Let’s play a game. I’ll provide a detailed game log for a member of the Knicks, you guess who it is. Feel free to guess at any time.
- Jump Shot Made (00:00:11.9, 36-27 Knicks) (2 points, 1/1)
- Jump Shot Missed (09:53, 38-36 Knicks) (2 points, 1/2)
- Jump Shot Missed (9:22, 38-38) (2 points, 1/3)
- Jump Shot Missed (8:36, 40-38 Bucks) (2 points, 1/4)
- Jump Shot Made (4:56, 75-72 Knicks) (4 points, 2/5)
- Jump Shot Missed (4:18, 75-74 Knicks) (4 points, 2/6)
- Three-Point Jump Shot Missed (2:39, 81-78 Bucks) (4 points, 2/7)
- Jump Shot Made (1:18, 85-82 Bucks) (6 points, 3/8)
Fourth Quarter (here’s where it gets nuts)
- Layup Missed (11:41, 88-84 Bucks) (6 points, 3/9)
- Three-Point Shot Missed (9:52, 92-86 Bucks) (6 points, 3/10)
- Three-Point Jump Shot Made (4:40, 99-99) (9 points, 4/11)
- Jump Shot Missed (3:31, 99-99) (9 points, 4/12)
- Free Throws Made (3:16, 101-99 Knicks)
- Three-Point Shot Made (1:04, 108-107 Knicks) (14 points, 5/13)
YOU KNOW WHO I AM GOD DAMN IT! I’M THE BADDEST MAN ON THE FUCKING PLANET! I AM JR SMITH. I TAKE - AND MAKE - GAME WINNING SHOTS. BOW DOWN!
With five minutes to go in the game, J.R. Smith was having a rough night. Mike Breen was rightfully killing him for every shot he took. He was 3-10 from the floor. A huge loss was probably going to get pinned on him. He wasn’t looking so laconic, he was just looking sad.
Then everything changed. He tied the game at 99 with a three and made a classic no-wait-don’t-yes! triple from the left wing that gave the Knicks a 108-107 lead with 1:04 left. They held on and got a huge 111-107 win. Now the Knicks are up two games on the Bucks with eight to play. They aren’t out of the woods yet, but if they had lost last night they’d be in the woods. And the woods would be on fire.
Some other notes:
- Carmelo Anthony is playing as well as any Knick star has since Amar’e’s nine-straight thirty point games during November/December 2010. He had 32 on 13-26 shooting and grabbed ten boards. They coughed up their fourteen point lead before he went to the bench for his second quarter rest but they’ve really struggled to run their offense when he’s off the court. The absence of Lin and Stoudemire clearly hasn’t hurt them in crunchtime but it is really hurting the Knicks when Melo is out. And he’s got to go to the bench if he’s going to be effective late in games. I’m also concerned about his wrist, which he was clutching and testing throughout the game.
- If Brandon Jennings made the free throw the Bucks were awarded after Melo slammed the ball in frustration that he had been hit in the wrist by Carlos Delfino, I’d be a lot more angry. If they had then lost by one, I’d be apoplectic.
- Amar’e Stoudemire could have killed in this game. The Bucks start Drew Gooden, hardly a center, and although he could have had some issues with the length of Udoh and Sanders, I think he would have had a big one. I miss him.
- Knicks came out looking good, attacking the basket back door and attacking the middle with Tyson Chandler the main beneficiary. Skiles adjusted by putting Gooden on the bench and playing Sanders and Udoh, which slowed the Knicks down. The game was a lot less fun and a lot more exciting after that. Chandler finished with nineteen and eleven.
- Bibby was the backup PG last night. Toney’s back in the doghouse I guess, especially when you consider how much better of a matchup he is with the Bucks backcourt. Or any backcourt for that matter.
- Speaking of which, Jennings and Ellis were awesome last night. They combined for 57 points on 24-45 shooting. Jennings is the master of the incredibly improbable layup while Ellis - who had 35 on 14-25 - makes difficult drives look easy more than any other player in the league. In the context of a Knicks win, I enjoyed them both.
- Landry Fields, I’m taking a day off from hating you. Fields was excellent, 5-7 for eleven points. I’ll ignore the hideous free throw that hit the underside of the rim (he’s shooting .573 from the line). So much for my day off.
- Baron Davis needs to look for his shot more. Not on the perimeter but in the lane. Too often it’s there and he passes it up for a difficult pass. A behind the back pass that never even had a chance was particularly galling.
- Shump was solid on offense but struggled on defense. He finished with a really nice line of sixteen points, six boards and five assists but couldn’t quite get a handle on Ellis. That’s OK, no one could have.
- The officiating was absolutely horrible last night, in both directions. Inconsistent officiating is maddening for everyone involved.
- I think Carlos Delfino is a dirty player who stinks. I think Luc Richard Mbah a Moute is less dirty and a very effective defender. Him I like. I’m also very proud of being able to type his name from memory.
- Where has Ersan Ilyasova been these last few games? I hear he’s a target for the Nets this offseason. He’s not going to be the most sexy signing but he can play. For $8 million a year he’d be a steal. Just one marketing idea: big garlic should hire him to do commercials. “As a vampire, I don’t normally like garlic. But for this garlic, I make an exception.”
That’s all I got folks. With just eight games left to play every night is a must win from here on out. That’s especially the case for Friday when the Knicks host Washington with Miami and then surging Boston looming.
Is this fun or what?