***********Record during the week: 2-0Game results: Rescheduled game @ Nets; Win v. Heat (104-84); Win v. 76ers (100-84)Overall record / Place in standings: 2-0; 1st place
Deeeeee-Fense: The team defense this week was outstanding. Swarming bee defense. Active hands everywhere led to 10 steals against the Heat, 12 more against Philly. Along with a number of standout hustle plays from Melo, and what seemed like solid communication on switches throughout, the Knicks kept both games out of reach. Despite Camby never making it to center court, and Tyson Chandler's conspicuous absence in the second half of yesterday's game, the Knicks kept the Heat and 76ers out of the paint, and limited layups and dunks. Making opposing teams work for points after we jump out to an early lead is vital, and the team looked locked in on doing just that in both of this week's contests.
The Money Ball: Lights out from downtown in both games. 30-63 in the combined effort. Novak leading the way, going 7-13 over both games. It's uncanny how much a Novak 3-ball energizes the Garden. Grown men dig the long ball, ya know? Melo even hit his "heat check" huck against the Heat. We won't hit 19 threes every time we play the defending champs, but its good to know we can.
Jason Kidd: I disliked this guy for the majority of my NBA fandom. I thought him offensive after his DUI this summer. After two games, I want to babysit his children for free. I don't care if it takes him 12 seconds to line up a wide open three, if he keeps passing and playing defense like he did this week, he should get his wish of being on the floor down the stretch.
New Threads: That blue striped waistband on the shorts? Ooooeeee.
Plan B Offense: The team didn't need much of this in either game because our first team was so red hot, but there will be games when Melo misses his first 5 shots and Felton remembers why he is a career 33% shooter from behind the arc. When those games come, I hope Mike Woodson has a plan. Or an idea. Or something more than JR Smith running around doing whatever he wants. There was some Pirgioni-Kurt Thomas pick and roll game late on Sunday, but - and I'm going out on a limb here, I know - that's proooobably not going to work when the team needs to score outside of their main system. 2-0, not worried, but it's something worth keeping an eye on (even as we plan our Canyon of Heroes parade).
Tyson Chandler: The fact that everybody else played so well may have masked the fact that TC - arguably the team's best player last year - got off to a sluggish start. Even with 10 points on Friday night, he had zero role in the offense in either game and barely played in the second half yesterday afternoon. Coming off an injury scare, I'm not concerned by a slow start, but it wasn't the big man's finest week in a Knicks jersey.