1. David Lee’s outside shot seemed to be a bit off for whatever reason. Looking at the stats one would think he played two games as well as ever, but he wasn’t hitting his jumper regularly like he’s been doing. This allows his defender to back up off him a little bit, making it not only harder for him to drive, but also clogging the paint a bit for others.
2. Chris Duhon’s shot is starting to come back, but whenever it does briefly return he then seems to follow it with some ill-advised jumpers. It’s like a shooter who gets hot and then keeps trying harder and harder shots, looking for a heat check. Except Duhon (who’s been like 3 for 912 over the last few games) has been in such a rut that if he hits just one shot he seems to think he must be on fire. Weird. Going from passing up open shots and layups to forcing looks ‘cuz he thinks he might be feeling it.
3. Jordan Hill’s jumper has looked great. When he gets the rock like 20 feet out, he doesn’t hesitate, puts it up with confidence. And it goes in. However, anywhere near the basket is a different story. That’s where you see he’s still a rookie. His energy can be great down there, but he’s too excited and nervous and often misses easy put-backs from right under the rim. Or he’s so wary of the defenders that he can’t even hold onto a rebound. It’s that type of stuff that limits his minutes and must frustrate the heck out of Mike D’Antoni. Honestly, at this point I have much more faith he’ll hit a 20-footer than a 2-footer (assuming there’s a defender anywhere nearby). That’s bad. If I was Coach D (or one of the assistants), at the end of practice I’d just put Hill by the basket with like Jonathan Bender, Jarred Jeffries & David Lee, then toss up bad shots so that he has to fight them all for the rebound & put-back. Keep doing that until Hill is just as comfortable hitting that two-foot shot whether there is or isn’t a defender there. The anxiety & rushed-nosity is just in his mind, ‘cuz he’ll do that even when the other team doesn’t have a shot blocker in.
4. I’d like to see Nate Robinson create off-the-dribble a little more. One-on-one, not using a pick. He only seems to do it a few times a game, and when he does it, he gets by his man so easily that I wonder why he didn’t do it more. I know the offense is much more about pick and rolls and screens, but still, I’d rather iso Nate than Al Harrington or Jonathan Bender (the two of whom always feel free to go one-on-one against their men). Is it hypocritical of me to say Big Al shouldn’t go one-on-one but Nate should? No, the difference is that when Nate beats his man, if another defender comes along, Nate’ll pass it to a wide open person. Al will just put his head down and bowl into the other guy, hoping the ball will bounce in or that he’ll get a foul.
5. In the Sunday game, Wilson Chandler seemed to revert back to his earlier season form a bit. By that I mean he took a lot of jump shots rather than driving to the basket. Don’t get me wrong, he did still drive to the hole several times, and he did a couple of nice cuts without the ball. However, lately he’d realized that he’s better when he gets closer, enabling him to shoot a higher percentage, so it was odd seeing him put up several jumpers from distance. I mean he did it within the flow of the game, it wasn’t like he threw ‘em up with a hand in his face. Someone would drive & kick it out to him, and he did the perfectly respectable thing of shooting the open shot. Thing is that he ain’t great at hitting those shots. When the Knicks had been at their best in recent times is when he gets it outside, a defender who got sucked in charges out, and then Chandler drives past the dude, either getting a shot near the rim, or forcing even more defenders to rotate and leave someone else wide open.
6. Larry Hughes, pissed that he’s completely out of the rotation, is growing a beard as a bizarre form of rebellion. He ain’t gonna shave it until he either gets back on the court or is gone from the Knicks. As a Clipper fan though, I can tell you that this isn’t even a unique, first-time occurrence of The-Old-Not-Cutting-Facial-Hair-To-Make-A-Basketball-Statement. Clipper PG, and former All-Star, Baron Davis vowed to not shave until his game returned to the level it was in previous years.