Game Notes: Sixers at Knicks
Knicks surrender home serving on Galloween Night.
I’d like to preface this post by saying that strange things happen on All Hallow’s eve. A guy who looked like he couldn’t shoot a lick and was mired in a preseason slump (Danilo Gallinari) starts scorching the nets. Ghastly goblins and ghouls terrorize a team (the 76ers), injecting them with a dizzying, intoxicating potion, causing them to fritter away a 23-point lead to a team that played lackluster, porous D (Knicks).
Gravediggers Al Harrington, Gallo, and Chris Duhon brought a bundle of dead bodies back to life, resurrecting a Knicks fan base that was unleashing a chorus of boos in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd quarters.
Knicks fans, sensing the come from behind W — after an embarrassing first half in which they surrendered 40 first-quarter points — hadn’t been this loud since 2001.
But Chris Duhon exploded to the cup, tying the score at 122 as the Knicks worked overtime for the second consecutive night. Once again, the floundering franchise that was once New York’s biggest thrill faltered in the extra session.
It was GALLOWEEN at the Garden, with the Italian import lighting up the scoreboard all night. That was a positive sign for the 0-3 ‘Bockers.
New York gets their basketball team — one with grand aspirations to net LeBron James this summer — back tonight.
After the ‘Bockers came roaring back from a 21-point deficit (only to fall in 2 0T in Charlotte) last Thursday night, Al Harrington is tight. Bucketz Harrington was outspoken about the call, which he felt was knowingly botched.
What better way to channel his frustration then by giving Philly a 25-spot en route to the first dub of the season tonight?
It’s All Hallow’s eve. I’m entertaining the thought of finding a player rocking a jacket as flashy, gully and shithouse-spooky as the one Z-Bo had last spring in his return trip to MSG. That jacket had an immense skull stitched on the back of it. Z-BO later revealed to SLAM that his boy made it for him. It stood out like a white dude at the Source Party. Will we see a player sporting a similarly fresh jacket to get us into the Season of the Witch Spirit?
– Big ups to anyone who braved this entire game tonight. The first half sucked more than a sm*t star, with the Knicks getting blood-lettered and playing Night of the Living Dead defense, allowing the 76ers to permeate the teeth of the D at will. With NY and Philly going eyeball-to-eyeball in the World Series Game 3, and the Giants and Eagles renewing hostilities tomorrow, this game was pretty much off the menu.
I ask Wilson Chandler if the Bockers talked about coming out with a sense of urgency tonight, snuffing teams in the mouth right off the bat and circumventing an early hole. He says it was a disappointing start, and the Knicks hope to erase that before the home crowd tonight. According to captain Duhon, some of the Knicks need to take this club more seriously.
Chandler said if there’s a sense of rush to stop relying on withstanding runs (and instead controlling the tempo from the get-go). The kid from DePaul — who had a breakout ’08-09 campaign — simply nods his head, admitting there’s a monkey on the team’s back now that they’ve coiled into an 0-2 hole.
“Nobody wanted it to start off this way,” said Chandler, who later promised me that fans will see “Ill Will” tonight. (Nate’s Twitter feeds were supposed to push Ill Will’s development last year, but it didn’t always work out that way.)
“It’s just about playing hard, just playing defense,” explains Ill Will. The key is not to worry about the offense because that will eventually come.”
– Larry Hughes is watching NBA TV and a Knicks PR guy clearly is heated at me for obstructing slim’s view of the High Def TV.
“He needs to watch TV,” the PR dude says, gently telling me to move away from the TV. Imagine if Zeke were still here, the public relations fetal position the Knicks would crawl into would be unreal.
My bad, fam. I didn’t know watching NBA TV was part of Hughes’ pre-game regimen. That’s what’s up.
Hughes’ preseason woes were well-noted (he shot something like 0-for-The Century, burying his hopes of earning tick with a barrage of bricks), and the wiry shooter still hasn’t carved his niche on this Knicks team. Sitting there watching NBA TV, Hughes looks nothing short of miserable, one antidepressant pill short of bolting MSG for a Halloween party to augment his spirits. Maybe he’ll try that place Blood Manor in what used to be New York City’s very own Club Row in Chelsea.
Al Harrington is quickly being suffocated by the burgeoning New York media circus as the folks join him at his locker. They are no doubt peppering him with a barrage of questions about last night’s controversial call and his un-bottled feelings about it.
15:45 prior to tip off, the fans are treated to Nate Robinson’s pre-game mix. Nate’s ill beats kick off with “So Ambitious,” from Jigga’s Blueprint III.
“I felt so inspired but what my teacher said…” I assume you guys know the rest of the lyrics.
Plies “Plenty Money” follows, with F.L.Y.’s “Swag Surfin’” rounding out the electrifying guard’s top-3.
– It’s opening night, and already it looks as if everybody and their mother’s best friends’ baby mommas’ dog walker are in attendance.
St. John’s coach Norm Roberts pops out of the blue, and he’s with J.J. Moore, a highly sought after prospect on the recruiting agora. I’m assuming this is part of Moore’s visit to SJU. Moore is also getting high-level interest from Louisville and Pittsburgh. I tell recruiting guru Adam Zagoria, who’s also here for opening night, about what I saw. Gotta call my homeboy Scott to give him the RECRUITING UPDATE, baby.
– The 76ers strike first as Peekskill’s finest, Elton Brand (914 baby, Lou Panzanaro, Red Devils don’t sleep) connects on a turnaround J.
– Wedged in between another E. Brand jumper is a three-pointer from The Rooster, a portent of things to come tonight (Gallo ended up dropping a career-high 30, nailing 8-16 from the great beyond)
– Lou Williams carves up the teeth of the Knicks defense, soaring in for an uncontested layup. Gallo answers with another trey ball, and it’s knotted up at 8 with 8:42 remaining.
– Andre Igoudala and Chandler trade jumpers, with the Beastie Boys’ “Time To Get Ill” pumping from the speakers following Ill Will’s mid-range corner J.
– Elton Brand gives Al Harrington a small poster, chokes the rim for good measure then yells at the ref for an answer. Moments later, 914’s illest gets called for steps and hits the ref with another stare down.
– Jared Jeffries collects a barrage of boos from the fans after firing up an ill-advised three and then committing a foul on the other end.
– The 76ers reel off an 8-2 run and southpaw combo forward Thaddeus Young pads the cushion with two free throws. It’s 20-10 Philly, and two more freebies from Young culminates a 12-2 surge.
– David Lee stops the bleeding with a traditional three-point play. It’s 22-13 Sixers, with around five minutes remaining in the 1st quarter.
– Lou Williams buries a trey from the corner while absorbing a foul from Nate. Wow! The Six-show just got a four-point play and now have a commanding lead on the Bockers.
– Larry Hughes didn’t leave the arena! Hughes, he of the tatted tears and feast-or-famine shooting antics, drains a corner jay to cut the Sixers lead to 10.
Hit the fast forward button.
– The Knicks fail to withstand a run, but Nate Robinson thwarts the 76ers power surge by swooping in for a lay-in. With 1:56 to play in the first quarter, the Bockers trail 34-20.
– Some scorching-hot chick dressed as wonder women breaks my concentration—a la Samuel L. Jackson’s burner in Pulp Fiction.
– $tarbury, Lloyd Banks and Juelz are all in attendance. Does the sight of Marbury give D’Antoni one last wistful reminder of what could have been last season? If the speedball-preaching coach saw his reality show webisodes this summer, I would hope not. His off-the-wall antics didn’t sell a lot of people. If $tarbury gets questioned about his show’s bad reviews, the Brooklyn native would likely respond “It ain’t nothing but the devil.”
– In a wild sequence, Ill Will buries a three, Mo Speights takes advantage of a frozen-legged Darko Milicic (2 points, 2 rebounds in 14 minutes), tipping in a Jason Kapono miss, Al Harrington nets a trey but Iguodala scores two ticks before the buzzer. Quarter over. Sixers 40, Knicks 25.
– At the start of the second quarter, Darko tries to execute a mano y mano back to the bucket move… It’s not happening.
– Darko’s bounce pass is picked off by T. Young, who runs the floor and finds Royal Ivey for an easy layin. Sixers 42, Bockers 28, 9:55 remaining in the half.
– Back to back baskets by Al Bucketz Harrington (he ended up with 42 points on smoking 16-23 shooting, I gas you not) cuts Philly’s bulge to 10, triggering an Eddie Jordan timeout.
– Stat man blesses me with a numbers sheet. There have been four lead changes, two ties. The 76ers largest lead? 16. The Knicks’ largest lead? 1.
– Jay Kapono is rocking No. 72. Is that unheard of for a 6-8 forward with a ratchet?
– With 6:56 remaining, I’m glad Hughes (18 points, 7-11 FG) stayed for the game. His mid-range jumper cuts the Philly lead. 46-39, Sixers.
– With 5:16 remaining, the Knicks’ kid dancers are grooving to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” while sporting Halloween masks. They are killing it. Long Live The King.
Hit the fast forward button.
– A Kapono three, Brand jumper, and AI bucket inside makes for a nice 6-0 run. Ill Will foils the mini run with a trey, but the Sixers lead 61-40.
– Holy sh*t! Dustin Hoffman receives a standing ovation from the sellout crowd of 19,763 (yeah, right) after he busts out a Patrick Ewing Olympic warm-up uniform, as it appears on the big screen. You just can’t make this stuff up.
– Jared Jeffries is garbage. He’s just not getting it done tonight. After bricking a jumper, the mason man hears it from the crowd. Even the gothic, vampire freaks behind me let Jeffries have it.
– The Knicks trail, 70-51 as the first half comes to a close.
– With 9:14 remaining in the third, Gallo drills another one from beyond the confines of the arc.
– Is the World Series going to start? Enough with this rain, damnit.
– Speaking of rain, the Knicks give the ball to the hot hand man, The Rooster, and he rewards them by raining another three, his fifth trifecta of the game.
– A motivational DE-FENSE chant emerges from the speakers, as the 76ers score a bundle of unanswered points to take a commanding 83-63 edge.
– Speights unleashes a highlight reel banger. The kid from Florida’s rim-rattling flush exposes the Knicks’ dreadful, matador, and lackluster brand of D.
– The Knicks get a mini momentum surge as the 3rd quarter comes winding down. Al Harrington’s reverse layup makes it 94-81.
Not so fast.
– Louis Williams walks through the defense for an easy bucket. Fitting, as fans walk towards the exit signs.
– Last night, Clyde Frazier talked about “the grandeur of the three-point shot.” We witnessed it again tonight, as Hughes, Gallinari and Duhon all hit pivotal late-game treys.
– With 6:07 remaining in regulation, Hughes creates his own jay and buries it, instigating chants of “Defense!” The crowd now has a pulse. The Garden hasn’t been this loud since Sprewell was in uniform.
– The Knicks feed off the crowd’s energy, finally ratcheting up the defensive pressure. Galloween continues, as the Italian Stallion hits another three to cut into the 76ers’ edge.
Duhon’s strong take to the rack cuts the lead to 117-112 with 1:15 to go in regulation.
The Knicks won’t falter. Still trailing, Hughes completes a traditional three-point play and Al Harrington draws a foul on Samuel Dalembert—who has just fouled out—on his way to the cup. He sinks both freebies.
– The Garden crowd is on its feet and loving every ounce of Galloween. I’m shot, I need a coffee.
Knicks captain Chris Duhon explodes to the cup, knotting it up at 122. “Let’s Go Knicks!” chants erupt. We’re working overtime here on Galloween at the Garden.
– Buckets tallies his 39th point of All Hallow’s Eve on a layup to give the Knicks a 124-122 edge.
– Sandwiched in between a Harrington free throw (absorbing a foul from brand) and driving layup is a Lou Williams jumper. Williams, who finished with 27 behind Igoudala’s 32, now has 23 points on the night.
– With 3:30 remaining, Mo Speights draws Harrington’s final foul, relegating the 42-point proliferating pulverizer to the bench. Lee replaces him.
– Speights connects on both free throws, and Philly rips off a Garden-silencing 11-0 spurt to throw this one in the bag. They ended the game on a 15-0 run, wearing out the handcuffed Knicks. Not too shabby.
Final Score: Sixers 141, Knicks 127
Zach Smart has written for Big East Basketball Report, Hoops Addict and The East Coast Bias. Read more on his blog.