You'll never believe me, but even as the Knicks were getting their tails handed to them in the second quarter of this game, I couldn't stop thinking about what a great job I thought Mike D'Antoni was doing. I look smarter for saying that when you think of the first half of the first quarter, or the second half when New York made its comeback, but I think the Knicks coach is doing some really innovative stuff in adapting his offense to different styles of defense, and though the results are obviously terrible, I think he's done well to prepare his team defensively.
A fun game, with Orlando looking absolutely stacked in the first half and going nuts offensively after a slow start. The Knicks were hamstrung by Amar'e Stoudemire's(notes) foul situation all day, and the fact that they couldn't pull in a defensive rebound to save their lives, or the game. Over 40 percent of Orlando's missed shots ended up in an offensive rebound for the Magic, and that's a little cruel when you think about it. Tis the season.
Just four rebounds for Stoudemire in 31 minutes of play, which drew Charles Barkley's ire postgame, but he also dropped 30 and blocked four shots, and scored some pretty impressive buckets in Dwight Howard's(notes) face. It was Raymond Felton(notes) that disappointed, though, missing 16 of 22 shots and turning the ball over six times. Missed six of seven three-pointers, too, which is a shame because the national TV audience needs to know how great he's been this year.
Orlando, say it again, looks stacked. Scary-stacked. The absence of entitlement minutes for Rashard Lewis(notes) has opened everything up for that rotation, and as long as Jameer Nelson(notes) and J.J. Redick(notes) stay as aggressive as Gilbert Arenas(notes) is, then you have a championship contender. Five in a row. Good to see.
Disappointing effort from Utah in this loss. The Blazers had their act together from the start and were executing perfectly on both ends, and the Jazz just struggled to keep with it offensively, and really blew it defensively.
LaMarcus Aldridge(notes) managed 27 points in another great game. Just three rebounds, but I suppose Marcus Camby(notes) (20 caroms) got all of those. Wesley Matthews(notes) was a busy little bee on his way toward 30 points, and the Jazz just gave up good look after good look. Doubled Portland up in turnovers, as well.
This was fun, though:
Video courtesy @outsidethenba.
The Mavs could have had the upset. If Jason Terry(notes) (15 of his last 52 from the floor, yikes) was his usual self, then Dallas could have pulled it out, but he missed 13 of 16 shots along with Jason Kidd(notes) (who dropped an otherwise brilliant 12-10-13 assist line with two steals and two blocks) shooting 5-15.
I do think the hammer is coming down, ish, soon for San Antonio. The schedule will get tougher. But it also bears mentioning that this looks like a team for all seasons. There's a reason they've been so good against the NBA's best teams. They can win in several styles, and that goes a long way in a league with all sorts of new ways to die. Richard Jefferson(notes) was aiming his jumpers last night, which sort of worries me, but beyond that these Spurs are hotter than hell.