2009 Game Thread: NYK @ ATL

At the half, the Knicks trail the Hawks 64-51.

Wait…that can’t be right, can it? It’s the Knicks who are up 64-51?

Discuss this strange event and the rest of the game here!

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128 thoughts to “2009 Game Thread: NYK @ ATL”

  1. The good thing for the Knicks is that the Hawks are scoring on some ridiculously stupid plays, like Horford throwing a ball up in the air for no reason and it just happens to land in his teammates’ hands unguarded, (because you’d have to be insane to expect a player backing into the post to just throw the ball up in the air in no particular direction), and their last couple of shots by Johnson are bad shots that happened to go in.

    Granted, the Knicks sort of suck, so that’s probably not good enough news.

  2. Wait, you mean the Knicks weren’t going to continue to shoot 61% and the Hawks weren’t going to continue to shoot 41%?


  3. aIs anyone upset that Al HArrington basically stunted Wil’s development by turning him into a poor copy of Al Harrington?

  4. What I don’t get is why are the Hawks suddenly getting “great team” calls from the refs?

  5. You see, fellas, you don’t want to just whack them, because if you whack them, they get to shoot at the basket for free, without anyone guarding them.

    Oh wait, that’s what it’s normally like anyways.

    Never mind.

  6. The Knicks have terrible end of quarter clock management.

    They do realize that the Hawks get the ball back to start the fourth, right?

  7. Marvin Williams is not too brilliant, either.

    And once again, the Hawks’ stupidity helped them out there, as the three was so off that Williams got it.

  8. How in the world are the Hawks of all teams getting all the calls?

    They’re the Hawks!!

  9. Just thinking out loud here – since the Jets brought in Girardi to teach Sanchez how to slide, maybe the Knicks could bring in Namath to teach Harrington how to pass. I’m just sayin’ . . .

  10. I was impressed Harrington passed it to Chandler that last possession!

    He’s learning!

  11. Knicks doing a good job of separating the pretenders from the contenders this year. (Pretenders = Denver, Atlanta, Phoenix, Contenders = LA, Orlando, Boston, Cleveland).

    Nice to know our boys are the barometer against which good times should never lose.

  12. wow..I know the phoenix win was great, but this is by far the best i’ve seen the Knicks play. Took a lead early, gave it up..then withstood (presumably) the comeback to build another double digit lead. All against a playoff team

  13. “I was impressed Harrington passed it to Chandler that last possession! He’s learning!”

    Well, as Gorky so astutely pointed out, Chandler is becoming a mini-me of Al, so perhaps Al thought he was passing to himself.

  14. I don’t think the Knicks are prepared for situations where they’re up big and being pressed. It’s been so long!

  15. To be fair, the Hawks did play most of this game without Josh Smith, due to boneheadedness.

  16. I don’t see how any NBA coach would give up on a game they theoretically could have won. It almost annoys me, actually.

  17. I agree, tastycakes…maybe the outcome woulda been different if Josh Smith/rapper The Game hadn’t been what we accuse Nate of bein

  18. You know what I don’t get? When a team regains possession with ~3 seconds to play in the first half, time-outs in hand, and doesn’t call one to advance the ball and attempt a set play. Why don’t teams ever do that?? It’s like they can’t wait to hit the locker room, they leave potential points on the board.

  19. When is the last time the Knicks hit 56% from the field? Even in the PHX game, they didn’t get over 50%.

  20. You know what I don’t get? When a team regains possession with ~3 seconds to play in the first half, time-outs in hand, and doesn’t call one to advance the ball and attempt a set play. Why don’t teams ever do that?? It’s like they can’t wait to hit the locker room, they leave potential points on the board.

    I abso-freaking-lutely agree with that.

    It’s absurd, but no team ever does it.

    How the heck do you actively avoid points?!?!

    (I mean just taking a time out period to call up a play, not the “advance the ball” thing – I am sure these teams have a plays for the end of the game when they’re inbounding the ball from the other side of the court. Why not just call a time-out and run that play?!?).

  21. To also be fair, the Knicks were without Gallinari and the Knicks were playing a great game and up by 6 when Smith was ejected.

  22. A thought just hit me. What do yal think about this? I think it’s pretty much a lock that Bosh signs with Miami this offseason. If this were to happen, then they would problee hafta move Beasley. So…what about Walsh makin a play for Beasley? Just a thought. I know Riley would never make a trade with us tho…

  23. just saw this thread. damn. confusing me with these threads. there were some terrible calls tonight either against the knicks or for atlanta. we overcame that though.

  24. Not to get too carried away but have you seen the schedule for the Knicks the rest of this month?? Dare I say a winning December and all of a sudden sniffing the 8th seed in the East come the new year??

    Hell looking at the East standings the 6th to 8th seeds could all be under .500 similar to 2004 which was ironically the last time the Knicks made the playoffs. Someone slap me Im hallucinating right now with some renewed Knicks playoff talk for this season….

  25. Losing Al the ripple-headed Jersey chucker will be a bit like losing Crawford and Randolph. A lot of points will indeed go away.

    In the name of rebuilding, I’m ok with that, especially if Thomas brings the D. But in the short term it will indeed hurt.

  26. w/o Al, this is a sure loss. It would be stupid to ditch Al w/o gettign rid of Jeffries or Curry.

    Very gritty win, now we’re 4-6 in last 10 vs. a very tough schedule. I couldn’t ask more than what we did. Next 10 games should tell the tale for the season.

    I also think that D’Antoni deserves credit for the recent play.

  27. w/o Al, this is a sure loss. It would be stupid to ditch Al w/o gettign rid of Jeffries or Curry.

    Very gritty win, now we’re 4-6 in last 10 vs. a very tough schedule. I couldn’t ask more than what we did. Next 10 games should tell the tale for the season.

    I also think that D’Antoni deserves credit for the recent play.

  28. Some of this revisionist stuff about Jennings that I’ve been reading recently is quite irksome.

    Like one article said something like “the fans of Milwaukee gave a big sigh of relief when the Knicks chose Jordan Hill.”

    1. The Bucks were not the next pick, the Raptors were.

    2. Bucks fans were not celebrating the Jennings pick at the time – I think they were okay with the pick, but this revisionist nonsense is, well, nonsense.

  29. Jennings is living up to the pre-draft talk of being an Iverson clone, which isnt a bad thing necessary Im just saying.

  30. The Knicks play their best when I don’t watch the game. I really should just fill up my evening schedule. They’re 3-0 w/o me.

  31. greatscott,

    If you really think Robinson not playing is the reason the Knicks are winning, it would be nice to see a little more thought behind it then “coincidence, I think not…” Is it a coincidence that Duhon decided to remember how to play while Robinson was benched? I think so. That Harrington decided to go off? That Joe Johnson had an off night and has been struggling from outside this season? Maybe you are right, but it’s pretty hard to say if you offer no reasoning.

    “You don’t get it and sound like Robinson, “I don’t know what I’ve done. Coach never says anything to me, etc.””

    Apparently I do not get it.
    From what I’ve heard Robinson said that he needs to play better and prepare better, where is that quote coming from?

  32. “I don’t really care if the stats back me up or not”

    Then you really can’t have a discussion on the subject, Jon Abbey…

  33. Wow what a weird game to miss. It seems like everything is regressing to the mean. The Hawks are coming down to earth a little after a hot start. Duhon is slowly rising back up to mediocre from awful. The Bucks have become the Bucks again. I guess that’s why they play the whole season.
    I still think this is a 34 win team, all other things aside, not a 20 win team. The horrible start might make 34 impossible, but there is some talent there.
    Al always plays well against former teams huh?
    It looks like we’ll be keeping him. It really DOESN’T make much sense to do that trade (all it will do is bolster the Bulls for the playoffs.) I like Thomas, but it’s a half year rental, and the chances of re-signing him would not be greater because of this trade.
    But these cap space trades are going to be difficult since most teams want/need cap space for next year.

  34. While Douglas didn’t get the minutes Robinson usually does, there were moments in the 4th quarter where his defensive intensity on the perimeter really made a difference.

    If you don’t have a presence inside, you need that tough defense on the outside.

    Not saying Douglas is as good as Robinson yet…, but he contributed in a way Robinson never has.

    I was thinking back to last year, didn’t the Knicks have a chance to trade Robinson and dump Jefferies on the Kings? In hindsight if this was way things were going to turnout, wish we had made the deal.

  35. Douglas played really nice defense last night. He played great help defense. Several times his ability to see his man but still show as a help defender kept joe johnson on the perimeter. he has the patience to play a full 24 second shot clock and not commit like several of our players do. he really is good at d. i agree with Ted Nelson about Robinson. the numbers tell the story that robinson is one our most efficient scorers and playing people like chandler and duhon ahead of him is simply not a winning strategy (if that is your reason for benching him). I mean his only problem is that he cares too much, gets caught up in the moments and maybe mouths off. but he is there for the team and always celebrates his team’s success. there are many things worse to be than nate robinson. sure he could improve his defense, but david lee is seeing plenty of time…

  36. Just wanted to give some props to Larry Hughes’ play lately. He’s not the easiest player to root for and his shot is really ugly, but overall he’s been playing at a pretty high level. And this is a guy who was told he wouldn’t play much to start the season. I know he’s not in our long term plans, but I’ve gained a lot of respect for the man this season.

    Re: Johnson – he is a great scorer, no doubt, but I really hope he’s not the guy we build our team around next year. And the same goes for Bosh. Together they might work, but not as the lone star.

  37. d-mar,

    i think bosh and johnson together could work pretty well. im not sure defensively, i have to look at their stats, but i think they provide a nice inside-outside game. we would have to have gotten rid of jeffries of course. lineup with them would look like…

    pg douglas
    sg johnson
    sf chandler
    pf gallo
    c bosh


    2nd round guard

    not too bad. with another year and curry and jeffries off the books we could sign a couple real solid role players (and maybe resign will chandler, maybe not) i am really worried about our point guard situation next year. duhon and robinson are gone, imo, and we are left pretty thin at point, which is a huge position on this team. right now, it looks like it will not be a priority this offseason. maybe we could use the midlevel on a decent point, but that would cut into our 2011 cap space. lots of decisions to make.

  38. plus there are very few good free agent points. maybe we will just have to wait until 2011 to get a decent point.

  39. Sandy, unfortunately “caring too much” isn’t Nate’s only infraction.
    He sometimes gets completely taken out of the play on defense.
    I don’t have a lot of complaints about his offense (if you judge him as a 6th man and not as a point guard.)
    Unlike Harrington, he’s cut down a lot on his 1 on 2 or 1 on 3 drives to the hoop. When Nate takes it to the hole, it usually means he has a crease and has gotten an edge on his defender which I can appreciate.
    Like Ill Will, I’d rather he cut down on his three attempts.
    The more I see of Douglas, the more I’m convinced he’s a perfect fit for Lebron.
    You don’t need a top 5 point guard to win a title. I think rather than patch a pg next year, we should get a cheap vet. back up (White Chocolate?) and let Douglas play. With a lineup starring Gallo and Lebron, we won’t need a dishing point. What we will need is a pg who can drain the 3 so the D won’t sag and someone that can punish the interior by driving to the hole. And most importantly, someone who can lock down the opposing pg. Toney Douglas.
    I think even if we could only get Lebron, we could easily become a winner with Douglas, Gallo, Lebron and Curry on the floor. The 2 spot is a problem. Maybe Chandler can effectively play that part. If we can trade Curry/Jeffries then of course we can get a real 2 guard or center, but WORST case scenario, let’s say we run:


    with Nate, Lee, Hill, Jeffries and someone else off the bench. Is that really much worse than the current Cavs lineup? It could be better. Then, in 2011 you spend your Curry/Jeffries money on Paul or Parker or Gasol.

  40. I hadn’t intended this post to be this way, but it looks like a series of random thoughts…

    You know, I’m not as thrilled with Bosh as others. His defense is pretty bad, from what I have seen.
    I was thinking about this Harrington for Tyrus Thomas and fat james…I wouldn’t even think about moving Harrington unless we could rid ourselves of Jared Jeffries or Curry, although I know people might just wait out Harrington, but his scoring might make him an attractive piece.
    But if there is a team that is making a playoff run and needs some scoring, the Knicks might be able to dangle Harrington and Jeffries and get some nibbles…
    Am I wrong for thinking that Harrington is a poor man’s Zach Randolph. A skilled, high volume scorer, who doesn’t pass, but doesn’t rebound nearly as well as Randolph…? Why do some folks like Al so much more than Zach, when Al isn’t better. Is it because Zach hangs with alleged thugs? I don’t get it.
    As I noted on the other thread last night, Harrington’s first half scoring over the long run is fool’s gold. At half he had taken I think 14 shots, made 10, but 0 assists and 3 rebounds.

    I don’t think anyone can conclude that the Knicks are winning because Robinson isn’t playing. There isn’t enough evidence of that, so I agree with Ted.
    But one can conclude that the Knicks can win without him. And that may be a wake-up call for Nate, and an effective teaching tool for D’Antoni’s and his impetuous guard.
    It was nice to see Lee go toe-to-toe with Horford last night. The last time they met, Lee was completely outplayed.
    The difference maker in last night was Duhon, tho. If he puts up and 1-6 shooting night, with 6 assists, this game is a loss.
    If he can make some shots – and he doesn’t need to make many of them for it to work – he becomes a much more effective point guard.

    The fact that the Hawks’ shot blocker went out of the game in the second quarter probably made a big difference in the game. The smaller Knicks are very reluctant to drive on a big center. It’s a clear weakness.
    But as someone noted, the Knicks were without Gallinari, so maybe it was a wash…

    Despite Jennings apparently returning to earth, I’m still nonplussed that Walsh and the Knicks organization knew so little about him. Perhaps if they had done their legwork they would have known this guy was yet another high volume, me-first guard, and wouldn’t have chased him. But if the Knicks knew so little about him and that is why they didn’t draft him, then how many other of the guards that were available were they unprepared to go after?
    Did they just target-fixate on Rubio and essentially put everything else aside?
    It’s just strange that a team with a clear need at the guard position would draft another PF on a team with more PFs than it needs.
    Truly mystifying.

  41. Hollinger says Bosh and Bargnani are the worst defensive frontcourt in the NBA. I looked at the numbers, and Toronto is currently last in the league in defensive efficiency.

    I don’t know if passing on Jennings is that mystifying. According to the SI article on Walsh, the scouts were all kind of ambivalent about Jennings, and Walsh took their word for it.

  42. Wow…
    This from the NY Post this morning:
    “As for Robinson, D’Antoni even played Marcus Landry for five minutes instead of the 5-foot, 7½-inch guard. Robinson and D’Antoni met yesterday afternoon and D’Antoni told him he felt rookie Toney Douglas gave them the better chance to win for now. Douglas had a big offensive-rebound putback and scored six points on 3 of 5 shooting in 12 minutes.

    “We need energy, defense and intense play every possession,” D’Antoni said, explaining his decision.”

    Kind of affirms what I was saying a while back about Robinson’s consistency…

  43. Well, at least D’Antoni and Nate met and talked about it. It’s not like Larry Brown randomly freezing out a “delusional” Trevor Ariza.

  44. I just looked at the Bucks’ box score from last night. Jennings had a 6-20 — this is true — but he also had zero free throw attempts. Ouch.

    Maybe we can package Nate with Jeffries or something, since D’Antoni seems intent on not playing him.

  45. D’Antoni’s behavior is pretty aggravating.

    If he was going to have this view of Nate, then why the hell not let the Knicks trade Nate last year when they could have dumped Jeffries? The lack of communication sometimes between D’Antoni and Walsh is mystifying. Like not telling Walsh that he was going to permanently bench Marbury. WTF?

    It’s actually kind of infuriating, the notion that Nate of 2009-10 is somehow any different from Nate of 2008-09, but D’Antoni is treating him like he is.

    If he treated Nate shabbily last year, then fine, but he didn’t, so Walsh had no idea that Nate was apparently not going to be part of the Knicks future, so he didn’t trade him when he could have done so and gotten rid of Jeffries’ salary (and gotten a pick out of it, even!!!!!).

  46. Harrington is more liked than Randolph because he’s willing to come off of the bench.

    Randolph has all the negative attributes of Harrington, except he also is a guy who will bitch if you don’t start him or give him enough minutes.

    Harrington, on the other hand, clearly wants to start and play a lot of minutes, but he’ll actually defer to the coach and not cause trouble.

  47. I have nothing against Harrington as a person, but he’s a terrible black hole on the court. At least his scoring numbers should enable us to deal him for someone useful, unlike some other players on the team (fat Eddy, I’m looking at you).

  48. Ted:

    ““I don’t really care if the stats back me up or not”

    Then you really can’t have a discussion on the subject, Jon Abbey…”

    possibly, but I honestly think basketball stats can be quite misleading at times, and sometimes I trust my perception-based opinions enough to share them. I don’t always care if they lead to discussion or not, just getting my two cents out there. feel free to ignore it if you find it worthless.

  49. It’s totally subjective, but Muppet Al is “more exciting” than Z-bo. Al can explode for 40+ games on any night, has a bunch of crazy spin moves where he dances past a bunch of defenders .. on any given one-on-one play, Al can play some fairly beautiful basketball. Z-bo (who I also didn’t mind watching, but was utterly relieved when he was traded) was less explosive and settled a lot on rainbow jumpers. Of course, he was also a pretty good rebounder, which made him look like a decent player on occasion .. if you didn’t watch how lazily he would run back on defense, that is.

  50. “Why do some folks like Al so much more than Zach, when Al isn’t better. Is it because Zach hangs with alleged thugs? I don’t get it.”

    If Al Harrington’s contract was $45 million for 3 more years, which Randolph’s was when he was brought in, I’d give him the Zach Randolph hatred.

    If Al Harrington was brought in to pair with Eddy Curry as an “unstoppable front court”, which was Isiah’s vision, I’d give him Zach Randolph hatred.

    If Harrington was obtained in a trade for a young, cheap, developing talent and a contract expiring in 2010, and not for Jamal Crawford’s cap-eating contract, I’d give him the Zach Randolph hatred.

    But Harrington was brought in just to get us to 2010, so its hard to be too passionate against him.

  51. I agree with Brian on D’Antoni’s treatment of Nate. Seriously, why wouldn’t he allow Walsh to move him last year when we could’ve recieved cap relief and a pick? Now this season, I think D’Antoni’s handling of Nate has hurt his value. Nevermind Nate’s shenanigans. He was actually worse last season with his antics. People aren’t giving Nate enough credit for the steps he has taken thus far. Plus he still is a kid. Sure, his temperament may lead him to bein too clownish at times. But the great LBJ soes dumb things all the time, but I guess becuz he’s an All NBA player, people won’t say anything. Nate just is used to bein feisty and things like that becuz he’s always been the little guy-and he just hasn’t learned to channel that energy yet. I personally don’t think he hurts us more than he helps us, which is why I don’t understand why D’Antoni is almost Marburying him. Now, how are we gonna use Nate as the valuable chip that he is with the way D’Antoni is handling the situation? However, I do agree with his statement on defense and intensity when defending playing Douglas over Nate. Defensively, there are things that he can do that Nate just can’t do. But it’s still not enough to not let Nate build his value up if he is not a part of future plans.

  52. BC,
    I think you have it reversed, Zach is a poor man’s Harrington. IMHO, Harrington is a better all-around player than Zach and much easier to root for. He’s a better defender and can score in many more ways. He has sort of a SF game in a PF body. He’s a far superior ball handler to Zach. He doesn’t pile up the rebounding stats like Zach does, but I think he makes up for it in other intangibles. He and Lee are better at staying out of each other’s way. He has a better attitude. He draws fouls. Harrington is playing the best ball of his career right now (PER now at 19+ after a very slow start.) If you throw out the clunker vs. Lakers, he has been a hugh factor in our wins and close losses to elite teams.

    On another note,
    I can’t believe how many people are defending Nate and criticizing D’Antoni’s handling of him. In fact, I can’t believe how many people are down on D’Antoni at all, considering how well we have played during the last 11 games. This team is playing the most inspired ball it has in a long time and has just knocked off 2 top teams in 3 games by playing the guys so many of his critics want him to bench in favor of the Landrys and Hills of the world.

    I can totally get why Nate was not benched until now. Last year, this team had hugh personnel transitions throughout the year, so it wasn’t really D’Antoni’s team yet. Now he is dealing with a stable group (for now) and looking to the future. He probably feels (as I would if I were him) that Nate’s antics do damage to the serious mindset he is trying to foster. By benching him, he is saying “this rookie has less talent than you, but gives his all on both ends every minute he is out there, whether in warm-ups, practice or games; being a team-first guy is not just about rooting for the teammates when you are on the bench or passing when you don’t have an open shot; it’s about doing everything it takes to win and being on the same page with the coach and your teammates at all times.” I also think the timing could not have been better. We almost certainly lose that game to Orlando with or without him, and show him we can beat Phoenix and Atlanta without him.

    Some have said “if you were going to take a hard line this year after letting stuff go last year, why did you re-sign him at all?” Again, they gave Nate way more $ than the QO However, the 1-year deal implied that he was not in the long term plans unless he became indispensable. Can anyone honestly say that he has played well at all this year? Throw out the 22-pt 4th quarter (he played putrid D in that same quarter) and he has flat out stunk.

    The irony of it is that he is costing himself millions of dollars with every dumb play or lackluster defensive performance. It would be one thing if he already had his big free agent payday, like Marbury or Zach or Artest. Nobody here liked Nate more than I did in his first 2 years, but the bar is higher now, he’s a veteran and needs to start acting like one. Ironically, Channing Frye might have jumped back ahead of Nate out of our 3 draft picks from that year after being given up for dead by most of us here. Nate should take that as a reminder that professionalism and perseverance go a long way.

    I, for one, couldn’t be happier with D’Antoni’s coaching in the last 10 games or with the way he has handled Nate. If we had gone 1-9 AFTER going 4-6 (which is more like what our schedule would have suggested) then I would be critical as well. This team is overachieving right now and the schedule softens up considerably for the next 2 months. After horrendous starts, Duhon and Chandler are playing better. Jeffries has found a niche and is contributing positively and becoming tradable. And most importantly, the team is fun to watch with its controlled up tempo style. They are battling virtually every night for 4 quarters. Gone are the nightly blowouts we saw for the first 10 games, where we were routinely down 20 before the half. Last night’s game was a case in point, we went down 11-0 against a high-octane team but came roaring back and won a gritty game.

    And for those who complained that his system doesn’t fit these players, what we are watching is a far cry from the epitome of SSOL. Yeah, they still jack up some ill-advised 3’s, but D’Antoni has clearly adjusted the game plan to his players, as some were screaming for him to do when they were 1-9. Yet that still isn’t enough for some here. I don’t know what more can be expected from the coach of this awkward collection of 6th men that is the Knicks.

    Sorry for the rant, but can’t we enjoy the moment a bit more?

  53. Jon: I don’t find it worthless, and I’m not saying that Nate is necessarily a good defender. I just don’t think you should say that no matter what the statistical evidence is I am not going to even consider it. +/- has a lot of noise in it, so it’s not necessarily true that a player with a good +/- is good (although if the result is consistent year after year you probably have something). Nate is quick, generally gets a good number of steals, and rebounds well… he’s not without good defensive characteristics.
    There can be explanations for his +/- not entirely related to him. Robinson has played a lot of his minutes WITH Duhon both this season and last season. Perhaps Duhon is better off guarding SGs than PGs. The Knicks consistently get burned by quicker PGs since Duhon has been here (and before, too), so that makes some sense to me.
    I think it’s worth having a discussion rather than just saying this is what I observe and you can’t tell me I am wrong about what I observe. Defense in the NBA can be about making a guy miss an extra one out of ten or twenty times… which is hard to observe. The times someone is completely out of position or gets burned or doesn’t fight through a screen stick out to us, but don’t necessarily tell the whole story. They’re a good proxy, but can be misleading. Someone like Duhon might consistently be in front of his man and in perfect position, but still consistently get scored on and beaten off the dribble.

    I don’t disagree that Douglas helps the Knicks. His defense is strong, and he’s been a very proficient scorer. Ess-Dog is right that Douglas could be a great PG for LeBron (or Wade or Joe Johnson), but of course the Knicks have to actually get LeBron for that to matter. My beefs with the benching are well documented at this point.
    I’ll add to them: the Knicks shouldn’t just rely on winning the games where they shoot 45% from 3 and play a team with no defensive center, and losing the rest… They could be a good offensive team. They cannot be a good defensive team, and their relative defensive ranking has actually fallen down to #26 with Robinson benched. Defense is not a good excuse to bench Robinson.

    The Hawks have a lot of similarities to the Suns: top 3 offense, below average defense, no legitimate 5 man (I like Horford a lot, but he’s got a PF’s body… he’s a much better defender than Amare, I would say, but not Dwight Howard, especially last night… Hawks were still +4 with him in the game). Both teams were coming off wins and had better opponents the next night. Both were ice cold from 3 (under 25%) against the Knicks. Atlanta was missing a lot of open 3s, so I don’t think it’s that the Knicks were defending the 3 really well (I do think that strategically they gave Johnson a little of the Duhon/Jeffries treatment and dared him to hit a 3 before they respected him… he never hit one. The Hawks in general are below average from behind the arc and take 4.5 less 3s then they did last night, and I think the Knicks were smart to give them the 3 and pack the paint defensively for stretches… if they make a few more open 3s it’s a different game, though).
    The Knicks have not won a game where they played a team with a legitimate defensive center and in three of their wins they’ve hit over 40% of their 3s (on the season they’re #20 as a team at .335).

    Bosh isn’t the greatest player in the world, but he’s pretty freaking good. The Raptors are +12 pts/100 possessions with him on the court this season. His defense is a weakness that you have to consider (or at least definitely not a strength), but he’s quite an offensive basketball player.

  54. U make a great point Z-Man. But all i’m sayin is, on the 15th, Nate’s gonna be eligible for trade. It’s not gonna take him long at all to prove his worth to another team on the court. Let him play until u can trade him, but keep him on a short leash if u have to. I’d rather keep Nate, but I do see that some of Nate’s antics arent conducive to a winning atmosphere. The only reason I don’t have a problem with trading Nate is becuz I know we can get value back in return for him. I will say this in D’Antoni’s favor, he has been doin a good coaching job these past couple weeks and Nate does have to learn that jus becuz u have talent-doesn’t mean that u hafta get playing time…which is something Larry Brown tried to teach him. D’Antoni’s actually doing it better than LB did becuz LB still played him. Well, he played him more often. Look, after D’Antoni’s coaching job the past 4 games, i’m willing to put my faith in him again. I jus don’t wanna see him hurt our chances at getting something for Nate, be it picks or extra cap room, rather than llettin him walk this offseason and get nothing in return.

  55. I think its a little unfair to all of a sudden downplay the Knicks wins this week against 2 very good teams to kind of call it a fluke to justify the argument that Nate should be playing. Pretty weak to be honest.

  56. “The Knicks have not won a game where they played a team with a legitimate defensive center and in three of their wins they’ve hit over 40% of their 3s (on the season they’re #20 as a team at .335).”

    Ted, I don’t think that is a fair criticism. The Suns and the Hawks have figured out how to beat most of the other teams they have played. Clearly, the Knicks are not going to win by pounding it inside with the players they have, even if Eddy comes back. If they can keep the game close against he better teams (legit defensive center or not), beat bad teams at home and on the road, beat middle of the road teams at home and steal a game here and there from the top teams, D’Antoni is doing his job. An ol’ fashioned ass-whuppin’ of the Suns and a gritty road win vs. the Hawks are beautiful things. To nitpick these wins is to expect too much from this team or it’s coach.

    Regarding the 3-ball, to be at .336 after the horrendous first 10 games is encouraging. More importantly, we are now 3rd in the league in overall shooting %. In 9 of our last 10 games, we have shot at 33% or better from 3, and often much better. When we lose, it isn’t generally because we take too many 3’s or because of the opposing team’s great defensive center. We score plenty enough to win. We lose because we play poor defense. Take Orlando. We lost twice to them mainly because they scored at will in the deciding parts of the game, particularly with the 3-ball.

    Interestingly, in both games, Orlando took more threes than we did, yet we hit a higher %.

    When we only have 5 wins vs. 15 losses, I am sure you can find all kinds of teams we haven’t beaten yet if you look hard enough. The bottom line is, we are improving and playing pretty good ball right now, considering the makeup of the team.

  57. Z-Man,

    You are taking a lot from wins over Phoenix and Atlanta… You’re looking at a small sample size (10 games) and assuming that a couple wins in either direction are the result of coaching rather than chance or some other explanation. The Knicks win 1 of 10 and it’s because D’Antoni was coaching poorly, and then win 4 of 10 and it’s because he was coaching well? Possible, but it could also be that they played well… executed. Or that they had more favorable match-ups. Or that they played two elite teams with below average defenses looking towards the next night’s game that had cold shooting nights. I don’t know the reason (probably all of the above), but I wouldn’t just assume that it’s all coaching. A team could be winning games in spite of bad coaching, or losing games in spite of perfect coaching…

    If Duhon can play as well as he did against Atlanta (or at least in the two Magic games) and Jeffries can even approach his play against the Suns… the Knicks are a playoff team (and those two are All-Stars). It’s pretty unlikely, though. Chandler has been held under 25 minutes in two Knicks wins and has a 57% TS% in wins vs. an overall mark of 48%. I think it is perfectly fair to criticize those three. I do think Duhon will play a lot better than he did early, but still not great. If benching is a favored coaching technique of D’Antoni’s, maybe Duhon would have snapped out of it a lot earlier were he made to sit out a game early on. Maybe Chandler would take better shots if he were wanked from the game once in a while.


    I’m not downplaying anything. Looking at what happened, though. How many times are the Suns (who shoot 44% from 3 as a team) going to hit only 24% of their 3s? (Nash and Rich took almost 1/2 the Suns’ 3PAs and were a combined 14% compared to 44% on the season.) The Hawks hit 34% on the season and 17% against the Knicks. They hit 30% and, theoretically, they beat the Knicks.

    D’Antoni has made some good coaching decisions. The Suns win was a thorough drubbing, but putting long wings (Chandler/Jeffries) on Nash was a key. Against the Hawks, the Knicks took a calculated risk to give them the 3 pt shot and crowd the paint and it worked beautifully. When the Hawks hit their first 3 3PAs in the early first, though, the Knicks were down double digits. The Hawks only hit ONE 3 the entire rest of the game.

    I would say that a lot of other people are downplaying getting absolutely walloped by the Magic because it was sandwiched between two impressive wins.

  58. Z-Man,

    Posted that last comment before I saw #92 from you. I think some of my message also applies to #92, though.

    To address #92 specifically: I don’t think all 5 teams the Knicks have beaten having no defensive center is just some coincidence. That there are a lot of other types of teams out there that the Knicks haven’t beaten.
    I also don’t think it’s a coincidence that the Knicks have only beaten one defense in the top 19 (which is Indiana, who the Knicks have split with so far, were missing 2 starters, and have a miserable offense.)
    These both look like trends, but who knows.

    The Suns and Atlanta both going ice cold from outside is probably a coincidence. Maybe not completely, but partially.

    Offense and defense are a give and take. When you lose you both didn’t score enough points AND allowed the other team to score too many. Through 10 games I think the Knicks were still a worse offense than defense compared to the rest of the league and since then the offense has gotten relatively better and the defense relatively worse, so I don’t see your logic.
    The Knicks are a bad defense, and they’ve gotten comparatively worse over the past 2 games with Robinson benched (from 24 to 25 to 26 in the NBA). The Knicks don’t have the talent to be a good defense. They do have the talent to be a good offense.
    To point to Nate Robinson as THE defensive problem is also questionable.

  59. It also came the day after an emotional win and a flight out of town against probably the best team in the east.

    Patterns and trends are important. The team is simply playing better over an extended stretch, both statistically and to the eye, and against currently excellent teams. Duhon is not Steve Nash, but he is better than he played earlier and is helped when guys like Harrington, Gallo and Jeffries pick up their play, and vice versa. D’Antoni also is known for using a short rotation, so the “benching” is someting that is only in part disciplinary. Toney Douglas and Larry Hughes are outplaying him right now, and Duhon is a PG while Nate is not.

    Also, there were huge uncertainties with this team before going into the season. That a coach needed time to boil it down is acceptable to me. And it is not about the 4-6, it is about the way they are playing. If you are implying that their good play is as likely just statistical noise as the result of an obvious change in approach on the coach’s part, that’s pretty cynical.

  60. Who in their right mind expected the Knicks to go down to Orlando and win, especially playing the 2nd of a back-to-back against Orlando who had the previous night off??

    Trust me Im not saying the Knicks have all of a sudden turned the corner and are headed to the playoffs, I talked about the Knicks maybe being in contention for the 8th seed IF they have a winning December which looking at their schedule could be possible and considering the horrible East when looking at the last couple of playoff spots record wise would put them within close distance of a playoff spot but thats still a LONG way to go this month. Even then it was kind of said tongue in cheek because I have no expectations that this team will get itself into playoff contention by the end of this month although it seems alot more plausible now than it did before the week started (granted losing at home to the Nets tomorrow kills any of this dreaming on my part). But at this point any win should be welcome and not so scrutinized especially when they came against 2 very good teams like the Suns and Hawks one of which came on the road.

    Ive been ripping Duhon as much as anybody here but his recent mini-resurgence has lead to the Knicks playing decent and with Hughes continued surprisingly solid play to be honest the 3rd guard off the bench whether its Nate or Toney D are in line for what 10 to 15 minutes a game anyway?? Ive just been shocked to be honest with the backlash to the Nate benching especially since it has come in the midst of the Knicks best play of the season. Its great though because it shows even with this pretty bad team us fans are still as passionate as ever for the Knicks and it only makes me look more forward to the day that we have a real team to critique/analyze and root for.

    BTW I dont quite agree with the perceived Knicks strategy of giving Joe Johnson the 3pt shot if he wanted it because he struggles from out there. Granted this season he is only shooting 29% from 3pt range but for his career he is a 37% career shooter from beyond the arc and is approaching 1000 career makes from out there. I was actually impressed with how good he is at driving and scoring now because I always thought he was just a real good shooter. You could see with his skill-set why he was/is such a great fit for D’Antoni’s system. Plus he can pass a bit too.

  61. Listen, Z-man, I am excited about the wins. I’m just trying to examine them realistically. One game is and two games are such a small sample size that a lot of random noise can influence the outcome. That’s why I am trying to look for trends and repeatable outcomes.

    I think patterns are very important. The Knicks have a pattern of beating bad defensive teams. The two good teams the Knicks have beaten recently had off nights from downtown… to the point where if Atlanta hits its long-term 3p% and you have to expect they win the game. In both wins D’Antoni implemented a strategy based on intimate knowledge of a former player: putting a wing on Nash (as the Spurs used to successfully do with Bowen) and leaving Johnson open from 3 (knowing he’s struggling with his outside shot this season and the confidence was an issue in Boston and Phoenix). These are patterns that it’s hard to look past.

    “If you are implying that their good play is as likely just statistical noise as the result of an obvious change in approach on the coach’s part, that’s pretty cynical.”

    I don’t believe that coaches have a huge positive impact on games. I look at it this way: any rational, competent NBA coach being paid millions of dollars a year should have a baseline basketball knowledge (a lot higher than mine). He should be able to figure out who are the best players/rotations and implement a strategy to get the best (or something close) out of those players. He should also be a skilled motivator. Beyond that, the only part that doesn’t come down to how much talent he/she has is situational: i.e. Phoenix was the PERFECT situation for D’Antoni with veteran leaders and talented team built to run. Most Suns, besides Marion, have had similar success before and after D’Antoni. Phil Jackson has also been in great situations for his zen stuff. There is a value added for a great coach vs. a good or especially bad coach. Any schmuck could probably win 60 games with the 90s Bulls, but not everyone could win 70 games or 6 titles in 8 seasons. D’Antoni, especially, is a self-described hands off coach.

    Is D’Antoni’s strategical shift really the reason Duhon broke out of a horrific shooting slump? I don’t think it is. I think the early shooting was an anomaly, a troubling one. One I honestly believe that it may have been corrected earlier by benching him. 10 for 16 for 25 points is also an anomaly. I give Duhon a lot of credit, though. When Atlanta was up 11-0 he hit that first shot and you could just see this look on his face that he wasn’t going to take it lying down. Maybe he remembered something D’Antoni told him before the game… maybe that’s just who he is. I’m not sure that even he really knows.

    There are some signs that D’Antoni’s a good coach. There are also some signs that he’s not, including his insistence that defense and Nate’s attitude are the Knicks problem. Since apparently the Knicks are going to have to bend over backwards in personnel matters to find players he likes (even the Thomas rumors come attached with a little D’Antoni would love to see what Thomas can do in his system sticker), I want to have a feel for whether he’s worth it.

    greatscott observed that the Knicks have won only games where Nate is not a factor. There is obviously a correlation there, but I am very hesitant to say the cause of the Knicks winning/losing is Nate Robinson.

    “It also came the day after an emotional win and a flight out of town against probably the best team in the east.”

    And the Suns and Hawks were both coming off big wins, probably laughing at the Knicks while watching their tapes more than strategizing (obviously a mistake if it was the case), the Suns had a couple of days off in NYC and the Hawks had already walked all over the Knicks in MSG, and both were getting ready for games the very next night against better teams (Cavs and Mavs).
    I think these things probably (unfortunately) do impact NBA games, but over the course of a season you have to figure they more or less even out.

    “Also, there were huge uncertainties with this team before going into the season. That a coach needed time to boil it down is acceptable to me.”

    It’s really not to me. The Knicks had a full offseason and training camp together and came out really flat. I haven’t mentioned this before, but that’s pretty unacceptable. Jon Abbey has wondered why they were so atrocious for so long to start the season.

    He’s made some adjustments, which is great, but he’s got the team paying the way they should have out of the gate. Some of the things he’s done this season have been so questionable that it’s made me lose faith in him. Maybe he’ll restore it.

  62. I’m a bit surprised at the level of complaint about Nate’s benching.
    He has not been the player he was last year. He is a veteran and performing inconsistently. If I’m coach and I have one dude who is playing hard, with intensity, and improving day in and day out, he plays over a guy who takes his talent for granted.
    I also find the deriding of the Knicks victories over the suns and hawks a bit cynical. Both are good teams with vastly better records. Wins are wins. If the Hawks center goes down, you’re supposed to win the games you can win. Well, there is no downside. They weren’t supposed to win. Even if the Hawks started the game without their center, we all would have seen this game as a probable loss.

  63. BBA,

    The Knicks didn’t just lose to Orlando. They walked through the game like zombies and were never really in it. They never executed any kind of cohesive offense. That’s what worries me about that game more than the 14 pt loss to such a good team. I just don’t think that game should be ignored since it was sandwiched between two great wins.

    I also think, as I’ve said several times, that Orlando was a great match-up for Nate and that the team really could have used him. The offense was reduced to a lot of half-court, one-on-one play, and long jump shots. Nate excels in that game more than any other Knick; although, he also excels in the up-and-down game as much as any Knick. Duhon has 2 assists all game and Hughes was 2-9 for 5 points… Nate’s offense could have helped get the Knicks in the game.

    “BTW I dont quite agree with the perceived Knicks strategy of giving Joe Johnson the 3pt shot if he wanted it because he struggles from out there.”

    You don’t think they were or should have been? He had some pretty wide open 3s (I remember at least 3 of his 5 attempts being wide open) and I generally felt like the Knicks were packing their defense down and daring Atlanta to beat them from outside. Compared to early in the game when the middle was wide open and the Hawks were owning the inside and using that to get a few lay-ups and rhythm 3s.

    Johnson was a bit raw when he first came into the league, but he’s always been an effective slasher. His shot selection is jumper heavy, but when he goes to the basket he’s always been effective. Gotten a better as he’s matured, though.

  64. Frank O.,

    I am being so critical in large part because I don’t think 2 wins necessarily prove that it was the right strategy. It certainly doesn’t look like a bad strategy, but it’s such a small sample at this point. In a week or two maybe I will shut up and agree that D’Antoni is master of the universe.

    Nate hasn’t played particularly well this season, but he also hasn’t played much at all. He’s been injured and yanked in and out of the line-up. Chances are he would hit his career #s given the minutes.

    I also take exception to the Nate benching because it’s been brewing since preseason, when D’Antoni said Nate is the reason the Knicks are not a playoff team. Maybe he is right and without Nate the Knicks make the playoffs. That’s the stance he’s taking at this point, and it’s working to date. I think more likely the Knicks win 25-35 games with or without Nate. I feel like the biggest thing benching him does is stroke D’Antoni’s ego.

    I’m not trying to “deride” the wins. I just find celebrating them unquestioningly as if the Knicks just won the World Series, Super Bowl, BCS, AND War in Iraq ridiculous.

    The Hawks didn’t play the game without their center. Hoford is their center.

  65. Duhon (especially) and Nate are clearly the keys. When the Knicks played well last year, the offense was actually humming. Whereas when they have played “well” this year, it’s been a result of Harrington catching fire and the other teams having lapses on defense that could offset the Knicks’.

    … I would give up anyone for Bosh. He’s not Garnett but I don’t think he’s Randolph/Derrick Coleman either. Championship teams have been highly atuned to the Pau Gasols, the Ray Allens, and the Rasheed Wallaces (Pistons) who were had for fairly cheap. Obviously, he’s not Hakeem in ’94 that is going to lead a team with no All-Stars to win it all but I think you still have to nab him while he can be nabbed and worry about finding your #1 later. Obviously LeBron, Jeffries/Curry, the cap that the NBA sets for next year are all huge factors that could augment or mitigate my stance.

  66. Right thats what I always thought that he was a jumpshooter more than a slasher but Im not surprised he has been effective as a slasher because he certainly looks tough to stop when he drives.

  67. the implications on this thread that d’antoni had anything to do with not trading nate last season are beyond absurd conjecture from some of this site’s most knowledgeable posters. disappointing to read that.

  68. At this point, we mostly just have to hope D’Antoni actually knows what he’s doing with the Nate situation. I’m a big fan of the blogosphere, but there is a certain point when we have to admit our imperfect knowledge of the Knicks’ day-to-day environment. When Duhon goes to the press and complains about a lack of focus and preparation, there’s a good chance Nate is the main culprit. In that way, D’Antoni is addressing some “chemistry” issue, whatever that really means. Sure, Duhon and Chandler stink, but it’s not simply about playing your best players when one of them is being called out in the media by his teammate. Granted, D’Antoni’s public, on-the-record reasoning behind his decision, if he’s truly genuine, is scary in how arbitrary [and flat-out wrong] it seems.

    Also, to be fair, if we were the coach, no matter how good we think Nate can be, I’m sure we’d find him a major pain, too.

    Anyway. The belief that D’Antoni has coached better, or at least differently, during this recent stretch isn’t totally unfounded, like we’d just started counting games since our sole back-to-back wins, conveniently ignoring the six losses that immediately preceded them. Obviously, we can’t prove anything, and it all might be coincidence, and then there are small sample sizes and a lack of defensive centers and flukey poor shooting nights from the Suns and Hawks, etc. But the truth is, the 4-6 record followed the four-day break the Knicks had after their ugly loss to Golden State on November 13. D’Antoni publicly said he’d use the days off to re-examine his own coaching philosophy. A few days later, the papers reported D’Antoni as saying he was going to “tone it down.”

    (Do I have the numbers to indicate that this “toning it down” actually took place anywhere outside of Mikey D’s brain? Of course not.)

    With regard to the Knicks’ drop to 26th in defensive efficiency, that drop also coincided with our playing against the third- and sixth-best offenses in the league. It also coincided with Chris Paul’s return for the Hornets against the Timberwolves, who are the second worst offense in the league and maybe the worst team in the NBA. Chris Paul had eight steals in that game. You can say that our defense got worse since Nate was benched, but we’ve also played pretty good offensive teams, and the team that is now directly ahead of us in defensive efficiency just got back their best player, who also happens to be one of the best players in the NBA. Just saying.

    You can also make a case that, in four of the five games prior to Nate’s benching, we played top-10 offenses. So there’s that, too.

  69. Sorry to be monopolizing the board so much recently, don’t know why I’ve gotten so addicted. Been totally unproductive in other parts of my life and think I might be getting carpel tunnel…


    All very fair points.

    I agree that D’Antoni’s probably done something right since the Warriors game. He has changed the offensive style a bit, with some success. Part of my point, though, is that the offense before that was so underachieving that a monkey could have improved it.

    Another thing I’ve been getting at is that not only is it possible that the Knicks have been “lucky” in the last 10 games, but also that they were “unlucky” in the first 10. They had 2 overtime losses and 2 pt loss. In the last 10 they’ve lost another overtime game and a 3 pt game. Bad teams lose a lot of close games, but I don’t think most lose that many (looked at some other terrible teams in the NBA this season and they haven’t). A couple of lucky bounces (or a few less minutes of Duhon on the court) and the Knicks are 3-7 through the first 10, maybe 7-13, 8-12, or even 9-11 overall. I haven’t emphasized that side of it because I’ve been arguing for the pessimistic side.

    Interesting point about the relative defensive rankings. I can’t (and wouldn’t) say the defense has been any worse, just saying that there’s no proof Robinson kills the Knicks defense. Also, that the Knicks are an offensive team that MIGHT be better off playing to their strengths rather than concentrating on duct taping up their weaknesses. And that they basically are playing to their strengths whether D’Antoni realizes it or not.


    It’s conjecture, but I don’t know if it’s totally absurd. I don’t believe I’ve mentioned the topic yet. From an organizational standpoint it is embarrassing IF you could use Robinson to shed Jeffries last season and missed the chance… only to bench Robinson the very next season. It’s a big if that they ever even had the chance. It’s also a big if to put it on D’Antoni.

  70. All the back and forth about whether the Knicks have turned any kind of a corner will be settled over the next few weeks when our schedule gets “easier” (although is there really any easy game for us?) We need to get some home court wins over middle of the pack teams; if we continue to lose to the Charlottes and Indianas at home, then these 2 wins over the Suns and Hawks mean nothing, and we are a 20 win team. I do agree with Z-man though that we should enjoy the moment; we were 12 pt. underdogs to the Hawks and won going away on their home floor where they had only lost once, that’s something to be proud of no matter what.

  71. Ted:

    Agreed that two wins do not a season make. But it is reasonable to be hopeful, given the wins come in a series of games where in most of them the Knicks played tough, were competitive, and executed some decent plays.
    I think they are building something.

    And did I just read you argue that with usage, Nate’s stats should improve? Doesn’t that undercut arguments that have been made that say usage doesn’t necessarily affect advanced stats???

    I’m tellin’….
    Oh wait.:)

  72. Ted,

    Your point on luck is probably accurate. According to our expected wins, we should be closer to 7-13.

    To follow up on my earlier point about our drop in the defensive rankings, I ran some basic calculations, which are probably slightly off since I have no idea what I’m doing. The Hornets held the T-Wolves to somewhere around 95.4 points per 100 possessions last night. That’s a really good number. On the season the T-Wolves are slightly over 96.1 points per 100 possessions. For comparison’s sake, the NBA’s leading defenses, Charlotte and Boston, are posting 99.1 defensive efficiency ratings. In fact, the Hornets’ performance last night was so good that it shaved off nearly an entire point from their defensive efficiency rating for the season (approximately 0.8 points per 100 possessions).

    I agree that Nate’s benching has little impact on our overall defense. Our best defensive players (at least the ones who actually see the floor) are all guards and wings. As repeatedly stated, D’Antoni’s distaste for a traditional center is probably the biggest reason why we suck on D. I just had to nitpick your 24-to-25th-to-26th example.

  73. Frank,

    re:”And did I just read you argue that with usage, Nate’s stats should improve? Doesn’t that undercut arguments that have been made that say usage doesn’t necessarily affect advanced stats???”

    Nope. The idea is that small sample size may not represent a player’s ability. If he’s played, it’s more likely that he’ll regress to his career numbers. That’s why Duhon shot 22% through the first [X] games and has bounced back with vigor. He’s arguing that given a larger sample, Nate will start to play as he has.

    If I’m accurate here, the argument that statisticians make holds that Nate won’t suddenly perform like LeBron James (or Jerome James, for that matter) over the course of a large sample, such as a full season. It’s all about regression.

    As the latter James proved, a hot hand over a short sample can net one a very large, ill-advised contract. Then comes the regression.

  74. Frank O.,

    Not that with a higher usage rate he’ll improve, but that in a larger sample of minutes he’ll revert to his own personal mean (career averages). When I look at his numbers he’s almost there already, actually. I was thinking back a couple weeks ago when his TS% was under 50%, but he’s back to respectability in terms of scoring efficiency. He’s turned it over too much, not rebounded well, and not getting to the line or hitting his FTs quite as well. Otherwise he’s right about at his career averages in most regards. Scoring efficiently, on par with Duhon in assist-rate. His overall win score on the season is higher than Duhon’s despite playing 40% the minutes. I guess that my overall beef with the benching comes down to a beef over why Duhon stayed so entrenched in the rotation for so long.

  75. “the implications on this thread that d’antoni had anything to do with not trading nate last season are beyond absurd conjecture from some of this site’s most knowledgeable posters. disappointing to read that.”
    cgreene..yes D’Antoni does have something 2 do with Nate not bein traded in a way. Walsh says he’ll try to get his coach what he needs rite? So who’s to say if D’Antoni dislikes him and says get him outta here, that Walsh won’t do it? He’s much easier to move than Marbury was. Now, as other readers pointed out, Nate hasn’t changed from last season. Not too much anyway..we’ll he was worse last season by all accounts. Talkin antics here. So I guess the point is if Nate was that bad and D’Antoni didn’t wanna play him becuz of antics/immaturity, then he coulda communicated to Walsh that he doesn’t need him. Also, D’Antoni is trying to put a performance spin on Nate’s benching while using defense as the sticking point. Since when has he been concerned with defense? Given coach’s history, it’s illogical. Which leads some to believe Nate’s benching is due to something else other than performance. Just like the Marbury situation. And again, if Nate was that bad-he would have been moved when we had a chance to shed JJ’s salary and gain a pick. Sad thing about this is Nate was jus starting to round back into form when he was benched, which makes his benching even more puzzling. Now becuz of the benching, we can’t build Nate’s value so that we may use him as an asset. If teams don’t see u play, they won’t go after u based on your last good season. Unless your MJ, Kobe, Wade,Bird, Magic, Shaq, Olajuwon, LBJ..well, u get tha point. Bottom line is if coach has no use for Nate, then Walsh needs to find a way to use him to get what we want, and playing Nate will help that tremendously.

  76. With their loss tonight, their ninth in a row, the Sixers are now tied with us. Maybe we’re moving up in the world.

  77. From watching the last few games, w/o really checking stats, it seems that the wins are correlated with the Knick’s hitting the three ball (the opponent’s missing same), which opens up D’Antoni’s offense. As an aside, the ball and the players are moving better. What bothers me with Nate’s benching is that I think his issues could have been dealt with surgically, and maybe quietly, rather than so blatantly. His so called antics do not bother me near as much as the collective ineptitude of this team, the last few games excepted. I will continue to re-examine my gut reaction, but I find D’Antoni’s moves largely ineffective and his comments major league insincere. This includes, but is not limited to handling Nate. He seems to take Nate’s “antics” personally, but doesn’t really take the losses the same way. Bottom line is that I believe Nate can help the Knicks win and he plays with heart and guts. Can’t the coach find a way to utilize his skills and deal with the other issues? It’s not like were over-flowing with skilled players on this squad. IMO, this is not just a Nate issue.

  78. The way things are going for the Blazers they may not have enough healthy bodies to field a team on Monday vs the Knicks.

  79. Oden went down with a serious injury, right?

    According to Beck, Gallinari is probable for tomorrow. Curry practiced today and is expected back on Friday.

  80. Yup. Plus Rudy Fernandez is out and could also miss game on Monday. So no Outlaw, Oden, Batum and possibly Rudy Fernandez as well.

  81. Although I did notice Aldridge played tonight. If he was still out then Portland really wouldve been a wounded team heading to NY. Now they are just lacking the depth they usually have. Still a good chance for the Knicks to win back-to-back games at home and dare I say have some momentum with a few days off and Eddy Curry apparently coming back on Friday.

  82. “I will continue to re-examine my gut reaction, but I find D’Antoni’s moves largely ineffective and his comments major league insincere. This includes, but is not limited to handling Nate. He seems to take Nate’s “antics” personally, but doesn’t really take the losses the same way. Bottom line is that I believe Nate can help the Knicks win and he plays with heart and guts. Can’t the coach find a way to utilize his skills and deal with the other issues? It’s not like were over-flowing with skilled players on this squad. IMO, this is not just a Nate issue.”

    I see it completely differently. I think D’Antoni is bendng over backwards to think both short term and long term. The siuation with Nate was not just a knee-jerk reaction, but has simmered for a long time. By dealing with it in no uncertain terms now, D’Antoni can either get a better version of Nate back in a few games. I think Nate is a good guy who wants to play more than anything else. When Douglas sat for a couple of games after playing well, he was ready when called upon. Let’s see if Nate is capable of the same, or if he goes off the deep end.

    I can’t believe you are saying that D’Antoni doesn’t take the losses personally. If you are implying that he cares more about long term than short term, I can understand that. I think he just wants to build a culture of focus and dedication from every player. Nate just needs to get more focused and he’ll get back out there. It’s up to him.

    Re: the 3 ball, they have shot well from 9 out of the last 10 games. Most teams will have a better chance of winning when the opponents don’t hit their 3’s, but I see a much bigger story than that. Their commitment to moving the ball, playing help D and just playing hard for 4 quarters seems noticably better to me lately. Most of the players are playing better individually as well as collectively over that stretch. They’ve beaten the teams they should beat (except maybe the .500 Kings) and lost to the teams they should have lost to, except the Suns and Hawks. As a fan, I could live with a continuation of this brand of ball for this year, with or without Nate.

  83. Feel bad for Oden – out for the year. I wonder if Donnie is on the line w/ Pritchard right now? I don’t know if a trade works any more though, now that Blake is their starter and best expiring. Any ideas?

  84. “Feel bad for Oden – out for the year. I wonder if Donnie is on the line w/ Pritchard right now? I don’t know if a trade works any more though, now that Blake is their starter and best expiring. Any ideas?”

    Second on feeling bad for Oden. If I’m Pritchard, I just play Pryzbilla more minutes and hope Aldridge picks up his offense a bit rather than look to the Knicks roster for help.

    Ladies: a win over the Nets today (whoops, just jinxed it) puts us 2 1/2 behind Toronto, the current 8 seed though I think the winner of the Wiz-Pistons game will move into that slot.

  85. I just read that Nate Mcmillan is out too because of an injury he sustained during a practice. That’s pretty extreme.

    Also, I really wish espn had a trade checker app for the iphone.

  86. Z-man–all good and fair points you raise. At times my analysis goes with my mood–last night–cynical. Nevertheless, I am implying more than management’s focus is simply long term. I really don’t think losses this year are particularly important to the coach, GM and owner. By the way, to many others, that approach may also make sense. But I don’t think so. With re D’Antoni, it’s just my reaction to what I perceive as: (1) disparate treatment, and; (2) too much system. I do concede he may be moving away from slavish adherence to 7 seconds or less. I also concede that I do not have any idea what Nate does away from the court, at practice or in the locker room. Of course, he may be such a jerk that he deserves benching. That said, I really can’t deal with the claims that he doesn’t play “D” or fight through picks because, who does? Last, point–love the way they’ve played the last few games. Go Knicks.

  87. Long suffering Knicks fans know that over the last 5 years or so, any time the team shows signs of life and gets their fans feeling slightly optimistic, the inevitable clunker game is sure to follow (Breen: “and an embarassing loss at home for the Knicks”) I really hope they can avoid that against the Nets today and against an injury ravaged Blazer team tomorrow, but would we really be all that surprised if they didn’t?

  88. Yeah, I don’t know if you can pin that Bulls thing down as “laziness,” which is how it is being pushed in the media (“they don’t care about winning! They didn’t even try to steal the ball!”).

    Putting aside the whole “if a Bulls player came near him, Jack would have obviously just started dribbling again” issue, the Bulls didn’t look lazy in the clip, they looked confused.

    And I suppose you can knock them for that, of course (“Pay attention, Bulls!”), but that’s a far cry from them being lazy. Not only that, but if you saw a player just stop and begin tying his shoelaces, I think you’d be confused by it, as well. I might very well presume that he must have called a timeout.

    So yeah, obviously the Bulls look bad on the play, but I don’t think it is symbolic of anything about the Bulls – it was just a weird play.

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