|Andrea Bargnani, PF 19 MIN | 6-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 14 PTS | -11
Better! One thing seems clear — Bargs is a lot more comfortable as a pick and pop shooter than he is when the ball rotates to him, in particular beyond the three-point line. I need to re-watch the game to be sure. (Yes, I’m that much of a masochist [or rather, Knicks fan. I’ll watch this one again, whilst reclining in a leopard skin robe in my luxurious study and, like Navin R. Johnson, declare, “Roll the ugliness…”]. He did a decent job trying to keep a mitt or two near Love and Pek, but maybe…just maybe…Son of Wood is coming to the realization that even when his shooting was carrying the offense, the team was still better off without him. Fun stat: The Knicks outscored the Wolves 47-33 once Bargs’ tuchus was planted to the pine. It’s not his fault, which is what makes this lost-puppy-in-the-rain-staring-at-a-signpost-he-can’t-understand-level sad/pitiable, but (raise the curtains on our ongoing production of Small Sample Size Theatre) he just doesn’t fit as a starter. That’s not to say it’s his ‘fault’ that they lost. It’s just that forcing him into the starting lineup is getting the team away from what it does best.
And he really resembles Nicky Sobotka. If you want a non-rational reason to clench your Andrea-loathing fists till your fingernails cut into the palm of your hand, that’ll do just fine.
So much sad face.
|Carmelo Anthony, SF 44 MIN | 8-21 FG | 4-5 FT | 17 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 22 PTS | +8
That was weird. He started out ice cold and royally out of sorts, unable to finish those bunny offensive bounds or free himself up for a half decent midrange look. The Forest Puppies were throwing some Thibodeau-esque double teams/overloading the strong side and crowding the pick and roll, and whole for the most part he did an okay job of passing out, but he also had more than his share of ugly, unforced turnovers and trying-to-copulate-in-a-fetid-swamp-in-August sloppiness. He got looks in rhythm as the game went on (possibly due to a certain lineup combo that we’ll discuss further in just a jiffy), and did a boffo job hitting the glass all night, though.
|Tyson Chandler, C 32 MIN | 3-4 FG | 4-4 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 10 PTS | -17
Historically, Pekovic has absolutely shredded Tyson. He’s just too durned strong. I mean, on his back, he’s got a picture of: “the Ostrog Monastery in Montenegro, which was built on the side of a mountain cliff in the 17th century and dedicated to St. Basil of Ostrog,” and Nikola’s quoted as saying, “For us [Montenegrans], it’s a special place.” I’m scared just describing in in word form. Would you want to spend 2.5 hours or so dealing with an individual who looks like that thar vidyuh game character Zangief come to horrid, nightmarish, 3-dimensional life.
And all of the lovely mutli-limbed recovery skills and domination of the painted area that we saw v. the Bulls n’ Bucks, wasn’t really present. Mainly because the Minnesotans were getting their points in the paint via low post beasting, backdoor cuts, and leak-out/cherry-picked fast break buckets as opposed to quick guards penetrating to the tin, thus somewhat negating Tyson’s powers.
|Raymond Felton, PG 38 MIN | 3-12 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 12 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 8 PTS | -17
My first few notes for Ray — you know, during the very, very brief period where the Knicks had a 5 point lead – were all about coming to praise our Brutish BullPenguinDog for his aggressiveness and decisiveness driving to the hoop. That’s been a pretty consistent good thing so far this season. Naturally, like pretty much every aspect of the ‘Bockers’ performance, things went absolutely to pot shortly after, flopping and sliding about, seemingly having little to no idea how to direct the Knick attack, and pretty much getting manhandled by Ricky Rubio, 12 dimes notwithstanding. I also found it odd that Clyde kept referring to Ricky as an ‘underrated’ defender. I mean, unless he’s resorting to the dully bland, facile, oft-inaccurate “Euros can’t or won’t play D/are softer than aged Jamón Iberico stereotype, anyone who’s seen him play the last few seasons knows how well he sneaks into passing lanes and how nifty he is at keeping the point guards bottled up.
|Iman Shumpert, SG 26 MIN | 5-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 12 PTS | -6
You remember back in the preseason, when you and I were praising Shump’s vim and vigor and taking statements about snatching the ball and having them sown on to decorative pillows and whatnot? Well, there is a downside to all that. Kevin Martin’s exactly the type of cat that’s bound to give Iman fits, what with the countless screens he’ll run an opponent through, a la Reggie Miller and all the crafty foul-inducing head/pump fakes, also a la Reggie Miller. I do not like Kevin Martin, a la Reggie Miller! Might’ve been wiser to put Shump on Ricky and let Felt run into/through the great pick wall of Minneapolis. Or, you know, JUST START PRIGS.
|Kenyon Martin, PF 16 MIN | 3-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | -12
Speaking of head-scratching (to say the least) lineup/rotation choices, after Melo was sent to go sit in the corner and think about what he did after picking up an early 2nd foul, who should come into the game, but Kenyon Martin. I get the whole, “You’re getting shredded defense-wise, so put in a good defensive player” thing, but pairing Tyson and Kmart, even with the first, brief iteration of the two-PG look was a bad, bad idea. Of course, with those bigguns sharing the court, the Knickerbockers were outscored 21-4, including the dunderheaded JR Smith special: foul a three-point shot, then shove him out of rage/frustration, thus netting a tech.
|Metta World Peace, SF 21 MIN | 7-13 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 17 PTS | +17
Silly technical fouls, you say? I give you a Metta who practically was wearing Pablo Prigioni like a blanket, trying to keep him from going at the arbiters and a tussle with that monstrous Slavic brute Pekovic that, had it escalated, might’ve warranted a UN sanctioned intervention. Look, I loved the way Ron-Ron played defense most of the game and the deft dives to the rim. He’s such a smart ballplayer in so many ways (and if the NBA ever banned jumping, he’d be and All-Star) and then equally out of control/impulsive in others. He still seems to turn down easy shots in favor of more difficult ones. His hands can be Kidd-like, but he gambles a lot. We’re still knee-deep in the whole comparing-this-team-to-last-year’s-thing (guilty as charged), but one big difference is that by shedding wise, aged, noble counselors like the aforementioned Mr. Kidd, ‘Sheed, Kurt n’ Camby, they shed a lot of Hoops IQ.
|Tim Hardaway Jr., SG 25 MIN | 3-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -7
He’s a serious weapon in transition. Like this:
0-7 from three is not what one would call “good,” but save for an odd inclination to use the excess kinetic energy he generated with his rim-rocking to chuck up a couple of heaves that clanged the back iron (Tim Jr.’s eFG%/Fuck’s Given ratio will always be infinity, or as it’s more commonly known, a Nick “Swaggy P” Young), he missed the type of in-rhythm, off good ball oration shot that he’s been hitting on the regular. He still hasn’t totally gotten the hang of the Knicks switches — and after a particularly vicious Kevin Love dunk, he looked over at Metta and said, “My bad, my bad.” — but the potential’s definitely there.
|Pablo Prigioni, PG 20 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 5 PTS | 0
Was definitely guilty of overpassing, but his dish-first instincts and overall effect on the team means the former can be chalked up to the cost of doing business.
|Beno Udrih, PG DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS |
Is Beno still ambulatory? Or even amongst the living? This photo suggests yes…
…but I still wouldn’t be surprised if we’ll soon be notified that he’s: “Day-to-day with a light flatlining of brain activity.”
This one’s on your shiny dome, Coach. I’m running out of ways to say that this ill-conceived going “big” thing isn’t working. It’s not working because teams function better with a set rotation. It’s not working because it’s leading to a massive uptick in turnovers. It’s not working because you aren’t really going big at all, not with that Italianate fellow at PF.
Because whether you like getting out your protractor and shoving reams of analytics showing what works best (Hmph. Numbers is for NERDS. Amirite? Emaciated, carbuncular, borderline Asperger’s-y dork, unfreezing my computer screen with soulless, dull condescension with like two jabs at the keyboardand then looks down at me like I’m some kind of special-needs kid. Hate those guys) or you fancy the boot-strapp-y, hardscrabble, old school, eye test, squinting and placing a weathered, calloused palm on their collective fetlocks, talking about cuts of jibs and sparks of an ineffable something right behind the ol’ cornea, these long-time arch enemies can both come together in peace and harmony to have “2PGS4LYFE” tattoed across their midriffs, Tupac-style.
If that’s not enough, if this doesn’t change before Tuesday’s battle with the Kitties, I’m going to take this jpg
…and take a rusty steak knife to hand carve those digits into a boulder, then build a medieval catapult to fling it through the Goatee’d One’s window at 4 Penn Plaza. Unless they keep him locked in some natural light-free sub-basement in the bowels of the Garden (entirely possible). Then we’re really screwed.
Three Things We Saw
- 39 Percent (h/t ruru) That’s what The Thousand Lakers shot in the half court. Now that’s partly due to the fact that the Knicks decided that in lieu of being deader’n disco, the best way to defend was out of control hacking/reaching. They also still gave up a ton of open looks with the simplest ball movement, but when they limited fast break opportunities, it was a heckuva lot better than the 41 point shit bomb that was dropped in the first stanza. This team is going to find it hard to win when they don’t win (or at least come out even) in the TO battle
- Some more numberz? Okay!
- That was unpleasant. Maybe I shouldn’t have watched my 7-10th hours of sportsball today. I’m feeling vaguely nauseated, like I just got Schiano’d. Let’s end it with this slightly nicer stat: According to Bryan Graham, the New York Knicks have played 5,232 total games. After today, their record stands at 2616-2616. Mediocrity! Dudes, we totally got that hobgoblin! And this quote from Clyde: “What could go wrong? We’ve got World, Peace and Love out here.” That’s nice. Till Tuesday, then. Go Knicks!