Okay, Maybe We Can Let Him Take the Last Shot…

I’ll have you know that that play happened just as Isiah diagrammed. It was the ol’ “Throw an insanely stupid cross court pass, then block the pass from the guy who stole the ball from you then recover the ball then take a crazy-looking 30-foot three pointer” play. I think Thomas learned that play when he was younger. He was a fighter back then. Did you know that? I did not. I wish someone would tell me more about Thomas’ fighting background. Maybe Thomas will talk about it some day.

That was such a crazy play, and the weirdest thing is that it was far from the most bizarre play in Wednesday night’s much needed 109-107 win by the Knicks over the Denver Nuggets (playing without Kenyon Martin). No, that play happened the previous Knicks possession, when the basketball somehow escaped from the Black Hole known as Eddy Curry to find itself in Stephon Marbury’s hands as he released a game-tying three pointer. And Curry was TRIPLE-TEAMED at the time!!

As this is the Knicks we are talking about, they almost blew the lead at the end by somehow allowing JR Smith (who Gus Johnson congratulated for a good game against his former team – do you think Gus thinks JR Smith is DerMarr Johnson?) to run all the way from the outside to have an easy game-tying layup as Carmelo Anthony intentionally missed the second free throw. Luckily, though, Smith (who seems a bit TOO hyper) blew the easy layup, and the Knicks came away with the win.

Still, it was a thrilling game, highlighted by the two crazy three-pointers and Jamal Crawford just lighting it up in the fourth quarter, pouring in a staggering TWENTY points in the quarter!

The Knicks also seem to have found that they really work better when they have a fifth player just to play defense and rebound. That they have decided that that player is Malik Rose is probably not a good thing, but hell, it seems to work, doesn’t it? Although there was a hilariously lame sequence in the fourth quarter where Crawford threw a pass away intended for Rose. What is he doing trying to FIND Rose in a close game towards the end of the fourth quarter?!?!

Also, it’s just about time to bench Channing Frye. Let him work out his problems during practice, because he both LOOKS awful and his numbers ARE awful. And the Najera play early in the game where Frye blocks a shot then just gets the ball yanked from his grip…that is unsettlingly bad.

Just start David Lee. He doesn’t get in the way, doesn’t demand the ball – he just lets the guards do their thing.

Oh, and how much better do the Knicks look without Francis?

Oh, and how the hell did Quentin Richardson reinvent himself as a good player?

In any event, the difference between 1-4 and 2-3 is only a game, but from a “feel good” standpoint, it is GIGANTIC.

What a good feeling. Let’s hope it carries over to Friday.


*I love how quickly Zeke broke from “I won’t criticize my players” to “I’ll bench anyone!” Dude even NAMED NAMES!! Even LB didn’t usually name names.

*How the hell did Chicago give up on JR Smith for nothing?

*I like the Larry Brown decision. $18.5 million seems fair to me. I like how the coaches are all acting like this is some huge precedence. Please. This LB situation was a situation that will not be duplicated more than once or twice in the future – it was just too weird.

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24 thoughts to “Okay, Maybe We Can Let Him Take the Last Shot…”

  1. I agree with much of what you say, although Rose, if he isn’t taking too many shots, is more valuable to me than your dig might indicate. He might’ve gotten too much love from Brown, which encouraged his bad habits, but after a lousy year-plus, he may be a little more aware of what he can’t do anymore and just be grateful to be on the court. I mean, so far he’s been nothing but a plus, and the defense he did on Tim Duncan 2 nights ago was As Good As It Gets. He earned 20 minutes a night and used them well again last night; the good thing is if Frye gets untracked there won’t be any controversy if Rose goes back to a more limited role, as opposed to a Reggie Evans or some other defensive sparkplug. So if he wasn’t such a big contract I think we’d all be happier, but, hell, I ain’t paying him…

    Beyond that, Frye does look lost, but he did rebound OK and block three shots last night (something the Knicks sorely need), so there was a hustle-improvement, although his smarts do seem to have disappeared along with his shot, with too many dumb, inorganic mistakes. They’ve got to run some plays designed to get the guy to the free-throw line, it’s insane a power forward has no free throw attempts yet. His jumper worked last year b/c teams feared him going inside.

    I feel bad Collins got no play last night after his good game, hopefully he’ll get a chance again in the near future…

    but it’s a weird beginning to the season…the Blazers beat the lakers last night and are above 500 — the Clippers are hot, and the Mavs are now 0-4 (and Denver is now 0-3)…it seems a lot of things are a bit up in the air right now…

  2. All I saw was the highlight package on ESPN.

    “It’s craazy maaannn!” [in my Dennis Hopper voice.]

  3. Gus Johnson said that the Knicks really miss Jared Jeffries to defend guys like Carmelo. But I dunno…11-26 from the field isn’t exactly going off. Obviously we couldn’t stop him off the dribble (18 FTA), but a guy like Melo is going to get his. I think the Knicks did pretty well to hold him to such a low FG%. I think I’d rather have Richardson in the lineup at this point.

    How about Q? Nine rebounds? I know the Nuggets were missing K-Mart, but it says good things when you can outrebound a team by 9.

    This was a lucky win, but well-deserved after showing heart against the Spurs.

  4. “Just start David Lee. He doesn?t get in the way, doesn?t demand the ball – he just lets the guards do their thing.”

    A-FRICKIN-MEN! Glad I’m not the only one who sees this as a no-brainer.

    “Oh, and how much better do the Knicks look without Francis?”

    Either he or Marbury HAS to go. Then maybe Mardy gets a real look…

  5. Yeah, Count, it’s hard to argue for the return of Francis after that game. He and Marbury are both talented and useful, but having both of them is kinda redundant and ineffective.

  6. You guys seem to rush to judgement with on Francis
    and Marbury. From the last game against the spurs
    to last night’s game against the nuggets Marbury made key jumpers to keep the knicks in the game.Remember how good Marbury looked before he injured his shoulder when the knicks had that six game win streak last year. I believe Marbury will heat up and will make a positive contribution. And so will Francis. I think that there’s more pressure on them to not be out performed by the sophomores in the rotation now.

  7. It’s not so much a question of their abilities. It’s more about whether there is a place for both of them on the team. They don’t do much to work off of one another, so having them both on the court is like putting out a four man lineup.

  8. the Knicks look better without Marbury on the floor as well as Francis and Curry and Frye(to name a few)… I think they both should go but thats not an option.

  9. I think there’s enough minutes to go around for both Marbury and Francis to co-exist without seeing the floor together for long stretches. Of course that would come at the expense of Nate Robinson’s floor time and thus far, even though I don’t like him, the little guy has played better. I think Isiah’s just going to go with whoever has the hothand in the backcourt from this point forward. He has a strange infatuation with crawford for some reason so it could be the other guys in the backcourt who suffer.

    Lee over Frye seems at first to be a no brainer but I still contend that if this team has any sort of future, Frye has to take that next step. Just based off their physical attributes and skillset and what they did last season I think Frye has the bigger upside. That and I don’t think Lee can keep up his rebounding rate, which is outerworldly at the moment. For Isiah’s sake it might make sense to put Lee on the floor but I’m afraid if Frye gets buried he will lose whatever is left of his aggressiveness that made him so successful last season.

    While we’re on the subject, are there any comparables of players who had strong rookie years but completely fell off their sophmore year? I know the sophomore jinx is a popular phrase but Frye is taking it to the extreme right now.

  10. “Also, it?s just about time to bench Channing Frye.”

    I agree, he’s definitely in the sophmore slump. He just looks like he lost his confidence and it is affecting his decision making. He can still hit that 18 footer from the top of the key, but teams are defending against it now whereas last year he was left open more often.

    Also, the Frye 3pt. attempts need to end.

  11. Whats with these wacky lineups. Am i the only one who is dumbfounded with these 3guard…..2forward lineups.. when the tallest guy on the court is 6’6. On numerous occasions i have seen Nate/Marb/Craw/Qrich/Rose. Or maybe lee at the center. jamal crawford never should be playing SF, when he is undersized half the times at the SG.
    I have some faith in isiah and all, but damn he really needs to do his matchups homework. Seems like the knicks are hugely undersized, and shouldnt have just gottn rid of mo taylor. Frye is starting to show us who he really is, and bring us back to our dissapoint on the night we drafted him.
    Last but not least, the knicks are starting off slow, but why before the season started, did Isiah “our leader” thomas, predict us knicks fans “not to be worried if we came back from this homestand 2-6.” Which at this point, seems like the remote possibility. Our coach is supposed to be pouring out confidence that his team, and his players can beat anyone in the league. maybe thats why half the team has their head in their ass, and isnt confident and plays scared. It all comes from the coach.
    We need to start david lee. He might be our poor mans charles oakley. A player who just plays hardnosed, not looking for any spotlight. Just wanting to contribute to winning, and Diving for looseballs,and offensive rebounds

  12. I would say that Crawford has improved alot over the last few years, especially last year under Brown. He may take some ill-advised, contested shots and not feed the post well, but he has improved his defense and unlike many players in the league, he can completely take over a game when he gets hot (see last night). Crawford is definitely more of an asset than Marbury or Francis, and was the only bright spot on the Knick roster for the second half of last season.

  13. I’m glad that won the game and it was exciting but Isiah is a joke. Why does he even call a timeout at the end of games? His only play is “Ok Crawford you get the play dribble the shot clock down cose your eyes and throw one up”. Do you really need a timeout for that? Just once how about we run a play? I’ve stood outside on West 4th street and seen more organized basketball. I agree with the David Lee statement. He just seems to gel with everyone. Plus it’s easier to run with Curry’s fat butt on the bench.

  14. There is no question that channing frye should be benched. Also I like francis over marbury becuase francis has more guts. teammates respect francis while marbury usually alienates himself. Has anyone noticed that since the shoulder injury last season against the T-wolves, Marbury hasn’t been going to the hole the same or at all for that matter. Last nights disgrace of an attempt to lay it up on Camby for the lead was pathetic and a perfect example of Marbury’s state of mind. Like Arod, Steph will never make it here but unlike Arod, a smaller ballpark and a city with less media wont help Stephon. Only a humbling experience will heal Stephon in my eyes and what brought this on was his self-proclaimtion of him calling himself the ‘best pg in the NBA.’

  15. I agree with much of what you say, although Rose, if he isn?t taking too many shots, is more valuable to me than your dig might indicate. He might?ve gotten too much love from Brown, which encouraged his bad habits, but after a lousy year-plus, he may be a little more aware of what he can?t do anymore and just be grateful to be on the court.

    Intriguing theory, Jim.

    Sorta like how Lindsey Hunter reinvented himself as a defensive stopper?

    I guess I can but it – it’s just so hard to buy into, when there is so little information on the ability of players to just abruptly change the way they play the game.

  16. The problem with Malik Rose is that everyone knows that Malik Rose sucks on offense, except Malik Rose. When he’s on offense he’s good at setting himself up in the post and demanding the ball. The problem is he just isn’t a good post player. He looks like one, and has a few nice looking moves, but he just doesn’t have the lift, height, or bulk to give himself good opportunities to score. Yesterday I noted that Rose has his shot blocked inside 20% of the time (double Lee or Frye).

    I admire his desire to be a part of the offense and demand the ball. Every Knick fan wishes Eddy Curry could be as assertive. But Rose’s demanding of the ball hurts the Knicks on offense. I LOVE Rose’s defense, but for it to work for the Knicks, he’s got to take a back seat on offense.

  17. As for benching Frye, I’ll say not now. You don’t get a player to be more confident by benching him, and Frye’s problems are all about his confidence. Channing looked better this last game, no more of those “I’m jumping in the air – oh no I can’t shoot – gotta pass” indecisions. It’s only 5 games into the season, let’s give him at least another 5.

    And I love the way Lee plays.

  18. I’d still take Francis over Marbury. Francis seems to care more. Do we really miss Jeffries? Is he really the defensive stopper everyone says he is? When he comes back it means less time for Q who has been our MVP through 5 games. Unless we bench Curry and play small with Jeffries at the 4 I don’t see how he’s going to help all that much.

  19. Regarding Frye, I think he needs continued PT to see which Frye is going to emerge as the dominant one. But I think I would make Lee the starting PF for now.

    To me, the biggest quandary is: What rotations should be playing together? If I take what in IMHO are the top 5 players on the team (with Jeffries injured), I end up with: Crawford, Q, Curry, Stephon and Lee. Is that my starting five? On paper, that looks like my best rotation, but I’m not sure they have played like the best rotation.

    Then I have Frye, Balkman, Rose and Nate. How do I use them most effectively? Is Nate a 1 or a 2? He looks like a 2 to me. So is Francis my backup PG then? He won’t play in that role — he’ll sulk. Does Frye sub as a PF, a C or both? PF I think. So then Cato/James is my backup C?

    The problem here is that this team is the worst miche-mache of pieces that don’t fit together I have ever seen. In business, I’m generally a radical, action-oriented type of person. Damn the pain — what’s best for us long-term? So in my action-oriented mind I would have to say:

    * To hell with Francis — play Collins as the backup PG and Nate as the backup 2 unless Collins proves to be untenable. Then again, I’m not a big Nate fan like most people. I would be tempted to release Francis (assuming he can’t be traded) just for the sake of him not clogging up the team’s future at G. Nate is at least tradeable / not a long-term salary cap liability.
    * Lee is my starting PF and Frye is the backup until such time as anyone proves to me Frye can provide the energy on the boards to pair up with Curry. Jeffries might replace Lee when he comes back, so at that point Frye may be the odd man out unless we go to rotations with no true C.
    * Marbury and Crawford are my main back court with Q providing the outside shot (such as it is) from SF. Crawford at least plays D occasionally.
    * Balkman should be the backup at SF, unless the PF situation merits playing Jeffries as the backup here.

    So where does that leave Rose? Another PF? Arrgh — very confusing. Everyone ragged on LB for inconsistency in his rotations last year, but in fairness to him, it’s damn tough to decide on steady rotations with this roster!

  20. I agree with everything that you are saying. I still think that the real problem is that if you have Marbury and or Francis and or Crawford and or Nate you really have 4 guards who all demand the ball and shoot first.

    I think that you have to put in Collins as your point guard. He starts with Marbury being your 2 guard. Francis can be a back up point guard and Crawford is your back up 2 guard.

    Nate sits on the bench and comes in with the energy line when the knicks are getting blown out.

    Lee and Curry have to play together Lee is above average in rebounding and Curry is below average.

    Make Frye a back up Center / PF and feature him in the second line. This way you can get his confidence back up and you can run some plays for him.

  21. Speaking of Collins, what gives? He has a breakout night and how is he rewarded? DNP – Coach’s Decision! Isiah has got to go.

  22. I think Jeffries will take some minutes from Q, but I think the majority of his minutes will be the ones that Rose is getting and the ones Balkman is getting, as you don’t need Balkman if Q is performing.

    Jeffries can do almost everything Rose can do, except guard Tim Duncan.

    And he can do EVERYthing Balkman can do.

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