Thursday, December 22, 2011

Knicks 88, Nets 82 - Preseason Game #2 Recap

The Knicks finished their shortened preseason 2-0 with a second win over the New Jersey Nets last night. Once again, there was some very sloppy ball, but also flashes of familiarity that point to greater things in the future.

Photo by William Perlman - The Star-Ledger
Among some of the most pleasant things were cohesions amongst the starting five, Carmelo Anthony's (generally) splendid passing, and more energy from the bench.

Some lesser things included lack of point guard play, Amar'e Stoudemire's continued poor shooting, and of course, the still-messy, post-lockout preseason basketball that most teams are experiencing.

Continue reading for some more notes!

- The Knicks lack of a point guard is quite evident, and the absence of the pick-and-roll must be killing Mike D'Antoni.

- Toney Douglas looked a little better, getting hot in the second half with 13 points, but he didn't do very point-guardy things. He did have one beautiful pick-and-roll with Chandler, but outside of that didn't distribute very well. Oh, he did have 8 rebounds though.

- Carmelo Anthony played the role of competent passer, and he did throw some beauties once again. One of them in particular, was when Douglas kicked the ball to Melo at the 3-point line, who then whipped a bullet to a cutting Renaldo Balkman who THREW IT DOWN!

Also, Melo scored on some nice isolation plays and grabbed 8 rebounds. Clyde mentioned during the broadcast that he told Anthony he could be a 25-10-5 guy per night. But then tampered expectations with 20-8-5. If Melo could get those rebound and assist numbers to 8 and 5, he's posed for an MVP run.

- Speaking of Sir Balkman, it seems that he'll get steady minutes during the regular season. So far, he's been making great cuts to the basket, playing astute defense, and hunting the ball down on rebounds. His energy seems to be infectious too, which the Knicks always like.

- Amar'e Stoudemire and Landry Fields didn't totally redeem their shooting performances from Saturday. Fields was 2-6 and Stoudemire was 5-14, but there were some redeeming factors. Many of Amar'e's (that looks weird, doesn't it? Amar'e's.) missed field goal attempts came on plays where he got fouled and threw the ball at the hoop but missed. Overall, he looked strong off the dribble and  at one point, absolutely bullied Shelden Williams for an easy lay-up.

Fields, had one very nice baseline spin move for a lay-up while getting fouled, and he also hit a nice corner three. He looked a bit more comfortable moving around, but was still tentative in terms of catching and shooting and making strong moves to the basket. He did, however, play a stretch of nice defense on Deron Williams, and make some crisp passes to teammates who then usually missed their shots. Preseason.

- Iman Shumpert managed to anger me with quite poor shot selection. He made up for it though with some suffocating defense and just by being Shump Shump. 'Preciate it, Shump.

- Josh Harrellson is already endearing himself to the MSG crowd by hitting 3-pointers, and diving for the ball for a steal when Marshon Brooks is dribbling. I'll be disappointed if Jorts isn't a rotation player this season.

- Tyson Chandler looked great also. He deterred drivers with 2 blocked shots, grabbed 12 rebounds, and kept many more alive with tip-outs.

Well, that's it! Starting Sunday, the Knicks play those danged Celtics and the games start counting. Forreal.

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