I'm gonna need like...oh, four or five more games like that before I get roped into thinking about the playoffs, but I'm still more than happy to watch a game like that. What a relief it was to watch the Knicks just paste the Jazz for all 48 minutes. This feels like the second or third time this season they've hit a soft patch of schedule and suddenly decided to give a shit and...I'll take it. In a season like this one, I cannot complain after an easy win. Some notes!
- Carmelo Anthony picked up a nasty cold somewhere along the line. He sounded like he was speaking from inside a fish tank when Tina Cervasio interviewed him post-game. It's especially nice, then, that the Knicks kept enough distance to save Melo and the rest of the starters from playing fourth-quarter minutes. Before all that garbage time, Melo dominated; this was the second straight opponent without a single guy capable of bothering Melo one-and-one. When he caught Richard Jefferson or a bigger guy like Derrick Favors alone, he boogied himself free for jumpers and drives and trips to the line. And when the Jazz sent help, Melo made perfect passes, both out of the pick-and-roll to Tyson Chandler at the rim and out of straight-up doubles to J.R. Smith on the weak side.
- Those guys finished, so Melo got a season-high eight assists. Someone remembered to wind Chandler up before this game, and he launched to put down all the lobs and such that came his way. J.R. Smith shot almost nothing but catch-and-fire elbow threes, which is fine for him, and hit five in eleven tries, which is fine for him. And I suppose it's a good thing both those starters were effective and the game got out of hand quickly, because Jeremy Tyler looked kinda overmatched against Enes Kanter (except for one nice block) and Tim Hardaway Jr. missed everything but his first jumper and a transition dunk. Timoteo's hit the wall hard. The wall has spikes on it.
- 19 minutes of Amar'e Stoudemire crushing folks with blocks and dunks seems to me like a perfect Amar'e game. It's been lovely to see him contribute positively to the team's offensive spacing, but I start to worry about his legs every time his minutes shoot up for a few games in a row. And yo, I saw you D up Gordon Hayward on the perimeter for that one possession, Amar'e. That was good. Amar'e and J.R. feeling the urge to swat Derrick Favors repeatedly at the rim was good, too.
- Raymond Felton, Melo, and Chandler ran a couple of those scissor double-handoffs more crisply than they've run them all year. The Jazz defense permits such crispness, but like I said and have said before, the Knicks really do seem to wake up for some of these games against terrible teams. There's just this extra UNNNGH. You can't see me but I'm clenching my fist and snarling and thrusting a little. That extra UNNGHGHN, you know?
- Clyde on Trey Burke: "He reminds me of a young Allen Iverson."
"Not his game, just the way he looks out there."
- The Knicks' 39-point, 14-20-from-the-field, zero-turnover first quarter was easily their best offensive frame of the season.
- Michael K. Williams was at the game and did the halftime interview with Jill Martin. We already knew that Mike Breen loves The Wire and Clyde's never seen it because he's never seen anything, but we got this special conversation tonight:
Breen: [something about how much he loves Williams' character in The Wire ]
Clyde: "In the Wire he played a character Clyde? Cool and calm?"
Breen: "He was cool. He wasn't always calm."
- I'm sorry this is all Clyde/Breen quotes, but this game was pretty simple and had a ton of garbage time, so the conversations about the day when teams flew commercial ("They used to serve Chateaubriand on airplanes. Very good! Delicious!") and Clyde's tales of his old trickster roommate Tom Riker were way more exciting than anything that happened on the floor. (Riker once missed three consecutive free throws, so Clyde threw him his hat after the game. "Hat trick!")
- I saw Andrea Bargnani on the bench. Andrea Bargnani is a person on the Knicks.
- Nice to see Iman Shumpert show a little life, even in garbage time. Anything to get him going.
- I'm sad the Knicks aren't a better team if only because this was the first time all year we got to see Cole Aldrich briefly contemplate shooting a three while the Garden crowd implored him to do exactly that immediately.
That's all. Good game. Keep it up, Knicks. You have to keep it up for a while or you will perish.