Teams like the Warriors don't really have to "play" teams like the Knicks. A team that rich with excellence playing such a weak opponent tends to concentrate more on the crowd and the cameras and the refs, and just anything they can do to keep themselves from getting bored. For a while it felt like the Warriors were inventing little challenges for themselves, playing games within games and only occasionally tripping over a Knick en route to the basket.
The Knicks got fed up with that. It was cool to see. I don't think it crossed anyone's mind that New York would actually hijack a win, but for a real while there, they seized upon Golden State's cockiness and attacked. An Amar'e Stoudemire-anchored run against the Warrior starters kept the game from getting totally out of hand before halftime. They struck again in the fourth, chaperoning what may have been the coldest stretch of Golden State's season while a small, speedy lineup rode the fast pace to quick buckets. The difference dwindled from twenty-something to what, five? That's cool! I think they actually tightened some sphincters!
And that's all I can ask for. Tonight was surprisingly entertaining, like fracon commented. I think the Knicks frightened the Warriors, if just for a moment. I think people in the Garden had fun. I had fun. And the Sixers won. That's the motto for the best nights of the 2014-2015 Knicks experience: I Had Fun And The Sixers WonTM. Just a few notes:
- Stephen Curry whiffed some weirdly unseemly shots, but played fine. Jose Calderon gave him space and Langston Galloway got caught overplaying him, but neither got TOO ruthlessly embarrassed. Klay Thompson legit sucked against a whole carousel of defenders. Some of that was just missing clean looks, but some of it was Knicks actually endeavoring to keep a hand in his face on pull-ups and whatnot. You know who moved his feet remarkably well against Thompson? Lance Thomas. Lance Thomas isn't locking anyone down, but the dude hangs with guys of pretty much any size. I've taken a liking to him.
- Tim Hardaway Jr. calls Lance "LT," I noticed.
- Speaking of Hardaway, it felt kind of like the Knicks were freezing him out for a portion of the second half. He'd cut and cut and wave and wave and the ball very rarely came his way. He threw roughly 1.4 mini tantrums per possession.
- Cleanthony Early played 3 minutes in Manhattan tonight instead of traveling up to Maine and playing a lot of minutes. I've never been to Maine, but this seems like a waste.
- Everyone has a sound they make when their open, and Galloway's is "AWWWWWWW." I make kind of a high-pitched but melodious bird coo. I'm pretty much always open.
- Quincy Acy, perhaps because his minutes have been a little tighter, has settled down a bit. He still struts and flexes a lot, but he's not out there trying to break bones on every play. He doesn't need to break bones:
- By the way: Shoot the 3, Acy.
- Jose Calderon threw what I believe to be two of the ten sloppiest passes I've ever seen in my life tonight. Just slammed the ball into Amar'e's foot one time and threw a lob at like a 10-degree angle directly into a pack of Warriors.
- Amar'e did a nice job (has been doing a nice job, too) of keeping loose balls alive by punching them off the backboard to himself. For the amount of time that tall guys spend close enough to touch the ball but not in position to grab it, you'd think that would be a more common strategy.
- I don't think Galloway's taking bad shots. I wouldn't even care that much if he was taking bad shots. He can keep shooting. Just see what happens. The wobbliness and flatness of that form have made things a struggle, but there's no reason not to keep pulling and see if things can't be corrected. He doesn't let poor shooting deplete energy on other fronts, so it's all good.
That's the ballgame as I saw it. The Knicks are back at it Monday and Wednesday in Florida, then it's time for the All-Star break. Have a lovely night!