In yet another game where the Knicks started out like the NFL on NBC intro (Joe Webb is SO LOLtastic), they managed to pull out of Orlando with another win. The getaway car proceeded to drive out of the Amway Center garage, Carmelo Anthony being the driver with Jason Kidd sitting in the passenger’s seat. At this point, it’s basically S.S.D.D (same shit, different day) because the Knicks start out with atrocious defense, particularly in the first quarter, and then they always pick up the pace in the end. It’s cyclical. I love how they win in the end (most of the time), but seriously, allowing 36 points in one quarter is a far beyond ridonkulous. Out of those 36 points, the Knicks allowed 25 of those points being in a span of 7 minutes, including a 14-2 run in the first 3 minutes of the first. Thankfully, the Knicks woke up from being narcoleptic on defense in the second quarter, going on a 18-3 run at one point, giving up only 19 points. Amare Stoudemire was actually active on the defensive end, which automatically made the second quarter an awesome quarter. But then in the third quarter, the Knicks’ defense fell down to the ground and went to sleep again like a narcoleptic, getting outscored 34-22, mainly because of Jameer Nelson and Arron Afflalo aka the king of drawing jump shot fouls in this game were being the assassins. The Knicks felt like reiterating the second quarter because they can, and guess what? They did. The Knicks outscored the Magic 33-17 in the fourth, thanks to Carmelo Anthony’s 16 4th quarter points of his 40 total points. Notes and stuff:
- Carmelo Anthony’s 40 point, 6 assist, 6 rebound performance is essentially the exclamation point of the whole game. No, IT IS THE EXCLAMATION POINT OF THE GAME! Melo almost didn’t get 40 points because of Magic fans, I mean, Knick fans at the Amway Center chanting “M-V-P.” C’mon, guys. Usually when MVP chants happen during free throws, they backfire because Melo misses the free throw. Anyways, tonight was Melo’s 3rd 40 point game of the season. Every Magic defender, Josh McRoberts in particular, was helpless. If I was defending Melo, I would be incinerated by Melo’s lethal off-the-dribble prowess. It’s literally insurmountable to stop. If any defender stops it, then they’re a certified hacker. It wasn’t just Melo’s off-the-dribble excellence, though. Catch-and-shoot threes, almost perfect free throw shooting, and pick and roll dominance were also key in Melo’s arsenal. Once again, Melo’s fire and desire was to come back in the fourth quarter. Everyone was hell bent for Melo. His deadeye and shot creator 2K signature skills were turned on in the fourth quarter. I would say that scoring 40 points on 29 shots is pretty efficient, I mean, wouldn’t you? Praise Melo for all eternity! Considering that Melo had 6 assists, blame him anyways, right? Walt Frazier said that Melo was “balling and appalling” in the fourth quarter. You’re damn right, Clyde.
- Ever since Amare Stoudemire came to New York, he’s remained my favorite Knick, and for good reason. In honor of his brother, Hazell, who died in a fatal car accident last year, Amare did one of the classiest acts ever by inviting 30 kids in the Lake Wales area of Florida, STAT’s hometown, to the Amway Center, and gave them life advice from his brother. Now that Amare’s wife, Alexis, announced that she’s having a baby, what STAT did tonight really made me smile even more. Amare’s start to the new year sure is awesome. He really is a good soul. On another note: it’s obviously clear that there’s more rust on Amare’s game than a rusty nail. He did play some decent defense in the second quarter, but lost that defensive touch later in the second half. We know that Amare is defensively inept, but he didn’t look that bad on offense. There was one post possession where STAT spun in the post and aggressively drew the foul. His movements were more fluid than predetermined tonight. One thing I would love, though, is for Amare to set more screens like Tyson Chandler if the previous screens don’t work the first time instead of just being a sitting duck on the low block. Other than that, STAT did go perfect from the charity stripe, hitting 5-5 free throws. Yes, we must be patient as Job to see Amare wash off his rustiness. Patience, everyone.
- Tyson Chandler went perfect from the field, per usual, going 6-6, and had a double-double, which, most of it, was a fire that was lit in the second half. Nikola Vucevic, the Magic’s rebounding freak that had 29 rebounds against the Heat on New Years Eve, was being a nuisance on Tyson in the first half, but Tyson woke up. An epic tipped and-one and crashing the offensive glass summed up Tyson’s second quarter. Half of Tyson’s rebounds were offensive rebounds. Despite his great offensive game, Tyson had a blotchy game on the defensive end by giving up a little too many offensive rebounds to Josh McRoberts (McBob) and Vucevic for effortless second chance baskets.
- Earlier in the game, Jason Kidd was playing a little two man game with Melo, and played that two man game for three possessions in a row. If J-Kidd and Melo kept playing that two man game for the whole game, the Knicks might have won anyways (probably not). J-Kidd shot the poison arrow through the Magic’s HEEEAAAAAAARRTTTTTTSSSSS. Although the defending Jameer Nelson experiment was very harrowing, Kidd almost had a triple-double. I actually made a bet with someone that if J-Kidd ever gets a triple-double this year, I would buy a J-Kidd jersey. Hopefully, it’ll happen.
- I was playing with my Iman Shumpert nesting doll set because of Ronnie Brewer’s ineffectual use. Getting rejected by Moe Harkless was probably the best part of Brewer’s 17 minutes on the floor. Forgive me for being so malicious, Ronnie, but that block was so vicious. The ball literally went through the Amway Center roof. I’ll be playing that swat on replay in my head all day tomorrow, in school, and even when I’m taking a test (I’ll probably forget it by now, but still). On the positive side, Brew did make a couple of nice defensive plays in the third quarter, but then vanished into the gallows of a dungeon later on by being benched by King Mike Woodson.
- Is Marcus Camby Arvydas Sabonis or something? Because his passes were so precise. Camby had more assists (4) than he had points (2) and rebounds (1). Code white, code white! Marcus Camby is an alley oop fiend! Basketballs are coming down from the rafters! All of Camby’s four assists were alley oops to Tyson and Melo. I think we all learned something after this game: Running the offense through Marcus Camby alley oops is appetite for destruction. We can all agree on this.
- Watch out, Orlando nightlife, “Good” J.R Smith is coming for you. Earl’s 20 point streak was broken tonight (he scored 18), but that’s alright, his excellence is still here. J.R had a godlike second quarter, scoring six straight buckets, assisting in ball movement sequences, and all kinds of other things. Also, local Orlando residents, you can bike ride with J.R if you want, well, that’s if J.R has his bike with him. I’m sure he does. Let’s just hope he doesn’t ride his bike back to the hotel after drinking too much. J.R’s drink of the night: Orange Tundra. He’ll be chipping in for an ample amount of those for the local Orlando Knick fans.
- Pablo Prigioni’s stat line should be better. The Magic were abusing Prigs with their rapid dribble drives, same with J-Kidd, Jameer Nelson being the perpetrator. Despite that, the Prigs-Amare pick and roll synergy is beginning to form, which is making me really happy.
- Somehow, Steve Novak had a +26 going 2-6 from the field, those two shots being threes, of course. S’all good, Stevak.
- Chris Copeland only played a measly four minutes, and missed a three. It’s okay, Cope. Sleep tight. Sweet dreams.
As cliche as it sounds, but very true, a win is a win. I thanked Jacque Vaughn for not inserting Jameer Nelson in the rotation in the fourth quarter because, oh my god, the Magic were extirpating the Knicks on the pick and roll. There was blood everywhere from not just Jameer Nelson’s shooting, dribble penetration and pick and rolls, but it was also Arron Afflalo’s astonishingly efficient 10-14 shooting night, and his ability to draw fouls while taking a jump shot. Melo was his first victim, and then it was Tyson. Afflalo morphed into Larry Johnson after hitting a four point play, and then turned back into normal. The glass was cleaned by the duo of Nikola Vucevic and Josh McRoberts, mostly because of those darn defensive switches, which can make me punch a hole through my wall when they fail miserably because they really are that bad when they don’t work, creating several mismatches. Thankfully, J.J Redick didn’t bombard the Knicks with threes, and good thing that E’Twaun Moore wasn’t playing either because when both of those guys are on, it’s impossible to stop them, especially Redick on the catch-and-shoot. It’s almost like when Redick catches and shoots, it’s an automatic basket. Not tonight, though, Mr. Redick. At least you got the ball stuck in the rim, halting the game for about a minute or so.
Ahhh, that was a good, sloppy win (oxymorons!). Now back to MSG to face those damn Celtics. Playing Dropkick Murphys is off limits until after the game ends.