Chris Duhon, rightfully mired on the bench, got extended minutes and came through. He and has a connection running the pick and roll (or pick and pop) with David Lee that none of the other point guards this year have been able to manage. When Duhon actually hits some shots (as he did Friday), he’s aggressive and they work together beautifully. Unfortunately, as Duhon’s 38% shooting for the season shows… he rarely hits shots.
Lee had a statistical night for the ages, ringing up 37 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists for the first 35/20/10 game in the league in THIRTY-FOUR YEARS! Yup, it last happened in 1976 by some guy named Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Not bad company to keep. ‘Course let’s not go crazy here, ‘cuz how impressed can you get by big stats in a losing effort? Particularly against a team like the Warriors who are as well known as the Knicks for playing no defense.
The thing is, though, that thanks to Golden State’s relentless pace, it kinda forced the Knicks to be active, to try to run the ball back down the Warriors’ throats off of steals and misses. The other big factor in the increased energy? I gotta say it helped that Tracy McGrady felt injured and didn’t return in the second half. TMac’s athleticism is gone (or at least currently missing). Now his game is slow and deliberate, which unintentionally sucks energy out of the team when he gets it. He’s definitely a more than willing passer, but he tends to hold the ball when he first gets it, allowing the defense to settle. When the Knicks are at their best it’s cuz of all their movement (both with and without the ball).
The Knicks shot an excellent 48.3% from the field and out-rebounded the Small Ball Warriors by four boards. The thing that killed us, as usual, was our mediocre defense. Golden State shot an insane 57.4%. They also were helped by a brilliant night from Anthony Morrow, scoring 35 points on, unbelievably, nearly 70% shooting.
Still, with games no longer mattering for us at this point, I’d rather see us lose with heart (like we did Friday), than go through the motions and win.