|(1-0, 1-0 away)|
|(0-1, 0-1 home)|
“The reasons we want [Chandler] off the bench is not because he’s not good. It’s because we needed his firepower there. And we thought Timofey would have problems with fouls.” — Mike D’Antoni
— It feels great to start the season — always a time of some optimism for Knicks fans, albeit cautious, tempered optimism. You might want to check out our first LBE (Live Blogging Event) of the season. We were blessed to have some of our brightest die-hards show up for the talk-action: Peaceman led the way. Post-up Prince, Steady, O&B, Modi and Paul Noize. Good read and funny as usual.
— No matter how you slice it, a win is a win is a win. The Knicks have a winning record for the first time since early in the Waldantoni regime, right before Walsh decided that the quickest way to the perennial playoff trips was to dismantle the team in favor of sap space. Let us enjoy this moment for the moment.
– The major story line of the season, unless we find something else to blame on Isiah Thomas, will be how Mike D’Antoni keeps his job — one I would be surprised that he is satisfied with any way. Mike D’Antoni has already shown a willingness to approach this season a little differently than the others in little ways that have nothing to do with having better players. He’s doing the small things, like communicating better and emphasising more defense, because he needs to be better. (Has he ever publicly admitted doing a poor job before blaming a player?). In the first quarter he lengthened his rotation to ten. I am sure he did it a little sooner than expected because Timofey Mozgov picked up two quick fouls in the first three minutes of the game. Landry Fields (11 points and 4 boards in 30 minutes) proved that putting him in the starting line-up was not a horrendous idea, but it’s taking D’Antoni too long to send his Godson to the bench where he can revv up for a few minutes after the tip to play some NBA quality ball on both sides of the NBA ball.
– Wilson Chandler had a superb game. This guy scored 22 points in 29 minutes on 10-18 shooting in a variety of ways including on drives and from the tre spots. He also offered 8 boards, 2 assists and 2 blocks. Hopefully, it does not take D’Antoni long to realize that this man is NOT A 2 (yeah, I’ve started painting the hardwood by numbers just because everybody else talks that way) but a starting forward in this group. Which means that Gallinari should not be starting over Wilson Chandler. It was clear last year and during this pre-season. Chandler thrived with Stoudemire on the bench and as the offensive lead. He seems much more poised and aggressive offensively. Is it possible that he is learning from Stoudemire? I highly recommend focusing on his development at least until Peaceman and other fanatics ship him to Mile High.
– Timofey Mozgov? He’ll have much better games, but he is definitely raw. Surprise. Four (4) fouls in seven minutes. His first foul was on the very first defensive play for the Knicks.
– The Raptors seemed very willing to surrender this game to the Knicks. Post-Bosh nickname the Craptors seemed appropriate for much of the game as they stumbled and bumbled. They ended the game with 20 assists to 11 turnovers. Still, the Knicks biggest double-digit lead locked mighty precarious and it was as the Raptors came back behind some solid play from Jarett Jack (16 pts, 5 assts, 4 boards, 3 steals) Lina Klieza (13 points and 5 boards) and Leandro Barbosa (13 funny ass looking points in 24 minutes). It is unbelievable that the Raptors did not out-rebound the Knicks for the entire game. The Knicks held the rebounding edge 49-45. The Raptors were at their best when they were crashing the boards and running on the Knicks but they didn’t force the issue until too late. They also sucked (75%) from the charity stripe.
– Defensively, the Knicks had nothing for Andrea Bargnani (AB) who has taken on the role as the Raptors go to guy. He had 22 points and 6 boards. Although, it took him 21 shots to get those points, he was very difficult to guard.
– Amar’e Stoudemire (19 points, 10 rebounds, 9 turnovers) is apparently on the Knicks new hysterical preservation program for the star forward. He sat for about seven minutes as the lead dwindled. When he re-entered the game he scored seven straight points to rebuild the lead. He clearly gives the Knicks the finisher they have been missing for years. Now he needs some help from Walsh, the coaches and his teammates. He seemed to get all the help he needed for the occasion last night. He clearly misses Steve Nash though as illustrated by the almost double digit turnovers. Studdy says that’s not him, but it has been a long time since he spent most of the time creating his own shots. I don’t recall a single pick and roll score for him. Do you?