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Knicks 97, Timberwolves 93


(Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images)

Hello, everybody. Last night the Knicks got their first win of the season over the young but feisty Minnesota Timberwolves. It was a bizarre game, with an early deficit followed by a big lead ultimately finishing in a close win. Game notes:

  • MSG set up a shot where the Knicks were to run out of the tunnel towards the camera, and the team (Nate appeared to be the ring leader) used this as an opportunity to punk Steph. I suppose when the camera guy said "go", everyone stopped and allowed Marbury, who was at the front of the pack, to run ahead alone and look like a fool. Great stuff.
  • Nate Robinson came out to center court with a mic and welcome everyone to the Garden. Kinda thought he was gonna spit some rhymes, but it's a nice gesture anyway.
  • The Knick starters came out ugggggly. There was absolutely no movement on offense, and the D was far too passive. They came away with only one team foul in the first quarter. Not a very good sign in this case. As might be the trend all season, the second unit made up for everything with some very active play.
  • Al Jefferson and Craig Smith are both beasts. Big Al is unbelievably active but also has an impressive touch. Same deal for Smith, whose shorter, but jacked beyond belief. I really like these T-Wolves.
  • It's really weird to see Antoine Walker in a Minnesota jersey. It's kinda weird to see him in any jersey. Sometimes I feel like he's naked...like there should be a bra under there or something.
  • Miguel Cotto is a boxer who was interviewed by Al Trautwig during the first quarter. Says Cotto, "I want to win".
  • Mike Breen asks Clyde about the Ali-Frazier fight about once every two games, yet he acts surprised at the discovery that Clyde was there every time. Cut your shit, Breen. We know you know.
  • Theo Ratliff got a little point guard complex in the second quarter and tried to go coast-to-coast after a turnover. To say that Crawford stole the ball from him would be an understatement. He took Ratliff's dribble and assumed it as his own. Very fluid. Give Theo credit, though. He appears to be in pretty good shape and made some good plays around the rim.
  • Jamal ran wild in the second and fourth quarters. His one-on-one mentality is still a task to watch (especially for Mike Breen, who probably has night terrors about it), but when he's getting into the lane or creating for teammates, it's hard to argue. Nice game from him (8-15 for 24 points and 7 assists), but I'm interested to see how he adapts if the shots aren't falling.
  • Apparently Renaldo Balkman got tattoos this summer that say "Hustle" and "Harder". Word has it that Malik Rose got "Chair Pull" and "Dirtier".
  • Doubling Al Jefferson slowed him down considerably, but the Knicks are going to continue to get slayed by opposing three-point shooters if they can't take guys one-on-one.
  • You and I would call Theo Ratliff a shot-blocker. Clyde says he has "hostile fingers".
  • I don't know why all my notes are about Ratliff, but he was flopping like he was Ginobili out there and drew a few bogus charges on Randolph and Curry.
  • At halftime there was a "Gimme a Minute" interview with Chris Rock. It was awkward. The most intimidating celebrity he ever met was Rickey Henderson. Ok.
  • The Knicks were badly outrebounded and allowed far too many second opportunities until the very end of the game. There's no way we add Zach Randolph and subtract Channing Frye and end up a worse rebounding team, right? That's just illogical.
  • Sebastian Telfair stuck an end-of-the-shot clock three-pointer in Marbury's face and held his hands up in an extended goose neck to celebrate. Fuck you, Sebastian. You're a sub-30% three-point shooter. Shut up.
  • Marbury got his cousin back with a swift poke to the eye on a loose ball. No word on whether Bassy told on him.
  • The Knicks City Kids' go-to move appearas to be the "skip and clap". That may very well be their preferred method of transportation. Snakes slither, rabbits hop, and Knicks City Kids skip and clap.
  • I like Randolph a lot better putting the ball on the floor than facing up for 18 foot jumpers. If anything, getting closer to the rim makes his left-handedness effective. Those quick-release lefty hooks are very difficult to stop, so why not try em out? He was a bit shot-happy in his Garden debut.
  • Isiah Thomas and Randy Wittman were both on the 1981 Indiana championship team.
  • During the usual montage of kids for the Budweiser responsible driving segment, MSG showed a tiny little kid wearing a Malik Rose jersey. Now that's just asking for a delinquent son. Don't be surprised if he gets sent home from school for tripping, chair-pulling, or shirt-tugging.
  • For the second night in a row, Isiah used a very short rotation. I kinda miss Mardy Collins, but whatever. Seems to be working.
  • For some reason, both Jamal and Steph's and-one opportunities always seem to rim out. I vaguely remember noticing that early on last season as well.
  • Nate tweaked his hamstring late in the game, but returned to the bench and I haven't heard anything to suggest any missed time in the future. UPDATE: Nate's questionable for tomorrow. They just don't want him starting any more brawls.
Overall, it was an ugly but satisfying win. The Knicks continued to limit turnovers, and eventually developed an offensive flow. I don't have any complaints on specific individuals, either. Everyone earned their minutes and filled them well. The communication on defense remains to be miserable, though, and teams with even decent three-point shooters are gonna destroy us at this rate. The offense went through some kinks and the D sucked at times (and what's with the shitty rebounding?), but a win's a win. The next game is Tuesday against Denver. See you then, kids.