|Carmelo Anthony, SF 40 MIN | 11-28 FG | 3-3 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 26 PTS | -13
Fact: The human race put men on the moon before they had the idea to put wheels on suitcases.
This fact is both a testament to man’s ingenuity (the MOON!) and man’s stupidity (seriously, how did they not think to put wheels on suitcases?), and represents the type of game Carmelo Anthony had tonight. He started the game spectacularly, with 14 points in the first quarter and finished the first half with 7-12 shooting from the floor. However, he was just 4-16 in the second half, including 0-4 in the fourth quarter in a game where points came at an absolute premium. He also finished with zero assists and only seemed to be engaged on defense when he was challenged with guarding LaMarcus Aldridge in the post. When he plays at power forward, as he did for most of his minutes tonight, he needs to be more judicious in his shot selection, focusing more on catch-and-shoot opportunities, rather than clearing out and trying to isolate. We’re past the point where teams walk themselves into mis-matches by guarding Carmelo with their own power forwards, and Carmelo needs to be aware of that.
|Tyson Chandler, C 31 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -6
Fact:Charlie Chaplin once entered a Charlie Chaplin look-alike contest and finished second.
In this case, the fact that he was Charlie Chaplin went to waste, just as Tyson Chandler’s exemplary performance went to waste this evening. He scored just two points and didn’t particularly stand out on the backboards (nine rebounds), but he absolutely swallowed up LaMarcus Aldridge for most of the game. Aldridge finished with just 15 points on 17 shots and spent most of the contest forced into turnaround, fallaway jump shots that had little more than a prayer of falling through the net. In all, the normally pinpoint Portland offense shot just 38 percent from the floor, in large part due to Chandler’s presence in the middle of the floor, contesting Aldridge’s looks at the basket and otherwise keeping Portland’s ball-handlers out of the paint.
|Raymond Felton, PG 23 MIN | 2-6 FG | 3-6 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | -10
In 1919, a large tank of molasses exploded in Boston. The resulting wave of molasses traveled through the streets at 35 miles per hour. 21 people were killed and 150 more were injured.
Which of course brings us to Raymond Felton, because he is fat and his play has nearly killed 21 Knicks fans over the course of the season.
|Pablo Prigioni, PG 31 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 7 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +4
Fact:Cleopatra lived closer in time to the present day than to the construction of the Great Pyramids of Giza.
This inexplicable relation of age is dedicated to Pablo Prigioni, the elder statesmen on this Knicks squad, who had an overwhelmingly Prigioni-ish game. Five points, seven assists, seven rebounds, exquisite ball movement, harassing defense on Damian Lillard, and one clutch three.
|Iman Shumpert, SG 24 MIN | 0-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -8
Fact: The phrase “for the birds” originates from farms in generations past, when horses would eat grain, but some would pass through their system undigested. After the undigested grain would evacuate their body as waste, oftentimes birds would come along and pick the grain out of the pile and use it as sustenance.
Hence, saying something is “for the birds” means it is literally horseshit. Iman Shumpert played like horseshit. He was 0-5 from the field and passed up a number of open shots because apparently scoring isn’t a big priority in a game where the team shoots 40 percent and musters just 90 points against a middling defensive team.
|Jeremy Tyler, PF 11 MIN | 2-5 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +10
Fact: Several years ago, a study found that termites chew through wood at a rate twice as fast when death metal is audible nearby.
This hilariously awesome fact exemplifies Jeremy Tyler’s awesome game (and awesome name). He played just 11 minutes but found himself at the right place in the right time for a nice first-half dunk off a dish from J.R. Smith.
|Amar’e Stoudemire, PF 22 MIN | 6-10 FG | 3-4 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | +2
Fact: The phrase “pulling out all the stops” comes from organ music. An organ functions as such so that when a key is pushed, the “stop” is removed from the pipe and the organ makes a sound. So to “pull out all the stops” means all the pipes are engaged at once, making as much noise as possible.
Amar’e pulled out all the stops tonight, a throwback game with jump shots, a few rebounds, and a rousing first-half dunk in traffic. His defense, as it often does, left a bit to be desired, but on offense he was divine, giving the Knicks a spark off the bench that kept them in the game while Carmelo sat in the first half.
|Tim Hardaway Jr., SG 27 MIN | 5-13 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | +9
Fact: Pluto was discovered in 1930, but was stripped of its status as a planet in 2006, due to the fact that a year (one full revolution around the Sun) on Pluto takes roughly 250 years and so it never even celebrated its first solar birthday as a planet.
This oddly depressing fact sums up Hardaway’s night. He was clearly giving great effort but could never seem to put everything together. He nailed a nice three-pointer with about 50 seconds remaining to cut the lead to three, but his heroics were ultimately forgotten as the Blazers pulled away and the Knicks couldn’t make up the gap.
|J.R. Smith, SG 31 MIN | 7-14 FG | 3-3 FT | 3 REB | 6 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 18 PTS | -8
Fact: If every star in the Milky Way galaxy had one trillion planets, and on each of those on trillion planets lived one trillion people, and each of those people had one trillion decks of cards, and were somehow able to shuffle each of those on trillion decks one trillion times per second, and had been doing so since the beginning of recorded human history on Earth, they would still wouldn’t be creating duplicate orders of those decks for another 15 billion years.
The number of ways you can order the 52 different cards in a deck is calculated to be 80,658,175,170,943,878,571,660,636,856,403,766, 975,289,505,440,883,277,824,000,000,000,000.
This mind-bending bit of calculator usage is our paradigm for the first half that J.R. Smith had tonight. Instead of pulling up for 19-foot jump shots that careen off the rim and nearly kill courtside patrons like he normally does, he attacked the Portland defense in the middle of the floor with pick-and-rolls, and dished out some spectacular look-away passes to Amar’e and Jeremy Tyler for finishes at the rim.
|Beno Udrih, PG DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS |
Fact: Otters hold hands when they sleep so that they do not float away from each other.
This makes me happy. Much like I was happy that Beno Udrih did not play in tonight’s game. [Editor’s Fun Fact: Sea Otters sometimes sexually violate baby seals. Seriously.]
Fact: Every year, dozens of new trees will seed as a result of a single squirrel forgetting where it has hidden its nuts.
This optimistic fun fact regarding rebirth regards Woodson, who has done a much better job of late than he was doing back in December when I wrote this mean-spirited piece about him for Hickory-High. He has been doing so out of necessity, but he has turned more to small lineups with Carmelo Anthony at power forward, as well as dual point-guard lineups that don’t involve Beno Udrih. They didn’t win tonight, but they are planting the seeds (see what I did there?) for future success.
Five Things We Saw
- The Knicks couldn’t buy a three-point basket tonight. They finished 4-21 from deep on mostly good looks. Two of those makes came in the last two minutes on back-to-back possessions as the team cut Portland’s lead to three. Hardaway was 1-7 and Carmelo was 1-6. It’s not exactly uncharted territory, but when the team goes small (as they’ve been doing recently), they need to make threes in order to keep pace.
- The bench played particularly well, most notably in the second quarter when they had their best stretch of basketball of the game with Carmelo on the bench. Portland has a weak bench, and they needed to take advantage of that, and they did (at least in the first half). It wasn’t enough to take control of the game (and against good teams, it probably never will be), but it’s a reason to be optimistic for as long as Bargnani is out of the lineup.
- The Knicks committed just nine turnovers. Five belonged to J.R. Smith, which you can live with as long as he’s making smart decisions otherwise (which he clearly was in the first half). Carmelo had just one turnover, but that was mostly because he was shooting the ball as soon as he caught it. He’s a very creative passer when he wants to be, and he needs to use that skill-set more often. In this case, you’d be able to stomach higher turnovers if it means Carmelo was making more of an effort to create shots for others.
- All New York big men did a good job of stepping up on high screens involving Damian Lillard. Lillard is dynamite when he can step into an open three-point look off of a high screen, and he’s a surprisingly poor finisher around the basket. The way to defend him is top close that gap as much as possible off the screen and force him to either give up the ball or attack the basket and rotate along the baseline. The Knicks were able to do that (Chandler and Tyler especially) and Lillard was held to just 12 points on 4-12 shooting.
- We have better and more comprehensive maps of the surface of Mars than we do of the ocean floors of Earth. We did not see this in this game but it is another fun fact.