Tonight's headline actually comes from Twitter (a popular social networking site), where I thought @Ms_Mambo summed things up pretty well. The Knicks came out decently-- the defensive rotations were sharp, and they made up for bad shooting by taking care of the ball and getting bunches of second-chance opportunities. Tyson Chandler and Amar'e Stoudemire both got going offensively, and even received a few nice, easy looks from penetrating Knick guards.
The wheels started to wobble in the second quarter and third quarters. Knick guards began to commit one turnover after another, allowing the Rockets to get buckets in transition. New York briefly looked re-engaged in the third quarter, but the Rockets jolted back ahead and took a nine-point lead with eight minutes remaining in the period. Mike D'Antoni, displaying some combination of fourth-game-in-five-nights practicality and sheer reckless abandon, let out the stops and just went with quantity, digging deep early and letting his end-of-benchers handle the final quarter and change. It went really well, aside from the fact that the scorekeepers were still keeping score and stuff.
Take the jump for a bit more.
- Toney Douglas really did make some nice passes early, penetrating off the dribble and either wheeling under the rim or drifting aside to dump the ball off for Chandler. As the game progressed, though, the usual ineptitude of he, Iman Shumpert, and Mike Bibby was palpable (especially in a lineup that saw all three on the floor at the same time)! So D'Antoni threw up his hands and put Jeremy Lin in the game and Lin was...well, good isn't the right word, but he certainly wasn't any worse than Douglas or Shump at running the point. He got into the paint pretty easily, made some nice, clean passes (6 assists), missed a bunch of shots, and committed 3 turnovers. Very Toney-esque, in fact!
- Keep doing what you do, Tyson Chandler, even when what you do sometimes includes dribbling coast-to-coast as time winds down in the quarter, slipping on Samuel Dalembert's foot, then getting embarrassed and screaming until you draw a technical.
- Amar'e Stoudemire, for the second or third game in a row, did a pretty nice job of scoring in spite of getting very few easy looks. His jumper is looking a bit swishier than usual (though there are still the occasional hideous bricks) and he had a few swift blow-bys that ended in finishes at or near the rim. Nice job chasing his own misses in the first half, too.
- Bill Walker got the start and used that opportunity to travel a lot, brick jumpers, and commit some absolutely unforgivable fouls. A-plus!
- Jared Jeffries hit a corner three in the second quarter. Somewhere in the in the middle of the Sahara, a parched fennec fox kit stumbled through the scorching sand in search of water, only to be plucked from the sky by a voracious owl.
- Speaking of names, I assume that chandler parsons are clergymen who also make and sell candles? I imagine they'd live in the Landry fields.
- Garbage time, also known as the entire fourth quarter, had a few excellent moments. First of all, Renaldo Balkman and Jerome Jordan both got to spin with Lin and Steve Novak. That's a win right there. My favorite play, I think, was when Lin tossed Balkman a high but not totally unreachable alley-oop pass in transition and Humpty looked at it, was just like "Nahhh, I don't want to get that", and let it sail out of bounds. AWESOME. Also awesome was when Steve Novak fell to his knees on defense, then stood up while Jeff Adrien was trying to dunk over him. Somehow, this didn't end in a career-ending injury for anyone involved.
- Nice job, Jordan Hill! Happy to see the former Knick pick coming along a bit. He's an inconsistent player, but that mid-range game looks sharp and he's much sturdier around the basket than he used to be.
That's all I've got. The Knicks, once again, didn't have much of a chance to compete in this game, and D'Antoni pretty much threw in the towel when the Rockets ran ahead in the third quarter. Hopefully, Melo (and Baron Davis maybe??) is ready to return and get back on his game come Tuesday.