That's it! That's the preseason! The Knicks still didn't look sharp in tonight's win, but there were fine moments and plenty of things to be excited about. Take the jump for a few very quick notes.
- Carmelo Anthony was once again the closest thing the Knicks had to a competent point guard. He made some gorgeous feeds, both facing the action and with his back to the basket. We saw some stuff in the pick-and-roll, a slick feed to a cutting and dunking Renaldo Balkman (who's been splendid moving without the ball), and some nice feeds on the move.
- Oh and Melo had 21 points, mostly off isolation plays and neat drives. He looked considerably more in rhythm than in the previous game.
- Not so for Amar'e, whose jumper continued to look a bit shaky.
- Tyson Chandler looked more like the player the Knicks want him to be, with 12 rebounds (6 offensive) and quite a bit of defense and pointing and yelling and stuff.
- Renaldo Balkman continued his campaign for playing time, finishing nicely around the rim and gettin' after loose balls like a madman. Nobody Hustles Harder™. My favorite play of Balkman's was when he snaggled a rebound ferociously, and then couldn't control his ferocity and whipped a two-seam fastball of an outlet pass at Devin Green's hip.
- Toney Douglas got his shot going, but hardly did any point guarding (there was one nice P 'n' R with Chandler) and couldn't stay in front of Deron Williams for two consecutive seconds. He really did shoot nicely, though.
- Iman Shumpert sure does like to shoot off the dribble! That improved shot selection we've all been excited about was nowhere to be seen in this one. His defense was much sharper than Douglas's, though.
- Josh Harrellson, who appears to be serious about shooting jumpers (a few swishes, a few airballs), had some truly excellent moments on defense. My favorite was when he found himself mismatched on Marshon Brooks, harassed him out to three point line, then just dove on the ball mid-dribble and started the break the other way. Between that and his hijacking of a rebound in the previous game, it's becoming evident that Jorts has little respect for the property of others. I love that. I love Jorts.
- Landry Fields was quiet, but did look a bit more comfortable on offense. He was less tentative off the dribble and generally made catches in more opportune locations.
- (Jorts might not have very good hands. Jury's still out. I love Jorts either way.)
- The Garden crowd booed Kris Humphries mercilessly in the first half, then chanted "WE WANT HUMPHRIES" in the fourth quarter. I missed the Garden crowd.
- Hey Devin Green! Nice job out there! Much better than the last game! Great passes! Great shooting! Great defense! Devin Green!
And, well, that's the preseason. The games count from now on, which is both wonderful and horrifying. This team still has holes, but they move the ball nicely, they like to defend, and they're just really fun to watch. This season's going to be bananas.