Some More Tempered Enthusiasm

Once again, in a game the Knicks absolutely had to win (the Hawks playing on the road on the second night of a back-to-back without their star player), they did.

And that, as Marth Stewart might say, is a good thing.

However, once again, you can’t get too excited when the Knicks beat up on teams they certainly SHOULD beat up on. It is a nice sign, though, and certainly a better one than LOSING to teams like this (and it is also an improvement over the Memphis game, which was a blow-out that turned into a ballgame).

Eddy Curry continues his inspired play, but the best part, though, was Jared Jeffries, who was an absolute delight out there on the court. There was one particular play, when he saved a ball from going out of bounds, that I don’t think a single Knick from the past five years would have made. It was more hustle than Charles Oakley even used to show! A truly amazing move by Jeffries.

His scoring, though, was a bit TOO good to be true, it appears, so I will not take too much solace in that, as I doubt he will keep that up.

In any event, the Knicks had a strong game on both sides of the ball, and Curry had another 20 point game.

For one night, at least, all was right in Knick-ville.

Now let’s please see them do this against a team that doesn’t have a built-in excuse for losing.

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18 thoughts to “Some More Tempered Enthusiasm”

  1. All good feelings from that game which was decided early in the second half. Jeffries is a breath of fresh air and his play will inspire us to make defense our strength; If we had him from the start we’d be over .500.

  2. My hope is that Jeffries could help reduce dribble penetration into the lane we’d be onto something.

    According to NY is currently giving up 27% of its opponent’s shot attempts in close (where they shoot 61% eFG). If Jeffries and Q can help get that number down into the low 20s–21, 22%–this could be a serviceable team in the East. After last year, I’ll take it.

  3. If the Knicks become a .500 team, they are the 3 seed in the East, and they would probably play a team with 10 wins more than them. Not complaining, just commenting.

  4. The best thing about Jeffries play was that he made it look soooooo easy. Very basic fundamental basketball. Box out. Square up on defense. Hands in shooters faces. And yes, that play after the bad Crawford pass was great.

  5. It was Johnson/Childress-less Atlanta guys! Heavy emphasis on “tempered” here. Who have we beat recently? Memphis, Milwaukee, and Atlanta, right? We also lost to Toronto and inexplicably to Boston. Don’t get me wrong, I think this team CAN be at least .500 with the level of talent we have and I’m psyched about Curry’s play and Jeffries being back, but until we string together some kind of streak of at least three games or start making noise against winning teams I’m going to consider things a fluke or the product of opponents in the middle of a meltdown.

  6. I can’t believe I’m going to write this, but it is possible that the Eddy Curry trade may turn out NOT to be an unmitigated disaster. With the pick we traded to the Bulls, we probably could have had Tyrus Thomas, Adam Morrison or LeMarcus Aldridge. Morrison looks like a very shaky bet to be a good NBA player, a role player at best. He’s more Kyle Korver than Larry Bird. Aldridge could be a beast, but he’s raw. Thomas is even more raw than Aldridge.

    At any rate, the 2006 draft was pretty thin. It’s not like we lost a Carmelo, a LeBron or a D-Wade. I know we are swapping picks with the Bulls again next year, but as long as the Bulls don’t get a lucky ping-pong ball bounce, we should be okay.

    With the Curry trade looking better by the day, I now have to say that Isiah’s worst move was bringing in Steve Francis.

  7. No question the Francis trade was the worst move. Second worst was probably Maurice Taylor since the Knicks didn’t get any picks or a player of any consequence.

  8. It was also Larry Brown’s idea to buy out 50-60 million plus of contracts and, back in Detroit, to trade Chauncey Billups after they won the championship, doesn’t mean they had to do it. I can’t believe they made that Francis trade. I actually like Steve Francis and this isn’t his fault in any way, but he’s going to be a goat for years for this.

  9. Francis trade was definately his worse. Jeffries did look great and may provide a park that this team needs. I have said this on this post before, but I really believe Crawford is the weak link on this team. His shot selection is too much a liability and his minutes should be very limited.

  10. The Knicks are looking okay, but I’ll get excited if they beat the Pacers on the road and beat some tougher teams at home. I mean, really, if the Knicks play .500 ball for the rest of the year, they’ll probably make the playoffs. At least they took care of business against the Hawks without giving the fans a heart attack.

    Jeffries low post D really seems to be helping Curry, especially in the zone. If Jeffries can rebound reasonably well, I think he may be a great fit at the 4. I sorta miss Lee starting, but I have to admit he’s pretty impactful coming off the bench. Also, Lee and Frye play really well together so I don’t mind seeing them come off the bench together.

    The Curry emergence is stunning. I definitely have to eat my words on that one. He really seems to have more control of himself on the offensive end, and he’s making some strides defensively and on the boards. What the heck was wrong with him in the beginning of the season?! Maybe he just had to play himself into game-shape. Anyway, he’s actually exceeding expectations (from me) at this point, especially because he’s being productive when it matters and when the Knicks are leaning on him the most. Imagine he could actually hit his free-throws. I guess Duncan and Shaq can’t either.

  11. What’s that line from Rounders? “If you’re at the poker table for more than 30 minutes and you haven’t spotted the sucker, you’re the sucker.” The Knicks have been the sucker that everyone else spotted immediately. Now the Knicks are at least playing well enough so that the *other* suckers have to recognize that beating NY is no sure thing.

    It ain’t worth jumping and shouting about, but it’s something.

  12. Miika
    If you look at the beginning of the year Curry started on a tear. The first four games he avg.
    18.0 ppg and 8.3 rpg. He was laying the ground work for this stretch. Then in the fifth game he got in early and rather bogus foul trouble against denver and only played 13 minutes. The very next game was that terrible game where he got owned by Yao. If you watch that game he was trying to be aggressive but Yao was just dominating him. I think Yao blocked 4 or 5 of Eddy’s shots. That game clearly shattered Eddy’s confidence. If you watched Eddy right after that he was just flipping the ball up afraid to take it strong even against lesser players. He stopped calling for the ball and his game was a mess.

    I think these last eleven games are a combination of eddy getting his confidence back and Isiah focusing the offense on him. But I think he was ready for this breakout from the first game of the season. I truly believe that confidence is the biggest reason for Eddy’s inspired play. I think this is the first time in his career Eddy has realized that with his size strength and agility noone but himself can stop him. He is finally playing with the swagger he never had. I really think this is for real.

    Also his free throw shooting should improve. He has good form and shot over 72% his last year in Chicago. In fact this is the first time he has shot below 62%.

    I really like where this team is going and if we can string together a run and can make the playoffs I think we could make some noise. Teams that are based around inside play tend to do well in the post season.

  13. What?s that line from Rounders? ?If you?re at the poker table for more than 30 minutes and you haven?t spotted the sucker, you?re the sucker.? The Knicks have been the sucker that everyone else spotted immediately. Now the Knicks are at least playing well enough so that the *other* suckers have to recognize that beating NY is no sure thing.

    That is just creepy, Dave.

    That’s the EXACT thing I was thinking when I quoted that line during the last “tempered enthusiasm” post!

    Too much ESP. :)

  14. Who’s willing to bet on Curry’s final season averages? I’m curious how much skepticism people still have lingering. Is he going to be 20 and 8 or better by the end or are teams going to adjust and limit him to more modest gains?

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