What a strange night filled with boredom. No, it’s not from watching “Blair Witch Project” scenes, but from tonight’s game. The Knicks came into Detroit with Carmelo Anthony out after tripping on his own feet in Cleveland (curse you, Quicken Loans Arena). This game was very mucky and sluggish. After the first quarter, I knew this game wasn’t going to go all that well, and the majority of it didn’t. The defensive presence was great in the beginning, but, per usual, the defensive intensity slowed down, and got sloppy throughout, hence Brandon Knight looking like Mike Dunleavy hitting open threes from everywhere on the floor while Iman Shumpert and Jason Kidd were attempting to run around screens. However, in the fourth quarter, the Knicks regained themselves, Raymond Felton and J.R Smith in particular, and shot their way back into the game, going on a 16-0 run at one point, out scoring the Pistons 22-12, en route to an 87-77 win. Notes:
- Going into this game, the Knicks averaged 11.9 turnovers per game, the least in the league by any team. That’s certainly going to jack up now, because they committed 20 turnovers, 11 of them, yes, 11 TURNOVERS, in the first quarter. We’ll excommunicate that first quarter permanently for now on.
- Aside from turnovers anonymous (I’m penning this game as that), Amare Stoudemire played excellent. He was just short of a double-double (22-9) in 31 minutes. At the end of the first half, STAT was 6-7 from the field, scoring 17 points in 11 minutes. Mike Woodson did play him a little over his 30 minute limit, but it was absolutely necessary, considering that Tyson Chandler was mostly a non-factor, despite his 11 rebounds. STAT also showed his post game again, and impressed. I was like “why not give the ball to Amare for the remainder of the game?” Another brilliant game from Amare.
- 5 star turnover general Raymond Felton led the turnover charge by coughing it up 5 times in the first quarter alone, leading me to believe that a “Feltdown” was imminent. But, however, Ray reiterated the Warriors game where he got torched by Stephen Curry, except, he came up big on the offensive end rather than stuffing someone. I’m assuming you’re pretty shocked about me not slandering Felton for his defense on fast-as-lightning point guards, right? Well, Jose Calderon isn’t exactly what I would call “quick,” but he still ran past Felton like he was a Skills Challenge prop, and dished 16 assists. Calderon may not be quick, but he really is one of the most craftiest point guards in the league. Even though Duck/Bulldog was caught in a turnover crossfire, he was very efficient, going 10-15 from the field, scoring 26 points, while snagging 6 rebounds and dishing 4 assists, going off in the fourth quarter. QUACK QUACK, WADDLE WADDLE, WOOF WOOF, BARK BARK.
- J.R Smith got piped by Rowdy Roddy Piper for the first three quarters, forcing him to dribble out the shot clock, taking his patented but ghastly fadeaway stepback jumpers. A vast majority of his 16 missed shots at the end of the third quarter were those horrible shots, but, like Ray, he nailed his open catch-and-shoot threes when the Knicks needed them. Go ahead, bring up the J.R Starks narrative. I triple dog dare you.
- This gets it’s own bullet: Mike Woodson inserted four guards into a rotation by putting in Jason Kidd, Pablo Prigioni Raymond Felton, and J.R. Despite me flashing back to the dreaded darker-than-a-room-with-its-lights turned-off-with-the-blinds-closed-and-TV-turned-off-days of Isiah Thomas, it worked pretty well. Woody has previously tried three guard rotations against the Bulls, and those worked very well. I wonder if he’ll play them more (probably not).
- Iman Shumpert got off to a hot start, hitting three threes. I’ve constantly stated this, but I’ll state it again; if Shumpy shoots at least 35-36% at a consistent clip from downtown, that’ll be another three point weapon the Knicks will have in their arsenal. Still gotta figure out how to not get caught in screens, though, Shumpy.
- Mike Woodson will never realize how Wicked Witch of The West the James White/Kurt Thomas experiment is. Quite frankly, when both of them were pulled out, I was presumably thinking that 3-5 minutes was their minutes limit. It turns out I’m psychic, based on previous experiences, and by using logic. “Screw logic,” says Mike Woodson.
I didn’t really expect a lot from this game, with shades of crap being displayed in some areas. Fact of the matter is that we’ll be witnessing a 39 year old Jason Kidd guarding a 39 year old Derek Fisher tomorrow night. All of the Viagra and Cialis!
Follow James on Twitter @j_griff