Friday, November 7, 2008

It's Alive! Knicks @ Wizards

Fourth Quarter Unfiltered Thoughts/Observation:

-Lee makes amends for his miss at the end of the third with a nice baseline spin move to get up a scoring shot over Etan Thomas. I don't know if it was by design but I like that the team went right back to him.

-Roberson makes a quick drive along the baseline before the Washington defense gets set.

95-88

-As Tripucka puts the period on this sentence, "Knicks looking to get on a little defensive run here," this McGee character cans a shot from the foul line.

-Nate gets out on the break again and drops in a bucket as he's fouled by Juan Dixon. Oh, hi Mr. Dixon. Here's where you've been. I remember you.

97-90

-Nate makes exactly the sort of bounce pass that I harangued Duhon for not making. Lee gets fouled while laying it in.

-Lee misses the free throw following a timeout.

99-92

-The Wiz don't even know which mismatch to attack. Duhon on Butler? Nate on Nick Young? Or Lee trying to guard Jamison beyond the arc? After trying Butler over Duhon the Wiz grab the offensive board and Jamison sinks a three.

99-95

-The Wiz are flowing on offense. They're attacking. Roberson, meanwhile, is chucking. He hits the middle of three attempts on three straight possessions.

102-99

-Great, great, great fastbreak bucket by Jamison, who had to coral a dart of a pass as he sliced to the rim.

102-101

-Right off the bench, Crawford sends up a high-arching three pointer. It doesn't touch anything. Not rim. Not net. Until it bounces hard off the floor a few feet away from the goal. Air ball. Nice.

-Out of the timeout, Caron Butler gets a layup over Randolph to give the home team the lead.

102-103

-Duhon cans a three. He's playing his best game of the season. Easy. So far, I mean. I hope we don't look back at the end of April and say this was his best game. Ugh. Pretend I never said anything.

105-103

-Randolph misses a free throw. It feels like the Knicks have missed 17 of 12 from the line tonight.

-With less than four to play, Duhon passes to Randolph twenty feet from the rim on the left wing. He fades away and is way short on the shot. That's the Zach-hole I used to know.

-Phenomenal slice to the rim by Crawford. He hits and sprawls on the floor. That's what he needs. Get aggressive. Show us that okey-doke crossover and don't settle for jumpers.

108-103

-Again for Crawford, this time from deep. After showing he is a threat to penetrate he got a little more space and nailed the shot. It's a seven-point lead with three minutes to play.

110-103

-Heads-up bounce pass from Q to Z-Bo for a layup. It's a 10-0 run by the Knickerbockers.

112-103

-Jamison hits a three.

112-106

-The run is over. But the game is just beginning. I remember once, several years ago, hearing Reggie Miller say that all he ever wanted was for his team to be within six points when the game hit the two-minute mark. That's all he needed, he said. And, I believe him. That Jamison three makes it a six-point game as we dip under two minutes.

-The Knicks are chasing the ball around on defense. It's haphazard but it's spirited. I'll take it.

-Gus Johnson is doing his best to talk up Duhon tonight. The Dukie deserves it right now. I can admit that.

-The Knicks turn it over with 26.5 to play and an six-point lead. D'Antoni is unimpresed by this. He calls a timeout to inform his charges of his stance.

-In a shocking display of fatalism the Wizards opt not to foul the Knicks as the final ten seconds tick off the clock.

The Knicks have a winning record.

It's Alive! Knicks @ Wizards

Third Quarter Unfiltered Thoughts/Observations:

-Feels sluggish to start the second half.

-Z-Bo goes right at the rim to open the scoring, prompting Gus Johnson to deliver the back-handed compliment of the night: "One thing about Zach Randolph: He's not an athletic jumper, but he's an awfully quick jumper."

-Duhon drove into the paint and kicked to Q for a three. He might have last night's post about him...

69-59

-Crawford still feeling it from the outside. The Knicks are 11 of 19 from three.

72-63

And, Chris Duhon is serving me a small sampling of crow right now. He just drove to the paint and dished to Zach for a layup.

74-63

-Right now, everybody beats the Wiz.

-McGee picks up right were he left off the in first half. On the offensive end he goal tends. Then he follows that up with a goal tend on the defensive end. That is the sort of double-dip that DJ Mbenga can only dream of.

-Seriously, McGee is stealing the show. He's alternately the MVP of both teams. He blocked a Lee shot and then ran the floor to slam home another dunk.

80-75

-Tired of watching someone else elicit all the oohs and aahs, Nate Robinson goes high and hard to the rim. Shots drops. And one! But he misses. And zero...

-Breakaway for Nate and he lays it in to the audible disappointment of the crowd who wanted a dunk.

-Butler comes right back with deep bucket. The Knicks can't get away from Washington. Any time they get a little separation they miss a few buckets and the Wiz hit a few.

87-84

-Butler scores his 25th and 26th points by beating Mardy Collins along the baseline. And, he's fouled by Lee, who belatedly came over to help.

89-88

-Nate finds Lee with a north-south, chest-high pass but Lee misses the gimme with ten ticks left in the third.

End of Quarter

It's Alive! Knicks @ Wizards

Second Quarter Unfiltered Thoughts/Observations

-Nate Robinson, Anthony Roberson and Mardy Collins are all on the floor to start the second. WWOD? does not approve this message.

-Some dude name Dominic McGuire out of Fresno State just tied up Lee on a rebound. The Wiz seem to have an abundance of tall, slightly built race horses while the Knicks have Mardy and Roberson on the floor. To their credit, both have scored so far in the second.

39-32

-Robinson rattles home a jumper. It wasn't as smooth as his second quarter shots on Wednesday but it works. He's the catalyst right now.

41-32

-Roberson is gunning for that No. 9 spot. He's missed shots on consecutive possessions.

-Nick Young is going at Nate Robinson. After going at him, he is going by him and then dunking over him.

41-35

-The momentum is all with the Wizards. They're getting to the hoop or getting the open shot that they want. The Knicks have held them off thanks to a contested Z-Bo shot from the 2007-2008 collection and a David Lee jumper.

45-41

-Another "seven-footer" named McGee just blocked a Randolph shot from two-feet. Where did they find all these guys?

-McGee has some DJ Mbenga to him. He is all over the place. He's blocking shots, running the floor and then missing dunks. His explosive ineptitude is the only thing keeping the Knicks in the lead.

47-47

-Or not. Two for McGee.

-The Wiz buckets are either freebies or coming off the precise shot they were looking for. Everything the Knicks do seems like a small miracle or it's a individual effort all the way.

-Thankfully, Chandler is making some crucial individual buckets. Having a more-than-competent, scoring small forward would be just an amazing thing. Could he be the next Gerald Wilkens? He's got 13 points already.

54-51

-Remember when I wistfully wondered about someone being the "next Gerald Wilkens"? Yeah. That's how badly this franchise needs small forward.

-Lee can't rebound over McGee.

-Or stop McGee from throwing down a ridiculous ally-oop dunk on all of our faces. Even I blushed after that.

56-56

-Antawn Jamison is getting to the rim and being compared to Alex English by Tripucka while Zach Randolph just attempted at least his second three of the game. Clank.

-Jamal Crawford is now the solo performer on offense.

-McGee is the American Mbenga. He just attempted a free throw that came in harder than Maverick buzzing the tower.

-Classic Crawford endgame possession to score at the halftime buzzer.

64-58

It's Alive! Knicks @ Wizards

First Quarter Unfiltered Thoughts/Observations:

-Gus Johnson opened up the broadcast by telling viewers that "the Verizon Center was the place to be." False. On the couch at WWOD? HQ is the place to be. It's just that nobody knows this except for me.

-Whoa, in the space where Walt Frazier is supposed to be sits Kelly Tripucka, the NJ-native who went to ND and then looked silly on basketball cards for several years. Weird. We fear change. Except, like, the change we need. We love that change.

-Wilson Chandler is in the starting lineup tonight (along with Duhon, Crawford, Q and Zach Randolph) in place of David Lee. Gus reports that this is "a matchup decision." I say it's another one of the coach's messages. This might mean a Zach Randolph sighting in the center cirlce for the opening tip. Someone better recalibrate the unintentional comedy scale.

-No Gilbert Arenas. No surprise, since Gil's got worse knees than my WWII-vet grandpa. But still a shame. Agent Zero is/was one of my favorite players to watch play.

-Chandler takes the tip. And wins it. I bet Zach was actually nervous he would be called upon for the tip when he heard Lee wasn't starting.

-"Way too easy there," is Tripucka's remark after the Wizards' first hoop. Clearly, he's already gotten the hang of calling a Knicks game.

-Two threes to start for the Knicks. This lineup (with the exception of Duhon) can shoot.

-Three three-pointers to start: JC, Q, Z-Bo.

-Two layups to start for the Wiz: Antonio Daniels x 2. Well, it is what it is.

-Chandler, starting so he can defend Antawn Jamison, surrenders an easy layup while fronting the post.

-Randolph gets his second hoop from the post. He's going at Etan Thomas.

-Gus reports that D'Antoni told him that Chandler reminds him of Shawn Marion. I think that's a bit of stretch. I both like the wishful thinking and am unnerved by the comparisons to his former players. It's always weird when dudes compare the current people in their lives to their ex. You know?

17-17

-Crawford three! This team shoots deep shots. Early in the clock. I don't kow if it's the plan or if it's that we can't get ourselves better, closer looks.

-20-17

-The Wiz, on the other hand, get layups and dunks and mix in the occassional jump shot.

-Lee and Nate check in. Lee is aggressive. Nate is pushing the tempo.

29-21

-"That's just a case of the Knicks not getting back in transition." - Tripucka

29-23

-Wiz reserve Andray Blatche is too long and springy for this Knicks lineup.

29-26

-Following a Nate turnover, Blatche dunks emphatically.

29-28

-With the quarter winding down, the Knicks turn it over again. Fifth time in the first.

End