Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

2015-16 Game Thread: Knicks vs. Rockets

Oh, the ups and downs of the long NBA season. The Knicks, very recently, looked like an up-and-coming team, coherent on offense and much improved on defense. How quickly things fall apart. A four game win streak was immediately followed by a three game losing streak, and the Knicks’ offense sure looked impotent in those most recent three losses.

I’ve been on record recently as a Miami Heat believer. It pains me to admit that, given my long standing hatred of Pat Riley and his stupid beachfront franchise. The Heat’s defense can be stifling at times and the Knicks showed their inability to hang with them for more than a half at a time. Hassan Whiteside is an absolute beast. The two losses we’ve been handed at the hands of the Heat are painful, but not quite as bad as the emotional aftermath would seem. The Heat are second to the Spurs in the NBA in terms of defensive efficiency. They can make you look bad.

The Rockets, on the other hand, have been very bad. They are near the bottom of the league in defensive efficiency and in the bottom half in offensive efficiency. Dwight Howard has been on and off the court throughout the young season, which probably skews those numbers unfavorably, but the eye test would also suggest that Houston looks like a mess in all aspects of the game. Harden is typically disinterested in the defensive part of the game. Ty Lawson has been poor. The team, in general, looks like a bunch of individuals trying to figure out the game on an individual basis. There’s no cohesion, as Clyde likes to say.

Anytime you go up against a team with James Harden, Dwight Howard, Trevor Ariza, and Terrence Jones you feel as though the deck is stacked against you. There are other names that jump out on any given night, and it’s hard to believe that the Rockets are as bad as they’ve been so far. On any given night, you expect that they’ll figure something out and go on a 10-game winning streak. The key for the Knicks is to exploit the Rockets’ lack of cohesion on the defensive end and limit the Harden express train to the free throw line. He’s going to stick out his arms and jerk his head back on every possession and you have to be smart about how aggressively you reach in on him. Porzingis ran a clinic on defusing James Harden’s wild forays to the rim in the clubs’ first meeting of the season.

Everyone has theories about why the Knicks offense disappears for long stretches. The bench has lost its early season luster and everybody seems to have gone cold at once. That’s going to happen. It’s also likely to happen against a team like Miami, as I mentioned above. The key is not to panic. I’d like to see the Knicks get Afflalo more involved via ball movement. He’s good at posting up and he’s good at flashing to the lane, off the ball. I’d like to see him triangulate with Melo and Kristaps some and get a few easy looks as team’s try to compensate for the double threat known as Melzingis.

I’m not sure what we’re going to learn about the Knicks from this game. I think it’s far more likely we’ll learn something about the Rockets, and whether they’re just a bad mix of players or a very good team working through some early season growing pains. For our sakes, I hope they’re a bad mix of players who wilt at the sight of our New York Knickerbockers. Let’s go Knicks!!!

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148 comments on “2015-16 Game Thread: Knicks vs. Rockets

  1. jotapay

    On the train to MSG now. Hoping Galloway goes psycho on D and 3’s tonight and KP stages a blockfest! Let’s Go Knicks!

  2. massive

    I’m not surprised. Kristaps Porzingis is the best player Carmelo Anthony has played with in his entire career, or at least he will be when it’s all said and done. This must be what it feels like to have a franchise QB in football.

  3. BigBlueAL

    What’s worse is Thomas is starting in Melo’s place. Would’ve been nice to start Gallo at SG and Afflalo at SF but that’s too much good shooting for Fisher to put on the court at the same time.

  4. thenoblefacehumper

    Not having Melo probably tanks whatever small chance we had of winning, but seeing how we play without him should be interesting. I guess.

  5. Totes McGoats

    No Melo..does this mean we’ll see Early? I hope so and I hope KP doesn’t press to hard and try and do everything. He just needs to play his game and be aggressive when the situation calls for it

  6. Kahnzy

    Afflalo needs to watch his toes. That two points now he’s cost us with his careless positioning.

    I’m kidding. Mostly.

  7. GoNyGoNYGo

    D-Williams gets away with a clear offensive foul and ends up heading to the line to go for the and-one.

  8. d-mar

    If the Knicks somehow win this game without Melo, THCJ’s smug-o-meter will be at an all time high (even though it would be more about how bad the Rockets suck than anything else)

  9. Doug Chu

    Afflalo’s outlet pass hitting Lance’s arm and somehow running down said arm back to Lance for the wide open fast break lane = instant karma for that cheapass Harden 3 point foul

  10. Doug Chu

    Oh my god did Seraphin just pass the ball out of the post

    Even he must recognize the glory of Porzingod

  11. massive

    Nights like this are the ones where Derrick Fisher deserves credit. He’s a good coach I think. The Knicks up double digits at half without Melo and are looking to sweep a team the Knicks haven’t swept in how long? Everyone is getting it done as a function of the offense and they’re all buying in. These might be my 2nd favorite Knicks of recent (to the 2013 54 win squad).

  12. d-mar

    @33 I like this team too and don’t have too many problems with Fisher, but we’re catching Houston at a really good time. Right now, they’re totally dysfunctional and the players look they just don’t give a crap. I mean they almost lost at home to Philly this week.

    The good news is that if they ever do get their act together, we won’t have to face them.

  13. Kahnzy

    These might be my 2nd favorite Knicks of recent (to the 2013 54 win squad).

    That team is 2nd for me, mostly because this team feels more sustainable with an actual future. That was a fun team, to be sure, but this one is looking like that start of a decade plus of fun basketball. Hopefully anyway, so long as KP continues to develop and fends off the injuries and Isiah doesn’t come back to trade him Rose or something.

  14. Kahnzy

    @33 I like this team too and don’t have too many problems with Fisher, but we’re catching Houston at a really good time. Right now, they’re totally dysfunctional and the players look they just don’t give a crap. I mean they almost lost at home to Philly this week.

    I agree. I think this game is more about Houston not being very good than us being not very bad. Harden continues to be my most disliked superstar in recent memory.

  15. Z-man

    Allow me to be the wet blanket: I think we’re getting a bit ahead of ourselves talking as if this game was over at halftime with a 13-pt lead. Let’s keep in mind that we’re not that good either and are on a 3-game losing streak with Melo out.

  16. Doug Chu

    Calderon shutting down Harden on back to back possessions?

    Seraphin throwing up lobs?

    WHAT IS HAPPENING

  17. bidiong

    Harden sucks. He needs to get bullshit foul calls to be relevant and he’s not getting them tonight.

  18. ephus

    Porzingis coming off of a curl is beautiful like Bambi on ice, now. Someday, it may just be beautiful because it will be as unstoppable as Kareem’s sky-hookTM.

  19. ephus

    Am I the only one here to think our offense and defense looks better without Melo?

    The Rockets’ defense will make any offense look good. Outside of a five-minute spurt in the third quarter, no one on the Rockets has broken a sweat on the defensive end.

  20. Ras1980

    The Rockets’ defense will make any offense look good. Outside of a five-minute spurt in the third quarter, no one on the Rockets has broken a sweat on the defensive end.

    Very true. But I saw us play them in Houston without Howard a few games back and our offense still looks superior now than it did then.

  21. ephus

    BTW, any comments about Houston’s lack of defensive effort should be read to have an asterisk that reads “except Patrick Beverly”. Beverly hustles on D every moment of every game.

  22. Ras1980

    Houston’s defensive effort after a Saturday night in NYC < Houston's defensive effort at home on a school night.

    True.

  23. Ras1980

    Somehow no one told Fisher that PorzinGod is his best two way player on the court. His best defender and rebounder is off the court and he wonders why the team coughed up its massive lead.

  24. Doug Chu

    Fisher really being too cute with the rotations. There’s no need to keep 13 guys happy when the game is slipping away.

  25. Kahnzy

    Well, I know I was just hoping for competitive games before the start of the season, but all these close games really riles up the ol’ nerves.

  26. glidepath

    Ok, to be fair, we saw the x’s and o’s on the clipboard during the timeout. That was not how Fish drew it up

  27. ephus

    Let’s see if Fisher can coach OT better than he did the 4th quarter.

    1. If Patrick Beverly is defending you, stay off of the ball.
    2. If anyone shorter than 6’9″ is defending Porzingis, get him the ball in the post.
    3. Defend Beverly the way you would defend Rajon Rondo. If he hits a 20′ jumper, tip your cap. Don’t let him drive and kick.
    4. If Afflao is guarded by Harden, it’s ISO-Aron.

  28. Kahnzy

    FYI

    The team is +5 when KP is in the game.

    The rest of the starting lineup is in negative numbers.

    I know he’s a young rookie, but you know he’s already played over 38 minutes right? Can’t play him 48 a night (or 53 in this case).

  29. Ras1980

    I know he’s a young rookie, but you know he’s already played over 38 minutes right? Can’t play him 48 a night (or 53 in this case).

    If there’s a game where we should its this one without Melo.

  30. Kahnzy

    Well, another nice game by Porzingis at least. Which, really, is the #1 priority of the season. Playoffs would be nice, but I’m far more interested in his growth and development. Along with Galloway’s and Grant’s.

  31. BigBlueAL

    Days like today honestly make me question why I care about my sports teams as much as I do. Rooting for the Giants and Knicks cant possibly be good for my health lol.

  32. BigBlueAL

    I’m sure Phil is thrilled to be seeing Lopez on the bench while Seraphin plays ahead of him in the 4th quarter and OT. Great way to justify that contract.

  33. Alecto

    I mean Seraphin played pretty decently but you can’t have him in the game at OT when a fresh Lopez is sitting on the bench.

    EDIT: Never mind 5 turnovers LOL

  34. ClashFan

    Here’s the story of the game. Turnovers: Calderon 5, Seraphin 5, Galloway 3, everyone else 2 or less. The team continues to choke away close 4th quarter games. Calderon and Seraphin had huge crunch time turnovers.

  35. d-mar

    This team is trash without KP. Fisher pulled him out and the defense went to pure trash.

    Jesus, stop already. The Knicks lost the game because they had some incredibly stupid turnovers in the 4th quarter and overtime. And it wasn’t like they were getting killed inside, they left Thornton open too many times and he basically made every shot he took.

  36. Z-man

    Like Clint Eastwood said, a man’s gotta know his limitations.

    Remember the Linsanity game in Toronto where Shump stripped Calderon before Lin hit the dagger three? This is nothing new.

  37. Ras1980

    Jesus, stop already. The Knicks lost the game because they had some incredibly stupid turnovers in the 4th quarter and overtime. And it wasn’t like they were getting killed inside, they left Thornton open too many times.

    They lost because their defense isn’t shit without KP to patrol the paint to cover the fact that our guards couldn’t guard a blind man off the perimeter without fouling. Look at the score before he was taken in the 4th and the score when he was put back.

  38. Alecto

    I didn’t watch most of this game but why didn’t Jerian get more minutes? He played well and I don’t think you can afford to give Calderon 38 minutes of play with Beverly defending him–he probably was gassed by OT.

    Probably should have had Lopez and Grant in at the end for Seraphin and Jose but oh well.

  39. ClashFan

    Fisher did wait a bit too long before putting KP back in, but then the Knicks settled down briefly. Sloppy turnovers cost the Knicks the game. The 4th quarter passing was hideous. They had trouble even inbounding the ball at times.

  40. BigBlueAL

    All snide and sarcastic frustrating comments aside, this team is fun to watch and should be back at .500 after the next 2 games. But this team has virtually no chance of making the playoffs with these group of guards and with Fisher as head coach. You need a very good coach to manage the minutes and lineups with this roster and Fisher is way over his head in that regard. I just hope they play good enough and win enough games to keep this season interesting for the majority of it.

  41. Z-man

    “But this team has virtually no chance of making the playoffs with these group of guards”

    Hard to argue with this.

  42. Alecto

    Yeah our guards are pretty trash without Galloway hitting 50+% from 3 (i.e. he’s regressing) or Arron going for 31 on 12-17 shooting.

    Fisher should play Grant more if only to ease the load on Calderon because Calderon at his age simply cannot play 38 minutes with Beverly guarding him.

  43. Alecto

    Thibs will either bench Porzingis because he’s a rookie or play KP 40 minutes a game until he has a season/career ending knee injury. I’ll pass on that one.

    I think Fisher is establishing himself not as a terrible coach but as a totally mediocre one who’s a good player’s coach (like a slightly better Mike Woodson).

  44. Brian Cronin

    So long as Zinger is excelling, I really don’t care too much about anything else. The wins will come eventually with a guy like that as your cornerstone.

  45. d-mar

    @141 I agree, and the thing is, he’s only going to get better. It’s not like opposing coaches can scout him and figure out a way to shut him down. There’s no game plan for stopping Zinger, no one believes any more that he’s skinny and you can push him around.

  46. ephus

    Turning to the Rockets for one moment, if Patrick Beverly plays less than 36 mpg, Bickerstaff is not doing his job. He covers up so many of Harden’s failures. He balances the floor. He ball hawks. He forces PnRs out of the middle of the floor. He penetrates in order to pass (which is why Thornton went off in the 4th quarter). He has the strength of personality to keep Harden and Howard on the same page.

    The trade for Ty Lawson was a failure. If they keep trying to play Lawson, it will be an epic.fail. So, I expect him to be in Brooklyn after December 15.

  47. Kahnzy

    Speaking of the Rockets, I wonder how annoyed their fan base is that they barely eked out a win in OT against the sub-.500 Knicks without melo.

  48. d-mar

    Looks like Kobe announcing his retirement has lifted a huge weight off of him, 2-15 tonight. His teammates should beg him to retire today.

  49. Kahnzy

    Zach Lowe called Kobe the most detrimental player in the NBA recently. I’m inclined to agree with him. Not the worst, but given what he makes and how much he does he dominates the offense (not in a good way) he is the most detrimental player in the league to his team. He should have retired last year.

  50. Brian Cronin

    Zach Lowe called Kobe the most detrimental player in the NBA recently. I’m inclined to agree with him. Not the worst, but given what he makes and how much he does he dominates the offense (not in a good way) he is the most detrimental player in the league to his team. He should have retired last year.

    Scott is even worse for that team than Kobe. The notion of giving that guy a young dynamic guard is just…wow. So dumb.

  51. richmond

    Byron putting Kobe at SF doesn’t help, should limit his minutes at his position of SG.

    Fisher post game interview – roll with Seraphin

    Luke Walton must be doing something right

    #lakerplayersturnedcoaches

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