive deficiencies, or rather the abject shock that one experiences when he does a halfway decent job. This afternoon, he unfortunately got burned on more than one occasion trying to stick with Dorell Wright. Sad face.
Chris Copeland, SF 2 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | +4.It’s your first NBA points-day! Hi Cope!
Pablo Prigioni, PG 15 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 4 AST | 0 PTS | +9It’s your first NBA points-day too! So far, we haven’t seen much of the silky-smooth passes that Priggly-Wiggly (I’m trying to attain a critical mass with that nickname. Help a brother out.) handed out in the preseason, though he’s been solid and (once more with feeling) is clearly a smart ballplayer. That said, he’s seemed oddly tentative. 35-year olds can have jitters too, so we’ll chalk it up to that.
James White, SG 2 MIN | 0-0 FG | 1-2 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | +4It’s your first Knick point-day! Hi James!
J.R. Smith, SG 35 MIN | 8-15 FG | 3-3 FT | 9 REB | 2 AST | 20 PTS | +10And here’s the afternoon’s other Bar Mitzvah boy. Like ‘Melo, I really just want to seal this game from J.R. in a hyperbaric chamber somewhere in the bowels of an über-secret government think tank where it can be studied by top men. TOP men (and J.R., natch). There were still a couple of brain-spassms that might make one playfully slap one’s forehead and bemusedly chuckle, “Oh Earl,” including a wholly unnecessary stare-down of the 76ers’ bench after a made corner trey and two or three passes that went so far awry that they concussed the Durham Bulls’ mascot. That said, he was a sturdy defender, a willing passer and when the ‘Bockers absolutely, positively needed a bucket to quench a Philly mini-run that had whittled the lead to seven, he rattled off eight straight points, including two killer threes to open the fourth. As a bonus, during a post-game interview, he informed Tina Cervasio that his game plan was to, “Keep looking for Novak.” Good plan, J.R. Part of the reason that this recap was delayed until after the sun set (aside from the aforementioned technical difficulties) is that I’ve been hard at work banging out a screenplay for a TNT police procedural featuring a mismatched pair of cops who overcome their cultural differences to become best buds, crack one liners galore, score with the ladies and fight crime n’ stuff. It’s Novak and J.R., after tonight’s game…ONLY…on TNT. We know drama!
Five Things We Saw
- Hey guys, John Kenney here. Sorry to pull Bob off his soapbox. Don’t worry, I’ll give it back; it’s doubling as his residence at the moment due to Hurricane Sandy. Two quick thoughts on today’s game, from inside the Garden of Madison Square (sort of):The MSG crowd was pretty solid for a Sunday matinee, but Woodson’s acquiescence to the Sheed chants vs. Miami may have made them overeager. Today, we had Sheed chants starting before the 5 minute mark, followed by a dueling, “Mar-Cus Cam-By,” chant-off, followed by Woodson sending Sheed in, as if he’d been holding a noise contest and the Sheed fans had won. Don’t get me wrong: I love Sheed, and his play has been solid in garbage time thus far. But the Garden crowd should realize that their “crowd-chant capital” is not unlimited. The wise politician reserves his…Sorry, forgot that “Wise Politicians” are as oft-spotted these days as the Dodo Bird. Continuing…
- I’m tempted to say that the Knicks shouldn’t be relying on three pointers so much, but in-person it seemed like they easily could have shot them more. I doubted the Jason Kidd signing as much as anyone, but the ball movement in our two-point-guard sets is pretty frickin’ phenomenal, and as a result the Knicks are taking threes because they’re completely wide open; so much so that they occasionally get carried away with finding the perfect shot and pass it too much. Quick, don’t let Melo know I said that. We still don’t believe buddy! Keep proving us wrong! I definitely wasn’t applauding your smart, decisive play the entire game!
- Although he’s often been described as a pony with more than zero but less than two tricks, today we saw the impact Herr Novak can have on the offense without shooting the ball. During a long stretch when Steve-o had approximately zero shots, the Knicks smartly had Melo set up on the block on his side. Novak’s shooting ability kept his man from doubling Melo, and Melo’s smart decision-making in the post against single coverage contributed to fluid offense the likes of which we hadn’t seen since 2010. I’ll give Bob his house back now.
- Thanks Johnnykins. Don’t worry. I’ve got a portable soapbox. It allows me to rant and rage no matter where I hang my hat.I hope all you Knickerbloggeristas are as giddy as I am about how this team is playing. Honestly, this may be the first smart Knick team I can ever remember rooting for. The Rileyballers were great and all, but their success wasn’t predicated on having a Mensa-like b-ball IQ. To wit: After two games, they’ve assisted on 60% of their made field goals (45 out of 75). That very favorably compares to the league’s model of offensive efficiency, last season’s San Antonio Spurs, who gave at the office at a 58.5 percent clip. They’re not going to keep gunning from downtown at this (47%) rate, but they’re playing at a glacially slow pace, especially when compared to last season’s hybrid SSOL/ISO-Joe style, and that, when combined with their defensive dominance and their newfound passing fancy, will keep them in games even when the bombs go bonk.
- Not to go all Debbie Downer, but I remain concerned about what might occur when they try to re-integrate STATS skillz into this sweet, well-balanced soup; if the gorgeous spacing that’s allowed ‘Melo to operate will vanish, the defensive intensity will suffer because Anthony’s guarding quicker small forwards and STAT’s human turnstile act forces Tyson to cover for a multitude of lapses. Y’all know that as soon as he’s healthy, Amar’e’s going straight back into the starting lineup. Even if a phalanx of NBA geeks armed with reams of quantifiable data marched right into Son of Wood’s office, willing to wager their signed copy of Nate Silver’s The Signal and the Noise that Stoudemire and all of Knickdom would be best served coming off the bench, he’s still going to start as soon as he’s physically able to do so. Why? Well, conventional wisdom (my absolute fave oxymoron) says that Vets don’t lose their spot because of injury. Gah. Welp, we’ll burn that bridge when we get to it. For now, enjoy your first place, undefeated, New York Knicks! At this pace, we’re going 82-0! MATH!
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.