The first game of 2011 provided the latest example of just how far the Knicks have come this season.
They shot poorly from the floor and looked discombobulated on most of their voyages down the court offensively. On defense, the rebounding was again awful as the Pacers kept possession after possession alive by working the glass offensively. Thankfully, the Pacers couldn't hit ocean from a boat and they kept bailing the Knicks out by sending them to the free throw line in what turned into a 98-92 home win.
You're not going to play your best every night, so it is nice to see that the Knicks are able to find a way to win when they are less than their best. That won't work against better teams, of course, but if last week's losses to the Heat and Magic taught us anything it is that we shouldn't spend much time looking down our noses at any wins over the course of an NBA season. The question the Knicks might now have to answer is if they can win games with a depleted roster.
Danilo Gallinari had to be helped off the court after hurting his knee in the fourth quarter. He was having a strong game, consistently getting to the line with Italian soccer-style flops on his forays into the paint, and his loss would severely limit an offense that thrives when there are a variety of options. He said he was feeling better after the game, but he's going to have an MRI on Monday and we'll all just have to hold our breath until the results of that come down the pike.
There were other bumps and bruises. Ronny Turiaf's shoulder popped out of joint late in the game, probably a result of how much it was being used to block six shots over the course of the afternoon. It was a strong performance by Turiaf that made it even harder to understand why Mike D'Antoni refused to use him for more than six minutes against Orlando.
As if that wasn't enough, Wilson Chandler was walking gingerly after the game, Toney Douglas had his own shoulder issues and D'Antoni's moustache had a dandruff attack. Just kidding on that last one -- no dryness shall ever attack that masterpiece -- but some levity feels necessary in light of all the pain and suffering. Depth was already an issue. If serious injuries strike the limited rotation, January could be a particularly cruel month.