Knicks win a home opener and other Sunday itemsPosted by larryfleisher
How long has it been since a Knick team won their home opener? A little over six years, a time that is so long that Jeff Van Gundy was coaching and Michael Jordan was playing.
It’s so long that none of the central figures in the 97-93 win were remotely close to the scene on October 30, 2001.
For example, Jamal Crawford led the Knicks with 24 points. The last time the Knicks won their home opener, he was on the injured list, which has since been replaced by the inactive list.
Zach Randolph, who had 15 points and 10 rebounds in his home debut, including a key defensive rebound down the stretch, made his NBA debut for Portland and played one minute in a loss to the Lakers.
Eddy Curry had not even made his debut, that came a night later in 12 minutes off the bench for the Bulls where two of his teammates were Charles Oakley and Greg Anthony.
Stephon Marbury was starting over this time with the Phoenix Suns and scored 14 points in a 98-96 win over the Nuggets.
Isiah Thomas was coaching across the river for the Pacers in New Jersey. His team blew an 11-point deficit and wilted in the fourth quarter of a 103-97 loss.
You get the idea.
The quality of play may not have been the greatest but there was enough things to like if you happen to root for the Knicks.
Jamal Crawford - 24 points, 49 in his first two games. The totals in the previous three seasons were 33, 15 and 26. Might this be a sign of a breakout? One thing that is certain is he has bulked up and can absorb that contact a little better.
Fourth quarter - 20 points allowed, big defensive rebound by Zach Randolph, who has two doubles-doubles already.
I’m not going to wax poetic about this one. It’s not Game Seven of a playoff series, it’s game one of 41, game two of 82 but anyone associated with the Knicks will take a 97-93 victory or similar.
From an entertainment standpoint, this game is about a B. Watching Crawford was exciting, waiting to see if and when the other shoe would drop (a collapse by the Knicks) was interesting and seeing Randolph beat Ryan Gomes for that rebound was nice to see.
I thought the shoe would drop when Eddy Curry forgot that when the shot clock is turned off, all you have to do is pass it out and let the perimeter guys milk it. D’oh. He picked up an offensive rebound, had his shot blocked and Antoine Walker missed a three-pointer that would have tied it, forced overtime probably and given the Knicks more chances for the shoe to drop.
Those things put a player, especially a new one on the plus side with the tough New York crowd.
As for Minnesota, this is a young team with an interesting collection of players. Craig Smith is a nice little bruiser down low, I’ve always liked Gomes and of course Al Jefferson is solid, although he has to score more than six points after the first quarter.
The theme with them is forging an identity of a team that is coming to scratch and claw and be successful some of the time (probably 25-30 times this season).
Anyways back to the rest of the association:
Not counting watching the ending of Boston-Toronto and Atlanta-Detroit on the internet, I caught some of that Lakers-Jazz game.
From that, I saw a lot of hustle plays as they pulled away for a 119-109 win over Utah. It was so impressive that even Kobe Bryant got into the act, blocking a dunk attempt by Andrei Kirilenko. That would have made it a five-point game but it was not a coincidence that minutes later the Lakers went up by double digits.
Had I been hanging out on the couch and not at the Knick game, I probably would have watched the Hawks-Pistons game. The Hawks were solid Friday against Dallas and for three quarters were the same in Detroit. We’ve seen that before, the Pistons tease their opponent into thinking they can win and then get it rolling in the fourth. Of course they may or may not have been jipped by the refs (again that comes down to earning the respect, which teams such as them and the T-Wolves will get by playing hard and competing) .
So how did the nine-point lead evaporate?
Well with 11:27 remaining, Josh Childress puts in a layup for a five-point lead. Six turnovers and eight missed shots later, they’re down by six. And the linked text will cover the rest of the details.
It looks like we’ll have to add the Heat and Sonics to the 0-3 club .
The Heat fell 90-88 to the Bobcats and until “Flash comes back, who’s getting the ball in clutch situations. Here’s who got the ball in the final six minutes when Charlotte almost squandered a 16-point lead. Shaq got it twice for a dunk and free throws, Chris Quinn then had two free throws, missed a three, Haslem missed a 17-footer, Wright hits a jumper and two from the line but misses a three. Ricky Davis hits a three and Haslem gets another crack. I’m sure Pat Riley is eagerly anticipating me writing a post where Wade is the one, maybe next week in New York.
The Bobcats are 2-0 for the first time and I’m not getting the bubbly just yet. After all, they won the first game against a team who had a player forget what the score was (Maurice Williams) and almost coughed up a 16-point lead before. If anything I’d celebrate the final minute on defense because Sam Vincent was obvious in saying our inepxerience showed there.
So how’s PJ doing? It was another fourth quarter to forget for the 0-3 Sonics. They haven’t been this bad since 1985-86. Kevin Durant is obviously good, but those fourth quarters need fixing. It was 37-25 today in favor of the Clippers and through three games, it is 98-66 in favor of Seattle opponents in the fourth.
It sounds a little frustrating for PJ doesn’t it?
“We need to develop a little more aggression than we have right now, especially in the fourth quarter,” Carlesimo said. “Our defense is lousy, but every game it’s 20-something turnovers and 25 points. It’s just not bad half-court defense. It’s giving up 25 points in transition.”
I won’t tell you what the article contains but you can find out that Durant is averaging four points in the final 12 minutes.
And finally, I can’t believe we’ve gotten this far without discussing the Raptors-Celtics game. Sounded like fun as it went to overtime and Ray Allen won it with a three-pointer. Our condolences to Doc Rivers, who had to miss due to his father’s death. But imagine having those three choices to get the shot and none would have been wrong, that’s a nice problem to have.
By the way, I’d have watched that game over the football - even Patriots-Colts.