The Knicks dropped their ___ game in a row and have lost (x) of their last (x+1), falling 110-82 to the ______ ________ . New York trailed from the start and never threatened to come back. The offense struggled as usual with _______ and especially _________ . The defense was its usual flatulent canine self, allowing ____ ______ to torch them for ____ points.
In the first quarter, the teams combined to shoot 39% from the field and 27% on threes while having six assists and seven turnovers. It looked like a summer-league game...except the Knicks have been running the Triangle offense for three months. Emerging from the muck of play like our evolutionary ancestors, the Hornets went on a 7-0 run to go up 21-16. The game felt over at that point. The game was over.
By the 5:00 mark of a second quarter the Hornets won 41-13, the booing had begun (what's the over/under for the next home game's first boos?). Kemba Walker led the scoring, but it wasn't about one man. It wasn't about five Hornets working as one. It was about all ten guys on the court combining to create a kind of interpretive dance representation of one-sidedness. With 1.7 seconds left in the half, up 62-31, the Hornets inbounded and let the clock run out. Didn't even bother to shoot. THE CHARLOTTE FREAKING HORNETS CAME INTO MSG AND SHOWED THE KNICKS MERCY. At halftime they were shooting 55% from the field and 50% on threes. The Knicks were not.
Halfway through the third the lead had grown to 40. And the Knicks were still struggling just to get clean looks. They were under 30% on FGs, under 20% on 3PT%, and had only attempted one free throw. Charlotte's lead ballooned as high as 45 before settling for 28. Build your castles in the air.
- The first half was the Kemba Walker show: 20 points on only 8 shot attempts. Late in the half he tried the most awkward Euro step ever. Kemba's Euro step needs a Marshall Plan.
- Derek Fisher pulled Tim Hardaway Jr. 39 seconds into the third quarter. Tim wasn't happy and didn't make a scene, but didn't hide it, either. Melo, seated behind the bench, was in his ear. I like the idea of Carmelo as the little angel on the young players' shoulders (it can't be Pablo 'cuz Pablo's already God). Who's the Knicks' little devil?
- If you put Charlotte's points at the half against the Knicks' points after the third, the Hornets were still up 18.
- The Knicks opened the fourth with a flurry: two threes by Larkin and Early and a three-point play by Hardaway. Nine points in the blink of an eye and they were still down 36. It was like watching someone fire a bullet at a hurricane.
- Every Knick who doesn't speak Spanish and played today is under 30, honoring the words of Samuel Beckett: "Tank better."
- A second-half 24-second violation when not a single Knick recognized the clock was winding down was followed by Jason Smith failing to score or draw a foul on a secondary break, followed by Smith picking up a technical. Hello, microcosm.
-Amar'e Stoudemire had a sweeet Jacksonville Jaguar-like jeweled pin on his lapel. Fisher had a lovely gray suit and light blue tie combo. Carmelo looked like Johnny Cash. The Knicks are the first team this bad to almost look good.
- The crowd cheered like three times all day (and despite what Jill Martin was peddling, no one cheered for Glenn Frey). Shane Larkin was behind all three cheers. He was the only Knick who didn't fail today (12 pts/4 rebs/4 assts/3 steals in 27 minutes)...besides Quincy Acy, who had 18 in 22 minutes and hit 3 of 4 from downtown. In the dying minutes, the crowd burst into an "Acy" chant. Discuss.
- Another reason I like the JR Smith trade: now when I write about Jason Smith I can just write "Smith." Five characters saved each time over time adds up.
- Gerald Henderson and Hardaway bumped into each other going for a loose ball near the baseline. Tim got the worse end of the deal and was shook up as he ran up court to join the Knick offense.
"Derek Fisher giving him the staredown," Mike Breen said, "to see if he's looking to come out. He's not."
"Not on this end, Mike."
Love you, Clyde.
- Turns out Tim wasn't grimacing from the collision. A ref had blown his whistle right next to Tim's ear. In addition to Carmelo Anthony's two incidents of ref proximate blowage, the Knicks now lead the league with three players suffering ear damage from whisteblowing. Step your awareness game up, refs.
- Jason Smith got a shooter's bounce on one jumper. After the game, karma was seen inside the Knick locker room, seeking to correct the oversight.
- Mike Breen couldn't stop gushing about Dean Winters in the Mr. Mayhem commercials. He sounded like a teenage boy. I like these slivers into Breenie's headspace.
- Ye olde Knick media strategery: the postgame is focusing on Phil Jackson's press conference earlier today. I can't even hate. At least the presser was compelling at times.
The losing is now so impersonal, so abstract, there's nothing to do but laugh about it. "More mechanical than basketball," as Breen put it. This team loses because this team loses. Flick the light switch all you want; if the light don't work, the problem ain't the switch. Next game is Thursday in
Milwaukee London! Kenyon Martin's on the Bucks now, if that floats your boat. Let's go eat a goddamn snack!