Okay *clears throat:* In a world where bad shooting and lead changes are not excepted in the first three quarters of a basketball game. One man, one desire for lead changes; scoring in down-to-the-wire basketball games; fans hailing the eminence of this scoring deity by chanting the three letters M, V, and P and the rest being history. Carmelo Anthony stars in: “Crunch Time.” In theaters tonight. This little made-up movie trailer guy monologue summarizes what Carmelo Anthony exactly did in the 4th quarter. But first: With a Loveless, (and I don’t mean loveless as in being lonely, I mean without Kevin Love. Sheesh) Timberwolves team that’s whiter than white bread (Timberwolves-being-white jokes commence!), the Knicks still had a difficult time trying to get past the pack of Wolves. The Knicks looked cluttered in the first quarter. In a quarter where Alexey Shved was indeed Shveding if you will, you’re not going anywhere. The Knicks ended up losing that quarter, 29-22 because of slow defense. Same thing in the second quarter. Even Shved was turning into J.R Smith on one possession. It was all kinds of WTF and crazy. When the Knicks switch their assignments, I would gag. The Knicks did improve in the second, but were still outplayed by two points, trailing 55-46 at halftime. But the Knicks limited the Wolves to 18 points in both second half frames. When Carmelo Anthony hit a three to propel the Knicks into a 88-86 lead in the fourth, that was the only the Knicks second lead change. Then, Melo exploded in the final minutes of the fourth. Like their game against the Bulls, the Knicks played some crummy basketball, except, tonight they won and had couple of lead changes unlike having no lead changes against Chicago. It certainly is a recent Knicksian trend. Here are some notes:
- Bow down to Carmelo Anthony’s fourth quarter brilliance, and definitely not his three other quarters performance. It was a rough and bumpy ride for Melo. His first half basically made everyone’s eyes burn because he missed a ton of shots. Going into the third quarter, Melo missed went on a dismal stretch missing 10 straight shots, and feeling like he had to do everything he could to get to the tin. After many drives to the rim with no fouls calls, Melo used his vexation towards the refs, hence getting tagged with a technical foul, and thought that “hmm…why not erupt in the last three minutes of the game?” I’m thinking that the adrenaline shot Melo took in the locker room at half didn’t kick in till those last three minutes. And so it did. After drawing the foul on Andrei Kirilenko and converting the and-one, Melo was instantly fired up. There wasn’t a case of YGTMYFT (you got to make your free throws), as he hit 10-11 from the line, the majority of them being in crunch time. Melo may have been pissed the whole game, but in the end, being pissed in the last three minutes is what made the Knicks win. Melo ended up scoring 19 of the Knicks’ 23 points in the 4th quarter, screaming this in the final minutes.
- There’s Good J.R Smith and then there’s Bad J.R Smith, but this new breed of J.R Smith showed up called Godlike J.R Smith. Earl gets the superlative for best first three quarters performance before Melo decided to explode. Amazingly, he lead the team in assists with 7, leading me to believe that he was Rondo for a day and even almost turned into “Pistol” J.R while attempting to throw a no-look behind-the-back touch pass to Tyson Chandler. The play wasn’t successful, but if that play was finished, I would of ripped off my shirt like Bruce Banner would when he turns into the Hulk and yell out a happy “GOOD J.R.” But you know what made me turn into the Hulk? When J.R Stiemed Greg Stiemsma, or simply, the J.R Smith posterization of Greg Stiemsma. There was one moment in the fourth quarter where Alexey Shved just took the ball from J.R and hit a three. But I forgive you, J.R. The Russian guy that looks like Tom Green didn’t prevail after all. Also, the Godlike version of J.R is All-Around J.R.
- Raymond Felton didn’t have a bad scoring night, scoring 15 points. He scored the first 5 Knick points, including an and-one. Although he didn’t make half of his shots, s’all good, Ray, but coughing the ball up 4 times . Back in the second quarter, Ray performed an awesome spin move on Dante Cunningham. Ray’s stat line is a little strange. Along with his 15 points, he had only 2 assists and 2 rebounds. He should have at least a couple of more assists, but they were negated by misses. However, Ray was essential in the perimeter defense, holding the Wolves’ guards to an 18-49 shooting night.
- Tyson Chandler had a solid game. He played a key role in draining free throws, going 8-10 from the line. He almost had a double-double (16-9). On pick and roll attempts, Tyson was stopped as the role man for the most part, but as I stated with his free throw stats, he got to the line many times and converted. The Wolves pretty much prevented Tyson from getting to the hoop as the roll man, but Tyson did well enough in other areas such getting to the line when the Knicks needed the points.
- The most recent Jason Kidd fad is snagging rebounds rather than hitting spot-up threes and dishing assists. It sucks not seeing J-Kidd not excel at his spot-up three prowess. It’s safe to say that he’s been going through a three shooting slump. The spot-up shooting is on standby as of now. But hey, I’ll take 6 rebounds from J-Kidd anytime. Hopefully J-Kidd’s regression will disappear soon.
- Where in the world is *deep monotone voice* Ronnie Brewer? I don’t like using the word regression, but I’m gonna use it again. Ronnie Brewer is the regression extraordinaire for the month of December. Brewer is shooting 27% from the field and an abysmal, repulsive 18% from the perimeter. The lockdown periemter defensive prowess is no where to be found. CAN WE HAVE NOVEMBER RONNIE BREWER BACK, PLEASE? I GUESS THAT MAY BE IMPOSSIBLE. This essentially sums up the month of December for Ronnie Brewer.
- Putting Steve Novak on shooting guards and stronger power forwards than him leads to automatic baskets. Has Mike Woodson figured this out yet? Actually, putting Novak on anyone is like trying to drive a stranded car on a parkway. His lone shot was an on-the-line two. I’m scared. Pretty skeptical about Woodson not putting in Chris Copeland for Novak at any point in the game.
- No Chris Copeland allowed, apparently.
- Kurt Thomas had a 1.000 TS% on 2-2 from the field along with a 200 offensive rating. Uh huh. And having Kurt on Nikola Pekovic made me go like “huh?’
- Pablo Poopioni. The Prigs-Kidd-J.R-Novak-Kurt lineup may be the slowest unit ever in existence, unless someone has a counter for an even slower lineup.
- Please get well soon, Sheed. And Marcus Camby too (ARGGGGGGGGH).
- Mike Woodson almost got ejected for a second straight game. Luckily, he only got one technical. Woody’s been very feisty lately.
- James White, the dunk contest is almost here.
- Walt Frazier called Alexey Shved “Shred.” This kind of shred? Also, Al Trautwig called Nikola Pekovic “Nikolai” as in Nikolai Volkoff.
As bad as the Knicks played, and as cliche as it sounds, a win is a win. In the last 4:20 of the fourth quarter, the Knicks outscored the Wolves 14-6. In yet another game where god awful officiating occurred, the Knicks won this time. One half of the K.G.B was shut down, and the other was sort of. Andrei Kirilenko fouled out and was shot down with his nickname, while Alexey Shved tried playing hero-ball by shooting threes that didn’t go in, an airball being his final shot. J.J Barea didn’t cap off a barrage of threes and flops. Nikola Pekovic’s hook shot was dominating Tyson on a few possessions and his double-double (21-17) proves it. Pek was a menace under the glass, 6 of his rebounds being offensive. Ricky Rubio got 17 minutes of burn, but was quiet and coughed the ball up 5 times. Same with Luke Ridnour, except he didn’t turn the ball over once. The Wolves’ three guard rotation was tamed. The Knicks’ three guard rotation from the other night against the Bulls can probably compete against that unit. Meanwhile, Dante Cunningham was killing Steve Novak (well, ain’t that a surprise?) from the outside and had acquired the Nikola Pekovic rebounding gene by crashing the glass posting a double-double (12-10).
The Knicks are now 20-7. They are now en route to Los Angeles where they will face the Pringles guy for a second time this season on jolly ole Christmas Day. If Dwight Howard kills Carmelo Anthony on a hard foul, then I’ll deem him evil, not that he isn’t already. Merry Christmas Eve! Oh, and don’t forget to blast all the Trans-Siberian Orchestra you can.