Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Bulls 82, Knicks 81

New York Knicks 81 Final
Recap | Box Score
82 Chicago Bulls
Andrea Bargnani, PF

25 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 9 PTS | -9

Fine. Not his fault Woody started him and played him a bit too much. We should be using him like we used Novak and taking his ability to penetrate and draw fouls as gravy. I think that gets figured out eventually. Tonight he hit a few shots and competed gamely on defense. More rebounds would be great but so would…I don’t know…something equally unrealistic? A pet unicorn whose horn was also a satellite receiver? That would be pretty tight. What were we talking about? Oh, Bargs. By no means should he be a part of the crunch-time lineup right now and, to Woody’s credit, he wasn’t.

Carmelo Anthony, SF

42 MIN | 8-24 FG | 4-5 FT | 6 REB | 6 AST | 6 STL | 2 BLK | 4 TO | 22 PTS | -6

Such a weird game. He had 6 steals and 6 assists and played excellent team defense. His shot wasn’t going which happens to everybody from time to time but his offensive approach the last 4 minutes of the game was horrible and probably prevented the Knicks from stealing a road win on the second night of a back-to-back against one of the 4 best teams in their conference. I get that hero ball is a part of the NBA, I get that Iso-Melo is a thing that is going to happen in the closing moments of close games. I am at peace with it. But it strikes me as very odd that we can erase a 12 point deficit through cohesive, movement-intensive team offense and then decide that Melo, like some sort of latter-day Jerome Bettis, has the right to put it over the goal line. He will win us plenty of games this year but on this night against Luol Deng and this Thibodeau-designed defense, he bailed the Bulls out.

Tyson Chandler, C

36 MIN | 3-8 FG | 1-2 FT | 19 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 4 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | +8

You remembered that when he’s 100% he’s the best and most important player on the team, right? That he fits perfectly with Melo, perfectly with a defensive philosophy built on switching and jumping passing lanes, perfectly with a point guard that gets by on herky-jerky savvy and workaday efficiency rather than lightning quickness and stylistic flair, perfectly with teammates that like to chuck up threes and wait for their human-ball-return of a pivot man to give them do-overs on their misses? That he’s an unstoppable roll man that creates historically high-percentage chances and forces opposing post players into early foul trouble? That he plays team defense the way Steve Atwater played free safety and motivates his teammates by the sheer force of personality exuded by every glare, every chest-pound, every primal yell?

Did you remember? Now you remember.

Raymond Felton, PG

37 MIN | 5-14 FG | 2-3 FT | 4 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | +6

He looks quicker to me this season. He’s looked more comfortable to me since the calendar turned to 2013 and he was paired with Prigioni and given as much opportunity to freelance off the ball as to dominate it and create for others. On the ball, he’s far more dangerous with an athletic roll man at his disposal and right now he’s getting precisely that from the rejuvenated Chandler. The shot was off tonight but he protected the ball (2 turnovers in 37 minutes) and defended (bull)doggedly, staying in front of Rose when his number was called and switching away sharply when required. His one three-point make was a huge one that gets lost in the defeat. If 2 of his misses drop it’s a really good game.

Iman Shumpert, SG

25 MIN | 2-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | +1

Not much in the way of numbers tonight but the Knicks’ best defensive lineups this year are going to be the ones that involve at least 2 (and often 3) of him, Chandler, World Peace, and Prigs just jumping passing lanes and closing out on guys hard and applying full-court pressure and generally being a pain in everybody else’s ass. I can’t wait to see more of it.

Amar’e Stoudemire, PF

11 MIN | 2-3 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 5 PTS | -3

I guess it doesn’t look that bad on paper — 5 points on 3 shots in 11 minutes — but I was sad watching Stoudemire tonight. His legs just aren’t there anymore and given that there hasn’t been any injury news to speak of lately and he took last night off, that probably means they ain’t coming back. He’s got little to offer as a roll man; no less a defensive stiff than Mike Dunleavy was able to beat him to his spot, set himself, and draw a charge tonight. He’s not getting any rebound he has to compete for and, cruelly, just when he seems like he’s started to know where to be on defense, he doesn’t have the athleticism to bang with the big boys or stay in front of his man. Looking at STAT, I think of Antonio McDyess, another impossibly athletic 4 who lost his legs and had to completely change his game to claim a second act to his career. STAT will never be the gritty defender that McDyess was but if he can accept that he’s now a post scorer (and a damn good one) and mid-range jump shooter (ditto) and Woodson can find creative ways to use him as such, he still has a great chance to be a useful offensive player. Defensively, he’s GOT to rebound. It was never his primary strength but if his shot-blocking days are over (they are) and he can no longer be the athletic centerpiece of an offense (he can’t) he needs to commit himself to locking down the defensive glass.

Basically, I want him to be a poor man’s David Lee. Hence the sadness.

Kenyon Martin, PF

4 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +2

Here’s something that makes no sense. Woodson starts Bargnani tonight and, in explaining his decision, emphasizes his determination to go big against a Bulls team that bangs on the interior and relies on a penetrating point guard on offense.

Two things:

1) This is stupid and I expect better from a head coach who showed legitimate creativity last season. Bargs is seven feet tall but you don’t use him to “go big” (unless you’re playing him at, like, shooting guard) you specifically use him to “go small.” It’s an intellectually dishonest claim that sounds like ass-covering from a coach who was instructed to start the team’s biggest offensive acquisition at least some of the time. I admittedly have no idea whether this is true, I just choose to believe that Woodson doesn’t actually believe such a BS justification.

2) But, OK, fine, you want to go big. Why make Martin unavailable tonight? You know the season starts with a back to back and you know the Bulls are on the tail end of it. Why use K-Mart against the Bucks instead of letting him spell Chandler tonight and protect the rim from Rose and co.? Why throw STAT to the wolves and make him guard Noah and Boozer instead of Larry Sanders and John Henson? It smacks of the type of short-sightedness that the league’s top coaches simply don’t fall victim to. And we lost by one freaking point tonight, so you can’t say it didn’t matter.

Metta World Peace, SF

23 MIN | 3-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | -4

Shot badly, defended hard, marginalized down the stretch by iso-Melo. Starting to sound familiar?

Pablo Prigioni, PG

11 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -7

Love his defense, love his wiles, needs to take his own shot when it’s there. Had two extremely clean looks at threes and passed into traffic each time. Again, one point game, little things.

Tim Hardaway Jr., SG

27 MIN | 4-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 10 PTS | +7

His stroke is pretty but wasn’t true tonight. Don’t care. Competes on defense, takes his shot in the flow of the offense, grinds all night. He can play on my team any day. We are getting very good at finding guards in the middle part of the draft.

As a side note, his build and movement remind me so much of Anfernee Hardaway, which is odd since they share a last name but aren’t related. That he doesn’t look like his father will spare me much self-reflection that I frankly lack the time for. Double points!

Mike Woodson

The season turns on games like this: a back to back on the road against a good team that didn’t have its fastball. If we just want to be a playoff team, we can write off a road loss against the Bulls no matter the circumstances. If we want our name on the short list, though, we need to grab winnable games by the throat and worry about people’s feelings later. And tonight, for this coach, that meant telling the star that the last couple of possessions are his but the 5 or 6 before them have to look like the ones that brought us back from a 12-point hole. It meant realizing before the start of LAST night’s game that 12-15 minutes of Kenyon Martin vs. the Bulls was an absolute must.

The D grade is for not doing those things. The “Plus” is for the team’s excellent defensive effort and Woody’s willingness to deviate from what one presumes was the initial plan and sit Bargs down the stretch.

Five Things We Saw

  1. Fantastic team defense. Holding the opposition to 41% shooting is good enough in its own right but when that number includes only 3 made three-pointers and is accompanied by 18 turnovers and only 19 FT attempts, it’s sensational. All told, 82 points on 89 possessions for Chicago tonight. No matter how rusty Rose was, that’s awesome.
  2. Speaking of Rose, at some point tonight I’m going to try to suspend my frustration over this loss (indeed, my very Knick fandom), rewatch his game-winner, and smile for just a moment. Derrick Rose is back and the NBA is that much richer for it.
  3. And as for that game-winning rainbow floater, the Knicks defended it perfectly. Just a great player making a tough shot, nothing to complain about.
  4. Oh yeah, that’s right, there IS one thing to complain about which is that if we just ran the freaking offense for the last 4 minutes of the game, we’re probably up 6 points and the Bulls never have a chance to win it. I usually dig Steve Kerr’s work, but his comment after Rose hit the shot (“It’s a superstar game down the stretch!”) was utterly asinine. To effusively and unreservedly praise Rose’s make (and the philosophy that led to it) after the preceding 3 minutes of hero ball from Rose and Melo prevented either team from putting away a game that was being handed to it (the Bulls missed their previous NINE shots and the Knicks hardly looked better) was the type of head-in-the-sand cheerleading by a prominent analyst that leads casual NBA observers to think the sport that we love is something very different from what it actually is and to think that teams like the Spurs are boring when what they actually are is awesome. Other than that, great point.
  5. If the defense plays like this all year, the Knicks will win 55 games. I hope we weren’t just being the ’93 Knicks for Halloween (if we were, losing a winnable game to the Bulls in heartbreaking fashion was a pretty effective flourish).

43 comments on “Bulls 82, Knicks 81

  1. ruruland

    Nice post Kevin.

    A little more context.

    Stunning stat: Since 2010, the Bulls have lost a total of four home games with both Noah and Rose in the lineup.

  2. JK47

    Stat looked terrible tonight, but I wouldn’t write him off just yet. He’s very dependent on having his timing locked in, and it’s not even close right now. It may take a while to get that timing right, especially since he’s not going to get a ton of minutes on a regular basis, but if he can just play close to the way he played last year he’ll help the team.

  3. Brian Cronin

    Great stuff, Kevin. Very well written.

    As for Hardaway, while he had a poor shooting night, he was valuable to the offense just by making the Bulls respect his shot. They weren’t doing that when the Knicks inexplicably were playing three forwards at once. So he was a valuable part of the rotation tonight.

    In addition, Hardaway’s performance (and Shump’s before that) just reinforces the whole “hey, maybe you don’t want to give away first round picks for players that don’t particularly help your team that much” point.

  4. Shad0wF0x

    God I miss the MVP STAT.

    In terms of hero ball, I’m ok with Derrick Rose taking it to Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler and making that patented mid-range floater. I’m ok with Carmelo Anthony pulling up for a game winning jumper. I’m not ok with either of them going hero-ball for the last 5 minutes of the game.

  5. Brian Cronin

    God I miss the MVP STAT.

    In terms of hero ball, I’m ok with Derrick Rose taking it to Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler and making that patented mid-range floater. I’m ok with Carmelo Anthony pulling up for a game winning jumper. I’m not ok with either of them going hero-ball for the last 5 minutes of the game.

    Rose was a lot worse than Melo, though. Holy crap, did Rose make a ton of terrible plays.

  6. Kevin McElroy Post author

    Rose did everything he could to give the game away and the Knicks didn’t take it. Melo’s last shot was fine although i would’ve liked to see him at least make them respect the drive. Like you said, it was the fact that we went 1-on-1 after we tied the game up.

  7. BigBlueAL

    Knicks actually lead by 2 and had the ball with a chance to extend the lead but Melo took that baseline fadeaway which missed then Rose got fouled in a somewhat dubious call.

  8. Brian Cronin

    An interesting thing about Rose is that he seems like he’s still a bit tentative. The old Rose would run directly at a defender and then contort himself to either draw a foul or avoid the defender. These first two games he has shied from that contact.

  9. yellowboy90

    I am mad again after I saw a replay of the Rose play and then saw Noah was moving on the screen to get Rose open. SMH.

  10. massive

    Spoiler Alert:

    We’re gonna meet the Bulls in the 2nd round of the playoffs this year. Guaranteed.

    But hey, I’m not mad that we lost on the 2nd night of a back to back in October. We’ll be okay when shots start to fall, things start to click, and Shump gives “Shumpin'” a new definition. One thing I don’t like is that the Knicks have a penchant for giving away games either by not caring enough or by making bad in-game decisions. That makes me mad. Derrick Rose will suck for only so long, but maybe when he’s good again he’ll have to deal with Shumpert for the whole game.

    I’ve lost all hope for Bargs. Just play MWP and Pablo. 1 rebound and 1 3 in 25 minutes is not why we brought him here. Maybe the next 80 games prove me wrong, but the guy looks hopeless as long as his shot is broken.

    I think JR Smith is the answer to our turnover woes. A .520 TS isn’t anything to fawn over, but a shot at below average efficiency is better than a turnover.

    All in all, we look like a great team that’s unfamiliar with themselves. Once we find our identity, I think we’ll do fine. The offense looks a lot more complex (and therefore harder to stop) and the defense looks like a top unit in the league. 55 wins sure seems possible this season.

  11. yellowboy90

    Maybe he chose double 7 because he wanted to have a tough lineman mentality. lol. IDK. It’s just a number.

    Anyway, Felton deserves major credit for his hustle. He was actually guarding Deng from throwing it in and saw Rose running free and covered for Shump who got screened off by Boozer.

  12. Frank O.

    Go easy on Stat. He hasn’t played much, remember?
    We have watched him a few years now and his first few games back are often rough, his timing is off and his already weak instincts on defense are coming out of hibernation.
    What was tough was how, when he first stepped onto the court, whoever he was guarding took the shot. Indeed, if I recall, the next five or so scores in succession were against Stat. That was tough. It wasn’t that his D was terrible on those plays, but opposing players just feel confident they can score on him, and when a pro feels that confident, more often than not the rock drops.
    But by game five, watch out. Stat hasn’t lost that much explosion. He was just hesitant. Watch. By about game five he will start with the monster jams. He’s still a physical freak.
    BTW, was anyone amazed that after tweaking his hammie, Felton seemed unaffected? Props to the little man.
    One board by AB is kind of ridiculous. He was in position to make rebounds, but either his hands were poor or he was too weak to take the ball away from the opponent. One would have thought after this long in the league someone might have pushed him to get stronger.
    The Knicks looked rough, but everyone that plays the Bulls looks rough. This was a tough game, in their town, and they were in a position to win. Given all the Knicks new parts, and there are several key new parts, there is a lot of good to take away from this tough loss. They showed grit, didn’t lose their cool, and they have Tyson, who is a monster. Melo’s shot selection kind of sucked. A pull up near 3 at the end just shouldn’t happen. There was time to get into the paint and force them to foul or dish for Tyson. He let us down this time. But a one point loss to Chicago at home. meh. Long season. Let’s see what the Bulls do in New York.

  13. d-mar

    I was critical of Melo’s bricklaying during the game last night, but I think a C is way too harsh a grade. 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 6 steals? If he had made a few more shots, it’s a LeBron-esque box score. And I think a B+ is way too high for Shump, I just don’t feel he had much impact on the game, and picked up some dumb fouls in the 1st half that probably limited his aggressiveness.

    But overall, Kevin, excellent recap, thanks!

    PS can someone explain how to use the “quote” feature on the new site?

  14. ephus

    D-Mar. Here is how to use quote.

    1. Copy the text you want to quote.

    2. Paste into your comment.

    3. Place the cursor before the quote

    4. Click the “quote” box above or type [blockquote] (but use the “less than” and “greater than” symbols instead of the hardbrackets)

    5. Place the cursor after the quote

    6. Click the “/quote” box above or type [/blockquote] (Again, use the “less than” and “greater than” symbols instead of the hard brackets)

    7. Post comment.

    Here is how it looks. It does not pick up who you are quoting the way the old quote function did.

    PS can someone explain how to use the “quote” feature on the new site?

  15. DRed

    I was critical of Melo’s bricklaying during the game last night, but I think a C is way too harsh a grade. 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 6 steals?

    The line of satan!

  16. thenamestsam

    Very mixed bag last night. To get the negative out of the way – the offense is looking like a bit of a mess at the moment. Obviously we’re going to hone in on the last five minutes, but the offense was ugly all night long. Right now it looks like a version of last year’s offense with the threes and turnover-stingy aspects stripped away. If we can’t correct those things this is going to be an offense without many definitive strengths. Hopefully a lot of it is just new pieces trying to mesh, but still you’d like to see more of it ironed out in training camp. My faith in Woodson as a head coach is fairly minimal at the moment.

    On the positive side though it’s really not a bad loss at all. Road back-to-back at Chicago is one of the five or so hardest games on the schedule, and it took that absurd shot to beat us. The defense looks great, and Chandler looks all the way back. That’s huge. If we get this Chandler all season we’re a 55 win team for sure.

    Also great recap Kevin, and I loved the thing about Amare’s Halloween-phobia at the top of the game thread as well Rob. Props to the writers who are off to a start more reminiscent of the Knicks D than the O.

  17. lavor postell

    Really frustrating loss but this team seems way more focused on itself this year than battling the refs for each and every perceived foul or missed call. Chicagos a tough place to win and you hope that lessons are learned from an utterly pathetic offensive display in the last 5 minutes of the game.

    The defense looks much better in it’s cohesiveness than last year. Obviously having chandler back to 2011-12 levels is a huge factor, but they seem to be communicating so much better on that end this year. The switches right now seem to be happening fairly seamlessly and there’s a bit more logic to the switching with our guards doing a much better job of at least attempting to fight through screens.

  18. johnlocke

    Don’t mean to be an ass, but aren’t improvements supposed to make things simpler and intuitive? Anyway – on to the Knicks. Agreed with everyone regarding Melo one-on-one at end of games. In games where he clearly has it again and is playing against non-top flight defenders, I’m okay with that. But can we run a PnR or some other play for the final play of the game? Everyone knew it was coming. I guess the only caveat is that there were 5 seconds left on the clock…but still.

    D-Mar. Here is how to use quote.

    1. Copy the text you want to quote.

    2. Paste into your comment.

    3. Place the cursor before the quote

    4. Click the “quote” box above or type [blockquote] (but use the “less than” and “greater than” symbols instead of the hardbrackets)

    5. Place the cursor after the quote

    6. Click the “/quote” box above or type [/blockquote] (Again, use the “less than” and “greater than” symbols instead of the hard brackets)

    7. Post comment.

    Here is how it looks. It does not pick up who you are quoting the way the old quote function did.

  19. ephus

    Don’t mean to be an ass, but aren’t improvements supposed to make things simpler and intuitive?

    I would love to have the old quote button back, but the edit function is a big improvement.

    Please remember that Knickerblogger is a labor of love. No one is making money here.

  20. DRed

    the offense is looking like a bit of a mess at the moment. Obviously we’re going to hone in on the last five minutes, but the offense was ugly all night long. Right now it looks like a version of last year’s offense with the threes and turnover-stingy aspects stripped away.

    Well, that’s what happens when you get rid of your best 3 point shooters. Doesn’t mean we can’t have a good offense this year, but we’re going to have to come up with something different.

  21. thenamestsam

    Well, that’s what happens when you get rid of your best 3 point shooters. Doesn’t mean we can’t have a good offense this year, but we’re going to have to come up with something different.

    Right. I mean it’s not a surprise. Certainly we all had a feeling that they’d be shooting less 3s to a certain extent last year. I hope that we mostly get back to smaller lineups and that partially corrects it, but either way we’re not going to be what we were last year. The question, as you say, is whether we can find a new identity to replace that one, and at the moment we don’t seem to have one. We don’t seem to have a system at all as much as a set of plays. When Amare is in we try to go in the post. Sometimes we’re iso-ing Melo. There was some scattered pick and roll action and some attempts at pick and pops that mostly ended with Bargs offensive fouls. But there wasn’t any consistency to what we were doing over the course of the game.

  22. Owen

    “Please remember that Knickerblogger is a labor of love. No one is making money here.”

    It is until mike k and the boys sell out to caa and move to the south of France with the hush money….

  23. DRed

    It is until mike k and the boys sell out to caa and move to the south of France with the hush money….

    Worldwide Wes hates quote buttons.

  24. Kevin McElroy Post author

    Since it’s a new season I’ll throw this up as a standing caveat on my recaps: Please pay more attention to the commentary than the grades. I totally get it if you think Melo deserved better than a C, Hardaway deserved lower, etc. We all have our own spectrum and things that affect us during the game. I find the Coach grade particularly hard — try as I might to be more nuanced I always seem to give him a really high grade when we win and a low one when we lose. I care so much more about making sense and generating debate through narrative than through the letter grades which I could just as well do without.

  25. kburt8

    “Please remember that Knickerblogger is a labor of love. No one is making money here.”

    The site redesign makes the lack of significant advertising on this site very apparent. Perhaps this is an opportunity for monetization of the hard work put into maintaining the site and generating content. I certainly would not be opposed to seeing adds at the top of the page or in the white space to the right if it meant some income for the contributors.

    Also, I would be in favor of re-adding the quote button even if it creates additional white space. I think the current proccess is too burdensome and, when not used, results in unnecessary re-reading of “quoted” comments.

  26. steveoh

    Kevin, among everything else you wrote, you’re 100000% correct about Woodson’s lack of vision in playing K-Mart against the Bucks and STAT against the Bulls.

    I really like the idea of swapping games with them. But he needs to be smart about it. This wasn’t smart. Pop doesn’t make mistakes like this.

    Little things.

  27. johnlocke

    Re: “labor of love quote” above, didn’t mean to throw out insult and run – just didn’t have time this morning. So here is constructive feedback. I think the ability to easily reply/quote by clicking a button in the comment you want to reply to (the preexisting format) was more useful for generating debate and comments than this iteration. I would, if possible, add back both the reply and quote buttons to each post, it would be simpler and more intuitive for the commenters. My opinion is that I would value that add over the ability to edit – if both not possible for some reason. Note that there are 33 comments in this post and only 3 comments have been replied to / quoted …check out the game thread from last night –same issue. Just my 2 cents.

  28. MKinLA

    I’m with Steveoh. I don’t think its unfair of us to expect a professional coach to think ahead in order to optimize his resource (in this case, PT for fragile players) allocation decisions. There is enough randomness in this game to derail even a good team; you can’t afford to screw up the things you can control.

  29. KnickfaninNJ

    ” if we just ran the freaking offense for the last 4 minutes of the game, we’re probably up 6 points and the Bulls never have a chance to win it. ” — from the recap

  30. KnickfaninNJ

    ” if we just ran the freaking offense for the last 4 minutes of the game, we’re probably up 6 points and the Bulls never have a chance to win it. ” — from the recap

    I agree 100%, if not 200%. But almost every coach in the NBA goes with an isolation at crunch time in a close game if he has a go to scorer. Thibideau did it last night by going to Derrick Rose. The only two coaches I can remember that didn’t do that most or all of the time are Phil Jackson and Isiah Thomas (really). So I don’t complain too much about the ball being in Melo’s hands at the ends.

  31. johnno

    Despite the fact that two or three people explained how to do it, I still can’t figure out the quote function.
    In any event, the Knics shot 37% last year on 3 pointers. Last night, they shot 37.5%. At least in this game, the fact that they “got rid of their best 3 point shooters” had zero statistical impact. Last year, they averaged 28 threes a game. Last night they took 24. Not exactly a precipitous dropoff. Re: turnovers — they had 2 or 3 in the entire second half. I think that they’ll take care of the ball this year.

  32. mokers

    Well, that’s what happens when you get rid of your best 3 point shooters.

    Strange that all three have been glued to the bench this year. Kidd and Copeland haven’t even played one minute. Kidd has event suited up all year!

  33. er

    Strange that all three have been glued to the bench this year. Kidd and Copeland haven’t even played one minute. Kidd has event suited up all year!

    LOL…..

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