Tomahawk Stomp's comment from tonight's game thread (quoted above) sums this one up pretty well. The Knicks came out looking just as sloppy and pass-droppy as they did on Friday, but they tightened things up as the game progressed, defended the Pistons well, and, most importantly, exerted themselves to win the rebounding and free throw battles by a long shot. New York survived a poor first quarter, took a double-digit lead in the second, ACTUALLY WON THE THIRD, then cruised to a blowout win in the fourth. They turned the ball over a ton but made up for that by shooting well, getting to the line, and destroying Detroit on the glass.
'Twas a pretty nice bounce-back. Take the jump for a bit more.
- Tyson Chandler and Amar'e Stoudemire were both excellent tonight. The Detroit front line didn't offer much resistance, so the big folks rolled and lingered around the rim for tons of inside finishes. Amar'e made some great baseline dribble moves (a couple of which included uncalled charges, but whatevz) to score and draw contact while Chandler finished some lovely pick-and-rolls and hung under the basket to catch and dunk off guard penetration. Stoudemire had eight rebounds, including four o-bounds. Chandler ripped down 17, including 14 in the first half and five on the offensive glass. Great to see both rebounding and greater to see both exhibiting some nice touch at the basket after rimming out a lot of bunnies on Friday. Solid defense from those guys, too. Both of 'em!
- Two more things on Amar'e: 1. He went to the locker room in the third quarter because his lower back stiffened up and we all lost our shits, but it sounds like he's fine. More in the morning. 2. Amar'e gave courtside seats to an adorable nine year-old kid who has terminal brain cancer and that, not all the turnovers, is why I cried a little bit in the first half. Good man, that Amar'e.
- Carmelo Anthony just couldn't get wide open looks to fall in the first half, but kept himself involved by doing a decent job guarding Tayshaun Prince and playing passing lanes. In the second half, the Knicks went to their "elbow" set and had him cut into the paint to post up Prince. That got Melo a couple easy buckets and helped get him going a bit.
- Jeremy Lin had seven of New York's 22 turnovers, but didn't play too poorly. Those turnovers included a couple telegraphed passes and a couple charges-- nothing too worrisome or unusual. Meanwhile, Lin nailed two of his three-pointers (one of which was totally out of rhythm late in the clock) and made a couple very nice plays driving to the basket. His left knee apparently bugged him a bit in the mid-third quarter, but it sounds like he's fine and he got to rest in the fourth either way.
- Landry Fields ran some gorgeous pick-and-rolls with Chandler, but got lost chasing Ben Gordon quite a few times and gave up some open threes (in part because nobody came to help, of course).
- The bench didn't do too much in this one, at least not until extended garbage time. J.R. Smith was weirdly pass-happy in the first quarter, but made up for it by gunning in the fourth. Steve Novak went 2-5 from downtown. Baron Davis made some beautiful passes and hit a couple shots, but had four turnovers. Iman Shumpert made nice reads to nab steals and grabbed one really awesome offensive rebound. Josh Harrellson-- actually Josh'll get his own bullet.
- Josh Harrellson! Couple highlights in this one: 1. Jortstache. 2. I forgot that Harrellson's thing is to let the opponent grab rebounds, then just rip them away. He got at least two of his five offensive rebounds by doing exactly that. 3. One of Harrellson's made baskets was a sweeping, right-handed JORTS HOOK (which is also the name of an item on the wall in Josh's apartment) that made me jump up and spill my ginger ale. Clyde called it "anachronous".
- Jorts looked hurt after smashing his recently fractured wrist against the backboard, but he came right back in without a problem. Josh just nuzzled the wrist with his Jortstache and all the pain went away.
- Clyde's suit was best described by FrankieLoC in the game thread: "What a zebra in New Mexico would look like".
- Clyde, surprised that Tayshaun Prince had been whistled for a technical foul, said Prince was "usually the quintessence of cool."
- A nice "this is only okay in sports" moment: You know when players are about to inbound after a made shot and the ball is on the floor, so they just let the referee go get it and use the extra time to talk and set up the next play? Well, Chandler, Lin, and Melo were under their own basket about to inbound, and the ball was rolling around on the floor, and all three of them just let it roll by, leaving the ref to get it. The ref was Dick Bavetta. So, if you remove the context, that was three men under the age of 30, all in peak physical condition, deliberately neglecting to pick an item up off the floor while a 73 year-old man had to run and bend over to do it himself.
- Breen on the rather gaunt Austin Daye: "He needs to eat more ice cream!". Clyde: "Ha-HA! Or CHAR-colate!".
- I don't know how many of you get MSG and live in my area, but some car dealership called Lynnes Nissan has been advertising a "Lynnes-sanity" event for several weeks now. Just thought y'all should know.
- Earl and Shump pulled off a double alley-oop during garbage time. I'll probably post that video and some other ones and some injury updates tomorrow.
And that's it! The Knicks didn't play great-- the turnovers and missed free throws definitely didn't go away-- but they played with a lot more juice than they did on Friday and got the right result. Detroit is a very bad team and, though it took them a little while to get going, the Knicks eventually made them look that way. They're up against Milwaukee (who lost tonight) on Monday, and that'll be a big one.