Tonight's Knick loss to the Clippers (their seventh straight by 13+ vs. L.A.) was the right lane thinking it's ready to thrown down with the left. Goofus getting shown up by Gallant. Goliath popping David square in the mouth a night after Goliath got embarrassed. On national television. In Cleveland.
From the start of the game Los Angeles was hitting from downtown, Chris Paul was Leonard Bernstein-ing all over the place (seven first quarter assists), and DeAndre Jordan (four first quarter dunks) was giving the Garden rims PTSD. More than halfway through the opening quarter, L.A. had more threes than N.Y. did total baskets. The Clipper lead was already eleven when Jordan went to the bench. Sometimes teams talk about just not coming out with the energy or focus required to compete and they're just saying that 'cuz they can't say "That other team's just better than us." But tonight the Knicks didn't seem with it. Maybe they're focused on the pending blizzard? When the second quarter began, the Knicks only had four guys on the floor. Oof.
They made a mild dent in the lead before Jordan returned, but nothing they did seemed sustainable. The offense never got on track; the spacing was off; entry passes sucked; when the passes were crisp, the recipient bobbled it. The Knicks had 16 turnovers and it felt like double that. The Clipper lead was ten at the half and it could have been worse: they had thrice as many assists as turnovers (18-6), went 9 of 16 from distance versus the Knicks 2 of 8, and thanks to 11 Knick turnovers doubled them up on fast break points.
Having established themselves at the rim and from downtown, L.A. turned their attention to the midrange game in the third. Chris Paul was doing Chris Paul things: setting up others and hitting his own shots when need be. He also did that Chris Paul thing where he pisses people off. Jose Calderon got in his ear after a whistle and Robin Lopez didn't seem enamored with him either. The highlight of the game from the Knick point of view was RoLo clubbing Paul in the face after a missed shot, drawing blood and the ire of the Clippers, especially when Jordan and Carmelo were talking and Lopez interjected in a manner most unbecoming Robert's Rules of Order. We were almost treated to the fascinating hypothetical of what happens when Robin Lopez and DeAndre Jordan rumble. Instead we got 20 minutes of the referees Zaprudering the replay to conclude what was obvious after the first viewing: Lopez was ejected and will probably be suspended for the Knicks' next game, Paul was bleeding, Jordan was steaming, and that was the end of any drama tonight. The Knicks went to Hack-A-DeAndre, but although he missed half his free throws that strategy doesn't help when you aren't scoring at the other end, and they weren't. The deficit was 22 after the third and the game was all but officially over. Just a good old-fashioned ass-whupping.
- Your meaningless Knick statistical feats: Jerian Grant shot 4 of 6 for 13 points and 8 assists in 24 minutes. Langston Galloway: 10 on 5 of 7 shooting. Whoop-de-damn-doo.
- Kyle O'Quinn hit two of three shots and grabbed three boards in five early minutes. Never got in after that.
- No Lance Thomas tonight. Out with a sore left knee.
- The Knick starters shot 14 of 50. Clipper starters: 23 of 40.
- 20 and 8 for Jordan. 16 and 13 for Paul. They looked like varsity players getting reps in a scrimmage against the JV.
- L.A. didn't hit a single free throw in the first half (0-2). Ended the night 17 of 24.
- Your ex-Knick watch: 13 points for Jamal Crawford; 12 points and 5 rebounds for Cole Aldrich; 7, 4, and 4 for Pablo Prigioni. In the first half Pablo hit a set-shot three. Sigh.
- Wesley Johnson hit all five of his shots, four from distance. 14 points.
- We laugh - rightfully - at most NBA "fights," which are generally nothing beyond fake-ass "hold me back!" facades. But Lopez was legit pissed.
- The Clippers inside/outside success early on was like watching Stan Van Gundy's wet dream in real life. There's an image...
- My kingdom for a Knick who can throw a freaking entry pass.
- Tonight was the first time I watched a game with my girl. She played high school ball in Kentucky. Game recognizes game. At the height of Hack-A-DeAndre, she said, "It's really boring watching a guy shoot free throws who can't shoot free throws." I don't agree. But that doesn't mean she ain't right.
- Quoth her three-year old daughter when Cole Aldrich took off his warm-up shirt to check-in: "Woo-hoo! He's sooo beautiful! He's sooo strong!" ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Quoth JC25FoMVP: "This game is so nauseating." It was. Eternal Sunshine this game from your memory. Absolutely nothing redeeming or worthwhile to reflect on...except perhaps Paul's bloodied comeuppance. The Knicks' six-game home winning streak was snapped. They're scheduled to host the Hornets tomorrow night, but the blizzard may have other ideas in mind. Whenever the Knicks play next, we'll be there, hoping this was a bump in the road and not step one down a slippery slope.