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Bobcats 114, Knicks 106: "Same story, different day."

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Well, there's only one way to assess seton hall and steelers's comment from last night. TO THE MAD LIB!:

Last night, the Knicks blew another one. Though they played reasonably competent basketball for most of the game, a terrible second quarter doomed their chances of beating the Bobcats. New York's guards struggled to contain Matt Carroll!?!?! off the dribble, while the bigs were helpless against the pick-and-roll (and the gelatinous drives of Boris Diaw). This led to the usual switching, mis-switching, and open shots inside and out. New York made a comeback, in part because of better ball movement and defense by the bench unit (eh, kinda), and cut the deficit to as little as four before team play completely evaporated in the closing minutes. The Knicks stopped moving the ball, resorted to contested jumpers, and couldn't get stops on the other end. Seth tearfully shoveled chili into his face, then took a scalding hot shower once the game ended.

Yeah, pretty much the same story. Take the jump for a few notes.

- The first quarter was okay. The Knicks gave up 30 points to one of the NBA's weakest offenses (minus a bunch of players, let's not forget), but they pushed from the backcourt to get in transition and got a big boost from Carmelo Anthony. Melo's isolation game looked best when he played power forward with the second unit (matched up against the helpless D.J. White.)

- Just to mix things up, New York picked the second period for their sudden descent into torpor. Amar'e Stoudemire replaced Melo as the lone star amongst bench players, and the Knicks turned to just drop-kicking outside shots on one end and granting the Bobcats second and third opportunities on the other. Charlotte outscored New York 26-7 over the first 7 and a half minutes of the quarter. Not ideal. 64 points was the Bobcats' highest first half total of the season. Also not ideal.

- Did you guys know that Paul Silas talks like he's from 1900? He's the coolest.

- Amar'e Stoudemire couldn't stay in front of Boris Diaw, so...um...those must be some tired-ass legs. Seriously, though, coaches are telling their big men and Borises to go right at Amar'e. He's become an easy target, and he's shown no signs of trying to deter that trend.

- Toney Douglas started over Landry Fields in this one, more as a defensive crutch for Chauncey Billups than as a replacement for Landry. All three guards struggled against dribble penetration, and they had varying degrees of offensive success. Toney got pretty much nothing going, while Billups was decent off the dribble, but continued to shank ugly pull-up threes. Fields, meanwhile, ended up playing waaaay more minutes than Douglas, and made good on them with 16 points on just 8 shots. As a rookie, Fields probably can't rely on getting calls that frequently, but as he learns to dribble with more conviction and at the right angles, he's getting better and better at drawing contact while still getting a good look at the rim. Pretty Landry outing, at least on offense.

- Dan D'Antoni, speaking with Tina Cervasio in the usual halftime assistant coach rotation got so worked up about the Knicks' struggles that he was out of breath and making all sorts of odd noises at the end of the interview. I'm pretty sure he swallowed his tongue.

- Melo and Chauncey cut the lead to 11 in the third quarter, then Melo sank back-to-back threes in the fourth to cut the lead to five. It got down to four at some point after that. On each occasion, i wrote the word "whatever" in my notes.

- Hey, good job, Shelden Williams! Shawne Williams started (and struggled, as I feel like he tends to do when he starts), but Shelden spelled him (rhyme?) for 25 solid minutes off the bench (and started the second half). She-Will sank all three of his field goals (all inside), pulled down nine rebounds, and fouled a bunch of people. Good effort, person.

- Stephen Jackson is soooooo Stephen Jackson.

- I don't want to discount Melo's 36 points (on 25 shots) so...here it is. He played pretty nicely. I think we'd prefer he eased off the 3-10 outside shooting and stepped up the 7-8 free throw shooting, but it was an impressive offensive outing nonetheless. Like the night before, though, there isn't much to be said for putting up a bunch of points in isolation in a loss to a bad team.

And onward we go, the chances of missing the playoffs still incredibly slim. The Knicks play the Magic in a rematch of the asbestos game tomorrow night.