When I tried to type out the Knicks starting lineup, I accidentally typed Vujacic, Lopez, Anthony, Williams and Calderson. So, with his last name borrowing an "s" from his first name, I think I'll always think of him as Joe Calderson now. I feel like Joe Calderson is an outdoorsman who talks kind of like Luke Wilson. He lives upstate.
Kristaps Porzingis had to sit out because his shoulder was tired from staying up all night to talk shit to his femur about its block on Alonzo Gee. Hopefully it's not too serious.
The Knicks started the game on an 8-0 run thanks to a Derrick Williams steal-layup, as well as a Vujacic-to-Williams alley-oop that caused a Rick Carlisle timeout. Williams backed Felton down a little later for another layup, making it six of their first 12 points on Williams attempts at the basket. The rest was Anthony working Matthews in the midrange, while O'Quinn came off the bench at about 5:00 to can a baseline jumper and make it 20-10. Arron Afflalo looked useless defensively. He gets cooked so badly off the dribble and wiped out by the teensiest screens, and he fails to box out.
O'Quinn happened to be an offensive weapon in the first quarter, canning his first two shots and flicking a couple of slick assists to streaking Knicks. New York shot 128% from the floor in the first half, temporarily triggering the type of online catastrophe we thought we'd experience during Y2K. Every single thing they put up went down, including Sasha Vujacic. They led by six points.
Dallas has been struggling as of late, and you can tell they aren't currently playing well enough to compete in the tough Western Conference. Their sets looked good thanks to the genius of Rick Carlisle, but a lot of the execution was sloppier than you'd expect. Dallas is second in the NBA in fewest turnovers per game, which means their success is more dependent on precision than most. They've been this way for several years, built upon a precarious foundation of spare parts sewn skillfully together by Carlisle, and in the first half of this game you could tell that they're not quite humming right now. If it weren't for JJ Barrea, who finished the half with 14 points and seven assists, Dallas would have been down significantly going into the break.
As it were, they led 51-48 thanks to a German buzzer beater. We found out as the team's went into their locker rooms that Jose Calderon did not play during the second quarter because of an injury.
Jose Calderon (contused right quad) will not return.— NY_KnicksPR (@NY_KnicksPR) March 31, 2016
He wouldn't play in the second half, but if you ask me Joe Calderson looked completely comfortable on his quad:
Similar to the start of the game, some spicy cooking from Carmelo Anthony led to a quick Carlisle timeout early in the third quarter. More than midway through the third the Knicks continued their torrid pace, shooting 55% and extending their lead to seven. By the end of the third, the Knicks couldn't hit a shot but Dallas was worse. Dirk Nowitzki, who looked awful all night, bricked about five consecutive three point attempts late in the quarter.
Mavericks down nine to the Knicks without Porzingis… so yeah, the back half of the West is great.— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) March 31, 2016
Come on, Matt! But, yeah, sheeeesh.
The Mavericks continued their lackluster play well into the fourth quarter, but the Knicks turned the ball over about once per minute and their lead was all but gone by 4:30. Nowitzki checked back in and, with Calderon out, Kurt Rambis decided to go with Galloway at point guard. The two teams exchanged stops until the Knicks went under a screen on Barrea for absolutely no reason at all, which led to a three. That was followed by a clever play from Anthony to draw a three point play and take the lead with a minute left. JJ Barrea immediately sped to the basket to retake the lead and force a timeout.
After a flurry of bad shots and offensive rebounds, Kurt Rambis called a timeout with the Knicks down 90-89 and 16 seconds left on the game clock. Carmelo Anthony received the inbounds pass, held the ball for six seconds, and drove to the elbow. Wes Matthews smacked Anthony across the arm and caused him to deflect the ball off himself and out of bounds for a turnover. It was their ninth of the quarter.
The Knicks fouled Raymond Felton, who went one of two from the line, giving them about eight seconds to drive down the court and attempt to tie or win the game. Carmelo Anthony curiously inbounded the ball, Vujacic received the pass and streaked up the court, and Langston Galloway took a desperation heave that didn't have a prayer. 91-89 Dallas.
Rick Carlisle went with five guards on the final possession, which created an effective full court press for Dallas. They needed a victory against a bad Knicks team missing its best frontcourt player, and they got it.
Knicks have been in 7 "clutch" scenarios, where score is within 5 pts in final 5 mins, since Rambis took over. NY is 1-6 in those gms so far— Chris Herring (@HerringWSJ) March 31, 2016
Make that 1-7, Chris.
Walt Clyde Phraser said it best in the headline. The fourth quarter was filled to the rafters with beer farts. The Knicks will have an opportunity to redeem themselves on Friday against Brooklyn. The two New York teams are a combined 51-99.
Appropriately, it will be April Fools Day.