So I missed the first quarter and a half but the score was a robust 26-22 by the time I tuned in. And no, I don’t own a TiVo. Yes, I have to rub two sticks together and sacrifice a goat to my Dark Lord and Master to get a wireless signal. I do it because of my fidelity to old school, ruggedly individualistic blogging and my Ludditic fear of technology and/or exorbitant cable fees.
But since they putting the biscuit in the oven at a rate that seemed to suggest there were still laces on the ball and cages to prevent rowdy “fanatics” from chucking the charred remnants of a Satanic altar at the Knickerbocker Basket-Ball Club of the City of New Amsterdam, I’m going to assume that I didn’t miss much or that nothing actually happened and they just agreed to wait till I showed up to start the game and arbitrary set the score at something out of the 50s.
Anyhoo, there were some nifty moments, in particular a dandy set that started with a Melo/Acy two-man game, followed by a pretty cross court pass to Shump and an even prettier, lightning-quick flicking of the rock it to Calderon up top for a swished trey. But there’s still an instinctive lurch towards ISO-ball to bail them out of jams, which is to be expected. It’s going to take time for both New and Old Dogs alike to learn these New/Old Tricks. Alas, things really went to poop in the third stanza. There were a bunch of silly turnovers, a great many of which were caused by hesitation-laden overpassing, Various Knicks got trapped in the corner or frustrated when the shot clock started ticking down, leading to some ghastly Hardaway/Smith heaves, some bricked Jason Smith midrange jumpers and oh-so-many reach-y, grabby fouls.
That led to a parade of dinosaur happily trotting to the charity stripe and—sing along, kids. You know the words to this lil’ ditty!—before you knew it, what was a swell 11 point lead was swallowed whole by a 25-8 run over the final eight minutes of the quarter. And then there’s that blasted imp of the perverse, Lou Williams, doing exactly what Lou Williams has done to the Knicks since time immemorial which is generally be too fast for any SG defender, too big for the likes of Prigs and Larkin and when he wasn’t driving to the tin or dishing the ball to wide open Terrible Lizards, just started throwing it in from the ocean.
So, a loss. Sigh. Even without Lowry and Valenciunis, the royal road to the Atlantic crown goes through T-dot. Some individual notes…
Did just fifteen minutes’ worth of post shucking and jiving, after picking up a couple of early whistles combined with the fact that they’ll pack up the ol’ jalopy later this eve and shlep to Syracuse for team’s third preseason game in four nights. (Seriously, three in four? How and why is this A Thing, and when will Mark Cuban throw a conniption fit about it? This time, it’d be wholly justified.) On a couple of occasions he went to a very Nowitzkian fadeaway, which I’m fairly sure I recall seeing once or twice the last couple of years, but it wasn’t really a regular part of his arsenal. Sure enough, after the game, he told Chris Herring that, “He realized that certain defenders picked up on his tendencies thru film, & had to develop counter moves.” So there you go. Also, I really like Melo’s mustache-goatee combo. Very Jazz session musician.
Ah the Triangle, a fickle mistress be she. It seemed to click in in jarring fits and spurts tonight, but in thinking back, there may be a far simpler explanation: Jose Calderon is a durned good point guard, and when he’s in, he makes ish work. Without him, not so much. The prettiest sequence occurred after an out of bounds play. He got trapped at the top of the arc, leaving Melo wide open on the weakside wing. A crosscourt pass might’ve been possible, but risky. Yes, this is where Raymond Felton would have tried to flip and flap to split the double, and been sent skidding on his belly as the ball bounded away. Instead, Jose pulled back, turned the corner just enough to get a defender on his hip and lofted a pretty lob feed to Dalembert. Seriously, look at this. Marvel at its beauty. Pretend you’re an esteemed Esquire man of letters and ponder writing a pointless 1.2k word intro about bullfighting to the Sexiest Play Alive.
Hoo boy. Getting a tad warm in here, huh? According to the NUMBERZ, he was actually a worse defender than Ray-Ray, but so far, he’s looked semi-capable. Granted, keeping Greivis Vasquez out of the lane isn’t much of a bar to hurdle, but yeah. We’re going to enjoy rooting for this dude, and making precise Facial Scruff Levels :: Assist/TO Ratio charts.
No, that’s not a typo. That’s how Clyde’s been pronouncing his familial name so we really have no choice but to take it as the gospel truth. Speaking of which, you can see that Frazier desperately wants to play Yoda the ‘Bockers; fledgling neophyte floor general, at one point practically wincing while saying, “Slow down, slow down!” as Larking was streaking down court on a fast break that got utterly discombobulated by said streaking as he swerved left to avoid Patterson and cut off his own passing lane to Early on the wing.
Speaking of speaking, this:
"Baryarnee" "Barnyahnee" Barnyee" – Clyde Frazier, within a two second span
— netw3rk (@netw3rk) October 14, 2014
Speaking of Clyde speaking of movies, while Mike and he were waxing poetic about Fish n’ Phil’s pilgrimage to see the Buddha of the Triple Post, Tex Winter, Clyde said something to the effect of, “It kinda reminds me of the Karate Kid. You know, the kid he didn’t know why the old man wanted him to do that stuff.”
This pretty much flabbergasted Breen, who was laboring under the assumption that Frazier had failed to process any cultural touchstones since the release of Frampton Comes Alive! But really, all I want to do is watch Karate Kid II-IV with Clyde. Not the Jaden Smith reboot. That ish was awful.
The proud poppa got his first taste of MSG action tonight and… well… he was pretty nondescript. If Jason Smith wasn’t 7 feet tall, I think he’d make a nifty C+ stand up comic. I have no idea if Jason Smith is in any way capable of slinging the occasional joke, but he just has the vibe of a dude wearing a t-shirt standing in front of a brick wall at the Laff Shack in Peoria that gets the occasional @Midnight slot. Aside from my witty bit of observational humor, he reminds me of Michael Doleac on offense, and…that’s it.
The Fisher Koach has repeatedly said that we shouldn’t read too much into his lineup choices, which, yes, is probably wise. Two years ago, there were a ton of wonky, weird lineups that that struggled mightily before Son of Wood settled upon the Kidd-Felt-Brewer (remember him?)-Melo-Tyson quintet that practically set the atmosphere ablaze in November ’12. Of course, last year, I remember seeing Bargs starting in various combos and getting increasingly nervous.
So no, it’s not a rule, but I do think Fisher isn’t just seeing how Acy looks with at least three dudes that’ll be starting. The fact that he ran him out again to start the 2nd half seems to indicate something’s up. Then again, we may see a totally different grouping later tonight, and all my tea-leaf reading will be for naught, but there’s certainly worse candidates than Quincy at PF.
TIM HARDAWAY JR.
His shot was making soooooo much brick music tonight, but he’s gotten—dare I say it—savvy when driving to the basket, and I’m not just talking about transition hoops and/or boffo athleticism. Specifically, the two drives in which he didn’t rely on his speed, but used a hesitation move to shield the defender and slink to the rim.
J.R. is opening a sneaker shop with his family in New Jersey. Sure, that's not a huge surprise…
— Steve Popper (@StevePopper) October 14, 2014
Wait for it…
But what if I told you he also is opening up a bagel shop next door with his mom running the show? You couldn't resist it, could you?
— Steve Popper (@StevePopper) October 14, 2014
Please, by all that is holy and good, someone go eat a JR Smith bagel and report back. I’m gluten-intolerant (and a tad Jersey-intolerant), but this is a moral necessity.
Here’s the most direct, tangible benefit of Phil Jackson’s reign: Spike Lee is no longer dressing like a club kid that couldn’t decide between, “Oompa Loompa” and “The Cat in the Hat.” To wit, he looks nice!
— NBA New York Knicks (@nyknicks) October 14, 2014
And that’ll about do it. As previously mentioned, there’s another game tomorrow. Long is the way, and hard, that out of hell leads up to light… n’stuff.