As spectacular as Jamal Crawford has played at times for the Knicks this season, he might have learned more by watching the Knicks' 119-111 victory over Orlando last night. Point guard Stephon Marbury poured in 34 points and added seven assists, but more importantly, he set a tone with his ball movement.
As spectacular as Jamal Crawford has played at times for the Knicks this season, he might have learned more by watching the Knicks' 119-111 victory over Orlando last night at TD Waterhouse Centre than he did by scoring 41 points in a loss to expansion Charlotte earlier this season.
Sometimes, it's not only how much you score, but it's the way you score. Point guard Stephon Marbury poured in 34 points and added seven assists, but more importantly, he set a tone with his ball movement. Crawford can hit from anywhere in the same area code as the basket, but there are times when the ball tends to stick in his hands too much.
Last night, Marbury mastered the balancing act of attacking aggressively for his shot while also finding the open man with his passes. He was abetted by Allan Houston, who moved expertly to the open spots to score 13 of his 15 points in the first half, and Marbury's penetration into the lane freed forwards Kurt Thomas (14 points, nine rebounds) and Tim Thomas (15 points, six assists) for open shots from the wings.
"I thought we were smart sometimes with the offense, especially when we were patient with the ball," Wilkens said.
Asked if Crawford might benefit from the display, Wilkens responded emphatically. "Definitely," he said. "He's seeing the patience we have."
No doubt, the Knicks need Crawford's offensive game in the lineup as soon as he recovers from a turf toe injury that will keep him out for another two to five weeks. But the Knicks showed how effective they can be when everyone is involved.
"It felt like we were using everybody in ways where they have their strengths," Houston said. "Steph knows when to pick his spots, but we were able to distribute the offense and not depend on one person."
Williams is known more for his defense, but with the ball moving the way it was, he recognized his opportunities to make an offensive impact. "That's the type of game we have to play," Williams said. "Steph set the tone, and we played our game around him."
Marbury was angry with his performance in Sunday's win over Charlotte, and he got an earful from team president Isiah Thomas. "We ran through all our sets tonight," Marbury said, praising his teammates' execution. "Guys were open and moving to spots. We had a nice flow. I was aggressive from the beginning. This is me from here on out. That's the way I have to play."