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Nuggets 120, Knicks 118: "Landry Fields should run all the plays, and take all the shots... and be the coach."

For some reason, the photo package for this game is full of pictures depicting "a detail image of the ball",'s one of those. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
For some reason, the photo package for this game is full of pictures depicting "a detail image of the ball",'s one of those. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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I don't really need to tell you what went wrong in this one. If you watched any of the five games preceding tonight's loss to the Nuggets, you already know what it is. The Knicks defended and rebounded well enough, but bricked open jumpers, failed to run the pick-and-roll effectively, and couldn't put the finishing touches on a comeback effort. Would anybody object to my glossing over the familiar foibles and heading straight for the interesting stuff?


No objections? Sweet. Take the jump.

- On June 24, 2010, a flushed, overexcited Seth Rosenthal sat in the WaMu theater quaking and tugging at his hair because the Knicks had just drafted some random-ass swingman from Stanford whose name sounded like that of an organic dairy farm. Right now, I'd like to travel back in time and slap that silly fool across his face. Landry Fields is the truth. Landry Fields is the answer. Landry Fields is the walrus. Fields had one of those games that made you wish it was him, not Carmelo Anthony, in that goofy Nike commercial. Like hirsute commenter "Longbeard" said in the game thread, it felt like Landry could have and should have done everything on the floor. Fields went 10-15 from the field(s) for 21 points, grabbed 17 rebounds, and was a team-leading +13 on the evening. Landry got some of his points off of broken plays and tip-ins (one of which was positively majestic), but also scored in transition and even off of curls in the halfcourt set. The rebounds were gravy. After ripping down 9 in the first period, Fields was clearly gunning for numbers, and I mean that in a good way. While the common folks boxed each other out, Landry glided around in another stratum, snatching caroms all the while. If I have time, I'd like to make a study of Landry's rebounding (particularly on the offensive glass) later this week. Fields also did his darnedest to stick Carmelo Anthony*. He had a bit of trouble when the meatier Melo decided to post up, but mostly established good enough position and held his ground smartly enough to make sure that none of Anthony's jumpers went unmolested. Granted, Carmelo Anthony could care less whether you contest his jumpers or not, but his 8-21 line reflects some decent defense, and that's not even accounting for some "superstar-being-guarded-by-a-rookie-whose-name-sounds-like-that-of-a-band-camp" calls that went in Melo's favor. In closing, Landry Fields is the messiah, any and all rookie mistakes are forgiven, and I should be tarred and feathered for ever doubting that draft pick.

- *(Caveat: Danilo Gallinari started the game guarding Anthony and may have taken some possessions against him later in the game, but I'm pretty sure it was mostly Fields. My TV screen is like 7.5 inches across, so the Fields-Gallinari Effect is especially troublesome.)

- Here's a fun zing to accompany the previous bullet point: The only way to tell Danilo Gallinari and Landry Fields apart is that Gallo never hits shots. ZING. Really, though, Danilo continued to fail at the one facet of his game that's supposed to be a given. Gallinari shot a petrifying 2-10 from downtown, and he didn't even look out of rhythm. Gallo's just in a big, fat slump, and has been forced to make an impact in other areas. And you know what? 10 rebounds, 7-8 free throw shooting, and 3 assists is a perfectly acceptable plan B. As Mike Breen noted early and often, Gallo looked more alert and involved in this one, which is encouraging. That said:

Dear Danilo Gallinari's Jumper,

Get Well Soon!


Posting and Toasting

- Ronny Turiaf returned to action late in the first quarter and had a very eventful 13 minutes. Ronny was immediately welcomed back to action by getting posterized by Shelden Williams, which is like...well, shit, it's like getting posterized by Shelden Williams. Getting crammed on by that dapper gentleman is its own goddamn simile. Anyway, after that, Ronny played 13 minutes in which he used all six fouls, did not score, blocked two shots, dislocated his pinky, had his pinky relocated, and got dunked on again by Nene. Welcome back, Ronny.

- This Allstate "Mayhem" marketing campaign in which the grizzly convict-looking bro demolishes cars needs to kindly disappear.

- Clyde mentioned at one point that Al Harrington once played for "Indianurr", which would be funny and exciting if Mike Breen hadn't accidentally said "Kenyon Merkin" later on.

- In the first half, the Nuggets shot a lot of free throws and got out to a lead. In the second half, the Knicks shot a lot of free throws and erased said lead. JUST SAYING.

- More fun from the announcing booth:

Clyde (after a circus shot by Carmelo Anthony): That's why they call him "Melo Fellow"!

Breen: They call him "Melo Fellow"?

1. Breen has a good point. No sentient being has ever called Carmelo Anthony "Melo Fellow", which means that the "they" to which Clyde is referring is, in fact, the team of verbose, snazzily-dressed Muppets that lives inside his brain and controls his thoughts. That's right, kids. Walt Frazier is run by The Electric Mayhem.

2. Even if people did call Carmelo Anthony "Melo Fellow", why on earth would an acrobatic 360 layup be a reason for such a nickname? THAT'S why "they" call him "Melo Fellow"? Baffling. You make every day of my life more excellent, Walt Frazier.

- For some reason, Timofey Mozgov's expressions after foul calls make me feel like he invented Facebook.

- Also, I love Timofey and see a lot of promise in his game, but Ronny Turiaf should be starting in his place as soon as possible. Mozgov should still spin, but with the second unit.

- Yeah, I see you, Al Harrington.

- The final 0.2 seconds of the first half included Chauncey Billups draining a 70-footer only to have it waived off because he traveled, Danilo Gallinari throwing the ensuing inbound pass at the rim and thereby invoking some sort of violation, Carmelo Anthony stealing the ensuing jump ball and thereby invoking some sort of violation, and me eating several dozen Sour Patch Kids (and probably invoking some sort of violation). All this in two tenths of a second!

- Toney Douglas hasn't done what Toney Douglas do for quite a while now, and it's pretty ugly, because what Toney Douglas do when Toney Douglas isn't doing what Toney Douglas do is suck. Toney's usual troubles (poor decision-making in transition, inability to run the pick-and-roll), combined with some new, unfamiliar errors (bricking jumpers, not forcing turnovers) make for a pretty stinky outing. Therefore:

Dear Toney Douglas's propensity to do what Toney Douglas do,

Get well soon.


Posting and Toasting

- After 6 dreadful minutes from Roger Mason Jr. and 10 fairly productive minutes (6 points) from Bill Walker, I think you, me, and Mike D'Antoni should be on the same page: All of Roger Mason's minutes should be given to Bill Walker. All of Roger Mason's worldly possessions should be given to Bill Walker. All of Roger Mason's meals should be given to Bill Walker. Roger Mason himself should be consumed by Bill Walker so that Bill Walker can have nourishment so that he can hit more three-point shots.

- Wilson Chandler blocked 5 shots. A number of those blocks came during crunch time, and a separate (although possibly equivalent) number of those blocks were pretty spectacular. Good job, Wilson Chandler!

- Anthony Randolph's only meaningful impact on this game was a pretty egregious goaltending violation. This saddened me, and appeared to sadden Anthony, as evidenced by the fact that his expression went from the typical "sad" to a marked "very sad" immediately following the infraction.

- Crunch-time, in no particular order: Carmelo Anthony fouled somebody on a jump-ball, then got a technical for throwing his headband. Amar'e Stoudemire hit a three. Landry Fields threw a terrible in-bounds pass that should have actually been called an out-bounds pass. Raymond Felton hit a three. The Nuggets missed some free throws, but we all wished they missed more of them. In the end, the Nuggets had two more points than the Knicks did. Fin.

I think that'll be it for now. This really didn't have to be a loss. Missing open shots is a shame, but it needn't spell doom when this team has shown it can generate offense by pushing the pace and attacking the rim. Perhaps they'll start doing that tomorrow night in Sacramento? We'll see. Goodnight.