Rockets 104, Knicks 89: "Nothing working right now."

Man, man, man. Tough times. Not only are the Knicks struggling, but patterns are starting to form. Key guys are slumping, errors are mounting, and team-wide foibles are resurfacing. It's a losing streak, y'all. Let us briefly revisit a loss that was all too familiar before sinking into the usual nonsense.

Jump!

- Like our friend semsemma said, nothing worked for the Knicks tonight. The usual weapons were missing for a whole gamut of reasons. Weapon #1, Amar'e Stoudemire, was as baffled as we've seen him this year. With expert patience, quick hands, and a touch of grit, Chuck Hayes locked Amar'e down like a pro. None of the secondary options-- Wilson Chandler (4-13), Raymond Felton (5-14), or Danilo Gallinari (4-11)-- could offset Stoudemire's silencing. Bench friends couldn't finish defensive plays. As a team, they got out-everything'd. It was a loss on all fronts. I'm pretty bummed. Here's the boxscore.

- Amar'e started nicely with 11 steady points in the first quarter. After that, Chuck Hayes completely iced him. He held his ground and forced Stoudemire toward help defenders for strips and rejections. Amar'e turned it over 5 times, grabbed just 5 rebounds, and got his 25 on 21 shots. There were some miscues from both Stoudemire and the facilitating Raymond Felton, but you can chalk a lot of it up to a brilliant defensive performance by Hayes and friends.

- I swear this wasn't as bad a defensive game as some of the previous losses. There were occasional open looks, sure, but the wings allowed mostly difficult shots to their Rocket assignments. Kevin Martin was held to 6-18 by a tag team of Danilo Gallinari and Landry Fields. Felton and Stoudemire were focused on Kyle Lowry and Luis Scola, but got beat anyway. Ballhawks like Toney Douglas and Ronny Turiaf just couldn't catch a break. There was most definitely a struggle to cohere, but I thought I caught some decent individual D get vigorously surmounted. Was I seeing things?

- I desperately want to dismiss BK's hypothesis, but his prediction that Chandler and Gallo would struggle proved accurate. Both of them (and Felton, actually) just couldn't find the bounce; we saw a heavy helping of rim-outs. On the other hand, save for a few headfake-bites, Landry Fields pretty much did his thing, rumors be damned. Praise be to Landry Fields, the Landriest Landry in the Land.

-Toney Douglas, still visibly smarting, played a decent game (18 minutes, 13 points, 7 rebounds, 3-6 shooting from outside, no turnovers, two sidesburned), but did bungle a few breakaways and gamble a bit. Still, Toney made a mostly positive impact, as did Ronny Turiaf (4 points, 6 boards, 3 ass cysts in 20 minutes). Neither Shawne Williams nor his pooping copilot Bill Walker could hit the target.

- Nodded at this comment from PrivateRadio: "They’re making me want to chain smoke, or overeat, or call an ex girlfriend, or any of the other things I do when I’m irrationally upset." Word. When I'm irrationally upset, I punt yams.

- I love the positivity, but does anybody else feel a sinking sense of chagrin when they see those chest-thumping Knicks-Spurs promos?

- Right as Tina Cervasio issued a report (complete with the appropriate visual) on Amar'e Stoudemire's chest/shoulder armor (intended to shield that shoulder that keeps getting stung), the cap'n whipped off his jersey and shed the protective stuff for the camera. Don't ever doubt Amar'e's abilities as a timely bare-chester.

- I'm personally a pretty big advocate of Malik Rose's analysis at the desk, but he sounds almost TOO much like a TV guy already. There isn't a doubt in my mind that he spent idle moments of his playing career cheesing in front of a mirror.

- Luis Scola looks like a Visigoth or a Vandal or a Hun or something. I'm not sure which. I'm just sure he's from a different millenium.

- After a tough Kyle Lowry layup, Kelly Tripucka praised the guard's "wide little body". You got called a chode, Kyle.

- I was going to call my son-to-be-named-later "Roscoe Rosenthal" anyway, but the discovery of a bedbug-sniffing beagle named Roscoe just clinches it.

- Two defenses I didn't like against Aaron Brooks: 1. Pressing. He's too fast. 2. Not sticking him with Danilo Gallinari. Gallo was off doing work against Martin, but I thought we would've seen more of him on Brooks. Gallo sniffed out that li'l bedbug pretty successfully last year, didn't he? Am I misremembering?

- I am diametrically opposed to "Squeeze Z Hummus". It just looks like hummus-flavored mayonnaise. Also, everyone in my viewing party agreed that they'd rather risk contagion than have to squeeze out a unit's worth of hummus for every chip/cracker/baby carrot. "No more double dipping" just isn't a moving tag line.

- Is it just me, or is Chuck Hayes made of a stack of rectangular prisms of ascending size from top to rather wide bottom? Chuck Hayes is a ziggurat.

- I'm really impressed by the guy in the Marines commercial who overcame his inability to swim, but why not just join one of the wings of the military that doesn't require swimming? That's probably a sissy mindset. I suspect I would not survive basic training.

- An HD, tightly framed shot of Chase Budinger triggered a simultaneous, visceral chorus of "EGCHK!"s from those around me. THAT's what Pusha T is talking about.

That'll be all, babies. Things will turn around. It's just a matter of how soon.

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