Hey, okay! Good job! The Knicks struggled for a while, as is their habit against the Pacers, but a minute's worth of heroics undid all the wrongs and earned New York the win. Said win was their seventh in a row and 42nd of the year, meaning that you and I and Matthew Modine are officially fans of an above-.500 basketball team. Cool!
The majority of the game was pretty grim, but how about that final minute!? With the Knicks down 4, Chauncey Billups drew a foul and made one of two free throws. On the ensuing Pacer possession, Shawne Williams stripped Darren Collison and fed Billups, who threaded a long-distance bounce pass to Landry Fields as he darted to the rim. Now down one, the Knicks defended a pretty weak Indiana possession perfectly, forcing Collison to miss an off-balance jumper as the shot clock expired. With just seconds remaining, Carmelo Anthony went into "I got this, bros" mode, drilling an isolation jumper over Danny Granger, then blocking Granger's game-winning attempt on the other end. One big shot, one even bigger defensive play, and Melo was the leering assassin once more. Rubbercons's comment (edited for language, as it is the headline) summed it up pretty nicely, I thought.
I don't really have anything to say about this one, (I, like many others, am gearing up for the playoffs!) but take the jump for a few morsels of inanity.
- Melo didn't have a great shooting night (11-28), mostly thanks to a cold third quarter, but he did drop 34 and continued his reckless yet effective three-point heaving. He shot 6-13 from distance, (the six makes, if I heard correctly, tied his career high) including a pair of bombs that ended the fourth quarter's lengthy field goal drought. A bit of a ball-stopping in the second half was part of the reason New York fell behind by as many as 11 points, but Melo does have a way of ending things on a good note, doesn't he? Those were two cold-blooded plays down the stretch. The jumper over Granger came after a bout of shoving to gain position, (Billups had to lob in the pass because Granger was fronting) and went in despite some contact on the forearm from Granger's hand. On the other end, Melo gave Granger a bit of room when he reached for a steal, but recovered quickly enough to tip the shot without fouling. Neither the contested jumper nor the scrambling block was textbook procedure, but both were heroic and won the Knicks this basketball game. Great!
- Chauncey Billups had one of those games in which he didn't shoot very well (4-14), but made up for it by getting to the line (11-13). I thought he defended Darren Collison really well in the fourth quarter, but I also just ate a Reese's cup with the paper still on it, so my opinion probably isn't valid.
- Chauncey got his nose bloodied at one point. Walt Frazier, to Kenny Albert: "We thought he was percolating, Kenny, but not that much!".
- Jared Jeffries's parents were at the game. His mom looks a lot like him. His dad is quite cool. I know he's cool because he held a toothpick in his mouth, which is something you do when you're cool. Jared had a pretty nice game in front of his folks, scoring 7 points, grabbing five boards, and draining a three from the left corner. When that three-pointer hit the net, every volcano on earth froze solid.
- This game was neither very Landry nor very Poopy. Both Landry Fields and Shawne Williams (who started in Amar'e Stoudemire's place) shot 3-9. Fields short-armed most of his shots and Shawne's outside stroke looked weirdly fade-y and kick-y. Such is life.
- Tyler Hansbrough had a bunch of points in the early going, then stopped taking shots for one reason or another. He had just 14 on 5-10 shooting, meaning he failed to set a career-high for the third game in a row against the Knicks. What a dork!
- MSG cut out of commercial with a shot of a cute little girl wearing Knicks garb. She was also wearing earrings and sucking on a pacifier, which I found strange. Maybe it's just me, but I'd imagine that someone who's young enough that she must be physically deterred from crying wouldn't also be subject to an unnecessarily painful procedure like, ya know, gouging holes in her ears. Either way, it looked odd and upset me way more than anything that happened during the game. To each their own, though.
- I'm pretty sure I saw Toney Douglas "Rondo" somebody before tossing a pass to Ronny Turiaf. Toney had a pretty okay evening (which is kind of rare for him, no? I think of TD as a polar cat) with 14 points on 5-10 shooting, 2 assists, and no turnovers.
- Shelden Williams started again, but played single-digit minutes again. Ronny Turiaf got the brunt of the minutes against Roy Hibbert, and didn't do terribly. He did bash the ball against his forehead after failing to convert that Rondo-esque feed from Douglas. I thought that was ill-advised.
- Billups missed a free throw (he missed two, actually) after sinking 32 consecutively. Somewhere, the specter of Chris Duhon cackled fiendishly and missed a cutter.
- Like Andrew Bogut, Roy Hibbert has an entire section of rabid fans (for whom he bought season tickets) that show up to every game and try to make enough noise to compensate for the thousands of empty seats in the building. It's called "Area 55". I learned this today.
- Chauncey Billups picked up a technical foul for, it seemed, complaining in a non-demonstrative inside voice to one of the referees. Whenever a guy gets T'd up for just talking, you know he must have said something truly heinous. That or he'd been complaining for a while. I like to imagine it was the former.
- Melo appeared to hurt his wrist in the third quarter, and reportedly asked to come out of the game. He proceeded to hit two free throws and a pull-up three, though, and decided he was fine.
- Clyde referred to Roy Hibbert's go-to post move as "looking and hooking", which I think is a new one.
- I don't know why Mike Dunleavy always does that against the Knicks, but he does. It always makes me feel better that he looks like my middle school band teacher, who was a lady.
- Interestingly enough, it was the first unit (or at least a unit composed of mostly starters) that made the game's big defensive stand. It's equally interesting that the game's big defensive stand came in crunch time. Neither of those two things happens often. The second unit wasn't nearly as much of a defensive game-changer as it has been. Anthony Carter struggled to defend bigger folks like Dunleavy (which usually isn't a problem), Derrick Brown didn't bring much to the table, and Bill Walker just played poorly. It's whatever.
And really, it's whatever. It was a lot of fun to steal that victory, but this is a playoff team now, so I'm allowed to turn up my nose and snottily dismiss regular season games. Even wins. I've also started drinking brandy and wearing pince-nez. The postseason is all about class, y'all. (And class is all about one's nose.)
Speaking of which, the Knicks are now a full game ahead of Philadelphia in the sixth seed. The Celtics, who are a full game behind Miami after they got flogged this afternoon, would be the Knicks' match-up if the playoffs started today. Once that possibility becomes closer to an inevitability we'll start analyzing the match-ups and quaking with fear and employing witch doctors and whatnot. Two more games left!