In a random display of energy and semi-competent defense, the Knicks broke their ten-game losing streak against the Clippers in Los Angeles. It was a display of full-fledged April basketball between two bad teams, with a dazzling array of miscues and slapstick. The two teams grappled until the very end, though, and the Knicks managed to steal a win before heading back east.
After the jump, an auspicious Knick debut, some solid games (and some less solid...flaccid?) from youngsters, and other notes...
- Mike Breen called tonight's game after doing ABC's play-by-play for the Lakers-Spurs game this afternoon, which is a pretty rare feat. Between the two games, there was an earthquake. I am completely terrified of earthquakes, so we'll move on.
- Chris Duhon started this one, ostensibly because Toney Douglas isn't big enough to defend the post-ups of bruisers like Baron Davis and Eric Gordon. Whatever. Duhon was actually pretty (quietly) effective, and Toney got more minutes anyway.
- Sergio Rodriguez also got an extended spin, and save for a few pretty ghastly turnovers, did a splendid job of manning the point (10 assists). He and Toney comprised a very active lineup midway through the first quarter, poaching ball-handlers off of picks and jumping passing lanes with abandon. The Clippers started off really hot, but the lineup headed by Sergio and Toney brought the Knicks back into the lead.
- Earl Barron! The Knicks' newest 10-day bro and most regal big man had a very nice debut. Barron looked more than a little confused at first, but eventually gelled with the offense. He ran the floor very nicely, canned a few midrange jumpers, moved his feet well on defense, and snaggled six rebounds. Barron's only real post-up ended in a spastic jump hook that somehow hit the bottom of the rim (reminded me of one of these), so maybe his back-to-the-basket game isn't quite up to par. Nonetheless, not a bad debut at all.
- Nickname watch: Earl "The Aristoctrat" Barron, Earl "The" Barron", Earl "Of" Barron, and Earl "The Baron" Barron are all perfectly acceptable, but wouldn't it be funny if we all called him "Earl the Pearl"? Irreverence is all the rage these days.
- Meanwhile, Barron and Baron Davis were on the court at the same time, which, much to my disappointment, didn't confuse Walt Frazier, nor did it cause a black hole to form.
- Craig "The Rhino" Smith is one of the most appropriate nicknames in the league, and I love that the Clips' PA guy says "The Rhino" instead of his real name when he scores. I really can't imagine anybody who looks less like a "Craig" and more like a "Rhino". Might have to get that one changed legally.
- In another dip on the Danilo Gallinari roller coaster (rooster coaster?), the young'un opted not to drive much, missed most of his threes, and ended up 4-14. He did rebound (8), though, and did a decent job staying in front of Baron Davis. Baron's perfectly capable of hitting long fadeaway twos, but Gallo was still smart to give him those.
- Bill Walker, who's been shooting very nicely over the last few games, got a little trigger-happy after sinking a pair of threes. He ended up 2-8 from downtown and 5-13 overall, but managed 1. A very nice alley-oop from David Lee and 2. Only 2 fouls, so we'll call that one a win for The Bully.
- DeAndre Jordan air-balled a free throw, and from the sound of things, was ridiculed mercilessly by the home crowd. That was probably the loudest the fans got all game. It was eerily silent in the early-going, to the point that you could hear refs announcing calls to the scorer's table, players talking to one another, and Mardy Collins queefing on the bench.
- My laptop's battery life is roughly equivalent to the duration of a Knicks game, so I usually wear the thing out by the late fourth. At that point my computer always says "You are now running on reserve battery power", to which I respond, "No, you are".
- If you took a Lego man, blew him up to human-size, and gave him a facial hair trimming kit, you would have Eric Gordon.
- For whatever reason, the Clippers opted to put Baron Davis on Al Harrington down the stretch. Al wasted the mismatch the first time, settling for a fadeaway brick. The next two times, though, he was patient and backed Davis down. Davis flopped the first time, but got called for the foul. He then flopped again, but there was no whistle and Harrington scored easily. I don't really know what the logic behind any of that was, but we'll take it.
- I watch a lot of games sitting on my roommate's bed, and my new thing is to stuff a pillow into the hood of a sweatshirt, then wear it so I can lounge wherever I may roam. If that's not a million-dollar invention in the making, then I don't know what is.
- David Lee stayed nice with 29, 10, and 4, and looked really solid bringing the ball up at times. Dave at point-center tickles me. It kinda works, too.
That's pretty much it. Time to watch LIFE. Talk to y'all tomorrow.