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News » KNICKS GOT ROOKED


KNICKS GOT ROOKED


KNICKS GOT ROOKEDBEST feature about the end of Daylight Savings Time is it gave me an extra hour to overreact to the first few days of the season. Nothing says "didn't come to play" quite like the Knicks being down 19 at the quarter to a Bobcats team recoiling from a franchise-low 59-point scoring binge against the victorious (by 33) Celtics.

That's right, boys and ghouls. I'm halfway heartily sorry for having offended Isiah Thomas.

Not since Magic Johnson was orchestrating the eviction of a couple of Lakers head coaches and conspiring behind the back of a best friend has there been an NBA player capable of scrupulously dominating a game while taking but two shots . . . until Rajon Rondo. In domesticating the Bulls and Derrick Rose, 118-90, Friday night, last season's regal rookie, the Celtics' serrated mastermind looked for his own a total of twice (one make), helped teammates register 16 baskets (16 assists, two turnovers) and shagged eight rebounds in 30 measly minutes.

Rondo used to be Brandon Jennings, who hasn't quite figured it out yet. He's young, but he's learning. One game into his NBA career, the Bucks draftee has to his credit nine assists, nine rebounds and 17 points. On the minus side, he committed five turnovers as a starter in 34 minutes. It takes a while to understand to slow down at intersections and that your team may be better off with its caretaker launching fewer than 16 shots. That will happen, I suspect, once he has as many skilled scorers to pass to as does Rondo.

Jennings, you might recall, was selected two behind No. 8 Jordan Hill, who did me a big solid Friday night. I gave him a piece of coal to sit on for 58 minutes and afterward he returned a 3-carat diamond. Somebody has to exploit such continuous weight and pressure.

Hill isn't the only dead weight on Mike D'Antoni's bench. Two games into the season and the Knicks coach already has demonstrated a patent lack of confidence in rookie Toney Douglas by using Chris Duhon for all but two minutes of the double-overtime defeat.

At this rate, I predict a second straight breakdown season for Duhon, who will need serious R&R by Thanksgiving.

By the way, is anyone surprised we're witnessing the same Knicks' mentality and mistakes from last season: slow starts, botched inbounds plays, out-of-control Nate Robinson, clueless at closing out games, etc.

"It's like last season never ended, like the Knicks just lost games 83 and 84," column contributor George Caballero bemoans.

The surprise is that Duhon, a celebrated party animal, later called out his teammates for unprofessionally approaching their pre-game prep.

Tell me that's not also a stinging indictment on D'Antoni.

Nothing is worse for a reputation than to coach a team with basement expectations and underachieve.

What does it say about which direction the Hornets are headed when Emeka Okafor goes for 18 points and 10 rebounds, Chris Paul puts up 26 points and nine assists and they get blown out by the Spurs? Answer: At one point, their bench was outscored 28-0.

No doubt Okafor will be a major help. The big question will be settling into shot distribution with the trio of David West, Okafor and Paul . . . when where and how? Saw signs of a sweet hi-lo post combo with West and Okafor in Friday's fortunate win over Sacramento. Spirits blessed Byron Scott when the Kings recorded a mere nine points off 21 offensive rebounds, aborting several right at the rim.

I recognize the Celtics probably aren't in danger of losing until they meet the Giants in the Super Bowl and Kevin Garnett's numbers (16 points and four boards in 25 minutes vs. Bulls) are creditable considering his wounded knee will get stronger. Still, he's the early leading candidate to race Dick Bavetta during All-Star Weekend.

LeBron James' Cavaliers avoided 0-3 start with Friday night's taming of the Timberwolves. What a week in the Twin Cities! The Wolverines staged a huge fourth-quarter rally to nip the Nets in the season opener, 86-year-old Brett Favre leads the Vikings into Green Bay today and a Northwest Airlines plane actually took a direct route to the runway.

Love the notion that a doctor needed to tell Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers that additional sleep is beneficial to players' productivity. So, Celtics' practices are now at noon vs. 10 a.m. Great idea! That gives players two more hours of hanging out on the town. Instead of slinking in at 4 a.m., they will sloop into their room at 6 a.m. You know your days are numbered when you play for one of the worst teams, are owed $19.8 million over the next three seasons and can't get into a blowout. Presenting Beno Udrih. Then again, maybe not. Paul Westphal gave him daylight (18 minutes, 4 assists vs. New Orleans).


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Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 3, 2009

 

 
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