Sports fans were forced to make a tough decision last night. Watch the BCS title game or the early-January, regular season NBA game between the Bobcats and the Knicks. Like one or two of you, I watched the Knicks game. (I’m not a college football fan — though that doesn’t mean I won’t watch — but is it normal to want to root against Nick Saban?)
The Bobcats-Knicks game wasn’t necessarily a display of top-notch professional basketball, but it was the only one on the docket. So as far as last night is concerned, it was the game of the night! Yo V.I.P., let’s kick it…
Overall it was a bit of a struggle for each team. The Bobcats could not find the bottom of the net during long stretches throughout the first and fourth quarters. They finished the game with 93 points, hitting just 41.6-percent of their shots from the field and attempting a season-low 10 free-throw attempts.
Stephen Jackson tried his hardest to drag his team’s FG% below 40% by going 10-of-26 from the floor. Hey, he did score one point per field-goal attempt. Somebody’s impressed (Trevor Ariza?).
Gerald Wallace played all 48 minutes, though posted a quiet line with 13 points, 9 rebounds and 2 steals.
Flip Murray played 22 minutes off the bench for the Bobcats and scored 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting with four 3-pointers and a blocked shot. He does have 45 points over his last two games, but this is what Murray does. He goes on little runs like this and then hibernates for three-to-four games. I’d pass on him.
Boris Diaw finally hit the double-digit scoring mark after going 12 straight without dropping more than nine points. He posted 12 points, two 3-pointers, six assists and six rebounds, while playing some pretty inspired basketball. Can you believe it, Diaw looked like he was playing for something last night. What a sight to see.
The Knicks, on the other hand, scored 97 points while making 53.4-percent of their field-goal attempts. The problem for New York was that they weren’t able to control the ball. They committed 18 turnovers, which led to the Bobcats taking 16 more field-goal attempts than the Knicks. In a game which saw seven starters play 40-plus minutes, the Knicks were able to push the pace of the game in their favor. Meaning, try and match them three-pointer for three-pointer. The Bobcats took 26 attempts from beyond the arc, their second highest total this season. In fact, Charlotte has only attempted 20 or more three-point attempts in four games this season. All four games ended in a loss for the ‘Cats. Advantage, Knicks.
Al Harrington (calf) sat out against the Bobcats. Right now he’s listed as day-today, but I’m sure we’ll find out more heading into Saturday’s game in Houston.
Danilo Gallinari drained a few three-pointers late in the fourth quarter to help the Knicks hold on to the lead. He has 96 three-pointers on the season. I’ve made it no secret how I feel about this guy. It’s been a long time since I’ve gushed over Gallinari, but with his 17 points, five 3-pointers, six rebounds, a steal and a block last night I couldn’t help myself.
Nate Robinson logged the second most minuets of any reserve on either side of the ball in this one. He posted 10 points, two rebounds, two 3-pointers, and seven turnovers in 19 minutes. He might have some explaining to do, however. I have a feeling that D’Antoni is going to highlight that “in the air” wild turnover he committed late in the game on the video reel. Let’s see what happen to his minutes on Saturday. He might get Hughes’d.
Larry Hughes sat for his third straight game — DNP-CD. Yikes. This reminds me of this friend I had in college who always had “beef” with one of the guys in our group of friends at all times. If it wasn’t me, it was someone else. But there was always someone. We had no name for it back then, but maybe I can start calling it his D’Antoni move. Well, needless to say, it seems like Hughes is getting D’Antoni’d. But after Nate’s seven turnovers, the door might open up in no time.
Not much else to talk about, so let’s lighten the mode with a few injury updates!
Carmelo Anthony (knee) is questionable for Friday. I think you’re going to have to look at other options.
Chauncey Billups (groin) is a go on Friday night. Good news! Ty Lawson (ankle), who has been more valuable than anyone would have expected as the Nuggets starting point guard, is questionable after tweaking his ankle in Tuesday’s game. That’s two strikes on Lawson. Might be time to sell on him now while you have a slight opening to do so.
Deron Williams (wrist) is also questionable, after he missed practice on Thursday. If Ronnie Price is the best option on your wires I guess you can take a flier. But I have a hard time believing that he is.
Pau Gasol (hamstring) is out Friday night. Sunday is a possibility, but I have no confidence that he will suit up. Lamar Odom is pleased. I am not. I just hope that the Lakers don’t dangle him in front of us like they did to start the season. Remember when they played the “any day now” for the first three weeks of the season? Be for real, please.