Thursday, December 3, 2009

Return to Form

Knicks Lose @ Orlando, 118-104

With the Magic decked out in 1990s throwback uniforms and the Knicks outfitted with cement high-tops, everything got back to normal. The Knicks lost. By a lot. They didn't have any better luck covering the spread (which varied from 12 to 13.5 depending on where you looked) than they did covering Rashard Lewis (who knocked down 8 three-pointers).

The reasons/excuses not to get too riled up about this loss are legion: It was the second night of a back-to-back set that had the team traveling down to Florida after Tuesday night's game. It was a loss at the defending conference champs. It came after the inspiring victory over Phoenix. And you can't - or at least this team can't - win 'em all. And, by "all," I mean consecutive games. Of course, the real reason that I'm not too troubled by this game is that I didn't watch it. I was back at the Garden again last night for a performance even more epic than the one I saw on Tuesday. On the 26th anniversary of the band's first gig, Phish came back to the Mecca and opened up a three-night residency on Seventh Avenue.
And, while the story coming out of the Garden may have been about the first rendition of Frank Zappa's Peaches En Regalia in a decade, the face melting Light or the aggressive shredding of the Tweezer Reprise that closed out the show (after A Day in the Life opened the encore), the buzz out of the Orlando had to do with the fact that coach D'Antoni hung a DNP-CD on Nate Robinson. His latest transgression was a needless foul away from ball during the win over Phoenix. To be honest, I don't clearly recollect this from being at the game but it's gotten plenty of play in the papers in the last 48 hours. Toney Douglas got the spare minutes and chipped in 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting in 21 minutes. Not too shabby.

I'm all for discipline and I'm all for figuring out some way to harness Robinson's talent. After all, the little guy scored 22 fourth-quarter points the other night. And, he's capable of changing the game every night. So, I hope this is an effort by D'Antoni to motivate him rather than some punitive move for his mental errors. This episode does shine a light on the issue bothering me most with this team right now: allocation of minutes and lineup choice. Douglas can play and should get more run. It shouldn't take Nate being benched to get the rookie out there. Unfortunately, I'm not quite sure what I think should be happening so I'm not going to complain when I'm not yet ready to alter a more nuanced alternative than BENCH DUHON.