2010 Game Thread: Knicks @ TimberWolves

New York Knicks-Offense 93.9 106.3 50.4 15.2 23.7 19.5
Minnesota Timberwolves-Defense 96.1 110.4 52.1 15.2 25.9 22.2
New York Knicks-Defense 93.9 108.6 51 15.8 27.4 21.6
Minnesota Timberwolves-Offense 96.1 100.4 46.6 16.7 27.9 20.3

New York had a laugher in their last meeting, and given their recent slide they could use another breather. The Wolves are bad at just about everything, save for rebounding. New York is a substandard rebounding team, ranking 23rd on defense and 27th on offense. Last night the Knicks allowed the Wizards to grab 24 offensive boards, so this could be an area that Minnesota tries to exploit. Meanwhile the orange & blue need to beat up on the soft Timberwolves defense, as Minny is the league’s worst team with regards to opponents eFG (allowed 52.1%). A good shooting night for New York and limiting Minnesota’s second chances seem like the keys to victory tonight.

2010 Game Thread: TOR @ NYK

After last night’s disheartening game results (all the teams that the Knicks are chasing won), tonight is yet another big game for the Knicks (heck, pretty much every game until the All Star break is very important).

Hopefully, David Lee takes out his frustration over his All-Star snub on the Raptors tonight!

Put your in-game thoughts here!

Daily News: David Lee Not Chosen for All-Star Game

Frank Isola just posted a little while ago a piece where he states:

According to a source, Lee will not be one of the seven reserves named to the Eastern Conference All-Star Team. The official announcement of the All-Star reserves from both conferences will be broadcast live on TNT Thursday night.

If true, I would have to think that the recent play of the Bulls pushed Lee out, as Derrick Rose has suddenly become a guy you really can’t leave off of the All-Star team.

If not true, then I can cross Isola off the list of “reporters who you can believe.”

Thanks to commenter DS for the head’s up.

Gallinari Called to Sophomore Team

Today the NBA announced the participants for the Rookie-Sophomore game, and Danilo Gallinari of the Knicks is on the elder team. Their squad is oddly constructed, as Gallo and Beasley are the only two SFs, and the pair are 6’10 and 6’9 respectively The Rookie team features Tyreke Evans, Brandon Jennings, and second rounder DeJuan Blair, and will try to upset the Sophomores who have won the last 7 contests.

2010 Game Thread: MIN @ NYK

Obviously, so long as a team is technically in playoff contention, there is no such thing as a “must win,” but let’s be serious, with Dallas hosting Milwaukee, Phoenix hosting Charlotte and the Knicks hosting Minnesota, well, this is a pretty big night to see if the Knicks have any real chance at making the playoffs (do note that the Knicks are now four games out of the #8 spot).

Place your in-game comments here!

System Guys And All Star Games

Over the past few years the change in David Lee’s game has been unmistakable. Since his rookie year he’s nearly doubled his volume scoring, going from 11.0 to 18.9 pts/36. In that course of time Lee’s reputation among the mainstream has changed as well. He’s gone from a garbage man who could only score by put-backs, to a system guy that succeeds only due to the style of play. With Lee up for consideration as an All Star this year, the knock on him is that D’Antoni’s offense is inflating his stats.

And I agree.

You have to take context into view when making these kinds of decisions. Hence why the fans, using their own keen sense of observation, almost voted in Tracy McGrady. T-Mac certainly hasn’t benefited from his coach this year, and in fact the team has gone out of their way to prevent McGrady from being an All Star. When you account for that, McGrady is a shoe to represent the West. Similarly in the East, Iverson had to leave his first team (Memphis) and hook on with Philly to get a starting role to make the All Star team. Anyone good enough for start for the 15-28 Sixers is surely not getting help from their team’s style of play.

But I feel as if there’s still some unfinished work with regards to ridding “system guys” from the All Star team. The league’s premiere system guy, Kobe Bryant, will be making his 12th mid-season appearance. The Lakers’ method of getting some of the league’s best talent makes Bryant look much better than he actually is. They even hired the NBA’s greatest “system coach”, Phil Jackson, who inflates his coaching record by using the league’s best players to win multiple championships.

Another guy that’s getting a free pass is LeBron James. James is leading the league in points per game, but that’s because the Cavs run a system where they let him shoot whenever he wants. James averages 20.1 shots per game, and only one other Cavalier takes more than 8.1. First in the league in field goal attempts per game, is of course the aforementioned Kobe Bryant with 22.9. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that LeBron and Kobe are going to have their stats amplified with that kind of offense.

So I’m with the mainstream on this one. No “system guys” on the All Star team. Sorry Kobe, LeBron, David, you don’t get my vote. Let’s go T-Mac & AI!

Chris Duhon: A Midseason Look

During halftime of the Dallas game, Coach D’Antoni said the only thing wrong with Duhon was that he wasn’t hitting shots (eFG% 44.8).  Sure, and the only thing wrong with the Titanic was a small hole in its hull.  D’Antoni mentioned Duhon’s assist to turnover rating (37.0 Ast-R), and total assist (6.7 per/36) in defense of his point.  Unfortunately, Duhon’s passing numbers, while good, simply are not strong enough to make up for his abysmal shooting. Duhon’s TS% of 48.3 (28th of starting point guards) is about the same as noted brick layers Jared Jeffries (48.4) and Larry Hughes (47.4). 

It’s an understatement for D’Antoni to say that Duhon is just struggling with his shot.  The complete story is that Duhon does not have a well developed offensive game. His shot distribution sheds light on his limitations as an offensive contributor.

Duhon attempts 8 field goals per game. 57.7% of those shots are three pointers that Duhon hits at a four year low of 34.4%.  Duhon compounds his offensive struggles by showing no interest in the mid range game (1.2 fga between 10-23 feet) and no aptitude for finishing drives.  Duhon attempts 1.8 shots at the rim (dunks or layups) and he only hits 42.9% of those attempts.  Nate Robinson takes more attempts at the rim (2.5) and converts 50.9%.  I guess defenses don’t realize that Duhon won’t take a 17 footer, and that he can’t hit a lay up.  If they did, his pick and rolls with Lee would be really easy to defend.  Duhon is only attempting 1.7 free throws per game.  So we can add inability to draw contact to the list of offensive shortcomings.

It would be nice to see Duhon change his game to draw more fouls, take more mid range shots, or improve his finishing, but that seems unlikely at this point in his career.  The location of Duhon’s shots, and his shooting percentages have been pretty consistent over the past four years.  At best, we can hope for a slight improvement in his eFG%.  However, that seems unlikely if Duhon shows the same late season drop in productivity he had in the 08-09 season. Due to the lack of other options (D’Antoni sees Robinson as a shooting guard and Toney Douglas has failed to make the rotation), it’s highly likely that D’Antoni will stick with Duhon for the rest of the year.