How can you not have taken notice of the all-around superlative effort this early afternoon by Knicks' rookie guard LANDRY FIELDS. Except for one turnover midway through the third quarter in paint traffic, he played a very effective and controlled game in a rare starting role......up until he hit a wall midway through the third quarter.
Credit him with a beautiful pass from the top of the free-throw circle down into a slashing Stoudemire in the paint in the first half; 5 rebounds, 2 assists, a block and a steal; 8 points in 20 minutes. However, he negated himself with foul trouble as the third quarter closed in typical rookie fashion. He got baited into every infraction, leaving his hands out for a reach in foul and leaving his feet on a three point attempt. Till this point there was still a lot about his game to rave about today and the Knicks as a whole.
But the Knicks were not without their problems this game. The Knicks allowed the Sixers to score 7 straight points to tie and take the lead as the third quarter was about to expire. Turiaf running the floor after a Knick blocked shot on the defensive end, fought for a lay-up ..and the foul! He made the free throw and the quarter expired with the Knicks up by one.; 81-80.
Toney Douglas sat with 5 fouls most of this time, but for the most part the Knicks controlled the affair. They lost control at other times; hence the one point lead after three quarters.
Anthony Randolph slammed down the Knicks' first possession of the fourth quarter. But then the Knicks began to falter even more on defense.
At 9:00 they trailed 87-85.
At 8:00 they trailed 89-85.
The Sixers continued to get to the line by walking and playing into Knicks' miscues (all game long). The Knicks didn't learn and kept getting induced into the fouls. But, the Knicks still managed to regain the lead; 91-90 with 5:26 left.
Douglas finally made it back into the game with 5:00 remaining. But at the 4:00 mark Philly recaptured the lead 95-94. With 3:28 left Toney Douglas might have wanted to stay on the bench because Coach D was furious with him for lack of hustle and allowing the Sixers to bury a Three-pointer adding to their lead. It really was a weak effort on his part. Coach was justified.
Turn-overs, bad passing and a 10-2 run by Philly had the Knicks reeling with 2:30 left. Their shooting went ice cold and would continue fruitless for another minute till Stoudemire hit one of two free throws at 1:30 left. Stoudemire would go to the line again at 1:10 and again would shoot 1 for 2.
Philly led 102-96 with 0.40 seconds left.
To think, the Knicks once led by 9 points in the third quarter before Landry Fields and the Knickerbockers started to unravel with about 6:00 minutes left in that quarter.
Between .40 and .26 the Knicks had about 5 opportunities under the glass to get two points. Five shots went up; neither found the bottom of the net; incredulous. I had visions of Charles Smith swirl in my head for a moment.
The Sixers would win this game 106-96 on the Knicks' home court sending everyone home with a sour taste in their mouths for the rest of the still young day outside.
Philly clamped down on defense and the Knicks shooting went into hibernation. Philly outscored the Knicks 26-15 in the fourth quarter. Bad passing and turnovers doomed the Knicks after starting this game very promisingly. And like I said, Landry Fields was looking real smooth out there until his game curdled along with the rest of the Knicks.
Instead of getting carried away with ourselves tomorrow because the Knicks won three in a row, the talk will be sounding a little skeptical but with a lot of hope sprinkled in. Coach D'Antoni will get hammered because our defense faltered down the stretch. Some will feel better because the team, despite today, still notice an appreciable difference in this team than teams of the recent past.
Should we be killing the Knicks after today's game? Yea sure, for a game and a day. But let's get over this one quick. We blew it, OK? But today and this season is still far more fun to watch than this team was three and two years ago.