Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Blazers 105, Knicks 100

Portland Trail Blazers 105 Final
Recap | Box Score
100 New York Knicks
Kurt Thomas, PF 4 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -5

Hi Kurt. Bye Kurt. I don’t get the whole “starter-in-name-only” thing. If one of you wise commenters can ‘splain it to me. I’d be pleased as punch to hear why.

Ronnie Brewer, SF 12 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 5 PTS | -1

Brewer hit his first three pointer since December 9th! He hadn’t hit one since last year, dontcha know! Then again, it’s been a year since any Knick hit any shot of any stripe, which kinda lessens the impact of the original statement and points to the limits to taking the Gregorian calendar too literally. Hooray! He also converted on a fast break! Much rejoicing! The finest meats and cheeses and comely lasses of virtue true in all the land for everyone!

Carmelo Anthony, SF 41 MIN | 14-24 FG | 12-14 FT | 7 REB | 4 AST | 45 PTS | +1

have expected Robin Williams in full scruffy-beard, “I’m a serious actor, not just a guy slinging Coke-driven Mr. Happy Jokes”, cardigan sweater mode to come wobbling out of the tunnel at the conclusion of this so-called game and re-enact the whole, “It’s not your fault” scene at the end of Good Will Hunting. Melo picked right up where he left off after getting Cambyed on Xmas, scoring the Nix’ first 13 points and, by the half, he was outscoring the rest of his mates, 24-23. The limp after his final dunk remains worrisome, but equally troubling is the damage that’s going to be wreaked upon his spinal column if he has to carry this team for the rest of the season. That said, the two freebies he shanked in the final stanza. Just. Can. Not. Happen. That knocks him down a half grade point. And yes, Melo’s being measured against a truly Herculean standard.

Tyson Chandler, C 34 MIN | 4-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 10 PTS | -1

Betwixt all this fretting about gamey limbs from our erstwhile stars, every one seems to have forgotten that Chandler’s dealing with a balky hinge too. He skipped practice on Sunday and in the midst of refreshing our twitter feed like a science lab hamster for a food pellet, it went semi-unnoticed (at least by me). But he was clearly hobbled out there tonight. Get well soon, Tyson.

Jason Kidd, PG 33 MIN | 0-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 0 PTS | +10

A strangely non-present game from our elder statesman. There was one beyoootiful entry pass to Melo at the beginning of the third, a tasty lob to Tyson and an outstanding defensive series in the final minute, but for the most part, his magical wizardry was shelved, mainly due to chasing around that precocious neophyte, Dame Edna Lillard. Why Woodson waited until the 2nd half to stick J.R./Brew on him let Kidd deal with Wes Matthews is beyond me. I mean, watching Kidd try to keep up with Lillard was like my brief experience working as a babysitter/au pair for the child of a little person. Said child was also a little person, but an energetic, sugar laden one and seemed to delight in making me chase him around the house while I hacked and wheezed and he giggled maniacally.

Amar’e Stoudemire, PF 17 MIN | 3-8 FG | 0-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | -9

We’ll get into the whole STAT thing in greater detail now, but in brief, after a rousing ovation upon his entrance, Amar’e looked predictably off. He was slow of foot and was aiming his shot. Things improved as the evening went on (at least on the offensive end. This fine swat notwithstanding…

…on D, he was in midseason form, i.e. abominably bad. I swear, at one point, he actually ran away from the player with the ball. On offense, things got better as the game wore on, culminating in this…

That’s nice. It’s also nice that after the game, he said his knee felt “phenomenal”. Of course, STAT slings that lil’ darlin’ so often it’s the equivalent of Smurfette saying she feels “Smurfy”.

Steve Novak, SF 20 MIN | 0-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -12

Tonight, we learned that Steve Novak’s New Year’s resolution is to dunk the ball. This led noted wit Mike Breen to quip, “That’s going to be a tough one to fill.” Breen’s, of course, is to dress more flamboyantly. It shouldn’t be a problem as long as Clyde gives Mike a retina-scan and whatever Mission Impossible-type barriers are erected to block entrance to his walk in closet. But back to our friend Stevak. If the dunking thing proves too formidable, I’ve got a better resolution: EVEN IF YOU MAKE STAT LOOK GOOD ON D IN COMPARISON, YOU CAN STILL MAKE OPEN THREE POINTERS LIKE YOU USED TO.

Chris Copeland, SF 7 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -3

Cope’s shot didn’t make it’s way back from the west coast. Airline says it’s currently in transit and he’ll be notified the moment it arrives.

Marcus Camby, C 9 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 2 PTS | +7

Some nice moments for the still-shaking-off-the-rust Camby, who actually started the 2nd half in place of a wholly ineffective Kurt Thomas and delivered a couple of nice entry passes from the top of the key as well as a soaring attempt at a put back that made me briefly flash back to his epochal playoff run in ’99 when Bill Walton was kvelling about Camby like my Aunt Esther after she’s downed one too many Manischewitzes. Manischevwitzi? Drinks. One too many drinks.

Pablo Prigioni, PG 22 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 2 PTS | -10

Prigs’ stat line may not show it, but he did as good a job as anyone of blanketing Dame as well as dishing a couple of deft passes to STAT on the PnR. We also got to see what Prigs looks like when he gets mad. After a botched call on an attempted swipe he bursts forth in rage and shock, as if he’d just contracted a severe case of trigeminal neuralgia and is subject to very painful, sharp, electric-like spasms.

J.R. Smith, SG 40 MIN | 10-22 FG | 4-6 FT | 11 REB | 5 AST | 28 PTS | -2

SCENE: THE LIEUTENANT’S OFFICE – INT.

LT. “WOODY” WOODSON (Screaming)
For fuck’s sake, Earl. You are in some serious goddamn fucking trouble.

DETECTIVE EARL “CRAY-CRAY” SMITH
I just do, you know.

LT.
You are one cray-cray sumbitch

DETECTIVE EARL “CRAY-CRAY” SMITH
Yeah, Lt. That’s me.

LT. “WOODY” WOODSON
But you’re also the best goddamn cop in the force.

DETECTIVE EARL “CRAY-CRAY” SMITH
Coo’

LT. “WOODY” WOODSON
Here’s your gun and your badge. You’re no longer suspended, shitbird. There’s a killer on the loose in this crap, fucked-up fucking town. You do whatever the fuck you goddamn have to do to bring that asshole, fuckwad, dipshit, scumbag, pussbucket. Motherfluffing, #$%(##@!#*$-munching @%&^&*, %^&*%^#$ of a bitch in, you hear me?

DETECTIVE EARL “CRAY-CRAY” SMITH
Sure Lt.

LT. “WOODY” WOODSON
YOU HEAR ME. YOU’RE A LOOSE CANNON BUT I LOVE YOU.

DETECTIVE EARL “CRAY-CRAY” SMITH
I know.

LT. “WOODY” WOODSON
I SAID I LOVE YOU. A MAN’S LOVE FOR ANOTHER MAN-COP. IT’S NOT FUCKING WEIRD.

DETECTIVE EARL “CRAY-CRAY” SMITH
Okay.

LT. “WOODY” WOODSON
IT’S JUST FUCKING NOT, YOU’RE A MAKE-YOUR-OWN-RULES-BUT-DEEP-DOWN-YOU-REALLY-HAVE-A-HEART-OF-GOLD-TYPE DETECTIVE. THAT’S WHAT YOU FUCKING ARE.

DETECTIVE EARL “CRAY-CRAY” SMITH
Word. Peace out.

Smith goes to leave, but then abruptly pauses at the door.

DETECTIVE EARL “CRAY-CRAY” SMITH
You know, I’m the first Knick ever to score 25 points or more off the bench in 4 straight games.

LT. “WOODY” WOODSON
LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE.

Fade to black.

Mike Woodson

Here’s what Son of Wood said after the game:

Forget the offense. We scored enough points. Defensively we’re just not where we were earlier in the year and we’ve got to get back to that because you can’t keep spotting teams 20-plus leads and think you’re going to win basketball games all the time. It’s just too much of an uphill climb to do that…It’s the start of the game and that’s on me . I’ve got to figure out why we’re coming out flat because to me it sets the tone in how we play. And the last few outings have been a disaster in terms of how we started the game and I’ve got to help them figure it out.

Yep. Do that.

Five Things We Saw

  1. Well that just plumb sucked. Maybe it’s the natural post-holiday sense of ennui but I really wanted nothing more tonight than a comforting Knick win. But this game? Gah. A blowout I could stomach. A great, well-played game against a top opponent where they fell short? Sure. This was just a torpid, ugly slog of a game. Wide open shots fell off the rim as if some wayward FIBA ghost was swatting them aside, per international hoops rules. Save for Melo n’ J.R., every Knick was plain off. Normally the way the phrase “lacking energy” and “they just wanted it more” is thrown around as an analysis-numbing, all-consuming explanation, but tonight, it seems rather apt. Up until the final four minutes, the team was a complete dud (again, save for Melo n’ J.R.) in every facet of the game in which effort trumps skill. That was unpleasant to witness. I’d like to be able to stick a hatpin through whatever neurons contain the pathway of this game and eradicate it from my memory for all eternity. Not because it the Knicks played so preternaturally awfully. Far from it. It was the bland, deadly mediocrity of it all. The soggy, diffident carelessness of their shoddy play, that, with a tweak here and there, a non-bonked FT, a smidge more effort boxing out that rebounding terror, J.J. Hickson, would have made all the difference. If you’re gonna suck, suck in such an awe-inspiring manner that the earth needs to be scorched and salted to prevent any living being from playing hoops on this befouled ground again. Don’t fritter away a game with the casual indifference of a low-level corporate manager misfiling paperwork with a coffee stain splattered down the front of his ill-fitting, short sleeve, button down shirt. I don’t want to read or think about this game for a single moment more. Christ on a cracker, even recapping this ish is soul-suckingly enervating. I’m gonna get a beverage. Back in a sec.
  2. Much better. So where were we? Oh yeah. Boo. In case you were fortunate enough/too hung over to catch this one, the Knicks started the game off in a major funk (as has been the case wayyyyyy too frequently ‘round these parts). They were beaten on the boards in the first quarter, 14-5, coughed the rock up six times, couldn’t prevent dribble penetration or rotate to open trey bombers, all leading to a 19 point second half deficit. They spent the rest of the game chipping away at the lead but facing a decent Portland squad (and this team is one good draft and a few shrewd trades away from being good.), despite a final flurry that was inches away from tying the game on a Melo heave, they couldn’t come back. End of story. And a pretty simple one at that. We can rationalize all we want about injuries but the real cause are the consistently troubling failings of this team that’ve been present for a while now.
  3. So…STAT. Welp. Here’s the good. He definitely draws far more attention on the pick and roll than Kurt or Sheed. On that end, I don’t doubt that over time, he’ll get his timing and his conditioning back and be an asset as a scorer off the bench. But all those best laid plans of mice and Grunwalds about Amar’e playing the five on the 2nd unit? That might not work so good. The Knicks really can’t roll with STAT playing center. As much as it gives him room on the PNR, they’re SO bad defensively sans Tyson or Camby. Granted, since December, the ‘Bockers have been a pretty execrable defensive team, going from 94.4 PPG on 44.4% shooting to 99.5 PPG and 46.6% from the field, so one might cling to the notion that STAT’s awfulness wouldn’t really make a difference, big-picture-wise. Nope. We’re talking the difference between bad and “Resembles those babies they made race during halftime” bad. I’d almost forgotten how cringe-worthy it can all be. STAT watching the ball in the air and not boxing out. STAT getting confused by the PnR. STAT lacking the foot speed to stay in front of LaMarcus Aldridge and/or getting outworked/outhustled for position by the aforementioned Mr. Hickson. Herb Williams, not known for burning his players publicly, said during halftime that Amar’e “looked mixed up.” Ow. That’s gonna leave a mark.
  4. So basically all our fears about how STAT would be re-integrated came to fruition. Here’s what’s worse. I can’t imagine anyone thought that insterting Amar’e would be a hiccup-free process. I’m sure the incredibly patient, understanding citizenry that make up Knick Knation and the esteemed local sporting press will calmly understand that this is a long season and that it’s a process and won’t freak out and write incendiary, page-hitz generating articles that quote unnamed sources and make the situation worse and OH MY GOD WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE. IT’S THE KNICKPOCALYPSE. ANY KNICK’S NAME NOT FOUND WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF LIFE, WILL BE THROWN INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE. PANIC. LOUD NOISES.
  5. Next up, the San Antonio Spurs, who would like nothing better than to exact a pound of flesh for the thrashing the Knicks gave them in November. Happy New Year!

18 comments on “Blazers 105, Knicks 100

  1. Thomas B.

    i agree with the grades except for what you gave the guy piloting the Green Lion. Point 3 was good too.

  2. Brian Cronin

    Weird New Year’s Day stat. The most points scored by an opposing player against the Knicks on New Year’s Day was, of all players, Mike Woodson (back in 1988). Weird, right?

  3. DRed

    A for Melo? What’s a man got to do to get an A+?

    And Brian, that is weird. You trade a man and he’s going to be out for vengence.

  4. ruruland

    Blazers impressive. I think the next Grunwald miracle is figuring out a way to get a long, athletic D and 3 that can chip on the boards…. He doesn’t have to be a Kawhi Leonard, but something relatively close.

    You just can’t survive these longs stretches with Novak and Copeland when Tyson doesn’t feel like playing or when there isn’t rim protection in the game.

    Also, Marcus Camby needs to start the damn game. I’m not sure his best is as good as Sheed, but when he plays within his skills he’s great. I think he’ll be more consistent than Sheed, and he’ll allow Tyson to go out and play closer to the perimeter which is what it looks like he wants to do right now.

  5. massive

    This team is starting to smell like the Knicks of the past. We have guys like Nick Batum, Jared Dudley, Marcus Thornton, J.J. Hickson, and James Johnson killing us again. We have late-in-the-shotclock desperation 3 point attempts dropping all net again. We have porous defense again. The Knicks just dropped games to Portland and Sacramento, both of which were supposed to be easy money. The Knicks need to start playing every team like they deserve the respect, because the #1 seed in the conference is paramount if we want to have a chance against Miami. I don’t want them to put out Bulls-like effort every night, but they can at least go back to playing 3 quarters and sitting the 4th. I expect the Knicks to come out ready to play against San Antonio.

  6. ethsurken

    Maybe we’re coming out flat because we’re putting in bad players to start the game? It really makes no sense.

  7. ruruland

    Guys of this profile: Leonard (15th pick), Butler (30th pick), George (10th pick), Mbah a Moute (37th) great indy defender, Larry Sanders (15th) versatile and great shotblocker/finisher excellent on switch, Seflosha (13th), Kirilenko (24th), Howard (29th), Ariza (43rd), Barnes (45th), PJ Tucker (35th), Allen (35th)….

    Guys who could be available in Knicks range (if they can move up 5-7 spots)

    http://nbadraft.net/players/rodney-williams

    http://nbadraft.net/players/andre-roberson

    http://nbadraft.net/players/tony-mitchell

  8. ephus

    I would like to see how STAT and ‘Sheed play together. I hope that Wallace can play D to cover for Amar’e and balance the perimeter on offense so STAT has room to operate.

    Horrible games by Novak and Copeland. Neither showed up.

  9. ephus

    ruruland:
    Guys of this profile: Leonard(15th pick), Butler (30th pick), George (10th pick), Mbah a Moute (37th) great indy defender, Larry Sanders (15th) versatile and great shotblocker/finisher excellent on switch, Seflosha (13th), Kirilenko (24th), Howard (29th), Ariza (43rd), Barnes (45th), PJ Tucker (35th), Allen (35th)….

    Guys who could be available in Knicks range (if they can move up 5-7 spots)

    http://nbadraft.net/players/rodney-williams

    http://nbadraft.net/players/andre-roberson

    http://nbadraft.net/players/tony-mitchell

    There is a guy with a serious high top fade sitting in street clothes who just might fit the bill

  10. flossy

    Why is it that we come out flat to start games? Could it be that we start Ronnie Brewer and Kurt Thomas, who, to be frank, suck? If Camby is healthy why not give him those 6 1st quarter mins?

    And what does JR Smith have to do to crack the starting lineup around here? If he’s going to play 36+ mins and finish games anyway, why maintain the pretense of “scorer off the bench?”

  11. Frank

    @10 – this Ronnie Brewer thing is out of control right now. The starting lineup should be (for now) – Kidd, JR, Melo, Camby, and Tyson. Then 2nd unit comes in with Prigs, Cope/Novak, and Stat. I know JR played 30+ minutes again, and I know Brewer hit a 3 pointer finally yesterday, but it makes no sense to have him and Thomas out there at the start of the game.

    ephus: There is a guy with a serious high top fade sitting in street clothes who just might fit the bill

    Seriously though – Shump may be the answer to our a swing man that can really hurt the defense when they leave him alone. He’s obviously a better shooter than Brewer (not saying much), and way more dangerous with the ball against closeouts. And I don’t really see Ronnie playing great defense nowadays.

  12. Frank

    And someone (jonabbey?) mentioned during preseason that he thought Brewer looked heavy. I just looked for a minute at some video of him from Utah and he looks to be a lot heavier this year than back then. Back then he was throwing down on people, reverse jams, etc –

  13. babybokchoy

    Man that was bru-tu-al to watch.
    I think (read: hope aggressively) that the Knicks are just in a funk and snap out of it soon.

    i didnt realize chandler was playing with a sprained ankle (?) until the announcers mentioned it. maybe thats why his defense has had a little less hop as of late.

    CMON KNickS GET WELL!
    im semi-dreading the Spurs on Thursday but if (nay, WHEN!) they win, that would definitely be the morale boost they need to get out of this funk.

  14. d-mar

    Frank:
    @10 – this Ronnie Brewer thing is out of control right now.The starting lineup should be (for now) – Kidd, JR, Melo, Camby, and Tyson.Then 2nd unit comes in with Prigs, Cope/Novak, and Stat.I know JR played 30+ minutes again, and I know Brewer hit a 3 pointer finally yesterday, but it makes no sense to have him and Thomas out there at the start of the game.

    Seriously though – Shump may be the answer to our a swing man that can really hurt the defense when they leave him alone.He’s obviously a better shooter than Brewer (not saying much), and way more dangerous with the ball against closeouts.And I don’t really see Ronnie playing great defense nowadays.

    I used to be in the camp that JR can’t start because he’s our only scoring option on the 2nd unit, but our offense to start games has become alarmingly awful. The only thing keeping us from getting completely waxed is Melo going through his usual 1st quarter scoring binge, but that’s no way to run an offense, and he shouldn’t have to carry the entire load that early in the game.

    Put your 5 best guys out there and establish dominance early.

  15. flossy

    d-mar: I used to be in the camp that JR can’t start because he’s our only scoring option on the 2nd unit, but our offense to start games has become alarmingly awful. The only thing keeping us from getting completely waxed is Melo going through his usual 1st quarter scoring binge, but that’s no way to run an offense, and he shouldn’t have to carry the entire load that early in the game.

    Put your 5 best guys out there and establish dominance early.

    Right, and we also have this guy named Amar’e who will be coming off the bench and has been known to score some points now and then…

  16. yellowboy90

    Who would be the secondary ball handler for the 2nd unit if Smith starts? That is the only thing I worry about with him starting. Now when Shump gets back sure but by then Felton will be back so…

  17. chrisk06811

    Robert, I think Major Funk plays the keys for the family band. his relation to Robert Randolph is unclear to me.

    And, that’s my entire contribution.

  18. chrisk06811

    JR played 41 minutes yesterday. I don’t think it matters if he starts or not. When he’s out of the game, brewer is going to be in there….I’d prefer those minutes to be with Melo on the floor. I agree there is no reason for Thomas to start. If you only trust a guy to play 4 minutes, don’t start him and try not to play him at all. makes no sense to me.

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