Thursday, December 6, 2007

There's No Place Like Home. Except for New Jersey.

Knicks beat Nets (100-93) to pick up First Road Win of the Season.



In spite of those surprising reports that Marbury might play, the Knicks took the court in NJ last night wihout him. However, his was not the only absence. Eddy Curry missed the game because he injured his ankle in the morning shoot around. Seriously? Your best player is going to miss the game and you hurt yourself warming up? Obviously it is entirely possible to roll an ankle practicing. Heck, I've done it just getting out of bed. But, having seen the Knicks shoot around prior to the five home games I've attended, this news makes my brain hurt.

The Knicks shoot around during the pre-game is haphazard and devoid of purpose. Of course it is. Could it be any other way? While other teams are running synchronized layup lines, bounce passing, waiting their turn, saying please and thank you and rebounding their teammates missed shots; the Knicks are ten men moving independent of the next. Randolph is heaving up off-balance three point shots. Nate is driving wildly to the hoop. Some folks are taking layups. Others are taking foul shots. Almost no one is practicing anything that they will do in a game situation. Well, unless we're going to call that play were David Lee needs to a take a fadeaway turnaround bank-shot from the right corner. Meanwhile, Eddy Curry is normally hanging out as far from the basket as he can lest he accidentally have to rebound a missed shot. He's either "stretching" just as well as I played violin in the 3rd grade. In other words, he's faking it so that his parents, who came to the gym at Woodside Elementary school to see the musical show with all of the other parents, think that he is playing. And, when he isn't fake-stretching he is yapping it up with the opposition or just sort of standing their by himself. A couple of times I swear he is dancing. So, the thought of him hurting himself in a shoot-around is infuriating because, if what I've seen is any indication, this injury occurred during some half-joking game of horse between Curry and rolly-polly assistant Brendan Suhr.

Still, the most conspicuous absence of the night was that of Jason Kidd. He had a headache. Which he called in about sometime during the middle of the day. Oh, wait it was a migraine. Or, as the papers and the radio peoples are reporting all of the place, he was having a tantrum because he is on a mediocre team and wants out. Kidd didn't choose to sit out last night when the Nets played the Cavs, perhaps because Cleveland is one of the team's that he would like to be traded to and he wanted to make a good impression on his future teammates and coaches. And, by sitting out against the Knicks he forfeits what could be considered an automatic win for his team since the Knicks are 1 - 3,540 against the Nets since Kidd joined the team. He has their number. Bad. Everyone knows this. Especially his bosses and they know how badly each win is needed if the Net aren't going to fizzle out again this year.

In any case, the game is played. Literally hundreds of people are in attendance. I am related to two of them. The Knicks are less lost on offense without Marbury and Eddy than the Nets are without Kidd. David Lee squeezes his way into the starting lineup along with Fred Jones. The enigmatic Fred Jones. Lee wins the tip against the hapless Jason Collins. The Knicks continue the trend of letting Q take those first few shots. He misses two straight before Randolph and Crawford take over the offense and lead the Knicks to an early 14-6 lead. Meanwhile, Jefferson and Carter account for all but two of the Nets buckets in the first quarter.

9 missed field goal attempts and 4 missed free throw attempts in the second quarter allow the Nets to close within two at 40-38 but the Knicks hold on, the wheels don't come off. Crawford hits a few free throws, Q hits a 3, Randolph hits a jumper and then gets to the rim on the next trip. The Knicks end the first half on an 11-3 run.

The second half largely follows this same script. Nets make run. Knicks respond. Nets make run. Knicks respond. I expected the Knicks to buckle during the Nets final rush midway through the 4th quarter. Especially when Bostjan Nachbar hit consecutive threes and the lead was suddenly down to five with 6 minutes to go. But again the Knicks didn't waver. Too much. Crawford made bad shots look good down the stretch and the team made 10 of 11 free throws during that time. Crawford paced the Knicks with 29 on 7 for 17 shooting. On the flip side, Vince only netted 19 points on 7 for 17 shooting while Jefferon lead the home team with 31 points.

A win is a win. Is a win. The Knicks are no longer winless on the road. Which is nice. They are also 1-0 in the Atlantic and set to face Philly twice this weekend in a home and home. I remember when those were the norm. Oh, nostalgia. Anyways, this game probably has more implications for the Nets than the Knicks if Kidd really has declared mutiny. That is a problem. Trust me, I know.

The Recaps:
The News
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The Times
ESPN

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