Greetings fellow Knicks brethren! I hope everyone had a good
Christmas Day J.R. Smith Day. The Knicks defeated the Jared Dudley led Suns (Boy is that an awkward statement.) 99-97 on a game winner by Earl III Smith, and I ran outside and immediately jumped into the snow that built up on my backyard. The Knicks were without Ray Felton (welp) and Carmelo Anthony (Please be ok, Melo.) which opened the door for James White to get his first start with the Knicks and had Kurt Thomas reinserted into the starting lineup. The Knicks and Suns decided to take a strong stance against playing defense in the first quarter, and the Suns ended the frame with a 29-27 lead. During the second quarter, the Knicks tightened up their defense, holding the Suns to just 15 points while scoring 27 themselves. Marcus Camby played good minutes backing up Chandler, the ball moved well , and the rotations where on point, leading to the Knicks taking a 10 point lead into halftime. Also, J.R. undercut Goran Dragic on a layup attempt that led to Dragic taking a scary fall and J.R. receiving a flagrant foul. Dragic did not return. The Knicks got out to a 14 point lead in the third quarter, but then silly shots and turnovers, coupled with bad rotations led to the Suns tying the game up going into the fourth. In that final quarter, both teams exchanged small leads until the final seconds. The Knicks, down two, with a little more than 30 seconds remaining, ran a play out of a timeout that the Suns defended perfectly and resulted in a J.R. Smith isolation at the top of the three-point line. Earl was harassed by P.J. Tucker for 5 seconds and then threw up a ridiculous 20 foot turnaround fadeaway that had almost no arc but went down. I proceeded to screech like a little girl. On the following Suns possession, Sebastain Telfair was forced out-of-bounds after Tyson Chandler chased him like a madman over a pick leading to the Knicks getting the ball back with one second remaining. And finally, to end the game in the proper “WTF”-manner it deserved, J.R. hit a leaning fallaway jumper from the corner as time expired. Swishsanity? Indeed. Some notes:
- Jason Kidd–-basketball magician, wizard and connoisseur–-was absolutely wonderful. 23 points, 8 assists, 6 rebounds on 8-16 from the field and 5-8 from three-point land. Also, he was a game high +13. There may not be enough crow left to eat after everything he’s done, but if there is I’ll gladly have another helping. I could try to describe all the things he did, but it would just be incoherent rambling because there was no rhyme or reason as to how he was doing them. Also: Kidd got switched onto Michael Beasley at one point, leading to a match-up of arguably the smartest basketball player ever versus Michael effing Beasley. The result? Kidd tying up Beasley on a drive leading to a jump ball. Jason Kidd is 15 years older than Michael Beasley.
- As mentioned EARLier, (Puns!) JR was great. Sure, he took his fair share of bad shots, but without Melo playing, he had to. JR helped the Knicks out-rebounded the Suns (6 bounds), had some nice pocket-passes to Chandler off the pick and roll, and came up with back-to-back steals that led to the Knicks tying the game and then taking small lead.
- Tyson Chandler bounced back very nicely, recording 14 points and 12 rebounds while providing some great help defense all over the court. Also, he swatted away a Marcin Gortat three-point heavy as the shot clock expired and it was glorious. Good stuff, Tyson!
- Krazy Eyes Kurt Thomas started, played 12 minutes in total, made two mid-range jumpers and wore orange shoes. Nothing new here.
- Ronnie Brewer finished a nice layup, but also got called for a carry at half court and missed two jumpers pretty badly. Regression, thy name is Ronnie.
- Marcus Camby played some nice minutes for the second straight game, grabbing 9 boards in just over 12 minutes and sending a Telfair layup into a camera man/media person sitting under the basket. Camby missed a couple jumpers, shooting with his ridiculous motion that made me laugh every time I saw it. Having someone like Camby to back up Chandler is going to be a big help for the Knicks defense, which has been pretty bad of late.
- Not starting but still playing 30 minutes off the bench was Chris Copeland, who was 6-12 from the field for 14 points, including some very timely buckets. He continued to get lost on rotations, leaving many a Sun open in the corner for a three. Still, Copeland has been shooting the lights out of the ball recently, and canning a lot of catch-and-shoot threes. Good job Cope!
- Side note: The Suns court is horrible. After seeing the Knicks all-orange Christmas uniforms yesterday, my eyes to exception to the bright orange key on the hardwood . That combined with Flight White’s bright orange kicks has made me scarred by the color orange. It might be the worst color ever.
- The Knicks often ran a new set, where Tyson Chandler gets the ball in the high post, and the two guards ran different types of action around him. The set worked very well, and as pointed out by the great Jared Dubin on the ol’ twitter, it was a set that the Lakers ran against the Knicks just two night ago. Make sure to follow Jared if you aren’t already here.
Well, that seems to be it. The Suns aren’t a good team, however the Knicks were missing their top two scorers and managed to pull out a win. Twas’ entertaining to say the least. The Knicks play the Kings led by totally-not-suspended-but-still-kinda-suspended Demarcus Cousins on Friday.