The Knicks needed to take care of business against a severely depleted Pacers team, and they certainly did. In a wire-to-wire win, New York quickly went up by double digits and continued to build from there. By night's end, the Knicks had produced the biggest lead in the NBA this season (48 points), as well as the season's largest margin of victory (43).
The Pacers were never really interested in competing, but credit the solid Knick defense and crisp ball movement with keeping Indy at arm's length.
After the jump, peep some notes on individual performances and other odds and ends from the blowout that was.
- Like I said, the Knick defense was committed from the outset, but it didn't really take much to stop a Pacer team that appeared to have left their hearts in Indiana. Still, the Knicks contested shots and played passing lanes well enough to ensure this didn't turn into a trap game.
- I didn't hear if he used this the other night, but Clyde's summary of Nate Robinson's return to the rotation was "jubilation and emancipation", which is, of course, superior to any of the 150 articles you read Saturday morning.
- Did anyone else see that commercial with various Knicks performing staged basketball plays in a dark, empty arena against actors in Nets and Celtics jerseys? I ask because it very well could have been an acid flashback.
- Danilo Gallinari had a
field day pizza party against the flimsy Indiana defense. He provided the usual (2-4) from outside, but used most of his touches on aggressive drives to the hole, repeatedly getting to the rack and/or line. Gallo's finest moment came in the first quarter, when he faked a three, knifed into the lane, and dropped a massive one-handed slam in and around Roy Hibbert's mouth. He then crouched and struck a pose as Knick fans everywhere departed in search of fresh underwear. Here's the video, courtesy of Big C:
- Also, credit Mike D'Antoni and Jim O'Brien with facing off Gallinari and Luther Head, thus assembling the monumental Cock/Head matchup. All the 12 year-olds in the house say yeahhh.
- Chris also hit 6 of 7 threes and finished with 18 points. That kinda night.
- Nate entered the game with three minutes to go in the first to a nice ovation. On the whole, he shot poorly (2-11) because of some forced attempts (for instance, pull-up threes are frowned upon when the other team is over the foul limit), but didn't play poorly. He was active on defense, made a few sweet passes, and was active again on the boards, grabbing 6.
- David Lee found whatever touch he'd misplaced in Atlanta, connecting from inside and out for 22 points on 9-16 shooting as well as 16 rebounds. He also did a pretty nice job on the much larger Hibbert.
- Wilson Chandler continued to impress on offense. My favorite stat? 5-6 from the line, 0-0 from downtown. Wil's been playing intelligently for a couple games now, and it's a delight to watch.
- +46 each for Chandler and Lee.
- Jonathan Bender, much to everyone's surprise, played 24 minutes, even before garbage time set in. He shot only 3-10 and continued to get his shots blocked, but did dunk at one point. Legs might have a bit more lift than we thought. I still think he's got a spot in the rotation, but I'm completely biased.
- Al Harrington played very well (6-12, 15 points), but for a five-minute stretch in the second quarter, he and Nate were the only two Knicks to attempt shots. With Danilo Gallinari on the floor, I don't know if that's ideal. Makes me wonder if Gallo and Al should really share minutes.
- Dustin Hoffman, asked by Jill Martin what his favorite midnight snack was, responded initially with "G-rated?". He ended up saying something about pineapples and ginger ale, but I wanna know what the R-rated one was. Seriously, though. Was that a sex or a drug reference?
- Also, Dustin, please stand still.
- Troy Murphy (who was in street clothes) has a truly impressive nose, and that's coming from someone with a pretty serious nose himself.
- Best part of a rare blowout? Extended garbage time, y'all! The bench squad played the entire fourth quarter, and made an impression. Jordan Hill, as usual, was accurate from outside, and active everywhere else. He's still not the sturdiest of big men, but the kid gets after it. Meanwhile, Toney Douglas did what he do, and Marcus Landry hit a couple threes in his 9 minutes. Mike Breen mentioned that Greg Brittenham works those three out very hard before every game, and that they're all improving in both strength and conditioning, even when their minutes are sparse. That is excellent to hear, because I think each of them could play a significant role on the contending team Donnie Walsh is trying to build.
- On separate occasions, each of my parents came into the living room, looked at the TV screen, then took 5 or 6 steps forward and squinted to make sure the score they were seeing was actually correct, then shot me a seriously confused look. Again, that kinda night.
And that is all. Tonight was really excellent, but if the Knicks really wanna impress us, they'll continue to shine on Thursday against the 8th-place Bobcats. We'll talk tomorrow. Love.