The Knicks did a really odd thing on Friday night: they won. I know, I know, I wasn’t sure what it was at first ‘cuz it’d been so long since I’d last seen it happen. But then I realized the happy looks on their faces looked awful similar to how our opponents tend to appear after they play us. We beat the Washington Wizards in overtime (oddly, that night four different games went into overtime). While the Wizards have sucked most of the season (I believe the last game we won, 10 games ago, was against them), they actually have surprisingly improved since trading away & suspending their top three places. So it was a quality win. Then again, we probably should’ve won in regulation, but we had several lapses.
We were up by 5 points with about two minutes to go in regulation, and it looked like we’d have a nice win. But then we let ‘em score 6 unanswered points, with the last five happening in a mere 18 seconds. Yikes. Al Harrington hit only one of two free-throws to tie it up. Then Harrington got a layup and a foul, meaning a chance to give us a nice three-point game with 32 seconds left. But again Harrington missed the gimme. And in less than 7 seconds we let ‘em score and tie it up. And while Harrington could’ve iced the game if he’d hit those two free-throws, if it wasn’t for him we wouldn’t have even been there in the first place.
Big Al shot a nice 12-of-21 from the field for 37 points. He hit 5-of-8 three-pointers. Yet somehow from the closer range of the free-throw line, and with no defenders, he shot about the same, 66%, missing 4 freebies. The overtime was also odd, ‘cuz all game long it was just an offensive fest. Washington rang up from 26-30 points in each quarter (we ranged from 24-31). Yet in the five minute overtime, they managed only 4 points. And we had only 6. And we only got those last two points with seconds left, thanks to David Lee. Of note, TMac, who had another solid game with 23 points, did not play at the end of regulation or during overtime (I’m unsure if this was due to his knee hurting or a lack of conditioning).
Last thought about that game. As some of you know, I used to write a Clippers blog (even though I’m a New Yorker, I currently live in Los Angeles and have pathetically adopted the Clips as my secondary team). As a result, it was bizarre noticing this version of the Wizards had five, count ‘em, five former Clippers. The day of the game they signed former Clip prodigy (before a devastating accident), Shaun Livingston (who sadly had a costly turnover for the Wiz late in the game), plus newly acquired Al Thornton, James Singleton, Quinton Ross and Earl Boykins. I mean knowing how bad the Clips are/have always been, how dumb do you have to be to acquire five of ‘em? And not even just any five, but five who pretty much always came off the bench. So you’re not just choosing players from a bad team, you’re choosing players who couldn’t get much playing time even when they were on an awful team? Moving on…
Saturday’s loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, we remained competitive for most of the game, even taking a lead into the fourth quarter. Once again, Al Harrington was unstoppable. 31 points on 18 shots. Again he was on fire from three-world, hitting better than 50% at 6-of-11. And again, oddly, he was worse with free throws, making only 3-of-6. McGrady had his first terd of a game, 0 points and 2 assists in only 15 minutes before having to sit out the whole second half due to knee pain (yikes!). The thing that really killed the Knicks though was the rebounding disparity. The Grizz used their superior length to outrebound us by 20 rebounds. Pathetically, we allowed former Knick Zach Randolph to get a career high in rebounds with 25. Our team, combined, managed to get just 32 boards. Yup, one man almost outboarded our whole frickin’ team.
-D’Antoni has started regularly playing new acquisition Bill Walker, ‘cuz he’s been impressed with his athleticism. Walker does have potential, so it’s nice to see him get some run so we can determine if he can be a piece down the road.
-Sergio Rodriguez didn’t have that non-stop energy in Saturday’s game. Maybe he was tired from the back-t0-back, or just from being on a team where he often didn’t play at all to now getting big minutes and needing to initiate everything.
-As much crap as we’ve given Chris Duhon here over the last few months, we oughta comment that the dude has been pure class since not only losing his starting gig, but also losing all minutes whatsoever. He’s gone beyond being a professional about it. Always the first guy jumping up and cheering, and he seemed as thrilled as anyone when the Knicks pulled out the Wiz game. He even issued a statement acknowledging that he sucked and that he was given MORE than enough of a chance to right things but he couldn’t, so he thinks it’s a good move to go another direction. And I used to think a classy guy meant someone who didn’t eat with their fingers.
-Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler, despite being the only key players who’ll definitely be here next year, remain marginalized in the offense, usually getting at best the fourth or fifth shot attempts. And mostly getting those off of broken-down plays rather than having plays run specifically for them. This is a very, very bad trend.
Topics: Al Harrington, Al Thornton, Bill Walker, Chris Duhon, Danilo Gallinari, David Lee, Earl Boykins, James Singleton, Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, Mike D'Antoni, Nate Robinson, Quinton Ross, Sergio Rodriguez, Shaun Livingston, Tracy McGrady, Tracy Morgan, Washington Wizards, Wilson Chandler, Zach Randolph