Nocturnal Recap: Bulls 98, Knicks 86

New York Knicks 86 Final
Recap | Box Score
98 Chicago Bulls
Carmelo Anthony, SF 39 MIN | 11-19 FG | 6-9 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 29 PTS | -8

So I guess this is who the Knicks are now: When Melo doesn’t fire off more shots than Charles Whitman did way back when at the U of T, they’re going to have a real hard time winning. As has been the case since Lin and STAT went down, Melo has been emulating his boyhood (fake) hometown idol, Bernard King, completely carrying the Knicks’ offense on his back. It’s swell and all and I don’t want to complain (who am I kidding — I live to complain) but a few more boards might have helped

Landry Fields, G 28 MIN | 4-13 FG | 1-1 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 9 PTS | +1

Wait, Landry took 13 shots? For reals? Um…kay. There were some nice dives to the bucket, but as Jeff Van Gundy said, “If Kyle Korver blocks your shot, there should be a penalty box you have to go there and stay there for a set amount of minutes.” Now that pour former coach has been freed from the burdensome shackles of MSG’s PR department and he’s free to utter more than a series of lip-chewing, Diet Coke infused, mumbled, meaningless platitudes, he’s let loose with some real zingers in his work as a color commentator, such as his support for a shot from the other side of the basket that counts for 25 points (epic, unfunny fail) But in this case, his hyperbole is apt.

On a personal, editorial note, I hate the term “Commentator.” No one uses the verb, “commentate” anymore. I know, I know. You’re gonna say that there was a Middle English verb from the 15th-16th century meaning, “writer of notes or expository comments,” but c’mon. “Commentor,” that’s far more in line with currant usage. We can have the ‘Prescriptivists’ v. Descriptivist’ usage debate/war later. For now, someone has to go tell Landry to stop firing off-balance mid-range jumpers, or he’s going to find himself locked in some ill-lit, Buffalo Bill/Silence of the Lambs-esque prison with Jeff Van Gundy trying oh-so-hard to be witty/one liner-y. HELL.

Tyson Chandler, C 37 MIN | 2-4 FG | 6-7 FT | 15 REB | 1 AST | 10 PTS | -2

As has been the case all season, win or lose, Tyson Chandler just ROOLZ. I can’t imagine how godawful this team would be without him. We need you, Tyson. Hell, I need you. I’m a mess without you. I miss you so damn much! I miss being with you. I miss being near you. I miss your laugh! [Bob laughs playfully and pulls on Tyson’s sleeve] I miss your scent. I miss your musk… When this all gets sorted out, I think you and me should get an apartment together! {Bob begins quietly sobbing]

JIM CAVAN: Just take it easy, Bob. Why don’t you stop talking for a while? Maybe sit the next couple of recaps out, you know what I mean?

BOB: Yeah, I’m gonna quit sayin’ things when they crop up in the ol’ skull, huh? [Bob sniffs audibly, composes himself, and continues]

Baron Davis, PG 26 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 6 AST | 8 PTS | -1

I was thinking of making a Baron Davis life-size puppet/doll of some kind, either with Papier-mâché or possibly some spare fabric, using the stuffing from this pillow I’ve been meaning to chuck (I have a lot of crafts projects at the ready) and burning it in effigy. But then I realize that my mock Baron could probably run the point as well as the real deal and if I burned it, there’s no way Grunwald would offer my Baron-myrmidon a ten-day contract since it could probably perform just as well as any of the sonnambulists the Nix trotted out at the 1 tonight. So yes, for the next few hours, I’m carving myself a marionette. Maybe someday it’ll grow up to be a real live boy point guard. But until then, remember how 2012 Knicks 1.0 were boned because they didn’t have a legit point? That plague has returned like a bad case of Eczema.

Iman Shumpert, G 34 MIN | 4-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 12 PTS | +5

After a few barrels of ink were spilled over the last two days raining down praise upon Young Master Iman for his throttling of the reigning MVP, he put up a far less impressive outing when defending mere mortals such as C.J. Watson, John Lucas III, Rip Hamilton, and Kyle Korver (more on the last two scallywags later). Maybe it’s just me, but the kinesthetic, perpetual energy that’s defined Shump’s relentless defense seemed panicky and generally off-kilter all night long. Hometown jinx/jitters? Embarrassed beyond belief because he realized it’s not 2007 and yet he still threw an alley oop to Baron Davis?

Jared Jeffries, PF 14 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -7

Some decent Jared-y moments and that cross-over dribble he attempted was cute in a “Let’s see if an adorable puppy can get a paper bag off its head” kinda way. But overall, he didn’t have much impact on the final outcome, for good or for ill.

Steve Novak, SF 17 MIN | 0-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -13

So there’s clearly something about the Bulls, deep-dish Pizza, the writings of Studs Terkel, the Steppenwolf Theater, The poems of Carl Sandburg, the Daley political machine and/or the Giancana Crime Family that puts a major-league kibosh on Discount Double Check’s mojo. He’s now 0-8 in the last two games v. the Novakryptonites. Too much? I’ll show myself out…

J.R. Smith, SG 34 MIN | 6-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 14 PTS | -20

Given the foibles of his teammates from the perimeter and at the tin, I kind of wish Earl had jacked up 22 shots again. Honestly, he couldn’t have done much worse.

Toney Douglas, PG 7 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -11

According to [insert wholly interchangeable ESPN She-sideline reporter here], Son of Wood tore into the Knicks 2nd unit for their excrable play tonight but evidently he particularly singled out Poor Toney Douglas (forget the “_______” mishegas, He’s Poor Toney Douglas now. Sad face) for his inability to initiate the offense. Well…yeah.

Bill Walker, SG 1 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -2

I’m serious, Bill Walker actually played. It wasn’t some weird glitch again where he mysteriously appeared in the box score for no apparent reason. It’s good to see him playing again, because his twitter feed has taken on a rilly weird, Tony Allen-esque vibe these days with lines like “I’m in flint Michigan playin for the tropics.” That’s right, a “Semi-Pro” reference.

Josh Harrellson, F 1 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -2

I think Woodson was scared to put Jorts in the game for fear his burgeoning ‘stache would lead the locals to confuse him with a Chicago cop, resulting in offers of a bribe in the form of a delicious Hot Italian Beef sammich.

Five Things We Saw

  1. Here are some numbers that paint a fairly accurate description of what went wrong: The ‘Bockers were out rebounded 51-33 (18-5 on the offensive glass) which directly correlates with the Chicagoans obliteration of the Knicks via 2nd chance points (25-5) and those fun, high percentage, dunk-y shots in the painted area (40-28). If you see digits like these in the scoresheet, chances are, your team didn’t win. And the Knicks didn’t. That’s some quad erat demonstratum ish right there.
  2. Okay, I know I’ve got a rep as a cat who rails at the injustices of the arbiters like Al Pacino in “And Justice for All.”

    So take it with as many grains of salt as your low-sodium diet will allow but tonight…WE WUZ ROBBED BY THE REFS. By all that is good and holy, by the end of the half, the Bulls had been whistled for three (three, count them, three) fouls TOTAL. That’s just not possible. In that ghastly 2nd quarter, Boozer hung on the rim after a dunk, no tech. Noah tripped on his own foot (or pretentious ponytail) and still got the foul and went to the line. Whoever was guarding Melo was allowed to grope him so freely that they could tell definitively what religion Anthony is. Luol Deng whacked Shump so hard he tweaked his ailing wrist, no call. And on and on and on. Naturally, in the beginning of the third, the besotted schmucks reffing the game realized there might have been a problem and swung completely in the other direction, calling fouls on anything and everything in sight, such that the Bulls were in the penalty with 8:35 to go in the 3rd and if you even dared to fart near Rip Hamilton, the whistle blew. As is to be expected by the incompetents in gray, in the 4th the pendulum came roaring back in the other direction, and the Bulls could have taken a tire iron to any Knick driving the lane. Granted, it was a wonky, disjointed game in general, but the refs seriously contributed to that.

    But there’s more to it. When a game is poorly officiated, it’s not just that one loses a chance to go to the line. When a team like the Bulls KNOW they can whack at the Knicks with impunity, it completely changes how their defense functioned. Dribble penetration stops, the Knicks were limited to jumpers that the Bulls could close out on with ease, and the entire offensive flow is thrown in the wood chipper. I’m not saying the outcome would have necessarily been any different with a competent crew, but it was downrightmaddening. It’s tough enough to watch the Knicks lose because of their own failings, but feeling like I’m seeing a rigged game/fixed fight makes me seethe with unquenchable, scenery-chewing rage. IT. AIN’T. FAIR!!

    Rant over. Portable soapbox returned to storage compartment.

  3. If there’s been one constant to this topsy-turvy season, it’s been the parade of lesser lights who’ve eviscerated the Knicks — call them the Mike Dunleavy All-Stars if you will. In this evening’s edition, Rip Hamilton and his Dark Knight Returns body armor popped in the wayback machine to the tune of 20 points in 20 minutes on 14 shots. Ugh. He was joined by part-time Matt Damon/Ashton Kutcher impersonator Kyle Korver who squelched any hope of a late rally redux with some critical 4th quarter flings. Plus, I’m not going to go to the trouble of researching his stats at 2am, but I’d be willing to wager vast sums of cash that 3 blocks is an all-time high for him. He’s too pretty. Someone go punch him in his pretty, pretty face. See how pretty he’ll be then!
  4. In addition to the Knicks’ PG woes, they absolutely, positively, smurfastically HAVE to find a second scorer. As previously stated, Melo’s been great, but you can’t expect him to get you 40+ points every night. In the 3rd, the Bulls were able to stymie the Knicks, taking the ball out of Melo’s hands by trapping him at the high post and at the top of the key because they were more willing to live with open shots for whomever was stationed around the perimeter. It may be pure folly to expect Shump or J.R. to fill that role. As nauseating as this may sound, we may have to…gulp…hope that STAT comes back soon and suffers little to no effects from his back injury. Sure. No problem. Easy-peasy. If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go call Christina Hendricks from Mad Men and ask her on a date.

    I think the odds of she and I hitting the town together tomorrow night are just as high as the former scenario. Yuck. (Not you, Christina. You’re acteonizingly beautiful. Just stay away from Kyle Korver, K?)

  5. Look, splitting a home and home with one of the top two beasts of the East is nothing to shake a stick at. Three days ago, I’m sure most of us would be more than satisfied with said outcome. But when the news broke that Derrick Rose (who may in fact have ligaments that are composed of the very same papier-mâché that I’ll be using to make my new Baron Davis doll) was out…well…I got my hopes up too. Coupled with Philly’s smooshing of the tanking Prokorovs, tomorrow’s (today’s? Crap. I gotta get to bed) tilt v. Milwaukee has moved from the, “must-win.” to the, “I’m so going remove my spleen with a warm spoon if they don’t win,” category. Here’s hoping there’s a better result, knock on Wooden.
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Robert Silverman

Hey, did you know that in addition to banging the keys here and occasionally for the NY Times and at ESPN, Robert is a playwright, an actor and a wand'ring mendicant/gadfly? He also once wrestled a bear...and lost.

12 thoughts to “Nocturnal Recap: Bulls 98, Knicks 86”

  1. Chandler’s grade is too high, he needed to be more of a threat on offense tonight.

  2. jon abbey:
    Chandler’s grade is too high, he needed to be more of a threat on offense tonight.

    Well considering he basically out rebounded the rest of our team I’m not sure i agree.

  3. Ya should check out Hendricks in Firefly… Ooowee.

    Wild thought: When Lin comes back, should the Knicks (every now and then) have Melo bring the ball up, drawing the Defense and letting Lin do a little SSOL on off-balance defenders? Would be interesting to see…

  4. EB: Well considering he basically out rebounded the rest of our team I’m not sure i agree.

    I think the more relevant number is Chicago’s 51 to our 33. he played well, but I’d give him a B+. if he’s really one of the top two players on the team (and he is), he needs to step up on offense occasionally when no one else is helping Melo, and he’s generally pretty incapable of that. also, he did very little on the offensive boards tonight, 2 boards and a couple of tipouts. A+ on the defensive end, maybe a generous C on the offensive end, you get my point.

  5. jon abbey: I think the more relevant number is Chicago’s 51 to our 33. he played well, but I’d give him a B+. if he’s really one of the top two players on the team (and he is), he needs to step up on offense occasionally when no one else is helping Melo, and he’s generally pretty incapable of that. also, he did very little on the offensive boards tonight, 2 boards and a couple of tipouts. A+ on the defensive end, maybe a generous C on the offensive end, you get my point.

    But Jon, I think there was an effort to get him involved. I distinctly remember the ball zinging at about 100 mph, slamming off his side, back, knees, head and arms as Baron just threw it at him when he dribbled into a trap over and over again. Poor Chandler probably had to ice several basketball-imprinted body parts after this one.

  6. jon abbey:
    Chandler’s grade is too high, he needed to be more of a threat on offense tonight.

    but how can he be a threat on offense when we don’t have a Point Guard?

    Chandler is an excellent finisher at the rim, but he needs to get the ball on good spots, and Baron is absolutely garbage and Toney Douglas………………….

    I can’t figure out why Woodson won’t run more pick and rolls, whenever Melo was involved in a pick and roll yesterday the play ended up on a good shot… J.R Smith is perfectly capable of running a very dangerous pick and roll with either Chandler and Carmelo as the roll man, yet this almost never happened.

    it’s time to get creative, giving 34 minutes to the Baron + TD pair is very, very detrimental to this team right now.

    I know J.R and Iman both played 34 minutes each yesterday, but they’ll have to carry a bigger load on this stretch…

    I’d say it’s time to insert Walker back into the rotation as another backup wing, which would free Smith and Shumpert to alternate at the point.

    I know it’s not ideal, Walker sucks and neither Smith or Shumpert are great handlers or creators, but it’s gotta be less terrible than Baron playing 26 minutes… he can play 10-15 minutes a night because we have no other options.

  7. I remember him getting the ball at least twice in perfect position, one he didn’t even look at the rim for some reason before kicking it out, and the other he hesitated before going up and got blocked. I also remember an awful attempt at a drive from 15 feet out, the point is that it’s hard to merit an A+ when your contributions are mostly on one end (the reverse of what we rightly give Amare and early season Melo a hard time for).

  8. Chandler has an A, not an A+.

    I agree that he might have been closer to an B+ or A-, but I’m ok with the A because he was pretty much the only player even trying to get rebounds on a game where we were badly outrebounded.

  9. I believe he had an A+ when I first posted. and isn’t at least a bit of the rebounding deficit on him? I love the guy, but let’s hold him to the same standards that we hold other players, even given his different role.

  10. “Chandler, in general, looked weirdly tentative last night. He obviously put in some great defensive possessions, but, even without foul trouble, was a little slow to catch and get a shot up near the rim, and, though he piled on rebounds in the second half, still neglected to box out pretty frequently (Melo was guilty of this, too, of course). It was just one of those nights.”

  11. I see, I don’t think his performance was up to his (very high) usual standards, but he was the only guy on the entire team who was capable of rebounding (he had 10 more than Jeffries, the second best), and he put up some pretty nice defensive plays.

    maybe Woodson should try playing Harrelson a bit more, I know his shooting has been bad but so has Novak’s in the past 3 games, and Jorts can help more with the rebounding.

    this won’t be a huge problem against other teams, Chicago is the best rebounding team in the game, but still.

  12. I do recall Chandler getting the ball in the first half where he was right in front of the basket and passed out to the 3 point line.
    jon is right; Chandler does need to be more aggressive on offense, especially with our current injuries. As great as Chandler has been, he shouldn’t be above criticism.
    Right now, if he gets the ball within, say, 7 feet of the basket, he needs to take it up strong. He’s a freakin giant for christsakes.

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