A nice, easy win on a Friday night.
Like our beloved friend/diplomat to China Joe said during the game thread, even the curse of Robert Randolph and Friday Night Knicks couldn't stop New York tonight. The very sad Wizards were in town and the Knicks made them look...very sad. New York got badly out-rebounded and gave up a few too many free throws, but dominated every other aspect of the game. The Knicks got more shots up than the Wizards did thanks to a wide turnover margin (eight committed, seventeen forced) and hit a much greater percentage of their attempts (53 percent to 44 percent).
And they got their baskets the right way. Carmelo Anthony did a whole bunch of scorin' AND creatin' off the dribble out of the pick-and-roll and Ronnie Brewer, J.R. Smith, and Pablo Prigioni all helped out by driving and kicking aplenty. On the other end, I thought I detected a bit of a shift after some sloppiness early on: As the game progressed, it seemed to me like the Knicks weren't switching quite as readily. They appeared to fight through screens and send bigs to hedge/recover a bit more. Maybe I was seeing things. Whatever it was, the defense did a solid job (albeit against a feeble attack) after a semi-sloppy start.
But yeah, not much to it. The Wizards are quite depressing, and the Knicks kept it that way. Some notes before I bid y'all farewell for the night:
- I thought this was one of Brewer's better games as a Knick. His cuts and passes were sharp and he hit jumpers not just standing still in the corner, but off the dribble and from awkward in-between distances. All this with that finger still taped up, too (I assume).
- Raymond Felton played a first half filled with jumpers (most of them swirling out of the rim) and little else, then looked to attack more in the second half. I liked the second half better.
- Kurt Thomas started both halves and played a whole eight minutes this time around.
- Steve Novak hit three of six threes tonight. He's hit 17 of his last 30 since that chuck-fest in New Orleans. Remember that night? He was just chucking during garbage time, apparently in an effort to break out of his slump. It worked. Welcome back, Steven.
- One of Washington's few stretches of offensive competence came when they repeatedly isolated guys against Novak, then blew by him to the rim. Steve punished them for this behavior by whacking Bradley Beal in the face during garbage time.
- Rasheed Wallace played a quietly solid game, drilling a three and a nice baseline turn-around to go with his four rebounds. I counted one "BALL DON'T LIE!" as well. That part wasn't quiet.
- We got some more ¡Pablocura! magic in this one. In the first quarter, he threw a beautiful perimeter shuffle pass to a J.R. Smith three, then stole the ensuing inbound to regain possession. In the second quarter, he drilled a pair of threes AND a one-footed, overhead long two to beat the shot clock buzzer.
- Among all the amazing things he does, I love nothing more than when Carmelo Anthony drives right, draws help, and throws a bullet pass cross-court to an open weak side shooter. The hockey assists are cool, too, but I love those direct dimes.
- Tyson Chandler found himself out of rebounding position a couple times, but did a mostly solid job, I thought, on Kevin Seraphin and Emeka Okafor. I'd comment on his help defense, but he didn't have to play much of it.
- J.R. Smith passed well early and shot the lights out in garbage time. My favorite play of J.R.'s came in the first half, when he beat his man up the floor in transition, then Euro-stepped the helping Nene for an easy finger roll. Hey, there's video!
- Oh wait, I'm totally lying. My favorite play of J.R.'s was that reverse alley-oop from Prigioni. The pass was perfect and the finish was sublime.
- Prince Amukamara, speaking to Jill Martin at halftime: "I used to have a ritual where I went number two before the game, but that stopped working."
- They were apparently filming a Vince Vaughn movie during halftime, which meant there was all sorts of sudden booing and cheering going on during that halftime interview.
- Clyde and Spero had a great conversation to open the second half. When discussing Jason Kidd's back issues, Clyde noted that he'd told Kidd to sleep on a firm mattress. He then plunged into a meandering anecdote about doing yoga for the first time back in 1975. He learned about it from an employee at a health food store. Oh, and all his 1975 friends thought Clyde was talking about "yogurt", probably because he pronounces it exactly like "yogurt".
- Hey, Earl Barron. You look...nice. This is awkward.
- James White and Chris Copeland both got to spin, Cope in some actual minutes that counted. I didn't notice much from either except for Cope's defense. He sticks his man and helps pretty soundly and without fouling (yeah, he committed three fouls in 13 minutes. Shut up). That was a thing we noticed in preseason, wasn't it?
Cool. Nice, easy win. 11-4. 6-0 at home. Have a good night, friends.
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