Yes, believe it or not, though it’s just pre-season, the Knicks have a winning record thanks to their victory over AJ Milano! It wasn’t always pretty, with a tight first half and 28 turnovers leading to 31 points, but in the end we comfortably came out on top of Danilo Gallinari’s former Italian team, 125-113. In honor of this being not only our first game with our new nucleus, but also our first winning record in who knows how long, we present you with a Super-Sized Buckets today.
-Amar’e Stoudemire went nutzzz, scoring 32 points shooting nearly 77% from the field. No that’s not a typo, that isn’t his free-throw percentage, that’s his field-goal percentage. From the line he shot nearly 85%. He was dominant down low, but also even took one three-pointer, which of course he made. And he did it in just slightly over 28 minutes. That’s efficiency fer ya, folks.
-He only snagged 6 rebounds. Yes, he didn’t play as many minutes as he normally will, but even had he played 36 minutes, at that rate he wouldn’t have even snagged 8 rebounds. We need him to get more aggressive. That said, there was a time off a missed Knick free-throw where Stat literally ripped the ball out of an opposing player’s hands and then just dunked it in the poor dude’s face.
-Gallinari lead the team in minutes played at 32 (not surprising that he’d get the most run since they not only were in Italy, but as mentioned, going up against his team from just a few years ago). He shot 50% and got 24 points. He hit five three-pointers on a dang impressive 45% shooting from downtown (hmm, although I just realized I dunno if the three-point line was NBA regulation or the European version which is a couple of feet closer). He also lead the team in rebounds with 7. If he can regularly get that many boards every night, it’ll be a huge assist, particularly since it’s coming from the small forward spot.
-Not bad news, but a slight bummer that 11 of Gallo’s 14 attempts were from three-point land. I mean if he’s gonna shoot that well, I guess it’s fine, but what about this post-up game that we heard he’s been working on? What about some drives to the hoop like he started doing last season? Then again, if the other team is playing that far off of him that he can put up 11 long range attempts, he of all players has to take ‘em. If it was say, Wilson Chandler, we’d go, uh, Wil, there’s a reason they leave ya open so afar away from the hoop.
-Speaking of Wil The Thrill, he went a crazy 7 of 9 from the field, making him shoot a slightly higher percentage than even Amar’e ridiculous numbers. Although Stat’s got him from distance since Wil wasn’t perfect, just shooting 1 of 2.
-Only 3 rebounds for Chandler. I mean, that’s okay for a shooting guard… unless you’re 6’8″. Yes, it’s just pre-season so I don’t wanna go overboard on these picky little things, but if our bigs do end up having trouble on the glass this season after losing our board magnet David Lee, then our seriously over-sized 2 and 3 should get in there. Then again, it looks like we’ll try to run more this year, so it’s extremely, extremely likely that Coach Mike D’Antoni has directed his shooting guards to just book down the court for a long outlet pass as soon as the opponents put up a shot.
-Thank-God-He’s-Not-Chris-Duhon, aka Raymond Felton or TGHNCD, recorded 8 assists in just 29 minutes. People believed his assist numbers would go up in D’Antoni’s system, and considering his career average is 6.4 and he’s never averaged as much as 8 in a whole season, this is pretty good. He’s said how he’s still getting to know everyone and where to put the ball, so it’s quite possible that once that happens plus he plays full minutes, the dude could average 10 dimes per for the season.
-Last year TGHNCD shot nearly 46% from the field, but before that his previous best was a few years earlier when he hit for 41.3%. He didn’t take many shots in this game, but only hit 2 of 5, or 40%, which sadly is closer to his career average. Many have speculated that last year’s improved decent shooting was an aberration and that he’d revert back to his normal sub-par numbers. Particularly since D’Antoni tends to let his players be freer in terms of hoisting up shots rather than hoping/waiting for the “perfect” look. Again, yes, it was only 5 shots, so I know I shouldn’t make much of this, but be aware that while Felton’s assists will be world’s better than Duhon, his field goal percentage might end up being only a nominal upgrade. But still, TGHNCD.
-Toney Douglas tallied 6 dimes himself in 24 minutes, so clearly with this being his second year, he’s grown more comfortable in the system. Plus he has some better players to work with than last year.
-Timofey Mozgov played 19 minutes, got 5 boards, and scored 10, making him the fifth Knick to hit double digits in points.
-Douglas committed 5 fouls and Mozgov 4. Both need to learn how to play hard defense without getting into foul trouble. That’s never really been an issue with Douglas, plus he might not even play enough minutes that it’d matter. However, it has been a big concern with Mozgov (as it tends to be with many new aggressive young defensive bigs when they first come to the league).
-Anthony Randolph was another Knick with a phenomenal field goal percentage going 7-of-11, or nearly 64%.
-He accumulated 5 fouls in 18 minutes, so same concern as with Mozgov. Also, he’d only shot 9 three-pointers his entire career, but has said he’s gonna look for ‘em more this season. I’m not too excited about that, and he only took one three this game, but he also missed it. He’s such an athletic freak that I’d rather him driving and putting it up closer to the rim rather than bailing out the defense by just taking long-range attempts.
-Bill Walker’s shot seems like it might be back. Last year in his short time with the team after arriving in a late-season trade, he was lights-out from behind the arc. The question, much like with Felton’s shooting last season, was: is this an aberration? Just a quirk of chance due to such a small sample size? When he shot miserably during Summer League two months ago, the answer seemed like it’d be a resounding yes, it was a fluke. However, his stroke was on in last night’s game. Sure, he only took 3 shots, hitting 2, but it’s a nice omen. If we’re gonna read into things to question whether they’ll become permanent bad qualities, then turnabout is only fair where we assume perhaps the good things will remain consistent too.
-D’Antoni went 11 deep in his rotation. And besides Landry Fields who played only 10 minutes, the rest each were on for at least 16 minutes each. Yes, it’s the pre-season and the team eventually had a comfortable lead so there was no need to run the starters ragged, still it was a good sign for two reasons. 1. Maybe he will use a deeper rotation this season than he has in the past, which’d be good considering we actually have pretty decent depth. He offered this quote after the game, “We need to play with energy. We have 11 or 12 guys who can play and we don’t need to drop from that level.” So maybe the leopard will change his stripes. 2. Even if the expanded rotation is just because it’s pre-season, it’s nice to see that he’s pretty much giving everyone a legitimate chance to show what they can do.
Bad Reputation News:
-Andy Rautins didn’t get onto the court (along with Patrick Ewing Jr. and Shawne Williams). Yeah, neither he nor those other two guys are particularly good, so you might think this should go under Good News. For you maybe, not for me. The other day, due to a moment of weakness, I succumbed to training camp hype and wrote that we shouldn’t count Andy Rautins out. Clearly my rep takes a bit of a hit for promulgating such ridiculous news. My bad. Sorry, readers. Don’t give up on me yet. At least I never told you to expect Eddy Curry to have a large role this year…
Before we go, let’s leave you with this frickin’ awesome highlight from the game:
For more game highlights, check out this page on NBA.com.