Well it wasn't a win, but the Knicks kept pace with the Phoenix Suns, and saved themselves from any embarassment. Solid Knick defense and some poor shooting by Phoenix had New York leading by as much as 10 in the first half, but they went into the break down by 3. Eddy Curry had 21 of his 26 points in the first two periods, but went down in the third quarter with a strained calf. Amare Stoudemire led the Suns with 30 points. Game notes:
- Clyde rocked a cherry-red suit jacket with a black, flowered tie. This is why liquid crystal television was invented.
- Doesn't Raja Bell look kinda like the generic template humanoid when you're creating your own player in NBA Live? He's about average height and weight, of indiscernible ethnicity, and almost completely hairless. I almost feel the need to throw an afro, some high socks, and some goggles on him.
- Why on earth would a professional sports team wear purple and orange? It's actually painful to the eye. At least the Suns give me a permanent answer in the Skittles Team Colors game. Otherwise, grape and orange would be impossible, ya know? Anybody?
- I've said it before, and I'll say it again. When Channing Frye does not hesitate, he does not miss.
- Amare Stoudemire slipped on a wet spot in the first quarter and fell kinda funny. My heart skipped a beat, but he was fine.
- Jared Jeffries played a wimpy 5 minutes and then sat for almost the entire rest of the game. I don't know what's up with the guy, but it's really disappointing. He just looks scared out there. Actually, I guess his natural facial expression alternates between "scared" and "stoned", so it's not that unusual.
- Crawford does a fantastic job of feeding Curry. Those two have really amazing chemistry, or as Clyde would say, "great ESP". Marbury is better at the pick and roll, but Crawford is superior at feeding the big fella. He had 11 assists.
- The Suns' television station does a thing where they whore out color commentator Dan Majerle for a part of the second quarter. Majerle traded spots with Clyde, and immediately went gay for Mike Breen. At least 3 times, he called Breen "handsome" or commented on how good he would look in a hat, glasses, etc. In all seriousness, as much as I hated Majerle when he was on the Heat, he's a witty, articulate, guy, and a very solid broadcaster.
- Remember two years ago when Crawford succesfully completed an off-the-backboard dunk twice in one season? Well, he kinda half tried it in the second quarter, with no success.
- Patrick Ewing was sitting sideline, as he's been doing frequently, only this time he was sporting a Sam Jackson beret.
- Good Nissan Trivia question: Who was the last NBA player to average 20 points and 10 assists for a season? I'll give you some time to think. Check the end of the post for the answer.
- The Knicks went to a "Hack-a-STAT" defense in the third quarter, sending Stoudemire to the line for 12 attempts. Clyde made the point that Nash and Stoudemire were the only two people moving on offense. They just ran a basic pick and roll, and if they couldn't complete it, Nash would kick it out to one of the guys camped out on the wing for a three. Whatever works.
- David Lee power dribbles like it's nobody's business. He's got the hard bounce to the kiss off the glass move down pat.
- Lee POSTERIZED Amare in the fourth quarter. He drove the lane, and Amare actually got a piece of the ball, but Lee flushed it in anyway.
- I don't get on Curry much for his lack of rebounding, because I'm really impressed with all the other things he's been doing, but Nate Robinson had 8 rebounds to Curry's 4. No comment.
- Speaking of Curry, he strained his left calf muscle early in the third quarter. He just seemed to come down funny, and immediately limped off the court. He was able to get to the locker room by himself, but with a significant limp. It didn't look that bad, but I'm sure we'll hear more tomorrow.
- Some noteworthy performances...Crawford had 23 in the fourth quarter to keep the game close...Q continued his shooting woes with an 0-5 scoreless performance...Nate couldn't shoot either, but pumped up the volume anyway, shooting an unsightly 5-19. He did rebound, distribute, and play some pesky defense, though...The Knicks had 21 turnovers, in part due to Marbury's absence.
Anyway, it was a tough, but surprisingly noble loss for the struggling Knicks. Hopefully Marbury will be getting back into the action soon, and Curry's injury isn't that severe. The Heat, with Wade and Shaq-fu, come to town on Friday. Back tomorrow. Peace.
P.S. Answer to the trivia question: Tim Hardaway. How 'bout that shit?
EDIT: I wrote this on my notepad, but forgot to mention it for some reason. Knickerblogger reminded me. The Knicks are a low post team. They would benefit from a serious cutback on three point attempts. The main jackers- Q, Crawford, and Nate, are all very capable penetrators, and that's gotta be the go-to move, whether it results in a score, a drawn foul, or an easy look for a big man. Points in the paint are this team's strength.