That was fun! Sure, it began with a horrifying (but inconsequential I think/hope) Tyson Chandler injury and some hideous Knicks play, but things quickly picked up and evolved into a pretty exciting preseason finale. A relatively spirited back-and-forth between the first units gave way to outright bedlam when the benches took the floor for most of the fourth quarter and overtime. We didn't get the Mychel Thompson game-winner we so desperately desired, but we did get a Knicks win, which was nice in its own meaningless way. Some quick notes:
- Mike Woodson had a bandage above his eye. He wouldn't tell anybody why that was the case. My assumption is that Woodson cut himself shaving his eyelids and that his eyelids would look just like his chin region if he didn't shave them everyday. Good luck sleeping tonight with that image in your head.
- Carmelo Anthony played about as bad a first quarter as he's ever played. He missed his jumpers badly, stumbled repeatedly into traffic and got his shit swatted no less than thrice, and failed to cover defensively on several occasions. Thankfully, his approach changed thereafter. He concentrated way more on moving the ball, rebounding, and defending, and ended up getting into a decent rhythm with a few jumpers in the third quarter. Miserable start, but not a bad game all things considered.
- Neither Raymond Felton nor Jason Kidd (who entered the game once Chandler went down) had a prayer of guarding Joe Johnson when he felt like backing down. In general, the backcourt's timing of double teams and navigation over picks was pretty dismal in the early going. Ronnie Brewer struggled with those match-ups for a while, too, but looked much sharper as the game progressed. He did a better job getting a hand in Joe Johnson's face and caused Josh Childress plenty of trouble as well.
- In general, really. Every shot Brewer attempts is a bit of an adventure-- his hands take some pretty abstract paths toward the release-- but he cut beautifully and even connected on a few elbow jumpers later on. (And all this came after some dizzying misses-- like, airballs that may or may not have flown backwards-- in the first quarter). Big improvement. He finally looked like Ronnie Brewer after that rough first period.
- Felton, as is his wont, took and missed a few jumpers with his feet not even remotely set. Those were bad. On the other hand, he dribbled over picks beautifully and just pantsed Brook Lopez with some bedeviling floaters and fancy finishes. Plenty of fancy feeds as well.
- The Pablo Prigioni-Chris Copeland connection is alive and well, and each of those guys looked individually solid as they've been all preseason. Pablo set Cope up beautifully in a succession of early pick-and-rolls, drilled a step-back three, then just kept right on running the show. The undisputed highlight of said show was this gem, via our friend @TheKnicksWall:
- Copeland's seven turnovers were not lovely (he threw several passes to nobody at all. Like, no one was even close.), and he missed some open looks from outside (1-5 from three). Still a nice outing with a bunch of impressive finishes and even more nifty defense. Man's got surprisingly quick feet.
- Steve Novak got benched after some poor pick-and-roll coverage early on, but returned to join the kids in overtime and hit a couple of big-ass threes.
- Before we wrap this up (and move on to the Chandler updates in another post), a quick shout-out to the camp invites, some of whom just played their last games as Knicks. Mychel Thompson finally hit some jumpers, including some instrumental threes in what would be called "crunchtime" if the game mattered. Henry Sims swatted Deron Williams's shot so mercilessly I exclaimed, ran the floor pretty well, and rebounded. John Shurna played pretty poorly and blew several opportunities to prevent overtime, but I love his boyish haircut and boyish enthusiasm. Oscar Bellfield, I'm sorry you didn't get to leave the bench. You're all fine individuals and I hope some of 'em-- Sims and Thompson in particular-- make it to the BayHawks.
- That said, there isn't a doubt in mind that the extra five minutes of basketball were the result of a scrub conspiracy.
- Best sequence of the night: Mike Breen praises Raymond Felton for the "saucy bounce" with which he plays, then Felton loops around Lopez to finish a reverse lay-in on the left side. Clyde yells "ring around the rosie!", then anoints Ray "shrewd, clever, slick". Excellent.
- Pablo Prigioni took a shot to his Pablo Penisoni. It was a worrisome moment, but he was okay.
- We heard "RA-SHEED WAL-LACE", but didn't get to see any Rasheed Wallace.
- We did get to see a Henry Sims chair-pull on Andray Blatche. Perfectly executed. Malik Rose smiled down from heaven (or, like, Teaneck, or wherever Malik Rose lives).
Cool. Fun night. Perhaps we'll review the preseason as a whole later this week. More information on Chandler coming up next.