First rule of preseason: good or bad, take it all with a grain of salt.
After a thrilling victory Wednesday night against an overhauled Boston Celtics team, the Knicks took the floor last night against the Toronto Raptors in a game that could be quantified in one word: Yuck.
Bad shots, defensive lapses, and fouls. Sweet baby basketball Jesus, did the Knicks have all your fouls Friday night. Poor on-ball defense, combined with overly active hands, led to a total of 31 whistles against the boys in orange and blue and the Raptors made them pay, shooting just under 80% from the charity stripe. On the bright side, we saw what good youth can do for you on the perimeter, defensively, as the Knicks forced the Raptors into 23 total turnovers. Kyle Lowry, who averaged a respectable 2.3 turnovers per game last season, had coughed up the rock a whopping 6 times by the end of the FIRST HALF. The activity on that side of the ball was nice to see, but,unfortunately, it didn’t last for all 4 quarters.
The contest became more of a scrub-fest late, as Quincy “The Cookie Monster” Acy (yes, that’s his nickname) took over in the closing minutes of the 4th with 9 points and several other hustle plays to officially put the game out of reach for New York’s JV team. Afterward, Coach Woodson announced that Anthony, Felton, and World Peace will likely sit out tonight against Boston, and Prigioni, Shump, and Chandler will probably get the start. There was good and there was bad, but the main thing to remember is the goal now is to work out the kinks for the real opening night.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
- After an inauspicious outing against the Celtics, reigning scoring champion Carmelo Anthony gave everyone 24 reasons to believe his left shoulder was just fine. His shooting stroke was hot early, and he had a hand in seemingly everything, adding 8 boards, 3 assists, and 3 steals. Woodson’s decision to sit Anthony for tonight demands much less attention than it would have had he not turned in this strong of a performance.
- Tim Hardaway Jr. followed up Wednesday’s heroics with a solid game, scoring 13 points in 30 minutes of play. He initially did a good job of staying within himself and taking what the defense gave him until late in the second half where we saw some questionable shots, but overall the rookie has had a productive preseason and is slowing garnering consideration from Woodson for some regular season minutes.
- The Beno/Hardaway/Shump/World Peace quartet had a fun run in the 3rd quarter. Shump and World Peace appear to be developing a nice bit of chemistry; the only question concerning pairing them together will be can you consistently get points out of that lineup. The pressure applied by Shump and World Peace led to plenty of turnovers and fastbreak opportunities, including this monster dunk by Hardaway:
WHAT WENT WRONG
- One of the Knicks’ biggest issues defensively last year was their inability to stay in front of the ball handler, and tonight was no different. Multiple Raptors found success taking their man off the dribble, but none more so than DeMar Derozan. In the words of my Nana, “he done went and put his foot in it”, racking up 20 points in a variety of ways as New York simply had no answer for the 4th year guard out of USC. Hopefully that improves tonight.
- Solid chance that Beno Udrih woke up today with a mild case of self-induced amnesia to forget last night’s performance. The newest addition to the Knicks’ collection of point guards struggled, racking up 5 turnovers and fouling out in only 22 minutes of play. He did contribute 5 assists and had a couple nice finishes at the rim, but that was about it.
- Kenyon Martin is still waiting in the wings, but I’m starting to doubt that any of the backup bigs brought into camp will make the actual team. Cole Aldrich was serviceable tonight with 3 boards and a block in just over 5 minutes of play, but Josh Powell and Ike Digou just aren’t very good. There’s a reason each has worn 6 different jersey’s over the course of their careers. Considering Chandler’s recent injury history, this probably isn’t the position to overlook.
- Quincy Acy’s nickname really is “The Cookie Monster”. I swear.
- During a sit-down with MSG, Metta spoke about his appreciation for defense and two-way players. It led to his high praise of our very own Shumpert, even going as far as to call him “the best all-around shooting guard” in the league. Coming from a guy who won a ring with Kobe Bryant, that’s pretty awesome.
- The Knicks will be at the Verizon Wireless Arena tonight for a rematch with the Boston Celtics. Expect to see a heavy dose of Shump and Hardaway Jr. as Anthony and Felton are expected to sit this one out. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 PM.
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