We deserved one of those. After a couple weeks of losing punctuated by a truly despicable effort against the Cavs, the Knicks brought their outside touch and took a feel-good win from the decidedly feel-bad Pistons. A handful of Knicks put up great numbers, but the highlight was undoubtedly Bill Walker, who topped his promising performance in Cleveland with 22 electrifying points. Walker and friends ran the break in the first half and were unreasonably hot from outside in the second, shooting 12-22 on threes and an overall 56% from the field. I imagine it was one of those nights in which the rim looks like a hula hoop or a swimming pool or something. Whatever object of greater circumference the rim looked like, the Knicks were fun to watch tonight. It's been a while since we got to say that.
After the jump, some very quick notes...
- There was a bit of a lineup shift in this one. With Wilson Chandler still elsewhere to mourn the death of his grandfather (thoughts to the Chandler family), Mike D'Antoni opted to bench Sergio Rodriguez and start Tracy McGrady at point guard. In turn, the vacant guard/forward spot was handed to Bill Walker who, as mentioned, did not disappoint. Walker's 22 came mostly on thunderous dunks and finishes at the rim, including a brilliant reverse flush off a Rodriguez lob. Bill Walker needs a nickname. While it's appropriate, I'm vehemently against "Sky" Walker, mostly because there's already been a Knick with that moniker. My friends and I were throwing around Bill "The Barrel" Walker because the man is BUILT, but I guess that neglects his athletic ability. If all else fails, there's always "Towelie".
- Oddly left out of the rotation until garbage time was Toney Douglas. D'Antoni played only 7 men (Rodriguez and Eddie House off the bench) until the late fourth. For me, that was perhaps the only disappointment in tonight's game.
- Actually, the one other disappointment was a play in which Tracy McGrady threw a 60-foot pass to Al Harrington, who wasted an opportunity to hit Walker with an alley-oop by fumbling the ball out of bounds. For his folly, Walker punched him. Seriously.
- Meanwhile, Harrington continues to drain those preposterous shots he loves to take. Hard to argue with 10-17 (including 6-8(!?) from downtown) shooting.
- I am proud to say that Danilo Gallinari's game-to-game performance appears to be on its way up. He was driving and posting up smaller dudes again tonight, which was excellent.
- I love Sergio's distributing instincts, but he is given to forcing passes on the pick-and-roll. He might be better off delaying his drives for a beat to give David Lee the space and time necessary to get open off the roll. It's hard to throw around words like "delay" with a guy that thrives on speed, but it might help.
- Speaking of distribution, Tracy McGrady took his point guard duties seriously, notching a vintage 21 points, 8 assists, and 7 rebounds in a healthy 34 minutes of play. McGrady looked for the cutter and the kick-out almost to a fault, but was dead-on when he took his own shots. Especially early in the game, Mr. Mac was getting some real air under him on jumpers.
- Either I had an acid flashback in the second quarter, or there will be a "Celebrity Disco Spin Class" featuring Walt Frazier and Tina Cervasio on March 20th.
- Moment of silence for Pistons fans, who are going through some late-season doldrums of their own. UK Knick's comment-headline aptly illustrates that the Pistons we saw tonight were a sorry, lifeless bunch.
- I mentioned this in the game thread, but my friend and I agree that the Knicks should have kept Warren Carter solely for the purpose of creating moments in which Carter and David Lee got into some sort of conundrum and had to scream "LEEEE!!!!" and "CAHTAH!!" at each other.
- I can't stress enough how lights-out the Knicks were in the second half. It was ridiculous. After a whistle, Tracy McGrady casually hoisted a 45-footer and hit nothing but net.
- It was Latino Heritage Night, hence the "Nueva York" jerseys.
It's time for me to finish up a paper I've got to hand in tomorrow. Thanks as always for reading and commenting, and thanks as well for the birthday wishes.