Last night was eerily reminiscent of years past, mostly in that it sucked. The Knicks fell way behind in the first two and a half quarters, then suddenly awoke and all but erased their deficit in a matter of minutes. Friends watching with me wondered why I wasn't getting excited, but the scenario was all too familiar. A 24-point lead got cut to 5, but the Knicks blew some opportunities, the Hawks sank some tough shots, and New York ended up dropping their fifth straight on the road. Like Knicks Chick insinuated in the headline'd comment, it got pretty ugly.
Just a few quick notes after the jump.
- This was one of those games in which the Knicks didn't shoot or defend too poorly; they just fell victim to a more active, athletic team. The Hawks succeeded in beating the Knicks in transition (which is, incidentally, something the Heat could and should have done the previous night), and also badly out-rebounded and out free threw New York. In a game in which the shooting and turnover numbers ended up more or less even, the Hawks gained their edge on the glass (46 to 34) and at the line (20-23 to 14-14). Amar'e Stoudemire got his free throws (9-9), but Raymond Felton and Danilo Gallinari were the only two other Knicks to reach the stripe, and both were infrequent visitors.
- This was also one of those nights in which Danilo Gallinari was aggressive, but not prolific. When he had the ball, he did some seriously rowdy shit. He just didn't have it enough. Without Wilson Chandler, there were plenty of extra shots to go around, but Shawne Williams and Landry Fields ended up out-attempting Gallo.
- But that's not to hate on either of those two guys. Both Landry and Shawne were matched up for significant stretches against Joe Johnson and Josh Smith, respectively, and had their hands full. The two did a decent job on their marks in halfcourt sets, but Atlanta did a great job of 1. getting out in transition and 2. getting good mid-range looks, which proved difficult to stop. Fields still had a pretty Landry game, though, with 15 and 5, and Extra E missed a ton of chip shots but hustled his way to 12 points and 11 boards.
- Amar'e scored 27 in just 32 minutes (because of foul trouble), but also had a scary moment when Marvin Williams tumbled into the back of his knee in the third quarter. He stayed in the game and actually had a very big quarter despite the injury. More on that in the next post.
- Queen Latifah was sitting on press row, which I'm pretty sure marked the first time there's ever been royalty at a Knicks game. She had a strangely ubiquitous presence in this one. I feel like I noticed her on my TV more often than I noticed Gallo.
- The Knicks did that thing again where they miss all their early threes, then pull back toward average in the second half. I'm pretty sure they missed their first 7 attempts from outside.
- Fun moment: There must have been a bunch of Knicks fans in attendance, because Al Horford got pretty loudly booed at the foul line. Horford violently gestured for the Hawk fans in the house to speak up, which generated a brief cheer, followed by an even louder chorus of boos. <3.
- Ronny Turiaf played a pretty nice game off the bench. He had 8 and 7 in just 24 minutes, and single-handedly kept a bunch of possessions alive with his hustle.
- If you subtract his 0-4 from downtown, Raymond Felton had a pretty nice line: 21 points (9-17 from two-point range), 13 assists, and just 2 turnovers.
- The Hawks did a very nice job of backing down smaller Knick defenders when presented with the opportunity. Quoth Clyde, Atlanta excelled at "explorting mismatches".
- Atlanta's PA system is the best. I'm pretty sure I heard the organ play Cee-Lo's "Fuck You", and we were also treated to the piano riff from The Charmels' "As Long As I've Got You" (sampled heavily in C.R.E.A.M.).
- WTDD last night was telegraph a whole lot of passes. Sheesh.
- Those of you who turned off the TV early missed a pretty exciting battle of the Williamses. Shawne Williams got shoved by Marvin Williams, then turned around and got in his face. Marvin threw at least two punches that didn't reach their target (Landry Fields prevented at least one of them), and everybody got to grappling and jawing. It was excellent. I wouldn't be surprised if Extra E gets suspended, but I don't think he should be.
- I'm not a huge Kenny Albert fan, but I think he does a great job of pronouncing the word "battling" as two syllables. I tend to stretch it to three, and resent that tendency to no end. Meanwhile, in that NBA mobile app commercial with Brent Barry, Dennis Scott makes the word "oops" have two syllables.
- One of the guys in that Geico "Does it take two to tango?" commercial looks like a little suave Kenny Powers. Check it out.
That is all. The Knicks were flat and tired last night, and they showed up way too late. If you saw any of their games from the 00's, you already know what it is. On to the next one.