I think KnickWiz summed up the game thread mood pretty succinctly. In his Garden debut as a Knick, Earl Barron was nothing short of arousing, defying expectations and the Boston frontcourt to spark a victory over the Celtics. Thrust into the starting lineup and suddenly saddled with 44 minutes of burn, Barron flourished and posted a career-high 18 rebounds to go with his 17 points (8-13). Just 2 games into his Knick career, it's safe to say that P&T has a new pet.
That's not to overshadow the old pets, though. Danilo Gallinari finally looked himself again, building a preposterous 19-point third quarter into a career-high 31-point, 5 rebound performance. Gallo hit a couple big jumpers, but relied primarily on the dribble to find close shots, post up smaller defenders, and get to the line (10-11).
Some quick notes, after the jump...
- Barron's bonerific performance was truly one for the ages. "The Aristocrat" has flaws- he hasn't shown anything in the post and isn't especially athletic- but played brilliantly to his strengths. Barron's got a luscious mid-range stroke (which I don't really recall from his days in Miami) and a nose for the ball, and he made good use of those skills in his extended minutes. He repeatedly rolled off screens for confident jumpers and spent the rest of his time hustling for scrappy rebounds. And I'm not talking cute-scrappy like Scrappy Doo. This was scrappiness to the tune of 8 offensive rebounds and some splendid loose-ball saves. Earl is a monarch among men.
- I pretty much covered Danilo Gallinari's impact in the intro, but I'll add that Gallo really got to work after taking a sharp elbow from Kevin Garnett. The play, perhaps in conjunction with a technical-worthy Mike D'Antoni hissy fit, brought the Cock to life, and he stayed aggressive throughout the quarter.
- By the way, it boggles the mind that tonight's technical foul was D'Antoni's first of the season. The "rapport with the refs" that Mike Breen always talks about must amount to pre-game massages or something, because I've seen D'Antoni literally foam at the mouth this year without getting a whistle.
- Toney Douglas didn't shoot wonderfully (4-14, 1-5 from three), but had 4 assists and 0 turnovers, made a handful of gorgeous knifing drives (several of which rimmed out, unfortunately), and sank a jumper to beat the first quarter buzzer.
- Meanwhile, in his reacquired starting role, Chris Duhon played pretty nicely. He did his darndest (translation: noble failure) to stick with Ray Allen, and made some pretty nice offensive plays. Down the stretch, Du hit a big layup, blocked Kendrick Perkins (!), and then turned a stolen pass into a gorgeous assist to David Lee.
- Before that Lee bucket put the Knicks up 3, Gallinari hit a looooong bank shot (eventually ruled to be a toe-on-the-line two) to give the Knicks the lead. Word has it he didn't call bank, but I did, so it's all good.
- Sergio Rodriguez was remarkably, and sometimes frustratingly, shot-happy in the fourth quarter, but made up for any errors with a late-game three and a gorgeous and-one.
- Garnett got a little slappy with both Lee and Gallinari in this one, and it got to the point that me and my friends discussed how each of those fights would work out. We came to the conclusion that Garnett could easily pummel either one in a fair fight, but that Gallo or Lee could evade him easily by simply shuffling side-to-side.
- One MSG shot during a timeout included Gallinari, assistant coach Phil Weber, and trainer Anthony Goenaga. That amount of hair gel in high-definition is blinding, to say the least.
- In a discussion of the new Hall of Fame class, Walt Frazier mentioned that Dennis Johnson was successful because he "always idolized me". Clyde is perhaps the only person on earth who can get away with saying that.
- Theory: Earl Barron's game was a 21st century Dock Ellis performance. Earl smoked a bunch of meth before the game, then put up a monster double-double while fully convinced that he was 12 feet tall and could shoot lasers from his hands.
- Halftime: Ethan Hawke doesn't actually talk like that, does he?
- Clyde mentioned that on the occasions that he's played the lottery, his numbers are some combination of 3, 2, and 9, because 3/29 is his birthday. Take heed.
- Nate Robinson got to spin and was introduced to a surprisingly modest ovation. You could draw conclusions about New York fans' appreciation of substance over style if that's your cup of tea. Meanwhile, I only just realized that, when Nate has a mohawk, he kind of looks like "Mirror Man" from the classic film Gone in 60 Seconds. That or just a person from the future.
- My housemate's girlfriend stopped by before going for a late-night jog and asked if anybody had "any reflective gear", but what I heard was "has anyone ever fucked a deer?". Thought I'd share that.
- Bill Walker fouled a bunch (5) and shot too many threes (1-7), but also got to the line (5-6) and made some hustle plays to have an impact. Bill the Bully's default mode should be attack, but it wasn't a terrible game.
- David Lee couldn't find the range (6-16), but continued to rebound (11) and dish (6), and make the big shots in the winning effort.
- Check out that picture! Earl and Dave are smashing Garnett's skinny little head! I love it!
- Final thought: the Celtics really couldn't care less. Things I'm pretty sure I saw: 1. Rajon Rondo performing a slip-and-slide, 2. Tony Allen attempting a shot without even turning his head towards the rim. and 3. Rasheed Wallace.
That is all. The Celtics didn't show up, and the Knicks made them pay for their folly. It was plenty enjoyable, especially for an April game. Goodnight, friends.