ESPN won't put up any pictures of people playing basketball, so here's Phil Collins. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
1-0! The Knicks are above .500 for only the fourth time in the last 4 years (thanks Mase). It was very nearly a full-on, feel-good win, but it's never that easy. Some notes on the win:
- Clyde kicked off the season in style, with a full-body black leather outfit. Word has it was borrowed from the "Friday Night" drawer of Mike Breen's wardrobe.
- Our starting lineup is now the "T-Mobile Starting Lineup". What does that mean? Does Mike D'Antoni text "im strting qrich 2nite...lol oopz!" to the MSG producers?
- David Lee is already showing that he's more committed to playing defense. Udonis Haslem's preposterous 10-14 would lead you to believe otherwise, but I promise Dave's getting it together. He put up a workmanlike 16,11, and 5 of his own, too.
- Danilo Gallinari made his rather surprising debut late in the first quarter. He looked pretty shaky and rimmed out a few jumpers, but what do you expect from a man who hasn't played organized basketball since July? The debut lasted only four minutes, but it was terribly exciting to see him on the floor.
- Speaking of terribly exciting, Jared Jeffries was interviewed in a tight-fitting gray and yellow sweater Jared Jeffries shops at Aber-Camby & Fitch.
- Wow, I'm really rusty.
- The first half set the bar for a half of D'Antoni basketball. The Knicks dropped 60 by playing pretty solid defense, pushing the ball, and staying in motion on the offense. Granted, the Heat were pretty cold, but it was a great start to the season.
- The second half was a bit of a drop-off, but in a different way than you might expect. In the preseason, we got accustomed to first-half excitement giving way to second-half drudgery and poor shooting. The third quarter tonight was a refreshing departure from the norm. Save for a few bonehead threes, the Knicks responded to defensive adjustments by pounding the ball inside and utilizing the multiple talents of Lee and Randolph to get looks around the hole. It was in the fourth quarter that things fell apart. Towards the end, Crawford was heaving premature threes, Robinson was over-dribbling, and nobody got back on defense. Miami was able to cut the double-digit lead down to as little as three.
- I don't want to give this too much attention, because we're sure to get some sort of "BENCHBURY!!11" headline from the Post, but Stephon Marbury didn't play a minute in this game. Not one. The likes of Mardy Collins and Malik Rose preceded him off the bench. I trust D'Antoni, but when the team is collapsing in the fourth quarter, Marbury's cool head and sure hands might steady the ship.
- Jill Martin's halftime interview was with Phil Collins and his two little kids. Future poll: Mardy or Phil?
- My girlfriend thinks Donnie Walsh looks like the giant evil booger from the Mucinex commercials. I think he looks more like the grumpy lizard secretary from Monsters Inc.
There can only be one.
- "The one thing you like about Mardy Collins is his size"- Gus Johnson. Don't ever tell me what I like, Gus. Especially if it's Mardy Collins.
- Eddy Curry spent the entire second half icing his knee in the locker room. How he injured his knee on the bench, I can't explain.
- Q-Tip performed pre-game and at halftime. Here's an analogy. '93 Knicks are to Knicks now as '93 Q-Tip is to Q-Tip now. I love Tribe, but...oy.
- Wilson Chandler was everything we want him to be and more. He had a very quiet 17 and 8, canned a couple jumpers, and scrapped all over the glass to get putbacks and loose balls. "Wilson is my homeboy" t-shirts coming soon.
- Dwyane Wade got his 26 points, but was held to 9-24 shooting by a carousel of Knick defenders. Duhon, Richardson, and Chandler all got looks, and Wade looked off the whole night. The fact that he still manages to put up near-triple doubles on awful nights speaks to his greatness. I'll take the win, though.
- The Knicks as a team shot 9-25 from downtown. The number really should've been about 8-21. As I mentioned, Crawford went into his glassy-eyed shooting seizure, jacking up any ball he caught and throwing away a handful of crunchtime possessions. So, Jamal's fourth quarter late-game gaffes aside, the downtown numbers were both reasonable and respectable.
All that said, Game 1 of '08-'09 was a solid glimpse of things to come (hopefully), though there were understandably some kinks in the machinery. It felt great to kick things off with a win. The next game's on Friday, so more on this one tomorrow. Leave your post-game thoughts in the comments.