AKA the third quarter from the black lagoon.
The Knicks actually looked pretty good to start this game. Melo was on fire early and had 14 points in the first quarter on some nifty shooting of the deep ball. The team got a ton of offensive rebounds, led by Sam Dalembert who was having some kind of homecoming game and had bought 100 tickets for students of his alma mater. And most importantly, they played with some serious defensive intensity, holding the Raps to 14 points in the 2nd quarter and forcing 7 turnovers.
Then that thing after halftime happened. At first it looked like the Knicks were just missing a couple of shots that would start going in after a while. Then you realized they weren’t really getting back on defense after those misses. Then you started justifying the fact that at least it was tied, even though they’d been up 8 at the break. Then they were down 8 and the announcers were pointing out gems like Shumpert, JR, and Hardaway being a combined 1-16. Yikes.
The Knicks did actually come back into this game and looking at the final score only lost by 3. You could also take some comfort in the fact that Derek Fisher was not actively trying to win this game and let Melo sit on the bench for all of the fourth quarter. But still, the Raptors missed a ton of shots during the Knick “comeback” and didn’t really look all that impressive either. Whatever, shrugs it off because its preseason. Things of note:
Shumpert bottled up Demar Derozan all night and forced last year’s All-Star into a number of ugly misses on long twos. Derozan did retaliate later with the one HOLY SHIT moment of the game with a huge jam. Still, Shump looked really dialed in defensively. If he can get a few more shots to fall he should be their starter at the 2 no question. Also, I’ve never seen someone sweat as much in game.
I know Kyle Lowry is no John Wall, but Larkin just looks tiny every time he’s out on the floor. While I think the team played a lot better with Pablo, I like Larkin’s game. He gives a ton of effort and had some really good hustle plays, including busting ass to get the steal from behind off a Raptor running the floor in transition.
Speaking of Pablo, HE DROVE TO THE BASKET IN THIS GAME!! Not just once, but twice. I love seeing him play with a little more aggression and seeing him attack the basket and shoot 3s has me thinking we might have a super-sleeper for this year’s All-Star game.
Hate to end on a bad note, but the Knicks had a TON of difficulty with the shotclock in this game. Maybe only two violations, but they put up a ton of misses as time was expiring. In general, it looked like they weren’t getting into their sets or cutting hard enough until late in the count, but a shotclock violation has to be one of the most humiliating ways to turn over the basketball.
Next time I watch a game, IT WILL BE FOR REAL!! So excited. The Bulls are going down.