Game Notes: Hornets at Knicks
Disinterested Honeybees and Knicks with the Knack.
by Jake Appleman
–Russ had explained to me how to get to the new MSG media entrance, but I forgot, so I texted him. While waiting for him to respond, I head into Borders seeking fantasy baseball keeper league knowledge. As I hit the magazine rack, a microcosm of the impact the Melo trade has had on New York—two beefcakes in deep blue tee shirt jerseys—walk over and we share some cramped space.
What does the rack reveal that they were looking at when they leave? The SLAM Top 500 issue. Of course.
Still waiting to hear from my bearded colleague, I start to head west on 33rd, which is fun because I bump into Emeka Okafor. ‘Meka, as I address him, seems miffed as to what to do because apparently Eighth Avenue is shut down. I talk to him like I’ve known him since our days finding the academic rigors of UCONN a joke. I tell him I’m lost too and looking for the media entrance, and he looks at me like I’m a stalker which is bullshit because he plays for the fucking Hornets and isn’t Chris Paul. Being almost legitimately 7-feet tall, he parts our separate ways, just before my New York Times colleague (can I even say that?!?!?) Howard Beck bumps into me and shows me the new path into the Garden of Dreams.
–Sometimes the people in NBA locker rooms that aren’t players say the funniest things. Like, for instance…not naming any names…but there’s this: “I love the race card. It’s sexy.” And, on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg: he’s a “herb supreme.”
–In Hornets pre-game beverage news: 1) Marco Belinelli inspects a dark Powerade like a brain surgeon. 2) Apparently the key to Willie Green’s resurgence is the 4-6 creams he chucks in his coffee.
–New York Knicks whiteboard key to game: “Smart hands.” Temptation for innuendo much?
Also: “Rotate to Poppers,” which, for those of you that love your fried foods, sounds like instructions for a game of Duck Duck Goose at a Buffalo Wild Wings. (Move to Mozzarella Sticks, Trade to Tenders, Rotate to Poppers.)
–It’s the return of Jared Jeffries, wonderful because he can guard all seven bench positions simultaneously.
–Fearless NBA prediction: In 10 years, the major tri-state area NBA rivalry will be between the Brooklyn Nets and the Newark Isotopes and 1973 will still be the last time the Knicks won it all. Speaking of, there’s a child next to the 64 ramp media seating area with a “We Want CP3” sign. Child, please. Focus on the Chauncey era. (Sidenote: wouldn’t it be amazing if there “Chauncey Tales” in olde English like “Chaucer Tales”?)
–The ovation CP3 receives from the crowd is so nice that he decides to barely shoot the ball all game, thus doing the exact opposite of diversifying the Honeybee offensive portfolio.
–Toney Douglas, starting for an injured Billups, scores five quick points. Meanwhile, CP3 is feeding Okafor early like he’s Nicky Minaj’s dungeon dragon. (Who else wants to hit shit when they hear that track? Be honest…)
–Amar’e Stoudemire’s midrange game (two buckets) is impersonating Melo’s midrange game. See, they get along fine. Then Melo’s midrange game impersonates STAT’s midrange game. Oh, the harmony! Then Toney Douglas impersonates Melo’s previous jumper, which was totally uncalled for. 16-10, Knicks. Douglas might be the Tempur-Pedic mattress of slept on NBA players. We’ll have a better idea come May…
–Perhaps inspired by his bigger-boned and arguably better foil in Newark, CP3 is on pace for 32 (Magic!) assists midway through the first quarter. (By the way, wasn’t it hilarious that D-Will went from maaaaaaaaaaaaybe the best point guard in the League, to league’s best point guard according to almost every ESPN analyst just by getting traded to a New York area team? Way to twist perception, Bristol…)
–Starmelo, STAT and Douglas combine for the Knicks’ first 20 points. According to French Stewart in mid 90s SNL Celebrity Jeopardy, these guys are the “Big Threeve.”
–CP3, pushing in transition at full throttle, downshifts into neutral and finds a trailing Trevor Ariza for the flush. Wesley Snipes, your thoughts? “It’s so pretty, it’s so so pretty.” “Don’t forget to file your tax return, homie!” I mean…damn.
–Melo, absorbing a ton of contact and finishing > Anthony Carter trying to thread a thirty-foot bounce pass needle to Jared Jefferies. Related: I know he attended Syracuse for a year, but I’m pretty sure Melo went to finishing school at Oxford.
–The Honeybee lineup led by Carl Landry and Jarrett Jack is the opposite of fun. I wanna go home.
–Stat gets blocked by the rim on an oop finish attempt off a feed from Jared Jeffries. For all of his pluses—defensive positioning, helpful length, loose ball corralling—sometimes Jared Jeffries has to pass or shoot the ball and he struggles at these facets of basketball.
–If you look closely, you can see Landry Fields trying to circumvent the rookie wall.
–Melo goes careening into the area occupied by Howard Beck and Frank Isola, smashing their TV monitor and almost killing Isola’s laptop. I’ve got 2:1 odds that Marc Berman’s laptop wouldn’t have survived.
–Vanessa Hudgens is courtside. Not sure what she does, or has done, but she’s attractive in the weren’t you my babysitter when I was 12 and didn’t I have a crush on you then? sense.
–Melo buries a midrange jumper to make it 48-40 Knicks. The Big Threeve have 40 of those points.
–Combined points for Chris Paul in the first halves of games he plays in the Tri-State Area this year: 2, the jumper he just nailed before halftime.
–The Knicks start to run away with it; getting out in transition, hitting shots, that sort of thing. Jack makes a few shots to temporarily keep things close. Could it be that Paul and Jack aren’t tall, so only one of them is allowed to shoot in any given game? The way the Hornets are playing doesn’t make sense. Is Anthony Mason intimidating Monty Williams from his courtside seat, as if it were a Knicks practice in 1993?
–Stat, off the window; dude’s a machine. 70-56, Knicks.
–Two missed corner three-balls from Jack pretty much seal the deal in this one because the Hornets are so uninspired, it’s offensive to apathy. (Also: Shawne Williams proves that when he’s in a groove, he’s in a groooooooove.)
–The “Jar-ed Jeff-ries” the chant makes its debut. Impressive, considering his last going away party didn’t even have a cake.
–Quincy Pondexter makes things momentarily tolerable by flying through the air and finding Eddie Vedder’s immortal trap door in the sun. It’s too bad it looks like his shoes killed a live zebra.