Saturday, January 20, 2007

Knicks 108, Pacers 106: Discombobulated

The Knicks had a couple of chances to bury the Pacers, but the blue and gold kept coming back only to fall short in the end as the Knicks held on to win, 108-106. This games felt like it was part NBA regular season, part NBA preseason, and part meet 'n greet. Unfortunately, the 'L' is 100% NBA regular season. While the Pacers can be excused for not playing well, this is a bottom line league and they've still lost three in a row and are back at .500. Here are some random thoughts on an odd game:
  • The first half was like a preseason tryout with everybody playing at least a few minutes. Several offensive possessions saw guys running into each other or playing a little tentative not knowing where a teammate might end up.
  • Mike Dunleavy started at SG which was a bit of a surprise. I guess they had to split up the new guys a little bit in the rotation. MD's 14 third quarter points and nice work on the high screen/roll may keep him starting as the Pacers move forward.
  • Dunleavy found plenty of open looks and created a few of his own. I really like what he can bring to this offense.
  • As advertised, Dunleavy leaves little to be desired on the defensive end. He actually had nice position for an offensive rebound and was getting pulled on as he went up to snare the board. The ref must've figured there was no way he could pull that off and promptly nailed him with a foul.
  • Murphy played about as advertised with a double-double in 23 minutes. It was really nice to see someone other than Jeff Foster grab an offensive rebound and put it back for two. Murph looked like he hadn't shot a free throw in months. The stroke was more of a yip.
  • Ike Diogu played a few minutes in the first half and looked good in the post, but had a couple of turnovers trying to do a little too much.
  • At halftime we learned that the best player Jamaal Tinsley has ever faced is Ed Smith, NYC playground legend.
  • Stephon Marbury played a real nice brand of point guard and the Knicks as a whole looked much improved. Zeke has to get a little credit for making an impact on the team in general, and Marbury in particular. Marbury went down real late in regulation, hope he's not hurt too badly.
  • Eddie Curry is a beast.
  • David Lee is a menace.
  • Jermaine O'Neal and Danny Granger continued to play strong, with 25 and 19 points, respectively. JO had a hand in fouling out both Channing Frye and Eddie Curry.
  • Knicks donated 20 turnovers to keep the not-firing-on-all-cylinders Pacers within striking distance.
  • Jamaal Tinsley did a nice job getting the Pacers back near the lead late in the game. As often happens, he got into a one-on-one duel with the opposing PG (Marbury) and ended up forcing a couple too many drives in the lane.
  • Ron Ron finally made his way back to Detroit. Knowing the national spotlight would be on, Ronnie didn't disappoint coming out in a Tru Warrier mohawk. Oh, and the Kings were blown out by the Pistons. Distraction?
  • The Pacers stay at home this week but with the Bulls, Heat, and Raptors coming to town it won't be easy. At least they'll have time to practice.

(Photo: Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)

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