And there's your preseason, folks. All told, the Knicks went 5-2 and showed plenty of promise. Tonight's game was as ugly as the rest, but Mike D'Antonis crazy kids managed a win despite the comeback efforts of the short-handed Nets. The bench crew got ample minutes, and at least one of your favorite young'uns had himself a fine night. A few notes:
- TDDWTDD, y'all. Toney Douglas was out there with the other rookies and fringe friends late in the fourth and single-handedly stifled one of several Net comebacks with a personal 7-point run. Toney began with a contested three and pull-up two over Rafer Alston, then hit an absolutely silly twisting runner in the lane. He finished with 13 points on 6-9 shooting. I didn't cry, but I got pretty choked up.
- Chris Duhon got all kinds of awesome in the first half. He was doing that thing where he repeatedly shoots threes from near-halfcourt and repeatedly hits them. I love that thing. Du also attacked the basket more than usual, though 6 turnovers and 4 assists doesn't put a smile on my face. Can't have everything, I suppose.
- Jordan Hill's line (6 points, 3 boards, 2 blocks, and 2 steals in 14 minutes) looks pretty nice, but he desperately needs to relax. His follies- foot-shuffling, hurried releases, butterfingers- are all indicative of the jitters. If only he had something to settle his nerves. Sorta wish Renaldo Balkman was still around, you feel me?
- A team that shoots this many threes (8-22 tonight was actually pretty tame, but you know what I'm talking about) will occasionally have streaks of absolute brilliance. Such a streak arrived in the second quarter this evening, as a flurry of offense that included four straight threes resulted in a 14-1 run that took all of 2:15.
- After playing relatively tight defense and moving the ball nicely in the first half, the Knicks lost the third quarter 36-17. I cannot explain why the ball movement stopped and the defense surrendered, but it happened. My speculative diagnosis would be Toney Douglas Deficiency (TDD).
- Danilo Gallinari looked pretty off (2-8) again, but he's gradually made his way inside the arc over the course of the preseason, so I'm still feeling good about his prospects for the coming season.
- At one point in the third quarter, Nate Robinson was fouled hard by Bobby Simmons and took exception to the play, getting all up in Simmons's grill (as much as a 5'7'' guy can get in the face of a 6'7'' guy). The nearest replacement referee grabbed Nate and pushed him aside, which is fine, but proceeded to put Nate in a full-on headlock, even though the little guy wasn't making any effort to break free. That's more than a little over-the-top, and I was pleased to see Mike D'Antoni verbally disembowel the ref in question.
- The Nets nearly erased a five-point deficit by pulling the miss-the-second-free-throw-then-get-the-rebound-and-get-fouled-again TWICE. On his third trip to the line, Courtney Lee missed one of the two freebies that could've tied it.
- Preseason MVP: Al Harrington, who is going to become a father very, very soon.
So ends preseason. The real thing starts on Tuesday, but there's plenty to see, hear and discuss in the meantime. I'll be in touch on the morrow. Be good.