So, uh, I suppose the suspicions that New York's rousing victory last night was largely the result of a terrible, short-handed opponent were right on point. Against a better defensive team with folks who actually liked hitting shots sometimes, our old friend returned, just like ny knickerbocker said in the thread. The lazy, sloppy ball movement, the settling for ill-fated threes, the careless switching on defense, and the overall lack of any discernible will all resurfaced at even the slightest display of resistance from the opponent. There's absolutely no reason for a team capable of the things we saw last night (and in stretches of tonight's first half) to whither so completely against the Cavaliers-- an un-terrible but totally vulnerable team-- but that's just how it's been so far this season.
Take the jump for some quick notes.
- The Knicks had a turnover on their very first possession and I cheered a little bit because I thought it was the Cavs. It was an honest mistake, given that the Knicks were forced to wear their home uniforms because Cleveland wanted to wear those ugly-ass blue jerseys, but it put the wrong idea in their heads. New York went on to charge, travel, stumble, and whiff their way to 21 more turnovers, and it was all my fault. I'm sorry.
- Carmelo Anthony struck a better balance between clearing out for his own party and sharing the ball with others, but had even more shit on his hands (tape on his right thumb now, too) and shot just 5-14.
- Amar'e Stoudemire had some splendid plays, including a couple made jumpers, some dribble moves past Anderson Varejao, and even a couple finishes off slipped screens with Melo. He also did plenty of plainly dumb things, like drive directly into Varejao, or directly into the baseline, or directly through your TV screen and onto the floor of your living room. In any event 9-19 for 19 points (just 1 free throw) and 14 rebounds isn't wonderful, but it's solid, and it's an improvement compared to his previous body of work this season.
- Ew, six turnovers though. Just saw that. Yuck.
- Iman Shumpert and Toney Douglas, between them, did very few good things and very many bad things. Neither created the space to penetrated and kick, which is a part of the reason the Knicks didn't get points in transition (Douglas runs a fast break about as poorly as it can be run. It makes me question not just his point guard skills but, like, his basic understanding of angles, object constancy, gravity, and basic arithmetic.) and missed damn near all their threes.
- 3-20, that is. And they weren't good looks.
- Mike Breen happened to complain about the incessant music in Quicken Loans Arena (and, indeed, it was irritating even on TV), but happened to do so during "Papa Was a Rolling Stone". He should know by now not to speak ill of The Temptations around Clyde.
- Tyson Chandler had a couple of nice finishes and a nice defensive play or two, but this was a relatively weak game for him. Varejao beat him to quite a few rebounds (the big dust mop had 8 offensive boards) and baited him into a couple overplays and fouls.
- Oh, and part of tonight's loss must be blamed on whatever witch granted Samardo Samuels and Ryan Hollins the ability to hid mid-range jumpers. I know that big men going off against Stoudemire is a thing, but that's just absurd and unfair and possibly a felony.
- A line taken from my notes, verbatim: "WHAT THE FUCK SAMARD SAMUELS SHOOT JUPERS". I was alarmed.
- Is Jared Jeffries back to the thing where he hits one three a night, then misses two or three more off, like, the back of the backboard? If so, I APPROVE. (Also, pretty good game, Jared. Nice help defense, nice charges drawn, and a gritty return to the floor despite back spasms.
- It should be mentioned that things got momentarily fun around the early second quarter. Two lineups-- one anchored by only Amar'e and another anchored by only Melo-- took the Knicks on like a 15-2 or 17-2 run. Landry Fields did some great things in transition and away from the ball to fill out that run. Then the Cavs came back and the game pretty much ended in the second quarter. New York didn't look even remotely interested in winning after the Cleveland counter-run.
- Alonzo Gee has, like, knuckles on his arms. His muscles have smaller muscles of their own or something.
And that's probably it! It was a really bad basketball game. I didn't like it one bit. I'd like to stop thinking about it and eat these candies now. Good night!