A sloppy fourth quarter allowed the Chicago Bulls' Summer League team to muster a late comeback and drop the Knicks to 0-4 in Summer League play. Though the collapse was worthy of some attention (and I'll give it some), a couple of SummerKnicks posted their best individual efforts so far. Player breakdowns, after the jump...
Jordan Hill- Ok, so maybe it wasn't "a couple" players. It was really just Hill who had his best game. I had to get you to click through somehow. Hill didn't get any stronger or more athletic over night, but he at least looked more at ease with the balll and made a more focused effort on defense. With his back to the basket, the rookie showed a relatively fluid array of drop steps and turnaround jumpers. There were also a couple of powerful finishes because of good spacing and a well-caught pass. Perhaps most relevant were Hill's 2 blocked shots, which were both the last line of defense against slashing Bulls. He also got called for 9 fouls, but at least 1 of those fouls was bullshit. Meanwhile, Hill's got quick hands, and gets plenty of deflections on the defensive end. Only thing is he treats rebounds the same way. I'm sure someone on the Knicks coaching staff has told him to grab boards with two hands, and I'd like to co-sign that.
In conclusion, I've decided that the best adjective to describe Jordan Hill is "noodly". I'd call him "Noodle" but we've already got dudes nicknamed "Cock" and "Nuts" on the team, and people might look at us funny. Not that they don't already.
Toney Douglas- Toney's shot was falling for the first time in Vegas. He hit a couple midrange J's and stepped out for a long 2 from the top of the arc. He also did what Toney Douglas do on defense, and that's hustle his ass off. Not only can he stay in front of his man, but he's got a gift for picking pockets.
All that said, Douglas faced his first major challenge against a Bulls defense that opted to pressure him the length of the court. For the most part, he did a good enough job of breaking the press and starting the offense, but there were a few lapses in his point guard play. One relatively innocuous error was to repeatedly pull a step-back dribble at exactly halfcourt. He only got called for it once, but stricter refs could've whistled three or four halfcourt violations. More troubling was his uncharacteristically deferential play down the stretch. The Bulls were mounting a massive comeback, but instead of grabbing the reins, Douglas would simply bring the ball up, hand it off, and get out of the way. Perhaps the best example of this was when the Knicks were down 3 points with less than a minute remaining. Toney walked the ball up far too casually, then passed it off to Joe Crawford, who was moseying past halfcourt. The refs whistled an 8-second violation- an embarrassing end to an embarrassing collapse. I know that Toney's trying to cement his status as a point guard, but I would've liked to see him respond to the pressure by attacking the rim. More than 7 shot attempts and 0 free throw attempts might've spearheaded a Knick win.
Meanwhile, Harry Douglas, receiver for the Falcons and brother of Toney, was interviewed by Tina Cervasio. That's just a cool-ass family.
The other SummerKnicks were solid, but did little of note. Nikoloz Tskitishvili's jumper wasn't falling (0-4 from three), but he displayed a guard-like ability to put the ball on the floor and finish at the rim. 9 free throw attempts for a 7-footer who never posts up is impressive. Skita also tallied 2 blocked shots, including an aerial punishment of Anthony Roberson in the second quarter. That's for missing all your shots in New York, ANTHONY.
The two shooting guards played their games ably. Morris Almond got a little out of hand, with a few mindless heaves and an offensive foul or two in transition, but hey, that's why we love him. Joe Crawford was comparatively quiet, but went 2-3 from downtown and finished with 10 points and the prestigious "Beard of the Game" award for his fourth straight outing. No, Nikoloz, that landing strip isn't gonna get any love.
Behind the booth, Gus and Clyde were at their absolute best. They interviewed Glen Grunwald (boring) and Florida State Coach Leonard Hamilton (enlightening), but really made the evening with their irrelevant banter. At one point, the two were discussing the five-day camp that Clyde leads at the end of the month. Gus asked him if he plays one-on-one against the campers, and he replied "Yeah, I'm undefeated in the 10-12 age group. My reputation overwhelms them". Who's cool enough to get away with saying that? Clyde is. That's who.
Perhaps the best exchange between Gus and Clyde was when MSG showed a shot of a baby sitting quietly in his cradle in the crowd. The following exchange occured (this is from memory, so it may be a bit off):
Gus: "We've got some rookies in the building! What a cute kid."
Clyde: "He's not quite ready to play these rookies yet."
Gus: "Look at those feet!"
Clyde: "Cool-looking dude, too!"
(At this point, the baby began to cry)
Clyde: "Oh wait! Losing his cool!"
The only thing that could have made it better would've been a "rocking and shocking!" or "pacifying and electrifying!" on Clyde's part.
And that's what I've got. The final Vegas game is today at 4 p.m. eastern. I should be able to catch at least part of the action, but I'm signed up to eat dinner with my grandparents this evening, and you know those kids eat early. So, if anybody wants to do a recap in my stead, send me an email or let me know in the comments. I should have a game thread up in time. Enjoy your Sundays.