“What was the significance of just proving you guys could win a game?”
Jill Martin or Tina Cervasio (flip a friggin’ coin I wasn’t really paying attention) asked Carmelo this after the Knicks were able to put away the Pelicans on Martin Luther King day. While this came off as somewhat insulting, I’d say it was very warranted for a team that was finally able to snap its franchise leading 16 loss streak, including a painful 12 in a row at home.
SO THE KNICKS GOT WIN #6!!
True this did come against a Pelicans team that was missing its arguably best two players in Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday. Damn, even saying that kinda feels disrespectful to the Brow. The Pelicans were missing Anthony Freakin’ Davis!! The injury is nothing too serious and the team had managed to go 2-1 without him before tonight (the only loss being an inexplicable 15 point shellacking by the Sixers) but its kinda hard to overstate how important he is to this team’s entire game plan. Without him, the Pellies’ offense really breaks down into a lot of Tyreke Evans one-on-one drives with Ryan Anderson parked somewhere in the corner.
Even more than that, though, the New Orleans supporting cast might just be as nondescript and mediocre as the Knicks’. Hmmm maybe not. After seeing that flow and thinking.. is Lou Amundson on this team now (?) I learned that this is now the 10th team “Sweet” Lou is playing on in only 7 years, prompting Clyde to wonder if he could break the “journeyman’s” record for 12 teams in a single career. I had another “Who?” moment when the surnamed Thomas came to the floor. Tyrus Thomas? Called up from the D League? No, Lance Thomas. Didn’t we cut him? I know part of the allure of a full-on tank season is having a cast of “Who’s Who?” on the court at any moment but tonight seemed even worse than when the MSG camera panned from the paper-bagged fans sitting courtside to a woeful bench shot of Quincy Acy, Shane Larkin, Travis Wear, and Cleanthony Early. Goshh. Who does Melo even talk to on this team?
For all their anonymity, though, the Pelicans are still pretty big without Davis. Omer Asik and Alexis Ajinca’s horrible neck tatt really beat up the Knicks on the glass, coming up with a ton of offensive boards, including some killer ones down the stretch when it really seemed like the ‘Bockers were intent on giving this one away. Luckily both of them are absolutely horrendous FT shooters and put up a number of 0-2 trips to the line. Outside of New Orleans’ big backups the Pellies got a great contribution for Eric Gordon, who has looked impressive in his return from injury, and Ryan Anderson who Jason Smith absolutely REFUSED to guard until there was about a minute or two left in the game.
Speaking of which, the Knicks had a 13 point lead with about 4 minutes to play. 3 minutes later this team is desperately clutching to a single point up on the Pelicans and I am cursing myself for having turned on the TV to watch another sorrow. New York went even further in trying to giftwrap this to New Orleans by running a completely asinine play out of the timeout inbounding the ball then having Jose Calderon stand motionless at the top of the key, staring at a Carmelo Anthony BEGGING for the ball on the block for about 5 seconds before strangely enough passing it to a cutting Langston Galloway who happened to lose it off his foot. Somehow Lou Amundson (And again. Lou Amundson is playing in crunch time.) managed to dive on the floor and flip the ball up about halfway towards the rim before the Pelicans completely bailed us out by fouling him on what may have been the most flaccid shot attempt of this season.
Carmelo capitalized on this in a big way, quickly passing out of the double team on the ensuing possession to a wide open Calderon who canned a corner 3 ball. And that about did it folks!
For the Knicks, I’m not exactly sure if this changes much of anything. Carmelo didn’t look particularly happy in the postgame interview and I can’t imagine him putting off the knee surgery he’s been talking about to chase a couple more wins (the Knicks have a pretty juicy 5 game slate coming up). I’m obviously not saying that they should’ve lost this game in order to keep chasing that #1 selection; I think the win will go a long way towards letting everyone relax a little and not hate themselves for a night. So, I think we can all just accept this for what it is. A little bright spot and a chance to cheer for a win. To the Knicks, thank you for that random act of kindness. I needed it.
Side Notes: Things that kept the Knicks in this game included going through 4 quarters with only 4 turnovers and Langston Galloway. While I was very unhappy to see another PG wearing #2, Galloway had a great first start for New York, shooting 50% from the field, including 3-6 from 3, for 21 points. He also had a nasty putback dunk reminiscent of his crusher over the Rockets, but what I was most impressed with was his ability to generate contact and create fouls. The Knicks had shot only 5 FTs at the half (all from Melo) but Galloway did a good job of getting into the lane and forcing the Pelicans into the penalty. For a player on his 2nd 10 day contract, it might be a good idea to lock this guy up and see what he can do for the rest of the season.