|Carmelo Anthony, SF 39 MIN | 9-28 FG | 7-8 FT | 9 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 25 PTS | -21
Here’s the shooting numberz for Melo’s last five outings: 9-25, 8-19, 11-29, 11-28 and 9-28. That’s…what’s the word…not good. We’re beyond the point where we can point to breakfast-cereal inspired fits of pique and/or weird, Biblical, fad diets. I get that he was pissed at the lack of whistles when he went to the rim, but dribbling the ball into a flaccid, deflated heap and launching 20-footers is not the way to rectify the situation. His defense was equally laissez-faire and we witnessed a classic, “I’m just going to get into a Lincoln/Douglas-lengthed debate with one of the arbiters whilst the opposing team scampers down the court brain spasms.
|Tyson Chandler, C 25 MIN | 2-2 FG | 2-2 FT | 10 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 6 PTS | -21
Tyson was outplayed by Spencer Hawes. I repeat, Spencer. Effing. Hawes. Not just because the latter can bang home an open jumper, but on defense, as a rebounder, the whole magilla. That pretty much sums it up, dontcha think?
|Jason Kidd, PG 15 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -10
And it woudn’t be a Knick game without one of our senescent Hessians suffering from some type of boo-boo or owie or Nasty Poobum Wubbie Bam-Bams or whatever familial euphemism you favor. Kidd’s posterior is out of whack. Why Woodson insisted on pressing him into service on the first night of a back-to-back (pun intended) continues to elude yours truly
|Raymond Felton, PG 29 MIN | 2-8 FG | 3-4 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | -20
It’s going to take a game for Felton to get back to the form he displayed back in November. Patience, grasshopper. Oh, and I almost forgot. Felton’s a terrible on-ball defender. Forgot about that. Absence sure does make the heart grow fonder.
|Iman Shumpert, PG 18 MIN | 0-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 1 PTS | -18
Evidently Ray-Ray’s rust was left strewn all over the court as he waddled around to shake it off, because Shump certainly seemed to get vast swaths of it stuck to his shoes. He looked hesitant and a step or two slow on defense and completely lost on the other end to boot, contrary to what we’ve (mostly) seen since his return from last summer’s ACL-mangling.
|Amar’e Stoudemire, PF 27 MIN | 8-13 FG | 4-4 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 20 PTS | -2
In a sea of incompetence, sloppiness, and casual indifference, here’s your government-mandated bright spot. STAT looked great. Granted, he wasn’t exactly going up against Moses Malone, Wilt Chamberlain or even Manute Bol on the block, but he made quick, decisive moves and finished with aplomb. His defense even went up two or three ticks from, “Dear GOD. The children! Won’t somebody please think of the children!” to passable. We’ll discuss his role further in a bit, but hopefully he doesn’t start chomping at the bit to roll with the starters, because this really should be his role moving forward.
|Kurt Thomas, PF 4 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +8
|Chris Copeland, SF 17 MIN | 2-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | +5
|Ronnie Brewer, SF 0 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | 0
So, we’ve finally discovered Ronnie’s sweet spot. Less, than ten seconds to go in a non-4th quarter when you need a defensive stop, that’s Brew’s time to shine!
|Steve Novak, SF 15 MIN | 1-3 FG | 1-1 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | 0
In the, here’s the reason why Twain leveled his famous quote about the three kinds of lies” category, we have example No. 4,503,982: statistically, Novak grades out as a so-so defender. Evidently ballers don’t really peruse obscure sites like 82games.com the way you and I do, because, when seeing our buttermilk-complexioned SF/PF/Gunner sticking a hand in his/her face, anyone wearing a headband and baggy shorts’ eyes widen and drool begins to gush from the corners of their mouths like a starving man who wanders into a sumptuous dining table, covered with all the finest comestibles in the land. In brief, he’s not good. Hit some shots and I’ll stop unpacking overwrought, burdensome metaphors in these recaps. Okay Steve?
|Pablo Prigioni, PG 19 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 6 PTS | +3
Prigioni nailed a couple of his patented I’m-trying-to-slowly-heave-this-rabid-ferret-as-far-away-from-my-face-as-possible set shot treys, but he too, was royally eviscerated by that baby-faced assassin, Jrue Holiday
|J.R. Smith, SG 27 MIN | 0-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 0 PTS | -16
Guess what? J.R. Smith is 3 for his last 24 and19 for his last 69. Sixty-nine, Dude. Tee-hee! Not much more to say. This wasn’t “Bad J.R.” this was “Horrid creature spawned from the deepest bowels of Hell J.R.” Sir, you earned that F tonight. I’d really like to replace an alphabetical grade with some kind of scratch and sniff sticker for a mini-fridge that’s been left in an alley for weeks on end because of a seemingly unending strike by municipal garbagemen that’s chocked to the gills with maggot-infested jars of mayonnaise. Or perhaps the foulest flatulence in the history of the world. Either will do.
|James White, SG 7 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +7
Some serious stupidz by the Goateed one. A) He didn’t start Shump on Jrue, thus allowing the Philly PG to get wicked hot and B) in the name of all that is holy and good, WHAT POSSIBLE REASON COULD THERE BE FOR PLAYING CARMELO ANTHONY FOR 39 MINUTES WHEN YOUR TEAM IS GETTING SHELLACKED LIKE TONIGHT. I’m sure even Tom Thibodeau is going to slap his forehead in disbelief and grumble something to the effect of, “Geez, you’re gonna wear these guys out.” Also, the venting of Wood’s spleen thing certainly didn’t do much to snap this team out of its collective stupor. Might need to dig a different tactic out your bag of motivational tools, Coach.
Five Things We Saw
- Well, that was awful. In case you’ve spent the last odd hour or so repeatedly beating yourself in and around the cranium with a polo mallet or a ginormous, steroid-infused zucchini in the hopes of just plain bludgeoning/eradicating every neuron that might contain a morsel of this utterly dreary, torpid atrocity or you’re an irredeemable sadist for whom the act of your leather-clad partner running a mandolin food slicer repeatedly over the soft, squishy parts of your inner thigh is what you call, “A good start,” here’s what went down…
- Things actually started out reasonably well, despite yet another in a series of galling 1st quarter deficits. They were running a semblance of the sets that had proved so durned effective way back when, before the Industrial Revolution but shortly after Reconstruction, the ball was swinging around the perimeter and Felton was doing a decent job of getting into the lane, even if the pick and roll was only marginally effective. Alas, absolutely nothing would fall, as if someone had accidently draped three or four extra-thick, super-gristly slabs of uncooked cheesesteak steak atop whichever rim the Knicks were flinging the ball towards. Thanks to a slew of springy, deft Amar’e buckets in the paint, the Knicks were able to keep the deficit within single digits up until the end of the 2nd quarter, when they got truly Yeats-ian and things fell apart. The center, Tyson Chandler, could not hold. Mere anarchy, in the form of Nick Young was loosed upon the world. The blood-dimmed tide of Jrue Holiday was loosed, and everywhere? the ceremony of Chris Copeland’s innocence was drowned. The best, like Melo, lacked all conviction, while the worst, our once noble lord, Earl Smith III, was full of passionate intensity. And on top of it all, their response to a shit brick house of threes and slightly dodgy calls was mind-numbingly dumb, reverting to each and every pooptastically bad instinct/unveiling all their individual and collective worst attributes. Melo and J.R. chucked with wild abandon. There were turnovers that were so unforced and abominable, they’d have made Toney Douglas wince. Tyson just plain decided to take a nap, figuring (accurately), “Welp, if no one else is going to give 1.23 shits about rotating to stop penetration, why the frack should I? And that’s how you get whomped by 17 in a game that wasn’t nearly as close as the final score indicated.
What’s all the more depressing is that I was tickled at the prospect of seeing a return to the two-PG lineup and the semi-permanent installation of Melo at the four. Considering it seems that Son of Wood’s instinct is to go with a “traditional” lineup, coupled with the fact that STAT was by far, the best ‘Bocker on the floor tonight, even if that’s a dubious honor, like being the least morbidly obese kid at fat camp or the hoarder who managed to carve a path between the magazines stacked like poorly constructed skyscrapers and the unending, disturbingly still-greasy piles of those little circular disks that they use to keep the pizza from affixing itself to the top of the cardboard box so that said hoarder can ever-so-delicately make his/her way to the john, (Ok. That’s a bit harsh. STAT looked good, period.), means that we’re sure to see more idle, troll-tastic chatter like this Berman piece that landed late this afternoon about returning Amar’e to the starting lineup. Tonight was dreck, no bout a doubt it, but an overreaction like that would only make things demonstrably worse.
- I’m fairly sure Clyde’s dialect’s tendency to render the English language like a lingual contortionist was at fault here, but I could have sworn he referred to the Sixers’ ephebic point guard as, “Jew Holiday”. Well, this Semite for one was not at all prone to dress up like Esther or Mordechai and gobble down a fistful of hamantaschen. (It’s a Purim joke. It’s a festive time, for reals. C’mon you surly curs, laugh. I don’t sing or dance. This is all I got here. And please tip your waitress. Yuks aside, hoo-boy is Jrue a nifty PG. There’s no one aspect of his game that really pops, like Kyrie’s/Curry’s deadly shot, Rubio’s court vision/passing, Rondo’s handle, or Lawson’s blinding speed, but unlike all the other legion of emergent floor generals, he’s above average an all of those aforementioned skillz and just so effing smooth/suave. Kind of like Ben in Blue Velvet.
(And yes, after sitting through every second of this blighted dunghill of a game, I looked like a demented combination of both Frank Booth and Kyle McLachlan.) At the half, I was chatting with some Knick-y peeps on the Knicks twitter about the 2009, draft. There’s a reasonable argument to be made that considering Rubio’s balky shot, Tyreke’s regression, Curry’s frailty, and Lawson’s lack of size and speed-dependent game, long-term, Holiday’s the cat you’d want to have, if a re-do was possible. It isn’t? Crap.
- I’ve said it in the past, but I generally hate the, “The other team wanted it more/The Knicks lacked energy” excuse/rationale/explanation. Jim Todd’s utter dismay at his team’s lack of hustle at halftime was so palpable I’d swear it had a gin-soaked, sleep-deprived, nicotine-fingered shadow. Tonight’s the exception that proves the rule. In a long season, it happens, but it’s certainly less-than-pleasant to witness. I can only assume being an active participant in such a dolorous effort is even more of a soul-sucking experience. Doug Collins even fled the arena with some kind of dental emergency in the third quarter rather than hang around for the grim conclusion.
- And that’s about it. Luckily/unluckily, our guys return to action a mere 18 hours from now v. Atlanta. Another execrable effort like this one will really send the huddled masses into a pitchfork-wielding tizzy, so I’m going to invoke one of my many New Year’s resolutions, hope for the best and not let a putrid loss like this gnaw away at the lining of my small intestine as has oft been the case in the past. E-see you there, chums.