Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Celtics 102, Knicks 96

Boston Celtics 102 Final
Recap | Box Score
96 New York Knicks
Carmelo Anthony, SF 37 MIN | 6-26 FG | 4-7 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 20 PTS | 0

Bad. Two silly fouls early stopped the Knicks from capitalizing on a lackluster Celtics’ 1st and forced them to play a number of lineup combinations (Prigs/Brewer/Novak/Cope/Amare????) that I hope to never see again. When he got back on the floor he settled for far too many contested jumpers, missing 8 of his 10 fourth quarter shots and 20 of 26 overall. Worst of all, he let his pride and his beef with KG get in his head and, by extension, in the way of the Knicks salvaging a winnable game. Despite a couple bright spots, this was all that needed to change about Old Melo on display in one game.

Ronnie Brewer, SF 18 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 3 PTS | -1

Ronnie was fine. If the small lineup had gotten more run the Knicks may well have won this game.

Marcus Camby, C 10 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | 0

Not really sure why he’s starting, to be honest. If the whole point of not starting Amare is that we want to play Melo at the four, then starting a big who can’t do anything outside of the paint makes less than zero sense. He played well, grabbing 7 boards and blocking a shot in just 10 minutes, but was misutilized.

Tyson Chandler, C 41 MIN | 4-6 FG | 5-6 FT | 17 REB | 1 AST | 13 PTS | +9

Monster effort on the boards and as the roll man. Defensively, Boston spent the second half forcing him into a lot of switches that let them prey on lesser defenders and take advantage of the Knicks desire to keep Melo from fouling out. Hard to say Tyson was “bad” on that end — he’s never bad — but Boston did a good job limiting his effectiveness and he didn’t do anything superhuman to overcome it.

Jason Kidd, PG 33 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 6 AST | 8 PTS | +11

Really a very good performance by Kidd, if not on the statistical level of some of his recent output. Effective as a spot shooter and, as the primary beneficiary of the Rondo suspension, as a defender. Has begun to attack a bit more with Felton out which is a necessary evil; he’s not the finisher he once was and we want him camped out deep, but if he’s completely unwilling to drive then it’s hard for us to initiate much offense without #IsoMelo.

Amar’e Stoudemire, PF 28 MIN | 4-6 FG | 5-6 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 13 PTS | -15

Honestly I have no idea what grade he deserves. He scored 13 points on 6 FGA’s and no turnovers. So that’s awesome. He was also minus-19 and thoroughly played to the level that number suggests. So that’s not awesome.

Right now, Stoudemire is moving well, his shot seems to be finding its way back, and his burst is better than I remember it being since his first season as a Knick. On the other hand, his defense and his ability to move off the ball remain, to my eyes, something of a horror show. He switches onto anything that moves, seemingly unable to weigh, for instance, the relative import of covering an open Kevin Garnett 10 feet from the rim or doubling an already-guarded Avery Bradley 28 feet out. He can’t be relied upon to guard the rim, bad news when we have a center who is better than any other in the NBA at straying from the paint to help guard perimeter players. And on offense, his movement off the ball has just one goal: putting himself in whatever position maximizes the odds that he will score, regardless of the effect this has on the Knicks’ spacing.

Stoudemire played nearly the whole fourth quarter tonight as a visible negative on defense and, while efficient when given a chance to finish, not enough of an offensive factor that the Knicks made any effort to run plays for him. All of this left me and many others on Twitter wondering what exactly the point of it all was. Here was a player with a minutes limit that was openly disregarded for the purpose of — what? Providing significantly worse defense than Marcus Camby? Less floor spacing than Steve Novak? An ability to finish so well-honed that none of the team’s primary ballhandlers made any effort to get the ball into his hands?

The window is not shut on Amare getting back to being the kind of offensive force that can make him a borderline star despite defense that will never be a plus in and of itself. But until he’s there, we better figure out what he is and how to use him. Because this wasn’t it.

Steve Novak, SF 16 MIN | 3-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 9 PTS | -5

Should have gotten a lot of Amare’s 4th quarter minutes tonight. His shot was going and he was extending the Boston wings enough to leave their smallish (other than KG) bigs isolated trying to contend with a rolling Chandler and a penetrating JR Smith. He’s not a worse defensive player than Stoudemire either; he’s easily beaten but he anchors to his man and doesn’t screw up the spacing.

Chris Copeland, SF 4 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -4

Nuh-uh.

Pablo Prigioni, PG 15 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -19

Bad twice as often as he’s good, it seems, and when he’s bad he. Is. BAD. And he was BAD tonight. 0 assists, 4 turnovers, and a silly foul in 15 minutes. Seriously would have planted his ass on the pine for the rest of the game after his unconscionable ball-kicking technical in the third quarter. On a night when the Knicks as a whole didn’t have a great grasp on their fee-fees, a 35-year-old whose decision-making is supposed to be his primary asset allowed himself to stand in as the symbol of their immaturity and petulence.

J.R. Smith, SG 39 MIN | 7-18 FG | 6-7 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 24 PTS | -4

If the last month is to be believed, JR Smith is:

1) The Knicks’ second best scorer.
2) The player the Knicks have increasingly gone to when their offense has begun to veer off the rails.
3) The Knicks’ primary peacemaker when emotions look ready to boil over.
4) An above-average defensive player (Yes. Really.) who can guard multiple positions.
5) The best point guard on the team under the age of 39.
6) Not markedly worse at anything than Latrell Sprewell was during his time in New York.

All of this is improbable. All of this is unexpected. All of this is true.

Rasheed Wallace, PF DNP SORE LEFT FOOT MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | PTS |

NOT. A MOMENT. TOO SOON.

Mike Woodson

Was he boxed into a corner by Melo’s foul trouble? Sure. Are the players largely to blame for their shot selection? Definitely. Should highly-paid professionals — to say nothing of adults — be trusted to deal with a little bit of pushback and physicality without losing their heads? Of course.

But you know what? I don’t care.

Broadly defined, a coach has three jobs. Game Preparation. Game Management. Motivation and Leadership. To my eyes, Woodson failed tonight on all three counts. The Knicks looked entirely unprepared for the kind of physicality the Celtics have only been known for since they traded Al Jefferson for Kevin Garnett. His lineups were baffling from wall-to-wall, starting with the decision to slide Melo from the 4 to the 3 to make room for Marcus Camby in the starting lineup and ending with his insistence on blowing STAT’s minute limit to smithereens to keep him on the court for the whole fourth quarter which I wouldn’t have much of a problem with if, you know, the Knicks weren’t a significantly better team with STAT on the bench right now. And the hot-headedness and immaturity on display in a game where, I hate to break it to you, most of the calls and breaks DID go the Knicks’ way, was inexcusable and part of a recurring pattern which, at some point, must fall at the feet of the coach.

This wasn’t all Woodson’s fault. But enough of it was.

Five Things We Saw

  1. This was a bad performance; a winnable game handed to an inferior team despite enjoying the lion’s share of the breaks and calls. The sense of entitlement that sometimes seems to take hold of this team has become the primary buzzkill in an otherwise wonderful half season.
  2. The Knicks exploded out of the gate this fall with a balanced small-ball offense that played to the strengths of everyone on the court and emphasized sharp passing, efficient shot selection, and low turnovers. When they’ve had anything resembling their full compliment of players, that formula has continued to work for them. When they’ve lost, they’ve lost by going away from those principles, focusing instead on isolation and employing big lineups that allow defenses to collapse on the rim and force the Knicks into pull-up jumpers and contested lay-ups. Carmelo Anthony is…wait, sorry, needs its own section…
  3. Carmelo Anthony is a power forward.
  4. This has been well-established. I don’t care if Amare plays the first minute, the 48th minute, the 19th minute, or any other minute. I only care that our best player plays the position that he is best at playing at that player is Carmelo Anthony and that position is power forward and every game that sees him playing most of his minutes at the three represents a significant tactical error.
  5. Tonight Mike Woodson started Marcus Camby at the 4, Carmelo Anthony at the 3, and brought Amare Stoudemire off the bench. In crunch time, he played Stoudemire at the 4 and Anthony at the 3 until the game was basically out of reach. This suggests that Mike Woodson is missing the entire point of the whole “Amare off the bench” thing. The point is NOT to make a statement to Amare that we don’t think he’s good enough to start. That’s actually the negative by-product that the Knicks have to stomach to achieve the ACTUAL point which is that Carmelo Anthony is our best player and the position that he is best at playing is the four and that our best player should play the position that he is best at playing for as many minutes as possible.

42 comments on “Celtics 102, Knicks 96

  1. ruruland

    So, maybe you can read into this. Seems pretty obvious to me.

    Amar’e Stoudemire also defended Carmelo Anthony after the loss, saying the Knicks had to stand up to KG. But in

    the end, Anthony and the Knicks fell to Garnett and the Celtics.

    “Every time we play Boston it’s going to be a physical game,” Stoudemire said. “Garnett brings that intensity even when he was in Minnesota. He brought that same intensity. I’ve been playing against him for 11 years. It’s to be expected.
    “We’re here in New York. We’re not going to let him come in and say and do whatever he wants. So we stood up to him tonight.”

  2. BigBlueAL

    Isola tweeted that Melo was waiting for KG by the Celtics bus and had to be restrained by NYPD police, MSG security and Mike Woodson. Apparently some Boston TV station has some kind of footage of this. I know I was extremely hard on Melo during the game thread mainly because after his double tech with KG with 9 mins left in the game he shot 1 for 7 the rest of the way and it certainly seemed like his loss of temper affected his play on the court (I got those numbers from a tweet from Iannazzone so I assume they are correct lol). But man for him to still be that pissed after the game I cant imagine what KG mustve said/done to him during the game to piss him off to this level.

    Anyway to comment on one of Kevin’s points, you have to love the job Mike Woodson has done as Knicks coach but the jury is still out on him in terms of being able to coach a team to a championship level come playoff time. Now with Amar’e back and soon with Shump back (Sheed too) he has alot of important decisions to make in the future and I hope he is capable of making the correct ones. Woodson’s coaching decisions could very well be the difference between having a memorable May/June or having a disappointing one.

  3. Kevin McElroy Post author

    BBA-

    Agree with a lot of what you said, hope we find out more about what happened between them but it still doesn’t excuse the way he let his emotions be his master during the game.

    As for Woodson, I still think he’s been excellent on the whole this year but the team has clearly hit a patch that’s forcing them to question who they are and that will make or break the job he does this year. He was bad tonight but that doesn’t ruin all the good he’s done.

  4. ruruland

    Well, this is only getting started. NY media has waited too long for something like this to jump on.

  5. ruruland

    Kevin McElroy:
    BBA-

    Agree with a lot of what you said, hope we find out more about what happened between them but it still doesn’t excuse the way he let his emotions be his master during the game.

    As for Woodson, I still think he’s been excellent on the whole this year but the team has clearly hit a patch that’s forcing them to question who they are and that will make or break the job he does this year.He was bad tonight but that doesn’t ruin all the good he’s done.

    Dribble penetration solves most of it. Boston’s offensive efficiency a result of transition, ergo bad Knicks offense. and of course some great half-court shot making in the second-half.

    Knicks defense, for the most part, was very good.

    Also, the game comes down to shots. Melo had quite a few that were right there and didn’t drop. Boston’s did. A lot ove

    Kevin McElroy:
    BBA-

    Agree with a lot of what you said, hope we find out more about what happened between them but it still doesn’t excuse the way he let his emotions be his master during the game.

    As for Woodson, I still think he’s been excellent on the whole this year but the team has clearly hit a patch that’s forcing them to question who they are and that will make or break the job he does this year.He was bad tonight but that doesn’t ruin all the good he’s done.

    A lot of over-analysis imo.

    Sometimes it’s about shots dropping. Both defenses were good. Boston had more tnasition opportunities because of bad offense created by lack of inside-out/dribble penetration.

    Quite a few of Melo’s shots were right there. Boston got theirs to go.

  6. nicos

    I know Amar’e isn’t a great defender but his defense in the 4th had very little to do with the loss- He had a terrible play where he allowed Sullinger to move him out of the way for a putback (Sullinger did shove him but if Amar’e had put a body on him that couldn’t have happened without a whistle). There was also a corner three by Bradley that Amar’e was really late on getting out to (though Kidd was as much to blame as Amar’e). Other than that he was barely involved as Pierce and Garnett were allowed to play a two man game that led to mid-range shots that had nothing to do with Amar’e. If you want to complain about late rotations, Kidd had a slew of them- he made up for some of them with steals but he’s hardly a plus on defense. Should Woodson have gone with Camby? Maybe, but that’s hardly Amar’e’s fault.
    Offensively, he definitely needs to get out of the way in certain sets but pretty much every time he did touch the ball, something good came of it- all of Amar’e’s shots were good ones and Melo got a couple of wide open threes on passes out of the post by Amar’e. But if you’re not going to go to him much on offense there’s no reason for him to be in there but again that’s on Woodson, not Amar’e.

  7. massive

    The league really needs to investigate KG and his mouth. Melo won’t pull a Charlie Villanueva and tell the press what KG said due to his cameo on a Stop Snitching DVD, but I’m sure KG isn’t the only person who talks smack to Melo. KG has to have said something really outlandish along with probably throwing a couple cheap shots at him during the game.

  8. Kevin McElroy Post author

    nicos,

    All of that is fair and I tried to lay most of the blame at Woodson’s feet but given the layout of these recaps it’s still sort of what there is to say about Amare.

  9. nicos

    Kevin McElroy:
    nicos,

    All of that is fair and I tried to lay most of the blame at Woodson’s feet but given the layout of these recaps it’s still sort of what there is to say about Amare.

    I guess I think Amar’e’s defense is getting dissected in way other guy’s defense isn’t. Jeff Green killed Novak and it doesn’t get mentioned. Knicks’ bigs (Chandler included though perhaps not Camby) have been ineffective- either late or just too passive- rotating inside all season, Amar’e’s been okay in that regard. I’d say his defense thus far has been c/c-, a little below average but not terrible. Of course, he’s earned his reputation as a poor defender and probably deserves to be put under a microscope, I just don’t think he’s really hurt the Knicks all that much on the defensive end. I think you’re right about offense- he’s looking to roll every time he sets a screen, not to mention being overactive in trying to set them- often creating traffic for Melo unnecessarily. Hopefully, that’ll get ironed out. That said, unlike the first couple of games he really hasn’t been chucking in the last two- he used 8 possessions in 28 minutes tonight so it’s not like he was going crazy trying to get shots up.

  10. AvonBarksdale

    This evenings game was the only thing i ever worried about coming into this season, the coach has been great at getting guys to buy in but what is up with stat on the court and no one involving him at all for long stretches of time, novak also is on the floor for too many minutes without any plays run to get him open. We def. had the advantage with the officiating as stated above and coach woodson was still preoccupied with them and we didn’t do anything after halftime differently. We can’t afford to be giving the celtics a rallying motivational victory like this, a little strategy would’ve helped in that regard alone i can’t believe jr smith is the calm smart player on the floor for us. everyone seemed tired of the pressure by end of 2nd quarter…we looked confused we rely on melo too much, no one got stat the ball, i’m having last years panic attacks all over again…at least bill walker would’ve actually choked kg on the court instead of waiting by the bus..bad look for our mvp mang this stings.

  11. jon abbey

    BigBlueAL:
    Another thing we cant forget, Rondo didnt even play tonight.

    and NY was missing both of their starting guards (Felton/Shumpert, no way Kidd keeps starting when the team is at full strength IMO), plus Sheed.

  12. Tony Pena

    nicos:
    I know Amar’e isn’t a great defender but his defense in the 4th had very little to do with the loss-

    What was Woodson supposed to do, go with Camby??? Brewer and Novak were getting smoked… Boston was going to the mismatch all game, I don’t see why they wouldn’t have found one with Camby – but Woodson should’ve tried I guess. They always makes us look bad, nothing new. Woody has done that though, try to stick to his guns and go with the game plan (even though much more adaptive than D’Antoni), I don’t think that was it here. The C’s won the mental game, AGAIN.

  13. Hubert Davis

    Your 5th point is excellent:

    “Woodson is missing the entire point of the whole “Amare off the bench” thing.”

    I’ve been watching us start Thomas and Camby and thinking the same thing. The whole point of bringing Amar’e off the bench was to let Melo play the 4!!!! This is what drives me nuts about Woodson. He’s got 90% of what you want, but that missing 10% is deadly.

  14. flossy

    nicos: I guess I think Amar’e’s defense is getting dissected in way other guy’s defense isn’t.

    Yeah, this. Nobody on the Knicks really had an exemplary defensive game but STAT gets killed for it because… he’s Amar’e.

    It did boggle my mind that they kept him on the court for the whole 4th quarter but like… refused to pass him the ball? I mean what’s the point? The way Melo was just relentlessly (and fruitlessly) chucking at every opportunity out of pure anger, Amar’e might as well have been sitting next to Spike with some popcorn. Did nobody think he coud score on Brandon Bass?? ‘Cause he certainly wasn’t in there for defense.

  15. Hubert Davis

    ruruland:
    OMG!!! He’s just….. standing there: http://www.csnne.com/basketball-boston-celtics/celtics-talk/Knicks-Anthony-waits-for-Garnett-by-team?blockID=821079&feedID=10424

    Yes, but he shouldn’t be. Why is he there? I get that the media will blow this out of proportion, but he shouldn’t be there. And if he wasn’t surrounded by cameras and NYPD he probably wouldn’t just be standing there.

    I sort of applaud Melo for standing up to those punks. Sort of. Someone needed to do it. Thing is, it shouldn’t have been him. His teammates should have backed him up in the game and he & Chandler should have focused on winning the game. But Woodson didn’t give anyone a chance to do that (he surrounded them with JR, Amar’e, and Kidd). Woodson really f***ed this game up. If KG is taking liberties with your star, put Thomas or Camby in for Amar’e and let them guard KG a couple times down the court and send them do the barking and the enforcing. It’s classic “back up your teammate 101″. You don’t let your star be your enforcer. You take care of that aspect for him and let him focus on winning you the game. This was a total team letdown tonight. I expect better from a team with so many veterans.

    The hockey equivalent of what we saw tonight would be Marian Gaborik getting into it with Milan Lujic! That would never happen bc Marian would trust his coach and teammates to take care of that end. Now that the NHL lockout is over, maybe Tortarella can teach them a few things!

  16. Hubert Davis

    As disappointing as this was, it was the first of four games against the Celtics. If we’re still getting abused by switches and letting them get in our heads after the 4th game, then it’s time to draw conclusions. We have 3 more games against them, and it’s the kind of hill championship teams climb during a season. This is the kind of seasoning you need during an 82 game schedule to get you ready for a title run.

  17. flossy

    Hey at least we didn’t lose to the Wizards or Hornets (lookin’ at you, OKC and San Antonio).

  18. Bruno Almeida

    jon abbey: and NY was missing both of their starting guards (Felton/Shumpert, no way Kidd keeps starting when the team is at full strength IMO), plus Sheed.

    they are bot starting guards, Felton and Rondo, but that’s where the similarities end.

    Rondo has murdered us for the last few years, and Felton has a .460 TS%, so I guess it’s pretty obvious who could have made a bigger impact in this game.

    well, this was a typical veteran team that just won’t give up performance by the Celtics… they pushed the right buttons, exploited the Knicks shortcomings and pulled it out.

    I wouldn’t read too much into it, the only thing that really bothers me is the insistence on starting Camby… I love him as a player, but start Brewer and JR, Melo at the 4, and bring in Camby together with Amare.

  19. Matt Smith

    Nice write-up, Kev. Not sure why this is the first I’ve read about Camby starting, but I’ve been saying it since Kurt – Melo should have that spot. Everyone agreed that was a major reason for our success at the beginning of the year, and it seemed like people placed all the blame of Kurt (much of it deserved), when a lot of it was also Woody’s fault.

    Ruru, I’d have to disagree – this wasn’t about luck. Their shots were falling because our defense was awful, and our shots weren’t falling because they were mostly contested. In fact, had we not been so unconscious from 3 in the middle two quarters, this game wouldn’t have been close. Our early switches lead to tons of open jumpers, and our unnecessary double teams lead to easy buckets. That’s the game I saw.

  20. Matt Smith

    I also think a lot of people posting tend to overrate someone’s defensive prowess because they look at their 1on1 intensity, whereas they don’t appreciate how important help defense is against a competent NBA offense.

    STAT has a long way to go to being a competent defender. I think people saw his intensity improve (he’s not as much of a matador anymore, which is awesome), and now they think that he’s a decent defender. His lapses on rotations aren’t always obvious, but they’re a good reason for why you saw so many Boston open jumpers.

    Just my 2c. I love STAT, and love how tuned in he is (especially his positive attitude – he didn’t bat an eyelash when Woody took him out for Brewer in the waning minutes), but he’s got a lot to learn.

    PS – Sometimes lack of help defense awareness is obvious – am I the only one who saw that wide-open (like, by 10 feet) Jeff Green jumper in the 4th, while STAT stood befuddled under the rim?

  21. jon abbey

    I swe

    Bruno Almeida:

    Rondo has murdered us for the last few years, and Felton has a .460 TS%, so I guess it’s pretty obvious who could have made a bigger impact in this game.

    Boston’s backups are a lot better than Prigioni, who really seems exposed against better teams. and it’s not just Felton, Shumpert is going to be huge for this team if he regains his athletic form of last season.

    and it’s funny that people are calling for more Melo at PF, when so many of his issues in this game came when he was trying to defend Garnett.

  22. mokers

    Like others this is a good game to learn from. If Melo hadn’t picked up his early two fouls or that stupid fourth, it is a likely win. The switch on everything hurt as well. Maybe you do that when you are worried about rondo getting space, but instead we are giving good looks all over the place. Verry bad job by Woodson.

    Decent writeup but not sure how Novak gets a pass for D. Somebody in the game thread said Jeff green got Novak eyes and they were right. What bothers me more is when he gives up weak contact for an and 1 with no hope of challenging the shot, ever. Amar’e will always have his lapses, but he at least has the hope of holding his own down 1 on 1.

    That being said, I probably would have put Novak in at the end. The celtics were going iso and we needed a way to get open looks on the other end.

    Boston’s pressure caused a lot of turnovers and that was a difference. Good chance we see Boston or Chicago in the playoffs, so the Knicks will have to learn to win when they are getting mugged.

  23. Hubert Davis

    @24 – and actually sometimes his intensity was detrimental. I recall one play in the 4th when he was guarding Jared Sullinger at the 3-point line as if he was Avery Bradley on JR Smith! Clyde pointed out he was guarding him too far out, he’s not a threat there, and sure enough Sullinger drew a foul and got to the line. Two complete freebies.

    Speaking of Bradley, JR needed to run him into a hard screen from Chandler. I’m not talking thug tactics or anything. But it’s like when a batter is too comfortable in the box. You got to move him back a bit. Avery gets so locked in, you have to give him something else to think about or you end up having his head in your grill all night.

  24. d-mar

    With all the talk about Melo losing his cool after the game (and the press is on their expected feeding frenzy – Most Volatile Player blah blah blah) my biggest issues with him were his 3rd and 4th fouls while guarding Green. He really did seem to be in some manic frenzy, and you could tell he was pissed at the way Green was guarding him and completely overplayed him on defense; the refs had no choice but to blow the whistle. This resulted in Woodson having to take him out for a long stretch in the 2nd half.

    Still, I’m not upset at Melo for his anger and intensity, as long as he channels it into a monster game next time we face the C’s.

  25. Hubert Davis

    jon abbey:

    and it’s funny that people are calling for more Melo at PF, when so many of his issues in this game came when he was trying to defend Garnett.

    Garnett was their 5, though. But you’re right, when you combine Melo at the 4 with our penchant for switching, you get a lot of Melo guarding Marc Gasol, Kevin Garnett, and Joakim Noah. Probably no coincidence he lost his cool all three of those times.

    Also I think people are giving KG too much credit. Melo’s issue all year has been with the refs. I think the way they were calling the game affected him more than anything KG said.

  26. d-mar

    Oh, and being there in person and watching Pierce prance up the court after his dagger J made the evening even more special – can never get enough of that!

  27. DRed

    d-mar:
    With all the talk about Melo losing his cool after the game (and the press is on their expected feeding frenzy – Most Volatile Player blah blah blah) my biggest issues with him were his 3rd and 4th fouls while guarding Green. He really did seem to be in some manic frenzy, and you could tell he was pissed at the way Green was guarding him and completely overplayed him on defense; the refs had no choice but to blow the whistle. This resulted in Woodson having to take him out for a long stretch in the 2nd half.

    Still, I’m not upset at Melo for his anger and intensity, as long as he channels it into a monster game next time we face the C’s.

    Melo played plenty. He still had time to jack up 26 shots. I don’t understand why Woody didn’t bench him for a minute or so in the middle of the 4th when it was obvious that the Celtics were in his head. Sit him down, try to get him to calm down, and let Stat take some shots for a while.

  28. Frank

    mokers: Decent writeup but not sure how Novak gets a pass for D. Somebody in the game thread said Jeff green got Novak eyes and they were right.

    Pretty sure that if we looked, his synergy numbers from last night would be horrible. When there’s no one to hide Novak on, he just can’t be in the game. If he doesn’t put up 8+ 3′s per 36 in that setting, he can’t score enough to make up for his defensive liabilities.

  29. johnlocke

    I saw it Matt, he was guarding no one just really piss poor defense on that play. I had to rewind and then realized it was worse than I thought.

    Matt Smith:
    STAT has a long way to go to being a competent defender.

    Just my 2c. I love STAT, and love how tuned in he is (especially his positive attitude – he didn’t bat an eyelash when Woody took him out for Brewer in the waning minutes), but he’s got a lot to learn.

    PS – Sometimes lack of help defense awareness is obvious – am I the only one who saw that wide-open (like, by 10 feet) Jeff Green jumper in the 4th, while STAT stood befuddled under the rim?

  30. hnwingo

    Multiple reasons why the Knicks lost the game. Pierce always kills them, so I would single out these three:

    1. Carmelo’s very poor performance
    2. Novak’s inability to guard anybody effectively
    3. Avery Bradley’s extremely effective and disruptive defense.

    If Bradley keeps this up he should be considered for Defensive Player of the Year. Also Tom Hensohn on the Boston call just gets more pathetic and embarrassing every year. Why do the Boston fans put up with this? I feel sorry for his play-by-play guy who is professional and deserves better.

  31. thenamestsam

    I think people are getting a little too caught up in the specifics of last night. The big issue to me is still the defense. To give up 100 points to that team on our homecourt with no Rondo AND Pierce in foul trouble for a lot of the game is troubling. Yes, to have a chance at a championship we’re going to need to play with more composure under pressure than we showed last night, but the defense has to get straightened out or I really don’t think that will ever have a chance to come into play.

    We’re now, what, 5-6 in the last 11 and it’s not like it has been a brutal schedule stretch or anything. This team just isn’t playing great right now, and while injuries are definitely part of that it does seem like the effort on the defensive end has really fallen off.

  32. d-mar

    thenamestsam:
    I think people are getting a little too caught up in the specifics of last night. The big issue to me is still the defense. To give up 100 points to that team on our homecourt with no Rondo AND Pierce in foul trouble for a lot of the game is troubling. Yes, to have a chance at a championship we’re going to need to play with more composure under pressure than we showed last night, but the defense has to get straightened out or I really don’t think that will ever have a chance to come into play.

    We’re now, what, 5-6 in the last 11 and it’s not like it has been a brutal schedule stretch or anything. This team just isn’t playing great right now, and while injuries are definitely part of that it does seem like the effort on the defensive end has really fallen off.

    I agree that our defense has fallen off lately, but I don’t think last night it was all that bad. I was there and watching rotations and closeouts closely, and there weren’t too many instances of just leaving guys wide open or letting guys go untouched to the basket. The C’s just executed well, Garnett carried them early, Pierce carried them late and Bradley seemed like he made every shot he took.

    Melo’s misses were no more contested than Pierce’s makes, his just weren’t falling, that’s the way it goes sometimes.

  33. nicos

    Matt Smith:
    I also think a lot of people posting tend to overrate someone’s defensive prowess because they look at their 1on1 intensity, whereas they don’t appreciate how important help defense is against a competent NBA offense.
    STAT has a long way to go to being a competent defender. I think people saw his intensity improve (he’s not as much of a matador anymore, which is awesome), and now they think that he’s a decent defender. His lapses on rotations aren’t always obvious, but they’re a good reason for why you saw so many Boston open jumpers.
    PS – Sometimes lack of help defense awareness is obvious – am I the only one who saw that wide-open (like, by 10 feet) Jeff Green jumper in the 4th, while STAT stood befuddled under the rim?

    I don’t necessarily disagree but the Knicks play two guards- Kidd and JR- who’d much rather help than guard their own man, one of whom (the old one) doesn’t have the foot speed to make up for bad gambles. Melo at the four has been very good (much better than Amar’e) at rotating out on shooters but he’s just not a guy who can challenge shots when he has to rotate on the interior. Novak’s rotations are every bit as slow as Amar’e’s and when he has to rotate inside, forget it. This team has a lot of defensive flaws and I’m not sure that Amar’e’s are that much worse than everyone else’s. You mention the poor rotation on Green but what about the play where Kidd and Melo just stared at Pierce (who had Chandler on him) and let Lee slip behind them for an easy lay up- that’s a lot worse than giving up a jumper to Green. What killed the Knicks last night was giving up the Chandler/Melo switch on KG and Pierce even after it burned them time and time again.

  34. Frank

    d-mar: I agree that our defense has fallen off lately, but I don’t think last night it was all that bad. I was there and watching rotations and closeouts closely, and there weren’t too many instances of just leaving guys wide open or letting guys go untouched to the basket. The C’s just executed well, Garnett carried them early, Pierce carried them late and Bradley seemed like he made every shot he took.

    We lost because Melo lost his mind and took some bad shots, but mostly because the Celtics took and made shots we want them to take.

    They took 22 shots from 10-23 feet, and made 14 of them (63.6%).
    For the season they average 13.3 for 30.3 from that range (43.9%). If they shoot even 50% from that range (which would lead the league if kept up), we win this game.

    we kept them basically to their average # of shots at the rim and from 3 point range. They just hit shots we want them to take.

  35. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Frank: We lost because Melo lost his mind and took some bad shots, but mostly because the Celtics took and made shots we want them to take.

    They took 22 shots from 10-23 feet, and made 14 of them (63.6%).
    For the season they average 13.3 for 30.3 from that range (43.9%).If they shoot even 50% from that range (which would lead the league if kept up), we win this game.

    we kept them basically to their average # of shots at the rim and from 3 point range.They just hit shots we want them to take.

    But… but… defense! I remember a fall-away Jeff Green jumper from like, 19 feet. I thought to myself, “Jesus, I am so glad there are only two players on the Knicks who will actually take that shot, and neither of them are named Jeff Green” and then it went in.

    I saw an interesting stat today. Over the last two years, ~1% of Michael Beasley’s shots are dunks. ONE PERCENT! He’s 6’10″ and “athletic!”

  36. Frank

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: But… but… defense! I remember a fall-away Jeff Green jumper from like, 19 feet. I thought to myself, “Jesus, I am so glad there are only two players on the Knicks who will actually take that shot, and neither of them are named Jeff Green” and then it went in.

    I saw an interesting stat today. Over the last two years, ~1% of Michael Beasley’s shots are dunks. ONE PERCENT! He’s 6’10? and “athletic!”

    The Celts do lead the league in long (16-23) 2 percentage and are top 5 in attempts from there, but like ol’ Shane Battier says, you can live with those shots.

    Re: Beasley – yeah that guy is terrible.

  37. Bruno Almeida

    jon abbey:
    I swe

    Boston’s backups are a lot better than Prigioni, who really seems exposed against better teams. and it’s not just Felton, Shumpert is going to be huge for this team if he regains his athletic form of last season.

    and it’s funny that people are calling for more Melo at PF, when so many of his issues in this game came when he was trying to defend Garnett.

    I agree on Shumpert, but he hasn’t played so far in this season and we have beaten Miami twice, so I don’t think his absence is an excuse to lose to the Celtics.

    the problem in this game wasn’t Melo guarding Garnett, KG was good but nothing more, it was a performance that was to be expected by him.

    the problem was that Carmelo was force to take bad shots because of the stagnant offense, and yes, I agree Prigioni and Kidd have a lot to do with that, because they provided no dribble penetration at all.

    but the issue I still have with this team is: Felton supposedly gives us the dribble penetration needed to make the offense more fluid, but good teams will gameplan to force him into long two’s all the time, and he has shown already that he will take those shots (and miss A LOT of them).

    my point is: unless we get a better PG somehow, this team offensive shortcomings (and defensive too, because defense at the PG position has been a disaster so far) will keep the Knicks from winning it all.

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