Well, it was a game for a while, wasn't it? The early going saw the Knicks slap together a lead with keen ball movement, fine shooting, and the occasional spasm of defensive vigor. It was cool. Then, well...yeah. Chinua Achebe, I'm afraid. After an engaged but flat-footed first half, something-- perhaps Derrick Rose's leadership, perhaps Tom Thibodeau's satanic braying, perhaps just spite-- ignited the Bulls, and they just snuffed out our Knicks in the third quarter. I do not like those Bulls one bit, but they're a very good team when they feel like defending. They're probably better than the Knicks, and they're 100 percefinitely better than the Knicks sans Amar'e Stoudemire. New York stayed outside with their big man absent, an attack that worked early on but buckled when the ball stopped moving, the rims got tight and the Bulls got to closing out. By 10 o'clock, (are there Irish people with the last name O'Clock?) folks like DonMoosavi, as quoted in the headline above, abandoned the event to go watch their prime time Tuesday night programming of choice. The Knicks at least went through the motions of making the run, even if it pretty clearly wasn't going anywhere. You really can't blame those who fled for the comfort of [researches] "a one-hour drama about the scandalous lives of Manhattan's elite". Maybe a little. Although this show seems kind of okay. It appears to star some very fancy ladies. Wait, Michelle Trachtenberg!? Nobody told me this!?
So, yeah. They lost. It's not meaningless, so to speak, but it's probably not worth fretting over. Take the jump for notes, few of which will be coherent.
- Carmelo Anthony did his thing, but ended up just 8-19 for 21 points. For what it's worth, it seemed like Chicago got away with more ball-swiping (both legal and illegal) than other teams do against Melo.
- Speaking of ball-swiping: Yikes! That's called a sack-snaggle, and as Ronnie Brewer's poor face confirms, it hurts. It's been a long journey for Anthony Carter, and he's picked up a thing or two.
- And now I'm imagining Anthony Carter collecting scrota like some frontier villain might collect scalps. We should probably move on.
- It was a very Landry first half, I thought. Landry Fields finally looked sharp on offense, particularly in transition. He stopped and popped for a few jumpers, and also finished a nice two-man break with Melo. He kind of tapered off in the second half, (as did pretty much everybody, except for maybe Bill Walker.) but shit got pretty Landry for a moment there.
- Yeah, Bill Walker played well. 6-12, 18 points. +10 on the evening, too, if that's your
cup of tea towel of pee. A few threes, a few nice drives. Good basketball, and the only real spark in the second half. He'll play in the playoffs, I think.
- The game was on TNT, and Marv Albert followed a mention of the Knicks-Bulls game in November, when Toney Douglas was "unconscious from all angles" with an observation that Melo was "shooting threes from all angles" at present. Marv Albert is the Euclid of sports announcers, you see.
- With Amar'e out, Melo's been setting a lot more screens. When teams aren't vigilant, that practice can get him some wide-ass-open looks. Like, looks Carmelo Anthony should not be allowed to get. No reason this should fall by the wayside when Stoudemire returns. We've long loved using Amar'e as a pick-and-roll decoy, and that was with Ronny Turiaf as the roller. If a Melo-ballhandler pick-and-roll can be choreographed with Amar'e lurking at the elbow, it'll be a son of a gun to defend.
- I'm pretty "eh" on the small-ball zone defense at this point. Jared Jeffries doesn't have quite the disruptive flair in the middle that he used to. Feel free to tell me I'm wrong on that one.
- C.J. Watson shoots his jumpers too high and they go in too often.
- Shawne Williams fell off from outside after a nice start, but he did put one DOWN on Taj Gibson. Flushing that poop!
- In exchange for monitoring and rehabilitating his sprained ankle, Amar'e Stoudemire "blessed" the entire Knicks training staff with iPads. If somebody bleeds out because Dr. Roger Hinds is immersed in "Angry Birds", you know who to blame.
- That Chicago run in the third quarter was like 24-2, by the way. It went from zero to blowout like THAT.
- It's never not fun to watch Carlos Boozer miss dunks.
One more regular season game, y'all. The Awkward Bowl (thoughts on a corporate sponsor?) against the Celtics is tomorrow (tonight), and then it's on to the postseason. AHHHH!!!!!11