Knicks 105, Wizards 93

(Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

We're going streaking! Fresh off their surprising blowout of the Pistons, the Knicks gave the Wizards more than they could handle tonight at the Garden. Balanced scoring, improved defense, and good shot selection got the Knicks their second straight double-digit win. Game notes:

  • Kenny Smith was filling in for Clyde, and managed to be quite entertaining his own way. He warned us that the Wizards were "pistachio ice cream". That is, better than they look. I disagree on both counts.
  • Speaking of which, it came out that Clyde had accidentally appeared at the Garden thinking he was working the game. Apparently this has happened before. Vintage Clyde.
  • Mike Breen introduced the Randolph-Jamison matchup as "a couple of strong offensive players". I finished it with, "and nothing more."
  • You know what the Knicks are doing noticeably better? Rotating on defense. Guys are switching on time, getting out to contest shots, and helping down low. At least thats what it seems like to me.
  • In what I assume was a promotion for the upcoming Jones-Trinidad fight, the Knicks City Dancers performed to LL Cool J's "Mama Said Knock You Out" wearing boxing gloves. Call me conservative, but I think that's a tad excessive.
  • I give him a lot of grief, so I should probably recognize Jared Jeffries' quality play in the last two games. Tonight and in the previous contest, he's finally been utilizing his gangly stature to snaggle loose balls and swat shot attempts.
  • There's a new show on National Geographic in which a guy dresses up as a hippo so he can walk amongst other hippos and study them without being harmed. Insert Jerome James joke here.
  • For a guy with a pretty low-key program on a local network, Boomer Esiason gets some nice guests. David Stern is going to be on the show.  
  • Kenny Smith commented that the Wizards were flat, just like Mike Breen's singing (a reference to his harmonic Christmas caroling in an ESPN commercial). Breen's utter silence afterwards makes me think that mentioning ESPN on an MSG broadcast is a big no-no.
  • Eddie Jordan played all 10 active Wizards by 7:18 in the second quarter. This included Oleksiy Pecherov, the gawky, snaggle-toothed Ukrainian who came out firing (with some success, I might add).
  • I really wish blogs had been invented in the 70's. I believe wholeheartedly that Clyde could be as entertaining as Gilbert Arenas, if not more.
  • I'm curious how they find people for Jill Martin's halftime "Gimme a Minute" segment (where, in case you didn't know, they interview a celebrity in attendance for one minute). Do they give someone tickets in exchange for an interview. Do they call season ticket-holders in advance? Or does Jill just survey the courtside seats in the first quarter to see who's there, and then ask around? I need to know these things.
  • Fantastic development: the Knicks' baby mascot, Luca, was in attendance once again. He was a favorite at my old blog, and will continue to be a favorite as long as the Knicks keep winning in his presence.
  • James Butler of the Giants (R.W. McQuarters and Brandon Jacobs too) was in attendance. Anybody else think he looks like Akon?
  • The key to the win, to me, was the backcourt's ability to stifle Washington runs. It seemed like every time the Wizards chipped into the lead and threatened a momentum change, either Crawford or Robinson would stick a big three or something.
A Few Individual Performances of Note
  • Zach Randolph looked pretty solid once again, dropping 14 and 11 in 34 minutes. More importantly, he mostly refrained from bulling through double teams, moved the ball well, and played adequate defense.
  • Nate Robinson continues to impress. In 25 minutes, he put up an efficient (6-9) 14 points and dished out 8 assists. He's looking more and more like a legit point guard, and his emergence is a positive product of the Marbury injury.
  • Renaldo Balkman was as energetic as ever, and played very ballsy defense against a pissed-off Caron Butler. He even managed to kick Butler in the head on a particularly long rim-hang off a Nate Robinson alley-oop.
  • Player of the night goes to Jamal Crawford, who shot a preposterous 6-7 from downtown and, as previously mentioned, repeatedly iced Wizards comeback attempts.
  • UPDATE: I forgot Quentin Richardson, who hit his first five shots and played the type of offensive game that we'd like to expect from him. Great to see Q bust out of his slump, if only for a night.
Anyway, skeptics will likely attribute a pleasant win to a tired opponent for the second game in a row, but give the Knicks credit for spirited but smart play on both ends. They'll be back tomorrow, looking to make it three in a row against the Nets. See you then. Peace.
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