Saturday, December 17, 2011

Knicks 92, Nets 83 - Preseason Game #1

First off, sorry for my goof-up on my post last night. I wrote that the Knicks were playing the Celtics, which is not true. They played the New Jersey Nets. It's been a long week of finals studying, but I'm home on break now, so hopefully I can pick things back up around here.

By all accounts this was a preseason game. Due to driving home, I didn't get to catch the whole thing but I'll give a general run-down of what went down.
Photo by AP
 Jump for some notes!

The Good
- First off, player of the game: Mr. Renaldo Balkman! That is not a joke. Balkman actually looked better than mid-season form (by Balkman standards). He came off the bench to score 20 points on 7-10 shooting (including a 3-pointer), had 4 offensive rebounds and a steal. He fought hard to keep possessions alive and was generally very active, cutting back door for some dunks!

- Iman Shumpert also looked very impressive. He looked confident and competent bringing up the ball, which is more than could be said about Toney Douglas (more on that later). Shump Shump had 16 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals, including a lovely coast-to-coast take-away from Deron Williams. He had some nice drives and pull-up jumpers as well.

- Josh Harrellson was also a pleasant surprise. Harrellson is much more polished (and shorter) than I thought. He hit a couple nice jump shots, battled for boards - though relatively unsuccessfully - and was a presence in the lane.

- The "Big 3" of Amar'e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, and Tyson Chandler looked good, but a little rusty. From what I saw, all three had nice separation on the court, usually with Amar'e and Melo on opposite elbows, with Chandler going down low or setting screens for the ball-handlers. Anthony looked the best with 17 points on 7-15 shooting, and he had a couple of lovely assists to a cutting Balkman and a pick-and-roll with Chandler.

- Amar'e threw a nice alley-oop to Carmelo Anthony, in a lovely display of chemistry.

- At the end of the third quarter, Josh Harrellson missed a corner 3-pointer. Renaldo Balkman chased it down, caught it on the baseline, and before falling out of bounds, kicked it out to Mike Bibby in the opposite corner, who nailed the 3 at the buzzer. That was pretty cool.

The Not-So-Good
 - Landry Fields appeared to look decent, but the box score says otherwise. Fields hit a few jumpers, but he shot only 2-12 and had 2 turnovers. He still looked a little hesitant on offense, unsure of where he was supposed to be. On a positive note, he did have 7 rebounds and 2 steals, and at one point got UP for a near putback dunk on a missed jumpshot. I have confidence that Landry will figure out his role and return to his normal Landry-ness.

- Toney Douglas and Mike Bibby didn't do badly running the point, but this game clearly showed the Knicks need another, more natural point guard. Douglas does not have a strong dribble and often misses open teammates, while Bibby is just too old and slow to be the man. Shumpert and Melo looked decent as alternative ball-handlers, but neither are suited for that job full-time.

Granted, it's the first game in nearly 8 months and these guys still need time to get to know one another, but right about now, Baron Davis would be nice.

- Devin Green does not really deserve a roster spot. I always root for those types of guys to make it to a team, but Green was clearly trying to impress the coaching staff, and did a poor job of it. He makes slow decisions and has a score-first mentality, but lacks the ability to do so. If I had to guess, Wednesday's rematch with the Nets, will likely be his last opportunity to earn a spot.

Clyde Moment of the Game
- When referring to Kris Humphries' free agent status, Clyde asked something along the lines of, "What's the deal with that Kardashian guy".

Overall, every team is in the same position as the Knicks. There is going to be some sloppy ball being played, but overall the Knicks have the tools to currently beat most teams it seems. As mentioned before, some guys need to shake off the rust, while the main team needs are another PG and some more bench scoring.

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