NEW YORK --- There's a special circle of hell reserved for a team that takes the floor in the third quarter at Madison Square Garden up 10, then promptly turns in a 1-14 performance from the field with four turnovers to fall behind 10 points.  A 20-point turnaround in 9:30 flat. 

A segment of the Naçion will undoubtedly point to the FTA disparity [Knicks 44, Clips 20], but how do you expect to work a trip to the line when the shot selection looks like this:

  • Brand 17-foot jumper
  • Mobley 22-foot jumper
  • Cassell 17-foot jumper
  • Mobley lost ball
  • Kaman lousy pass out of the post
  • Ross 19-foot jumper with clock expiring
  • Mobley stuffed by David Lee
  • Cassell 8-foot jumper [good!]
  • Cassell egregiously tries to draw foul with 7-foot jumper, but can't quite sell it.
  • Brand 14-foot jumper
  • Thomas 24-foot 3P jumper
  • Cassell 24-foot 3P jumper

Notice a trend here?  While the Knicks work the ball into the post, the Clips act as if they've got Nash, Marion, Barbosa, Bell, and Diaw on the perimeter.  In general, Elton's ability to get to the line has diminished sharply this year, from 7.2 FTA/game last season to 6.0 FTA/game this season.  Whether this is an unintended consequence of his unequivocal confidence in his face-up jumper, or an abdication of the block either out of exhaustion or a deliberate alteration in the offense is a debate for another day. 

The Clippers aren't going to win a lot of games in which their primary wing scorers, Maggette and Mobley, combine for 46 minutes, 4 PTS [2-8 FG, 0-2 FT], 6 REB, 2 AST, 3 TO.  There's just no good way to make the math work, unless Brand and Kaman are combining for 50.  And, as many fantasies as we've entertained, that day just ain't here.

The only consolation for me was that, ten rows behind the Clips' basket in the second half, half the action is screened by inflatable thundersticks that read: "Experience Knicks Basketball."  And experience you shall, provided you're not behind a kid, hopped up on 40 ounces of high-fructose corn syrup, holding thundersticks that read "Experience Knicks Basketball," in which case you'll experience nothing but paroxysms and near decapitations at the hands of aforementioned spaz and his inflatable chewtoy.  It also warrants mentioning that the Garden breaks out in the wave during a pair of Jamal Crawford free throws in the fourth quarter.  What to make of this?  I'm not entirely sure, but it has completely altered the way I see the world.  The wave at the Garden??