I guess that's one way to win. In a game marked by a frantic pace, awful shooting, uneven rebounding, and plenty of carnage for the Knicks (see flossy's comment in the headline), New York was able to overcome and open 2011 with a win.
Amar'e Stoudemire and his big fourth quarter led the Knick offense with 26 points while Ronny Turiaf played a huge game on defense. Danilo Gallinari had one of his finest outings before going down with an injury.
Take the jump for some brief notes on what took place.
- This was the third straight game in which the Knicks got absolutely decimated on the glass. The rebounding numbers (57-45 in favor of Indiana, including 21 offensive boards for the Pacers) are unsightly, but how about the fact that the Pacers attempted TWENTY-SIX more field goals than the Knicks did? Amar'e Stoudemire just didn't get inside position on Josh McRoberts and Roy Hibbert, and nobody ever boxed out Danny Granger, who repeatedly swooped in for put-backs (7 offensive boards, 17 total).
- Luckily, Indiana didn't really make good on their dozens of extra opportunities. They shot just 37% from the field, and after hitting 5 of their first 10 threes, went just 7-24 on the afternoon.
- Also covering the rebound discrepancy was New York's ability to get to the line. Amar'e Stoudemire (8-13) did his usual (he could have actually gotten a LOT more calls, to my eye), while Danilo Gallinari played his most aggressive game in a long while. Finally obeying the exhortations of Knick fans everywhere, Gallo put the ball on the floor, drove to the basket (often to his left), and made things happen. Gallo was 9-11 from the line, finishing with 19 points on just 8 shots.
- Raymond Felton continued to shoot poorly (5-13), but exploited Indy's tendency (a tendency that they share with just about everybody) to collapse on Amar'e Stoudemire by pulling up for jumpers and attacking the rim. He, like Amar'e, probably could have gotten a few more calls.
- After playing just six minutes in Orlando, Ronny Turiaf got an extended spin in this one and dominated defensively with six hairy blocks and ten fuzzy rebounds. Overall, he played much better interior defense than Amar'e (no duh), fronting and shoving on occasion to keep the ball away from Hibbert and friends.
- Indiana did a great job of frustrating Amar'e Stoudemire in the paint. They crowded the pick-and-roll and were super physical anytime Amar'e got anywhere near the cup. It didn't help that the big dude couldn't buy a jumper (including ones that he usually hits) through the first three quarters. Thankfully, Amar'e awoke in the fourth, particularly once Jeff Foster fouled out. He had 9 points in the period, including all three of New York's field goals in the final three minutes. We saw a nice, patient series of moves leading to a short fall-away, a strong back-down of the smaller James Posey, and, most importantly, a huge elbow jumper to put the Knicks up 5 with 35 seconds left. This isn't the first time we've seen Amar'e make up for a tough game with a big crunch time. We'll take it. Nicely done, cap'n.
- While Wilson Chandler was pretty much invisible, scoring just 10 points in 35 minutes..although three of them were pretty spectacular. We've now seen him hit huge threes, dunk all over people's faces, swat people mercilessly, and bury a half-court buzzer beater all without showing even a hint of emotion. I really, really, really want Wil to hit a game-winner, if only to see how he reacts.
- Landry Fields only played 13 minutes. Shawne Williams played 17. Bill Walker was sprung from the bench for 11. It could be that D'Antoni didn't like the way Fields was defending, or it may just have been that Toney Douglas was having a nice defensive outing. Barring further low-minute games for Landry, I'd be on the latter.
- And Toney did have a pretty decent game. He did make a few questionable decisions and fire a fairly detestable shot or two, but he recorded 7 assists to just 1 turnover and provided plenty of energy on defense (2 steals, although he let Darren Collison by him more than he had to). That's what Toney Douglas do.
- Since the Knicks managed to survive with a win, the big story going forward will be injuries. Danilo Gallinari took a Brandon Rush head-butt in the left knee, and that thing bent waaaay in the wrong direction. The word at the moment is that x-rays were negative and an MRI will be conducted tomorrow to reveal any potential tissue or muscle damage. It's currently being classified as an injury of the strain/sprain variety, and Gallo's not feeling the feelings of people who feel feelings of a serious injury, so that's good. More on that as it emerges. Meanwhile, Ronny Turiaf appeared to hurt his upper arm on his sixth savage rejection in the closing moments while Raymond Felton played the whole game with a bandaged right hand and Toney Douglas seemed to aggravate his shoulder injury in the second half. Aside from Gallo, it doesn't sound like anybody will need to sit on Tuesday (and even Gallo might very well spin, depending on what the MRI says), but the guys are most definitely banged up.
- By the way, Amar'e's "GET THAT MESS OUTTA HERE!" technical from the other night done got rescinded.
- Who wins a foot race between T.J. Ford and Darren Collison?
- Who wins a lacrosse battle between Mike Dunleavy and Josh McRoberts?
- When's the last time Gallinari and Chandler BOTH had good games? How many times have the two combined for over 40 points? Without actually looking at numbers (and I will at some point), it seems like it's one or the other.
That'll be all, I think. This really felt like one of those games during the huge win streak in early December. The Knicks executed poorly enough to let a mediocre team stick around, but got a big boost from Amar'e when it counted. Like I said, we'll take it. The Knicks face the Spurs on Tuesday before embarking on a west coast road trip. We'll have injury updates and the like in due time.