Hey, at least they tried, right? Right!? In a game that was very bizarre personnel-wise, the Knicks and Bulls managed to play some entertaining basketball, though New York predictably crumbled down the stretch. The Knicks took the floor without Nate Robinson, who stayed home and had his locker cleaned out in anticipation of a trade to the Celtics. Meanwhile, the Bulls uninvited John Salmons, who was apparently traded to the Bucks during the game. Plenty of other Knicks and Bulls may have been participating in their last games with those clubs. Among those folks, two guys who played big minutes- Al Harrington and Tyrus Thomas- might get swapped for one another sometime tomorrow. It was all very, very weird.
Anyway, what we saw on the court wasn't half bad. Well, actually, it was precisely half bad, now that I think about it. In the opening quarters, the Knicks were hot from outside and active on defense. Danilo Gallinari's attacking game was back, David Lee brought the usual, and Wilson Chandler and Al Harrington contributed from all ranges. With some help from a defensive-minded Toney Douglas in the second period, New York held Derrick Rose to sub-100% shooting, which qualifies as an improvement. The first half, in general, was nice for Douglas. On top of solid D, Pretty Toney contributed some nice drives and dimes, nailed a couple threes (including a buzzer-beating line drive to end the half), and generally did what Toney Douglas do. Jordan Hill got to spin, but didn't do much, presumably because his hair got tangled with Chris Richard's. All told, the Knicks finished the half with a head of a steam and an 11 point edge.
Then came the bad half. From that point forward everything fell apart, and it came down to one big possession with the Knicks down 3. Danilo Gallinari missed a quick fadeaway three (interesting play call), then shanked an open three after the Knicks recovered the rebound. New York snagged that miss too, but David Lee threw away a kick-out pass, and the Bulls took the game.
A few other notes, after the jump...
- Jared Jeffries retrated to the locker room after only 6 minutes with a "sore right knee". We'll likely know if I was right to put that last part in quotes tomorrow.
- Larry Johnson and Charles Oakley watched the game together at courtside, while Rod Strickland was in attendance with John Calipari. We were reminded that Rod Strickland is one of the coolest looking people on earth.
- With 3:05 remaining in the fourth quarter, Derrick Rose hit an and-one and smiled. After watching John Wall do the same thing last night, I knew this game was over.
- Whether it's his sore shooting arm or something else entirely, Danilo Gallinari is off. This is nothing new, but it still makes me very sad. Nonetheless, I was very happy to see him post up Kirk Hinrich and call for the ball midway through the fourth. Gallo had missed 9 straight at that point, but still demanded the rock and connected on the mismatch. That's something.
- The Knick interior defense is badbadbadbadbadbadbad. Check out that picture up top. Yikes.
Not a bad game, considering last night's performance, but it was the same type of collapse we've come to expect. That is all. Back to deadline stuff.