A borderline normal Celtics rotation destroyed the Knicks' training camp invites. That'll happen. The Knicks' defense was outstandingly bad, and their offense came mostly from twists of fate, not anything deliberate. That'll happen, too. It's okay. Some notes:
- Hi, Ike Diogu! Hi Ike! What a game, Ike! This guy was invincible in the paint. He fought for position, fought to collect weak passes, and fought through contact to find clean looks at the rim, winning an impressive portion of those battles. Diogu made fewer attempts to conjure baskets out of nothing and put more work into cutting and faking before finishing with brute force. In a game as disjointed as this one, you will only distinguish yourself with hustle, and Diogu was the guy to do that. Nice looking baseline jumper, too.
- Mike Breen said "Dee-ah-go" roughly half the time.
- Toure' Murry penetrated whenever he pleased and did well to maintain his dribble through traffic. The penetration didn't always lead to positive outcomes-- some yucky forced shots and a few neglected passing lanes-- but it was nice to see him do some point guard-y things in the halfcourt to go with his consistent poise in transition. He finally drained some jumpers, too. I've liked Murry's form since Summer League, but nice-looking shots just haven't fallen. On interior looks, Murry likes his floater way more than I do. It'd be neat to see him go up stronger and draw some contact, because I think he's athletic enough to do so.
- I know I said defense was bad overall, but Tim Hardaway Jr. and Andrea Bargnani deserve some special attention for extraordinary failures in the realms of man defense and boxing out. Each made several individual lapses in basic effort/attention stuff. And we'll just pretend those shooting lines didn't happen because they were taking unusual shots or something.
- Nice to see Chris Douglas-Roberts, who looked crafty off the dribble but didn't really finish anything.
- Part of me thinks C.J. Leslie just isn't capable of shining in such a disorganized setting, but a bigger part of me thinks it might be a more general thing. Cool dunk, though!
- I hadn't realized this, but the refs' Boner For An Arcane Rule That Will Dissipate By Mid-November this season is the delay of game. Not a fan. Unless other Knick opponents touch the ball after it goes through the rim as impulsively as the Celtics did. Then I'm fine with that.
- Josh Powell sets a decent screen, but neither he nor I are sure what he can do once he catches the ball on the roll.
- Iman Shumpert busted out the Euro step we've heard him mention at times. He fell down and missed the shot, but it looked pretty good. I mean it!
- Cole Aldrich did the same Cole Aldrich things we've been seeing so far. Woodson had been talking about how he wanted Cole to hustle a bit more for loose balls and stuff, and I thought he responded in kind. Made a beautiful entry pass from up top, too. I like him. Forget all that, though. I must make specific mention of the moment in which Aldrich caught the ball in the mid-post, created space by just head-butting his defender in the stomach, then air-balled a baby hook by a full yard. Sheer beauty.
Speaking of sheer beauty, we close with Clyde's broadcast-ending tribute to New Hampshire: "I like the scenery! It was nice, folks. Nature, in her splendorrrrr."
<3. Have a good night.