"My God, he didn't even come close to missing." -- Mike D'Antoni
"You sometimes become a fan because he's taking 3-point shots way beyond the arc. Sometimes you get star-struck and you just start to get in a daze." -- Chris Duhon
"It's a momentum team. They have some really good players, some really good shooters. When they're not shooting the ball well, they're not very good because they don't get to the paint a lot. . . . When they shoot the ball extremely well, like they did the second half, they're a very tough team to cover because they have guys who can make plays off the dribble and spot up. . . . Two different teams today. They didn't make shots in the first half and did in the second."-- LeBron James
NOTES FROM THE OBSERVATORY:
Fun game to watch last night. First, because LeBron James is a marvel. So talented that you can understand why some Knicks fans would delude themselves that he is switching teams next year and coming here to win Championships. Just watching him score 24 in a row and the last 12 or so from half-court -- all net -- was stunning.
Yet, the Knicks were played like chumps in the first half as they stood there watching him. His display disguised the fact that the Knicks were also getting abused in the paint as the Cavs scored on mostly layups and dunks before LeBron took the Cavs game outside, way outside. It made the thinking fan wonder, "why in the hell does D'Antoni persist on having David Lee guard Shaq?" Why? Why? Why? Why didn't D'Antoni double team LeBron and try to take the ball out of his hands at least after he scored 12 in a row? Why did he wait until the second half to bring a real big man out there to make it more difficult to score on the Knicks in the paint? Why, Why Why?
The Knicks' comeback in the second half was a little deceptive since the Cavs started to play on cruise control which is always the danger when the game becomes a one man show and a player takes his own team out of the game for an extended period and win the lead is 20 or more. However, the D'Antoni finally made two adjustments that took advantage of the Cavs malaise. He put bigger, more aggressive bodies in Jordan Hill and Al Harrington on the floor. He also mixed up the defense to avoid LeBron controlling the game; at times he played a zone and he doubled James more frequently. On the offensive end, he let loose Nate Robinson who is an extremely difficult cover because he is relentless.
Unfortunately, Duhon was on the floor as the Knicks made their run perhaps giving the false impression that Duhon is essential to such an effort. He is not. Duhon continues to miss shots, refuse to take lay-ups and throw the ball away at critical points. Duhon's presence during the comeback has D'Antoni believing that Nate needs him at the point to get Nate going. D'Antoni, who is putting Duhon back into the starting lineup, also seems to believe that the bad start was a result of not having Duhon at point as opposed to having Gallo in the starting unit at all and Lee guarding the wrong man.
One of the brightest spots early in the game was that Gallo became more aggressive. However improved Gallo's game was over the last few games, the message is that The Rooster is not ready to start in the NBA, at least not yet. On defense, despite an occasional dramatic block, he is so useless and appears worse when teamed with David Lee. Gallo has no idea how to take advantage of his body on defense. Hopefully, Jeffries will teach him something before he is traded (if, he is traded.). Offensively, Gallo needs the summer league now. He needs to be in training and needs to have a teacher who will show him how to use that body to make separation. On drives he likes to make moves usually reserved for smaller guards, but while he can kick the ball out with great accuracy, he has a hard time of finding the box on the backboard when he is close to the basket. Often he just throws it up looking for the foul. No accuracy. Needs practice. (He is still not as good as Jamal Crawford overall).
Put Backs and Slam Dunks:
Much thanks to Brendan of Stepien Rules for the collaboration. His answers to our Q&A really added to our knowledge base for the game. . . . Look out Fanatics, we're also going to be featured on the fun Bloguin Toronto Raptors blog, Hoops Head North in a few days. . . .I'm really diggin' the collaboration but I'm missing those Fanatical comments from the likes of Paul, Post-Up Prince, States, Steady (are you in Haiti working?), BronxMD, Auggie, DLT, Cooley, Modi and the like. I can dig that the Knicks are not worth the extra effort these days (Harlem said, "Are you kidding, the Knicks suck" to an LBE invite. LOL), but let it be known that your voices are missed. I try to make-up for it by visiting the other sites, but nothing is happening in the blogosphere nearly as intense and intelligent as the Fanatics had before this season started. The Gullibles are in control until July. I know it can't be because the posts are boring because the posts have always been boring or wrong and the comments have always been better. Now the posts and the comments are about even. That is sad. But never fear, I'm hooked and committed to having the best Knicks blog ever and I won't quit until that happens -- but like Jim Brown, at the highest point, I'm done and looking for the next challenge unless I happen to be making some money that pays for the kids' college tuition doing this -- I could do this for real cash for a little while. Anyway, the point is , the site is growing and growing according to Sitemeter and Ballhype, but I miss my friends and I hope you all are doing better than the Knicks. We've got at least one more year of suckdome ahead of us. . . . Hey there is going to be a special on NBA TV about how Nate Robinson and Spud Web became dunk champions. The trailer looks interesting. . . . Be advised that I am working on a blogging schedule so that I can tell you what to expect in upcoming posts.
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