Lakers-Knicks was ugly, but spiritedly so. The roaring LA crowd lit a fire under what would have otherwise been a lukewarm pot of brick soup, and by the time Lou Williams and company had carried the home team from 16 down to a few points ahead in the final minutes, the place was roiling. It was a fitting end, then, or at least my favorite one, for Jose Calderon to finish what a couple icy Carmelo Anthony jumpers started -- negating the Laker comeback with a pull-up three off an earnest final possession that went very awry:
I loooove how dumbfounded everyone looks.
And I'm glad Dad and Dad's Weird Cousin Who's Sleeping In The Basement Until April But Isn't Moving In For Good (Right? Please?) have a sense of humor about what they just saw:
"I'm not going to take credit for that in any way, shape or form." Knicks coach Kurt Rambis on Jose Calderon's game-winner vs. Lakers— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) March 14, 2016
Knicks president Phil Jackson: "Basketball went back a few years with that one, huh?" He joked that Knicks-Lakers "was tough to watch."— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) March 14, 2016
Not being sarcastic. This has been a weird, dumb season, but hopefully just an unpleasant part of the process with better days ahead. For now, they're just playing out the string and I hope everyone involved can laugh along the way.
I want to go to bed now, but a few things from before the Jose strike:
- Robin Lopez cooked for parts of this game. I mean absolutely cooked:
I'm a big fan, too, of the discovery Lopez has made in the latter half of this season that he can thrive in a pick-and-roll or other catching-on-the-move situation if he just spins into a quick post-up instead of trying to finish face-first:
What might have been a travel or a charge before is now a furry tornado that can finish with either hand. That'll be crucial when the Knicks have a guard who can throw those kinds of pocket passes all the time. (I'm not deprecating Jose, though. Not today. And he's been much sharper with those passes in the last few games.)
- Melo: 1. Would've approached a triple-double had people hit a normal number of open shots. 2. Remains remarkably engaged with defense *and* with directing people in the offense 3. Can still toss some daggers now and then:
- Hardest I laughed tonight: Lou Williams was *really* giving it to the Knicks, and it didn't matter who defended him. He was just hot. But after one bucket in the fourth -- Lou crossed over a pick, then buried a fading three as Langston Galloway scrambled to recover -- Kurt Rambis stomped to the end of the bench and pointed a forceful finger for a sub. Once the camera panned down court and back, it revealed the sub waiting at the scorer's table to be ... Sasha Vujacic. And that was when I laughed. I just love the notion of Rambis fuming and fuming until finally that shot went in and he snapped and called for Sasha, like "ENOUGH, DAMMIT! ENOUGH! GET IN THERE AND FIX THIS, ARGUABLY THE WORST PLAYER IN THE NBA!"
- This was extra pretty, Jerian:
Jerian Grant didn't get to spin enough, and looked a little mechanical negotiating entry passes, re-posts, and the Lakers' sticky pick-and-roll coverages while he did spin ...but that up there was sweet.
That's all I've got. Like Walt Clyde Phraser said, the Knicks stumbled into a win. Whatever. It was fun and weird, and that's all I ask for at this point.