Every once in a while, the Knicks beat a team without making us sweat too much. Tonight was one of those nights. David Lee and friends handled the Pistons from start to finish. Detroit is on a beast of a losing streak and is still recovering from injury absences, and the Knicks managed to exploit that instead of getting trapped. Lee led the way for New York, dominating the Piston frontcourt for 30 points and 12 rebounds.
I was only able to appreciate this game by radio and refreshing box score, so my notes will be brief. That said, they're after the jump.
- Hey, cool team stats! The Knicks won every quarter tonight. They also shot 51% as a team, including 50% or better for every starter. 21 of 39 field goals were assisted. BALLIN!
- I said David Lee was dominant, and I meant it. Lee's 30 points came on 13-19 shooting, including 10-12 from around the basket and 3-6 on jumpers. Lee took bigger guys off the dribble, backed down smaller guys, and generally made a tasty yet nutritious salad of all defenders that came his way. He also pulled down 12 boards and dished out 5 assists, just for the hell of it. Folks have been clamoring for Dave to get All-Star votes, and he made a strong case for himself tonight.
- The Knick defense was key in this one, and they held the Pistons under 90 points by protecting the rim (just like the San Antonio game, only Detroit missed most of their jumpers) and cleaning up the glass. They out-rebounded Detroit 44-33.
- Because I was listening along, I got to hang out with Gus Johnson and John Andariese for the night which was, as always, a treat. Some highlights:
"Oh my goodness."- Johnny Hoops, after Jared Jeffries airballed a 3
"I don't know what Wilcox said, but it wasn't nice. It wasn't 'Season's Greetings' or 'Happy Holidays'".- Gus Johnson, thinking that Chris Wilcox had been whistled for a technical, though it was actually Ben Gordon.
"That was like an optical illusion".- Andariese, after Wilson Chandler tipped in his own miss.
- Jeffries played superb help and off-the-ball defense, finishing with 2 steals and 3 blocks. He also shot only 4 times, which is an improvement over the previous game's 2-10.
- Wow. Biggest sneeze ever. Gotta believe it was an immune response to typing Jeffries' shooting line from Sunday.
- Wilson Chandler started the game forcing jumpers a little bit, perhaps because he was a little antsy in front of family and friends in his home state. As the night progressed, though, Chandler attacked the rim more, and finished with a respectable 23 points on 10-20 shooting. Credit Wil with identifying mismatches, and exploiting his size advantage when facing the likes of Chucky Atkins.
- Wait, doesn't Chucky Atkins coach somewhere?
- Gus and Johnny Hoops interviewed Rick Mahorn at halftime, and the "Bad Boy" was both entertaining and informative. Mahorn loves David Lee and has followed him since high school, when Lee played with his wife's cousin. He also plans to coach someday and, most importantly, regularly plays pick-up ball with Charles Oakley. Now that's something I'd like to see. In fact, there should be an entire televised Retired NBA Bruisers Association (RNBABA). I figure it'd be halfcourt with no foul limit.
- Danilo Gallinari had a relatively quiet night offensively, shooting pretty much only threes (5-10 shooting, 4-9 from downtown), but pulled down 4 boards, handed out 3 assists, and put one viscous Cock Block on Jonas Jerebko. It's excellent to see Danilo have an impact without shooting all that much, though I'm happy either way.
- Toney Douglas got to spin for a total of 13 minutes, and didn't do much offensively (0-3, 2 points), but reportedly played pretty solid D against Piston guards.
- The Knicks had a bit of trouble with a full-court press in the third quarter, which I think illuminates a weakness that opponents don't pick up on enough: the Knicks are some lazy, lazy in-bounders. A quick ambush of full-court pressure could buy every opposing team a li'l 5-0 run like it did for the Pistons tonight.
- When did Ben Gordon become "The Bullet"? What does that make Rip Hamilton (5-21)?
- To anyone who watches the Pistons regularly: What's the deal with Jason Maxiell? Is he hurt, or are the Pistons neglecting him? If it's the latter, can he play for the Knicks and/or guard my house? Max has plenty to offer.
- Once again, and finally, David Lee, y'all. Whew.
That is all. Pray the Knicks don't let this go to waste tomorrow in New Jersey.