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Tracy McGrady has storybook debut… almost

Feb 20, 2010, 11:54 PM EDT

mcgrady_Knick.jpgTracy McGrady looked like hadn’t lost a step despite only playing in nine games prior to tonight… well, almost.

Donnie Walsh looked like he might be sheer genius in the debut of the revamped Knicks lineup… well, almost.

And the New York Knicks beat the Oklahoma City Thunder…well, almost.

There will be plenty of time to talk about Kevin Durant’s streak of 25+ games (27 and counting), the Thunder’s incredible poise, and the significance of Sam Presti’s decision not to interfere with the chemistry of the young squad.

But we’d be remiss if we didn’t chronicle the work of McGrady tonight. The return of TMac.

The boxscore itself is not enough to appreciate what McGrady did tonight. Though the Knicks’ pace is down significantly this year from previous runs and guns, there’s still an inherent swell to the statsheet when you operate under Mike D’Antoni’s guises. So 26 points in 32 minutes, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, and a steal is impressive, but not unbelievable. It’s very possible to put that line in a quiet way under 7 Seconds or Less.

It was not a quiet line.

McGrady wasn’t the same McGrady we’ve seen the last few years. He was the McGrady we were promised by the former prodigy, attacking the basket, draining threes, making steals, handling the ball in key situations, and generally playing like a king. Or a Knickerbocker of old.

McGrady has settled for inside-the-arc jumpshots, the death of effiiciency for years, as his body wore down. But tonight he attacked the basket, drawing contact, following misses, and being hyper aggressive, rather than passively shooting whatever the defense granted him. There were a fair amount of “inefficient” shots, to be sure, the 16-23 foot jumpers that were part of what frustrated the efficiency-obsessed Rockets. But McGrady countered it with aggressiveness and creating opportunities for his teammates.

McGrady definitely seemed to tire as the game went on, his first in months, and he sat the entire overtime period when he was needed. But tonight serves as notice that even though he may not be 100%, the old Tracy McGrady, the one that drove fear into the hearts of men, still exists, and we may be seeing more of him for the rest of the season.

  1. Matt Dillon - Feb 21, 2010 at 2:22 AM

    I just want to dedicate this to all the Tmac Haters.
    Ha ha!
    Hes Back! And not even 100 percent. And did this against one of the top ranked defenses.

  2. Robert - Feb 21, 2010 at 2:50 AM

    T-Mac played great!!! but D’Antoni’s mix of players at different intervals of the game created this loss. The knicks should have won this game. I have played and watched B-ball for a long time. Playing in the park is not really any different than playing in the NBA. In the park you select the best five players to stay on the court. If you don’t you cannot win. If you start the wrong players in the NBA you either fall behind quickly or you don’t hold on to the lead. No disrespect to Duhon but T-Mac and Rodriguez or T-Mac and House should have started in the back court.
    Then you complete the five with Lee, Harrington and Chandler. this team gives you the best opportunity to build the beswt lead. You back fill these positions with remaing players and win qtr. bt qtr.

  3. Nida Handon - Feb 21, 2010 at 12:25 PM

    Wow! what an idea ! What a concept ! Beautiful .. Amazing …

  4. oNE tREE hILL aDDICTED - Mar 5, 2010 at 11:56 PM

    Well I am quite sure that it would not be new for you but your blog s fantastic! I am sure that many guys would have told you before but I thought to let you know myself and boost your confidence.

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