That was a breeze, like rcnt123 said. I had instinctive doubts about the Knicks' propensity to show up for a noon game against the league's worst team, but the Knicks squashed them at once. Even with a pretty generous defense, the Knicks never felt a threat. The Bucks are quite dead. Just a few notes because I want to go outside:
- To my surprise, the broadcasters spoke openly not just about Phil Jackson, but about Phil Jackson's still-not-yet-unofficially-announced new role as team president, not that they would have been fooling anybody if they talked around it. That bought us a look at this photo and, combined with a joke of the game, invited all sorts of Clyde storytelling to which I couldn't possibly do justice. My favorite moment was actually right at the beginning, when MSG showed former Philip assistant Jim Cleamons and Clyde suggested that, because he was traded to the Cavs as compensation for the Knicks' acquisition of Cleamons in 1977, and because Cleamons met Jackson in New York, Cleamons should give him 10% of his money.
- Tim Hardaway Jr. had the finest game of any Knick, cookin' soup to drop 20 points in 25 minutes. We saw a lovely mix of catch-and-pull threes, one outstanding finish off a full-court, two-pass fast break, and my favorite thing from Timbic System: some varied excellence off the dribble. Tim penetrated in halfcourt sets and secondary transition, knifing diagonally through traffic to finish or draw contact, and he also dropped in a tough righty push shot off a back-down and one gorgeous pull-up jumper out of a rejected Amar'e pick. Kid even played moments of decent perimeter defense and flew in for a block. Hardaway hasn't come close to distinguishing himself as a do-everything kind of player, but a game like today's shows his potential as a score-every-which-way kind of player.
- Early, I was impressed with how willing Amar'e looked to pass the ball out of the post. He wasn't all that quick or productive with his passing, but when a double arrived, his focus clearly turned toward getting the ball to swing. In the third quarter, he became more dominant. Ersan Ilyasova wishes he never met Amar'e after that steady beating of baby hooks in the face, elusive baseline moves, offensive rebounds, and that block on the other end just for fun.
- A couple people noticed this on Twitter, so I know I'm not crazy: The basket mics were hotter than usual, yes? Like, the Knicks were definitely doing a solid job of talking on defense but I think it was mostly that we could hear them especially well.
- It's nice when all the wings play well. That's been so rare this season. Shump hit a few jumpers off catches, hand-offs, and a pull-up, including a right corner three that somehow caught glass before swishing through, which seems impossible for a right-handed player. J.R. Smith did plenty of the same. Both guys rebounded, both guys made smart extra passes, drove and kicked a bit, and helped force some turnovers. This is how deep the Knicks are supposed to be at the wing.
- A conversation about Giannis Antetokounmpo, whose name Spero Dedes delights in pronouncing, led Spero to suggest that Clyde ought to visit Greece sometimes. Clyde confirmed that he'd already been back in the day, and had in fact judged a Miss Universe contest there. "It was a lot of work." CLYDE WINS EVERYTHING.
- That Pablo-Shump-Tim alley-oop, incidentally:
~85 feet, no-floor-touchy
- Clyde confirmed that he hasn't played a game of basketball since the mid-'80s, first turning to some bullshit excuse that it was too hard to find a gym, then insinuating the more reasonable sentiment that if he tried to play with regular citizens, folks would try to go at him and it wouldn't be fun. I guess that's fair.
- Raymond Felton laid in an opportunity to dunk, which really hurt my feelings.
- Ramon Sessions tried to steal the ball from Pablo Prigioni on an inbound which you CANNOT DO NEVER TRY TO SNEAK A SNEAKER, RAMON.
That's all I've got. The Bucks suck. The Knicks have hit an offensive stride, Hardaway in particular. Six straight wins, Pacers up next, with plenty of time to rest in the interim. Podcast tomorrow night, I think.