Carmelo’s First Night in Town Is a Victory, Somehow

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The Knicks had no idea what they were doing last night. Seth at Posting and Toasting called it a “scrimmage,” but that’s almost giving it too much credit. Last night’s Knicks win over the Bucks, in front of a crowd whose enthusiasm bordered on religious mania at times, was more like a pick-up game on the West 4th Street Courts. The Knicks didn’t know any plays — Chauncey Billups basically admitted he was just sort of running around — and why would they? This Knicks team had never practiced together, never shot together, never even dined together. It was truly a roll-the-ball-out-there night. And the Knicks won. This is going to be extremely fun.

Carmelo Anthony was off all night, missing a ton of shots and, more so, missing a lot of open teammates. There is something funny about watching Landry Fields — who just runs around the court trying to get open or grab boards like a meth addict — trying to figure out Carmelo’s offensive game; OK, is he shooting now? How about NOW? (Fields is a motion player suddenly in an isolation game.) Yet it was still thrilling to watch him, maneuvering himself to scoring position, grabbing rebounds, looking like, all told, he had been playing the game longer and better than everyone else on the court. Anthony is a guy who labors during games without looking like it, and it can give the impression sometimes that everyone, on both teams, is just staring at him, waiting for him to do something so the game can start. That sounds worse than it is: It’s just that he’s such a compelling, otherwordly talent on the offensive end that it can become mesmerizing. It just feels like he’s doing it differently than everyone else.

And we’re saying that about a night in which he was ten-of-25 from the field.

Billups was probably the MVP last night, and maybe because the game was otherwise so chaotic, but because there’s something so relieving about having him in the game that wasn’t there with Raymond Felton. He’s a veteran, and he just looks so calm: Even if it’s madness out there, Billups makes you think it isn’t. That’ll come in handy.

Toney Douglas scored 23 points, if just to remind you that he’s still here, that he’s not one of the guys who was traded.

It wasn’t a pretty game, and the Knicks looked like they had no idea what was going on. But they rode the energy of a wacked-out, lunatic crowd, and they ran two or three basic offensive structures … and they scored 114 points. Imagine what’s gonna happen when they practice.

Carmelo’s First Night in Town Is a Victory, Somehow