Clippers 116, Knicks 108

Well, it wasn’t put-an-ax-through-the-television bad, but I was about to head out to the woodshed there for a minute.  No long-winded recap today, but I do have one observation for every Randy Foye made jumper:

First Quarter

  • Mozgov misses an easy layup – Breen: “He was too far under the rim.”  Ok, Mike…

  • The Clipper bigs look lost on defense.  The Knicks slip every screen, and Griffin looks like he’s never seen one before.
  • Mozgov and Amar’e must really want the Knicks to sign DeAndre Jordan; they’re giving Donnie Walsh his highlight video.
  • Excellent job by Mozgov to recognize a defensive mismatch (Felton on Griffin) late in the shot clock and coming over for an immediate double-team.  Griffin doesn’t have time to react and the result is a turnover.
  • Fouling someone from behind at halfcourt should be renamed “The Toney Douglas.”
  • Mozgov follows more excellent defense – jumping straight up to contest a driver – by cleaning up an horrendous Chandler shot – a 17-foot fadeaway early in the shot clock – with a putback dunk.

Second Quarter

  • Clyde inexplicably cracks himself up with the line: “When Blake Griffin played at Oklahoma, the football team scored more than the basketball team!”  If you missed it, he was laughing to himself for five straight seconds.  I guess when you’re the coolest person on Earth, you get to decide what’s funny for the rest of us.
  • Maybe Chandler thinks by taking horrible shots, Denver won’t want him.
  • Ok, so when Amar’e screams, “That’s a foul!” so loud that the floor microphones pick it up, how is that not a technical foul?  Oh, because we want the players to be as confused as possible about the rules?  Got it.
  • I hate being reminded what an astonishingly poor rebounder Gallo is.  I just…want to believe he’s perfect.  Is that too much too ask?
  • End of half one: Clippers 58, Knicks 47.  Mozgov the only semi-bright spot of a very poor first half filled with open dunks and easy penetration from Baron Davis.  Clips shot the lights out but didn’t score any more than they deserved given the quality of the looks.

Third Quarter

  • The Knicks promptly turn it over to start the second half.  Clyde: “A miscommunication between Fields and Mozgov.”  More like a miscommunication between Fields and his own hands, but ok.
  • The next time I see Felton take a 24-foot two-pointer off the dribble will be too soon.
  • Amar’e hits a jumper off the elbow curl and beseeches his teammates to communicate defensively.  Well, we know Amar’e can talk, that’s for sure.
  • Oh look, Felton did it again.  And it was too soon.
  • Davis picks up Fields coming upcourt, who immediately tries to take him down low: turnover.  Clyde seems to think Fields was exploiting a mismatch; Landry Fields will probably be president one day, but I don’t see how Landry Fields one-on-one against anybody is a mismatch for anyone other than Landry Fields.
  • Clippers are now 6-9 from three-point range.  So much for my game preview – they can’t all be winners, folks.
  • Not that the Knicks aren’t getting run off the floor here, but the Clips should feel free to throw in a miss once in a while.  Just hitting everything here in the third.
  • Clyde seems confident the Knicks will make a run.  Other than the Clippers shooting lights-out, I’m not sure what he’s seeing to give him that impression.  Then again, nobody scores in bunches like the Knicks.
  • Great job by Douglas to deny Bledsoe the ball and draw an offensive foul.  Re the Aaron Brooks rumors: he’s a fine player, better than Toney overall, but Aaron Brooks ain’t doing that dirty work.
  • It’s an 11-point game out of nowhere!  Doubting Clyde gets you nowhere.
  • Felton telegraphs a pass and turns it over.  He really goes from John Stockton to Bassy Telfair in the blink of an eye, doesn’t he?
  • Three quarters complete, Knicks down ten.  They’re very much in range against a Clippers team that has three road wins all year.  Can they close?

Fourth Quarter

  • No one is watching the ball, so no one steps to Foye as he beats his man to the bucket.
  • I love when Gallo guards opposing point guards.  Just had to mention that.
  • Gallo hits a long two as Clyde says, “I like what the Knicks are doing – they’re featuring the hot hand.”  He’s 3-12, Clyde.  Let’s relax.
  • Douglas with a tip-in and a three to make it a five-point game!  The Clippers have gone to the pen – out comes Joba Chamberlain, in comes Mel Rojas!
  • Bledsoe promptly double-dribbles, then an easy PnR to Amar’e for the jam!  Rojas doesn’t retire a batter in the eighth and the Clippers are bringing in Armando Benitez!
  • DeAndre Jordan is really a poor team defender.  If I’m noticing it, it has to be a lack of effort more than physical inability.
  • Randy Foye, who has been awful all year, is absolutely unconscious.  And it’s not through bad defense…mostly.  He’s burying everything.
  • The Knicks cut a 20-point lead to three but fell short.  Foye had 17 of his 24 in the fourth quarter, and some ridiculous shot-making by the Clips held off what would have been quite a New York comeback.  Griffin had a relatively quiet pro debut at MSG as the Knicks once again played to the level of their opponent.  In this see-saw season, that’s about the only reliable thing about this team lately.

It’s easy to say the Knicks were outhustled or they had no energy, but the turnovers and rebounding were about even.  I don’t want to be an apologist after a loss for which there are really no excuses, but when you have substandard three-point shooters throwing them in like that, those points add up.  Entering tonight Gomes, Davis, Foye and Bledsoe were shooting a combined 30% from three. Tonight? 9-17.  Sure, many of them were wide open and have a better chance of going in, but I can’t totally blame Mike D’Antoni if he told his team, “Gordon’s out and they don’t have any other good outside shooters.  Let’s keep Griffin from going off.”  It isn’t necessarily wrong to challenge those players to make those shots, nor is it wrong to think their hot shooting might subside.  The Knicks have seen many teams, including themselves, go cold in the fourth quarter this year to even up games.  Tonight, Randy Foye made sure that didn’t happen; is a Randy Foye going to show up every night to beat the Knicks?  The Knicks, and the percentages, say no.

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