Game Notes: Hawks at Knicks
Still trying to put together a full 48 minutes.
by Adam Fleischer
–The SLAM team is in full force tonight, as Tzvi and I are checking the game from our usual spot, whlie Lang is in the house with different work in mind: He’s about to embark on his third ever stint as the color guy for the Hawks radio broadcast.
–Nate Robinson, who is suited up and may see his first action since October tonight, gets handed a huge Modern Warfare package. He seems excited, as does Lang, who scooped the game on his way over to the arena.
–Danilo is wetting basically every shot he puts up during early warm ups when he’s the only Knick out there. Not sure if he’s deserving of the “best shooter I’ve seen” label that D’Antoni once bestowed upon him, but there’s no denying this kid’s stroke.
–In the Hawks locker room, Joe Smith is loudly bumping “Empire State of Mind” through his headphones. Seems fitting, I guess. Unless it’s a conflict of interest. I don’t think so, though.
–Jamal Crawford, in his second game back since being traded away from the Knicks last year (he took on his former team while on the Warriors last season), is getting a lot of love from people who work for the Knicks and at MSG.
–Toney Douglas is getting the start tonight—I guess his stellar play the last two games paid off. He brings some defensive energy that, for the Knicks, will hopefully become contagious.
–Chris Duhon is starting too, which means that whoever ends up guarding Joe Johnson is going to be at a disadvantage.
–Turns out it’s Duhon, and Johnson goes right at him the first play but misses a midrange jumper.
–Knicks start the game with two turnovers. This is not good…
–Douglas, looking to make the most of his newfound playing time, nails a three to kick things off.
–Danilo’s pregame jumpers look to pay off, as he nets a triple with three gone by in the first to put the Knicks up one.
–Next possession he grabs a steal and glides coast to coast, sort of dunking on Marvin Williams, as if to tell the world that he’s more than just a shooter. Based on their breathless reaction, this is news to the crowd.
–David Lee’s well-known ambidexterity pays off once again, this time as he knocks down a floater from the right with his right.
–I briefly get down on myself remembering that I’m lucky if I hit a shot from outside three feet with my off hand
–Brandon Dubinsky is shown on the jumbotron during a timeout; Tzvi and I have no idea who he is, but I guess the crowd does, as there are scattered “Doooob” cheers (apparently he plays a hockey team called the Rangers)
–With the Knicks up by two after one, Melissa Joan Hart gets some face time on the big screen as the theme from Clarissa Explains It All blasts through the speakers…Damn, that takes me back…Yeah, I used to watch that show—and I enjoyed every bit of it from what I remember
–The Hawks turn the ball over twice in a row—a Joe Johnson travel and a Josh Smith offensive foul—to keep this game’s sloppy trend in order (can you keep order by being sloppy?)
–During a timeout, I’m half listening as the PA announcer is discussing some sort of initiative to get fit involving fans and the Knicks working together. On the screen next to me, which is showing the television broadcast of the game, I see they’ve cut to clips of Eddy Curry back at practice for the first time since he was just a bit too large for Donnie Walsh’s liking. Was the timing on this coordinated?
–Come on Josh Smith! You take a backdoor pass from Bibby and flush it softly with two hands!? I need something more ferocious than that next time…
–Duhon’s shooting woes continue as he clings a three off the iron. Painful.
–David Lee has only 1 rebound with four minutes to play in the half. This is very un-David Lee-like.
–Harrington bullies his way in the lane for an and one, and all of a sudden he’s got 17 on the night. Say what you want about other aspects of his game, but dude can flat out score the ball.
–Much to the presumed delight of Lang, Josh Smith shows some range and knocks down an outside jumper to climb into double figures in the scoring column.
–Duhon misses another three and leaves enough time for Mo Evans to hit an elbow jumper with .01 to go to pull the Hawks within 7 going into the locker room. Clock management? Shot making? Can we at least get one out of two? What’s going on with Chris?
–I’m in the distance, but it looks like Mayor Michael Bloomberg is sitting courtside. He’s accompanied by all the necessities—a box of popcorn, a drink and a ton of people trying to get a word in about their thoughts on the extension of term limits.
–The teams combined for 20 turnovers and 20 assists in the first half. Let’s see if this half is any better.
–Tzvi finds out via text that Mo Williams is 9 for 9 and 4 of 4 from three, and we conclude that’s some video game type stuff. There has been nothing resembling a video game sort of performance in the Garden tonight.
–Joe Johnson asserts himself for what feels like the first time in a while and pull his squad within five.
–Al Horford gets it down low and bodies Lee with two dribbles and a two-handed slam, by far the most authoritative play of the night.
–Harrington launches a possibly ill-advised three which abruptly turns into an and one dunk for Horford on the other end. Tzvi’s right: That’s a weak foul. Either get back or hit him hard.
–Another quick, ill-advised shot, this time from Larry Hughes, and another fast break and one for Horford. The home team seems to be making a habit of this.
–Tzvi asks me a question but I missed it. Knicks dancers entertainment at timeouts was too ‘tight.’
–One of the many tributes to those who have served for the country on this Veteran’s Day comes during the next timeout, as they show a man who has served in the Army. The crowd attempts to get a “U-S-A” chant going as play starts back up, but the Knicks recent play seem to have taken the some of the air out of the building.
–Harrington pulls out the chair on Horford (one of my favorite plays—guys end up looking so helpless), and is the beneficiary of a give and go with Larry Hughes on the other end to make it a three-point game with a minute and a half to go.
–Horford finishes the quarter with a miss, but he went off, scoring 14 in the period after going just 2-8 in the first half.
–There’s a dude in between quarters doing a shooting contest and he’s struggling, to say the least, missing a bunch of easy bunnies. The crowd begins to rip into him with boos. Then, he all of a sudden starts to hit some, and they cheer. The Knicks may know a little something about this feeling.
–Tzvi and I can’t help but recall the Celtics’ 4th quarter jumbotron ritual, where players get on the screen, tell the fans to get amped because it’s the 4th, and begin to scream like they’re out of their minds. Maybe a bunch of teams do it, these two definitely do. And Danilo is particularly entertaining in this role, by the way.
–Joe Johnson misses a contested shot in traffic but Horford somehow tips it in. That’s the kind of half it’s been for both him and the Knicks.
–Toney Douglas hits a jumper to keep it close, and he’s been playing pretty well all night. It’s a 6-point game with 8 to go until Horford hits another fall away to continue his 2nd half onslaught.
–Danilo nails a triple and the rookies are keeping the Knicks in the game.
–”Run This Town” plays, much to Tzvi’s chagrin. Can’t really blame him—that song is everywhere. Maybe if they played this version, he wouldn’t be as sick of it.
–Marcus Landry, although yet to play a minute, has been getting amped from the bench all night. Gotta love it.
–Harrington finds an open lane, goes up for the deuce but loses the ball off the glass on what would have been an open dunk. To no one’s surprise, the boos rain in and the Knicks seem to have let this one slip away.
–OK, I know I said Douglas has been playing well—and he has—but, damn, he’s not afraid to shoot.
–Jordan Hill comes in with a minute to go and gets a dunk. What did Brandon Jennings do tonight?
–D’Antoni doesn’t sound to happy at his post game presser. Can’t really blame him. He says Duhon’s gonna have to find a way to get it together and get going again.
–Lang tells me that his broadcast went over well, without many hiccups. Although apparently Josh Smith was shouting his name off air, when they went live on air, unbeknownst to the League’s leader in blocks.
–I decide it’s probably best to get out of there, before the general aura of disappointment sprinkled thoughout the arena rubs off on me.