In something straight out of November '09, the Knicks were flat from start to finish, posting a blowout loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Knicks met a team faster, stronger, and bouncier than they were, and did not rise to the challenge. When the Thunder attacked-- and they attacked on both ends-- the Knicks cowered, stuck their tails between their legs, and gave in. That, combined with the fact that the Knicks couldn't make even the openest of shots quickly put this one out of reach. It was never even close.
Off nights happen, but I refuse to accpet that the Thunder are simply "more athletic" than the Knicks as a viable excuse. You beat guys like that with hard work and strategy, and the Knicks brought neither.
Game notes, after the jump..
- Before I plunge into tearful name-calling, let me single out Jonathan Bender for being uniquely solid tonight. Legs was pressing a little bit, but he was just about the only Knick to hit his open shots. Bender went 6-10 for 16 points, 3 boards, and 2 blocks. Thanks for showing up, Jon. Bring your teammates with you next time.
- I really don't feel like dwelling on this one for too long, so I think I'll reel off all my individual complaints in one bullet point and fill the remaining ones with nonsense. Cool? Here we go. Chris Duhon refused to attack, which ruined the pick and roll. David Lee couldn't buy a bucket and didn't play help defense. Wilson Chandler's offense was decent, but he made silly, handsy fouls on defense. Danilo Gallinari's offense was meek and apathetic, which is unacceptable for a guy I just praised for being fiery. 0 points for Gallo. Zero! 11 boards are nice, though. Nate Robinson shot too early and too often, and Al Harrington never joined the offensive flow. ("What flow?") Good point. Everybody sucked. The defense was miserable, and the ball never moved on offense. Even when they could find an open shot, nothing would fall.
- Actually, Jordan Hill gets his own bullet. Each time Jordan makes a brief appearance, he shows a multi-faceted offensive repertoire and decent street sense on the defensive end. He doesn't get minutes because he is still too thin to bang down low and doesn't instinctively fight for loose balls and the like (a la Marcus Landry). These are both correctable issues. Jordan Hill is a talented, capable basketball player, but needs work. If said work is put in, Hill could be a very serviceable NBA player. The jury is still out on the 8th pick, and will continue to be. Capisce?
- It's also worth mentioning that Jordan Hill has a very bad cold and probably wasn't feeling so hot tonight. If you follow his Twitter as intently as I do, you already knew that.
- The defense against Durant was curious, to say the least. D'Antoni started with the 6'1'' Chris Duhon guarding Durantula, then doubled whenever he caught the ball. Not only did this leave every other Thunderperson open for easy makes and offensive rebounds, but the Knicks couldn't even double right. Durant went to the line 10 times in the first half, and went 13-16 from the stripe on the game. Wilson Chandler's defense against him was underwhelming and foul-prone, and I wish he got more time to face Durant one-on-one.
- David Lee has now been a point of focus for opposing defenses for a game and a half, and hasn't fared well. He's got to keep shooting and driving confidently, despite the multiple looks. Either that or Lee's gotta make some of his slick passes. Don't get flustered now, Dave.
- I don't think Nate Robinson has driven to the basket in a halfcourt set since New Year's Day.
- OK, now to the nonsense. In the first quarter, Mike Breen remarked that Serge Ibaka (who has emerged as a top-five favorite for me) was "another rookie from the Congo". Al Harrington immediately drove on him and drew a foul with a headfake, after which Clyde quipped "right away Al showing him the tango". That's the first time I've heard Clyde drop the ball on a rhyme in about 16 years of watching Knicks basketball. The streak had to end someday.
- I really like that Dunkin' Donuts commercial where the guy's offering free "breakfastes" because that's how my brother used to say it when he was little. He measured time by "breakfastes" instead of days.
- Speaking of which, my brother, who wanted to watch "Heroes" or some shit, came downstairs, saw I was stationed permanently in front of the TV for the Knicks game, muttered "I fucking hate basketball", and left. You see what I'm up against?
- A segue to commercial break that starts with "Jonathan Bender trying to keep the Knicks in it, but..." never bodes well.
- B.J. Mullens now goes by Byron. I like to imagine that, instead of a matter of preference, this was one of those name changes brought about by a conversion to Islam. We haven't had one of those in a while. I miss you, Tariq Abdul-Wahad née Olivier Saint-Jean.
- Mullens, like David Andersen of the game before, should probably shave if he ever wants to approach a girl without getting pepper sprayed.
- Tina Cervasio said something about ghosts in a pre-game tweet, but I didn't hear anything on the topic during the broadcast. I'll see if I can get anymore from her. If Steve Francis' ghost is haunting the team again, that totally explains the effort tonight.
That is all. Everybody has nights like tonight now and then. It just hadn't been a while for the Knicks. Hopefully, they'll wash their hands of this one and bring their best against Philadelphia on Wednesday. They'll need that one pretty badly to have made this road trip worthwhile, and to prove to us that tonight was a fluke, not a sign that November basketball is back for the Knicks.