76ers 98, Knicks 90

Rich Barnes-US PRESSWIRE

The Knicks sucked in Syracuse.

That wasn't a particularly fun game, but hey, at least it didn't count! The Knicks played some of the worst basketball I've ever seen them play early on, only to storm back in the second half but fall short because of wasted possessions and lapses at the defensive end of the floor. The final score in Syracuse was 76ers 98, Knicks 90.

Carmelo Anthony, performing in front of fans who regard him as a champion and adore him unequivocally (which is pretty surreal to witness), played a really nice all-around game early, contributing in all realms and making every effort to get to the basket. Raymond Felton, who was pretty much the rest of New York's offense, couldn't get anything to fall off the dribble (at least not until later on), but was strangely hot from downtown (5-7).

In the second quarter, New York's offense completely went to shit and they watched Philly sink jumpers at an unspeakable rate, like probably somewhere up near 113 percent. That stretch was as horrid as anything has ever been in history anywhere on Earth.

But yeah, the Knicks finally played something resembling basketball in the second half-- moving the ball better, defending better, and just finally operating as a professional sports outfit. If Steve Novak hadn't missed a heap of jumpers (didn't even know that was legal. Isn't that a foul on someone?) and Melo hadn't plunged into full-on isolationist quick triggered chuckery, the Knicks might have actually come back and won. Oh well.

Other things, briefly:

- Ronnie Brewer cut nicely away from the ball in the second half (not that anybody fed him), but looked pretty out of place early on. He couldn't keep up with the likes of Royal Ivey and Damien Wilkins off the dribble and couldn't even look at the rim, let alone hit it. Dude looks a bit out of shape, which is understandable. Hopefully another week or two of games and scrimmages will get Ronnie his wind back.

- Tyson Chandler and Kurt Thomas hit people all night. They were both just walking around, shoving folks. Kurt punched Maalik Wayns in his penis and didn't say sorry.

- It was pretty funny watching Jason Kidd sprint the ball up the court in the fourth quarter with the rest of the guys lagging behind him like "fuuuuck, come on, Jason". Pablo Prigioni looks much sprier and is at least willing to go to the basket sometimes, but Kidd didn't look too bad to me in his starting role. Not ideal, but not terrible.

- Chris Copeland just keeps hitting shots, drawing fouls (got that floppy hair. It really does help.), and moving his feet pretty nicely on defense. He'll make the team, and now I'm beginning to wonder if there will be real minutes for him, at least as long as Amar'e's out.

- John Shurna's great at hopping off the bench with his arms raised moments before a three-pointer takes flight.

- James White really has a knack for moving around competently and not making major errors while not actually doing anything. I guess his defense has been solid, but it's been so hard to appraise his game this preseason. DO SOME STUFF SO I CAN JUDGE YOU, JAMES.

- Is that just me? Do y'all feel like you have a sense of what White offers? Or is it just that he doesn't offer much?

- Highlight of the night was definitely Clyde repeatedly calling Jason Richardson "Q-Rich".

- Three consecutive Prigioni possessions: 1. Drills a straight-on three off the catch. 2. Gorgeous spin off the dribble, dishes to a Thomas baseline jumper. 3. Dribbles patiently up top while everyone cuts, finds Copeland cutting backdoor for a dunk. Pablo's a great little dude.

- Woodson, who was IRATE by the final buzzer (at the refs, at his guys, at me?), went with Novak down the stretch, only to sub him out for Copeland after he got bulldozed on the glass and threw an awful entry pass. Novak had his moments, but his impressive interior efforts faded a bit against much bigger gentlemen.

- Oh, and he pump-faked and drew a foul at the perimeter. That was weird.

Mmhmm. The Knicks looked mostly dreadful against a team just as short-handed as they were. At least they played that solid third quarter to remind us they can, when engaged, gain a lot of ground very quickly. They can lose said ground just as quickly when they revert to bad habits.

One more game, then all of the above begins to count (ya know, if they keep doing it). Oh man!

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