Walking to the Garden last night from the train, I couldn’t help but think the game would underwhelm due to a diminished roster, thinking Stoudemire wouldn’t play, Chandler wouldn’t play, Williams definitely wouldn’t play.
I stand corrected.
I actually mentioned it in the previous post. Is Turiaf going to be New York’s Wally Pip?
Mozgov delivered on some of the promise that Donnie Walsh had seen in him last night. Some of us saw it during the world basketball summer games, when Mozgov was posting up the likes of Lamar Odom and swatting Russell Westbrook and making some of us think he was starter material. He wasn’t ready yet, and Mike D had to shorten the rotation to get the chemistry right.
Back then, even D’Antoni was praising Mozgov, calling him the most athletic player on a team that features plenty of world-class athletes.
D’Antoni can be prone to hyperbole. In a preseason game against the Wizards, D’Antoni called rookie John Wall the fastest player in the history of the NBA.
D’Antoni doesn’t mean these things; he’s merely trying to make a point. Mozgov isn’t the best athlete on the team, but he can hang with some of the best athletes. Wall may not be the fastest player in the NBA right now, but he was going to be the fastest player on the court that night.
I was surprised how quickly the Garden went from booing the Russian to chanting his name in the 4th quarter. That time is usually reserved for MVP chants for our captain Amar’e Stoudemire, yet despite the high output from Stat tonight with 33 points, tonight’s game at the Garden was special for several reasons.
The Knicks proved they could still get a victory over a lesser team despite not having their full rotation suit up. Wilson Chandler plays a big role in New York’s usual attack, and Shawne Williams has been a pleasant surprise off the bench this year, providing the best three point shooting in the NBA and playing tough defense against some of the biggest scorers in the NBA.
We had several players step up tonight in their absence. Danilo Gallinari stepped up and doubled his output, scoring 29 points and sinking four three pointers.
For the Pistons, Mt. Vernon native Ben Gordon was absolutely on fire. He had in-the-building range on his jumper tonight, and I can’t say I’m all that surprised: when Ben was a Chicago Bull he very often had big games at Madison Square Garden, a few were buzzer beaters I attended, unfortunately.
The night belonged to Mozgov though, and I’m happy for him. I think Anthony Randolph could have had a similar night had he been giving the same opportunity, and one can’t help but wonder what kind of player we have with one of the other untapped players for the New York Knicks this season: Andy Rautins. I’ve seen his quickness, ball-handling, cleverness, hops, and three point accuracy and wonder if/when Rautins will get his Wally Pip moment to shine.
In the mean time, the between time, Turiaf, I think you have more time to rest those knees up for the playoffs. One game doesn’t tell us all we need to know, but some of us saw this coming a long time ago when it comes to Mozgov. None earlier than the master, Donnie Walsh.
Extend Donnie Walsh right now damn it!
Speaking of Donnie Walsh, he is on the verge of hiring a high level consultant not named Isiah Thomas. Mark Warkentien will be one of Donnie’s guys, not sure in what capacity, but an interesting hire considering any future possible trade negotiations with Denver going forward.
Also, peep this article and check the quote from Detroit’s post with regards to Landry Fields. That would be the second opposing coach going on record to praise the rook, the first one being Larry Brown. Why do people think Knick fans are unaware of Landry Fields? Some of us have been cheering for him since before the season started, before open practice, saw his potential in the summer league, Spike Lee, sit down, your ass did not discover Landry Fields, Donnie Walsh did. There are people that sit in my section that have had custom Landry Fields hoodies since the beginning of the season, so, no, you did not discover Landry Fields.
Any praise for Fields can be directed towards the man in charge, Donnie Walsh, thank you.