(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Well, at least it wasn't a blowout. Fresh off their first win of the New Year, the Knicks competed, but ultimately could not defeat Yao Ming and the Rockets. Yao went absolutely King Kong on the Knicks' helpless interior defense, finishing with a season high 36 points on 14-21 shooting. Game notes:
- I really love the old school jerseys. I miss the days without side piping on the uniforms. Looks a lot cooler.
- Am I crazy, or did I see Allan Houston and John Franco in a Pros vs. Joes commercial?
- If there's one thing I love, it's when Mike Breen makes subtle jabs at urban culture. First, when reading the Nissan Trivia Question (something to the tune of "Trinidad vs. Jones: Who ya got?"), Breen had to make a point of the grammatical inaccuracy of the question. Then, when a courtside Brandon Jacobs stood up to acknowledge the crowd, Breen commented that it must be hard to stand with that huge chain around his neck. I would pay a considerable amount of money to spend an afternoon watching BET with Mike Breen.
- Jared Jeffries hit a jumper in the second quarter. T-shirts were immediately printed that read "I saw Jared Jeffries hit a jumper: 1-9-08".
- By the way, Brandon Jacobs has a deep-ass voice. I am by no means a Giant fan, but I love that guy.
- Breen pointed out that Mike James is completely out of Rick Adelman's rotation. For a guy who seemed like a near-All Star not too recently, you gotta wonder what went wrong.
- Nate banked in a buzzer-beater (buzzer-banker?) at the end of the first half. Sometimes I think they should sound a buzzer every time he shoots.
- I don't know if anyone else noticed this, but once the clock got under a minute, it kept stopping. In every quarter the final minute was about 1:05 long.
- I was pretty pleased with Isiah's substitution patterns. David Lee and Malik Rose got long looks at Yao, and both Lee and Nate Robinson got rewarded for good play by starting the second half (in favor of the defensively inept Curry and the strugggggling Quentin Richardson).
- Speaking of Rose, Yao greeted him into the game by dunking all over his face. Fortunately, Malik responded just the way your typical street baller would: he pulled the chair out from under him later on in the quarter. I believe that's his first chair-pull of the season. Boy, if he weren't on the Knicks, that would make me irate.
- I'm pretty sure Yao leads the league in points per game. And by that I mean he points at people a lot.
- In the game's climactic moment, Isiah responded to an unnoticed Yao three-second violation by running onto the court and bumping into a referee, promptly getting ejected. There were sarcastic cheers from the crowd, and Herb Williams sprung into action much to my delight. Knickerblogger commenter, "Z", put it best: "I wish the ref that just made Herb Williams the interim coach would buy the Knicks..."
- Unfortunately, things went downhill after the ejection, and the Knicks squandered a close game. Oh well. At least they competed.
- David Lee was fantastic. He had a solid 12 and 7 in 31 minutes, but more importantly, played hard-nosed (if mostly ineffective) defense on Yao by fronting him and muscling him inside. He was also his old self around the basket, grabbing bounds and finishing at point blank. Could not be more impressed.
- Nate also played very nicely, dropping 16, 4, and 4 in 31 minutes of his own.
- I'm getting sick of Zach Randolph.