Editor’s Note: Buckets Over Broadway’s esteemed writer Adam Garnett will be giving his detailed impression of tonight’s game tomorrow morning, so tonight’s post won’t get too into the nitty gritty—but it will get its hands dirty.
The losing streak drags on; the Knicks have fallen below .500. The story, once again, is the team’s inept play when the game’s up for grabs and both teams have a win in their sites—otherwise known as the fourth quarter. Tonight, after forfeiting a four point lead at the half, the Knicks found themselves down only one point heading into the final period, and, you guessed it, the Knicks were outscored, out-hustled, and outplayed to the tune of a 32-21 deficit. Hop the turnstile for a few points on the big three…
*For just a second I’d like to focus my ire on Amar’e Stoudemire. Not because he went 6-20 from the floor, tallied five fouls, registered his first free throw attempt with 10:25 left in the fourth quarter, and had the same amount of points at halftime as Ronny Turiaf (in twice as many minutes)…okay, maybe a few of those reasons were a little infuriating. But because he repeatedly didn’t hustle back on defense, was absolutely beasted by Brandon Bass from the opening tip, and overall, looked disinterested in seeking an alternative form of contribution with his shot not falling. It’s like he didn’t know any other way to be productive and then gave up. Great players don’t do that. A bad shooting night is obviously excusable, especially for a player who’s most responsible for New York’s first playoff appearance in a decade. But this wasn’t a proud performance for Amar’e Stoudemire.
* Carmelo had a fine game, especially in the first half. He cut hard without the ball, diverting the attention of several Magic defenders in the process, and made several splendid passes out of the double team, opening things up for Toney Douglas (17 points), especially. Melo was 6-12 from the field with a team high 24 points. With his left eye purple, puffy, and taped up, he relentlessly attacked the basket, going 10-11 from the line with the only miss coming well after the game was already decided. I had a few discussions on the twitter tonight about what people mean when they say Anthony is a “top 10 talent” instead of “top 10 player”. It almost sounds insulting, no? Well, here’s what I think: Carmelo is a top 15 player in the league, and a top three player with the ball in his hands. The ball flies from his release quicker than the flame from a Bic.
* It was a tale of two halves for Chauncey Billups. In the first 24 minutes he was Big Shot, scoring a game high 15 points, making all the right plays and smart decisions. I’d say he was a ghost in the second half, but that would imply he didn’t have an impact. On the contrary, he had quite the impact. Billups took some absolutely terrible 20-seconds-left-on-the-shot-clock shots in the fourth quarter, and finished the game with 17. I’m not sure if it was his legs failing him or what, but there’s no coincidence in the Knicks losing their lead and Chauncey Billups not pressing the right buttons on offense.
* And seriously, the following should be preached from the city’s various peaks on a nightly basis: FREE RONNY TURIAF!