Well, at least the Knicks aren't completely folding in games this week. New York held their own against the Magic, but when Orlando started hitting threes, the Knicks' chances quickly faded. That was really the difference, at least to my eye. New York did a decent job keeping the ball out of Dwight Howard's hands. The consequence, though, was that Magic perimeter players found themselves with wide-open threes. In the first half, those threes didn't fall. In the second half, they did. That pretty much made the difference.
In other news, Nate Robinson got all kinds of silly in the fourth quarter, dropping 22 points on impressive 10-11 shooting in the period. Stan Van Gundy's squad kept pace, though. Be it Vince Carter, Rashard Lewis, or Ryan Anderson, the Magic had the answer for all of Nate's antics.
More notes after the jump...
- Chris Duhon lives! The starting point guard of the present finally had an effect on offense, posting 11 points (5-6!) and 8 assists. Chris ran the pick and roll beautifully with David Lee, and wasn't afraid to look for his own shot when Lee was covered. That's an emphatic 6, not 6 factorial, just in case there was any confusion. Not that a 5-720 line from Du is out of the question.
- Danilo Gallinari also woke up a little bit, hitting 4 threes and finishing with 15 points, 4 boards, and 2 blocks. It was still far too easy to confuse Gallo for a spectator at times, though, what with his tendency to spend entire possessions in the left corner behind the arc. Danilo managed 15 points on just 7 attempts. Imagine what he could do with 20 attempts.
- I know D'Antoni likes a short rotation, but hitting both first-round picks with DNP-CDs is utterly inexcusable. This is the second consecutive game in which both Jordan Hill and Toney Douglas did not play, and there's no good reason for that trend. It's not like the Knicks don't need them.
- Anthony Anderson likes stuffing.
- Is it just me, or does Mickael Pietrus look a little like Rocket from City of God with his longer hair?
- Speaking of Pietrus, Walt Frazier responded to a three-pointer by the Magic guard with "the man from Guadeloupe with the hoop!".
- Add J.J. Redick to the list of small, unathletic individuals who have scored over David Lee this season. Credit Lee with a solid offensive output, and even some decent man-to-man defensive work against Howard, but his help defense is going to be the death of me.
Anyway, save for signs of life from Duhon, Nate's fourth quarter antics, some Cock buckets, and Anthony Anderson's affinity for stuffing, tonight was fairly meaningless. It's nice to see the Knicks compete with top-tier teams, but it'd be better to see the rookies actually get some burn. Next game's Tuesday night against the Suns, who've adapted D'Antoni's fast-paced game to re-join the Western Conference elite. Should be interesting.