Taking a page from Will’s brilliant recap the other night, tonight’s will read like a live self-chat had with myself; bullet points galore. Heeeeeere Weeeee Goooooo!
What a game that was. Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, and Amar’e Stoudemire combined for 95 (!) points and the Knicks only won by four. The comeback was awesome–highlighted by a mesmerizing third quarter performance by Melo—but it’s incredible how pathetic their defense is and how a game like this, where the Knicks gave up 116 points to a team that’s 28th in the league averaging 93.5 a game, can happen to them at home.
* From the door, absolutley no defense is being played, but Chauncey’s decision making is spot on legendary. Several of these possessions are passes quickly thrown up the court to Carmelo, who’s taking a little longer than normal to get his scoring going.
* Amar’e Stoudemire is on fire early from the perimeter, scoring 12 points on 6-7 shooting in his first seven minutes.
* There was a little controversy regarding who would start at the center position, but it didn’t matter. Shelden Williams and Jared jeffries were both tossed around like a cheap salad as the slightly better manicured Lopez brother started 5-5 with 12 points in his first eight minutes. He finished the quarter with 16 points and four rebounds.
* Defense, overall, was non existent on both sides. Lopez turned into Hakeem Olajuwan and was his team’s go to man. Amar’e was Amar’e (12 points and only one miss from the field) and Carmelo was Carmelo (11 points). The Nets shot 58.3%.
* Bill Walker saw minutes. So did Shawne Williams, Jeffries, and Toney Douglas. (Nine Knicks in total during the first quarter.)
36-30 Nets lead.
* Bill Walker begins the quarter with a RIDICULOUS dunk attempt that brought us back to his Kansas State days (and then proceeded to miss both free throws). The next time down the floor he took a feed from Shawne Williams and flushed it home, though. Since The Trade, Walker’s role could be the most undetermined one on the team. It’s good to see him in short flashes of athletic brilliance, but Walker’s rarely able to find any significant rhythm. And it’s hurt him, badly.
* Deron Williams just scored his first basket two minutes into the quarter, but he was extremely efficient getting everyone else involved (see Anthony Morrow’s 12 first quarter points).
* With 9:52 left in the second quarter, the Nets have 42 points on the board. Absolutely ridiculous.
* The Knicks were getting terribly out rebounded. By halftime, the Nets have 30 (11 offensive) to New York’s 17.
* Down 15 points, Amar’e Stoudemire finally got his juices flowing defensively. He just absolutely murdered a Humphries shot attempt in the paint, leading to a Nets shot clock violation. Amar’e is physical proof that blocks don’t nearly define what constitutes a good defensive player.
* The Lopez Chainsaw Massacre has finally cooled himself off, scoring his first two points of the quarter on a hideous jumper almost eight minutes in.
* As I type that, after a beautiful pick and roll run by Chauncey and Amar’e, the Nets came right down and easily scored on a Brook Lopez put back. Really nothing more can be said to describe how savage a beating his first half dominance is.
* If I could find a live statistical website telling how many missed boxouts the Knicks have, it would be both convenient and tear inducing. It’s amazing how good the Knicks front line can make opponents look; Johan Petro is the reincarnation of Moses Malone. According to ESPN, they gave up 20 second chance points in the first half.
* The defense is embarrassing. Truly. Giving up 68 points to the Nets in just 24 minutes of basketball is an abomination. If they can’t turn this performance around, it could be the worst defensive performance any team has given this season.
* The Knicks actually shot a better percentage from the field—51.2%-51%—but defensively things were a joke.
68-58 Nets lead
* Carmelo is beautiful from the start, with five quick points. He started a quick Knicks run, and Amar’e knocked down a jumper to cut the Nets lead to three.
* Not sure which was crazier in the sequence that just occurred: Jared Jeffries stripping Deron Williams or Chauncey Billups pulling up for three on a four on two.
* Carmelo’s third quarter is all about artistic integrity. He’s been marvelous, featuring an array of moves from the mid-range, threes from downtown, and offensive put backs.
* The quarter is rapidly morphing into an Anthony Morrow/Carmelo Anthony dance off.
* With 45.1 seconds left, Toney Douglas drew a goaltend to give the Knicks their first lead in what feels like 23,432 years.
92-91 Nets Lead
* Chauncey Billups opened up the quarter with a three, then Morrow came back with a layup to tie it at 94. This is looking like it’ll be one hell of a quarter.
* I almost can’t keep notes going right now, the excitement is simply too back and forth, too engrossing.
* A beautiful lob pass from Anthony Carter to Shelden Williams gives the Knicks a 101-100 lead! Very pigskin-esque. Carter and Williams then connected twice more, displaying gorgeous chemistry underneath the basket. The two pushed New York’s lead up to five.
* Anthony…Carter…ladies…and…gentleman. He just made a beautiful bounce pass to Shawne Williams who sank a deep two. He’s giving the Knicks great minutes, but as I type this, defensively he’s starting to sag. Deron Williams just tooled him on a filthy crossover, which lead to his second and one of the past two minutes. To Carter’s credit, nobody in the league can stay in front of Deron Williams when he’s on point like that, give the guy some help.
* Right now it’s a battle of incompetence. Each team is pushing the ball into turnovers. Carmelo’s baseline pull up with one minute to go was his first bucket of the quarter; it also put the Knicks up two, 116-114.
* Deron Williams missed a wide open jumper from the elbow that would’ve tied it with five seconds left, and the Knicks walk away with a victory. Very interesting game. Superstar performance by Melo (39 points, 10 rebounds, five assists). Very good performance by Chauncey Billups (33 points, 6 points, 6 assists). The win proves very little, but it’s still nice to have.