As commenter "Edgware" said in the game thread, tonight's game was unnecessarily nerve-wracking. The Knicks survived and came away with their fourth straight W, though, and that's pretty great. New York built a double-digit lead by halftime, added to it in the third quarter, then blew the entire thing in what felt like a minute-long stretch of the fourth quarter. In the end, though, some timely hoops, timelier Bobcat gaffes, and a handful of clutch free throws helped the Knicks withstand the Charlotte comeback. Six players scored in double figures, with Toney Douglas's 22 points off the bench leading the way.
Take the jump para las notas.
- Before the game, MSG showed footage of Gerald Wallace jumping into Raymond Felton's arms and kissing him on his head. I don't know if a guy with a history of head and shoulder injuries should be cradled by a guy with a history of having tiny baby arms, but it was a touching moment nonetheless.
- This game started pretty splendidly. The Bobcats were delightfully sucky on offense, missing open jumpers and running into hostile Knick defense at the rim. New York, meanwhile, moved the ball and got to the rack in exciting fashion. Raymond Felton threw darts to cutters, hit Landry Fields for a textbook alley-oop, and generally had his way against his old team. Things were looking up.
- The interior defense disappeared in the second period and thereafter, but an unusual lineup of Toney Douglas, Landry Fields, Bill Walker, Wilson Chandler, and Timofey Mozgov was able to keep Charlotte at arm's length. Toney had a big quarter, making a few of his signature backcourt steals and canning open looks. He would build from there in the third, ending the game with 22 points, including five three-pointers. Who knows where they were hiding, but those pull-up, pigeon-toed threes are suddenly dropping again. DWTDD.
- Amar'e Stoudemire got himself in foul trouble on a combination of blatant charges and cheap hand checks, and didn't have his best outing in 31 of play. Stoudemire started the game establishing pretty solid position and making his moves early, but turned some catches later on into those top-of-the-key, head-down, high-dribble drives we've come to loathe. It was a frustrating night for Amar'e, but he owed us a stinker after a brilliant week of basketball. And hey, the Knicks won anyway!
- Danilo Gallinari started the game driving and thriving. He got to the line and the rim, threw a few gorgeous assists, and entered halftime with 8 points on just two shots. It's really a treat to watch him figure things out off the dribble, and those passes invoked some of the point-forward aspirations we've had for Gallo in the past. Gallinari's free throw streak, meanwhile, is up to 43 consecutive makes. 2 more and he knocks Chris Duhon out of the Knicks record books, thereby allowing us all to sleep soundly and without fear of apocalypse.
- I will say that it was somewhat disconcerting to see Gallo disappear ("See" him disappear? Does that make sense?) in the fourth quarter. He got fewer touches, and ended up missing threes when he did catch the ball. Gallo hit some big free throws in crunch time, but I can only remember one (particularly ugly) drive by The Cock down the stretch. I don't think we've ever seen Gallo dominate a fourth quarter by driving, but when he does, I'll probably pee my pants.
- I don't know who gave Michael Imperioli license to be a tequila snob, but he hurts my feelings like half a dozen times every game night. His top can pour a shot, and my top can't do ANYTHING.
- I just love Ronny Turiaf. If you don't also love Ronny Turiaf, then you probably missed him knocking Gerald Wallace to the floor while grabbing a rebound, then helping Wallace up while the ball was still live. He then scored on the ensuing possession. On the game, Ronny was 6-6 for 12 points, and also recorded 2 steals and 2 blocks. He did all of this while sporting cornrows and a full beard. Ronny is the biggest, friendliest giant there is, and he's also a monster of a basketball player. I can't think of a guy I'd rather have on my favorite team.
- ...well, except for maybe Landry Fields. Along with his 7 boards, Fields put up 14 points. 7 of those points came on a HUGE one-man run in the fourth, during which Fields nailed a three, stole an awful outlet pass and hit a layup, and tip-dunked a Raymond Felton miss in transition. He did all of this while sporting a very fresh haircut. I can't possibly pick a favorite between Turiaf and Fields. I adore those two so, so much. I want to push them around the park in a tandem stroller.
- All big men should wear goggles because goggles make me happy. And also because they protect the eyes. Good job, Kwame Brown.
- Jill Martin's "Gimme a Minute" halftime interview was with John Leguizamo, who was in a sort of chatty drunken trance that kind of made me want my minute back.
- After Danilo Gallinari hit a transition three to put the Knicks up 13 in the third quarter, he ran back to Ronny Turiaf (who'd made the outlet pass) and very Italianly blew him a kiss. I didn't see him say "prego", but he totally thought it.
- Did I mention that the MSG broadcast was completely silent for most of the second half? It requires much more concentration to watch a game without sound, I've realized, and it makes it a lot harder to look down at one's computer. Also, MSG never corrected the problem, but managed to turn on the sound during Optimum Online commercials. Well done.
- I'm sure Clyde said some cool stuff in the second half that we missed, but his best line of the first half targeted Gerald Wallace: "He's hell when he's well!".
- Wilson Chandler had one pretty and very important drive in the late fourth quarter, but other than that, he played very poorly. Stop shooting and get to the rim, Wilson! If Gallo can do it, then you most definitely can as well.
- Speaking of "most definitely", do what Toney Douglas do. I know I told you to do that earlier, but I feel like you were slacking off a bit.
- Raymond Felton fell hard on his ass in the second half and was smarting for the rest of the game, even as he sank crucial free throws. Keep Ray's lower back in your prayers, because the Knicks absolutely cannot afford to lose him (not that that's a possibility right now, but back injuries tend to linger).
- Felton threw a really nice lob to Turiaf for an easy bucket when Ronny's man was fronting. I'd love to see more of that from Felton with Turiaf, Stoudemire and Timofey Mozgov (assuming Timo can catch a lob, which is kind of a bold assumption).
- To my eye, Felton did a better job than Douglas in containing DJ Augustin, which makes sense since they used to check each other all the time in practice. Either way, Augustin hit from pretty much everywhere and led all scorers with 24 points.
- I love Stephen Jackson and he hit some scary shots down the stretch, but there's nothing quite like watching him sabotage an opposing team. He shot 7-22 including some serious momentum-killers when the Bobcats were storming back into it. When Captain Jack's on, he is ON. When he's off, though, he's like Wilson Chandler on PCP.
- Amar'e Stoudemire continues to impress me with his neckwear choices. An interview clip showed him with his shooting shirt looped around his neck like an ascot or something. During the game itself, Amar'e had a towel wrapped over his shoulders, but under his warm-ups.
It got frightening at the end there, but the Knicks put on a good show to move to 7-8. If they really want to impress us, they'll step up the energy tomorrow and take another one from the (now pissed off) Cats in Charlotte. Good night to all.