This game was truly the Bees' Knees.
Ronny Turiaf stepped up to play the best game I've ever seen out of him, presumably spurred by his return to the Pacific Northwest (Hey Gonzaga!). The Knicks played a decent first half, leading virtually the entire time. The second half, however, played host to incredible Knicks defense. You read that correctly. With major contributions from all five starters, the Knicks wound up running away with this one. So, so many alley-oops. Make the jump!
When it comes to my writing, I am partially sloppy and partially anal (go ahead guys, have at it). So, the only way I'll be able to do this is in some sort of order. Might as well be player order, huh?
Amar'e Stoudemire had a bad game by shooting metrics, but otherwise looked pretty stellar. He started off the game throwing bullet passes under the rim to Landry Fields, who put them all home. Looking at his 9-23 line, you might be a bit mortified. But then think back to him forcing LaMarcus Aldridge into two quick fouls (within four minutes of the tip), relegating him to the bench. That was huge for the Knicks to spark their offense to gain a lead on the home team. In the second half, Stoudemire attacked the basket, hit a couple of his signature jumpers, ran into players for "charge" calls, and violently slammed home a pass from Felton in the fourth to pretty much seal the game.
Overall, his forcing Aldridge to foul and his passing made this a solid, albeit unorthodox performance from Stoudemire.
Raymond Felton enjoyed the athleticism of his compadres: When alls you gotsta do is toss da alley-oopses, you's gonna wind up wit 14 assiststs 'n' ZERO turnoverses! Raymond added 17 points, most of which were achieved in his usual "Fuck you, I'm a bulldog" fashion. Three steals, including one that he took to the other end and finished extremely difficultly with his left hand pause. Felton was solid all night and distributed with gusto.
Landry Fields had a low-key but important game. He played some solid defense on whoever he was matched up with, I think it was Matthews a lot of the time, and got each and every one of his points on sneaky backdoor plays. Nothing spectacular here, just the Elmer's that keeps the ship floating.
Ronny Turiaf, are you serious? 8 of 9 shooting, 3 for 3 from the line, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, 2 BIG blocks, 19 total points for his Knicks high, and led all athletes with +17. Really, I can't say enough about this guy's contributions. He snapped Aldridge's streak of 25pts 10rbs in two, played excellent post defense on everyone ever, and came up with some rebounds in a crowd that you normally wouldn't see him get. Applause.
Wilson Chandler struggled with fouls for much of the night, but that didn't stop him from finishing the play of the game: A stolen ball by Turiaf (who then travelled, but shhhh!!!), who threw it ahead to Felton, who passed it to Fields, who immediately threw it up for Chandler, who dunked it so hard I actually started crying. This was amidst the 5 or 6 possession streak in the fourth quarter that was 80% dunks.
Wilson also had a decent midrange game going and got some big fourth quarter rebounds. I see you Wilson, and I'll never let you out of my sight <3.
Toney Douglas didn't DWTDD at almost any point in the game. 1 for 4, two turnovers and only one assist. Forgettable evening for Mr. Douglas, who airballed what appeared to be a 60 foot floater.
Shawne Williams played the quietest 15 minutes in basketball history. Appropriately, he led the Knicks in neutrality with a +/- of 0.
Hey, Bill Walker, do that every night! William "Wallace" led the bench scorers with 10 splashy points, and actually buried a midrage jumper off the dribble. I may never, ever type that sentence again. He had a putback dunk, a couple of big three-pointers and said midrange jumper. Most importantly, he showed aggression badly needed from the bench and wrastled four rebounds. Use that athleticism, Bully!
Let's see what else I have buried in my notes!
- Anthony Randolph did not suit up due to "flu-like symptoms." Tomorrow the Knicks play at The Jazz, and I urge Mike D'Antoni to play Randolph if he's still feeling sick. I mean, I think everybody remembers the last time someone played at Utah with flu-like symptoms...
- Clyde had himself a great game. "Brandon Rory." "They must have measured Mills in Australian inches!" and, in reference to the Portland crowd, "The crowd out there...this is like...a community...thing...here."
- While Mike Breen shit the bed. When he couldn't come up with how many rebounds Fields had at the moment: "Landry Fields with his...........rebound." Also, he referred to Ronny Turiaf as a "Recovering shotblocker." This conjured up an image of Ronny walking into a church basement with a cup of coffee and a lit cigarette, then listening to a meeting held by Dikembe Mutombo, Alonzo Mourning and Mark Eaton during which they retold tales of their shotblocking addiction.
- I also made note of a certain play that happened in, I believe, the second quarter. Ronny Turiaf and Bill Walker went up for the same rebound, fought for it a little, and Bill walker came away with it. Ronny stopped running, gave Walker a high five, and ran to the other end of the floor. Promptly, Ronny was passed the ball in the post. He saw Walker, who he had just given a high five to, kicked it out, and Walker splashed the three home. I couldn't believe my eyes!
- Last but not least for the game notes; The Knicks Defense. The Knicks came out in the second half asleep, allowing Portland to momentarily take the lead. Following a couple minutes of lead-changes, the Knicks absolutely locked down and allowed only 36 second half points. As Screamedia said in the headline comment, it was a thing of beauty. 2 of 13 for Wes Matthews. 7 of 22 for the Portland bench. 35% overall from the field. These statistics speak for themselves. Take a bow, Knicks.
I'd like to mention the game thread. Tonight was probably the liveliest, most interesting game thread I've participated in all year. While much of it had to do with the general play of the Knicks, a lot of it can be contributed to the outstanding and ever-developing P&T community. Tangible evidence, you say? GAx and KnickChick had a motherfucking reunion in the second half thread! There is a "bro"-off that, last time I checked, was still going in the postgame thread. I mean, you guys are on fire! Keep it up everybody. And for those of you who read this blog and don't participate in conversations or game threads: What are you waiting for?!
Great game. Utah's up next. With tonight's mojo, I don't see how that game is un-winnable. Everyone going to work tomorrow/today, drive safe! Tomorrow at nine o'clock, everyone!