Monday, November 5, 2007

"I served with Kevin Garnett, I knew Kevin Garnett, Kevin Garnett was a friend of mine. Senator, you are no Kevin Garnett."

Knicks defeat T-Wolves, 97-93 // Post-Game Thoughts

--Al Jefferson is very good and he's probably only going to get better. Ryan Gomes and Craig Smith are quite talented as well and they both maximize their abilities through hard work. But none of those guys come close to replacing Kevin Garnett. They know this better than we do and that is why it is admirable that they still play as hard as they do.

--The Knicks zone defense was again horrendous. Just silly bad. A well-coached high school team from the NBIL in northern New Jersey could pick it apart. Watching them fail in zone for the second straight game I was wondering if the fact that so few of these guys played much college ball has anything to do with it. There'll be a separate post later about this. I'm very interested in the ways in which the overall lack of non-NBA basketball experience is impacting this team. Starting with their coach (Isiah only played two years at IU and right on through the roster this is not a team that has ever had the chance to learn the game in a non-NBA setting).

--Marbury was good at times, absent at others but his aggressiveness early set the right tone for the offense. He showed little fear of a potentially hostile crowd (the last two home openers have NOT been pleasant) and started playing for the lead from the first whistle. And, notably he wasn't taken out of the game with the first round of substitutions like he was in Cleveland.

--Crawford, as usual, had the ball in his hands down the stretch. He clearly wants the role and all the preasure. He makes shots but can be his own worst enemy at times as well. Still, it is the job of his coach and his teammates to rein him in once he starts popping off-balance, heat-check shots from the wing. Steph had to literally rip the ball from his hands so he wouldn't take another shot as the clock was running down.

--David Lee showed some (surprisingly) polished moves on the offensive end but he can't let Craig Smith get the better of him consistently.

--The T-Wolves need to get Craig Smith in the starting lineup.

--Watching Zach Randolph play in person it is clear that he is more gifted than most. His shots weren't falling (like they normally do, fingers crossed) but he is obviously comfortable getting the ball anywhere on the court. And confident that he can hit a shot from most anywhere as well. This sets him apart from most every player with his size. On an off night he still backed into a double-double.

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