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Knicks Game Media Row Report

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I got to see the game intermittently last night and have not yet reviewed it on Tivo so I'm going to skip my game review and get straight to Ben's Media Row Report...

Knicks vs. Blazers

Tonight's win was less "yay" and more "phew."  It was looking dicey there for far too long as the inferior Knicks destroyed the Blazers on the boards and found ways to get Zach Randolph wide open for jump shots that he happily knocked down, just like old times.  Thankfully, the Blazers were able to turn to their money men - triple-doubler Brandon Roy and Travis Outlaw--in the fourth quarter, eking out a tie that forced overtime.  Once there, the better coached and more disciplined team almost always wins; tonight was no exception as Isaiah Thomas is still coaching the Knicks.

There was plenty of cause for concern during tonight's game and you could sense it in the crowd's pleading, desperate cheers throughout the first half.  Whether the team's inconsistent shooting, long stretches of scoreless play, struggles on the boards and confusion playing team defense can be attributed to the lack of functioning shot clocks and the insufferably long TV timeouts created by ESPN is uncertain.  However, looking ahead at a schedule that includes Denver, Detroit, Houston and Dallas before the all-star break, these issues could certainly fester into big problems, and soon.

Tonight's crowd, though, was nothing if not resilient--fighting through the delays, the scoreless stretches and the double digit deficits, choosing to remain on its feet for the last few minutes of regulation, cheering full throttle as Travis nailed that huge jumper and the Knicks' offense self-destructed.  When Jarrett and then Brandon iced it with their free throws, there were both loud cheers and audible exhales of relief.

Despite the struggles, tonight's game was a must-win and the team pulled itself together, nabbing the "w" and sending the fans home happy.  Unfortunately, they probably also sent their coaching staff home with migraines and game tapes to review.

Up Close and Personal

Mr. Miles showed up early and stayed late tonight.  Pregame he was stretched out courtside, with a sleeve noticeably covering his rehabbing knee.

The two funniest players on the team?  Hard to say but both were sporting perma-smiles tonight.

Mr. All Star and Mr. Slam Dunk seriously discuss the epic parties they threw back in college.

Did you hear?  Zach Randolph was back in town for the first time since being traded over the off-season.  There was moderate interest in his presence.

Living Legend living large in that suit. Clyde hasn't lost a step.

Another sign that the Blazers organization gets it: they distributed these nice full-color signs to fans honoring Brandon's selection to the all-star team.

Random Game Notes

-- By request, we're trying bullet points tonight.
-- Jarrett Jack chose the pregame music, opting for the unforgettable "Dey Know" by Shawtylo.
-- Zach was met by a lot of boos and some cheers during introductions but, prior to that, he had fans lined up asking for his autograph.  He politely obliged.
-- Speaking of Zach, rumor is that he didn't arrive on the team bus tonight.  First Steph making his own schedule and now Zach? What's your dysfunction, New York?  (Ed Note:  ESPN.com has him arriving only an hour before the tip.  I guess that was for old time's sake?  --Dave)
-- Both Freddy Jones and Nate Robinson got loud "welcome home" cheers.  There was a lot of Huskies gear in the audience tonight.  
-- Blake and ZBo enjoyed a lengthy conversation pregame.  Blake talks to everyone, he is a true ambassador.
-- Blazers President Larry Miller came out during the first timeout to give a speech, encouraging fans to cheer on Brandon and Lamarcus for their all star selections.  The fans gave a rowdy standing ovation. As he came back on the court, Martell was enthusiastically clapping too.
--Speaking of Aldridge, he came out firing tonight, almost as if he had something to prove against Mr. Randolph.
-- Annoyed by the shot clock while watching at home?  It was pretty much miserable in the arena too. Delay after delay after delay.  They tried to announce the scores over the public address system, then they moved the shot clocks to the side, then they brought out 3 ladders to try to fix the clocks, for a while only the Blazers' clock was working, later the face of one of the clocks got knocked down during halftime shots, just a total mess. It clearly affected the Knicks' play down the stretch.
-- They showed a fan holding a sign that read "Zach who?" on the scoreboard, which drew a number of cheers.
-- Jamal Crawford can attempt fourth quarter jump shots against my team any day of the week. LeBron James he is not.
-- Nate switched up the lineups down the stretch, letting both Joel and Blake get some run.  Both had key contributions: Joel with a great Bill Russell block to himself that started a fast break, Blake with a number of runners in traffic and one move that spun Nate Robinson around like a Ninja Turtle.
-- Travis Outlaw rules.
-- After Jack hit his big runner in overtime, he high-fived his teammates and one lucky female fan courtside got a high-five as well.  Jack was pumped, which was great to see as he's been struggling a bit as of late.
-- Paging James Jones: are you ok?  Do you read me?  Hello?
-- Roy notched his career first triple double.  2 rebounds in the last minute of overtime helped get the job done.
-- Loved seeing both Jack and Roy nail their free throws down the stretch.
-- Isiah looked like a beaten man after the game.  Really dejected, deflated, and he was barely audible as he answered questions.  I almost felt bad for the guy but then I remembered it might have been a tad self-inflicted.

--Ben Golliver