First things first, apologies for missing a couple of games. I was gone for the weekend and missed the revenge beatdown of the Celtics and a close loss to the Raptors. Ohhh well, too much preseason probably bad for your health anyway. Getting into last night’s game:
Now this was against the godawful, league worst 76ers playing without their best player in Michael Carter-Williams in the Syracuse arena where people cheered pretty much anytime Melo touched the ball, but still. Win’s a win. A little scary seeing as a 22 point lead evaporated into about 7 in the fourth quarter against a team that essentially could not shoot 3 pointers and missed at least 4 point-blank lay-ups, but still. Win’s a win. Really compensating here.
The Knicks started the game with a Calderon-Shumpert-Anthony-Acy-Dalembert lineup that is seriously lacking in shooting. I know Derek Fisher is trying to preach defense, but the way Acy’s defenders sagged off of him when he was behind the arc was seriously upsetting. If he can become a league average shooter behind the arc, it’ll go a long way to giving this lineup the necessary punch. Plus, I like Acy. He’s got some great hustle when rebounding and is only 24 years old. Youth Movement!
The ball movement also started a little awkward with players just whipping the ball around the arc. If they don’t enter it into the post or set a high pick and roll, their defenders are just right on them and the Knicks possess very few players who can take their man off the dribble. That being said, the ball movement became excellent as the game went on and opened up a ton of 3 pointers. People seemed reluctant taking them towards the beginning of the game, but then just started putting them up, which I like. Shump had a couple nice ones.
ENTRY PASSES!!! HOLY SHIT!! Time to work on the entry passes. We had something like 4 turnovers just lobbing it into a guy in post position and a couple more close ones. This should not be as difficult as it is.
Things I liked:
Hand-off passes from a big to a guard on a curl cut. Yes. When the cutter is someone fast like Shumpert or “Holy Shit” Shane Larkin, these guys are fast enough to get to the basket for a lay-in before anyone can foul. And when the screener can shoot, like Jason Smith, it’s an easy pick-and-pop opportunity if the defense reacts. Larkin and Smith in particular showed some nice chemistry.
Dalembert continues to impress me. He had something like 3 blocks right after the half and hit his first three jumpers when everyone else on the Knicks was bricking EVERYTHING. Seriously, we were on track for a 12 point first quarter.
SHUMP!! Shumpert looked great in the second half when he started letting the 3 ball fly and started cutting more aggressively. He almost had one DAMN! play but was fouled going to the hoop. The way he flashes his athleticism makes me pissed these guys tried to trade him. Also they did a little interview segment where he claimed to be mad for a lot of last year and is now just having more fun being a 24 year old playing ball in New York. Clyde picked up on this too and broke out the rhyme “Winning and Grinning”. Keep the smiles up.
I guess we do have to put everything into context, though, and say this was against a team that featured precisely one NBA caliber player in Nerlens Noel (and maaaybe a bench guy in Tony Wroten, though he had a terrible game). I remember really feeling enthusiastic about how the ball was moving and the Knicks seemed to be playing together, but I can’t imagine this same performance netting a Win against a playoff team. Still, these guys have a nice long break until their next game on Monday, so rest up and keep running that triangle.