The Knicks might have used up all their offense in Phoenix because as BJabs pointed out, the team was very, very constipated tonight. The Lakers ended the Knicks' winning streak at three in a bizarre game where all of the Knicks' options were silenced.
The night began with the kind of gaiety that you'd expect when the two largest markets collide. You surely saw our beloved Clyde Frazier kill it with another animal themed suit that much-resembled TV static from a distance, but you knew it was a special affair when he pulled out THESE SHOES. Seriously, Clyde came to see Black Mamba with his own boots ready to strike, stompin' and chompin' his way to Staples.
The game was equally eventful in that it was physical as all hell and featured technical fouls, flagrants and an ejection. But for all of those happenings, the Knicks couldn't put together any kind of momentum to give this game any real excitement.
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Mike D'Antoni continued to tweak his ever changing starting lineup and started Shawne Williams over Ronny Turiaf to space the floor for poops and make the Lakers play the Knicks' game. They came out in the first few minutes with the kind of pace and peskiness needed to counter that Laker length. ALL the hands were in passing lanes forcing turnovers possession after possession but it wasn't long before the Lakers imposed their will with that size advantage.
At some point, Amar'e Stoudemire and Raymond Felton were going to have awful games at the same time. Tonight was that night. Amar'e needed 24 shots to score 23 points as he struggled putting up shots over two seven-footers. He did throw back some nonsense for six blocks but couldn't offer much resistance against Andrew Bynum in the post.
Felton seemed out of it from the start which is a shame cause we all expected him to split Derek Fisher in half. He literally threw it straight to Ron Artest on one possession and alley-ooped it to no one in particular on a 3-on-1 fastbreak on another. He also wasn't able to force the defense to collapse nearly as much as usual which threw the entire ecosystem off for the outside shooters.
Wilson Chandler was forced to create as a result which has been a damn good option for this team, but he was up against Ron Artest tonight, and even when he scored 11 points in the first, he needed 10 shots to do it. He missed all five of his threes too, but even with Ron on his case all night, he got free on a give-and-go for a GLORIOUSLY violent stuff.
Extra E in his starting rolee defended admirably given his vertical handicap but like most Knicks, was constipated missing five poops. Could've used that sign for support, man. Or some fiber.
Landry Fields had one of those dirty jobs guarding Kobe Bryant. You have to give the rook a hand with this performance. Kobe needed 28 shots to score 27 and had a low scoring first half. He made Kobe take tougher shots than necessary on occassion, granted that's his MO, and only picked up one foul in the process. Landryman also had a perky putback dunk that got me out of my seat for the rest of the game.
Andrew Bynum was the real difference in the game. He parked in the lane and dunked his way to 18 points in just 24 minutes. He was pinning Amar'e deep, establishing early post position, and getting in front of the basket the entire night. It was like watching the RedZone channel except I was praying for a commercial break. The Knicks' only answer for him was Kobe taking jump shots instead of dumping it down. He eventually got ejected in the opening minute of the fourth quarter to arguing a call and, I think, really gently grazing the official but the damage had already been done.
Clyde eventually weighed in on the technicals and said of Kobe, "When you come to practice in a helicopter, who's going to call a tech on you?" Valid point. But on a night where players were getting testy, Clyde had some really nice things to say about Bill Bradley in the second quarter including this gem: "He was straight up as 12 o'clock." Phil Jackson also let us know that Clyde once owned an elephant skin jacket that "must've weighed 40 lbs." Clyde's still taking over games without trying.
The Knicks struggled in the areas we knew they would. There was a glimmer of hope as we all figured the offense would pick up at some point in the second half but they kept missing their way to an incredibly crummy 88 points on 100 possessions. This is the kind of game where Danilo Gallinari is missed. Walker and Williams simply don't provide the same scoring threat and creativity off the dribble, so when the top three scorers are shut down, there isn't much of anything to fall back on in his absence.
Let's all nurse our wounds, take a couple of phoenix downs, and gear up for Portland.
(H/T to @outsidethenba for all the videos)