NEW YORK — The best 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.
Not since Magic Johnson was orchestrating the eviction of a couple 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, last season’s regal rookie, the Celtics’ serrated mastermind looked for his own a total of twice (one make), helped teammates register 16 baskets (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. Two games into his NBA career, the Bucks draftee has to his credit nine assists, nine rebounds and 17 points, followed by a victorious 24-point (16 in the third) recital against a Pistons backcourt that manhandled him in the Bucks’ exhibition finale.
Jennings, you might recall, was selected two spots 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 to Charlotte on Friday.
At this rate, I predict a second straight breakdown season for Duhon, who’ll need serious R&R by Thanksgiving.
By the way, is anyone surprised we’re witnessing the same Knicks’ mentality and mistakes from last season: embarrassingly slow starts, botched inbounds plays, out-of-control Nate Robinson, clueless at closing out games, etc.
The surprise is that Duhon, a celebrated party animal, called out his teammates for unprofessionally approaching their pre-game preparations for Friday’s game against the Bobcats.
Tell me that’s not also a stinging indictment of D’Antoni.
Nothing is worse for a reputation than to coach a team with sub-basement expectations and under-achieve.
If Don Nelson and D’Antoni switched sides, would anyone other than Al Harrington and Stephen Jackson notice . . . or care?
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.
Okafor can’t help but provide a battery jump. The big question will be settling in to a shot distribution with the trio of David West, Okafor and Paul . . . when, where and how?
Saw signs of a sweet high-low post combo with West and Okafor in Friday’s fortunate win over Sacramento; spirits blessed Byron Scott when Kings recorded a mere nine points off 21 offensive rebounds, missing 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 referee Dick Bavetta during All-Star Weekend.
Greg Oden posted an unusual (for everyone else) stat line in Portland’s season-opening win vs. Houston — 26 minutes, three shots, 12 boards, five blocks, five fouls and seven turnovers.
I’m enjoying the start of an other great NBA season, but it just doesn’t seem complete without hearing the evening sportscasters echo that familiar phrase “and Allen Iverson scored (fill in the blank) points in a losing effort.”
|* * * * *|
Charles Barkley wants to be a general manger. No problem, I’ll have Dunkin Donuts, Taco Bell, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Budweiser reach out to him.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban talks about roster cuts from 15 to 13 due to the economy. I never thought he needed that many assistants anyway.
Peter Vecsey cover the NBAfor the New York Post.