Game Notes: Mavs at Knicks
Starring Curtis Jackson’s Massacre.
I got a ton of notes from the Garden today, so let’s dive right into it…
-It’s about two hours to tip-off and a handful of players from both squads are on the court getting loose. Among the ex-players standing around watching are John Starks, Allan Houston and Charles Smith. Oddly enough, all three appear to be in pretty solid physical condition—though Stark is showing a little gut and Smith actually looks a little too skinny. That’s more than I can say for Anthony Mason, who I bumped into recently at the arena. He’s really enjoying retirement.
-Watching Tim Thomas shoot, it’s easy to see why he was once a top prospect and Draft pick. His stroke would be great if he was a shooting guard; being that he’s a power forward, it’s downright unfair. His release point never changes, and the result is usually a shot that’s more net than anything else. Between his J, size and almost unlimited potential, Timmy’s had one of the most disappointing careers in recent history. Watching him in warmups, though, even in 2010, if you ignore everything you know, you would expect him to be one of the best players on the court.
-On the flip, Al Harrington’s having a terrible morning. Over a 50 shot set, he shot at or around 50 percent. That would be okay in-game, but in warmups, with no defense, that’s as bad as it gets for a guy who’s considered a solid shooter.
-Walking into Dallas’ locker room 90 minutes before the game, Jason Terry is still taking off his monogrammed shirt and suit. Having just given multiple interviews immediately after arriving, Jet is running late. He won’t get up too many Js up before the game. Will it hinder his performance today? We’ll find out shortly.
-Mark Cuban, notorious media whore, is holding court courtside. The conglomerate converging around him is so large that I only get within 10 feet. So while I feigned straining my ear to hear, I watched Drew gooden work up a mighty sweat, having someone throw the ball off the backboard so he could work on rebounding angles.
-Apparently, as usual, Cuban dropped a few gems. On the All-Star game, one that he’s hosting in Dallas: “It literally could be the largest party weekend in the history of the United States.” He continued, “All-Star weekend will make the Super Bowl look like a Bar Mitzvah.”
-Eddy Curry (knee) and Nate Robinson (hamstring) are out today for the New York Knicks. Not a doctor, but hammy injures tend to linger. Wonder if it’ll keep Robinson out of the Dunk Contest?
-Erick Dampier (knee) and Jason Kidd (personal reasons) are out today for the Dallas Mavericks. Dampier could be seen in the back of the locker room vigorously riding a stationery bike. As for Kidd, it’s too easy to make a joke about him being out of this game because of his past issues with ex-wife Joumana in the great states of New Jersey and York. I’ll leave that up to you…
-Nate Robinson—not even in the building today—is short. Real short. But he’s also jacked in such a way that it takes away from his midget-hood. Jose Juan Barea, starting in place of Jason Kidd today, has no such luck. Listed at 6-0, 175, Barea stands no taller than 5-11 and no more built than a random player at the local Y. Standing on the court dapping dudes before the game, Barea looks like an eighth grader playing with the varsity team.
-The Mavs taking an early 6-4 lead. That’s no surprise. That Drew Gooden has all six for Dallas and Jeffries four for the Knicks, that’s the surprise. If you bet on that, Vegas would probably pay you big bucks and maybe even would find you a job.
-The Knicks are all wearing neon-orange socks today. I postulate that their defensive plan includes blinding the Mavs. If that’s the case, with the Knicks down 18-12 already, it’s clearly failing. Time to switch back to straight up man to man.
-With five minutes left in the first, Drew Gooden has eight points and six ’bounds. His season averages are eight and seven.
-Gooden promptly snatches another board. He’s equaled his per games already.
-Jared Jeffries has a shot bounce all over the iron before falling through to end the quarter. He has 12 points, a career high for a single quarter.
-With Dirk Nowitzki shooting 0-2 and pretty much sleepwalking through the quarter, the Mavs are only up 27-25 heading into the second.
-Both of the Knicks first round Draft picks from 2009, Jordan Hill and Toney Douglas, start the quarter on the court. Both receive sporadic shine. Both provide sporadic production. The Mavs had both listed as third stringers on their whiteboard in the locker room. With Nate out and Douglas playing, Larry Hughes seems glued to coach D’s bench.
-A few minutes into the quarter, Douglas and Hill run a screen-and-roll. The play comes up empty—kind of like the Draft is starting to look like for the Knicks.
-Apparently Jason Terry doesn’t need warmups; midway through the second he has 12 points.
-Jordan Hill with the jumper! He’s promptly subbed out. He played around five minutes, recording two points and ZERO boards. By the way, he’s 6-10 or taller.
-Danilo Gallinari is shooting a crooked 2-9 so far. After watching him play in person six or so times this season, this is what I’m getting: he shoots very well when his J is contested. The problem is, however, he never gets open and therefore his shot is always contested. That’s why he shoots 43 percent and 41 from three. Otherwise, he could be a high 40 percent to 50 percent shooter.
-For the last two minutes Jason Terry has been covering Wilson Chandler. With at least a six inch advantage, the Knicks should be trying to find Wil in the post. They have yet to try it, though. And that’s why the Knicks are who they are and are where they are.
-Drew Gooden’s pregame work on positioning seems to be paying off. He just tipped in a missed shot. He has 10 points and 11 rebounds.
-After receiving multiple rebounds on the stat sheet for partially tipped balls, Gooden has 10 and 15 (!). He’d explain to me after the game that Zydrunas Ilgauskas is his tip-in inspiration after learning from him while on the Cavs.
-Though it feels like a tight game, especially with Dirk shooting 1-6, the Knicks are down 16 at half, 59-43.
-After talking it over with myself, I actually think that Jared Jeffries is the sole reason the Knicks are even close to being in the game. With 14 points, he leads the team in scoring. And it’s his D, at least in part, that’s holding Dirk in check.
-Jason Terry, known for his J, just hit Marion with a dope dish leading to a dunk. The Jet is having a better day than the Jets will later have.
-And Dirk proves me right! With Danilo covering him, Dirk Js up two times, doubling his made shot total in the course of a few possessions. Jared needs to switch back on to Dirk now!
-Jared Jeffries steals the ball at the top of the key and takes it all the way to the cup for the easy…miss! Just when I was getting hyped about his play, Jared reminds me he’s closer to Clark Kent than Superman.
-It appears that David Lee’s been reading stories about himself in the New York Times—he’s fallen in love with his J. As he misses multiple baseline Js, the Knicks fall behind 74-49. This massacre sprung up on the Knicks and the crowd, as boos are yet to be heard.
-Gooden, Lee, Marion, Chandler. All the bigs are trying to tip-in rebounds for buckets instead of coming down and securing the ball. It’s not working out too well, as, for the most part, players are missing the tips and the other team is coming up with the possession. Get back to the basics!
-Nowitzki is now on, and Jeffries now stands no chance, as the German drills a three. It’s 81-51 with 4:40 left in the third.
-Jeffries and Gooden have combined for two points this quarter after dropping 24 in the first half. Back to reality for the both of ’em.
-Josh Howard, still not fully back to form after suffering through early-season injures, misses a three at the buzzer. Mavs up 97-56 at the end of the third. Fans are filing for the exits.
-The benches have cleared. Every last active player is checking into the game—that includes Timmy Thomas and Marcus Landry. Only Eduardo Najera (new to team; recovering from injury) and Larry Hughes haven’t gotten burn. Larry Hughes’ anger is simmering and is visible on his face. Can somebody free Larry Hughes?!?
-I wouldn’t leave now, as the game’s reached a historic level. 105-58. The Knicks largest margin of defeat ever was 62 in 1960. Ladies and gents, Knicks are making a run for the record books this afternoon.
- Roddy Beaubois, a player I had the chance to meet this summer, just had the play of the day. Watch the highlight. The Frenchmen has dizzying speed and dazzling ups. The knock on Roddy before the Draft was his J, but he’s not as bad at shooting as first thought. He’ll be around for a long while, so get familiar with him.
-Tim Thomas and Jonathan Bender exchange Js. Talk about two players with lost talent.
-Thomas with a thunderous dunk. Why does he torture us every once in a while like that?
-The score is 111-60!
-Mavs has seven guys in double-figures; Knicks have two.
-TV timeout. As coach D holds court with his team, Larry Hughes cranes his neck, looking in every direction but the coaches. With the score 113-60, he’s pissed. But I can’t imagine he even wants into this blowout anymore.
-Nate Robinson is sitting with a drink somewhere, laughing at this game, as he flips back to the Jets’ opening drive.
-Marcus Landry sinks a three, and the remaining few fans let out a cheer. At this point, the mercy rule practiced in youth leagues should kick in.
-Bender hits a shot, bringing us to our final score of 128-78. The 50 was the Mavs’ largest margin of victory in team history. The 78 points was a season-low for the Knicks.
-I’m staying away from the Knicks locker room; I’m not trying to catch whatever disease it is that’s plaguing them. Based on what I read in the media room, though, David Lee said, “We did not play well at all but they came out and played as well as they could play with their shot making and executions. It was the perfect storm for about the worst game you could have.”
-Meanwhile in the victor’s locker room: coach Carlisle tempers his own high by saying, “luckily for them it only counts as one loss.” It goes without saying that it only counts for one win for the Mavs, too.
-Drew Gooden finished the game with 15 points and 18 boards. He played about as well as he can play, and he’s in about as good a mood as I’ve ever seen a player. He’s joking with everyone and getting dressed slowly, savoring the big W. (Sidenote: Gooden has “Give Me Wings” tatted on his upper back. Makes sense he has that, because for all he does well, jumping is not one of his skills.)
-Erick Dampier enters the locker room to grab his snazzy suit jacket. I point it out to James Singleton and tell him that it’s probably Damp’s Draft day suit. Singleton cracks up and passes on the joke to Dampier. He takes it in stride, laughing along with the joke, as we move on to making fun of Singleton. Trust me, the margin of victory has a lot to do with the giggly mood in the tiny room.
-Drew Gooden leaves…and comes back. He forgot his headphones, and some kind of cream. He calls out to the trainer, “don’t forget my steroids.” He was joking. But pretending that he wasn’t, based on his meaty frame, Gooden hasn’t been using them correctly.
-It was a five-game trip for the Mavs, and they went 3-2. On that note, Jet says in jest (I think), “the trip was a disaster. This salvaged it a little bit.”
-The tired Mavs are headed home to Dallas. The whipped Knicks are headed home to lick their wounds. With the game in the books and the players in transit, this game’s history. Both teams will begin their next games (for the Knicks, Minnesota; for Dallas, Milwaukee) with the score tied at 0-0. Thus is life in the L. Everyday the hustle begins anew.