The day Knick fans waited nearly 42 years for finally arrived, as the team finally won The Big Game, defeating the Lakers 92-80 to capture the Super Bowl (toilet bowls have tanks, too - it works on so many levels!). After decades of heartbreak, New York spared their long-suffering fans by taking the lead early and never looking back, building up to a historic 20-point advantage (more on that later).
The Knicks scored the game's first touchdown, racing out to a 7-2 lead and increasing it thanks to some great goal-line stands early where Jason Smith and Lou Amundson combined to stifle several Laker drives right under the basket. Scoring on 8 straight possessions put them up 26-12. By the end of the first quarter New York led 32-19 despite two turnovers. Two is usually a lot for the first quarter of a football game. But Los Angeles set an NFL record with six of their own! No wonder that town hasn't had a pro football team since the Knicks were an Olajuwon fingertip from the title. The Knicks slowed their roll in the second, only scoring 15 points, yet the Lakers were only able to pull within eight. The gravity of these teams' tanking is so strong, it sends black holes scampering home, crying to their mommies. The Lakers lost Jordan Hill to a quad strain. Injuries are a reality in football, but losing their center really threw LA's offensive line into chaos.
The third quarter arrived and so did Carmelo Anthony, scoring 18 in the quarter on 8 of 13 from the field and turning a steady lead into a blowout. The highlight of the binge was when he threw down a one-handed alley-oop from Jason Smith. We're still waiting to hear from the boys in the lab, but it looked like the most vertical he's ever been. Better hops: Melo or Kam Chancellor? You make the call.
Everything after that was formality. The Knicks enjoyed just their third 20-point lead all season, their second double-digit victory, and their first wire-to-wire win.
- The Knicks and Lakers set the record for the most records set in a Super Bowl. Look at this combined statistical freak show:
Most safeties: 64 (37-27 NY)
Most extra points: 27 (19-8 LA)
Most field goals: 17 (10-7, NY...though accuracy-wise, the teams were more like college kickers)
Most fumble recoveries: 14 (7 each)
Most penalties: 36 (21-15 NY)
- The game's first interception, first safety (two-pointer), and first field goal (three-pointer) were courtesy of Jason Smith. Jah > Jim Thorpe!
- Matchup of the top-seeded insanities in recent Knick history: Lin- vs. Lang-. First blood was drawn by Galloway, who blew by Jeremy for an and-one. Lin bounced right back with a bucket of his own. An insanity divided against itself can never resolve. Langston: 13 points, 5 rebonds, 2 assists. Lin: 4 points, 3 rebounds, 7 assists. What does it all add up to? They're both better than Raymond Felton.
- Tim Hardaway Jr. was in playmaker mode today, pointing guys to their spots, looking to run sets, only taking shots that came in the flow. He played an intelligent, well-rounded game, highlighted late by a lovely curl and drop-off to Quincy Acy for a nice stuff (assisted by Anthony giving his man a slight shove toward Hardaway's defender, springing Tim to get to the hoop). Tim channeled his inner-Jackson Pollack: process, process, process.
- The Lakers shot 23% on two-pointers in the first-half, then microwaved to end the game 33% on twos. Good thing Byron Scott doesn't believe in three-pointers.
- No Laker starter had an assist in the first half. Only Jordan Clarkson finished with any. One.
- Jose Calderon/Galloway/Melo/Lou/Smith. This is the five-man unit to play the most minutes together of any Knick unit. Stick that in your let's-judge-Fisher-already and smoke it!
- Nothing says "Carlos Boozer" to me like Boozer being the lead option on the worst Laker team of my lifetime. He just seems like such an opportunist, such a big fish/small pond vibe. When Carlos Boozer's 50, he'll be driving around to rec centers, posting up 11-year olds and screaming "And one!" in their confused little faces.
- Melo was a diamond among the rough today. 31 points on 52% shooting, 8 rebounds. His reality is what Boozer glimpses in dreams.
- Dear Derek Fisher - Why did you bring Anthony back into the game when you were up 18 midway through the fourth? There was even a timeout shortly afterward you could have pulled him during. Psst. You know all the Super Bowl talk is really just satire...right? Or...is the tank force so strong in Fisher, Phil's Padawan learner, that he understands playing your star player in garbage time of a meaningless win is the surest way to attract the ire of the basketball gods, thus resulting in injury and more ping pong balls? You are wise, Coach. But you are black of heart and steel-willed. You make Machiavelli look like Stuart Smalley.
- Today's moment in Mike & Clyde:
Mike Breen: "You learn as a broadcaster never to say 'shoulder' and 'surgery' back-to-back. Can't do it."
Clyde: "It's a tongue-tier, huh?"
Breen: "Well, try and say it quickly."
Clyde (doing it in his head): "......I believe you."
- Most predictable outcome from today's Sunday afternoon tip-off: JR Smith went scoreless.
- I know Anthony and JR are friends. I'm not suggesting a rift there. But after JR's recent interview regarding his heroically chill preparation for day games, could Melo have been more pointed than usual when he opened his post-game interview with Tina Cervasio by saying, "We came out here ready to play. We didn't have an excuse for having an early game."
- Jill Martin's halftime guest was Orange Is The New Black's Dascha Polanco. Dascha: you know those nights you wake up suddenly, alert yet dazed, thinking, "In so many ways, my life has turned out just like I'd dreamed. But still...I know there's something more for me." @MMiranda613, mija. I'm your more, amor.
"Wins are fun," wrote Tomahawk Stomp. Damn right. Tanking isn't a straight descent into Hell. It has nuance, body, complexity. Tanking is a fine wine, and hints of beating LA adds a tasty touch. Next game is home Tuesday vs. Boston. A strong tank accented by wins over the Knicks' historic rivals? Give. Give give give.