Knicks Come Back To Life Against Celtics! …And Still Lose


Do I even need to say the Knicks lose anymore when I write about games?  Shouldn’t that just be assumed?  Hell, if I was the type to buy lottery tickets, wouldn’t y’all get annoyed with me if every day I turned to you, tapped ya on the shoulder & said, “Hey guess what?  I didn’t win the lottery again today.”  With the odds so stacked against you, you’d only mention the outcome if it was surprising.  So from now on, when I talk about the Knicks’ latest game, I’m not gonna mention that they lost and y’all can just assume it.  If, by some fluke, they win, THEN I’ll write about the outcome.  Don’t agree with that?  Fine, that’s up to you, but by the way, I drove my car today and didn’t get into a car accident.  Nor did anything happen to it the day before.  Or the day before that.  Or…

That disclaimer aside, the Knicks played worlds better against the Celtics (a team that’s one of only like 4 or 5 legit title contenders at this point), plus this good showing was in Boston so they didn’t even have the home crowd behind them.  Well, there was one exception.  New acquisition, Eddie House, got a standing ovation from his former fans.  Likewise, new Celtic, our former L’il Him, Nate Robinson, got tons of applause when he checked into the game to play his first minutes as a Celt (Krypto-Nate had been ill so he hadn’t played in any of Boston’s last few games).

Happily, once again Chris Duhon did not get off the bench (I believe I may’ve seen him wearing a suit, so maybe he wasn’t even on the active list for the game).  Sergio Rodriguez, still a bundle of energy, already has grown to better understand how to run D’Antoni’s offense.  He played 38 minutes, racking up 18 points on a fabulous 7-of-10 shooting, with 3 three-pointers, five rebounds, six assists, two steals, and one block to top it all off nicely.  This is a guy who was a third-string point guard for a team mired in mediocrity (the Sacramento Kings) who couldn’t get off the bench.  He’s always shown flashes of brilliance, but no NBA team has ever let him just go to town.  If he can keep up this level of play, I’m betting the Knicks will try to bring him back for next season (at a reasonable low salary).  This is a win-win situation for both sides.  We’re giving him a chance to prove himself, and in return we might get a great bargain for the future.

Surprisingly, instead of Toney Douglas coming off the bench, D’Antoni gave new shooting guard Bill Walker some minutes.  I’d always assumed Walker was end-of-the-bench material who was thrown in to make salaries work in the Nate Robinson trade.  Sorta like how we also tossed in Marcus Landry who was our 15th man who rarely got to see the floor.  Now of course there’s the possibility that D’Antoni gave Walker some extra burn ‘cuz we were going up against his old team, but the kid looked good.  Yeah, he accumulated four fouls in just thirteen minutes, but he’s got some serious athleticism and potential.

There was fear Tracy McGrady wouldn’t be able to play last night since we’d played the night before and he’d talked about how he was feeling all these minutes in his surgically repaired knee.  Again, he drove several times which was friggin’ awesome.  He did put up one or two ill-advised outside jumpers.  That, combined with him not getting some foul calls that he should’ve gotten, resulted in a less-than-stellar 3-for-8 shooting night for a mere six points.  Plus he only had enough energy to play 27 minutes.  But as I said, just the fact that he played at all was a great sign.  And while his shooting stank like skunk poo, that court vision was in full effect, allowing him to get eight assists.  Most point guards don’t even get that many assists in a game, so to get that from a shooting guard is a beautiful thang.

Between McGrady, Rodriguez & Eddy House, we got nearly 20 assists, which resulted in us getting a ton of easy baskets against one of the best defensive teams in the league.  How easy, you ask?  We shot a sick 52.5% from the field.  The other thing that kept us in the game?  Our rebounding.  The Celts have taller big men than us in Kevin Garnett and Rasheed Wallace, plus much stronger big men in Kendrick Perkins and Glen “Big Baby” Davis.  Not only did we not let them dominate us on the boards, we actually out-boarded them by one!

The last impressive part about the game was that even though we got down by something like 14 points within the first quarter, the team never gave up.  In the fourth quarter we got within one point and were in it until the very end.  With less than 50 seconds remaining, we were down by three.  After several great passes getting the Celts out of position, we got it to Wilson Chandler for an easy lay-up at the basket with no one in front of him.  Then a truly unexpected thing happened.  Ray Allen, never known as a good defender and having lost a bunch of lift in his legs, came and blocked Chandler from behind.  Probably if Chandler had just dunked it instead of flipping it up it would’ve gone in, but there was no way he could’ve anticipated being blocked from behind by Ray friggin’ Allen.  It would’ve been a one-point game with less than a minute to go, giving us a real shot at stealing the game.  ‘Course if we did that, then I could’ve turned to you and said, “Guess what?  We won the lottery today.”