I'm sure I've seen uglier games, but I'm having trouble remembering them right now. Last night, two of the league's worst teams met in Washington, D.C., and it looked for a moment like the nightmare might never end. Leading the Knicks' charge was Al Harrington, who followed up an audience with President Barack Obama with a fairly dominant game. As much as it pains me to say it, Harrington's chucking and bull-rushing is probably what led the Knicks to victory.
A few notes, after the jump:
- On Harrington: Like I mentioned, Al's game of heaving threes and stumbling headfirst into the paint was oddly effective last night. The Wizards' frontline, which prominently featured Andray Blatche and Javale McGee, was blessed with height, but not much strength. When he wasn't shooting threes, Harrington bulldozed his way to the rim and to the line, finishing with 37 points (12-21) off the bench. Just to reassure us that he wasn't an impostor, Al did miss four crucial free throws down the stretch, among other assorted foibles. Still, Harrington's uncanny offense was probably the difference last night.
- I have never seen so many traveling calls in a professional basketball game. I just went through the play-by-play and counted ten. That was just one of several factors that made this one of the more aesthetically revolting games in recent memory. The overtime period was similarly unappealing. Aside from one David Lee midrange jumper, neither team hit a field goal for 4:54 of the extra session. Basically, we could've granted the Knicks two points, then just let the clock run while the teams huddled until the final seconds without changing the final result. Thinking back, that would've been much more enjoyable.
- Baby steps: Danilo Gallinari still wasn't anywhere near what you'd call assertive, but he did attack the basket a few times, and even throw down a nasty cock smash in the second half. 4-5 shooting in 41 minutes is a joke for one of the Knicks' young guns, but I saw tiny bits of progress. Similarly, Toney Douglas's minutes played crept up to 7:32. Positivity, folks.
- It's very funny to me that Clyde said "Oh boy, it's Foye!" after a Randy Foye three...all while there was a guy named "Oberto" on the floor.
- Speaking of which, your mispronounced name of the night goes to Earl "Borkins".
- Tracy McGrady rested his legs for most of the fourth quarter and overtime. His veteran savvy (Tracy finagled his way to 23 points in 25 minutes) probably could've come in handy down the stretch, but it's really not a huge concern. You can read more about "The McGrady Rules" from Hahn.
- The Knicks' final play in regulation probably could have been executed better, but it looked a lot nicer on paper than previous late-game calls. After letting some time run out, Wilson Chandler ran the high pick-and-roll with David Lee, then dashed to the basket. He had Lee mismatched with Nick Young on his left, but saw an opening and went for the lay-up against Javale McGee. McGee, if nothing else, is quite tall, and reached over Wil to swat his attempt out of bounds. Again, it could have gone much better, but I was pleased with the strategy.
- Walking With Dinosaurs was "65 million years in the making". Just like Avatar, right!? Right!? Guys?
- Tonight's comment-headline goes to bm01bath who aptly pointed out that only the President of the United States of America could have blessed Al Harrington with the deft touch he showed last night.
- Sergio Rodriguez didn't bring much scoring (7 points on 2-4 shooting), but he did dish the ball well, notching 7 assists and plenty of hockey assists as well.
- Shaun Livingston was recently picked up by the Wizards, and his only real impact on the game was a 5-second violation in overtime. He was immediately taken off the court. Check it:
0:45 114-112 Shaun Livingston enters the game for Mike Harris 0:45 114-112 turnover 0:45 114-112 Mike Harris enters the game for Shaun Livingston
Here's my question: If Livingston hadn't played a couple of minutes earlier in the game and that was his only appearance, would that be 0 minutes, 1 turnover in the box score?
- David Lee took the ball from the top of the key to the rim on the Knicks' game-winning possession. The guy just gets shit done down the stretch. He should probably have the ball most of the time.
- Finally, my favorite moment of the game: Javale McGee put down a pretty routine and-one dunk off of a rebound over David Lee, and flailed and beat his chest like he'd just dunked from the three-point line to win Game 7 against the Monstars. On the next Knicks possession, McGee was called for a shooting foul. After the free throws, Javale inbounded the ball directly to Al Harrington, then fouled him on a quick made basket. I laughed.
That's all for now. The Knicks will play the Grizzlies tonight, with a great number of P&T folk in attendance. See you then.