Knicks Rolled Over Wiz Using Roles, Not Roll Players


Another potential new Knick blogger, Antony Marino, has fun writing about his take on Friday night’s victory over the Washington Wizards.  Sorry this wasn’t up sooner and that we don’t have anything for the loss against Philly yet.  It’s not that I only look at the Bright Side O’ Life (after all, I’m a %$^#$@& New Yawker) — it’s that my internet at home has gone MIA (no, it hasn’t taken it’s talents to South Beach, c’mon, that’s Missing In Action).  As one who watches Knick games on-line, non-existant interweb provides a serious impediment.  But enough of my belly-achin’ and back to Gufano’s excellent examination of our Friday Night Fight:

Yawn. Another day, another eleven blocks; another Knicks win. Good teams take care of business at home, and good franchises take care of toxic, 19th Century insulation and its resulting vascular liability at home. Or something. Great job all around.

With the John Wall hype machine and a healthy Yosemite Arenas coming to MSG on a Friday Night [Knicks Y’all] there was cause for concern of a letdown. But as has been the case in every game this year, the Knicks showed confidence, character and talent—exposing an inferior team time after time. Each Knick played their role to a “T”, other than young Anthony Randolph (who continues to look like a lost camper mistakenly left at Al Harrington’s Youth Clinic), but why rain on the parade? There is an imperative difference between one who is a “role player” and one who “plays one’s role”. Last night the Knicks continued to exhibit that they are largely composed of the latter. What follows is a giddy description of the roles and actors from last night’s praiseworthy performance against the Washington Walls.

The Wild Card: Bill Walker

Bill Walker has seemingly restructured his game more than his knee ligaments. From a high-flying swing man in high school to a bruising do-it-all forward in college to Mr. Greenlight in his first year with the Knicks, Walker had become something of a chameleon. Those of us who remember Walker’s micro fracture defying dunks last season were waiting for the return of “Bully Ball” (his words not mine). Though the four second hang-time three pointers have been nice, I for one was hoping to see Bill attack the rim with a sense of purpose; last night I was rewarded. Relying on a quick head fake and the historical precedence of hundreds of bad three point attempts, Walker was able to blow by his would be defenders and go-go-gadget himself to the iron with impossible power. You never know what to expect from Wild Bill, but if he continues to take what the defense gives him, I will be less and less inclined to learn the correct spelling of Kelenna Azooobooky (close??).

The Psycho: Performed by Ronny Turiaf and Timofey Mozgov

Someday Timofey and Ronny will play police partners in mediocre foreign action comedies, but for now we get to enjoy their hysterics and talents for free. Both players seem to posses neither ego nor fatigue, as our international rim protecting duo goes all-out at all times. Last night Mozgov showcased his ridiculous open court speed as well as some vicious finishes at the rim. Turiaf personally corralled the impressive Andray Blatche, even going so far as to goad him into a technical by means of unadulterated annoyance. Viva la France. Both Mozgov and Turiaf seemed determined to spark the fast break following both missed and made baskets, and both possessed the speed and motor to get back on offense.

The Bandit: Performed by Toney Douglas

Douglas finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds and 5 steals against the Wizards, effectively ruining John Wall’s Garden debut. For the second straight night, the Tallahassee Train Robber (horrendous I know) has displayed preter-human hand speed as well as dogged criminal instincts. Douglas flusters opposing guards and causes turnovers

(Wall had 10) that lead to a track meet that the Knicks will win every time. Toney is not a pure point guard but he is a pure scorer and a pure defender who ignited both an exciting second unit and an ill fated on-air comparisons to Clyde Frazier (note: Clyde was not amused by this whatsoever).

The Microwave: Performed by Wilson Chandler

Wilson Chandler, he of the two last names and two way game, dropped 14 points in twenty four minutes on a variety of jumpers, tip ins, finger rolls—and of course a crackatoan dunk that basically impregnated the rim itself. Whether it was D’Antoni’s bench relegation, a finally healthy body or a Ritalin laced marijuana, Chandler has become a scorer through and through—the leader of an electric bench on both offense and defense. Last night Chandler refused to force bad three pointers while maintaining his newfound assertiveness. What a weapon off the bench.

The Glue: Performed by Landry Fields

Good defense, willing passing, sneaky athleticism, dogged rebounding, racial ambiguity—these are the things that we have come to expect from young Landry, and he is bringing it every night. Though the rookie’s numbers were pedestrian last night, his impact was not. Fields consistently makes the extra pass and constantly finds himself in the right spot at the right time. Somewhere Donnie Walsh is petting a white cat in a leather chair, creepily grinning at the power of his own clairvoyance.

Floor General: Performed by Raymond Felton

In Raymon’s limited time in Knicks land he has shown blazing end to end speed, great shooting touch, the ability to finish with the left hand, uncanny timing and effective metabolism (Lil’ Patton has dropped at least 10lbs since preseason. Either he has taken his talents to the South Beach Diet or Anthony Mason pulled a reverse Coach Carter and locked the weight room from the outside). Of these virtues, Felton’s timing and/or “sense of the moment” was at the forefront last night. Raymond chose his spots to push the action and get to the rim seemingly when the Knicks needed a bucket most. Consider this ability the bizarro Chris Duhon “air-ball answer three-pointer”. Felton rarely scores in bunches, instead taking what the defense gives him and exploiting mismatches throughout the course of the game. The former Tar Heel wound up with 20 and 10, not bad considering that he and Amare have yet to exploit the pick and roll.

The Shooter: Performed by Danilo Gallinari

Another four three-pointers from the paisan, who also contributed with deft ball movement, a circus-freak-show-grade lay up, two cock blocks and one “you-a call-a-dis-a-three-a-point-line?!” grimace that I assume was directed at Dr. Naimsmith himself. Cold blooded. Gallo displayed the confidence appropriate of a 6’10 22 year old Italian millionaire living in Manhattan, as well as the patented high-release and effortless range that could make him a star.

The Franchise: Performed by Amar’e Stoudemire

What’s that you say? Only 18 and 5 from a nominal “superstar”? Underwhelming? I beg to differ, Chad Ford/ Marc Berman/ Chris Broussard/ Robert Mugabe. Amare’s statistical shortcomings have been a product of incessant double teams (not to mention a glut of long defenders that he has faced over the past four games); over the last two games the Knicks’ shooters have exploited space afforded to them. Amar’e only turned the ball over two times, and protected the rim with newfound voracity (four blocks!). In short—he made everyone’s job easy without having to shoulder the scoring load.

With a startling commitment to teamwork the Knicks pocketed an emphatic win against and overmatched opponent. It has been a joy to watch these young players develop into effective cogs in an efficient machine and with a stretch of winnable games ahead there should be no end in sight. If the Knicks continue to play as a team and with unfettered enthusiasm, we loyal supporters could be in for a hell of a season; as certainly nobody deserves it more. Now let’s take care of Philly.