Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Knicks 95, Hawks 91

New York Knicks 95 Final
Recap | Box Score
91 Atlanta Hawks
Andrea Bargnani, PF

31 MIN | 8-15 FG | 2-2 FT | 11 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 20 PTS | +6

It’s a sad commentary on the state of Bargs’ Bocker tenure that watching him splay wildly out of bounds and slapping misses aimlessly to save possessions makes me moistest with glee. On defense, he was a train of propane tanks barreling into a fertilizer factory — Al Horford ran amok and the Hawk wings routinely had their way on back-door cuts and in transition. I refuse to believe that an NBA basketball player with two ostensibly functioning knees cannot exert more effort on defense. I simply refuse. But…

…Credit where it’s due – Bargs was big time down the stretch, and rebounding with an enthusiasm I haven’t seen from him since that time The Mouthpiece Factory had that 4th of July Sale. He would finish with a plus-six, bringing his season total ever so slightly up to a manageable -375. Baby steps, Burgs (Yes. Burgs. Burgs. It’s my thing.)

Still… I mean…
BargnaniDefenseCarrollHawksNY

Carmelo Anthony, SF

40 MIN | 9-25 FG | 4-5 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 25 PTS | -5

A Melo-y mix of in-rhythm splashes, off-balance chucks, and logic-defying threes made up Number Seven’s mixed bag first half. The second was a noxious nickelodeon of shitty shot selection and fruitless ref-bitching for most of the third, some answered prayers in the fourth, and only a sprinkling of genuinely encouraging decision-making. For a guy with limited perimeter abilities, Horford made life difficult for Melo at myriad turns, keeping low and coaxing him into off-balance bails and awkward prayers.

Raymond Felton, PG

32 MIN | 5-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 10 PTS | +1

Spent a good chunk of the night flapping behind Teague around screens like toilet paper on a stripper’s heel, but guided home a couple big buckets in the second half to sort of make up for—it in no way made up for it. He’s still struggling with the jumper; still struggling to navigate the blizzard of switches. But Woody loves him, which TOTALLY seems like a safe currency right now.

J.R. Smith, SG

33 MIN | 4-10 FG | 1-4 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 12 PTS | -3

It’s common for injury rust to manifest itself in any number of physical forms. Catching a basketball just isn’t usually one of them. Luckily, Earl — who started, and I know you have no opinions about that — found his stroke early, only to watch it curtail on mostly clean looks the rest of the way. He was great on the boards, decent on D, and looked a million times better than this past Sunday, when I was convinced that JR was on a combination of krokodil and Wild Irish Rose.

Iman Shumpert, SG

35 MIN | 2-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 9 AST | 4 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +15

That’s a shitty afternoon Shump just had. To his credit, our treasured Jacket shrugged off the rumors to bestow an engaged, partly enraged bit of ball upon the Bocker faithful. He ran 37 miles chasing Korver around screens; got out in transition on a couple of occasions; ran the glass; and somehow ended up with nine dimes. That today’s rumors felt frighteningly close to coming true might make for an awkward next few weeks, but if Shump’s performance tonight was any kind of bellwether, expect a supernova of interim pride.

Kenyon Martin, PF

17 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +2

For a guy who’s acting like he deserves 40 minutes of burn a night, Kenyon’s been pretty quiet. He’s had his sneaky-good moments on D, but is essentially a non-factor on offense given our current configuration. Then again, desperate times something something into the breach something something life is like a box of chocolates.

Metta World Peace, SF

21 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | -4

All Quiet on the Crazy Front. I still wouldn’t be surprised if Woody ends up experimenting a bit with Metta in the starting five, but for now the roll is cool and comfortable. Unlike with K-Mart, I can’t see Peace pitching much of a fit on the playing time front. His a halfway decent offensive third option on a second or third unit; a serviceable, sturdy shell of his former defensive self; and not much more. Which has been more than enough, on the whole.

Pablo Prigioni, PG

16 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | +9

Prigs is quickly becoming the poster child for advanced stats angst in the face of backwards eye test bullshit. His plus-nine was second only to Shumpert; his hands spry; his decision-making on point, even if his shot wasn’t. I don’t understand why he doesn’t play more. None of us do. I’m starting to think the whole thing has its roots in some kind of botched-translation.

Prigs: “Woody. Tu es la verdad de la milanesa.” (You are the real deal!)
Woody: The hell he just say?
Felton: He said he had sex with your daughter in a Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Tim Hardaway Jr., SG

15 MIN | 5-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 14 PTS | +3

Tonight’s mettle-testing hero – the confidence of a veteran, the conscience of a kindergartner, and the charisma of a guy who grew up with Tim Hardaway blending him protein shakes made of GNC formula and spite. Whether the heat-checks and terrible defensive decision making remain in fits or fester beyond help, remains to be seen. But don’t be surprised if this kid steals us a couple games at some point this season.

Mike Woodson

Found something of a rotational harmony in the first half, only to avoid revisiting it until well into Atlanta’s blitz in the second. Rolled with the right five down the stretch, even if the play-calling didn’t exactly inspire.

Three Things We Saw

  1. Throwback three-for-all, y’all: The Knicks hit on 12-34 overall, although they missed 14 in a row at one point before Shump finally re-connected. The method behind the looks wasn’t quite what it was last year, with broken plays and hero hoists in lieu of horn-snapping ball movement. But, as the Portuguese like to say, any Portuguese sweet bread in a storm.
  2. Jeff Teague tortured Knick defenders all night. You know why: robotic switches, back-peddling mismatches, late help and flat-footed rim protection. Such forays helped set the table for Atlanta’s biggest coup of the evening: A 56 (yikes) to 28 points in the paint advantage.
  3. The Knicks committed three turnovers tonight. Three. That’s goddam impressive. Five, six, seven more? We probably lose this game. There are plenty of concerning trends we can lament having seen so far, but if tonight’s careful play can be the first to permanently right itself, the dividends will be quick and fruitful.
  4. I’m scared about tomorrow.

58 comments on “Knicks 95, Hawks 91

  1. BigBlueAL

    I mentioned in the game thread Im not that worried about tomorrow. Rockets played 2 OT’s on Monday and went to OT again tonight. Harden didnt play tonight so I assume he wont play tomorrow night. Granted dunno how much energy the Knicks will have themselves (especially Melo after another 40 min game) but Im not as worried about the Rockets coming to MSG and blowing the Knicks out as I was before tonight lol.

  2. Kahnzy

    It is good to see the turnover problem from the first couple of games righting itself. That was one of my favorite things about last year. Even if we managed so few because we iso so much, there are few things more frustrating to watch than 15-20+ turnovers a game.

  3. ess-dog

    Despite Shump’s fine game, the Faried trade still makes sense. We’re currently a top 10 defense (believe it or not) but we can’t score and we’re near the bottom of the league in rebounds.

    And if you look at the depth chart, we go ten strong with Tyson/Bargs at C, Faried/Amare/Kmart at PF, Melo/Meta at SF, JR/TH2 at SG, and Felton/Prigs at PG.

    It would just be up to Woody to make the pieces fit.

  4. MarcusRinaldi

    I’m just waiting for melo to get injured… Between banging around at the 4 and playing 40 minutes a game, that spells trouble.. I agree he should be playing the 4 in most of our lineups, but 40 minutes a night? We’re gonna burn him out before Christmas

  5. Jack Bauer

    Have to agree that if they had coughed up a few more turnovers Dolan would’ve sounded more like Ewing with his predictions. Why do they want to trade Shump so badly? He’s young, athletic, plays good D, improving on offense, and drafted by the home team. Sounds like they should hang on to him to me, unless they can get back a point guard better than what we have (Rondo anyone?), but that ain’t likely happening. Faired will just add to their undersized front court problem.

  6. er

    I don’t know how many of you guys have league pass but I watch the Rockets and their defense is worse than the Knicks. I actually want harden to play so jr can blow by him all game. They are not impressive or scary at all. Lin has been their best player so please ray try on defense

  7. coyle022

    Funny thing about that GIF is he looked at Pipe like it was Jr’s fault. they both could have done more but JR at least hedged then recovered for a possible kick-out, whereas Bargnani literally just stood there.

  8. bocker84

    Side comment about the game today.

    I was at the game and it was a ton of fun to see Knick fans out in such force in Atlanta. It’s awesome how many fans we have here. The crowd was going back and forth cheering for each shot made by both teams and you heard both sides get booed loudly during FTs.

    ‘Twas quite the experience to be in a split crowd like that.

  9. yellowboy90

    I want put Melo performance on minutes because he has looked the same all year. His dribble has been loose and his shooting motion just looks terrible. Add in the bad decisions making and forced shots and you have a terrible year so far. At least early on he was rebounding and moving the ball well.

  10. dtrickey

    I laughed a little too hard and loud in the office over the Prigs/Woody/Felton conversation.

    On the Rockets tomorrow, you would have to imagine they would be a bit stale, that said, never underestimate a teams ability to be up and about for their one and only trip to MSG. Could be a very high scoring game with All-Star game quality defence. Given our offence as of late, I’m not sure we could get into a shoot out like the Philly v Rockets game looked like today.

  11. Brian Cronin

    Yeah, if Bargs can score and rebound like this every game he can have as many hilarious gifs as he wants!

    This was a very good win. Now they just have to beat a tired Houston team possibly playing without Harden (so essentially, Lin can get his points, just like he did tonight and the Knicks will still be able to win) and they’ll be back to .500. I’ll take it!

  12. JK47

    Despite Shump’s fine game, the Faried trade still makes sense. We’re currently a top 10 defense (believe it or not) but we can’t score and we’re near the bottom of the league in rebounds.

    We’re a top 10 defense if you go by PPG but we were ranked 21st before tonight’s game if you go by Defensive Rating, which measures points per 100 possessions. This ain’t no top 10 defense.

  13. Jack Bauer

    Nice Bargs GIF. Memo to Andrea – there is no penalty for sliding your feet and at least trying to deny penetration to the rim by the dribbler. As commented above it gets even better with him looking and blaming JR, and you have to love the reaction to that by Pipe.
    All that being said, I’ll take 20 and 11 every night from AB.

  14. flossy

    In other news Ian Oconner is pining for Jeremy Lin at 2am. Can you say man crush? Hes been writing articles about him for a year and a half lol. I guess he waited til the Knicks game was over so he could bash the Knicks that much harder if they lost

    http://espn.go.com/new-york/nba/story/_/id/9973841/new-york-knicks-were-fools-let-jeremy-lin-go-houston-rockets” rel=”nofollow”>

    lol

    I am not going to read the piece but Jeremy Lin has been awesome this year and Felton looks like trash, so I wouldn’t LOL that hard

  15. flossy

    I know it’s wrong to complain about Bargnani when he gave us an efficient 20 points and 11 (!!) rebounds, but man, I stopped keeping track I think sometime in the 3rd quarter after the Hawks cracked 60 points scored in the paint. The difference when Kenyon Martin, yes 35 year-old, 6’8″ K-Mart, came in the game was palpable.

  16. Frank O.

    I’m sorry. I’ve been a hopeful fan of this a team this year, but I get a sense that this team has no real leadership.
    Melo announcing his intention to play the free agency market undercut his leadership ability. MWP is more in control these days but that’s not something you put on a resume.
    Tyson is hurt.
    Then who else?
    Last year there were several character guys: Kidd, Sheed, Kurt, for example.
    I’m not feeling chemistry right now. Maybe someone emerges, but this win felt like fool’s gold.
    Jim was right. The 3s were not in the flow; often they were just heaves. Tonight they fell.
    As for the TOs…look, it could have just as easily been 15 TOs when you consider how often the Knicks fumbled the ball only to recover. They were not to good at catching, and dribbling into trouble was a fairly common issue.
    So, a win. Yay.
    But I’m not convinced we’re out of the weeds.

  17. MSA

    Nice game by Bargnani (despite the eye ripping defense).

    Carmelo need to get his shit together. This team will go nowhere with his 30% USG and .49 TS%.

    At least is reasonable to expect him to get back on his average numbers, I guess. He’s been fairly consistent with it over the years.

  18. iserp

    A win! The clouds part, all is well again….

    Knicks fans and this blog too, have a tendency to overreact; with the good results and with the bad ones. Streaks are part of the randomness of basketball. It is gonna be tough all the games that Chandler sits, but it still not time to panic.

  19. d-mar

    Are we going to ignore the fact that Lin has 13 turnovers in his last 2 games, or are we going to give him a pass because he’s “trying to do too much”?

  20. Nick C.

    Are we going to ignore the fact that Lin has 13 turnovers in his last 2 games, or are we going to give him a pass because he’s “trying to do too much”?

    I would have mentioned it but to be honest the topic was old a year ago.

  21. Frank O.

    Let’s not fool ourselves on Lin.
    His turnovers are relatively high because of what he’s doing.
    Since Hardin has been out he’s averaging better than 30 per and scoring efficiently from 2 and 3 range, with an off the charts usage%. He had 12 assists last game. Admittedly small sample.
    He’s not great defensively, but if Felton or Prigs were putting up those numbers, we’d all be over the moon.
    So let’s not fool ourselves. The kid is developing into a very solid, if not elite player.
    What we see from Lin is when a team asks him to step up, he has the ability to step up. I understand $25 million was a lot, but I still think he would have worked on this team and he and Melo would have figured it out.
    Ray is what he is: a tough guard, who is slow on D, and who simply can’t score like Lin, but protects the ball better in doing a lot less. Lin actually has become a better shooter than Ray by more than a little. Where Lin is shooting better than 50% from 3 (.688 TS%), Ray is shooting .214 (.441 TS%). Where Lin is shooting better than 55% (.641 eFG%) from the field Ray is shooting 38% (.413 eFG%). Assists, 5.2/36 for Ray, 5.1/36 Lin.
    Lin is simply better than any PG we have, and he has upside at 25. Our guys are what they are and won’t change anymore.
    Again, $25 million was a big chance, but it’s looking like the Rockets made a solid move.
    Don’t pick one weakness and conflate into a dropping the mike moment. It’s like saying bitterly that yeah, Brad Pitt isn’t all that because, you know, he’s a little standoffish. It’s silly.

  22. lavor postell

    We may also mention that Tony Wroten put up a triple double against Lin as well. And still interesting to note that his production increases exponentially when he isn’t sharing the floor with Harden. At this point I just don’t really care about Jeremy Lin anymore and wish him all the best in Houston.

    Melo needs to find his game ASAP. A lot of our offensive problems would change if he could simply find his stroke and score in rhythm. To me it looks as if nobody really has a clear cut idea of what their roles and expectations are on in certain lineups and we are having Melo play off of Bargnanito get him going when starting games when really Bargs should be learning how to play off of Melo. Hopefully Melo can find the range soon, because without Chandler we really need his offense to give us a chance in most games.

  23. er

    At this point I just don’t really care about Jeremy Lin anymore and wish him all the best in Houston.

    This is my point. I was more laughing at O’Connor than Lin. Hes clearly obsessed. Lin is better than Felton

  24. er

    Melo needs to find his game ASAP. A lot of our offensive problems would change if he could simply find his stroke and score in rhythm. To me it looks as if nobody really has a clear cut idea of what their roles and expectations are on in certain lineups and we are having Melo play off of

    This is on the coaching. Woody basically asks melo to create for himself every single play smh. Run some effing plays please!

  25. KnickfaninNJ

    I’m sorry. I’ve been a hopeful fan of this a team this year, but I get a sense that this team has no real leadership . . .
    Last year there were several character guys: Kidd, Sheed, Kurt, for example.

    Frank O., Do you realize you seem to be agreeing with JR? That’s almost exactly what he said in his pregame interview with Tina Cervasio.

  26. thenamestsam

    We didn’t rack up many style points, but road wins against playoff type teams without Tyson are like found money. The defense looks just about as broken as you’d expect – at some points it was just a parade to the paint for the Hawks, and I thought they really let the Knicks off the hook with a few possessions where they failed to pound it inside after they’d gotten back in the game late. If they’d shot well on open 3s in the first half their point total would more closely reflect the quality of our defensive effort.

    That said, we got back to a lot of last year’s teams strengths, and if we do that we’re still going to be very successful this year. We won the turnover battle handily, we shot a ton of 3s (and hit at an acceptable clip) and that’s basically the magic formula.

    As others have pointed out Houston should be pretty gassed tonight. Lets keep the ball rolling.

  27. Frank

    I really only watched the 1st half so missed what obviously was a horrible 3rd quarter, but I was impressed with what I saw — beginning of the game, the offensive execution was sharp — lots of open shots. Defensively it was ok except for Felton, who really has been awful this year on defense. I’m willing to give him a little bit of slack because he’s obviously still hampered by the hamstring, and because Teague’s speed is a hard matchup for anyone. We’re not going to be good interior defensive team without Tyson and I think we’re just going to have to live with that. But I thought they looked MUCH more disciplined on rotations and with never ever ever ever helping off Kyle Korver, who only had 6 3PA in 36 minutes even though Teague was in the paint all night long. It was hugely different from the SA game, when dribble penetration led to open 3′s all over the place.

    And you know what lineup I loved? Pablo, THJ, Shump, Metta, K-Mart to start the 2nd quarter. 15 points scored in 5 minutes with that crew – 2 layups off dribble penetration, 3 3′s, and a beautiful pin-down screen for an 18-footer by THJ. All 6 baskets assisted. Knicks extend lead from 5 to 16 points.

    And a few last thoughts about Bargnani
    1- he obviously isn’t particularly aware defensively, but he can make a huge difference just with his length. You just get the feeling there is at least an average defensive player in there somewhere if he can be schemed for correctly.

    2- in what is obviously a small sample, he’s not so far from the 50/40/90 club — currently 48/37.5/90.

    3- according to NBAwowy – with Tyson off the floor (ie. Andrea’s playing center), his defensive rebound rate is 18.7%. That’s a far cry from “good” but it’s basically in Hibbert/Gasol (average defensive rebounding NBA center) territory. I think one could argue that our lineup should be Tyson/Melo at 5/4 to start, with Bargnani as backup C. He’s clearly more comfortable there.

  28. Frank

    here’s something that Bargnani should print out and put in his trophy case forever:

    for this season so far– the list of players that play >15 min/game, shooting FG%>48, 3P%>37, FT% >90 is:

    1. Steph Curry
    2. Andrea Bargnani

  29. Frank O.

    Frank O., Do you realize you seem to be agreeing with JR? That’s almost exactly what he said in his pregame interview with Tina Cervasio.

    knickfanin NJ:
    I actually missed the JR interview. So he was saying the team lacked leadership? Or did he say that they are finding their legs after losing those guys?
    In either case, I don’t mind who I agree with, or that I apparently echoed something someone said.
    But in either case, it’s pretty obvious.

    Postell: I have to agree that the Knicks need to spend more time getting Melo going and let Bargs adapt off of him…although Melo has the ability to create his own shot and Bargs doesn’t, so Bargs’ mission is tougher.
    But in the end, the team lives and dies with Melo. So far, he seems uncomfortable and uncertain. Kind of like the Melo during the Amare adjustment and the Melo during the Lin period.
    He’s taking bad shots and not getting great shots in the flow. I have every reason given recent history to believe he’ll figure it out, but in the interim he’s brutal to watch…thank god he’s boarding. I was put off a few times by his lagging behind on defense. But he played tough in spurts.
    In two of the past three games, Bargs has been rebounding. That is a hopeful sign.
    But without Melo being able to be the leader of this team (I really think he compromised his ability to lead by telling teammates he planned to hedge on them with free agency) I’m not sure who on this roster has the rocks to lead.
    Tyson is a great, tenacious defender, and his emotion is contagious, but he’s rather soft-spoken and cerebral. Not sure if he can step into that role. After him, not sure. Ray is playing like doo doo. Prigs doesn’t have that personality. Amare is riding pine as is KMart. Shump appears to be on the block.
    MWP?
    Conundrum

  30. Frank

    Tyson is a great, tenacious defender, and his emotion is contagious, but he’s rather soft-spoken and cerebral. Not sure if he can step into that role. After him, not sure. Ray is playing like doo doo. Prigs doesn’t have that personality. Amare is riding pine as is KMart. Shump appears to be on the block.
    MWP?
    Conundrum

    I don’t even mean this as a joke– we really should look into signing Kurt Thomas and dumping Chris Smith if Kurt is anywhere near game shape.

    And meanwhile, how about giving Toure Murry and his 10 foot arms some burn? Maybe he can keep someone, anyone, out of the paint.

  31. Frank O.

    Frank:
    I have to agree that Bargs is best suited to the 5.
    Some people like his mismatch at the 4, but I think he’s mismatched at the 4, meaning he can’t guard 4s and when he spreads the floor as a 4, he’s not so effective that he makes up for what he lacks defensively, plus then he rebounds less.
    Much better keeping him at the 5.
    His length is helpful. As a five he seems to rebound and block a few shots now and again.

  32. Frank O.

    Frank: Toure looked pretty silly his first time on the court the other day…
    Why is Aldrich nailed to the bench?
    He has some of what they need.

    Can someone explain to me what is going on with Amare?
    I mean what is the point of not playing him every other game, and then limiting his minutes so greatly?
    Is this a permanent thing?
    What good are they doing with him this way? He can’t get in the flow.
    And he’s not very good when not in the flow.
    No one is going to pay him very much if he can’t play extended minutes anymore. So, you run him out there as long as you can, and then let him call it a career at some point.
    How they are handling him right now just seems wrong in so many ways.

  33. Hubert

    bocker84 November 14, 2013 at 12:37 am

    Side comment about the game today.

    I was at the game and it was a ton of fun to see Knick fans out in such force in Atlanta. It’s awesome how many fans we have here. The crowd was going back and forth cheering for each shot made by both teams and you heard both sides get booed loudly during FTs.

    ‘Twas quite the experience to be in a split crowd like that.

    That’s exactly what it was like when I saw them play in Brooklyn last year. That was a good time.

    Whereas at the Garden it was all just Knicks fans.

  34. lavor postell

    Frank – Another thing Murry can do is get in the passing lanes, generate turnovers and easy transition basket opportunities. Obviously his lack of shooting and overall skill level creates a possibility where maybe he’s a net negative, but simply put it couldn’t hurt much given our overall level of play so far.

    Frank O. – Yeah Melo definitely doesn’t really seem to know what to do on offense and it has turned into a lot of horrific isolation contested 15-20 foot jumpers. I would like to see us get Melo some early post-ups against smaller 4′s and a ton more PnR in general throughout the course of the game. The third quarter was a crime against team offense as we seemed content to post up Melo against Millsap and Horford rather than making them defend Melo on the perimeter. Also even when he is getting advantageous matchups he seems really hesitant and unsure of what to do which ultimately has led to him taking some horrific jumpers.

    I’m assuming at some point though Melo will right the ship and Felton will up his shooting a bit as well. I really want Shump to be more assertive when he has a mismatch like he did last night. Even though he didn’t shoot or create for himself particularly well, he was aggressive and got in the lane forcing rotations and ultimately leading to better looks for the team. We need that from him consistently.

    Ohh and the Nets? Yeah they look worse than we do.

  35. thenamestsam

    Another 40 minutes for Melo, huh?

    How do you think we’re going look without Tyson AND Melo?

    So much of this. Woody has to find a way to manage those minutes better. Melo is currently averaging over 40 a game which is more than 3 minutes per game over his previous career high, which was last year. And it’s not like there has been any crazy trend in the early going that would force that – we haven’t played any OT, there was a huge blowout in there, etc. Especially with JR back now to be that secondary creator it’s critical that they get Melo down in the 36-37 range.

  36. KnickfaninNJ

    I actually missed the JR interview. So he was saying the team lacked leadership? Or did he say that they are finding their legs after losing those guys?
    In either case, I don’t mind who I agree with, or that I apparently echoed something someone said.
    But in either case, it’s pretty obvious.

    I don’t remember the exact question Tina asked him or the exact wording of his reply. But the question was along the lines of what’s different this year from last year and the reply said that last year they had some veteran players who made sure there was good communication and mentioned Sheed, Kidd and Camby by name. But I don’t think he explicitly said there was a lack of leadership this year.

  37. Frank O.

    One of the challenges the Knicks face right now is no one is scared of their shooters, so they are packing the paint and the Knicks have been content to shoot jumpers, even though they haven’t been knocking them down. I mean, Felton shooting 21% from 3 is just horrible, and his 38% from the field also is putrid.
    Prigs doesn’t shoot much. Shump is improved, but you can live with him taking jumpers and AB hasn’t exactly been burying 3s either.
    This leaves Melo little room to operate, and with his shot not falling, teams just pack it in on him. He’s not a great leaper, so they can live with him driving into a packed house. He’ll get his, but not efficiently.
    Yesterday was slightly different because JR is someone you don’t want to get going, and he did early, so he opened things a bit.
    The problem, as I see it, is that Ray can’t penetrate effectively with his bad hammie, is no threat to shoot, and that kills PnR and kick outs when defense collapses.
    There is a part of me that says, sit Ray. Let him get his hammie healthy, and run Prigs at point and Udrih back up.
    They need penetration and they need shooters to shoot well.
    Ray can’t help in either way, and he’s having trouble defending as well.
    You know, one could make an argument that the Knicks are weak now because Ray is weak.

  38. johnno

    I realize that no report card would be complete without the obligatory mocking of Bargnani’s defense. However, it is completely inaccurate to say that Horford “ran amok.” Yes, he scored 23 points, but he’s scored more than 20 points in 6 of 8 games this year. He also averages 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks a game. Last night, he had 5 rebounds, 0 assists and 0 blocks. All told, he had a below average game. Maybe there is something to this “Bargnani draws the opposing center away from the basket” idea. It is going to be interesting tonight to see if Howard chases him out to the three point line.

  39. Z-man

    Johnno, it’s sickening how the game recap scores for Bargnani are so polluted with preconception. If David Lee had the exact same numbers in a game for us when he was on the team, the writers would have been praising him to high heaven, or at least classified it as a solid all-around game, and a good effort in limiting Horford on the boards. Look at his advanced stats line for the game:

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/b/bargnan01/gamelog/2014/

    TS% = .630
    OReb% = 13.2
    DReb%= 29.3
    TReb% = 20.3
    Ast% = 12.6
    Turnover% = 5.9
    USG% = 27.4
    ORtg= 127
    DRtg= 103

    So, in other words, statistical analysis trumps the eye test and player preconceptions on this site, except when the writers don’t like the player. In that case, any praise for a good performance will be tainted with mockery, nitpicking, sarcasm, back-handed compliments, etc.

  40. flossy

    I think Bargnani had about as good a game as Bargnani will have. 20 efficient points and 11 rebounds is probably the gold standard for him.

    But no, his defense was not very good. It’s not just that Horford scored 23 points, it’s that he was 10/12 from the field. The Hawks scored 56 points in the paint! Whenever Horford or Teague wanted to get to the rack, they did, unimpeded. The combination of Felton and Bargnani defending the high pick and roll is as close as there is to a guaranteed clean look at the basket as you’ll get in the NBA. IMO the Hawks beat themselves as much as the Knicks won.

    But re: Bargnani, if he can do what he did last night on a consistent basis, we’ll be okay until Chandler gets back. 20 (on 15 FGA) and 11 rebounds goes a long way toward making up for the defense, whereas games like San Antonio (13 points, 2 rebounds or whatever it was) underscore his problems.

  41. Mike Kurylo

    Johnno, it’s sickening how the game recap scores for Bargnani are so polluted with preconception. If David Lee had the exact same numbers in a game for us when he was on the team, the writers would have been praising him to high heaven, or at least classified it as a solid all-around game, and a good effort in limiting Horford on the boards.

    O darn, I thought I fixed the letter grade issue. I guess you couldn’t see that Jim gave him an “A”?

  42. Frank O.

    O darn, I thought I fixed the letter grade issue. I guess you couldn’t see that Jim gave him an “A”?

    Hahahahaha!
    I couldn’t see the A either…

    But I thought Cavan’s description was pretty accurate.

  43. DRed

    I don’t see how making fun of Bargs defense last night is sickening. His defending was awful. If it was any other player I’d say an A is way too high, but for Bargs it was about as good of a night as you’re going to get. He shot well, rebounded well, and was inept on defense. The Hawks tore us up inside. It is likely we will be murdered on the glass by Houston tonight, but if Bargs shoots that well and can get Howard into foul trouble, maybe we’ll have a shot.

  44. Frank

    I don’t see how making fun of Bargs defense last night is sickening. His defending was awful. If it was any other player I’d say an A is way too high, but for Bargs it was about as good of a night as you’re going to get. He shot well, rebounded well, and was inept on defense. The Hawks tore us up inside. It is likely we will be murdered on the glass by Houston tonight, but if Bargs shoots that well and can get Howard into foul trouble, maybe we’ll have a shot.

    I seriously wonder how people on this board would react if they watched James Harden on a regular basis. He may literally be the worst defender in the NBA. But because of his flopping offensive efficiency numbers everyone thinks he’s the greatest thing in the world.

    On that note – only 3 players in NBA history have averaged more than 11 FTA/36 minutes before this season (in non-Hack-a-Shaq settings). Kevin Durant is currently averaging 12.7 FTA/36. Friendly whistle anyone?

  45. DRed

    Kevin Durant is currently averaging 12.7 FTA/36. Friendly whistle anyone?

    Probably. But he’s also 6’9″, long and spindly, and can drive people with ease. He’s really hard not to foul. And it’s probably also a small sample size issue.

  46. johnno

    O darn, I thought I fixed the letter grade issue. I guess you couldn’t see that Jim gave him an “A”?

    That’s kind of my point. Even in a game in which the feeling was that he deserved an A, the first half of the summary was dedicated to trashing/mocking him. For what it’s worth, while I would never say that he’s a good rim protector, there was plenty of blame to go around for the Hawks’ layup line offense. In particular, the perimeter defense was horrendous. And yes, I’m including Shumpert in that criticism.

  47. Brian Cronin

    That’s kind of my point. Even in a game in which the feeling was that he deserved an A, the first half of the summary was dedicated to trashing/mocking him. For what it’s worth, while I would never say that he’s a good rim protector, there was plenty of blame to go around for the Hawks’ layup line offense. In particular, the perimeter defense was horrendous. And yes, I’m including Shumpert in that criticism.

    If Jim’s assessment was wrong, I could see an argument. It wasn’t. He played shitty defense. Jim said he played shitty defense. His offense was so good that it made up for his shitty defense. Jim said his offense was so good that it made up for his shitty defense. Jim gave him an A. If Jim correctly noting that he played shitty defense but was so good on offense that it made up for his shitty defense is offensive to anyone, well, it shouldn’t be.

  48. Frank

    What I will get on Bargnani about is his terrible transition D. He just runs back like someone’s dragging him on a leash. It doesn’t even look up and see the floor when he’s running back. He’s not slow – he just doesn’t run with purpose or urgency. Horford beat him down for at least 2-3 easy baskets just in the 1st half that I saw.

    And it seems like a lot of the time his first instinct on dribble penetration is not to stop the ball, but to prevent the dump-off pass. There was at least one last night where he was in position to contest the ball, but actually lunged out of the way of the driver to prevent a pass to the corner. He left the lane on a direct drive to the basket to prevent a pass that never happened (and it’s not like there was a fake).

  49. Z-man

    The use of the word “sickening” was excessive, sorry, I should have used “frustrating.”

    I think the A is undeserved, his offensive stats were good but not great. On hthe other hand, his defensive rating was 103, which is not terrible. And in looking at replays, there were plenty of plays where other Knicks defenders were horrendous, including KMart, JR and Melo.

    My larger point is that it seems that Bargnani’s D is under an unfair level of scrutiny compared to other Knicks players, past and present, as if to justify preconceptions about him. In this game, he was no worse than David Lee typically was on D when Lee was playing out of position at the 5, or no worse than STAT even when he was healthy and playing the 5. He also had a DRating of 103 for the game.

    And I don’t see an effort thing as much as I see confusion and bewilderment. On NBA.com, they show 3 consecutive highlights re: Bargnani. On the first, he runs out and overcommits to Horford on the baseline, who blows by him. On the next, he runs out to the corner to defend a guy on the break, as someone drives right down the middle and dunks. On the third, he bites too hard on the pick and roll and Horford rolls in for the dunk. In all of these plays, he was hustling and moving, but confused and out of position. In the gif you showed, he erroneously thought JR was the help guy. On that play, he should have just stuck with the play and didn’t. But I don’t see the effort issue being as pronounced as it portrayed in the recap, especially on a night where the guy gets double-digit rebounds, makes a nice save on a ball going out of bounds, etc.

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