Raptors 113, Knicks 111

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.

Link Sesh

- Ryan McNeill's interview with H20 and game notes are fantastic.

- 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.

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