A new job for Knick fans: Cheer on Atlanta

As New York looks to close out the Boston Celtics in Game 5 Wednesday night, Indiana and Atlanta have drawn even in their best of seven series. With the respective winners set to face off in the second round, there is plenty of incentive for Knick fans to be rooting their hearts out for the Hawks.

While Knicks swept their season series with the Hawks 3-0 (one being the last game of the year, and a blatant tank job by Atlanta), they needed a late-season win to split with Indiana, 2-2.

In the interest of diving deeper into how the Bockers fared against each squad, I charted New York’s offensive and defensive efficiency, as well as their net ratings against both teams, comparing them to the Knicks’ season averages per NBA Stats:

Screen Shot 2013-04-30 at 12.07.05 PM

Right off the bat, the difference in play is apparent. The stellar play that drove New York to the East’s second seed — and their third ranked offensive efficiency — was halted and suffocated by the Pacers’ league best defense. This is predominantly due to Indiana’s dedication to preventing the long ball, the Knicks’ primary source of offense. When adjusted for pace, the Pacers allowed the second fewest three-point attempts per-48 minutes in the NBA. In games against the Pacers, the Knicks attempted 26 threes per contest, a lower number compared to games played against two-thirds of the association.

Sure, New York’s defense is ahead of their season mark against Indy, but the Pacers run the 19th worst offense in the NBA. Not to discredit the Knicks defense, but Indiana’s not going to beat any team trying to play a barn-burner of a contest. Although the Knicks match up very well against Indiana defensively — Tyson Chandler can more than hold his own against Roy Hibbert, while Iman Shumpert’s savvy perimeter defense could help render All-Star Paul George’s game merely pedestrian — one matchup above all else scares me to death.

That would be Carmelo Anthony checking Indiana’s bulldozer power forward, David West. West’s patented physicality has the potential to drain Melo, why with his overwhelming power down low and consistent doling of punishment to the opposition. That could mean fatigue, hesitance, or — worse yet — bangs and bruises to the Knicks’ best player.

And don’t forget how the Knicks as a whole have succumbed more than once to their own frustration when playing opposite a very physical team, which lead to many an unforced error and infuriating technical fouls.

Meanwhile against the Hawks — a far less physical team — the Knicks have thrived on the offensive end. Carmelo Anthony in particular has beasted, as you can see here:

Screen Shot 2013-04-30 at 12.07.56 PM

Atlanta has been a helpless victim to New York’s small ball approach, unable to match up or adapt to the point of competing. If they go small with their Horford-Smith frontcourt, Chandler should eradicate Horford’s offense, while Anthony should have a field day attacking Smith — a step too slow to keep up — on the offensive end. Hawks head coach Larry Drew’s stubbornness in sticking with “J-Smoove” on Melo led Anthony to a game-winning layup in one meeting and a forty point game in another against Atlanta. If the Hawks go big, say with Petro-Horford-Smith in their frontcourt, the Knicks should look to rain threes on a much slower unit who can’t rotate quick enough to open shooters.

Another key is pace. The Knicks have won games running down the shot clock and not forcing in transition, fancying a slower pace all season long. While Indiana shares a similar devotion to slogging basketball, the Hawks lean towards the middle of the pack in the league. Against Indy the Knicks would ball with the tempo they’re most comfortable with, but against the Hawks, New York might be able to better dictate how they want to play and use this control to their advantage.

With the Knicks one win away from advancing, the optimistic fan will tell you that neither Atlanta nor Indiana stands a chance. Still, one match up in particular would make for a much smoother road to the Conference Finals.

Knicks Morning News (Tuesday, Apr 30 2013)

  • [New York Times] Rockets Extend Series With Game 4 Win Over Thunder (Tue, 30 Apr 2013 07:37:20 GMT)

    The Houston Rockets know the odds are stacked against them in their playoff series with the Oklahoma City Thunder.    

  • [New York Times] Hansen Has ‘No Plans to Give Up’ Fight for Kings (Tue, 30 Apr 2013 07:37:16 GMT)

    The recommendation has been made, the vote is set and the Sacramento Kings seem all but assured of staying in California’s capital city.    

  • [New York Times] Smith Scores 29 as Hawks Top Pacers to Knot Series (Tue, 30 Apr 2013 07:34:06 GMT)

    The Atlanta Hawks like this new lineup. Now they’ve got to show it can win on the road.    

  • [New York Times] Nets Top Bulls 110-91, Trim Series Deficit to 3-2 (Tue, 30 Apr 2013 07:34:02 GMT)

    The Nets were not ready for it to be over. Not the series. Certainly not their first season in Brooklyn.    

  • [New York Times] Collins Comes Out _ and Support Quickly Follows (Tue, 30 Apr 2013 07:31:00 GMT)

    Jason Collins came out, got widely congratulated for his courage, and the games went on.    

  • [New York Times] Rockets Survive With 105-103 Win Over OKC (Tue, 30 Apr 2013 05:39:38 GMT)

    The Houston Rockets finally found a way to close out a game in their playoff series with the Oklahoma City Thunder.    

  • [New York Times] Game 5: Nets vs. Bulls (Tue, 30 Apr 2013 05:25:32 GMT)

    On the brink of elimination, the Nets fought back and battered the Bulls on the boards to force a Game 6.    

  • [New York Times] Bulls’ Nate Robinson Steady but not Spectacular in Game 5 (Tue, 30 Apr 2013 05:14:01 GMT)

    The Bulls’ Nate Robinson had 20 points and 8 assists, but he did not display the electrifying form that he showed in Game 4. Robinson called his effort “not good enough.â?    

  • [New York Times] NBA Committee Recommends Rejecting Kings Move (Tue, 30 Apr 2013 04:54:57 GMT)

    Here they stay, for now.    

  • [New York Times] NBA Playoff Capsules (Tue, 30 Apr 2013 04:48:33 GMT)

    Josh Smith scored 29 points as the Atlanta Hawks built a 17-point lead at halftime, then withstood an Indiana comeback over the final two quarters to even the series with a 102-91 victory in Game 4 on Monday night.    

  • [New York Times] Nets Still the Underdogs, but Blossoming in Brooklyn (Tue, 30 Apr 2013 03:45:29 GMT)

    With a billionaire owner and a dazzling new stadium in New York City’s most populated borough, the Brooklyn Nets are not everyone’s idea of an underdog.    

  • [New York Times] Nets 110, Bulls 91: For Nets, No Overtime and No Surrender to Bulls (Tue, 30 Apr 2013 03:38:48 GMT)

    In Game 5, a must-win, the Nets found a way to outlast the Bulls, sending the series back to Chicago for Game 6 on Thursday.    

  • [New York Times] N.B.A.’s Kings Are Likely to Remain in Sacramento (Tue, 30 Apr 2013 03:29:01 GMT)

    The N.B.A.’s relocation committee recommended that the owners deny a request to move the Sacramento Kings to Seattle, a decision that will probably settle a bidding war.    

  • [New York Times] Smith Scores 29 to Lead Hawks Past Pacers 102-91 (Tue, 30 Apr 2013 03:28:18 GMT)

    Heading to his locker to get dressed, Josh Smith griped a bit when told he would have to go to the podium for the second game in a row.    

  • [New York Times] Off the Dribble: Why Burke Could Work in the N.B.A. (Tue, 30 Apr 2013 03:26:08 GMT)

    Trey Burke of Michigan does not have the size of Michael Carter-Williams or Marcus Smart, but his quickness may help him make a mark in the N.B.A.    

  • [New York Times] Nets Win 110-91, Cut Bulls’ Lead to 3-2 (Tue, 30 Apr 2013 03:04:11 GMT)

    Flourishing instead of fading in the fourth quarter, the Nets extended their first season in Brooklyn.    

  • [New York Times] On Pro Basketball: Jason Collins and N.B.A. Are at Frontier After Collins Announced He Is Gay (Tue, 30 Apr 2013 01:49:05 GMT)

    The N.B.A., long known for its inclusion, predicts it will be business-as-usual next season after Jason Collins’s announcement that he is gay. That is, if Collins is a part of next season.    

  • [New York Times] N.B.A. Center Jason Collins Comes Out as Gay (Tue, 30 Apr 2013 01:06:49 GMT)

    By revealing his orientation, Jason Collins became the first openly gay male athlete playing in a major team sport.    

  • [New York Times] Players Voice Support of Jason Collins on Twitter (Tue, 30 Apr 2013 00:53:57 GMT)

    Reaction to the N.B.A. player Jason Collins’s announcement that he is gay was overwhelmingly positive on Monday.    

  • [New York Times] N.B.A. Playoffs â?? Lakers Move From What Happened to What Now (Tue, 30 Apr 2013 00:44:54 GMT)

    After San Antonio swept them, the Lakers begin their off-season not knowing who will return next season. The biggest question remains the future of Dwight Howard.    

  • [New York Times] Petro Makes It Back to Atlanta in Time for Game 4 (Tue, 30 Apr 2013 00:27:38 GMT)

    Center Johan Petro rushed back to Atlanta to start for the Hawks in Game 4 of the playoffs against the Indiana Pacers after witnessing the birth of his first child.    

  • [New York Times] Support Pours In for Collins From All Circles (Tue, 30 Apr 2013 00:15:51 GMT)

    Jason Collins received an outpouring of support and admiration from the sporting world and many other influential voices on Monday after announcing he was gay.    

  • [New York Times] Column: Collins Did His Part. Now It’s Our Turn. (Tue, 30 Apr 2013 00:07:02 GMT)

    It says something, nearly all of it good, that on the day a male athlete in one of the major American pro sports came out as gay, the reaction from the NBA, fellow ballplayers and fans was almost uniformly positive.    

  • [ESPN.com – New York Knicks] LJ tweets his discomfort on Collins (Tue, 30 Apr 2013 00:23:44 EDT)

    Jason Collins’ announcement on Monday that he is gay was met with public support from around the NBA.
    But ex-Knick Larry Johnson took a dissenting tone on Twitter.
    Johnson tweeted that does not know Collins and that he “seems like a great guy” but added that he’d be “uncomfortable” having “gay men” in the locker room.
    Collins announced that he’s gay in a story for Sports Illustrated on Monday, becoming the first active player in a major American team sport to do so.

  • [New York Post] Iman thrives 1 year after ACL surgery (Tue, 30 Apr 2013 03:43:07 -0500)

    Sunday was quite a way for Iman Shumpert to celebrate the one-year anniversary of tearing his ACL.
    The Georgia Tech product has been looking a lot like his rookie self, a menacing defender and rebounder, armed with a dangerous 3-point shot. He’s also putting the ball on the floor…

  • [New York Post] Anthony, Knicks confident series will end tomorrow (Tue, 30 Apr 2013 03:42:52 -0500)

    No sweep. No problem.
    The Knicks get J.R. Smith back tomorrow for Game 5 at the Garden and the Knicks believe they will close out the Celtics in five games and give James Dolan’s franchise its first playoff series win since 2000.
    “We have to be confident going…

  • [New York Post] Celts’ Bass earning his stripes against Knicks (Tue, 30 Apr 2013 03:42:36 -0500)

    BOSTON â?? As they hit the floor against the Knicks for their first Game 7 which was disguised as Game 4, the Celtics came out with the starting lineup that began the series, a unit featuring Brandon Bass back in the first five, aligned defensively against Carmelo Anthony, while Jason Terry…

  • [New York Post] Volatile Smith proving to be indispensable piece to puzzle (Tue, 30 Apr 2013 01:55:31 -0500)

    J.R. Smith’s tweet following Game 1 against Boston 10 days ago said, “#Happy4/20.â? April 20 is the unofficial holiday for pot-smokers. As father of a high-school junior and a college freshman, I prefer my kids don’t get that sort of encouragement from the winner of the…

  • [New York Post] Knicks mourn death of Jimmy Wergeles (Tue, 30 Apr 2013 00:44:02 -0500)

    Jimmy Wergeles, the Knicks’ first and longtime public relations boss, MSG Network’s first p.r. director and a Navy veteran of the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, died, Friday, at 90.
    Wergeles began with the Knicks on day one, in 1946, and retired from the Garden in 1985. He…

  • [New York Daily News] Raissman: Knicks-Celtics feud is Heaven-sent (Tue, 30 Apr 2013 05:39:38 GMT)

    Those in favor of extended dramas can only pray this Knicks-Celtics series continues past Wednesday night. Once so close to Sweep City, there finally is some intrigue. The matchup is revealing stuff we did not know.    

  • Jason Collins: First Openly Gay Active NBA Player

    According to Sports Illustrated:

    I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.

    I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn’t the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, “I’m different.” If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I’m raising my hand.

    I realized I needed to go public when Joe Kennedy, my old roommate at Stanford and now a Massachusetts congressman, told me he had just marched in Boston’s 2012 Gay Pride Parade. I’m seldom jealous of others, but hearing what Joe had done filled me with envy. I was proud of him for participating but angry that as a closeted gay man I couldn’t even cheer my straight friend on as a spectator. If I’d been questioned, I would have concocted half truths. What a shame to have to lie at a celebration of pride. I want to do the right thing and not hide anymore. I want to march for tolerance, acceptance and understanding. I want to take a stand and say, “Me, too.”

    The recent Boston Marathon bombing reinforced the notion that I shouldn’t wait for the circumstances of my coming out to be perfect. Things can change in an instant, so why not live truthfully? When I told Joe a few weeks ago that I was gay, he was grateful that I trusted him. He asked me to join him in 2013. We’ll be marching on June 8.

    Wow, historic news here!

    Knicks pioneering the NBA’s three-point renaissance

    In today’s NBA, basketball is played noticeably differently then how it was decades ago — even ten years ago. When discussing the changes in our beloved game, many factors come into play, not the least of which is the advanced statistics phenomenon.

    Recently, thanks to some very brilliant minds, teams and fans alike have begun to dive headlong into APBRmetrics (acronym for Association for Professional Basketball Research Metrics), only to discover that it’s less of a pool than an enormous ocean. To go more in-depth here would be deviating from my point, but one favorite of the advanced statistics community is efficiency, and this has caused a reformation in the NBA among the teams’ use of the three-point shot.

    The Knicks in particular have taken it to an entirely new threshold this season.

    When siphoning through the statistics, the aforementioned three-point escalation becomes obvious. The league average for total three-point attempts in this 2013 season was 1636. Compare this to previous marks:

    • 2003: 1204
    • 1993: 734
    • 1983: 185

    These are severely sharp rises, even when you consider rule changes such as the defensive three seconds call and the allowance of zone defense. With teams becoming more three-point dependent, the question becomes, “to three, or not to three?”

    Our question: Are teams that base their offense around the three-pointer likely to win more? This is a pivotal question, particularly when you consider that our 2012-2013 New York Knicks have attempted more treys this season than any one team in league history.

    Efficiency-wise, the three-point look from the corner is the second-most efficient field goal attempt in the game, the third being a three outside of the corner. To explore if there would be a correlation between three-point attempts and winning, I charted out the winning percentage and the percentage of field goal attempts that were threes adjusted for pace of each team in the league, per NBA Stats:


    Click here for the full image.

    Although it’s a bit subtle, you can see the common decline between winning percentage and three-pointers attempted in an offense. Notice, aside from the Memphis Grizzlies and Chicago Bulls (two outliers, both winning with great defense and mediocre offense), the top teams are in the mid-to-high 20’s in three-pointers attempted percentage. Meanwhile, on the bottom end, nearly every team is in the low 20’s. This goes deeper than threes attempted, however. Indeed, a big part of running a successful three-heavy offense is the type and caliber of the three pointer attempted. Take Milwaukee, for example, where Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis are jacking up any long bomb that looks appealing.

    The Knicks, on the other hand, finished the regular season fifth in the league in 3PT% — clearly they’ve done plenty right. This is primarily because the Knicks’ offensive system is designed to get wide open threes, and pivots on great spacing, smart passes and individual shooting ability. With this last factor, you’ll notice that not only does New York utilize a hefty amount of first-rate shooters; a majority of them have shot the deep ball better this year than they have throughout their careers:

    Let’s not forget the two Knick rookies either:

    • Pablo Prigioni: 39.6%
    • Chris Copeland: 42.1%

    This Knicks roster has an arsenal of — if not deadly — extremely capable shooters. With the Knicks running a huge chunk of their offense through the three-point shot, it’s hard to imagine most shooters’ percentages not rising. As far as swinging the ball around well, no team does this better than New York. Additionally, the Knicks lead the league in lowest turnover percentage, which has become a staple of their season since opening night. This flawless team passing makes for a much more fluid offense, one that doesn’t easily concede the ball to the opponent.

    As for great spacing, the Knicks employ one of the most effective offenses. Key to this has been one of the most lethal stretch four in the game, Carmelo Anthony. Anthony’s comprehensive scoring ability, in particular his knock-down shooting touch when spotting up, makes him the perfect fit for this type of offense — driven as it is by Anthony’s isolations and a plethora of pick-and-rolls.

    Per Synergy Sports, the Knicks rank second in the league in spot-up attempts, which also accounts for the highest percentage of New York’s overall offense. The Knicks are shooting 38.1% from downtown (76% of their spot-up attempts were from three) on these shots, which makes for the third-best three-point percentage in the league. These open looks are provided by Carmelo Anthony’s remarkable scoring ability and the difficult to guard Raymond Felton-Tyson Chandler pick-and-rolls collapsing opposing defenses, leaving wide open shooters to let it fly.

    Intent on drowning the opposition in a monsoon of threes, this offense is what’s carried the Knicks thus far. How far this crutch can carry them, with the Knicks now one win shy of moving on to the second round of the Playoffs for the first time since 2000, has yet to be seen.

    Knicks Morning News (Monday, Apr 29 2013)

  • [New York Times] Celts Top Knicks 97-90 in OT, Avoid Playoff Sweep (Mon, 29 Apr 2013 07:45:49 GMT)

    The reeling Boston Celtics needed a spark of optimism and a surge of offense to keep their season going.    

  • [New York Times] Spurs Finish Off Lakers Sweep, Roll to 2nd Round (Mon, 29 Apr 2013 07:30:55 GMT)

    Tony Parker could only shake his head at the travails of the Los Angeles Lakers, who probably packed more drama and turmoil into this season than the Spurs point guard has experienced in his entire career with steady San Antonio.    

  • [New York Times] James Leads Heat Over Bucks and Into Next Round (Mon, 29 Apr 2013 07:28:08 GMT)

    After getting treatment “around the clock” for two days, Dwyane Wade tested his aching right knee in warm-ups before Game 4.    

  • [New York Times] Curry Leads Warriors Past Denver 115-101 in Game 4 (Mon, 29 Apr 2013 05:18:44 GMT)

    His star point guard slowed by a sore left ankle, Warriors coach Mark Jackson told Stephen Curry in the first half he might shut him down for the rest of the game.    

  • [New York Times] Highlights of Sunday’s NBA Playoffs Games (Mon, 29 Apr 2013 05:15:28 GMT)

    Heat 88, Bucks 77    

  • [New York Times] Highlights of Sunday’s NBA Playoffs Games (Mon, 29 Apr 2013 03:57:37 GMT)

    Heat 88, Bucks 77    

  • [New York Times] Roundup: N.B.A. Playoffs â?? Heat Sweep as Dwyane Wade Sits and LeBron James Scores 30 (Mon, 29 Apr 2013 03:30:35 GMT)

    LeBron James led the Heat with 30 points in a victory over the Bucks in Milwaukee, setting up a second-round series with the Nets or Bulls. Dwyane Wade rested a sore right knee.    

  • [New York Times] Nets Must Dig Deep to Stay With Bulls (Mon, 29 Apr 2013 03:21:00 GMT)

    In the wake of their Game 4 loss in triple overtime, the Nets are seeking what they have been missing at times this season: mental toughness and physical play inside. The Bulls lead the series, 3-1.    

  • [New York Times] On Pro Basketball: N.B.A. Playoffs â?? Knicks Hit Bump on Road to Round 2 (Mon, 29 Apr 2013 02:22:44 GMT)

    The Knicks fought their way back from 20 points down on Sunday, but failed to put away the Celtics while playing without the suspended J.R. Smith.    

  • [New York Times] Spurs Finish 4-Game Sweep, Routing Lakers 103-82 (Mon, 29 Apr 2013 02:18:38 GMT)

    For four straight games, the San Antonio Spurs showed off all the teamwork and tenacity that the Los Angeles Lakers lacked all season long.    

  • [New York Times] Celtics Defiant in Avoiding Sweep by Knicks (Mon, 29 Apr 2013 02:01:06 GMT)

    The Celtics on Sunday looked nothing like the squad that had been pushed around by the Knicks in Games 1, 2 and 3.    

  • [New York Times] Game 4: Knicks vs. Celtics (Mon, 29 Apr 2013 01:43:24 GMT)

    The Celtics blew a 19-point lead, but Jason Terry scored Boston’s final 9 points in overtime to deliver a victory and force a Game 5.    

  • [New York Times] Game 4: Celtics 97, Knicks 90 (OT): Jason Terry Jabs Knicks as Celtics Stay Alive (Mon, 29 Apr 2013 00:59:43 GMT)

    Jason Terry, who was struck by J. R. Smith in Game 3, leading to Smith’s suspension, helped the Celtics avoid a sweep and send the series back to New York.    

  • [New York Daily News] Melo can’t shoot Knicks past Celtics (Mon, 29 Apr 2013 06:28:52 GMT)

    Carmelo Anthony kept shooting and shooting, determined to earn his first career playoff sweep and put away Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce once and for all. The problem, however, was that the more Melo shot, the more Melo missed.    

  • [New York Daily News] Lawrence: Suspended Smith hurts Knicks (Mon, 29 Apr 2013 06:25:38 GMT)

    Maybe now J.R. Smith will think twice about swinging an elbow at an opponent in a playoff battle. This was the best way for Smith to learn his lesson: The hard way, with the Knicks missing him dearly.    

  • [New York Daily News] Felton fills void for Knicks (Mon, 29 Apr 2013 04:04:24 GMT)

    The Knicks needed someone to fill the scoring void left by suspended sixth man of the year J.R. Smith. Enter Raymond Felton. The Knicks’ point guard continued his stellar play in the playoffs by scoring 16 of his 27 points during a furious Knicks comeback in the third quarter Sunday, but it wasn’t enough in a 97-90 overtime loss to the Celtics in Game 4 at TD Garden.    

  • [New York Daily News] Knicks Insider: Woodson avoids comment on J.R. (Mon, 29 Apr 2013 04:01:16 GMT)

    Paul Pierce wasted little time tweaking the Knicks after the Celtics narrowly avoided a sweep.”I already called my friends in New York yesterday telling them I’d be there for dinner,â? Pierce said following Boston’s 97-90 Game 4 victory.    

  • [New York Daily News] Terry strikes back, hero for Celtics in Game 4 (Mon, 29 Apr 2013 03:36:16 GMT)

    Jason Terry had to be restrained from taking a run at J.R. Smith one game earlier, but he had a different kind of fight in mind on Sunday.    

  • [New York Post] Anthony & Co. fail to finish off Celts in OT (Mon, 29 Apr 2013 05:00:46 -0500)

    BOSTON â?? J.R. Smith was suspended and not permitted inside the TD Garden yesterday. Carmelo Anthony’s jump shot was suspended, too, lost in some mysterious twilight zone.
    Like Smith, Anthony failed to show up and the Knicks failed to sweep the Celtics.
    Almost everyone but Anthony stepped up in…

  • [New York Post] Melo’s shooting sinks Knicks (Mon, 29 Apr 2013 03:41:44 -0500)

    BOSTON â?? The Carmelo Anthony bashers can have at it this time all they want, they can come out of the woodwork in force, they can call him an overrated ballhog, they can call him Little Anthony, whatever they please, because he gave them the green light yesterday keeping the Celtics…

  • [New York Post] KG hits all his talking points (Mon, 29 Apr 2013 03:35:54 -0500)

    BOSTON â?? With elimination in the air, there had been a lot of talk about pride, averting a sweep and playing the right way. The Celtics spoke of the championship banners that block out the ceiling of their gym.
    “Instead of talking, we actually came out and did it. There wasn…

  • [New York Post] Terry’s OT effort gives Celtics hope (Mon, 29 Apr 2013 03:35:54 -0500)

    BOSTON â?? Jason Terry was on the receiving end of J.R. Smith’s boneheaded Game 3 elbow. That was just one reason Terry and the rest of the Celtics, facing elimination, were ticked at the Knicks. Terry stressed being angry was one thing, doing something about it was another.
    Yesterday…

  • [New York Post] Missing J.R., bench fails to deliver (Mon, 29 Apr 2013 03:35:54 -0500)

    BOSTON â?? With Pablo Prigioni out in Game 1, Jason Kidd was terrific. He logged 35 minutes, scored eight points and racked up three fourth-quarter steals.
    Yesterday the Knicks were again missing one of their key guards â?? J.R. Smith because of a one-game suspension. Kidd again played heavy minutes; however…

  • [New York Post] PG keys Knicks rally in 2nd half (Mon, 29 Apr 2013 03:35:54 -0500)

    BOSTON â?? J.R. Smith may have been suspended for Game 4, but Raymond Felton was a fine impersonator.
    With Smith sitting yesterday after his one-game suspension, Felton was sensational in the Knicks’ 97-90 overtime loss at TD Garden. The point guard scored 27 points, including 16 in the third quarter…

  • [New York Post] Woodson puts DNP on â??Cope’ (Mon, 29 Apr 2013 03:35:54 -0500)

    BOSTON â?? Mike Woodson’s mysterious handling of rookie Chris Copeland took on another level yesterday.
    With J.R. Smith out because of his one-game suspension, it was the perfect opportunity to let Copeland and his dreadlocks roam free on the parquet. Instead, Copeland, a Knicks fan favorite but occasionally a…

  • [New York Post] Knicks can’t sweep parquet floor, inviting ghost of another 3-0 NY-Boston series (Mon, 29 Apr 2013 02:55:15 -0500)

    BOSTON â?? Afterward, the Celtics spoke about the burden that lies heavy on the Knicks’ shoulders, which is exactly what they should have done. That’s the price of history, after all, the permanent tax incurred by what happened on other fields, in that other sport, almost nine years ago.
    “All…

  • [New York Post] Rivers recalls Starks’ head-butt in ’93 playoffs (Mon, 29 Apr 2013 00:54:50 -0500)

    BOSTON â?? Celtics coach Doc Rivers witnessed two of the flat out dumbest moves in Knicks playoff history â?? J.R. Smith’s suspension-arning elbow Friday and John Starks’ infamous 1993 head-butt on Reggie Miller â?? from both sides and 20 years apart.
    Rivers was Starks’ teammate against Indiana in 1993 when after…

  • [New York Post] Knicks: Tip in (Mon, 29 Apr 2013 00:44:48 -0500)

    HERO

    With the game tied at 88 and 1:33 remaining in overtime, Jason Terry poured in nine points in 93 seconds, starting with a pull-up 3 that put Boston ahead 91-88. The Celtics’ sixth man single-handedly outscored the Knicks in OT, 9-6.
    ZERO

    In the final 3-plus minutes of…

  • Celtics 97, Knicks 90

    New York Knicks 90 Final
    Recap | Box Score
    97 Boston Celtics
    Carmelo Anthony, SF 45 MIN | 10-35 FG | 16-20 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 7 TO | 36 PTS | -10

    Let’s start this off by taking a look at some pictures…

    Here’s Melo’s shot chart. Hold on. You might need to borrow my kerchief to wipe away all the blood. Hm. That’s odd. Out, damn’d shotchart! out, I say! Hell is murky. Yet who would have thought the old Melo to have had so much blood in him? [Continues furiously/OCD-y wiping computer screen. Breaks screen. Hauls computer to the Mac Store, where bitter grad students at the Genius Bar treat me with bland disdain and charge ne vast ducats to replace what has to be a 10 dollar piece of equipment made by underage, slave labor.]

    763689490

    The problem isn’t the volume of shots, which was pretty much a fait accompli once J.R. was banished to hang out in one of Boston’s finer Gentleman’s clubs for the afternoon. It’s the stupefying number of isolation sets (24 in total, compared to only 31 Pick and Rolls, according to Synergy), inefficient mid-range shots and the fact he only scored or drew a foul on 10 of them. Amazingly, there were only 14 Melo ISO’s in the first 3 quarters, but in the 4th/OT, Woodson dialed up a concussion-via-head-to-desk-inducing 11 of ’em. Gah. From It was pretty clear from the opening tip that his shot was just plain off. 3-15 in the 1st half and an unsightly 7 turnovers for the game. Ick. Granted, the 20 trips to the line were at times the only means the Knicks had of putting points on the board and we’d seen him right the ship throughout this series. In the third, he looked to be getting back on track, hitting a respectable 3 of 5 but down the stretch…Double Gah. ISO-Melo galore. Let’s take a gander at this 4th Quarter/OT Francis Bacon-esque horror show.

    BI91fuOCIAEjsoE

    How one (whether it’s Anthony or Woodson) chooses this path on today’s cringe-worthy Choose Your Own Adventure book, in the face of vast reams of evidence from the first three games of this series and the third quarter, in which a Melo-free unit’s return to ball movement and PnR action was the key factor in slicing the deficit down to a manageable number, is absolutely beyond me. Maybe Jason Terry’s friend God can explain it to us. (More on this in a jot–the play calling, not the God part. Well, the God part too). Despite all that, If HE’D ONLY MADE HIS DAMNED CHARITY TOSSES (1-4 in the final 4 minutes) THEY’D HAVE WON THE GAME. [Rips all my clothes off runs out screaming into the woods. Rubs dirt all over body. Eats a grubworm because I need its life force. Possibly tries to have sex with a tree a la Willem Dafoe in Von Trier’s Antichrist.]

    Iman Shumpert, SF 44 MIN | 5-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 12 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 12 PTS | +5

    Shumpert did a dandy job of swooping in from the wing to snaggle double-digit ‘bounds, a trait he clearly gleaned from the seance that J.R. Smith was holding somewhere Charlestown surrounded by Umbandan channelers/mystics that imbued at least one aspect of his essence to his fellow ‘mates for today’s proceedings. He was also a relentless, Prigioni-ian pest on defense, shadowing the taller/burlier Green/Pierce combo with aplomb and nailing a series of uber-clutch buckets during the aborted comeback effort.

    Tyson Chandler, C 31 MIN | 2-3 FG | 1-2 FT | 11 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 5 PTS | -6

    Everyday it’s a-gettin’ closer
    Goin’ faster than a roller coaster
    Love like yours will surely come my way
    A-hey, a-hey-hey
    Everyday it’s a-gettin’ faster
    Everyone said, go ahead and her
    A-hey, a-hey-hey
    Everyday seems a little longer
    Every way love’s a little stronger
    Come what may
    Do you ever long for, true love from me
    Everyday it’s a-gettin’ closer
    Goin’ faster than a roller coaster
    Love like yours will surely come my way
    A-hey, a-hey-hey

    That’s right, Buddy. It does take a while to recover one’s form when one’s upper spine/neck is replaced by a worn-out, distended Slinky that won’t go down the stairs any more. The tap outs are coming back and the octopus-on-massive-doses-of-amphetamines quality to cover any and all defensive miscues popped up hither and yonder, like daises pushing through the soil after a particularly brutal, frigid winter. He also would certainly have accumulated more than five points had not Melo (and Felt, to be fair) missed him under the hoop time and time again.

    Raymond Felton, PG 48 MIN | 10-21 FG | 3-4 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 27 PTS | -4

    As Knick fandom’s Rabbi-In-Chief Seth Rosenthal said on the Twitter, STEPHEN CURVY. Just a glorious outing by our elusive, tight-lipped (No, not literally. Ever notice when things are going either particularly well or particularly badly, Raymond’s mouth transforms into something akin to Kurt Vonnegut’s drawing of an asshole from Slaughterhouse Five? This one.) floor general. Felt was positively monstrous in the 3rd, bulldogging to the Nth degree and bagging 16 points on 5-8 shooting, including this Smith-ian bomb to end the quarter. He’s been the Nix’ best, most consistent player so far in the series, and that’s a soaring evolution I don’t think any of us could have foreseen from our fave flightless seabird.

    Pablo Prigioni, PG 28 MIN | 1-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 4 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 3 PTS | +1

    A solid outing, including one of the most deviously tricky swipes EVAH from our Argentine pilferer, absolutely pantsing Avery Bradley under the basket (even if he probably stepped over the baseline to engage in his delicious pickpocketing). That said, on one theft at midcourt, streaking unimpeded towards the rim, Prigs nonsensically began to slow down, allowing his aborted layup to be sent sailing into the stands. Even allowing for his preternatural unselfishness, that was dpwnright silly.

    Kenyon Martin, PF 22 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -1

    TWEET. Hey? Why did I draw a foul? I’m just trying to write about Kenyon. I’m no where near Garn…TWEET. Oh come on! I get a foul for just typing the word Garne…TWEET.

    Steve Novak, SF 7 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -9

    Save for a borderline-absurdist fake on an aborted trey that sent two Irishman tumbling into the stands, Novak was more or less useless. He also got shoved to the ground in a manner akin to Charles Altlas’ famous 97-pound weakling/bag-of-bones/ectomorph by KG leading to the latter’s lone alley-oop dunk.

    Quentin Richardson, SF 3 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -6

    QUENTIN RICHARDSON PLAYOFF ANAGRAM: HENS NOR RANCID? QUIT.

    Indeed, these chickens ain’t ripe. That said, he’s one heckuva sideline cheerleader. Though if given my druthers, I’d prefer if they’d brought back Renaldo Balkman if they rilly needed someone for some A+ pine-bound, towel-waving histrionics/dance moves.

    Jason Kidd, PG 37 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 0 PTS | -5

    Great work on the glass for Kidd, and once again, his on ball defense against younger, faster, stronger, bigger, less Lenin-esque foes was the stuff that dreams are made on. Even if his shot’s still waiting for the next ping pong ball to be called out at the Thursday Night bingo game at Shady Valley Retirement Community, I thought he passed up on more than a few heaves he should have sent skyward

    Chris Copeland, SF DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS |

    WISH

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

    YOU

    James White, SG DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS |

    WERE

    J.R. Smith, SG DNP SUSPENDED BY LEAGUE MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS |

    HERE. We’ve all wanted to rearrange Jason Terry’s bridge work at some point or another, and it’s entirely possible the elbow wasn’t totally malicious/a suspension wasn’t warranted, but remember John Starks? You know, your Knick spirit animal? He got flagged for some rage-filled outbursts in the postseason too, and look at what the enduring legacy is–not the dunk over Grant and Pippen, but a certain Game Seven. Let’s hope that the past is not prologue.

    Mike Woodson

    We have covered and will soon cover most of my qualms with the Goateed one elsewhere, but one final grievance I’d like to air? Why no Cope? Granted, he’s looked as out of his element in this series as Ted Nugent at a Bard College Seminar on GenderQueer Roles in Post-Modern Global Oppressive Capitalist Societies but zero PT? Kay…

    Six Things We Saw

    1. Look, without the team’s 2nd most important player, facing a rabid, frothing Bah-stan crowd that understands the history and leather-bound, hoary tradition that their basketball team holds in the NBA pantheon, (and definitely helped a crew of hobbled, steely-eyed valiant knights to one more glorious–if possibly meaningless–effort), coming into the game, I thought it would have taken nosebleed-inducing, above and beyond the call efforts from 3-4 of the Nix’ role players plus a standard-brand Melo outing to sweep this series. Save for our beyootiful Penguin, that didn’t really happen.
    2. This one started out like countless NY-BOS tilts we’ve seen before. The C’s stormed out of the gate, finally converting the open corner threes that the Knicks have permitted all series long and getting a deadly, throwback performance from Paul Pierce (that black-souled, terrible-bearded cur) who finally realized that he was being guarded by a swarm of undersized, if swarm-y, hyper-caffeinated point guards, and began draining elbow jumpers/curls coming off KG screens that he’s downed since you and I and possibly Norman Mailer were in short pants. Plus, Jeff Green was nigh-unstoppable, especially in transition. Even Jeff Van Gundy, a cat who’s ground his teeth down to the nerve endings holding on to his decade-long grudge against Dolan’s charges, was begging the ‘Bockers to pick him/force him to his left before he strolled/glided to the tin and James Worthy-ied in the New Yorkers’ collective face. Top top it all, the turnovers…by all that is holy and good, the turnovers. Unforced, stupid, casual careless passes and dribbles into traffic. Gaffes that’d make kindly ol’ John Wooden turn into Mike Rice. Yes, Melo, that stinging, throbbing sensation in your ears means I’m referring to you in large part. At one point in the opening half, they’d amassed more fumbles (10) than field goals (9), accumulating 12 in total by intermission and equaling their regular season average. Things got worse in the 2nd quarter, when despite his brick-tastic start, any unit that Woodson rolled out without Melo, was incapable of generating anything even vaguely resembling a productive shot–the Prigs-Kidd-QRich-Novak-KMart squad proving particularly unsightly. The lead hovered between 8-12 points for most of the 2nd, and, with two minutes to go, I hastily scribbled, “Must close out this quarter well. Lucky to be down this little. Could get ugly.”
    3. And of course, that’s exactly what occurred. Pierce banged home 8 points, including two oh-so-recognizable elbow threes, Bass hit a wide open baseline jumper and Jason Terry converted a buzzer beater (from Pierce, natch) and suddenly, they were down 19 at the half. I would have hoped that Son of Wood’s halftime pep talk consisted entirely of spittle-flinging, expletive-laden tirades and maybe even a rolled up copy of Field and Stream that he used to try to dent the back of Melo’s dome. Thanks to the avant-garde 12-tone whistle opera that Bill Kennedy and his cohorts attempted to compose, Barandon Bass and KG were sent to sit on the pine and ponder their transgressions and the Knicks sauntered to the charity stripe numerous times, allowing the Knicks to slowly but surely chip away at a 20-point mountain of their own dunderheaded, sloppy devising. Much of the deficit-slicing came at the fickle flippers of one Raymond Felton and the three-PG lineup that, lo and behold, returned to the ball-movement and pick and roll-centric play that’s been this team’s calling card the entire season, harassing the Bostonians into multiple turnovers and pushing the pace. As previously mentioned, Felt did get to the rim on one lovely, scampering up and under layup, but his shots were mostly garnered when he was given ample time to launch the threes that normally would make every Bocker-backer do the,
      No, no, no, no, NO…YES!” dance that’s accompanied the shots he takes when the defender ducks under the screen all season.
    4. Of course, once Melo got back into the game, ISO-ball returned full force. My notes at this juncture are just the deranged scrawls of a demi-human that’s possibly had a hatpin or meat skewer jammed into his Medulla Oblongata. MELO NOT LEBRON. WHY GIVE BALL AT TOP OF KEY. MOVE. MVE. WHERE’S PNR? THAT’S WHAT YU DRAW OWT OF TIMEOUT??? WHY????? And after all that sturm and drang and pent up frustration, one freebie, one half-decent possession, one miss by KG from the perimeter and they STILL manage to pull off as miraculous, impressive a comeback as this franchise has ever seen in the playoffs. The final two minutes were just so derp-tastic. Melo gorts the freebies. After a lovely defensive sequence leading to a contested Green jumper, Felton hits a foul line jumper off a high pick and roll (SEE!) to put the lead at two. Garnett hits an 18-footer off a two man game with Pierce. Anthony misses an elbow three that I was SOOOOOOOO SURE was going in, Chandler tips the ball back and they AGAIN go ISO-Melo at the elbow, leading to another silly contested heave. The overtime was more of the same–and whether it’s Melo’s stubbornness or Woodson’s blind stupidity, someone really needs to answer for this atrocious spate of play-calling. The post-game interviews were no help. The usual pabulum about “Making shots. They’re a proud team. We fought back. Had a chance. Blargle. Sputter. Wash. Rinse Repeat”–before Jason Terry finally started hitting the shots he’s nailed pretty much every game of his life prior to this season and grinning goofily whilst sitting in the proverbial catbird seat.
    5. Oh yeah, speaking of which…I missed seeing/hearing it live because I was too busy applying Bacitracin to the parts of my fingers/toes that I’d gnawed off in frustration, and I can’t find the quote but evidently Terry said that God speaks to him personally and told him he was going to bust out. Whether our Lord and Savior specifically mentioned 9 OT points or not has not been confirmed. I assume we’ll have to wait for a burning bush for clarification. Let me just say this: I understand the degree to which belief and faith play a huge role in sports. There are complex reasons why but one of them is that, despite the countless hours of training and analysis and preparation and hard work and on and on, so much of what determines winners and losers is plain dumb luck and random chance. That’s a frightening, horrifying realization. With so much riding on something as fickle as a roll of the dice, it’s not surprising at all for people–both fans and participants alike–to believe that it is some kind of divine, preordained will that leads one side to glory and parades and adulation and the really good-lookin’ wimmen for one side, and the other to shame and despair and derision for the other. I get it. Heck, I’ve been there. But I think if there is an all-powerful, all-seeing being that does either control or has created the known universe, he/she/it would have FAR BETTER, MORE IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO THAN TAKE TIME TO SEND FACEBOOK MESSAGES/DM’s/TEXTS/GET ON THE BLOWER AND IDLY CHEW THE FAT WITH JASON EFFIN’ TERRY.
    6. Thanks. I feel much better. Look, we all knew that this Celtic team was not going to go gentle into that goodnight. Honestly. save for the stretches in which they pulled away during the first three games the Knicks really haven’t played that well. That’s not a damning indictment. Heck, the Heatles have done the exact same thing in sweeping the Bucks. I’m not particularly worried. In all likelihood, this is just a blip on the radar on the way to dispatching them in five — a gentleman’s sweep, if you will, eerily similar to the game that the Knickerbockers stole last year v. Miami. The thing that does make me fret (FINE. I always worry about something) is execution down the stretch. I’ve been babbling all season about the life-lessons a team picks up over the course of the season if they are, in fact, real, live, honest-to-goodness condenders, and how they handle pressure situations is definitely a biggie. Today, they really copulated with the canine. Maybe it’s my fault. Due to work obligations, this is the first game of this series I’ve actually gotten to watch in real time. Advanced Superstitious Metrics say they’re 3-0 without my dark, foreboding presence in front of the teevee, so I’ll lock myself in the clothes hamper for game five and see if it improves things. Sorry. And that’ll do it. To paraphrase Robert Zimmerman, we’re going back to New York City…I do believe we’ve had enough.