Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

2015-16 Recap: Knicks 81, Heat 98

Same song…

The chorus played in my head as the 4th quarter unraveled tonight. The Knicks had a terrible start to every quarter in this game, but they played us for fools by closing each of the first three quarters on runs to keep the game at a manageable distance. Every time I wanted to turn away, I had to turn back, because an improbable shot would go in, a shaky Miami possession would follow, and suddenly the Knicks would be back to within 5 or 6. But they didn’t end the 4th with another end-of-quarter run, and instead slowly dissipated into the New York night. The offense was about as structured as a 2nd grader’s science project tonight, often resembling a hung-over group of guys playing pick-up basketball with each other for the first time. Mid-range jumpshot after mid-range jumpshot rained down upon the rims of MSG, and most of them clanged away into Miami possessions. What a difficult game to watch.

The tragedy is that the defense played pretty well throughout most of the game before finally folding under the collective weight of the offense’s ineptitude at the end. It was like watching a Denver Broncos game on the basketball court, except without the happy ending. This would have been the third time this season that the Heat held the Knicks under 80 points if not for a few late shots to get the total over the threshold of mediocrity. Granted, the Heat have one of the NBA’s best defenses, but New York barely challenged them in their offensive sets. We ridiculed Fisher for his lack of offensive imagination, and so we are forced to do the same for Rambis. Whatever the coaching strategy is for this team going forward, I have to believe this team is looking somewhere I’m not even seeing right now. Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks have come up a lot in media reports, but some part of me thinks this is all part of Phil’s plan to come down from the front office and take the bench after the roster is reconfigured this summer into something closer to what he envisioned when he took the job.

Speaking of coaching strategy, what the hell was the plan with Kristaps in the 2nd half? He is taken out a couple minutes into the 3rd, put back in for a few minutes towards the end of the quarter when the run was made to get it back to 4, and then is barely seen again for the duration of the 4th. It was mind boggling to watch, and I know most of us were thinking the same thing as far as that decision goes. Sure, Taps was going to have trouble guarding the Heat’s small lineups, but isn’t there a good reason to put him out there at the 5 instead of Lopez and see what happens? It was frustrating to watch the 4th quarter unfold with Porzingis sitting on the bench presumably wondering the same thing all of us were.

It’s not like this is a particularly deflating loss, since the Knicks have already played themselves out of any realistic chance at the postseason, but the team looked flat on offense throughout the entire game. It reminded me of when pick & roll seemed like a forbidden phrase for the team in December, as they seemed to just spread the floor and ISO with different players taking turns at trying to penetrate the paint (which was packed all night long) and taking contested jumpshots. The best shots the Knicks were able to produce were usually when a double-team was created by dribble penetration and the ball was kicked out to an open shooter, but many of those open shots were missed tonight. The Knicks simply don’t have many great shooters on the team, specifically from the mid-range they stubbornly kept trying to score from. Calderon had an off night, which hurt the offense more than probably anything else because the spacing was ruined by his inability to hit open shots, but he wasn’t alone. Lance Thomas was the only Knick who seemed capable of making catch-and-shoot opportunities throughout the game.

Portland comes to MSG in a few days, and those boys are on a roll, and are a guard-oriented team. Gonna be a rough one, I think, but this team needs to better execute their offensive sets, particularly how to set an effective screen at the right angle, and to improve their spacing and shot-making opportunities. There were a lot of missed open shots tonight, but just as many missed opportunities to create open shots by simply holding a screen for an extra half-second or making the right pass without hesitation.

We still have 21 games to go, and hopefully the Knicks don’t shoot 37% and get outrebounded by 15 in too many of those, because it makes for a miserable viewing experience. At risk of being Fishered, I’m going to go ahead and say the playoffs are a dead dream, but still, there is something to be gained from the final stretch. They should try and get to 35 wins and let the young players get more time instead of blindly favoring veterans who have no effect on the future of the team. Just my two cents, but hey, it seems logical at this point. No draft picks, no trade deadline changes, an interim coach… This team feels like a placeholder, the professional sports franchise equivalent of a bookmark—something inserted into a paused frame until something better happens later. I’m anxious to see what that is, but before that, the process needs to play out, and the team can’t lose sight of the rest of this season just because the results aren’t meaningful to their playoff aspirations of a couple months ago. Growth is more often experienced through pain than joy, so to the Knicks, I say:

Go FULL EMO. Embrace the Pain.

full emo

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66 comments on “2015-16 Recap: Knicks 81, Heat 98

  1. DRed

    Hey, remember way back like 2 games ago when Kyle O’Quinn played really well?

    And there’s this, which is downright Woodsonian:

    @andrewkeh

    Rambis says the fact that the Knicks run the “same, repetitive play” is “problematic.”

  2. vincoug

    Thank God we played Melo 41 minutes last night. We clearly needed him for every one of those minutes and playing him this much certainly won’t have any effects on his health.

  3. TheOakmanCometh

    If Melo had played 48 minutes we might have cut the final deficit to single digits. Why is Rambis resting him at all? He can rest when he’s recuperating from knee surgery! This is crunch time and he should be playing every minute!

    Same with Calderon, because veteran.

  4. thenamestsam

    Probably the strangest minutes distribution of the season last night. 41 minutes for Melo? 40 for Calderon? Only 22 for Kris? 32 for Lance? Only 11 for Grant? DNP-CD for KOQ?

    Doesn’t seem like much of a mystery why Fisher (reportedly) wasn’t taking much of Rambis’ advice. The guy has no clue what he’s doing.

  5. d-mar

    Going from Fisher to Rambis really is like Dumb to Dumberer. I really can’t wait to have a coach whose rotations make sense and doesn’t run Melo into the ground trying to grab the 11 seed in the East.

  6. Ras1980

    Why rest a guy who is making 25 mil a year and refuses to help himself or the team by accepting a trade?

    This. Either we use him or we trade him but this team should get its entire money’s worth for what they’re paying.

  7. DRed

    Yes, let’s see if we can get Melo hurt because he doesn’t want a trade. That makes perfect sense. If not, maybe we’ll just see if we can lower his trade value.

  8. TheOakmanCometh

    If it’s true that Fisher was fired because he wasn’t taking enough of Phil’s advice, then we can assume that Rambis was chosen because he IS taking Phil’s advice. And if Phil is recommending that Melo play 40+ minutes in order to make an absurd playoff push, and that Zing, Grant, and O’Quinn be punished for every mistake, and that Calderon and Sasha play big minutes because ?????, then the problem runs deeper than Rambis.

    Even if Phil didn’t actively campaign for these moves but tacitly agreed to them during his conversation with Rambis about taking the head coaching job, it’s a big problem.

  9. Owen

    There is basically no way Melo’s knee doesn’t explode right when we finally have a trade lined up.

    That’s the only way this can end.

  10. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Why is Amar’e talking so much shit about Langston? It’s obviously not about Melo, so Gallo is the only other choice.

  11. er

    Yes, let’s see if we can get Melo hurt because he doesn’t want a trade. That makes perfect sense. If not, maybe we’ll just see if we can lower his trade value.

    lol…look who you are replying to, don’t try to make rational points around Me7o

  12. Kevin Udwary

    Why rest a guy who is making 25 mil a year and refuses to help himself or the team by accepting a trade?

    Melo was never going to accept a trade this season. He gets a significantly higher trade bonus if he gets traded this summer, when the cap goes up. If the Knicks want to trade him it will happen this summer. So, let’s all hope Melo doesn’t blow out his knees.

  13. er

    Why is Amar’e talking so much shit about Langston? It’s obviously not about Melo, so Gallo is the only other choice.

    Amare and Tyson love doing that shit. Its kind of cowardly actually. I actually think he was talking more about JR smith honestly tho. But its a dick move, especially with the NY tabloids.

  14. ptmilo

    I thought Rambis was the worst possible coach then I read a few of these comments. Melo doesn’t want to be traded so we should run him into the ground for approximately zero benefit? Awesome. What if a miracle hits and we sign Durant, would we prefer a healthier or more minced Melo? What if Melo changes his mind about a trade as human beings sometimes do? What if we just don’t play a 30 plus guy recently missing games with post surgical knee pain 40 minutes in a completely lost season because it is fucking stupid?

  15. Donnie Walsh

    Melo was never going to accept a trade this season. He gets a significantly higher trade bonus if he gets traded this summer, when the cap goes up.

    But, but, but… This is Carmelo “I want to win; I don’t care about money” Anthony we are talking about, isn’t it?

  16. Kevin Udwary

    But, but, but… This is Carmelo “I want to win; I don’t care about money” Anthony we are talking about, isn’t it?

    I mean, it’s not even all that selfish. If he stays with the team a few more months he stands to make an extra $7-8 mil. Who wouldn’t do that? I’m sure Phil knew this, and at most was just feeling out interest from teams at the trade deadline so he had a better idea of what to expect this summer. The contract seemed to be specifically set-up so that Melo was locked in for a couple seasons, and if the team still sucked he could get out with a nice bonus. All according to plan, I suppose, because we definitely do suck. It explains Afflalo’s player option for next year too, since by all reports, he came to play with Melo.

  17. reub

    It is time to call Melo’s bluff. If he wants to win let him play 48 minutes for us every night or simply accept a trade. Either one of those solutions should work. Right? Isn’t he that good?

  18. MSA

    I mean, it’s not even all that selfish. If he stays with the team a few more months he stands to make an extra $7-8 mil. Who wouldn’t do that?

    Sure, that’s a lot of money.

    But that’s also one more “prime” year down the toilet without a title.

  19. Erik Judd Post author

    Rambis is just a peon put in place to finish the season. Phil maybe trying to do him a solid by getting him exposure as a head coach to maybe land a gig next year when the Knicks coaching staff is inevitably shaken up. I think it’s backfiring—who the hell would be desperate enough to hire Rambis? He might find a place on a staff, and probably will, but the guy is a buffoon of a coach.

    Hated the timing of the firing when it happened, wrote about it kind of quickly and didn’t really say everything I had to say. But it is what it is at this point. I wish he would just do what’s good for the team and not what could possibly help him win enough games to get another shot at coaching, like all of you have pointed out, the minutes situation is downright insane.

    Can’t wait to get this season over with, honestly, to see what kind of roster and coaching staff they put together next year with or without Melo. Assuming the Knicks (and Kristaps) take another step forward, we’re looking at a playoff team, not one clawing for a spot, but one that will be trying to get homecourt in the 1st round.

  20. Kevin Udwary

    Assuming the Knicks (and Kristaps) take another step forward, we’re looking at a playoff team, not one clawing for a spot, but one that will be trying to get homecourt in the 1st round.

    They’re going to have a really tough time improving much next year with no draft pick. It’s going to be damn near impossible to find any real value in free agency with every team in the league swimming in cap space.

  21. Owen

    I mean, it’s not even all that selfish. If he stays with the team a few more months he stands to make an extra $7-8 mil. Who wouldn’t do that?

    That really isn’t a lot of money, sorry. Melo has money coming out of his ears (or was the just Ruru talking.) And the monetary value of a brand burnishing deep playoff run blows 7-8 million out of the water.

    If Melo wants his brand to echo in eternity he needs to start doing some playoff balling somewhere.

  22. Kevin Udwary

    And the monetary value of a brand burnishing deep playoff run blows 7-8 million out of the water.

    But that’s a bonus, on top of his regular salary. He gets it in one lump sum. A $7-8mil check, in his hand, just to stick around for half a season more.

  23. Donnie Walsh

    Since Anthony uttered the words “I want to win; I don’t care about money”, the Knicks have paid him $39,000,000 to win 42 games.

    If he’s hanging around NY just to pick up an extra $7,000,000, he is, to put it mildly, a hypocrite of astronomical proportions.

  24. er

    I want to win; I don’t care about money

    This was a dumb statement , by a guy who makes dumb statements. Simply for the fact that we ALL care about money.

  25. Kevin Udwary

    Y’all are assuming that Melo was even approached about a trade, and he shot it down. I really doubt that happened. It seems to me that the likely plan from the start was to try to build an immediate contender, but if that fails, trade Melo this offseason.

  26. Alecto

    I mean, it’s not a lot in the scheme of Melo’s career earnings, but it’s ~5% of his lifetime earnings to this date. Who wouldn’t wait 3 months to get 5% of your lifetime earnings even if you were “all about winning?” You’re likely gonna get a better set of potential suitors in the summer anyway, if you’re really focused on winning.

    It’s better if we stopped shaming athletes for taking bigger deals even if they say things like “it’s not about the money.” Does anyone say “i’m doing my job for the money” in any public situation? Would you say it in front of your boss and your governing organization? No one in their right mind would, especially with the New York sports media breathing down their neck.

  27. DRed

    If we’d traded Melo last month he’d earn about 2 million more over the rest of his contract. If we trade him after July (assuming the cap projection of 92 million is accurate), he’ll earn somewhere north of another 11 million. Chance to compete for a title + 11 million dollars is a pretty decent argument.

  28. chrisk06811

    We really beat the crap out of Melo around here, mostly based on speculation. Is there any evidence that he was even talked to about waving his no trade? What athlete wouldn’t say what he said…..i want to stay here?

  29. DRed

    Two years ago I was worried we’d make another Curry/Melo/Bargnani trade. Now I’m trying to convince myself that our GM installed his idiot buddy as coach as part of a long con designed to get our star player to waive the no trade clause that our GM gave him. Progress!

  30. TheOakmanCometh

    Whatever. Give him his bonus and ship him out. He’s not a bad player but he makes no sense on this team.

    In the meantime, for the love of god, limit his minutes so his knee does not explode and teams actually want to trade for him.

  31. TheOakmanCometh

    If we don’t sign Durant or Conley next year, we’re pretty much looking at the same quality of team. Therefore it makes sense to tank for a high 2017 pick. If Phil does decide to tank, maybe Rambis is the perfect fit. I can’t think of a guy more qualified to steer the ship directly into an iceberg.

  32. massive

    There is no tanking next year. If PJax tanks, he gets fired and Dolan is free to hire another idiot who will trade all of our young players for Dwyane Wade.

  33. Brian Cronin

    But that’s a bonus, on top of his regular salary. He gets it in one lump sum. A $7-8mil check, in his hand, just to stick around for half a season more.

    But under that logic, shouldn’t he wait until when the cap goes up another $17 million the next season, as he’d make another extra $5-6 million on top of that $7-8 million? If all he cares about is making the most money, then that should be his plan.

  34. Kevin Udwary

    The bonus is 15% of his remaining salary, up to the season’s max based on the % of cap. DRed is right, in that with the cap over 90mil, he should get pretty much the full 15%, and since he has more remaining salary than the following offseason, he would stand to make less of a bonus if traded in 2017-18. This summer is really the max trade bonus he can make.
    Here’s a link to an article from when he signed the contract.

  35. thenamestsam

    Personally I think it’s overly simplistic to say that it’s just about the money. The money is one factor but there are other reasons he might prefer to move in the summer. For one I really do think that his preference is to build a contender (or at least something resembling that) in NY. Staying until the summer gives Phil another shot to build a team strong enough to convince him to stay put for now. Second, he should have more and better options in the summer. There’s always going to be more trade options available in the offseason than at the deadline (just look at how few trades actually get done at deadline time), and with basically every team in the league under the cap that should go double this year.

    For the perfect situation he might have considered overlooking all those reasons to wait, but Boston is far from that (if we even believe that trade was on the table). Great coach sure, and a lot of intriguing long term pieces even after dealing for him, but they weren’t going to the Finals this year with or without Melo. Plus it’s freaking Boston. Nobody wants to live there. I still think he gets dealt this summer. Makes the most sense for all parties involved.

  36. massive

    Kyrie would rather be “someplace other than Cleveland.”

    Ladies and gentlemen, this is why you sign your QO instead of a max extension. He would have made way more money annually and could have taken his talents to New York where he would become the face of Nike’s basketball operations and KP’s best friend. I say we do a three team deal where Melo goes to the Clippers, Kyrie to New York, and Blake to Cleveland.

    What’s so bizarre about the situation in Cleveland is that they would have no problems if Warriors didn’t exist. They have to like their chances against teams like OKC and San Antonio, but Golden State is one of the best teams ever. The Warriors will likely be the reason teams like OKC, Houston, Cleveland, the Clippers, etc. disband because there is no beating that team 4 times out of 7. Teams are upset they can’t win when in most years their teams would be real contenders. You didn’t hear a peep out of Cleveland about an unhappy Kyrie last year, and they were hovering around .500 at the beginning of the season. Golden State has a lot of teams in disarray, and all they’re doing is being historically great. It’s hilarious.

  37. DRed

    Ladies and gentlemen, this is why you sign your QO instead of a max extension

    With Kyrie’s injury history?

  38. Erik Judd Post author

    @massive I completely agree. Golden State simply changing the thinking of the league. I wrote about this a couple months ago near the beginning of the seasonand I believe it even more now.

    I would hate to be Cleveland or Toronto or any of the playoff teams in the West right now. A lot of good teams that are just going to have to accept the fact that they can’t win.

  39. ClashFan

    Massive is right. PJ cannot tank next year. Do we really think that Dolan will retain him after 3 years of no playoffs?

  40. GoNyGoNYGo

    I’ve been thinking back a few years (after the trade for Melo) and am trying to figure out where the Knicks went wrong, aside from making lousy draft choices. The Bargnani trade rates at the top of stupidity (at least now that’s clear). Aside from that, I can’t blame Dolan for not resigning Lin. I cannot blame the Knicks for signing Melo to a bad deal. I can’t see the evil in any of the subsequent moves. It’s depressing because it appears the chips are stacked against the Knicks. I can’t see how we can ever improve. Please someone present to me a reasonable resurrection plan. I don’t care if it’s a 5-year plan, but how can we get this team back into the playoffs and be a force once KP is 25?

  41. yellowboy90

    Any, I want to commend Lance Thomas on his shooting. The guys is close to shooting 42% from three and 86% from the free throw line. When Phil mad a comment about him being a good shooter I thought he was crazy. Maybe he is but Lance proved him right for this season so far.

  42. massive

    The Knicks post 2013 were never able to replace Kidd’s production and JR Smith/Shumpert regressed, plus Felton sucked/Woodson couldn’t coach/Bargnani.

  43. massive

    But we need to pair KP with more young talent. Like Kyrie Irving or Victor Oladipo (or both. MAKE IT HAPPEN PHIL), who is only three years his senior. It’s either we steal young talent from the rest of the league, we develop young talent, or a combination of both. And that talent has to turn into All NBA level performance.

    Man, Kyrie and KP would be so great for NY basketball. Too bad it will never happen.

  44. DRed

    where the fuck is ruruland

    Only now that he’s gone and it’s too late do you realize that he completes you

  45. Ras1980

    I still think we should reacquire Jeremy Lin and play more PnR oriented offensive basketball with him and a KP. The dude is a bargain and he can excel in a system that accentuates his talents. Then we should trade Melo for surrounding pieces/draft picks. It might not make us an instant contender but we’d be moving in the right direction.

  46. Dough Chew

    @51 yesssss I’m not alone on the “bring back Jeremy” bandwagon

    Granted even if it’s mostly sentimental reasons for me

    Anthony Bennett waived by the Raptors. What a sad story. It wasn’t his choice to get mentally crushed by the scorn of being drafted in the wrong spot.

  47. JK47

    There’s always some stupid ass, irrelevant, ego-driven reason why the Knicks can’t rebuild.

    “You can’t rebuild in New York.”
    “We have to try to win now, in Melo’s window.”
    “Phil can’t tank in his third season, he needs to win now or he’ll look bad to Dolan.”

    Always some bullshit reason why the Knicks can’t do what needs to be done.

  48. Dough Chew

    “I’m gonna skewer Hollywood for being a racist institution… with jokes about Asians being emotionless bean counters with ching-chong names! There’s absolutely no cognitive dissonance there. The best part is, I’m never gonna get in any serious trouble for it.”

    Very disappointing of Chris Rock. As a Chinese-American it’s like he hits a home run, then forgets to step on third base.

  49. Ras1980

    It just makes too much sense to have Lin here running a PnR oriented offense with KP. I know Phil will never allow it because it invalidates his rigid Triangle orthodoxy. But considering that KP is by far more efficient scoring out of the PnR and that Lin is the 5th most efficient PnR guard in the NBA right now, you’d think someone in the Knicks front office would make the move to get Lin at a reasonable price come FA offseason.

  50. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    How can anyone think Carmelo Anthony is worth a max deal when a dude like Westbrook puts up 20 points, 13 rebounds and 15 assists on 8 FGA. (3 STL offsets the 7 TO a little bit…)

    Insane. It is crazy that Kawhi and Westbrook are putting up all-time numbers and they might not even get an MVP vote.

  51. Brian Cronin

    “I’m gonna skewer Hollywood for being a racist institution… with jokes about Asians being emotionless bean counters with ching-chong names! There’s absolutely no cognitive dissonance there. The best part is, I’m never gonna get in any serious trouble for it.”

    Very disappointing of Chris Rock. As a Chinese-American it’s like he hits a home run, then forgets to step on third base.

    I thought most of his shtick was bad. He made the occasional sharp point, but then attempted to immediately undercut it in some bizarre desire to be “fair,” fair to who exactly, I am unsure. Mocking Jada Pinkett Smith personally (I don’t care about Jada Pinkett Smith, but mocking her career seemed off base), arguing that the complaints about Oscar minority representation was because people don’t have enough to complain about now (fuck the heck?), it’s like he was two steps forward/two steps back throughout the night.

  52. massive

    Danilo Gallinari tore two ligaments in his ankle. That’s his second season ending injury since he left New York, and when he was here he had the back issue at first. Sucks he’s so injury prone.

  53. Brian Cronin

    Damn, that dude can not catch a break. Hmmm…or rather, he can’t help but catch breaks. :)

    But this injury doesn’t seem all that bad. It’s not like that sick, sick knee injury he had a couple of years ago. Man, it was kind of crazy how it took him, like a season and a half to even return and when he did, it then took him half a season to get right.

  54. Brian Cronin

    You guys see this interesting story about Beno Udrih taking a slight paycut with his buyout from the Heat? He is out for the rest of the season and becomes a free agent at the end of the year. By taking a $50,000 paycut, he allowed the Heat to sign Joe Johnson and remain under the luxury tax. Everyone knows there must be an under the table agreement, as Udrih can’t sign anywhere else (as he is hurt and won’t play the rest of the season) so there’s no way he’d give up $50,000 just to be nice to the Heat, so the other NBA teams are pissed off, especially since the Heat now get revenue-sharing money. Not a lot, but it’s the principle of the thing.

  55. dutchtickler

    Melo would take a $50k pay cut on a contract buyout, likely in exchange for something unknown? I mean, maybe?

  56. er

    How can anyone think Carmelo Anthony is worth a max deal when a dude like Westbrook puts up 20 points, 13 rebounds and 15 assists on 8 FGA. (3 STL offsets the 7 TO a little bit…)

    There’s what, 5-7 players of this caliber in a the league with 30 teams. It’s math professor

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