The playoff-chasing Pistons should have had no intention of letting these goofy-footed Knicks breathe this evening. In the opening minutes the teams had a little Marco Polo match, squeezing and searching for their games. The Knicks swam out to the deep end and just decided to do a dead man float. The Pistons in turn played some cautious basketball, never pushing the tempo, and relaxed into the pace. After a while they waded out to the middle and the Knicks grabbed Detroit by their head and stuffed them under the water, never to come up for air.
- With no Kristaps Porzingis (DNP- basketball reasons) Arron Afflalo took it upon himself to shoot early and often. Posting up and creating for himself repeatedly. Jostling and spinning away from the wiry Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Later getting him in space, he shook Caldwell-Pope to the floor and ricocheted in a long two. In the second quarter he started to draw double teams and passed out of them nicely. 20 points on 12 shots to go with 7 boards and a few assists.
- Andre Drummond clumsily mishandled a few alley-oops and tip-ins. That engaged Robin Lopez, who has had some of his best games against that diesel truck. Drummond doesn't seem to enjoy Lopez's relentlessness and just sort of checks out a little more than he should.
Lopez, for his part, just doesn't quit gathering and hooking! He is the rare NBA player that knows what he should try and doesn't want to know what he shouldn't try. Another great tour for the mascot marauder.
- Jerian Grant hit his 11th three of the season as soon as he got in and started to spin around a little more freely, even getting some second half minutes. YO. I saAaAaid: Second. Half. Minutes. He made some nice plays, and sure he forced a few, but hey! He made a few crappy reads on pick and roll coverage and forgot to lag in the backcourt with grumpy, old Jose Calderon. Doofy Kurt Rambis finally let him play through a couple mistakes, though. That's valuable stuff, Mr. Coach. When your team loses practically every game, it might make sense to try something else.
Rambis started Derrick Williams tonight but considered starting Jerian Grant & going w/a a small lineup featuring Afflalo at SF & Melo at PF— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) March 6, 2016
I guess he doesn't wanna get too modern and wild. Over/under on Grant's minutes for the next game is set to twelve. Page your bookie.
- Carmelo's rebound-holler was a step slow tonight as he blurted out "I gotta shit out here". Melo had a typical night other than that. Rumbling his way to a double-double with a zillion minutes. Several of which were extremely unnecessary, believe it or not. Thankfully he crushed his balls on Reggie Bullock's hip and was pulled from the game. The Knicks were up by 19 at that point and the Pistons had pulled their starters four minutes prior to that.
Always one to get criticized for being overweight, I wonder if keeping his jersey carefully untucked and liable to flap around contributes to that. One thing he'll never get credited for is aggressively feeding a hot hand. Several times in a row the Knicks got a switch out of a Lopez screen and Melo did everything he could to jam the ball into the big fella.
- Three Knicks starters scored 20 or better. Thats the first time they had that distinction all season, and Kristaps wasn't even one of them! Wacky stuff.
- Kyle O'Quinn keeps on getting minutes! He is happiest when shouting and scowling. I love his court clearing power dribble where he just launches his immense self into defenders. I'm also a big fan of how he gets gassed and just chills to take a big old puff and re-engage.
- Reggie Jackson didn't do anything. Nobody else on that team is really gonna take over. Oh well.
- Much respect to the Knicks and Madison Square Garden for recognizing sweet dogs for their Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton award. It's the second time in a few weeks. Tonight they honored Tomi! Good dog.
Here is tonight's hero dog. He saved this lady's life by waking her when their home was on fire pic.twitter.com/mheHfya3v3— Seth Rosenthal (@seth_rosenthal) March 6, 2016
So that was a totally surprising and acceptable victory. The next two weeks and six games are on the road and might not be as forgiving, so let's all savor this sucker. One of the upcoming road trippers is against the Lakers of Los Angeles, who have some expired old codger named Kobe. Last chance for that sort of a thing, folks. Bon voyage the Knicks.