Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Boston Celtics 113 – New York Knicks 104 – Game Recap

Fight for 42 minutes. Down the stretch, go ISO after ISO. Lose everything in the last 6.

Rinse, repeat.

Fight for 42 minutes. Down the stretch, go ISO after ISO. Lose everything in the last 6.

Rinse, repeat.

I mean, we shouldn’t even be surprised anymore. I certainly ain’t. I’m just already along for the ride. I’ll come clean: when we were evidently in the act of throwing away the game, I was completely rooting for the Knicks to falter so as to not give any single excuse for keeping Fiz on board.

Now, I know Fizdale isn’t the source of all problems. I also know that there’s a non negligible chance that the next hire will not solve anything. But you work with what you have, and right now the only thing that we have are another season to sorta waste in terms of competitiveness and the absolute need to develop at least some of our kids.

At one of my previous jobs, the company had a distinct philosophy to test its newcomers: sink or swim. Essentially, you got thrown to the wolves and it was entirely up to you to show your mettle in order to stay afloat (or even better to rise to the top, if you had the requisite skills). Now, while I don’t condone the policy tout court, I have to admit it was pretty effective at skimming the milk. When something was needed, usually it was needed on a very short notice and without skipping a beat; with that policy, the company was pretty much sure that whoever survived was able to complete the tasks that were demanded. After an initial stint where I didn’t even know how to save time to breathe, I survived and became extremely well-versed in everything that required planning and managing resources, even going on to become Deputy Chairman and to arrange a good chunk of the required services for an officially sanctioned FIFA World Cup (yeah, ok, the beach soccer World Cup but it’s still something!). The sink or swim gimmick worked with me.

Thing is, though, a company doesn’t work with the same constraints that bind an NBA franchise: you’re not burdened with failed draft choices, you can cut bait with your employees after a couple months, you don’t have a cap space and so on. So just praying that your players will do something on the court without too many directions is wishful thinking at best and a waste of precious development time at worst. Given that this coaching staff seems to have done pretty much nothing to ease the evolution of our prospects (whatever you think about them, I don’t care if you are a Frankophile or a DSJxegete), it’s time to turn the page.

How many time do we have to watch our team turn the ball over right after a timeout? Why don’t we have a few sets to go to when it’s crunch time? I know that many teams devolve into ISO-happy Pez dispensers when it matters most, but it can’t hurt having some bread and butter based on simple variations of PnRs or something like that involving our best ball handlers, shooters and screeners? Or do we want to watch Mook and Randle pound the ball into oblivion before jacking up a semi airball from twenty feet?

Our lack of a capable hand on the steering wheel never was more apparent than last night during the fourth quarter. After going up by nine in the third quarter 73-64, the Knicks were a bit on the ropes in the fourth, with the Celtics tying the game 95-95 with 6:33 to go in the fourth. Fizdale called timeout. The Knicks went on to turn the ball over in four consecutive possessions right after said timeout.

I rest my case.

***

No good, bad and fun-sized section toady, since my car broke completely down today and I really have little time (and soon I’ll have little money too, dammit).

Anyway a few thoughts:

– Efficient offensive game from Julius Randle (26 points on 16 shots). He should treat his game like a diet plan: cut two thirds of saturated fats (iso from the elbow) and stick to simple, raw ingredients when possible (cuts, postups down low, open catch and shoot attempts) he’d be a good offensive player, just as he was in New Orleans. Let’s agree not to talk about his defense though.

– I’m sad because I probably have to shell 20k euros or more for a new car, but I’m also sad because Mitch is regressing in his understanding of the game. I hope it’s just frustration at the coaching staff, but I’m not sure. He looks like he’s suffering from restless arm syndrome these days. 6 points, 5 boards and 6 fouls in 19 minutes. Meh,

– RJ started very well and then went on to shoot blanks for the rest of the night. Still not worried since it’s crystal clear that he needs a few solid rails to thrive. Going 1-on-5 isn’t his cup of tea (and shouldn’t be anyone’s cup unless you’re Giannis or LeBron or Harden – maybe throw Doncic in too). 16 points and 7 boards but 4/13 from the field (started 4/7) and 8/13 from the line (started 5/6).

– DSJ had a kinda good game, 17 points, 7 assists, 2 blocks, 6/11 shooting and just two turnovers. That said, he was terrible at commanding the offense in the crucial fourth quarter stint and Boston simply went at him everytime on defense.

– How is it even possible that neither Trier nor Iggy play a single minute in a game where Mook and Frank aren’t available (Frank played just 7 minutes before injuring his back, or his soul)?

– I find it a little easier to understand why Knox gets his minutes at the three spot (roster construction), but I can’t seem to find any real sense behind the decision to peg his slow PF piece in a quick wing hole.

– Damn that came out very wrong.

Guys, I don’t know I can do the recap tomorrow. It’s not just that my car broke down, I also have to attend the funeral of a friend’s dad. I’ll try to chime in one way or another. In the meantime, behave :)

 

 

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54 comments on “Boston Celtics 113 – New York Knicks 104 – Game Recap

  1. KnickfaninNJ

    Farfa, thanks for the recap. Take care of your stuff and don’t worry about the game tonight.

    As for the game, I agree wholeheartedly they should have been running plays instead of iso-ing. I don’t understand why they don’t. I’m not sure the blame is 100% Fizdale’s though. He’s been in the NBA long enough to know what a play is and how to diagram one. It’s hard to believe the players can’t run something like that, but maybe it’s harder than it seems against a good defense. Certainly, whatever Fizdale told them to do after a timeout, if there was a turnover, they didn’t do what he said.

    I can tell by watching that the team flows more smoothly with Frank or Elfrid at the point than with Smith or Barrett there. I don’t know why. Maybe Fizdale does, and it’s why he does not seem to run complicated plays in crunch time with Smith on the floor.

  2. Owen

    Sorry about the car problems….

    Brandon Clarke has been almost exactly the player he was expected to be. Medium Usage, 68 ts%, solid (though slightly below par) rebounding and D. Obviously he could be RJ Barrett’s uncle but no one is feeling good about putting their money on the nephew right now I would think.

    https://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.fcgi?request=1&sum=1&player_id1_hint=RJ+Barrett&player_id1_select=RJ+Barrett&player_id1=barrerj01&idx=players&player_id4_hint=Brandon+Clarke&player_id4_select=Brandon+Clarke&player_id4=clarkbr01&idx=players

    I honestly don’t know whose development is more concerning, Mitch or RJ.

  3. d-mar

    Thanks as always Farfa, reading your write ups is simultaneously cathartic and deeply depressing.

    You could save time by copying and pasting “the Knicks hung tough with a superior opponent and then collapsed down the stretch” for the opening of every recap (-:

  4. Hubert

    The Knicks didn’t get full market value for KP, or really anything close. They didn’t shop him correctly and acted stupidly and politically and impulsively in a way that really none of the front offices in the sport act. All the rest is noise.

    They did well at the time. It’s just not aging well.

    Dumping 2.5 years of Hardaway was worth at lot. It would probably cost you two firsts or one first and a pair of twos to do that in the open market. Dumping Lee would have cost a first, too. In a sense, they got Dennis Smith and the value of 4 firsts. That’s close to what OKC got for George.

    But we didn’t need to dump Lee and Hardaway. We should have held out for actual picks.

    In hindsight, it looks like garbage bc Luka made the leap sooner than expected and we blew all our cap space. The best thing we got was not paying Porzingis.

  5. Owen

    Bobby Karalla
    @bobbykaralla
    ·
    1h
    So far Doncic is scoring more efficiently in the pick-and-roll than 25 NBA teams are scoring in transition. When he’s single-covered in the P&R he’s scoring 1.287 PPP in 195 chances. Harden was historically good last season and scored 1.198 in those situations.

    I still am stuck imagining Big Manu running the pnr in the Garden….

  6. swiftandabundant

    Why are we concerned about RJ’s development not even 30 games into his rookie year? He’s played good defense, passes, rebounds and has scored pretty well too. Shooting is really his only concern. RJ is the least of my worries right now. If he’s the exact same player a year from now, then we can worry. But he’s been the best thing about this season by far.

  7. Z

    And Frank is, I don’t know, the basketball equivalent of Mariner’s short stop Armando Criscione?

    Ntilikina is totally the Armando Criscione of basketball. Even if the ref started setting picks for him and throwing extra balls on the court to distract the defenders, Frank would still struggle to score efficiently.

  8. Hubert

    You know what really gets me about Clarke? Presti, who allegedly is smart, had him fall into his lap and he essentially traded down just to pick up a 2024 2nd round pick. Clarke and SGA would have been a nice foundation to build on.

  9. ptmilo

    It has nothing to do with “recency bias” or “heuristics.” The Knicks actually probably had a better chance to win at tipoff than they did at 95-95 since by the time it was 95-95 their chance to win in a blowout was gone.

    if you sincerely hold this view it was wise to post it here. bc if you instead used it to live bet nba games you would get annihilated. celtics were a 7-8 pt favorite pregame and about 75-80% to win. history of 6-9 pt favorites with 75-80% to win that are tied with 6-7min left (ojeleye 3 ties it at 95-95) without possession leaves the favorite roughly 60-65% to win. inpredictable had the celtics at 78% pregame and 63% after they tied it at 95-95.

    the simplest data comes from overtime. teams that are ~75% to win pregame tend to win overtimes around 65%-67% of the time. the higher volatility due to shortened time remaining benefits the underdog more than any putative high leverage effect might benefit the favorite.

    most recent example nuggets at kings OT:

    nuggets 97 at kings 100: nuggets ~65% pregame favorite, ~54% before OT jump.

  10. The Glass Half Rebuilt

    There is no fucking way I would ever draft Brandon Clarke ahead of RJ Barrett as of December 1, 2019. RJ Barrett is a good defender in both team situations and on ball, he doesn’t foul a lot for a rookie, he contributes with his secondary stats, and he doesn’t kill you on offense with hero ball. Once he fixes the free throw shooting, and it looks fixed in recent games, you’re talking about a kid who could be an All Star before his 21st birthday.

    Brandon Clarke is great and may turn out to be Shawn Marion, but he is not a two way wing with potential to be a lead scorer some day. There is nothing more valuable than an elite two-way wing, and that is RJ Barrett’s potential.

  11. geo

    if you sincerely hold this view it was wise to post it here. bc if you instead used it to live bet nba games you would get annihilated. celtics were a 7-8 pt favorite pregame and about 75-80% to win. history of 6-9 pt favorites with 75-80% to win that are tied with 6-7min left (ojeleye 3 ties it at 95-95) without possession leaves the favorite roughly 60-65% to win. inpredictable had the celtics at 78% pregame and 63% after they tied it at 95-95.

    the simplest data comes from overtime. teams that are ~75% to win pregame tend to win overtimes around 65%-67% of the time. the higher volatility due to shortened time remaining benefits the underdog more than any putative high leverage effect might benefit the favorite.

    wow…i was just getting ready to type that exact response…

  12. thenamestsam

    I think we’ve known from the beginning that RJ probably wasn’t going to be very efficient to start his career (few 19 year old scorers are) and that his career is going to live and die by whether he finds a way to become efficient over the next few years. So far the returns on that are mixed – the 3 pointer has been modestly encouraging, the FT% has been incredibly discouraging – but it’s really going to be down to how the shot evolves over the next few years. I’ve seen enough to conclude that if he can get the scoring to a decent place efficiency-wise the rest of his game will look really nice in complementing that – the defense in particular has looked solid, the passing is good as we expected, solid rebounder. But he certainly looks like he’s always going to be a high usage guy so his value is going to be heavily linked with the efficiency.

  13. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    I think Luka will come to earth a little bit. His numbers just have no precedent in the modern era. LeBron was a completely different player in his sophomore year but he was still another year away from being the force of nature that he would become in 13 consecutive MVP-caliber seasons.

    edit: just saw the Thinking Basketball video on him — this dude agrees:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8RhyUzW3t0

    Luka is sustaining a .624 TS% while shooting just 33% from deep, and taking over 46% of his attempts from behind the arc. Like, what the fuck is that nonsense?

    I didn’t expect Clarke to be this good this fast.

    FG%, 5th
    2PT%, 4th
    TS%, 5th
    eFG%, 4th
    ORtg, 17th

    And it’s not like he’s Chandler-level usage exception. He’s ranked 12th of 27 among rookies in FGA/poss. He needs to improve his FTr though. He draws fouls less than half as often as Barrett does. (RJ is an exceptional foul drawer for a rookie.) Given Clarke’s surprising FT shooting (82%), it would do nothing but propel him into the starting lineup.

    I was pretty optimistic about Clarke’s ability to change his shot, having already reprogrammed himself away from that Kidd-Gilchristesque form he started his college career with. I did not expect this level of performance.

  14. geo

    so what should trier do at this point…wait patiently till he gets his shot, or request to be sent to the g-league?

  15. Owen

    There is no fucking way I would ever draft Brandon Clarke ahead of RJ Barrett as of December 1, 2019.

    I get it. Just bookmarking an argument we had all summer. I was in the Clarke trade down camp and I still feel ok about it. Will be interesting to see how we all feel a year from now.

  16. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Brandon Clarke is great and may turn out to be Shawn Marion, but he is not a two way wing with potential to be a lead scorer some day. There is nothing more valuable than an elite two-way wing, and that is RJ Barrett’s potential.

    You should watch some highlights of Clarke.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFHv2REOLuE

    1) alley-oop dunk
    2) running floater from 12′
    3) corner three
    4) midrange catch and shoot jumper
    5) drawn foul on midrange
    6) dunk after catch under the rim
    7) deep three
    8) jump hook
    9) dunk in traffic

    Dude has a lot of skill. He just needs to touch the ball more. I assume he will once he “earns” a starting job.

  17. JK47

    “If he learns to shoot he’ll be good” is kind of a cliche but in RJ’s case it’s really true. The rest of his game is pretty well put together. He’s good at everything except throwing the ball into the basket. And it seems like he has the work ethic to get a lot better at that.

    Lots of 19-year-olds can’t shoot but eventually figure it out. I think he’s a good prospect despite the inefficient scoring.

  18. The Glass Half Rebuilt

    Brandon Clarke is everything we needed Kevin Knox to be, but I bet if we took Obi Toppin in the draft this year there would be no complaints. I’m not trying to discredit anybody who pounded the pavement for a guy like Brandon Clarke. Despite his age, he was one of the best prospects in the NBA Draft and many teams will regret not taking him (Phoenix, Minnesota, and Atlanta, I’m looking at you). The utility power forward type is very valuable, but I think it’s a role you can fill in most drafts/free agency periods. That’s not to say there’s a Brandon Clarke in every draft or free agency, but it’s easier to get an approximation to what he brings for dirt cheap than it is to get a high level two way wing for anything less than a max contract. You just don’t stumble across the two-way wing prospect every year, so when you have the chance to get one at 18 years old, you have to take it.

  19. Owen

    It’s not worth arguing about. RJ Barrett may turn into Paul George. I hope he does. As I have said before I just wish that for once a high pick could come in and actually perform out of the gate.

  20. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    On the subject of poor-shooting prospects…

    Trivia time! Since Shumpert in 2011, the Knicks have selected six players in the first round, for a total of 25 player seasons. Those players are Shumpert, Hardaway, Porzingis, Knox, Ntilikina and Barrett.

    Question #1: In how many of those 25 player seasons did a player have a TS% higher than league average? If the answer is >0, name the player(s).

    Question #2: In how many of those seasons did a Knicks 1st-round draftee fail to crack .500 TS%? (Only three teams have shot worse than .500 TS% since 2011: the 2012 Bobcats, 2015 Bobcats and 2015 Sixers.)

  21. Donnie Walsh

    Question #1: In how many of those 25 player seasons did a player have a TS% higher than league average? If the answer is >0, name the player(s).

    I have no idea exactly what the league average TS% is or was, but Hardaway did okay his rookie year scoring. He just was league worst in basically every other category.

  22. Early Bird

    #1 I’m saying 2 both by Hardaway. I know he shot well in ATL, but he always hovers right around average so I don’t know. Unless it’s only when on the Knicks, then 0. Hardaway is still right on the edge.

    #2 are we counting this partial season? I’d guess 8.

  23. Hubert

    Question #1: In how many of those 25 player seasons did a player have a TS% higher than league average? If the answer is >0, name the player(s).

    I distinctly recall Hardaway shooting very well for two seasons in Atlanta, so I’ll go with 2, both by him.

  24. The Glass Half Rebuilt

    Shump, Knox, and Ntilikina, all shot under a .500 TS% their rookie years. RJ Barrett is currently under .500. The only player to shoot over a league average TS% in their career has to be Tim Hardaway Jr when he was an Atlanta Hawk, and I’d bet he’s doing it now as a member of the Mavericks.

    Sad case.

  25. Knew Your Nicks

    4 more Hours till our next fiasco.
    Let’s spice it up a bit !

    # All Stats are Not Equal #

    Putting 20pts in garbage time is Not better than putting 10pts in crunch time.

    Grabbing many easy and lucky rebs is not better than grabbing only a few But crucial for the win ones.

    Guarding AllNbaers and Allstars is not the same as guarding benchwarmers and gleaguers and so are the stats of these Ds.

    Making difficult passes for easy buckets but Not credited with assists cause your teammate lost…the dunk ain’t worse than handing the ball to the guy sitting next to you outside the 3pt line and getting the assist cause the 3 happened to went in.

    Stealing the ball luckily ain’t better than makin your man step out of bounds or travel or take a horrible shot or. . …
    (which credits your effort with shit)

    Take that stat freaks !
    ;-D

  26. Bruno Almeida

    Barrett is a bad shooter, but the difference between him and Ntilikina or Knox is that while they would all benefit from being better shooters, doing that is the one thing Barrett needs to be a plus player. He doesn’t need improvement on 5 different areas including shooting, if he becomes a league average shooter he’s already a valuable player.

    On the Doncic thing, I think it’s a sure thing that his efficiency will drop, it’s already been dropping in the last couple of games. Teams will double him heavily and force THJ, KP and others to beat them. However, I don’t think he’ll drop too much because of the crazy amount of free throws he shoots. Harden manages a .640 ts% on 57% 2p% and 35% from 3 because he shoots 14 FTA at elite levels. Even if Doncic’s 2p% goes down from the current 61% to Harden levels, he’s still shooting almost 10 free throws per game at a 83% clip. He looks like a sustainable .600 ts% guy for me.

  27. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Answer:

    Hardaway 2013-14 .554 (avg. .541)
    Hardaway 2015-16 .563 (avg. .541)
    Hardaway 2016-17 .568 (avg. .552)
    Hardaway 2019-20 .558 (avg. .558, so push)

    3, plus this year.

    #2:

    Ntilikina, 3: 2017-20
    Knox, 1: 2018-19
    Shumpert, 7: 2011-12, 2013-16, 2017-20
    Barrett, 1: 2019-20

    So 12 out of 25 player seasons.

  28. Early Bird

    So as a board we were pretty on track for #1

    For #2 I didn’t realize Shump had so many, but should’ve expected it.

  29. Early Bird

    So Melo won player of the week… Gotta assume the NBA just wore down whatever typewriter they write the award on and it no longer let them spell out Harden or Luka

  30. geo

    we caught a lucky break and antetokounmpo is out for the game…unfortunately though it’s thanasis and not giannis…

    not sure i remember the last time the knicks had less than a 5%% chance to win a game…i wonder what’s the lowest percentage espn’s matchup predicator will list…saw another spread giving the bucks 15 and a half…i’ll be bold, we can cover that…125 to 110…hold on, we’ll never score 110 against the bucks…

    man there’s a lot of red L’s on our schedule so far this year…we have the warriors away on the 11th…

  31. thenamestsam

    Has RJ not performed well? I feel like he’s been one of the top rookies so far. Are we just down on him because the team in general is making us sad?

    The fact that the ball just doesn’t go in the hoop much is really holding him back. He’s bottom-15 in the league in TS% for rotation guys.

    I think the rookie class has generally been quite poor so “one of the top rookies” might be accurate depending on how you want to measure. Evaluating rookies is a little weird because they’re mostly bad so by statistical measures the “best” rookies are often the ones asked to do the least and vice-versa. The guys pressed into the largest roles tend to be the brightest prospects who get a lot of press attention but also to often be pretty significant negatives. So Barrett looks pretty bad by box plus/minus and other various all-in-ones because he has a big role and he’s using it to miss a lot of shots.

  32. Knew Your Nicks

    From KBs Nadir to Rotoworld’s Zenith

    On the same injury report on rotoworld is written that DSJ….. is coming off a GREAT game….

  33. geo

    Any news on Frank? Is he on for tonight? How bad was the injury?

    someone mentioned seeing him not moving so well last week, and speculated it may be his groin again…doesn’t seem much need to rush anyone back in to the lineup…

    shit, let’s give DSJ some more burn and throw kadeem out there for a while…

    trier must simply need more development time on the bench…

  34. geo

    On the same injury report on rotoworld is written that DSJ….. is coming off a GREAT game….

    i guess “great” is a very subjective term…

  35. The Glass Half Rebuilt

    I hope Dennis Smith Jr has another good game because dammit we need good players and I’d rather draft Obi Toppin than LaMelo Ball.

  36. er

    “So Melo won player of the week… Gotta assume the NBA just wore down whatever typewriter they write the award on and it no longer let them spell out Harden or Luka”

    During the Blazers three-game winning streak, Melo is averaging:
    22.3 points and 7.7 rebounds with a TS% of 65.7%.

    POR has outscored their opponents by 56 points in the 96 minutes he’s been on the floor.

    His +56 Net Rating is the highest among all NBA players over the last week https://t.co/7KB6FDKazY

    — Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) November 30, 2019

  37. Bruno Almeida

    So we really found out the secret, whenever someone types “Melo” er gets an instant notification.

  38. The Glass Half Rebuilt

    Ujiri to New York feels like Durant to New York.

    Who is the Julius Randle and Bobby Portis of NBA front offices?

  39. alsep73

    @44 Perry and Mills, obviously.

    Meanwhile, Knicks say Frank is definitely out tonight. The DSJ Show in full effect, and if Trier can’t get off the bench tonight, his dungeoning seems permanent.

  40. alsep73

    Also, the more relevant Melo issue is that if he keeps playing relatively well, it removes one potential Marcus Morris suitor come December 15.

  41. Hubert

    Ujiri to New York feels like Durant to New York.

    With Ujiri we can actually use our financial clout. I’m sure he’s interested in getting paid like Phil Jackson.

    Frankly – and I know this sounds insane but it’s probably true – I think Dolan’s loyalty to Mills is a bigger obstacle than convincing Masai.

  42. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Now we just need to cross our fingers and pray that Masai’s methods will be as relevant by the time he (hypothetically) brings us to contention as they are today…

  43. Donnie Walsh

    Now we just need to cross our fingers and pray that Masai’s methods will be as relevant by the time he (hypothetically) brings us to contention as they are today…

    A little scarred by the likes of basketball geniuses Larry Brown and Phil Jackson, are we?

  44. JK47

    Could you even imagine if this team hired Masai Uijiri? That would just be so WEIRD. I don’t even know what would happen here, it would only be a matter of time before we’d have to stop arguing which of our shitty point guards is the shittiest.

  45. swiftandabundant

    Can we also get a new medical staff too?

    I seem to remember this was the one area that Dolan would not let Phil clean house.

    Maybe someone else can find this info but it feels like The Knicks deal with way more injuries than other teams.

  46. DRed

    Trier should get some run tonight because we’re going to get blown out so that’s something to look forward to.

  47. geo

    Trier should get some run tonight because we’re going to get blown out so that’s something to look forward to.

    yes, that most certainly brightened my day :)

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