Jamal was incredible against the Heat; the rim must have looked like a hoola hoop. The most impressive aspect of his performance is that he opened up his entire arsenal. He shot well from 3pt. range but took them mostly in the flow of the offense. He used his bounce to attack high percentage areas of the floor, keeping defenders off-balance. But then he also ran tight off screens and ran the floor. When Crawford is in constant motion like that, rather than engrossed in his intricate choreography of crossover and between-the-leg-dribbles, he is a tough, tough cover.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of last night’s win is that Miami never really put together a run that cut significantly into NY’s lead despite an impressive game from Dwyane Wade and decent bench production from ‘Toine.
Although Crawford’s night is the main story here, a few other facets of this game are noteworthy as the Knicks go forward. First, Marbury was excellent in the first half but sat much of the second half. His tendinitis is going to be a problem all year long. Second, Channing Frye had a nice bounce-back game with 16 points, 6 boards, 2 steals and a block in pre-garbage minutes, following a pretty worthless effort at Miami last week. In his last 10 games Frye has averaged 11 points, 5.4 boards, 0.8 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.4 blocks. After getting off to such a rocky start Frye may be starting to find his place. The Knicks are going to need both he and David Lee to play well if a run at the playoffs is in this team’s future. Third, the team got another almost ho-hum double-double from David Lee, excellent energy from Balkman off the bench, and even decent minutes from “Big Snacks” in Eddy Curry’s absence.