Knicks 108, Grizzlies 101

Memphis Grizzlies 101 Final
Recap | Box Score
108 New York Knicks
Kenyon Martin, PF 26 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | +10

A rather quiet night for the Knicks’ best big (That still feels uncommonly disconcerting to type.), mainly due to a flurry of ticky-tack and/or silly early 3rd quarter fouls (Don’t worry—we’ll talk about the arbiters in a jiffy). That said, when he did get to spin in the 1st stanza, he wholly throttled Zach Randolph, who probably outweighed him by a good Nate Robinson pounds or so, jamming every tattoo he had into Z-Bo’s rolling mounds of voluminous, hyperadiposic flesh, pushing him further and further away from the hoop and using all of his 78.65 years of experience to keep him from gobbling up rebounds. Being a sadistic, vicious ogre m’self, I most enjoyed Kenyon’s interpretation of the “no layups” rule.

I LOVE YOU, MANG

It’s like one of those overly-masculine/macho, way-too-aggressive embraces where you can just tell that there’s a closeted, homoerotic impulse buried deep inside, like this is how the hugger gets to touch men and be punished for it at the same time. I LOVE YOU, MAN. NO I REALLY LOVE YOU. I MIGHT BE CHOKING YOU, BUT IT’S ONLY BECAUSE I REALLY, REALLY LOVE YOU MANNNNNNNNNNNNNN.

Carmelo Anthony, SF 40 MIN | 8-20 FG | 6-6 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 22 PTS | -2

I was chatting with a few wise Knick wags about Melo’s shot last night. Honestly, I’m not well versed enough in basketball shooting mechanics to say either way, but the general opinion was/is that he’s bricking jumpers because he’s not following through on his shot and/or getting enough lift. They also opined that even with the leeches that MSG’s crack medical team used to remove the synovial goo from his balky joint, he’s probably still not back to his pre-Howard garroting best. (SIDE NOTE: All of Melo’s injury woes this year date back to a cheap foul by that Pez-gobbling fart aroma-connoisseur. I remain gobsmacked that Knick Knation, which collectively has the tendency to get the dial veering wildly to the right on the victimization/perpetual-outrage-at-the-basic-unfairness-of-the-universe-o-meter, has let D12 off the hook for this transgression. In sum, go sit on a tack, Dwight.)

In any case, tonight I tried to screw on my best Red on Roundball face and see if I could determine if there was any merit to the notion that there’s something discernable in Melo’s form that would account for his post-injury trip to Brick City. In the first, he was so set on facilitating for the rest of his ‘mates and/or taking the rock to the rack that I couldn’t tell. In the 2nd half, which was filled with fadeaway jumpers and ball massaging, it seemed like it wasn’t a question of form as much as it was bad decisions, though his shot was a little flat. He did a swell job dealing with Gasol or whichever brute he was forced to guard, and the two shots nailed in the fourth were clutch, but I remain worried. You guys are smart—is this just a stretch of poor shooting or is there something more there?

Iman Shumpert, SF 21 MIN | 6-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | +9

I can’t state strongly enough how important Shump banging home those three early treys was to discombobulating the Gracelanders 2nd ranked D. It opened the whole floor up and was the catalyst for the ping-pong, precision passes that were soon to follow. Being guarded by a sofa-denter like Z-bo certainly helped his confidence. I don’t know about you, but Shump’s shot looks textbook-pretty, even when it’s clanging off iron, so it was even more eye candy-ish to see those first four bombs splash the net (12-25 overall during this recent six game winning streak). And that gorgeous one-man fast break, frosted with a deft fake and lay in? Yummy yummers.

Raymond Felton, PG 32 MIN | 5-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | -4

‘Member those shrewd village elders I mentioned two players ago? We were also discussing the rather paltry stat lines that our portly, penguin-y point has been putting up (We don’t get this alliterative when we chat. That’d be super annoying.), and it seemed as if Raymond wasn’t driving the ball as authoritatively as we’ve come to expect, especially considering the last five opponents haven’t been rife with shotblockers. I’m generally of the opinion that, like a teething, sugar-addled toddler, he’s better when he’s seen and not heard but he definitely penetrated decisively tonight and nailed a few of those, “No, no, no, no…YES” triples. Solid game.

Pablo Prigioni, PG 19 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +6

If we forged an official, Vatican-stamped decree from the new Argentine Pope, do you think that’d make Pablo shoot more? I think it’s come to that. His defense on all manner of guards and wings was lovely and he’s been a wondrous revelation as a starter, positively interring all of those atrocious 1st quarters that we’ve grown sadly accustomed to, but I get Woodson yanking him after he passed up a trey that led directly to a fast break opportunity. And if he’s feeling dodgy about his shot, we’ve seen him convert a couple of Nash-like floaters/runners. Shoot more, Pablo. We’ll only love you with greater fervor, even if you miss. Pinky swear.

Chris Copeland, SF 6 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | -5

After a positively miserable outing in Beantown, it looked early on like Cope had returned to permanent exile at his Elba, the end of the bench. When Camby was allowed to leave early to attend his weekly book club meeting, Cope got the call and converted a couple of tough interior buckets. Given that the Knicks only needed to exchange baskets to salt this game away, I would have liked to see him get a little more floor time.

Steve Novak, SF 16 MIN | 3-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | +6

For all you Manhattan natives, Steve Novak will be at the McDonalds on 641 6th Ave tomorrow between 12-2 to try the new Premium McWrap. No joke. This is a real thing. I’m seriously considering going and presenting him with my drawing of him. Whaddaya think? Funny? Creepy? Both? Anyhoo…something I’ve noticed the last few games is that Steve’s been staying an extra foot or so more behind the three point line. I assume this is to give him a sliver of space to launch. In the first half, (like all things Knickly tonight) it worked like a charm. Afterwards, not so much.

Marcus Camby, C 8 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | +5

Marcus, Marcus, Marcus…good job as the defensive anchor for the Prigs/Kidd/Smith/Novak group that went absolutely bat guano crazy in the 2nd. Woulda been nice to see if you could have done the same thing later on. That would’ve helped. So you’re getting an F. I’m trying to teach you a lesson here. This hurts me more than it does you.

Jason Kidd, PG 29 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-1 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 4 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | +4

Here are my more or less unedited notes: “I know he’s started grumbling about retirement, but there’s really nothing stopping him from playing effectively for the next two years of his deal—he sure ain’t gonna get any dumber / The hands, dear God(s), the hands! That behind the back, no look pass to Novak in the corner…aside from Rubio, who does that? A look-away 30’ alley-oop to J.R? That’s just uh-may-zing!” Even before Jason Kidd banged home the bomb at the 1:15 mark that more or less stuck a fork in Memphis’ hairy backside, I realized that watching Jason made me grin so wide my face hurt. Back in the day, when he was on the Jersey Shore, I was so busy loathing him, I’m sure I underappreciated his talents. Imagine all this wisdom with a nitrous oxide burst of actual speed. Lawdy. I’ve certainly said this before, but it bears repeating. He’s the smartest player I’ve ever rooted for. Period. If anything in your life has you feeling blue, just watch this a few times.

J.R. Smith, SG 42 MIN | 10-18 FG | 12-13 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 35 PTS | +8

Here’s a fun bit of statistical noise: In his last two games, J.R. Smith has scored 67 points on 23-for-42 shooting. That’s good right? Yeah it is. More impressive than his continued insistence upon using his contortionist-like athleticism to bob, dance, and weave through a flurry of rim protectors/finish with aplomb is the fact that Tony Allen, a Bowenian irritator of the first order, was digging deep into his dirty bag of dirty tricks to try to goad Earl into losing his cool or becoming shot-happy. I know what you’re thinking: “J.R. can’t lose his composure. He never had any to lose to begin with.” (rim shot) Amazingly, improbably, he appears to have leased some cool with an option to buy, all due to the tough-love/kindly hand of Son of Wood. Peep this quote:

“We have a funny relationship, honestly,” Smith said. “It’s crazy. Off the court it’s like father-son. On the court we bump heads sometimes. He cusses me out, I cuss him out and we just go from there. By the end of the timeout we’re on the same page. It’s fun. I love playing for him.”

Hey, whatever works. Stick then carrot or carrot then stick. “Carrot and Pipe” is probably more accurate. Anyway, J.R.’s 4 offensive ‘bounds were a serious bonus too. He’s playing great. Not much more to say.

Mike Woodson

Why all the ISO-Melo in the fourth? It’s not like his j was sopping wet or anything. Seriously, I’m asking. The schizophrenia was a team-wide issue, but certain our fearless leader can see what’s working and what isn’t, right? I know I’ve ripped the Goateed one a new…one…before, but it’s because I cannot tell whether he’s a good coach or a bad coach or both. Often I go back and forth in the same game, like tonight, f’rinstance. It seemed like every good move was wedded with a counter that brings my head forcefully down upon my desk. It’s a perfect microcosm for the team as a whole, if a maddeningly frustrating one.

Five Things We Saw

  1. Massive exhale. Dickensian game, amirite? Best of times and worst of times. When we heard the news that Marc Gasol, who’d been out with a shredded midsection (Which hurts like a mofo FYI, if you’ve never had the pleasure. If you’re not the type that’s prone to Pilates-ing your core into a glorious washboard of core-muscle-y goodness, a torn abdomen’s a wonderful introduction into all the ways in which you might used that part of your body that you don’t even realize; sitting, standing, breathing—basically anything that involves moving outside of batting your lashes at a particularly comely lass of virtue true.), would in fact be suiting up, I was powerful afeared of yet another thuggish whomping from Memphis’ beastly, bruin-like frontline; similar to what we experienced way back the first time these two teams clashed. Considering Tyson’s neck was preventing him from looking up, (That’s an important skill to possess when toiling in professional hoops, methinks.), I was girding my loins for a knock, down, drag-out, low-scoring game in which the Knickerbockers not only lost, but were pounded so mercilessly they’d be left a bloody, staggering pulp, dumped in a Hefty bag by the Sbarro’s outside MSG by the time the final buzzer sounded.
  2. But glory be! We did travel back to a simpler, nay, more innocent time—the halcyon days of November, Twen’y-Twelve. There was a table laid with the finest cured meats and well-aged cheeses; the ball whipped around the perimeter until it nestled in the mitts of a wide open three point shooter, like the borderline Platonic perfection of a sequence in which Prigs drove the lane, kicked to Kidd in the corner, who immediately jump passed to Novak, who kissed the ball to J.R. at the top of the key. Orgasmic; Children were skipping, giggling and gallivanting about with nary a morsel dribbled onto their best finery; the defense rotated with vigor, closed out on shooters, team-rebounded with gusto, and artfully deflected/snaggled many a wayward pass or ill-conceived drive into paint; father lit his pipe, leaned back in his chair and regaled us with tales of fighting alongside the Republican forces to take down that scurrilous tyrant, Generalissimo Francisco Franco; the Knicks combatted their lack of size by forcing a bigger, more physical team to go small/match up to them; and even Uncle Telemachus’ drunken lechery was greeted with a kindly eye.
  3. Life was but a dream. The first half was a massive chorus singing, “November Rain,” but not like Axl Rose intended—the sad tale of the misery of a former multi-platinum blues-influenced rock star, now so drunk and drug-addled he never knows what day it is, who reminisces over an on-and-off-again relationship—but a bombastic ode to basketball joy. The Knicks banked a season-high 69 points, hit 61% from the field, led by 28 (!) and all seemed right with the world. And then…gah. Look, we all expected the Elvises to make a run, but in an annoying, eerie repeat of the first time these two clashed, a few sketchy whistles and all of a sudden, we found ourselves in the midst of a bad remake of Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Iso, as they forgot about the all the wondrous things that had given them a 30-point bulge in the first place. And the refs…double gah. It was a terribly, stupidly officiated game on both sides, but the aggrieved kvetching positively has to stop. Take Marcus Camby (please). Yes, that was a poor call. He was without a doubt mugged by Gasol the Younger. But considering Martin and Shumpert were already glued to the pine for the duration of the third with four fouls apiece, and at that moment, our side was still up 24, he cannot begin shrieking and wailing like a bereaved, bent Italian crone/Fellini stock character, leaving the Knicks to feebly insert Novakland at center. Dumb. So dumb. It’s happened before, and it’s going to happen again, possibly as soon as the 1st round of the playoffs. If the standings remain unchanged, you can betcha bottom dollar that Kevin and Paul and all those wily, dastardly Celtics will do everything this side of munching a certain breakfast cereal during the game to get our guys to lose their bits.
  4. And the Ursines just kept creeping closer and closer, aided in no small part by a seemingly-endless parade to the charity stripe (14 freebies in the 3rd alone) and suddenly, what looked for all intents and purposes to be a care-free jaunt through extended gahr-BAHZ time (as Marv is wont to say) turned into the grindhouse affair we all expected prior to tip off. If the Grizzlies had one or two more non-Jerryd Bayless long range marksmen, the ‘Bockers would have been in a heap of trouble. Speaking of which, eff Jerryd Bayless. It’s not just that he looks like a botched clone of Carlos Boozer. It’s not just the way he sticks a foot/hop at a shooter when he’s in the air. It’s not just that when the Knick D faltered and he began to torch them from inside and out the yappy sumbitch just would not shut up. There’s just something about Bayless that fills me with an unrelenting, nails-on-the-blackboard, chewing tinfoil-type venom. I have a feeling many a Knick feels the same way. After Jerryd picked up his sixth foul, Melo said something that made me wish I were a trained lip-reader. I’ll assume it was a Nelson Muntz-esque, “Ha-HA!” or possibly, “Take your Slick Watts-style cocked headband and git the eff outta our house, you annoying lil’ motherscratcher.” Either works for me.
  5. But hey, they won. They won a hard-fought game against a good team on a night where a loss was certainly in the offing. Their best player had another off shooting night, they were without the reigning DPOY and, after all the ejections and foul woes, they were so vertically challenged they’d have a hard time dealing with Britney Griner down low. This is a good thing. Six in a row – the longest streak in the league now that LeBron et al have finally (finally!) dropped one – is a very good thing. The pesky RobertCats come into town to kick off the weekend. Friday night portents of doom notwithstanding, they’ve got a good shot to hit lucky number seven. Excelsior!

When Do We Get Our Title?

In short, if you mean when do the Knicks become a top five favorite to win a title, then the answer is probably not for a while. The main culprit, as my last article went to great lengths to illustrate, is Stoudemire’s contract. The construction of this team and Stoudemire’s own health have relegated him to a player best used for 15-20 MPG, and even as the most super duper sub in the league, he is still overpaid by at least $10 million. That $10 million would go a long way towards repairing New York’s bench.

New York has a lot more to worry about, too, than Stoudemire’s role and health or Shumpert’s compatibility. The team’s deep reliance on Kidd and Smith is dangerous as well, Kidd due to his his age (as our roster has illustrated, old guys can fall apart fast; also, Kidd recently hinted that he may retire at the end of the season), and Smith because the Knicks can only offer him a contract around $6m/year. With the vast improvements he’s shown in the last month especially,  Smith could see offers of $10+ million/year from up and coming teams like Washington or Detroit.

But if the team stays together and relatively healthy, I do think New York has a chance of becoming the sixth or seventh best team, a few spots up from their performance this year and a distinct second best team in the Eastern Conference, the kind of team that every 30 years or so catches a number of breaks and streaks to a championship.

Still, I spent the last two articles discussing concerns such as these. Instead, here are some things New York can do to help their chances in this season and beyond.

 

Start J.R. Smith

Our best lineup (again: Felton, Kidd, Smith, Anthony, Chandler) has played in 35 games but has only played 233 minutes together. That’s about 6.7 minutes in each game in which all five were healthy. Why? Because J.R. Smith, for some mysterious reason, has to be  our sixth man. Considering that just swapping one player out of those starters will almost always severely diminish our returns, this could possibly be the most costly mistake the Knicks have made all season, and when starting James White is on your list of mistakes, that’s quite an achievement.

For comparison, our initial starting lineup, which was never as good as the above lineup, not even when Ronnie Brewer was shooting like Jesus had taken a personal interest in him, played 211 minutes together in 18 games, or 11.7 MPG. Just getting our best lineup to that number would result in us outscoring opponents by about 1.8 more points a game. Free points, Mike Woodson: Do you want them?

 

Move Shumpert to the Bench

This isn’t so much an issue with Shumpert as it is a question of, “Who do you bench when you add Smith to the starting lineup?” As the only other decent wing defender on the roster, it has to be Shumpert. And remember, Shumpert isn’t playing starter minutes anyway. A move to the bench would not have to reduce his time on the floor.

You can also smile knowing that Shumpert has been a lot more effective shooting the ball with Stoudemire (56.1% TS%) than without (45.8% TS%). This difference is even more surprising when you remember that most of the minutes during which Stoudemire shared the floor with Shumpert were earlier in Shumpert’s recovery. Despite his better play of late, Shumpert’s shooting was still superior with STAT.

Shumpert may be benefiting from the fact that with Stoudemire as the offensive centerpiece, the initial attack occurs far closer to the rim, meaning Shump’s more likely to catch the ball with space to immediately shoot. A remarkable 82% of Stoudemire’s shots come within eight feet of the rim (for comparison, Shaq in his prime only took around 85% of his shots in that range). Even excluding Anthony’s threes, Melo takes only 44% of his shots in that same region, and as covered extensively already, the less pressure on Shumpert to replicate Kidd, Felton and Smith’s playmaking, the more he can help the team.

 

Take Full Advantage of Prigioni

The Knicks have a total of 144 minutes available at the wing slots. With Felton and Smith at around 36 each, and Shumpert and Kidd (ideally) at an average of 23 each, we get to a grand total of 118 minutes.

Who’s playing those other 26 minutes? Up until recently, the answer from Woodson’s perspective seems to have been, “First, we should run Kidd into the ground with extended minutes, and then let’s give those other minutes to, I don’t know… the shittiest players on our roster?”

Seriously, why when he had Prigioni waiting on the bench did Woodson bother experimenting with Chris Copeland, who seems to experience every defensive possession as though he’s Mike Conley in Chris Paul’s “The Disappearing Act” NBA ad, the generally incompetent James White, or Old Man Thomas?

You don’t have to dig deep to see that he has a positive impact on the team. His +/- per 48 +6.9 is tops on the roster by a significant margin, and if you’re looking for a reason as to why Prigioni has been so effective, you don’t have to look any further than Jason Kidd. Their numbers are remarkably similar.

I imagine Woodson’s fear is (or was — Woodson has started giving Prigioni a little burn) that the Knick defense would collapse with both Kidd and Prigioni on the floor, but, to put it mildly, I don’t see the logic of using Steve Novak instead, which is exactly what Woodson had been doing (quite effectively, in fact) during the bulk of Prigioni’s minutes.

Come on, Woodson, at least give the guy a chance to fail.

 

Outlook

First off, if J.R. Smith leaves this summer, the dream is dead.  The Knicks have been dependent on him all season as, along with Chandler, he’s the only guy who can be a plus on both ends of the floor. It’s already a huge challenge with Smith for the Knicks to put together balanced lineups. Without J.R., I wouldn’t be surprised to see New York earn a losing record next season, so if you’re listening Mr. Dolan — if any of you on the inside are listening — be nice to J.R., and maybe give him a speech about how awful it is to be as rich as — well — as rich as you are.

That said, if we assume Smith, Martin and Prigioni stay, there is the possibility of blue skies ahead. With a starting lineup of Felton, Kidd, Smith, Anthony and Chandler, and with Stoudemire, Prigioni and an improved Shumpert as the main players off the bench, I could see New York coalescing into the 53-55 win team management likely hoped they would be and distinct second best team in the East.

The main reason why is because they won’t have to play terrible players/lineups anymore, and more than anything, it’s been a few terrible lineups that have killed New York this season: The Brewer lineups after he fell apart, the lineups that featured Kurt Thomas or White, and the lineups with Shumpert sharing the floor with Anthony.

To illustrate how big an impact this can have, consider the fact that the Nets will go from 4th worst in the East last year to probably 3rd or 4th best this year. Sure, Joe Johnson is pretty good, but he’s not great, and while Lopez has been great (and healthy), he has done so at the expense of Kris Humphries.

The biggest reason they’re better though is this: Last year, Shelden Williams, an indifferent DeShawn Stevenson, Johan Petro, Jordan Farmar and Sundiata Gaines all played over 750 minutes each. Three of those guys aren’t even in the league this year and rest assured that Petro will be gone as well once his contract is up. This year, those minutes are going to Joe Johnson, C.J. Watson and a somewhat less indifferent Andray Blatche. In other words, they don’t have lineups (as the Knicks have had at times this year) that chronically annihilate leads and grow deficits.

With the atrocious White lineups, late-era Brewer lineups, and  Shumpert’s terrible compatibility issues/struggles for his first eight weeks, New York has played a number of truly awful lineups. Certainly not on the level of the 11/12 Nets but far more than most teams with records similar to theirs.

However, the major issue barring New York from becoming a legitimate part of title discussions (beyond the seemingly unbeatable Miami Heat) will remain Stoudemire’s contract because let’s be real about Stoudemire, shall we? When its best players are in, this team works great without STAT. It has shown signs of working great with him as well, but the bottom line is that it’s rarely greater with him, so who cares? If your car gets you to work, you don’t buy a second car just because it will get you to work too. The same is true for scoring power forwards.

What the Knicks need to truly become the top five team that we all want to believe they can be is a star guard; that guard doesn’t have to be Chris Paul, but he has to be better than any of the detritus New York is likely to haul in by casting Stoudemire out into the trade waters. If dangling Shumpert and our pick along with STAT could haul in a player like Paul Pierce, at that point, I wouldn’t blame you if you invested in some confetti. Otherwise though, your best investment will probably be in Eastern Conference Semifinals Bi-Champion pennants. They make those, right?

Knicks Morning News (Wednesday, Mar 27 2013)

  • [New York Times] Nowitzki, Paul Get 33, Mavs Beat Clippers in OT (Wed, 27 Mar 2013 05:58:17 GMT)

    The Dallas Mavericks finally have a win over one of the top four teams headed to the Western Conference playoffs â?? just in time for their own postseason push.

  • [New York Times] Battered and Beaten, Celtics Play as if Best Days Are Behind Them (Wed, 27 Mar 2013 03:52:39 GMT)

    The Celtics lost for a fifth straight time and showed no sense of urgency in a game against the Knicks.

  • [New York Times] Knicks 100, Celtics 85: Knicks, With Rout, Move Closer to Ending Celtics’ Division Reign (Wed, 27 Mar 2013 03:34:52 GMT)

    With one more victory, the Knicks can claim the season series against the Celtics for the first time in nine years, and that chance will come Sunday at Madison Square Garden.

  • [New York Times] Pekovic Leads Wolves’ 105-82 Rout of Pistons (Wed, 27 Mar 2013 02:16:23 GMT)

    Nikola Pekovic had 18 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 105-82 rout of the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday night.

  • [New York Times] Smith, Anthony Lead Knicks Over Celtics, 100-85 (Wed, 27 Mar 2013 02:04:17 GMT)

    J.R. Smith scored 32 points, Carmelo Anthony added 29 and the New York Knicks extended their winning streak to five games with a 100-85 victory over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night.

  • [New York Times] Markieff and Marcus Morrises Are Suns and Brothers (Wed, 27 Mar 2013 01:55:21 GMT)

    The twins Markieff and Marcus Morris play for the Suns, a team that is no stranger to twins and brotherly dynamics in the N.B.A.

  • [New York Daily News] Can’t beat the Heat? Knicks would love a shot (Wed, 27 Mar 2013 04:46:27 GMT)

    The last thing the Knicks would ever be accused of is rooting for the Miami Heat. But they are willing to make an exception if it means getting the opportunity to break Miami’s incredible winning streak.

  • [New York Daily News] Suddenly streaking Knicks rout Celtics in Boston (Wed, 27 Mar 2013 04:46:09 GMT)

    The Knicks all but put an end to the Boston Celtics five-year reign over the Atlantic Division, no doubt about it. And in the process Mike Woodson’s club might have set up a first round playoff series with their hated rivals.

  • [ESPN.com – New York Knicks] Melo: 'We always want to beat Boston' (Wed, 27 Mar 2013 00:41:18 EDT)

    BOSTON — Until this season, Carmelo Anthony hadn’t won in Boston since joining the New York Knicks. But he has now done it twice — on Jan. 24 and Tuesday night.
    And when it happens potentially again and again — perhaps in the playoffs if the two teams meet in the first round — Melo will be immensely satisfied just the same every single time.
    “We want to beat them,” he said after the Knicks blew out the Boston Celtics, 100-85. “Let’s just be quite frank about them: We always want to beat Boston.

  • [New York Post] J.R., Melo strafe Celtics to extend win streak (Wed, 27 Mar 2013 03:54:43 -0500)

    BOSTON â?? If the Celtics were hoping to get the Knicks in the first round, as they did in 2011, they may want to revise their playoff wish list.
    Celtics star Paul Pierce said before last night’s tip-off he would like to send a message to the Knicks in their…

  • [New York Post] â??L’-ish past taught Woodson how hard it is to win in Beantown (Wed, 27 Mar 2013 02:33:31 -0500)

    BOSTON â?? You want to know how a building, how a team, how a city gets in your head? Mike Woodson can tell you how a building, how a team, how a city can get in your head. Woodson played in the NBA from 1980 through 1990, 11 seasons in which…

  • [New York Post] Prigioni â??starting’ to make big impact for Knicks (Wed, 27 Mar 2013 02:04:22 -0500)

    BOSTON â?? With the sacred defense of, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,â? the Knicks offer into evidence the following little factoid.
    Guard Pablo Prigioni has made five starts. The Knicks are 5-0 in those games.
    Want to guess who likely gets his sixth start of the season…

  • [New York Post] Aggressive J.R. lights up Celtics (Wed, 27 Mar 2013 01:17:17 -0500)

    BOSTON â?? It was something you couldn’t help but notice. With Kevin Garnett laid up with a bum ankle, the Celtics’ interior defense looked about as fearsome as that baby in the on-line stock trading commercials.
    J.R. Smith, for one, noticed.
    “They really didn’t have any shot blockers…

  • [New York Post] Woodson wants shot at ending Heat streak (Wed, 27 Mar 2013 01:17:17 -0500)

    BOSTON â?? The South Beach showdown is six days away, but Mike Woodson is hoping the Miami Dream Team enters with a 30-game win streak.
    “They’re playing at such a high level, nobody is coming close to beating them,” Woodson said before the Knicks’ 100-85 win over the Celtics last…

  • [New York Post] Overbay gets â??first’ shot (Wed, 27 Mar 2013 00:30:45 -0500)

    TAMPA â?? Lyle Overbay has three days to show the Yankees he is a better option at first base than Juan Rivera.
    In reality, that won’t be difficult because Overbay’s glove skills are above average and Rivera is an outfielder pressed into first-base duty because of Mark Teixeira’s…

  • [New York Post] Chandler unlikely to return tonight (Wed, 27 Mar 2013 00:10:18 -0500)

    BOSTON â?? For the Knicks, the news on Tyson Chandler was not good. The veteran center still wasn’t ready to play last night because of a bulging disk in his cervical spine and is not expected to play tonight against Memphis. Chandler also said he has experienced sensations down into…

  • Knicks 100, Celtics 85

    New York Knicks 100 Final
    Recap | Box Score
    85 Boston Celtics
    Kenyon Martin, PF 25 MIN | 4-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | +3

    We keep waiting for struck midnight to find Kenyon flagrantly fouling the teenage mop boys for “gettin’ too close to the neck lips,” but damn if K-Mart doesn’t keep producing. His most consistent contribution tonight was on the offensive glass, where he hammered home six of his nine points off of narrow misses and grabbed four of his five ‘bounds. The defensive engagement wasn’t quite as tenacious as we’ve grown accustomed to seeing, but that amounts to a petty grievance in the grand scheme of things.

    Carmelo Anthony, SF 36 MIN | 10-30 FG | 7-9 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 29 PTS | +16

    The fact that I had to do a double-take at “FGA: 30” is as good an indication as any at how free of tumult this whole affair was. Between the crapsack of terrible shots, Melo managed some beautiful possessions – particularly on the few strong, purposeful takes to the tin that marked the deficit-ballooning stretch between the second and third quarters. The defense was passable, although ole #7 seemed floor-bolted during a few of Boston’s early penetrating drives. Credit good help defense with at least two of the three steals, and general engagement for the plethora of boards. Not the most efficient night, certainly, but that’s…what…J….R….Smith is for?

    Iman Shumpert, SF 26 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +3

    A quiet night offensively – Shump hit but a lone corner jumper in transition early in the third – was offset somewhat by a few impressive stints on Pierce. He still looks at times like he’s dribbling a 25-cent bouncy ball in the open court, but on a team simply trying to balance depth and fit, I think the soph’s niche will end up being a sensible one.

    Raymond Felton, PG 32 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | +6

    I mean… there’s only so much Avery Bradley can eat, right? Against a team as deathly depleted as the Beanfarts, we didn’t need spectacular from Raymond; we needed not disastrous. The numbers might seem slight for such a heavy workload – though there were peppered throughout some brutish and well-timed drives, both in transition and in the half court – but the only real stat that mattered in this one was one, as in the number of turnovers committed.

    Pablo Prigioni, PG 30 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | +7

    Just days after posted a blog wherein he laments in words I don’t understand about not getting enough minutes and being late to see Che off on his northern motorcycle sojourn back in ’48, Pablo turned his biggest burn to date into a positively encouraging outing. A couple nice drives, a gorgeous P&R feed to a rolling Melo, solid on-ball defense – all were equally important. But converting an open court layup with Avery Bradley humping both his legs and still managing to lay it in without having the ball smeared on the glass like a giant bug? Clandestine candidate for Play of the Night.

    Steve Novak, SF 18 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | +5

    A statue made of Angel Food Cake would provide more consistent defense, but at least the stroke was twangin’.

    Jason Kidd, PG 23 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +16

    Man, I just hope I still have my own teeth when I’m 40. Seems like our sage might be summoning a second wind, this all-of-the-above outing being just the latest example. Whether the bevy of key defensive plays – drawing charges, help D ninja hands – grabbing big boards in traffic, or hitting huge buckets (taking Avery Bradley into the lane for a hefty reverse layup was magical), J-Kidd was once again a basketball binding agent. Concerns for age and wear aren’t exactly illegitimate, but at a certain point you have to wonder whether someone so imbued with basketball intelligence might not also understand that January and February isn’t exactly a bad time to coast.

    J.R. Smith, SG 34 MIN | 13-24 FG | 5-5 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 32 PTS | +17

    It’s been noted ad nauseous, but it bears repeating: Ever since his nightmarish 4-76 outing in L.A. a fortnight ago, Earl’s radar has honed squarely on tin. Tonight’s performance – a flurry of rimward takes at once quick, graceful, and resilient – was the culmination of this newfound ethos. And that absurd half-ending 25-foot three pointer to extend the league back to 15 wasn’t too shabby, either. Even when he started settling during Boston’s would-be threat early in the fourth, J.R. simply threw the switch anew, finishing up right where he started: within a gentle flick of the basket. Also: Seven rebounds? Three steals? Has he been in bed since Saturday? Check the Twitter.

    Chris Copeland, SF 13 MIN | 0-4 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 1 PTS | +2

    Looked like a Muppet after drinking a trough full of chocolate milk and bacon fat; was awful.

    Marcus Camby, C DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS |

    Grabbed his crotch while pointing a three-barreled hand gun at his head; was amazing.

    Five Things We Saw

    1. Both squads broached the fray roughly two injuries shy of having to start floor buffers, so the fact that the first nine shots fell wayward wasn’t much of a surprise – ball was just flying all over the place. Fortunately, the Knicks were the only ones who managed to tighten the vices – they committed but six turnovers after the first two minutes – while the Celtics coughed up the marble a stunning 19 times (thank the 12 Knick steals), many of those coming in transition or on silly swings to the weak side.
    2. Much has been made of Woodson’s recent propensity for quirky lineups, but tonight has to take the cake: The Knicks were forced to field a lineup featuring Carmelo Anthony at center, and still whipped Boston’s ass for a solid five minutes. Granted, the small vs. small dynamic was somewhat inevitable given the banged-up nature of the two squads, but still – what a fun little stint that was.
    3. Both teams found success probing, plodding, and cutting their way into the paint, but the Bockers’ beastly offensive rebounding (15-7 advantage) was the real difference maker. Everyone got in on the act – Melo, J.R., K-Mart, Walt Whitman, Barbara Hershey. Against a team so depleted in the front court, having the Knicks settle for terrible outside shots, iffy one-on-one gambits, and diminutive glass hounding would not have exactly been shocking, given the two teams’ recent history. Alas, scripts were flipped all around.
    4. Speaking of scripts, whoever thought the Celtics’ quick 5-0 spurt to start the second half would morph into a crippling, game-altering tide against which the Knicks would feebly beat back and ultimately fail, raise your hands. Right. The Cs would cut the margin to seven on two occasions, and both times the Bockers dug deep and came up with timely buckets – a Kidd straightaway three, an Earl blitz, whatever they needed, when they needed it.
    5. Five in a row. And all without Chandler. Before I say any more, let me make clear that the two have very little, if anything, to do with one another. Rather, the ingredients for this particular streak are – as Chris Herring aptly pointed out earlier today – games in the making. Back is the ball movement, consistent defensive engagement, and chemistry that marked that halcyon 18-5 clip. Indeed, there might be something to this whole two-headed point guard thing after all. Whether or not Woodson’s had designs on this all along, and has been keeping Prigs bench-bolted for that very purpose – I highly doubt that. But sometimes found money is better than intelligent investment, and to that end I’m just glad that we’ve been able to mine useful wares from what very easily could have been a season-jeopardizing rash of injuries. We played Carmelo Anthony at center, got every conceivable call, and beat the snot out of the Boston Celtics. Let’s enjoy it.

    Knicks Morning News (Tuesday, Mar 26 2013)

  • [New York Post] Knicks and their fans want no part of Celts in playoffs (Tue, 26 Mar 2013 01:51:49 -0500)

    BOSTON â?? We all have been in relationships like this, right? When times are good â?? man, are they ever good. The laughs flow, the good times roll … it’s not unlike that relentless, ubiquitous Bud Light commercial you’ve seen since the start of the NCAA tournament, a first date you…

  • [New York Post] Knicks coach Woodson won’t gloat that Celtics’ Kevin Garnett is out with bad ankle (Tue, 26 Mar 2013 01:20:19 -0500)

    BOSTON â?? If you have to play the Celtics in Boston â?? as the Knicks do tonight â?? it doesn’t hurt to see them without Kevin Garnett â?? as the Celtics will be tonight.
    Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge told Boston reporters yesterday an MRI exam on Garnett’s left ankle…

  • [New York Post] Knicks’ Chandler hoping to play tonight vs. Celtics (Tue, 26 Mar 2013 01:20:19 -0500)

    BOSTON â?? Discretion is the better part of valor. Prevention is better than cure. The second mouse gets the cheese.
    Sometimes, caution is the way to go.
    So the Knicks have listed Tyson Chandler as “questionableâ? tonight against the Celtics in Boston. Chandler has missed the last six games, primarily because…

  • [New York Times] James, Heat Stretch Win Streak to 27 (Tue, 26 Mar 2013 07:49:25 GMT)

    LeBron James was in perfect position for the rebound he needed for a triple-double. Near the rim, no Orlando opponents in his way, he readied his hands as he gazed toward the basket.

  • [New York Times] Curry Returns, Leads Warriors Past Lakers, 109-103 (Tue, 26 Mar 2013 05:16:30 GMT)

    Stephen Curry had 25 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds on a sprained right ankle, and the Golden State Warriors held off the Los Angeles Lakers 109-103 on Monday night.

  • [New York Times] Sports Briefing | Pro Basketball: Nuggets’ Streak Ends at 15 to Hornets (Tue, 26 Mar 2013 04:41:53 GMT)

    Ryan Anderson scored 23 points and the New Orleans Hornets beat visiting Denver, ending the Nuggets’ 15-game winning streak.

  • [New York Times] Nuggets’ Streak Ends at 15 to Hornets (Tue, 26 Mar 2013 04:22:26 GMT)

    Ryan Anderson scored 23 points and the New Orleans Hornets beat visiting Denver, ending the Nuggets’ 15-game winning streak.

  • [New York Times] Foye, Hayward Lift Slumping Jazz Over 76ers 107-91 (Tue, 26 Mar 2013 03:52:37 GMT)

    Randy Foye scored 17 points, Gordon Hayward added 15 on 3-of-3 shooting beyond the arc and the Utah Jazz beat the Philadelphia 76ers 107-91 Monday night to halt a four-game losing streak.

  • [New York Times] Wall Scores 47 as Wizards Beat Grizzlies 107-94 (Tue, 26 Mar 2013 03:46:21 GMT)

    John Wall finished Washington’s last game on the bench after getting two technical fouls.

  • [New York Times] On Pro Basketball: In Knicks-Celtics Rivalry, High Ground Remains in Dispute (Tue, 26 Mar 2013 03:39:21 GMT)

    To say the Knicks have a grudge against Boston is an understatement. The Knicks have spent the past six years being tormented and trampled by the Celtics.

  • [New York Times] Heat Make Magic Vanish, Extend Winning Streak to 27 (Tue, 26 Mar 2013 03:19:26 GMT)

    For Chris Bosh, the entire NBA season has felt like one big playoff game and there was no easing up on Monday as the Miami Heat dumped the Orlando Magic 108-94 to extend their winning streak to 27 games.

  • [New York Times] Heat Win 27th Straight, Run Away From Magic 108-94 (Tue, 26 Mar 2013 03:16:46 GMT)

    Late in the third quarter, the game was tied and the Miami Heat winning streak seemed to be in jeopardy.

  • [New York Times] Short-Handed Pacers Hold Off Hawks 100-94 (Tue, 26 Mar 2013 03:07:27 GMT)

    The Indiana Pacers built a team to withstand the perils of a long NBA season.

  • [New York Times] Off the Dribble: Best N.B.A.Games of the Week (Tue, 26 Mar 2013 02:49:31 GMT)

    The best N.B.A. games this week include two challenges to the Heat’s winning streak, Knicks at Celtics and the Nuggets at Spurs.

  • [New York Times] Off the Dribble: Chandler Practices, a Little, and Eyes Knicks Return (Tue, 26 Mar 2013 02:45:30 GMT)

    The Knicks’ Tyson Chandler tested his sore neck in practice on Monday and said he is closer to returning.

  • [New York Times] Heat 108, Magic 94: No Wade, No Problem as Heat Extend Winning Streak to 27 (Tue, 26 Mar 2013 02:42:53 GMT)

    After the Magic tied the game at 68-68, the Heat, without Dwyane Wade, went on a 20-2 run, swatting away any potential threat at their race toward history.

  • [New York Daily News] Knicks Insider: Upcoming schedule a playoff test (Tue, 26 Mar 2013 04:56:31 GMT)

    After beating up on the Magic and Raptors, which accounted for three of their four wins during this four-game winning streak, the Knicks start a stretch Tuesday in which seven of their next eight games will come against playoff-bound teams, including Miami, Oklahoma City, Memphis and potential first-round playoff foe Boston twice.

  • [New York Daily News] Chandler remains Knicked up (Tue, 26 Mar 2013 02:04:08 GMT)

    If you’re looking for a clue as to whether Tyson Chandler will be back on the court Tuesday night in Boston, the Knicks’ center didn’t look so good when he tried to guard Chris Copeland on the practice court.