This won't be a long recap. I'm still delirious from seeing what Toney Douglas do in person, and beyond that, I'm perhaps as exhausted as I've ever been (and I once summited Everest on a Razor scooter). So, yeah. Against the Grizzlies, the Knicks defended a little better than they have lately, but more importantly, they moved the ball brilliantly and hit a franchise-high twenty three-pointers. It was a veritable bonanza of three-point deliciousness. Nine of those threes came from the divine and newly 25 year-old hands of one Toney Douglas. It was a splendid evening and a much-needed departure from the slop of the last few games. Out of all the "DWTDD"s and poop references in the comments, Anthony Bonner's Subpoena's comment sums it up best for me. 'Twas lovely, indeed.
Take the jump for a quick brain dump. (Pump. Gump.)
- First and foremost, a massive thank you to our very own Bernard King's Game Face, who invited me to join him this evening out of the goodness of his heart. He is a gentleman of unparalleled grace, and I owe him for a terrific experience. Also, the man has some seriously bitchin' seats. You should probably befriend him.
- Between the comments (well, Rorschach) and Twitter, I've seen plenty of suggestion that tonight's win was "fool's gold", and I see that logic. Winning due to a record-setting three-point barrage does feel a trifle fortunate. However, while the shooting was unusually accurate, I'd contend that it wasn't merely a fluke or the product of a benevolent westerly breeze from the shores of Hibernia. The Knicks really moved the ball, and for the most part, those were good, open looks. This wasn't, for instance, like that TNT game against the Bulls in November, when the Knicks kept sinking one preposterous, ill-advised trey after another. The ball moved crisply and decisively, and it found uncontested Knicks in comfortable spots. Besides Toney (he gets his own bullet), Carmelo Anthony hit three from downtown (he was one of the few to miss some bad ones), Chauncey Billups, Roger Mason, and Landry Fields each sank two, and Shawne Williams pooped twice as well.
- Toney Douglas, though. Shit. By the end of the game, we were screaming for Toney to pull every time he touched the ball. He was unmistakably in the zone, launching in-rhythm bombs that were clearly cash from the moment they left his fingertips. Toney did some creating for others as well, with a number of those non-Douglas threes materializing because he broke down the defense and kicked to the perimeter. Toney's ninth three broke the team record, and also tied the individual Knick high for excellence from perimeter (he joins Latrell Sprewell and John Starks). It also probably set some sort of record for heartwarming. My heart hasn't experienced temperatures like that since Bolt.
- One set the Knicks ran more than usual (that or I wasn't paying close enough attention before) was a pick-and-roll with Jared Jeffries as the screener and Amar'e Stoudemire lurking on the strong side. While Jared obviously didn't command much help as he rolled to the rim, the shuffling of defenders allowed Amar'e to curl for open looks, or for a shot to open up on the perimeter. Particularly because Stoudemire is so deadly from mid-range, I love letting either Jeffries or Ronny Turiaf set the picks.
- Amar'e, by the way, did a lot of that. He played decoy quite a bit, either driving and kicking or just using his magnetic pull to create open shots for others. He had just 19 points, but this was by no means a poor offensive performance on his part.
- Jeffries was flat-out dominant on offense, including an impressive (for real) lefty finish plus the foul in transition. Also, like everybody says, his defense looks much better in wins.
- Oh yeah, defense. The Knicks were definitely more active than they have been in a week or so. Especially early on, they rotated well, moved their feet nicely, and forced the Grizzbros into a bunch of bad shots and 24-second violations. Jeffries did a decent enough job defending the interior (Zach Randolph, as he's wont to do, hit some tough-ass shots), and Ronny Turiaf kept that alive with the second unit. My one major gripe was with Amar'e Stoudemire's pick-and-roll defense. I know that's not a very original gripe, but...yikes. From our vantage point on the baseline, it was clear as day how poorly Amar'e defended screens, particularly against Darrell Arthur. Time after time, even when the fleet and screen-ready Douglas was his companion, Amar'e would casually float over to the guard as he came off the screen. Arthur would pop out to the free throw line extended, catch an easy pass, and plop home a mid-range jumper. This happened roughly sixty times (don't check the boxscore for confirmation. I wouldn't lead you astray, would I?). Somebody needs to tell this tall guy to either hedge the screen like a wild, flailing man-beast or just stick to his man, especially when Toney's at point and especially when the man in question is a notorious mid-range splasher. Sashaying over to no-man's land is an open invitation for the opposition to get exactly the shot they want. Please, please fix that.
- I'm sorry that turned into a rant. You're cool, Amar'e. You really are.
- What happened to the Grizzlies? Last week they were really spunky and exciting and they forced all those turnovers and made me really nervous. Tonight, they were kinda bland on both ends. I'm not complaining or anything.
- It was excellent to see some bro in a Tony Allen jersey get mercilessly booed by some other bros in the section next to us.
- It was also excellent to see a kid wearing a green Renaldo Balkman jersey, although I kind of worry about that kid's future. He can't possibly be employable.
- People that grunt while they pee frighten me, especially when I'm wedged into a corner urinal and they're elbowing my elbows.
- Bernard King's Game Face said some really funny things during the game, but I can't remember any of them. I'm so sleepy right now, guys. He's a really kind and hilarious individual, though, and I couldn't be more thankful for his invitation/company.
- Bernard (this is so blatantly not his real name) and I noticed that Tony Allen exhibits some borderline pathological behavior in his spare time. He kept zoning out and clapping at inappropriate times and yelling for no reason whatsoever. Are we sure Tony Allen didn't serve in Vietnam or something?
That'll be all. Do what Toney Douglas do, my children. I'm in transit and up to some antics tomorrow, so Gian will take care of your threads and recap for the Pistons game (which better break Gian's losing streak). No pre-game festivities either, unless Gian's got something up his sleeve. Until then, zzzzzzzzzzzzz.