Cavs 100 – Knicks 91

Not with a bang, but a whimper.

LeBronFest 2K9 has come and gone as Citizen 23 nonchalantly tossed up a jumper-heavy 32-9-8 against a surprisingly listless Knicks’ side.  The King seemed fully aware of the moment, firing up long shots early, often, and with impressive efficiency (8 of 9 on mid-rangers, according to ESPN Stats and Information).  On the rare occasions that he elected to drive, he met predictably little resistance and converted easily.  The Knicks actually managed to contest a number of his jumpers, but their defense had little impact and LeBron showed himself to be every bit the superstar that has us salivating for next summer.

Gallo, Hughes, and Lee each had solid offensive outings, and Jordan Hill even stopped by and showed off a versatile offensive game in an abbreviated appearance.  In the end, however, sloppy passing, poor shot selection, and a particularly ugly chapter in the ever-more-puzzling story of Al Harrington’s 2009-10 season doomed the Knicks to a defeat that wasn’t nearly as close as the final score would indicate.

And so we are left to sit and wait and dream of a summer that seems too far away.  At some point next year, LeBron will return to play his next game at Madison Square Garden, and he either will be wearing a Knicks jersey or he won’t.  We have no new information, no new arguments, no new reasons to believe or doubt that there is a headband-wearing savior on the horizon for the Knicks.

20 players took the floor at some point in tonight’s Knicks/Cavs game, but only one of them really mattered.  Not on the grandest level (in which ending world hunger matters) or on the smallest level (in which it matters to me that David Lee is emerging as an increasingly aggressive offensive player on what he has realized is, for better or worse, his team) but on the NBA’s macro level — a level on which the Knicks have not meant anything in quite a while.

On this night, they looked like a group of guys waiting for someone to come along and change that, and not a group that had any confidence in their ability to change it themselves.   I wish I disagreed with them.

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Kevin McElroy watches the Knicks and owns a computer.

57 thoughts to “Cavs 100 – Knicks 91”

  1. “a particularly ugly chapter in the ever-more-puzzling story of Al Harrington’s 2009-10 season”

    Yeah, absolutely. I wonder what the plan is with Harrington. It’s possible that his 20 pts/game is enough to make another team want him. But would Walsh trade him even if the opportunity arose? He seems to really like Al, and may actually want to keep his Bird rights come July, just to see what pans out. Hope not, but it’s hard to tell what’s in Donnie’s head sometimes. Does any team jump to mind that could use a guy like Harrington?

  2. If Al was on a contender (Boston, LA, even Cleveland), you wouldn’t notice his miscues and he’d be a potent bench threat (like he was for the Pacers 10 years ago)

  3. Off topic, but Jamal Crawford was 5-14 tonight (13 points) with 3 rebounds, 0 assists, 0 stl, 0 blks. I think we can safely assume he’s getting back on track.

  4. highlights of this for me (I turned it off in the third Q):

    LeBron dominating the first quarter, that last shot especially was ridiculous.

    Jordan Hill getting a bit of PT and actually looking pretty good.

    the CC Sabathia interview at halftime where he said he thought LeBron would come to NY.

  5. Word jon abbey. Even though this game was a laugher, I liked what I saw out of the rookies. Hill looked skilled and aggressive, great to see. Douglas was so up in West’s jock strap that West went off on him. That’s exactly what this team needs. He also went to the hole a bit… he defers on his shot way too much though. It may take him a while to find that shooting confidence after that awful preseason. Hopefully, it will be fun and realistic to watch a lineup of Douglas, Hughes, Gallo, Lee and Hill on the floor as starters… maybe the 2nd half we’ll see this more, or sooner. Then we bring in Bosh and Lebron and we win 3 consecutive titles – the end.

  6. Also – Doris Burke’s interview with Chris Rock was hilarious. And everything he said was right on the money.

  7. no it wasn’t. i thought chris rock was way off on lebron needing to be traded. he probably does shoot better than t. douglas. that was funny.

  8. douglas is looking energetic on d, but offensively he looks like he doesnt have a clue whats going on.

    meanwhile, brandon jennings continues to impress…fml

  9. on another note, did anyone catch lbj speaking with gallo after the game? he said a few things into gallos ear quietly- scoping out his next teammate?

    lbj also totally brushed off a-rod after the game, hilarious… plus, next to lbj, arod looked tiny

  10. “douglas is looking energetic on d, but offensively he looks like he doesnt have a clue whats going on. ”

    I haven’t seen much, but what I’ve seen, I see no real difference from Mardy Collins. it continues to kill me that we didn’t get a real PG this offseason, for what seems like the 453rd year in a row.

  11. Who was the last legitimate point guard we had in New York, Walt Frazier? I guess Mark Jackson and his 20%+ turnover rate.

    Ty Lawson was a +18 in 24 minutes in Denver’s 8 point loss to Miami, don’t know if he rallied them late but another solid stat line from him…

  12. That’s a little harsh jon. Douglas is much faster that Mardy and already seems more natural at the point. And I’ve seen FSU footage of him burying jumpers, so he used to be able to shoot. And his form is much better than Mardy’s.
    Count me in as someone who was lobbying for Jennings or Lawson with the #8.

  13. Blair did get skunked in Portland last night…

    Balkman is getting a start tonight against Atlanta with K-Mart out with injury. I hope he takes advantage of the opportunity.

    And yes, I know, I have to stop thinking about all the players who could be on the Knicks roster and focus on the ones who are on the roster…

  14. “what I’ve seen, I see no real difference from Mardy Collins.”

    Funny, I’ve been thinking the same thing: a more athletic Mardy or Frank Williams. When he went for the steal and ended up giving Mo Williams a wide open 3 in the 1st half you could see some athleticism. Would have been nice if he’d had a hot start to the season, but I’m still fairly optimistic despite my Collins/Frank Williams comment.

    Encouraging to see Hill hit a few Js and lock down LeBron James on the perimeter for one play, but he also looks raw. The one play where he tries to do something other than shoot a long jumper he gets stripped, easily. (The ability to drive a little could give him a big advantage over the Kurt Thomas, Brian Grant, Etan Thomas types that he’s been compared to, but those Chris Bosh comparisons look ridiculous.) I don’t understand why he didn’t get more PT after showing a few things.
    One discouraging thing with Hill is that he gives up like 2 inches to Anderson Varejao… would have been nice to reach on a big guy who is actually big.

  15. “Balkman is getting a start tonight against Atlanta with K-Mart out with injury. I hope he takes advantage of the opportunity. ”

    3 fouls in the first 7 minutes, that’s our boy! :)

  16. What’s the deal with the speculation that all of our players are unmotivated since they don’t know if they’ll be here next year? It’s called a contract year.. they should be playing their tails off. Seriously, what gives?

  17. Honestly, stupendously bad quarter.

    Jodie Meeks goes 3-3 from three, the first three he has hit in the NBA.

    Jennings looks like a total stud (who doesn’t against us)

    Ilyasova looks like the new Kirilenko…

    And Bogut looks like Chamberlain…

  18. Al Harrington bothers me. I cannot tolerate Wilson Chandler. Chris Duhon is absolutely horrendous. Aside from Lee and Gallo the only current Knicks I can fathom having any lack of utter disgust for are Hill, Douglas, and sad though it may be, Larry Hughes. Can’t forget Landry either. Jesus effing Christ this team blows more than a Vietnamese prostitute for $4 in 1971.

  19. this team does blow….and at what point does coaching take any responsibility for this debacle??? This is HORRIBLE!

  20. This is pretty much as low as it gets, even though Milwaukee is a better team than people give it credit for. It’s fashionable to blame Harrington, but honestly Duhon and Chandler have been (to me) the most disappointing Knicks by far this year. Can’t make mid-range jumpers, layups, nothing. Hang their heads on defense when the shots don’t fall. Hold onto the ball for too long without making anything actually happen.

    Oh, and golden boy Gallo is really looking like a rookie. Seems to make several bad decisions a game which get him in foul trouble and/or result in turnovers, and while he has nice active hands on defense and seems to understand help, he loses shooters way too often. There’s a reason his plus/minus for the year is bad despite his scoring chops.

    A few more of these games and there will likely be calls for the coach’s head, but I really don’t know if that will accomplish anything.

  21. I think with the current roster coaching is a moot point. Even if Phil Jackson or someone of that stature were roaming the sidelines, asking a coach to win with this roster would be like asking Brunelleschi to build his dome from cardboard.

  22. that game hurt me man we are putting no effort in at all…………we have talent with nate and david and al and the rookies…… we just need effort……… we (knicks) put a effort in every night we will surprise the league and america we are a good team we just gotta show it!!!!!

  23. Ladies and Gentleman, please welcome Knickerblogger favorite target Anthony Roberson to the board…though that 1986 means he’s probably started lying about his age…likely boosts his shot at a 10-day contract 3-fold

  24. good to see Toney Douglas reads Knickerblogger, 4-5 from 3 point range tonight, first 3s of the season.

  25. Mike Breen hit it right on the head…the effort put forth tonight was inexcusable. The Knick’s problems right now go beyond basketball. The Knicks are not so bad that they cannot compete. Each and every one of them has to go look in the mirror and ask themselves whether this is how they want this team to be remembered. I know they probably collect their paychecks, hang their head, and move on, but this was inexcusable. Coach D’Antoni this is on you. Instill some accountability on this team, toss players out of the game, force the knicks to make a hard foul. Show that there is something worth fighting for this season and that you can inspire and lead as a coach. Tonight, I lost a little bit of faith in this organization.

  26. Dear Coach,

    Please have a heart to heart with Mr. Chandler. Tell him if ever he takes back to back jumpers without going to the hole between, he’s sitting for ten. Then call a team meeting. Open a dictionary. Point to the entry for rebounding. It would be a nice introduction.

    Mr. Lee is exempt from attending.

    Then maybe you could take down a rim and show them the bottom of the basket.

    Oh, and give the newbies some burn. They’ll make mistakes, but at least they’ll be enthusiastic ones.

    Thank you

    PS – Is it legal to trade Al Harrington for a dozen used gym towels?

  27. We are getting spanked on the easy part of our schedule. If we don’t turn it around soon, this season may be over before it started!

  28. Yeah. Let’s get Iverson. That’ll help. Another less than 6 ft. shooting guard who’s a volume scorer. And who’s known as a cancer. And who has alienated his new employer after 5 games. Solid logic. Is Steve Francis available?

  29. I mentioned Duhon and Chandler as the most disappointing Knicks earlier purely from observation, but (taking into account small sample sizes, of course), prior to this game, those two were our worst starters by miles — both with sub-10 PERs. Hollinger’s numbers have Duhon 45th out of 56 point guards in the league (the only starting PG in the league that’s worse is Ray Felton), and Chandler 33rd out of 48 SFs.

    No doubt those numbers will be even gaudier after this game, since both combined to make one out of 14 shots and commit five turnovers.

  30. Sandy,

    This is what made you lose faith in the organization?

    Not hiring the single worst GM in the history of basketball?

    Not watching the ownership and management run a great coach out of the organization after just one season due to, among other things, personnel issues?

    Not the choice to let that GM coach the team even after it’s revealed that he’s a racist, sexist bigot who exhibited the same level of professionalism (read: not very) that he did as a player?

    Not after the lawsuit which revealed rampant misogyny and ethics violations, which was, don’t forget, settled out of court?

    Not the giving away of countless draft picks and prospects for a bunch of could-bes and never-wills, mortgaging the future based on gut feeling and veteran’s instincts instead of quality research and data projections?

    Not handing out a huge MLE salary to a chronic glutton who (and this is an accurate estimate) made over $31,000 per minute played?

    And while we’re at it, not while that same player played twice as many minutes in his contract season with his previous team as he did in his ENTIRE CAREER as a Knick?

    Not when the Knicks passed on players in the last draft who were projected as “sure-things” who have fulfilled their expectations and then some, instead choosing players who are at least a few years away from being adequate ninth men in this league?

    This, one shittily-played game against a shit team, has lost your respect?

    RIP The Honorable Cock Jowles. I’m going to There’s a future there.

  31. Just saw the box score, in 30 minutes Gallo was 5 for 7 from the field, 3 for 3 from 3pt land and 2 for 2 from the line. He was the only starter who’s +/- was positive for the game. 15 pts on 7 FGA. This guy surrounded by real teammates is a frightening thought especially considering he is only 21 yo.

    Nice to see Douglas and Hill get minutes and play pretty good. Douglas showed a good stroke finally and finished with 16 pts in 17 minutes on 6 for 9 shooting including 4 for 5 from 3pt range. Hill was only 2 for 6 but was 3 for 3 from the ft line and had 6 rebs and 3 stls in 13 minutes. You can see the motor and talent there but he is still extremely raw but there is something to work with there.

  32. there is no reason that Gallinari shouldn’t shoot at least 8-10 3 pointers every game, especially with Nate out. I really wish they would look for him more, and run the offense through him more often.

  33. haha. the honorable cock jowles, this has been an ongoing process. but i had a renewed sense of (misplaced?) faith in our current management and coaching staff. to be honest, I still respect their plan and vision for 2010, but I can’t believe a team coached by Mike D’Antoni and even with the limited talented we have simply does not show up for 5 out 6 games in the regular season. Is there a record for the number of games in which a team has fallen behind by 20 points in the first hald to begin a season?

  34. 5 of 7* games, we actually did show for the Indiana and New Orleans games. again, this goes beyond basketball. show some g** d*** pride NY.

  35. Missed this one, but it looks like Toney Douglas took Chris Rock’s joke personally. I hope he’s coming out of his shooting slump.
    Really if we could just abolish Duhon and Harrington, this team would be so much better off. Maybe Duhon took our pg search this summer personally? And now he’s bent out of shape? ‘Cause I didn’t think he would be quite THIS bad. Well hopefully the rookies will get most of the burn starting sooner rather than later. Then these games will at least be watchable.

  36. They were mostly garbage time threes (last 10 minutes or so in this case) so I’mnot sure I’d weigh them too heavily–the same timeframe during which Marcus Landry played the bulk of his minutes. Then again, this performance would’ve earned him the starting job in my book–but only because Chris Duhon has the shot of a newly reformed skag addict fresh off missing one of his methadone doses. But at the same time, I’m the one who’d be starting Landry over Chandler as well, for a starting five of Douglas, Hughes (Nate upon return if showing signs of life), Gallo, Hill, and Lee, so there would at least be some effort on the court. I guess what I’m trying to say is that in my current state of befuddlement, confusion, frustration, anger, hate, fear, and tearful sadness, most of what I say regarding the team ought to be taken with a grain of salt, if not a whole shaker. However, my Tardis is currently broken down on Skaro and I’m surrounded by a swarm of Daleks and the Master too, but under this sort of pressure and imminent threat of death, I still have a better TS% than either Harrington, Chandler, Duhon, or numerous other Knicks.

    This team causes me great distress.

  37. Can we make a rule? Here it is — Wilson Chandler is not allowed to shoot outside of 15 feet. He is definitively disallowed from shooting 18-21-foot 2 pointers off the dribble while covered, and from shooting any 3 pointers. All the energy he would have spent shooting these terrible shots should be applied on the defensive end, where he has been anything but Shawn Marion-like.

    Another rule: Chris Duhon is not allowed to shoot unless he is uncovered for a layup or from 3 point range. If he shoots more than 2 contested shots (which he will surely miss), he will go to the bench and watch Toney Douglas, who is similarly bad on offense, but can at least play defense.

    Oh wait, here’s another one.
    TS% and FGA for our most prominent players so far:

    Lee – 58.2 TS, 15 FGA
    Chandler – 39.9 TS, 12.9 FGA
    Gallinari – 64.2 TS, 12.3 FGA
    Hughes – 63 TS, 11 FGA
    Duhon – 38.9 TS, 8.9 FGA
    Harrington – 52.9 TS, 15.9 FGA

    It’s a corollary of the rules above — Duhon and Chandler should not be allowed to shoot. Harrington should be taking 10 FGA/game. Lee and Gallinari should be taking 15-18 shots/game each. Please. There is no way that Jordan Hill would be ANY worse than Chandler is right now, and certainly no way that TD would be worse than Duhon. Chandler is supposedly a building block for the future, so sit him down for a few games, let him collect his thoughts, then put him back into the starting lineup. Never hurts to have him slightly scared that he might be losing his spot.

    Duhon, on the other hand, is NOT part of the plan. He is certainly not providing any veteran leadership at this point. We might as well start Nate when he comes back, and until then, play Douglas.

  38. I agree. I mean, if we are going to lose with such indifference, we might as well start developing some of our young guns. I am not that high on T. Douglass, but it is early, and maybe I can be proven wrong. But I think if we start giving Hill an increased role we can see what we have. Its not going to hurt us anymore than we are already hurting ourselves. Maybe Hill can improve our atrocious interior D. As much as I blame D. Lee for his defensive efforts, I know that he is simply over-matched down there, fighting with centers and power forward much bigger than him for boards and points. Maybe Hill can knock down some free throw line jumpers and draw out a defender. I also want to see Gallo to start working from the free throw line. Develop a mid range. Hopefully by the All-Star break our starting lineup will look something like this

    PG: T. Douglass/ Duhon/ Nate (whoever has rebounded by then)
    SG: Larry Hughes
    SF: Gallo
    PF: Lee (still a very good finisher and rebounder)
    C: Hill

    Obviously this lineup has serious limitations. But these 5 are the most likely to remain next year (excluding Hughes, and I think we resign Lee with the additional cap space). Let us see what we have and try to get some chemistry going with this frontcourt of the near future. Right now, our backcourt is a disaster. Hopefully the summer of 2010 will address that. Do you guys agree? Is it too early to start down this path and am I overreacting? Does our current lineup need more time? Where does Chandler fit in with the big picture? What is the likelihood that Chandler improves his TS and eFG to the point where he considered a long term solution?

  39. Obviously, a lot changes in the summer of 2010, but, at this point, it’s a little hard to think that David Lee even wants to play in NY after this year. Even with a big non-LeBron addition (or two), Lee may have had enough of this environment.* His entire professional life has been tied to this disaster. Surely the grass is a little greener elsewhere, even for less pay.

    I’m a level-headed Lee supporter. I love the guy and I blame him not at all for what’s gone wrong. But I see, too, that he’s very exposed on a team with no interior presence whatsoever. Give him a real center (probably a scoring center but definitely a shot-blocking center), and he’d be a wonderful complementary 4.

    *I assume that Lee would stay if LeBron actually came here and Lee’s contract could work.

  40. On the bright side for me, the worse the Knicks play, the more likely my fiancee will be able to get us her corporation’s really good Knick tickets.

    Eventually, it will be diehard fans only.

  41. Just wanted to throw out there that there ARE free agent PGs available.

    Duhon is shooting the ball about as bad as Brevin Knight would, while Knight can actually make a pass, play defense, and generally run an offense. Dunno if Knight is holding out for a contender or would rather retire than play for the Knicks, but he’d certainly be a better option than Duhon (and would have a few things to teach Douglas I’m sure).

    Douglas isn’t really a starting PG option right now btw since he his 8.9 AST% is the worst on the team (on the bright side, his 7.9 TO% is also lowest on the team).

  42. Think the Sixers would have any interest in a Curry/Jeffries for Brand trade?

    2010: 14.86
    2011: 15.96
    2012: 17.06
    2013: 18.16

    2010: 10.50
    2011: 11.28

    2010: 6.47
    2011: 6.88

    Knicks get 2 million off their cap in exchange for a bad long-term contract (when the Knicks won’t have any cap space anyway). The only thing Brand is doing for Philly right now is blocking Marreese Speights, and they would save 30 million dollars over the long haul.

  43. Of course, I’m not sure off the top of my head how much cap space the Knicks need to free up for two superstars. But my guess is that’s not really a realistic option anyway and it’s impossible to hit a home run when your trade chips are Eddy Curry and Jared Jeffries.

  44. Rashidi,

    Ha! Good one. I’m with you, though: I, too, would never pay $18M in 2013 and prevent any chance of bringing in a big-name player for a formerly-could-be-great player who had a below-average PER last year and who hasn’t played a full season since ’06 due to ceaselessly mounting injuries. Hilarious!

  45. What about trading one of our guys who can actually play (Lee, Robinson) along with Curry or Jeffries for an expiring contract? Perhaps some contending team who is not going to be a player in the 2009 free agent market would be willing to take on one year of Curry if it means bringing in Lee for a playoff push. Any chance of this happening?

  46. JK47, thats something I was thinking.

    I figured come the trade deadline we could trade David Lee along with either Jeffries or Curry to a team for expiring contracts. Heck I would trade anybody on our roster (except Gallo) along with Jeffries or Curry but I figure the only player who we could tempt a team to take Jeffries or Curry with is David Lee.

  47. It’s a good idea in theory, but there are practical considerations that make a Lee package difficult. 1) Lee needs to consent to any trade; 2) he’s a FA in July, so teams would be taking on Jeffries/Curry for the rental of Lee; 3) he’s a BYC player, complicating salary math.

    Jeffries + Lee would require a return package of $9 million in expiring contracts. Which “contending teams capped out in 2010” have $9 million in expiring contracts?

    Candidates include:

    Washington (James, Miller, Haywood). They have a soft spot for Jeffries, but they have Jamison and Blatche at PF already, so including Lee would probably be superfluous.

    Utah (Boozer, Harpring, Korver). Again, loaded at PF.

    Detroit (Brown). Possible, but they are not capped out in 2010 and would require a 3rd team to be involved.

    Millwaukee (Thomas, Ridnour, Alexander, Warrick, Elson) Probably not a contender, and they’re not capped out in 2010 (but not a FA contender either). Maybe, if they are in the hunt in February would bite.

    Portland (Blake, Outlaw) Not capped out in 2010. Plus, exchanging Blake and Outlaw for Jeffries and Lee probably wouldn’t equal more wins.

    Boston (Scalabrine, Allen, House, Daniels) Don’t need Jeffries or Lee.

    Cleveland (Shaq, Z) No.

    Houston (McGrady, Scola, Cook, Barry) Not capped out. Also Lee and Jeffries would blend in, marginalizing their impacts.

    Chicago (Miller, James, Pargo, Hunter) Not capped out, but also looking to contend this year. Likes Lee. Jeffries wouldn’t hurt on the court, but would hurt their cap space in 2010.

    And then there is Miami, who has over $50 million in expiring contracts AND is contending this year. They could even afford to absorb Jeffries, re-sign Lee, and still have $12 million+ to offer FAs this summer. Hhhhmmmmmm……

    But wouldn’t we all rather hurt ourselves than help the Heat??

    Basically, there aren’t many albatross contracts expiring this year like there have been in years past. The large expirings (Shaq, Jermaine O., Z, Brad Miller, Haywood, Mike Miller) are all contributing to their respective teams. Only McGrady is dead weight, but there’s still a chance he can contribute later on.

  48. I agree it would be a difficult and unlikely trade to make, although Im pretty sure David Lee lost his no-trade rights when he signed for more than the qualifying offer.

    This season being so brutal really wouldnt matter if it wasnt for the Jazz having our freaking 1st-round pick….

  49. I think Lee still has to consent to a trade. And further complicating things he loses his Bird Rights if he does consent.

  50. The thing is no team is going to take on Jeffries on a multi-year deal unless we’re taking back a multi-year deal as well.

    If Lee is making 7 million (plus his million dollar playoff bonus if you trade him to a contender), and Jeffries is making 6 million, that’s 13 million. Nobody is going to send the Knicks 13 million in expiring when Jeffries is making ANOTHER 6 million the following year. They’d be losing 6 million dollars and David Lee isn’t nearly good enough to make up for that.

    Considering we just saw Balkman sign a 3 year extension worth 1.7 million annually, nobody is going to pay 12 million for Jared Jeffries without us doing them a solid. We don’t have draft picks. We don’t have a star to package with him. The only way we could possibly get rid of him is to take on another bad contract.

    But unlike Isiah, who traded big contract for BIGGER contract, the Knicks should be trying to get two smaller contracts worth Jeffries’ total.

    Willie Green for example makes 3.7 million this year and is owed 7.7 million over this year and next. These are the types of players NY needs to look at if they want any hope of shedding Jeffries.

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