I imagine this'll be a quick recap because that was barely a basketball game. The Hawks came out looking energetic, capitalizing off Knick turnovers and beating New York in transition. Once things settled down and the second units trickled in, Atlanta took over the fumbling. Through some combination of Knick defense and their own utter disinterest, the Hawks slid promptly and meekly into oblivion. Like mango said in the thread, it was a turnover party, with Atlanta flailing their way to 24 and New York handing 21 possessions right back. But while the Knicks committed plenty of turnovers, theirs were goofy and lovable. The Hawks just kind of looked like they didn't feel like playing sports.
Take the jump for more!
- Seriously, this one was done by the middle of the second quarter. The Knicks got lazy and let Atlanta make a run in the third, but even then it never got close. Without Al Horford AND Joe Johnson the Hawks looked kind of like this:
- Jeremy Lin, after a rough performance against the Nets, had a quiet but excellent game. I can't believe, after all we sat through in January, that I'm doing anything other than vigorously punch-dancing in the nude at a 17 and 9 line from a Knick starting point guard, but that's what it's come to with Lin. He's spoiling us. Anyway, the guy blew by Jeff Teague pretty much whenever he felt like it (and vice versa, but Jeremy felt like it much more). The Atlanta big men weren't as prone to trapping Lin as some other opponents have been, so Jeremy attacked and created from the paint. He made the usual slick inside dump-offs, drew some fouls, kicked out to the perimeter, and generally ran things like a champ. I'm a big fan of Lin's patience (which seemed to disappear in the last game) off the dribble. A couple of times, he did that thing where he drives in well defended, then just stops next to the basket, pump fakes a little bit to get the guy in the air, and cranes around for an easy bank shot. Kid is so COLLECTED.
- Amar'e Stoudemire's defense on Josh Smith was very bad to start-- he got beat down the floor for roughly 116 consecutive dunks-- but got better in later minutes when the Hawks actually had to run sets. Amar'e didn't look any springier, but did grab ten rebounds and make some finishes (below the rim) inside and made a nice save in the third quarter that came right back and got him an open baseline jumper. That was the first one he'd hit in quite a while, and he's been wiiiiide open for the last few games.
- Carmelo Anthony started the game pretty sloppily, bricking his first few jumpers and pegging his teammates with wild passes. Melo eventually got himself going in transition and off the dribble, first with a brilliant touch pass to Landry Fields, then with a blow-by drive right past Ivan Johnson (I genuinely feared violent retaliation from Ivan, which probably isn't cool of me). The jumper never really showed up-- and that's including a stretch in the third when he just heaved a few-- but Melo definitely looked like he'd shaken off some rust from the previous game. His close shots actually dropped, his passing was crisp, and he made all the right decisions in transition. Melo's not all the way back, but he looked to be on the right track. Snack. Backpack.
- Tyson Chandler and Jared Jeffries are good at defense. Eight rebounds apiece, too. Both more than held their own against an Atlanta frontline that was often of the undersized/quick variety.
- Man, what an excellent game from Landry Fields. It seems like he's phasing the three-pointer out of his game (which, based on one attempt that airballed about a furlong wide of the rim, is a bright idea) and instead looking to fake and put the ball on the floor pretty much every time he gets it. We saw Landry get all the way to the basket on several occasions (including one impressive reverse lay-in), and when that wasn't available, he stopped short for an easy jumper instead of an off-balance floater.
- The Earl-Baron backcourt is a goddamn spectacle. It's amazing. Baron Davis was pretty sloppy and J.R. Smith was a bit off on his jumpers, but when the two combined...
The whole thing is so delightfully casual! Speaking of which, Baron also coughed up the ball in the paint, then crouched on the floor and tossed a ridiculous behind-the-back pass from his knees to Jeffries. Jared ruined the assist but tipped in his own miss. This new second unit-- which, by the way, is missing both rookies-- is just a wonderful cast of characters.
- Is Steve Novak alternating good shooting games with bad shooting games? Check out that game log! Either way, it was an "on" night. He drained five of ten threes and busted out the Aaron Rodgers celebration (dubbed "The Discount Triple Check" int he game thread) a couple of times. Now I'm just worried that he'll shoot like 2-8 tomorrow night, though.
- Clyde busted out his tiger-stripe suit again almost exactly a year since he wore it for Melo's first game. We still haven't been able to figure out whether that's real tiger or not. I kind of don't want to know.
- Clyde upheld another tradition by rhyming Zaza Pachulia's last name with "peculiar" (when Lin finished over Zaza with his left hand, which I guess is pretty peculiar). He also said something that sounded like "Chipachuli" at some point, which sounds like a tasty dish of some sort.
- I'm willing to entertain the possibility that Baron Davis's headband holds his cerebellum in place. I swear he can't walk in a straight line or execute basic motor functions when that thing falls off. I need more data, though.
- Strange moment: Chandler fell down in the paint on offense, but couldn't get up because people kept stepping over him and walking close to his prone body. It ended with a three-in-the-key call, which seemed unfair. Next time, Tyson reserves the right to stand up and just flip somebody over if they're straddling him, I suppose.
- Folks ought to keep leaking out off misses. Lin throws a mean lob outlet.
- Jeffries alllllmost posterized Willie Green on a broken play. An entire nest of ducklings by some far-off pond would have just burst into flames in response.
- At the final buzzer, the guys on the floor hustled into the tunnel, but those who'd been on the bench called them back to be part of some center court huddle thing. During the huddle thing, Josh Harrellson intentionally poked Landry Fields in the face and giggled and then I giggled.
- Now that his hair's mostly gone, does J.R. Smith look kind of like Steve Francis out there? On my TV, from a distance, I swear he does. He looks much stockier than I remember, and kind of moves the same way. Nevermind.
And that is all. The Knicks did look a bit sharper; they defended well and moved the ball very nicely (save for that lazy stretch in the third). The Hawks barely showed up, though, so we didn't get to see these new lineups face much adversity. That's what the Heat game's for, I suppose.