|Andrea Bargnani, PF 25 MIN | 5-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | -25
Yes, it’s an utterly flawed stat, but let’s saunter over to the poor ol’ plus/minus category and see what we…DEAR GOD. Yes, that’s a negative twenty-five. Yes, that’s entirely reflective of how badly the Knicks played when he was on the court, especially in the ongoing Michelson-Morley experiment that is the 4/5 pairing with Melo. There were some nifty post moves smattered hither and yonder, but those were mostly offset by the hilarity of watching him try to take Larry Sanders in the post, resulting in two consecutive turnovers He can’t be in the starting lineup this time on Wednesday. He just can’t (more on this in a jiffy).
|Carmelo Anthony, SF 36 MIN | 8-23 FG | 4-7 FT | 9 REB | 7 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 22 PTS | -10
You know when you get your zipper snagged oand your face is curled into a little fist of desperate, inchoate rage as you pull and tear, zip and unzip, your fingers too big to dislodge the surrounding bit of fabric and so you just end up dumbly pulling the entire garment up over your body, lest another human being walk by and see you spastically trapped by a straightjacket of your own devising? Well, that was Melo’s evening in a nutshell. He seemed unsure of where to isolate (and when he did, to limited success), kvetched relentlessly about fouls that were and were not called. He did locate open ‘mates en route to seven assists, and the offense was so discombobulated as a whole, it’s hard to totally fault Melo, but tonight’s game brought back icky memories of last season’s winter of team-wide mediocrity.
|Tyson Chandler, C 17 MIN | 3-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | -12
Scant action tonight for Tyson, none of it particularly good. As we know all too well, outside of a PnR-centric offense, he tends to disappear. He also looked like a man trying to chase a pen full of agitated barnyard chickens, what with all the times that a Stag got past his original defender. After the game, he unleashed these pearls of wisdom:
Sounds like a great plan, Tyson. You’d probably have better luck to trying to teach Quantum Mechanics to a Pygmy
|Pablo Prigioni, PG 17 MIN | 0-2 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -7
A slew of pest-astic moments, but he seems out of sorts working outside of the two-PG offense (yes, we’ll get there soon. I promise. Now stop fidgeting in the backseat or I’m turning this recap around and we’re all going home). I think some of his lackluster play can be ascribed to whatever illness or malady kept him out of Monday’s game — the Argentine Flu, perhaps? Early in the first quarter, he seemed to sort of limp/stagger off, with Clyde posting the notion that he was hurt. I dunno about you, but the though of a Prig-free ‘Bocker squad made me scurry down to my survival bunker and start busting out the survival seed packets and heavy armaments. Luckily, he returned later in the half, fresh as a daisy, smelling of unicorn farts and seducing ladies and gentlemen both with a devilish, insouciant twinkle in his eye.
|Iman Shumpert, SG 29 MIN | 4-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 11 PTS | -18
Remember the media day quote where Shump expressed his distaste for his personal calling card, stating he’s only prone to perimeter thievery because he so desires the spheroid object, longing nothing more than to return in to the cylinder that is its natural resting place? (I may be paraphrasing a bit.) We got a few of those scintillating moments tonight, plus a nifty two handed putback and a couple of smooth jumpers off the bounce. And for all our fretting about his emotional state after yet another public tongue lashing from Woody, Coach is right: He overpursues like a fiend. OJ Mayo should probably send a sweet presentation gift basket for all of the unimpeded paths to the tin Shump’s overeager lurching provided.
|Ike Diogu, PF 1 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -2
IKE DIOGU PRESEASON ANAGRAM: I OK. GUIDE
|C.J. Leslie, SF 1 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -2
Wait, did C.J. play? Insert “He’s so skinny (How skinny is he?)…that when he stands sideways he gets counted absent,” joke here.
|Metta World Peace, SF 22 MIN | 3-12 FG | 3-6 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | +9
Nothing new under the sun. Some solid individual and team defense. A Smithian ropensity to pass up an easier shot in favor of an off-balance runner/fadeaway/ill-advised drive. Of course, his burgeoning friendship with Iman Shumpert is as heartwarming as mewling baby kittens and as terrifying as those self-same cats, now fully grown, in heat, hissing and trying to claw your eyes out.
|Cole Aldrich, C 14 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | +20
I guess it was Cole’s turn to spin the backup-big-who-might-make-the-roster-assuming-Murry-and-Tyler-have-assured-themselves-of-making-the-roster wheel. And hey (Larry David voice), he looked prettttty good, pretttttty good. He’s still got moves around the basket that look like he’s just a relatively tall bit actor from Hoosiers and/or Glory Road (the goofy fumble of a pick and roll feed from Urdih, only to grab what appeared to be a well-lubricated pig in lieu of a leather ball, followed by a bricked dunk being Exhibit A), but he snaggled more than his share of offensive rebounds and actually provided a presence in the middle as opposed to what occurred when Tyson was sitting on the bench working on his scrapbooking and the large Italian fellow played the position with all the grace, speed, purpose, and effectiveness of a 50-lb wheel of finely-aged Parmesan cheese.
|Beno Udrih, PG 31 MIN | 3-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | -3
Such a chucker. And yet another Knick that seems to think a 15-20 footer is the absolute bees-knees, shot selection wise. When they go in, great, but it’s worth noting that Indiana and Chicago led the league in encouraging said midrange shots. You know, the best defenses in all the land. an
|Toure’ Murry, SG 13 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | -4
Despite the Knickerbockers attempt to build themselves yet another point out two-guard parts they pilfered from various graves, (See Shumpert, Iman) Toure’s not a floor general. His handle’s too wobbly and really thinks creating means “find a lane for an improbable floater.” His defensive instincts are solid, but he’s still learning how to react to the speed of an NBA game. That said, if the Knicks sacrifice him at the alter of CAA or brotherly love or some shady, under-the-table/Devil’s agreement with the mafia clan that is the Smith family, we’re all gonna throw a major league hissy fit.
|Tim Hardaway Jr., SG 34 MIN | 6-13 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 16 PTS | +4
Looks like opposing teams (or at least the Bucks) popped a couple of tapes from the previous couple of games into their Betamax. They were closing a lot quicker on Timmy Jr., so it was neat to see him look to drive on a few occasions. There’s a lot to like here, especially when he’s surrounded by actual rotation players — he’s definitely got the athleticism to be a solid finisher, he gets in a good, low crouch on defense (though his lateral movement isn’t the greatest), and he’s a hellion on the break.
Five Things We Saw
- I don’t know about y’all, but I’m running out of “It’s only preseason…” smiley-face stickers to plaster over what is becoming a permanent sour expression. Granted, last year ’round this same time, we were similarly fretting about the rotation and how all these disparate, ill-fitting pieces could ever possibly work together once they finally recovered from injuries and maladies ranging from “nagging” to “needs a trip to Lourdes.”
- So yeah, that turned out relatively well. But tonight, the offense once again looked brackishly stagnant. There werew wayyyyyy too many isolation sets for Melo (7 dimes notwithstanding) and very few moments when the ball rotated from the strong to the weak side. The defense remains an ongoing mystery. They were absolutely torched by Mayo, Butler, Ridnour, et al, and it didn’t even look particularly difficult. One pass or half-decent screen and the Milwaukeeans had a wide open look — both on the perimeter and in the paint. Hell, at times it seems that the goal of all the switching and unecessary doubling is to encourage open threes. Part of it is certainly due to the lack of familiarity with Woodson’s system, which if it’s going to work, requires at lot of moving parts to be in harmony. That’s clearly not the case right now. A set rotation would certainly help a ton, but this Rube Goldberg device isn’t going to be made whole till we know who’s the mouse eating the cheese and who’s the little metal ball that the bobbing-head duck bonks into the cup.
- I get wanting to experiment with a big lineup (even if it’s really just a tall lineup). But all of this feels like a dumb overreaction to what happened in Nap Town in the playoffs (like an extended sooper-stoopid to start Martin in game 4). There’s an old line about “generals are always preparing to fight the last war, instead of preparing for the new, different one that is yet to come.” The Knicks found an identity last year. Now’s the time when they should be building on that. You have a top 5-ish offense and a defense that’s going to drive a sturdy man/woman to drink/put a lot of dents in rich mahogany desks. That’s okay. There’s something to be said for trying to cobble together a more balanced unit, but they’re risking robbing Peter absolutely blind in order to toss a spare nickel into homeless Paul’s sad, bedraggled hands as they clutch a disposable coffee cup. Please, Son of Wood. You did say you could go back to the two PG lineup if need be. Well, it really, RILLY needs be. This (whatever ‘this’ is supposed to be) isn’t working. Start with Prigs-Felt-Shump-Melo-Tyson. I don’t care if STAT and Bargs have overlapping skill sets. You have no idea how often the latter’s going to be able to suit up, no matter how many times he says his balsa wood knees feel ‘great’ (and it’s not like Bargs has been the bastion of health either). Please?
- So in the midst of all this hand-wringing, I have yet another concern, if slightly less grave. Woody’s beard. I fear that it has become self-aware and is trying to devour the rest of his head.
- And that’ll do it. One more preview and then this wobbly theatrical construct opens on Broadway. And if you’re really upset about this game (like I was), read this article about Giannis Antetokounmpo. It’ll put all of this First World Problems ish to rest, tout suite.
Until Friday, then. Go Knicks!