The Knicks and Blazers yesterday apparently seemed to come to their first encounter, since the Blazers ruined Stoudemire's homecoming, like two ships crossing in the night.
On the one side, the 6th seed in the Eastern Conference Knicks have taken the league by storm: rising over the course of the regular season as a middle of the pack playoff team with the flexibility to add to their roster to address need. The 8th seeded Western Conference Blazers appear, at first blush, to be a team possibly on the decline and in transition due to a series of injuries to key players such as Brandon Roy and Greg Oden -- injuries which have placed the Blazers' hopes of contention as a young up and coming team in question.
Yet all is not as it appears to be at the surface. The Blazers over the recent weeks had fought on despite the key injuries. They had recently been on a three-game winning streak only snapped by overtime heroics by the Miami Heat's, Lebron James. The Knicks despite all the bluster of this year's resurgence have mostly been humbled by the creme de la creme of the NBA, losing games twice to Miami and Boston and recently getting crushed by the Laker's long front court to snap the Knicks most recent three game win streak.
But when the Knicks actually met the Blazers the fly by night scenario of the apparently rising Knicks and apparantly descending Blazers played itself out to the letter.
The Knicks took control of the game early in the 1st quarter. Portland cut into a large 1st half lead to go into the halftime down only 6. Portland would make a nice run to start the 2nd half. That wasn't enough though to stop a Knicks team that appeared to be better overall at this point in the season than the Blazers. After replacing Douglas (who struggled in the early 2nd half) with Felton and Stoudemire's return to the game, the Knicks went on a litteral run. The run was sparked by a series of defensive stops that resulted in fast play opportunities that were punctuated by Alley Oop throw downs by Chander (2) and Stoudemire (1). The assualt would continue with a mixture of Felton's guidance at the point as the Knicks surged to a double digit lead in the 4th. Knicks didn't let up once they reestablished their lead.
The game was paced by the impressive showing of the Knicks' own Mr. T, Rony Turiaf. T earned his player of the game award. He set the example defensively and on the boards and had his best offensive showing to date. Turiaf's end of the game stat line was 19 points, 10 boards, 3 assist, 3 steals and 2 blocked shots. Turiaf's presence made the talented Blazer forward work hard for his points in the paint. Aldridge finished the game also with 19 points and 10 boards but he was effectively neutralized by the relentless work of Turiaf and timely Knick double teams and weak side help defense.
Felton also had an impressive showing and his impact on the game was clearly demonstrated in the 3rd quarter. He was brought back in after a 3rd quarter rest to gather the Knicks who had withstood an early 3rd quarter run by the Blazers under Felton's understudy Toney Douglas. Felton finished the game with 17 points 14 assist (many of them on flashy alley oops), 3 steals and 2 boards.
Chandler had a nice showing, especially in the 2nd half where his series of nasty throw downs on two alley oop plays. Those plays punctuated a Knicks run that would effectively take the games momentum for the Knicks and silence the Blazers crowd. Chandler also scored with a variety of mid range jumpers and layups. The Thrill would finish the game with 17 points, 5 rebounds and 1 assist.
Amar'e steadied the Knicks throughout the game with a strong mid range shooting game that answered the Blazers efforts to deny him his accustomed inside penetration. Stoudemire finished the game with 23 ponts, 8 boards, 4 assist (many were to his teamates who found themselves moving to the interior), and 1 blocked shot.
The Knicks held the Blazers to under 90 points they limited the Blazers to 34.9% overall. The Blazers terribly three point shooting( 22.2%) obviously didn't help them there. Though the Blazers were able to stay in the game untill the Knicks late 3rd to 4th quarter surge by an early advantage on the offensive glass and by getting to the free throw line almost twice as much as the Knicks (24-28 for 85.7% free throw shooting for the Blazers when compared to 11-15 for 73.3% freethrow shooting for the Knicks). However, the Knicks ultimately won the game by combinging defensive effort, better rebounding in the 2nd half (they ended the game outreboinded by the pacers only 43 (29T/14Off) to 40 (31T/9Off) and a strong overall offensive showing (50.0% overall 41.7% from the arc). The Knicks showing in almost all fazes of the game made for an impressive win.
At the end of the night the Knicks exited the Rose Garden deflouring the hopes of the crowd. They smoked the blazers with a show of defensively induced and offensively surging bravado.
I like the way this comment thread works. I wonder though if there is a way to identify the newer comments similar to what is done at the SBNation Blog.
What up my good man. I will certainly run an LBE for tonight's Knicks @ Jazz game.
Hope to see you and the crew there. Where's our enforcer Mr. T, T'Man.
Great game guys see you all later and read you throughout the day.
0 & B: Comprehensive recap. Hope you can run and or participate in an LBE for tonight's game. Missed you last night.
Peaceman: In case Melo somwhow gets traded to the Nets, I offer us some small compensation: "Baby Carrots"
Last night’s game against the Blazers showed the value of playing Stoudemire and Turiaf together. Stat can move to his more natural power forward spot and Turiaf showed that he can play the pick & roll with Felton and both provide enhanced shot blocking as well as rebounding. The only problem in playing Stat and Mr. T together is resting both at the same time. Since D’Antoni offers no is not willing to play another center (Mozgov, Randolph, or even Curry) to rest either Amare or Romy, the Knicks suffer against bigger teams on the boards. I don’t see how either Mozgov or Randolph can develop if D’Obstinate offers no playing time. Certainly, Mozgov’s game would be that much more advanced if he were given some time in the D league; same is true for Rautins. I also fear injury because of burnout to Stat or Turiaf that will not bode well for the team over the long season. If that happens, D’Antoni would be forced to use Mozgov who will have had little game experience.
Recall that D’Intransigent banished Darko Milicic to his doghouse for virtually the entire season, until Walsh was forced to trade him for almost nothing (Brian Cardinal!?) and some small salary cap space now being spent on Mozgov. Darko is currently contributing 24+ minutes, 8 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocked shots in 37 games this season. Darko would likely have more rebounds, except for the fact that he is playing alongside Kevin Love who grabs and eats glass with relentless abandon. Once in D’Stubborn’s doghouse, there is little hope for exiting that gulag except for banishment to another team.
Even playing Eddy Curry for a few minutes would add bulk to the interior, provide another post-option on offense, and enhance his trade value. The only plausible excuse for not playing E-City is that the coach is convinced his showtime would reveal such dismal production so as to actually diminish any team’s interest. Thus keeping E-City heathy (no necessarily in shape) prior to the February 24th deadline is the only choice possible. Then again, D’Antoni, Walsh (and perhaps even Dolan) may be so angry at Fat Eddy (having to pay him $11 million) that punishment by permanent benching is regarded as the best way to curtail his earning potential in a future contract with any NBA team. If Knicks can’t move E-City by the February trade deadline, they will likely buy out the remainder of his contract so as to create room for another back-up big man or point guard.
Whatever happens to Curry, D’Antoni needs to self-examine his treatment of players who don’t meet his standard of basketball play, if only to understand that professional development requires time on the court in game situations (not practice), and that punishment by permanent benching is not likely to enhance overall team/season performance nor improve locker room morale. For business reasons alone, the “doghouse” approach to coaching, accomplishes little, short circuits professional development, risks injury to better players, imperils locker room harmony, and diminishes trade values. Why do that?
Hey, u've changed your comemmting box. Nice. I like it. I like the " Deflowering the Rose Garden" pun. That was very funny. I esp liked how Ronnny turiaf had a double/double of 19pt and 10 boards.
*yahoo sports After hearing Carmelo Anthony express public doubts over the New York Knicks’ desire and need for him, Amar’e Stoudemire reached out to tell the Denver Nuggets star that he “wants him in New York,” a league source told Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday. The Knicks’ forward recently contacted Anthony via text message with a two-fold agenda: Make sure Anthony knows that Stoudemire himself wants Anthony at his side, and push Anthony to resist a proposed trade to the New Jersey Nets. For now, the Nets stay in the discussions for Anthony, but the Knicks are still lurking in the distance. Amar’e Stoudemire sent one more message to the Nuggets star, and it was simple: Let’s do this, ’Melo.
REPOST: I just communicated with a friend in Portland and he gave the following analysis of his Blazers. I thought you folks might find it very interesting.
THEY WERE REALLY TIRED LAST NIGHT. THEY OUT PLAYED THE KNICKS IN EVERY CATEGORY EXCEPT SHOOTING PERCENTAGE LIKE 34% TO 55%. APPEARS THAT THE LOSS TO CLEVELAND IN OVERTIME WHEN THEY PLAYED SO WELL TOOK IT OUT OF THEM.
ACTUALLY THEY ARE PLAYING MUCH BETTER NOW THAT BRANDON ROY IS OUT. LAMARCUS IS FLOURISHING; RUDY HAS BECOME THE PLAYER EVERYONE HAD HOPED FOR.
IT IS OBVIOUS THAT ROY WAS A BALL-HOG AND THAT EVERYONE HAD TO DEFER TO HIM AND HE WANTED THE BALL ALL THE TIME. EVEN SAID TWICE IN THE PRESS, “IF THE BLAZERS WANT TO WIN THEY BALL HAS TO COME THROUGH ME…”
HATED PLAYING WITH ANDRE MILLER BECAUSE AS A POINT GUARD HE HAD TO HAVE THE BALL TO MAKE THINGS HAPPEN.
HE IS NOT THE FAIR-HAIRED BOY EVERYONE THOUGHT HE WAS.
VERY SIMILAR TO MICHAEL JORDAN WHEN FIRST AT CHICAGO AND KOBE WITH LA. BUT JACKSON WAS ABLE TO CONVINCE THEM THEY COULD STILL BE STARS IF THEY PLAYED WITH 4 OTHER GUYS.
WE KNOW WHAT HAPPENED IN CHICAGO AND I THINK IT WAS MORE KOBE FIGURING IT OUT FOR HIMSELF THAN JACKSON INFLUENCING HOW HE PLAYED. ESPECIALLY AFTER THE HUMILATING DEFEAT BY BOSTON IN THE FINALS.
I AM GLAD ROY IS OUT, THEY ARE PLAYING BETTER AND MORE EXCITING BRAND OF BASKETBALL. MATHEWS GIVES US THE POINTS THAT ROY SCORED, BUT MAYBE NOT THE LEADERSHIP, BUT WHAT GOOD IS THAT KIND OF LEADERSHIP.
IF THIS TEAM HAD ODEN I THINK WE WOULD BE A WINNER.
HOWEVER, WE HAVE TO GET SOME NEW BLOOD. MILLER IS 35 OR 36 AND CAMBY IS 38. THEY ARE GONE AFTER NEXT YEAR.
ALSO PRYZBILLA IS NOT WHAT HE WAS EITHER, ONLY PLAYED 6 MINUTES AND IS NOT FULLY RECOVERED IT APPEARS.
WE NEED A GOOD BACKUP CENTER AND A POINT GUARD, DEVIN HARR
Thanks for the recap O&B. Are you at the LBE tonight? Last night's LBE was fun. Steady, Prince, DLT, J.O., Peaceman and Vic Corbit joined me at the bar. It was a good night.
@Lives I think that will come after the Beta is finished up.
@Post_up_Prince ROFLMAO. Men with small members have a chance,
A more direct way to Baby Carrots:
A nice way to "Melo out"
@Post_up_Prince Amen. D'Antoni has no love in his heart for big men. None.
@Peaceman He should get a tech for that type of tampering. LOL.
@Steady Yeah. Love the icon bro. Nice choice.
@Lives As Steady noted, J.O is short for JOven which explains the hyperbole and bombastic smack about a player who ended up being the POG. To his credit, he did take it back and promptly vacated the bar as if he had laid a hairy, deviled egg. IT is built--they will come.
Here's to hoping Moz and Randy get some burn tonight with TD resting his ailing shoulder.
H20 DOC IT 12!
J.O. reminded me of our fave youngin' DaVonn Jefferson. At the tender age of 23 he had youthful vigor and interesting no-sights (as opposed to insights) like Ewing not being able to hit a jumper and Turiaf being lazy.
J.O. stay strong. Don't let the old heads chase you away. We accept and reject all kinds of opinions here.