The New York Knicks opened the season on a great note tonight by winning their home opener against the Miami Heat. It was Mike D'Antoni's first regular-season game as Knicks coach, and from the jump you could see his fingerprints all over this year's Knicks squad.
Ball movement, cutting, and smart offense were all things the Knicks displayed tonight. There also was a level of effort that I haven't seen displayed by a Knicks team in years. Zach Randolph looked especially good in the offense. D'Antoni had him moving all over the place, coming off of curls in the paint and playing the pick-and-roll game with Jamal Crawford. Crawford also had an outstanding game, which has to be a relief for some Knicks fans, since Crawford had a "tuurible" preseason.
Outside of the great play from the Knicks, the major story was the lack of Eddy Curry and Stephon Marbury. We knew Curry wouldn't see any action before the game, but Marbury had been getting burn in the preseason, so it was surprising to see him log a DNP-CD. Even more surprising were the chants of "We want Steph" the MSG crowd sent D'Antoni's way throughout the game. Wasn't he getting booed last season? Now Knicks fans want him to play? You gotta love New York.
Speaking of boos, that was another element that was different from last year. I can't recall one moment where the MSG crowd started booing the home team.
Although they were playing a Heat team that was one of the league's worst teams last season, seeing the Knicks give a consistent 48-minute effort tells me that this season will be much better for Knicks fans than the previous few.