This nationally televised game went pretty much how you'd expect. Right from the very beginning James Harden looked to incorporate his teammates and expose New York's ball watchers who curiously sink in from the sidelines as he drives. Someone may want to take a look at the floor of the Garden just to make sure it's not a conspiracy. For his part, Harden would zig in front of his screener, carry the trailing defender on his hip and then sling passes behind the helper's back to all sorts of open shooters. After he got the Knicks leaning to the passing lanes, he would take one more bounce in and score or get to the line.
The Rockets halfheartedly tried a few other things. A Dwight Howard post up here, a Donatas Motiejunas Dream Shake there. However, it was mostly just Harden casually picking the Knicks apart any way he felt like it. He has this strange bounce with heft that is just much too much to slow down. The Knicks weren't trying to be complete pushovers, but they are just too disheveled to challenge anyone right now. Our pal, E-27, put it rather plainly in the game thread, "the tank is on point."
Some notes for your perusal...
- Jose Calderon is a shell of a snappy-shooting, smart-passing, turnover-preventing point guard right now. He is stalling and ball-faking constantly before finally taking a dribble or two, only to juke a few more times and pass at a tricky angle to some pussyfooting fringe NBA player. They may know intellectually where to go. but the Knicks play like a young kid who doesn't know their phone number by heart.
For Jose to be a floor general right now, for this team, he needs to go balls to the f'n wall for a few games and get his ham-hocking ass to the free throw line about 8 times a game. It amazes me that this guy is such a smart ball player, and has no clue how to break out of this horrendous slump. I'll stop railing on Mr. Freethrows, but if he is going to help this team tank the beautiful tank he needs to drum up some damn trade value and fast!
- If Jose isn't gonna do it, there's a youngster on a 10-day contract who clearly wants to get his career off the ground and into the record books! Langston Galloway showed the Garden
faithful crowd what he can do, scoring a... oh take it away bluecheese:
Hell yea! Way to be Gallabae! He did a little bit of everything. From defending James Harden perfectly to canning some jumpers, thrashing and bulling his way to the hoop, and even a wondrous tip dunk! Start him.
- Travis Wear also had a career high with 21 points! His most electric moment came late in the first half, shot clock winding down. He coughed up the ball only to gobble it back up and bank home a one-footed Nowitzki-esque triple! It was like Joey Chestnut yakking up his hot dogs, instantly insufflating them and winning one for America. Start him.
It wasn't all grapes and roses for Trav. He airmailed a shot to which Marv Albert did his best Walt Frazier impression, "Wear coming up with air." Didn't have that panache though, and don't get me started on Reggie Michelob.
- Jason Smith is always hurt now. At one point in the game Jah had the entire floor to himself, and posted up Patrick Beverly with perfectly reasonable position. Rather than back that pipsqueak in and get a bucket up close or get to the line, Jason faced up and tried to put the ball on the deck. He was subsequently forced to pick it up and pass out to the top of the key. Start him.
- Phil Jackson and Amar'e Stoudemire are both letting their beards grow in. I say everyone should grow a tanking beard. Beard up, Melo. Bench him.
- There was a LeBron James commercial that I got dangerously close to enjoying. It played Brenton Wood's "Oogum Boogum"! I'm a huge Brenton Wood fan, and I was like, "Aw dag, this is my entire thing". Then I considered it for a second. LeBron doesn't have that dense a hairline. LeBron doesn't drive a KIA! There's probably not much of a chance he listens to Brenton Wood either. Bench him.
- Cleanthony Early continued his aggressive and contained style of play, getting right up to the rim, moving the ball quickly, getting into the offense with gusto and generally competing hard on both ends. Start him.
- Tim Hardaway Jr was no good. He has no lift right now. Start him.
- Shane Larkin busted up some plays en route to four steals, and generally stuck his nose in every situation he could. I love seeing that little squirt get up and rip rebounds from the lazy hands of befuddled bigs. Even when he and Quincy Acy grab it together and squeeze the ball clean out of bounds. Start them.
We set a franchise record for consecutive losses! We play again on Saturday against the Charlotte Hornets who have slapped together four wins in a row. I would imagine they will be none too pleased to see us. Since we got a day off tomorrow, let's overindulge at the buffet. Best bad record in the NBA, baby!