The Ship Be Sinking

Mouth Almighty

Knicks 138, Ultimate Warriors 125

…what the hell was THAT?

This was one of those games where you could watch, understand precisely what was happening, and still have no idea why it was happening. The top headline stuff is CDu setting the Knicks single-game assist record, David Lee setting several personal bests, and the Knicks as a whole putting an improbable 82 on the board in the first half. All of which is weird enough, but when you break down how this all happened it was even weirder than that makes it sound.

Coach D’Antoni was quoted after the game as saying Lee should have had 50, and frankly, he’s not wrong or exaggerating in the least. The Knicks ran probably 80% of their plays tonight out of a simple high screen/roll, most of those between Lee and Duhon, and I can’t recall ever seeing a team defend that less well than Golden State did tonight. Every play was a new and inventive way to botch it: two men jump the cutter, no one rotates, dunk; two men drop off and chase the cutter, PG pulls up, open jumper; first two men do their job well, but someone on the backside wing ball-watches and drops in, kickout, easy open three pointer; two men jump out on the PG, and the man rotating to the cutter goes too far and fouls the resulting dunk for a continuation; and so forth. Good gravy was this bad stuff. And the bad defense didn’t stop there for the Warriors, because a lot of the other 20% or so of the Knicks plays were bizarre, this-should-never-happen exploitations of mismatches like Tim Thomas (who was solid tonight, I will admit) posting up Kelenna Azubuike, or QRich posting up one of the small guards. Throw in a total lack of boxing out and this was pretty much just epic fail.

Not that our heroes weren’t fantastic tonight, mind you. Duhon’s passing was superior; he was given a ton of opportunities, but he took advantage of nearly all of them and produced only 3 turnovers in 45 minutes of an incredibly fast-paced game. David Lee’s wildly underrated athleticism and ball skills were on display tonight not only on his breakaway self-oop dunk, but also in the way he’d get the team into transition quickly by dribbling out his own rebounds, and the way he attacked Andris Biedrins face-up off the dribble on multiple occasions. Al Harrington was in full-on remorseless chucker mode, but that’s alright when you’re playing 7 deep in this kind of game and when it’s abundantly clear that almost every shot is a good one given the sort of defense on display. He also attacked the rim with vigor and tried to help out on the boards, which is not a strength of his. And yes, Tim Thomas was as good as you could hope for: after a few dumb turnovers early, he also attacked the rim (especially on a YouTubing of Anthony Randolph in the second half), exploited mismatches, and generally showed the effort, on the offensive side at least, which you’d like to see from him. Keep it up, Tim.

All in all, and utterly satisfying night of basketball. I don’t know what’s wrong with GS unless it’s just the 4 games in 5 nights thing, but they need to sort their screen/roll defense out quickly if they plan to matter. As for the good guys- solid win, hope they get some rest, and enjoy those records. Next game up is Portland on Tuesday.

November 30, 2008 - Posted by | The NY Knicks |

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