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Matinee Idols

By Jeff Koch on November 10, 2013.

San Antonio 120, New York 89

Yowzers. So that happened.

So it turns out Tyson Chandler is a pretty important piece of the puzzle for this Knicks team. That defense (sans Tyson) will cure all offensive woes. I don’t know if any meaningful insight can be gleaned from that dreadful Knicks performance (on both ends it was an ineptitude crap sandwich), so I’ll keep my thoughts brief.

But first, read this article: “What Sets Spurs Apart Is Lost on Knicks.”

Once a year the Spurs come to NYC to play the Knicks, and some great writer at the Times takes a chance to write about the team in contrast to the Knicks. Always a good boost to the fan self-esteem (and appreciation of what we get to cheer for).

–The most interesting part of the game was the starting line-up change from Pop. After the game he said he wanted to split Diaw’s and Leonard’s time guarding Carmelo, so he had to put one on the bench. I guess with the Knicks unusual starters (with Chandler out), Diaw got the starting nod, pushing Kawhi to the bench. Two thoughts from this switch: One, Diaw is such an underrated defender with his size and deceptive quickness, that he guards players like Carmelo and LeBron extremely well. I’m sure Carmelo’s eyes light up at the sight of Boris, and then he gets completely smothered by him. Two, putting Leonard on the bench also had the added benefit of opening up the offense for him. Playing with the second unit, he got to be more of the focal point without it seeming like an ‘experiment’, and he seemed to really blossom and shed some hesitation. My favorite thing about Kawhi (of which there is plenty) is how quickly he learns. You can almost see the gears spinning in his head, making connections and figuring things out. He’ll seem out of sorts, and 5 games later it’ll seem as if he’s been doing the thing he’d previously struggled with for 15 years.

–Belinelli had a play early in the 1st (when the game was still mildly in contention) where he caught the ball on the wing, pump faked, and drove it all the way to the basket. Later, he broke up an alley-oop attempt on a 2-on-1 fast break. File these under: Two things Gary Neal would have never been able to do. Remember this.

–Duncan only got credit for one block, but I’m pretty sure he had at least 15. OK, I might be wrong, but I’ll never stop being amazed at how well he protects the rim solely on anticipation, rhythm, length, and intelligence. What a joy to watch him anchor a defense.

–Hey there, Danny Green.

Next up: Philadelphia, tomorrow night.

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