|Carmelo Anthony, SF 31 MIN | 5-14 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 7 AST | 13 PTS | +26
That’s right, Melo. You get an A even though you only scored 13 points. Why? 7 assists and 3 blocks. You had made your teammates better and consistently found cutters and open three point shooters. You looked like Paul Pierce out there (I’m hoping against hope your injured back wasn’t the reason you moved the ball tonight). Missing some open looks and some forced shots in the 1st quarter is the only thing keeping you from an A+.
|Amare Stoudemire, PF 28 MIN | 8-15 FG | 6-8 FT | 8 REB | 4 AST | 22 PTS | +24
You get an A too, STAT! You eschewed the mid-range jumper and took the ball to the rim with aggression and purpose against an undersized Pistons’ front line. You’re still turning the ball over a lot, which like your fellow star, Melo, knocks your grade down by 0.25. That said, it was your best game of the season (so far).
|Tyson Chandler, C 29 MIN | 4-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 10 PTS | +15
They’re going to start accusing me of grade inflation. Chandler did all the things we’d hoped when he signed this off-season — dominating the offensive glass, changing shots at the rim, and being the vocal leader of the defense. Plus, lotsa hootin’ and hollerin’ after dunks.
|Landry Fields, G 28 MIN | 3-8 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 8 PTS | +29
After a shaky 1st quarter trying to keep an eye (or hand, foot or really any body part) on Ben Gordon (who I was SURE was going to have another one of his monster efforts v. the ‘Bockers), held his own on defense, hit the boards, and had a couple of successful forays to the hole. His jumper is still a work in progress – but as was mentioned, the coaching staff have been re-working his shooting form. You can see it’s a lot flatter than last season. I’m not rational when it comes to Landry, but I think he’s on his way back.
|Iman Shumpert, G 28 MIN | 5-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 11 PTS | +1
Shump! Shumpy! Shump Shump! Shumperstein? Anyhoo…Shumpert found STAT for a number of easy scores after splitting the double team and looks like he does possess the skills to be a true PG. I maintain the comparison I made over at ESPN — he’s a poor man’s Russell Westbrook. He has to learn to watch the cheap fouls now that he’s starting, but boy, I can’t help but get giddy at his potential.
|Mike Bibby, PG 15 MIN | 4-5 FG | 4-4 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 16 PTS | +26
Okay, fess up. Which one of you guys invented a time machine and brought back 2002 Mike Bibby? (I figured the zombie/ghost/back from the dead jokes were getting worn out.) Bibby played great during the 2nd quarter stretch when NY pulled away. He’s got to consistently hit that extended elbow three, run the offense competently, and not be an utter sieve on defense. He did that tonight, so based on what one might hope from Mikey, he tops out with the highest grade for the evening.
|Steve Novak, SF 8 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 PTS | -4
Steve, do you see what Michael did? You do that too. Oh-fer-everything, even in garbage time, ain’t gonna cut it.
|Renaldo Balkman, PF 13 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | -6
Considering the fits of distraction that Balkman drives me to, I can only imagine what Coach D’A suffers. with numbers like that (and a monster 4th quarter dunk) Humpty clearly has the ability to be a rotation player. You want to give him 10-15 consistent minutes a night, but you never know when he’ll do something so absolutely goofy (like shooting threes in a blowout) that it boggles the mind.
|Toney Douglas, PG 6 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -5
Oh Toney. Toney, Toney, Toney, Toney, Toney. Did y’all see the shot of him on the bench in the 4th? He looked like he’d just been liberated from a POW camp in some 3rd world cesspool (no offense intended to 1st world cesspools). Shellshocked. Suffering from PTSD. That’s how I’d describe our one-time starting PG. Adding insult to injury, Maxiell positively leveled him with a pick, possibly re-injuring his shoulder. With Bibby playing so well, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him sit on Monday, just to clear his head.
|Jeremy Lin, PG 4 MIN | 1-1 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | -1
Jeremy Lin scored his first points as a Knick on a couple of nice forays to the hoop Swell. You get a C+. Depending on Douglas’ injury, he might get some burn next game, but at this point, I’d prefer it to occur like it did tonight, at the tail end of a big win.
|Jerome Jordan, C 4 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 PTS | -1
Jerome threw a gorgeous alley-oop to Shump (Shump be praised). That’s enough for me!
|Bill Walker, SG 19 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 2 PTS | -1
A nice put-back accounted for his only points, but I’m more impressed by his better-than-usual defense. Not noisy, but a good outing for Ball Wilker
|Josh Harrellson, F 27 MIN | 5-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 11 PTS | +12
Jorts did Jorts things tonight — defend with gusto, scrap for loose balls/rebounds, and knock down open shots. He moves like he’s wearing cement socks, cement underwear and possibly a cement sportsbra, but by hook or by crook, it’s effective. One caveat — that, “One hard dribble before going up for a layup,” thing he does has to get beaten out of him, and quickly.
Five Things We Saw
- This is a putrid Pistons team. Possibly even worse than the fine fellows from Washington. But a win is a win is a win (to paraphrase Gertrude Stein). Then again, this is what good teams do when battling their lessers — put them away early. Though Alan Hahn has now officially filled his quota of Mortal Kombat references.
- Ball movement = good. When Melo’s setting up his mates first, and going into ISO mode second, this offense can be very, VERY dangerous.
- They CAN defend! Again, let’s not go hog wild against a rabidly inferior opponent, but the Knicks were as active defensively as we’ve seen since the first half of the first game v. Boston, creating numerous turnovers, deflected passes and blocked shots. Nice to see.
- Rebounds also = good. Some hot shooting broke the game open, but this team got there by dominating the Pistons on the boards. You can do this when you’re bigger than the other kids, and on a lot of nights, the Knicks are going to be able to be the bullies on the playground.
- I’ll never get tired of hearing Clyde Frazier call Iman, “CHOMP-ert.” It might be his finest mispronunciation this side of, “Barg-YAR-knee.” Now, time for revenge against those dastardly RobertCats and that fat, fiendish Frenchman , Boris Diaw. Putain de merde!