The Knicks kicked off night one of D'Antoni-ball in promising fashion, but reverted to some old habits to give their first preseason contest away in Toronto last night. A couple notes:
- Clyde kicked off the season with a blue velvet suit and a pink satiny shirt. Now I remember why I always do a few tabs of acid before every game. Clyde also used the phrase "hounding and pounding" to describe the Eastern Conference style of play.
- To start things, the Knicks weren't hounding or pounding in the slightest. Once they got rolling, the ball moved quite a bit, big men and little men alike were in constant motion, and they dropped a cool 57 points in the first half.
- The Knicks' undersized and defensively lax big men, however, were having their problems with Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani, who finished with 20 and 15 a piece. Clyde: "Defense is not a real focal point of this offense".
- A few boxscore stats must've made D'Antoni smile. The 111 points. The 29 assists. A couple, though, are a reminder that he's not with the Suns anymore. 8-34 from downtown. 20 team turnovers. Not as promising. It's just one game, though, right?
- The two faults that did the Knicks in were the sheer inability to hit an open outside shot and a reluctance to run in the second half. The Raps defense stepped up a little bit after halftime, and there was much halfcourt toiling on our end. Too few passes and too many forced shots in that second half.
- No minutes for Collins, Ewing, or Grunfeld off the bench.
Some Individual Performances of Note
Chris Duhon- Du never really looked into it. His individual defense wasn't shabby, but his shots weren't falling and he gave away 7 whole turnovers. He's probably just a bit rusty, but he's going to have to control the ball and shoot at least a decent clip from outside if he wants to keep his starting job.
- David Lee- Lee looked fantastic on the offensive again. His underrated passing skills were on display and he looked like his old self finishing around the basket and even canning a few Kurt Thomas-esque jumpers off of screens. Lee finished with 22 and 9 on 9-13 shooting.
- Zach Randolph- Z-Bo, too, looked to be in his element. He did swallow the ball at times, and forced a shot or three, but didn't seem to have problems running the floor or operating within the offense. He finished with a very solid 19, 13, and 5 in 30 minutes.
- Wilson Chandler- Wil was active and pesky on the boards, hit a jumper or two, dunked on and around Jermaine O'Neal, and didn't turn the ball over, but I wasn't completely convinced. He didn't look as confident as he did during camp, and needs to assert himself a little bit more to stay in the rotation.
- Stephon Marbury- Steph did little other than cough up 5 turnovers and get to the hole a few times.
- Nate Robinson- Nate was perhaps the most compelling figure of the night. He played almost exclusively at the two-guard, and put up a team-leading 15 field goal attempts. He only hit 6, including only 2-7 from downtown, but he still looked the most comfortable of all the guards in the new system. Nate was also able to snatch two steals to force the break a couple times. If he can rein in the forced shots and keep his head on defense, Nate should see plenty of minutes at the Leandro Barbosa position in D'Antoni's scheme.
- Video of Wil's poster dunk.
- Alan Hahn on the point guard situation.
And that's your first game of the preseason. Wasn't a win, but there were some flashes of hope to be seen. Next game is Friday night against the Sixers.