Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Celtics 96, Knicks 86

Disclaimer: as this was written for the Daily Dime and in a fog of moderate-to-severe anger (made all the more intense by a round of antibiotics which preclude me from drinking), please excuse both the lack of statistics and the overly pessimistic tone of this screed.

2010 was supposed to be a year of changing fortunes for the New York Knicks. And in a few meaningful ways, it has been. Playoff bound for the first time in seven years and with a certifiable Big Three to call their own, the Knicks seem to have embraced the new decade – like the fans their new-look squad – while distancing themselves from the relative misery and disappointment of the one just past.

But when it comes to the Boston Celtics, Monday night’s 96-86 humiliating home meltdown was very much the same old story.

The Celtics outscored the Bockers 33-17 in a final frame which saw both Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony all but vanish. Boston’s Big Three of Pierce, Allen and Garnett, meanwhile, tallied 25 of their team’s fourth quarter points, as the Celtics seemed to beat the Knicks to every loose ball and critical rebound.

To say the game was a slugfest would be an understatement: both Ray Allen and Carmelo Anthony found themselves on the receiving end of errant elbows that drew literal streams of blood.

The fact that it was Melo who inadvertently caught Allen on the top of the head in the 2nd quarter – only to get the same from Rajon Rondo at midcourt halfway through the 4th – imparted a karmic irony that was lost on no one, as barbs, barks and elbows were traded as much as butterfly band-aids in a truly heated second half.

The loss put the Knicks at .500 for the first time since February 11th, a 113-96 home drubbing by the Lakers. At that point in the season, many blamed the Knicks’ woes on the incessant Carmelo Anthony trade talks and the toll it was taking on team chemistry and morale. Now, with New York having dropped 6 of their last 7 and 9 of 16 since the Anthony trade, chemistry and morale are again at the heart of the conversation.

Refreshingly, both seemed intact early, as solid ball movement and the efficient shooting of Anthony (15 first half points on 7 of 12 shooting) and Stoudemire (11 points on 5-8 shooting) – combined with a shockingly staunch stretch of D that included a span of 270 seconds where the Celtics failed to score – helped put the Knicks up 14 at the break.

After cutting the Knick lead to 6 entering the fourth, Boston’s lockdown defense and patient ball movement began to pay dividends. With Stoudemire and Anthony both looking lost and unsure, the Knicks offense crumbled steadily, mustering a measly 4 points in the final 7:26, and no points in the final 3:28.

Using the frenzied Garden chants as fuel down the stretch, the Celtics closed the game with a playoff-level intensity unbecoming their typical March malaise. What was a still a two-point game with 2:34 quickly mushroomed to 6, then 8, then 10, in a span which saw Carmelo Anthony attempt exactly zero shots and Stoudemire’s lone 15-foot jumper clang errant.

All three Knicks-Celtics games have had a palpable playoff feel. But as the season nears the finish line, the likelihood of the first Boston-New York series since 1990 is becoming more of a possibility. The surging Sixers seem poised to hold on to the sixth seed – if not steal the 5th spot from the stumbling Hawks – and an equally favorable home stretch makes the Bulls’ chances of landing the top seed even more likely. The Magic, meanwhile, will likely retain the 4th seed, which they’ve held for most of the year.

That leaves the enigmatic Heat, who may wish to stand pat at #3 – where they’d face a Philadelphia team they have yet to lose to – rather than risk a run-in with the Knicks, who seem to have their number of late.

The Knicks and Celtics will meet one more time in Boston on April 13th, the last game of the regular season for both squads.

The way it’s shaping up now, it could be the Knicks’ final pre-playoff chance to exorcise their many demons in what will certainly have the look and feel of a de facto Game 1. Tonight they were all on display, with rebounding (44-38), turnovers (13-8), and interior defense (44 points in the paint to 28) all once again finding the Knicks holding the short end of the stat stick.

But one demon more than any other will doubtless loom larger and louder:  that of the fourth quarter collapse. Having been outscored by a combined 25 in the last two final frames against their old nemesis, Amare, Melo and the rest of the Knicks should by then know better than anyone the importance of execution and smart play when it counts.

If they don’t, the Celtics themselves would certainly love nothing better than to teach them again.

44 comments on “Celtics 96, Knicks 86

  1. d-mar

    That last 5 minutes was excruciating to watch. One team poised and executing their offense, the other frenzied and launching one bad shot after another.

    I will say one thing, and I posted this earlier in the game: Boston is a beast in 4th quarter defensively against every team they play, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve checked scores on ESPN, seen Boston getting beat pretty handily and then you go back and they’ve won the game by dominating the 4th quarter. I’m sure Doc would rather see them not have to rally every game, but the way they play down the stretch is amazing, and it’s why they’re built for the postseason.

  2. Frank O.

    Last night no doubt was frustrating.
    I realize when people get frustrated they turn on each other. I hope that mood passes.

    Couple thoughts after a night of my youngest suffering from a stomach virus and getting all of 2 hours of sleep:

    Last night was a knockdown, drag out playoff-caliber game with high emotion that turned on some key plays down the stretch. Boston showed the Knicks another gear and right now because the Knicks are still finding an identity, they had no answers.
    They did kind of panic and fall out of their offense at the end. The Celts hustled more: recall the Rondo dash past Amare going for a ball headed out of bounds and throwing it off Amare, who just wasn’t as fast, or big baby splitting two Knicks and flying out of bounds to save a ball, or KG working his ass off to tie up a ball with Amare, who had position but was hesitant to crash to the floor while KG let it all hang out.
    Also, notice how on two key plays the Celts had two guys dashing to the Knicks’ basket while every Knick on the floor trailed the play, or how when Billups brought the ball up and literally four Knicks dogged it up the court.
    The Knicks lacked the intensity and the relationships that elevate a team in moments of great stress. That comes with time. The Celts coach noted last night that despite the bloody faces, it was a “beautiful” game.
    I don’t think he says that just because they won. I think he realized it was a playoff caliber game. I agree with Abbey that the Knicks showed a lot of heart last night but fell short. Games like this turn on emotion and energy, and the Celts found it within themselves to generate that emotion and energy. And the Knicks have not yet found that inner definition and fortitude.
    But make no mistake: the Celtics know they were in a war last night. They know that if the Knicks can find something in these last 12 games, they will have trouble with this crew.
    I’m not be optimistic. I think I’m being realistic.

  3. Jim Cavan Post author

    Well put, Frank. Waking up this morning I had a little bit different perspective on the whole thing. We really did want it, but that Celtics team is just so incredibly battle-tested it’s almost unfair. But when I remember that our two stars are 7-8 years younger than their counterparts, I feel a little better.

    “So after the final horn sounded, Anthony lost himself in thought on the Knicks’ bench. He said he was thinking “that we’re going to get it right. We don’t need to panic or anything like that. … For the most part, I was just sitting there thinking, ‘This ship is going to turn right.’ I’m excited about it.

    Can I make just one request? That no Knick, when expressing how understandably excited they are for the future, make reference to a ship? Like at all?… Ever?… Please?

  4. Caleb

    Yes on the whole I would say it is actually a pretty positive game for the Knicks – a hard-fought loss to a title contender. If the Knicks play that way every game, they’ll win a lot.

  5. Spree8nyk8

    Idk, I mean personally for me all 3 games vs the celtics have had one common theme. And I know since people consider me to be a cheerleader that it will be ignored but it’s not a big deal.

    All 3 games the Knicks have laid the wood to the celtics for 3-3.5 quarters only to lose. All three games down the stretch the officials fucked them over to the point where they seemed to lose composure. I mean last night it was especially evident, they came unglued in that game. And that is something that can’t happen. They have to play through things like that and I think someday they will. But god damn man can we have one game against them that can be reffed fairly down the stretch? I mean down the stretch in that game they completely stop going inside and I actually understand why, because it makes no sense to go inside if you are gonna get raped and fouled and never get a call, it’s just going to be another turnover. It’s ridiculous. And I know someone is going to find some things that went the Knicks way during the course of the game, and I”m sure there were things. But anyone would trade midgame calls for down the stretch calls anyday.

    I AM NOT SAYING THE REFS STOLE THIS GAME FROM US…..

    I am saying the team lost their composure when they got hosed a few times. Everytime they play those guys down the stretch Amar’e gets assaulted nobody cares, Felton got thrown into the photographers, no issue. Idk how big a factor it was, but it definitely was a factor.

  6. Spree8nyk8

    And for the article, I’m pretty sure Jeffries is the one who cut Allens head and not Anthony.

  7. itztiz

    I’m happy even though we lost. We have to be excited we got a team like the Celtics to take off the kid gloves and play us with their best basketball.

    If we continued our run and blew the Celtics out it would have proved absolutely nothing. The first 3 quarters of the game prove we can get it done defensively, in the fourth we just lost our stride and it effected both stars who were visibly frustrated. If they find a way to execute down the stretch we are a hard team to beat. I’m glad these kinks are being ironed out now instead of in the playoffs.

  8. dkkr2

    d-mar—
    Boston is a beast in 4th quarter defensively against every team they play….

    Spot on. Read Ray Allen’s comments about 4th quarter play in Araton’s article about Anthony—

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/22/sports/basketball/22araton.html?ref=sports

    Dolan orchestrating this trade was a business decision. It had little to do with basketball. Who cares if you blow up a team and leave little cap space for a player who doesn’t fit your needs. Dolan now has a well known brand to sell to the masses. It’s D’antoni’s problem to make it work.

  9. Spree8nyk8

    Idk I feel like Amar’e gets less of the star treatment than just about any other star player, he’s constantly hammered and doesn’t get the benefit, especially late in games. And he gets more strange charging calls than anyone I’ve ever seen. I’m never going to understand (this didn’t happen last night that I know of) the charging calls where the offensive player has already jumped towards the basket and the defensive player is allowed to run in front of him and as long as he stops moving before the offensive player hits him it’s a charge. Not sure how a guy in flight already is supposed to avoid that contact, but Amar’e gets THAT call ALL the time. Very frustrating.

    Either way I just don’t see the Knicks ever getting a fair shake down the stretch in games, so they are gonna either need to learn how to start blowing people out, or get mentally tougher for when these things happen because I think it’s going to continue at least for the rest of this year.

  10. Jim Cavan Post author

    Bill Simmons brought up a really interesting scenario in his podcast with Steve Kerr today. Basically the Knicks would “trade” D’Antoni to the Warriors, where he’d score 130 a night with Curry, Ellis and Lee. Meanwhile Phil Jackson would come back to New York for one last three-year deal and run the triangle with Melo and Amar’e, bringing his career full circle. Everyone wins.

    Close to impossible, but more than a little intriguing, no?

  11. JK47

    Chauncey Billups is not gonna cut it as starting point guard of this squad. Rajon Rondo didn’t even have a great game last night, and Rondo ate Billups’ lunch.

    Both point guards shot 6-15, but Rondo had 12 assists and 3 turnovers while Billups had 3 assists and 5 turnovers. You want to know why we came unglued at the end? We came unglued because Boston, in addition to their “Big 3,” has a young, smart, sneaky point guard with cat-like reflexes, amazing body control and a knack for heady plays.

    We don’t have a “Big 3″ and it’s time to stop pretending that we do. Billups’ assist-to-turnover ratio as a Knick is 5.8 to 3.6 per 36 minutes. That’s pathetic. He’s shooting a Felton-esque .323 from behind the arc. His defense is porous. He’s had a nice career but he’s 34 and has looked really terrible at times. I’m not looking forward to a whole season of age 35 Chauncey running the show.

  12. Nick C.

    @9 interesting article. I know I’ve brought this up over and over but Melo has to look to the example of a guy like Adrian Dantley when he went from Utah to Detroit. Oh and I totally agree Dolan got geeked up about this trade for $$$ and nothing else.
    12-yeah so far Billups has been pretty underwhelming. Hopefully its b/c of the thigh.

  13. d-mar

    @12 Well Rondo pretty much tortures every PG in the league, if he could shoot, I can’t even imagine how great he would be, maybe one of the greatest PG’s ever. But I agree that Chauncey has been underwhelming so far, his main value on offense seems to be trying to draw stupid fouls.

  14. Garson

    I wish i had video to show this but here goes…

    During the last 5 min, there was a play where both Amare and Garnett both lunged to the floor to get a loose ball, Amare got to it as he was ahead but Garnett got his hand on the ball causing the ref to call a jump ball.

    At the jump ball circle… You could see who was getting it before the ball even went up. Garnett was so amped up on getting the tip that as they were standing waiting for the ball to go up, he couldnt sit still… He just wanted it more.. and got it with ease…

    This is where the problem is… The Celtics just wanted it more, We saw this on the Rondo loose ball with amare and coutless other times.

  15. JK47

    @16

    Yeah, the Celtics play with tremendous intensity… bordering on rage almost. I think they’re going to cut the rest of the teams in the East to ribbons in the playoffs.

  16. Frank O.

    JK47: @16Yeah, the Celtics play with tremendous intensity… bordering on rage almost.I think they’re going to cut the rest of the teams in the East to ribbons in the playoffs.  

    The Knicks can learn a lot from yesterday’s game. That was the second game in two days, but the Knicks fitness wasn’t lacking. It was their intensity and discipline.

  17. Frank O.

    JK47: Chauncey Billups is not gonna cut it as starting point guard of this squad.Rajon Rondo didn’t even have a great game last night, and Rondo ate Billups’ lunch.Both point guards shot 6-15, but Rondo had 12 assists and 3 turnovers while Billups had 3 assists and 5 turnovers.You want to know why we came unglued at the end?We came unglued because Boston, in addition to their “Big 3,” has a young, smart, sneaky point guard with cat-like reflexes, amazing body control and a knack for heady plays.We don’t have a “Big 3? and it’s time to stop pretending that we do.Billups’ assist-to-turnover ratio as a Knick is 5.8 to 3.6 per 36 minutes.That’s pathetic.He’s shooting a Felton-esque .323 from behind the arc.His defense is porous.He’s had a nice career but he’s 34 and has looked really terrible at times.I’m not looking forward to a whole season of age 35 Chauncey running the show.  

    Respectfully disagree. He came back and everyone knew he wasn’t 100 percent. He can’t push off that leg. You know shooting is all about the legs.
    Before the injury, frankly, Billups was the best knick on the floor several nights. Give him time to get right. I’ve had deep thigh bruises and it is debilitating. Trust me on this one. With one of those things, you could just be sitting there and the throbbing of it brings tears to your eyes. Slow to heel and very very painful.
    In the playoffs, he’s the Knicks’ most valuable asset, hands down.

  18. Frank O.

    Jim Cavan: Bill Simmons brought up a really interesting scenario in his podcast with Steve Kerr today. Basically the Knicks would “trade” D’Antoni to the Warriors, where he’d score 130 a night with Curry, Ellis and Lee. Meanwhile Phil Jackson would come back to New York for one last three-year deal and run the triangle with Melo and Amar’e, bringing his career full circle. Everyone wins.
    Close to impossible, but more than a little intriguing, no?  

    Honestly, D’Antoni in three years has had six teams, and each team he got, he showed improvement in their play over time…before the team changed again.
    I think his versatility, willingness to keep disparate talents playing at a high level, and discipline despite these changes has been nothing short of remarkable.
    He gets a bad rap with the Knicks on defense because the best defensive teams play together for a good while. Defense, unlike offense, doesn’t just happen. Especially in the NBA where athleticism and offense get players big money, strong defense is difficult to execute because it requires teamwork, diminished offensive focus and bruises. Yet defense wins championships.
    With this team, unlike with the last team, if they play defense at the league average, they are going to kick some serious ass in the playoffs.
    D’Antoni is a great coach.

  19. Frank O.

    d-mar: @12 Well Rondo pretty much tortures every PG in the league, if he could shoot, I can’t even imagine how great he would be, maybe one of the greatest PG’s ever. But I agree that Chauncey has been underwhelming so far, his main value on offense seems to be trying to draw stupid fouls.  

    Seriously, if you asked me to choose between Paul, Williams and Rondo, by no means is that an easy decision.
    In that crew, he’s the only guy who elevated his team to a championship. Boston’s big three are great, but Rondo is what makes the celts special.

  20. Doug

    Frank O.: I’ve had deep thigh bruises and it is debilitating. Trust me on this one. With one of those things, you could just be sitting there and the throbbing of it brings tears to your eyes. Slow to heel and very very painful.

    Co-signed. I play rugby, and one time I got a hematoma right above the knee after a collision in practice. It didn’t hurt… until I tried to walk or run. It made no sense because nothing was broken and nothing was wrong with my joints… just a huge, swollen bruise on my quad.

  21. Jim Cavan Post author

    @20

    Points taken. I agree, I’d much rather see it work with D’Antoni, and I think it can. But it’s going to take a lot of work. When you’re dealing with two rather stubborn individuals in D’A and Melo, something’s gotta give. Ultimately I think SSOL — or some semblance thereof — carries the day, and Melo will simply have to adjust his game. I hope so anyway.

    Agree wholeheartedly about the defense. It’s been said so many times that it probably doesn’t warrant repeating, but he needs an assistant defensive guru, bad. Hopefully that’s on their radar screen.

    All I’m saying is, if everything goes to crap and D’Antoni exits stage left next summer for greener, faster pastures, the thought of Jackson coming home and working the triangle is intriguing. But much pain and grief would need to pass for that to happen.

  22. cgreene

    @20 they also need consistency. From DW to MDA to the players they need the same messaging. If they make front office and coaching changes after this season I suspect much more upheaval with new people in charge under pressure to perform.

    Agreed the MDA should remain the coach. He will fig out how to get the most of the Amare Melo offense over time.

  23. jon abbey

    in the few games Billups played here before the injury, he was dribbling with a purpose, there were none of the awful passes we’ve seen in the last few games. I have to believe he’s still not fully recovered, hopefully he will be by playoff time.

  24. iserp

    I am not sure about Billups, there were voices asking for Lawson to run the show in Denver before he got here. Maybe, once in the playoffs he can do better, but i am a bit skeptical now.

  25. hoolahoop

    Jim Cavan: When you’re dealing with two rather stubborn individuals in D’A and Melo, something’s gotta give. Ultimately I think SSOL — or some semblance thereof — carries the day, and Melo will simply have to adjust his game.

    Dantoni pretty much said that he abandoned SSOL with this new incarnation and is adjusting his style to the players he has.

  26. hoolahoop

    How does Billips thigh injury cause him to take ill-advised shots and make over aggressive, poor passing decisions? If anything, he should be playing more conservatively.
    Maybe, he played over his head when he arrived in NY, and everybody deemed him king prematurely. Billups can be a good, solid player if he sticks to his history of making good decisions and shooting a good percentage. But let’s not get carried away.

  27. Jim Cavan Post author

    hoolahoop: How does Billips thigh injury cause him to take ill-advised shots and make over aggressive, poor passing decisions?

    Because it $%*&#$ really hurts?

  28. StevenU

    This is a startlingly positive thread as compared to how I’ve been feeling about this team (and abut THE trade, and the team’s future).
    In fact I appreciate the levelheadedness…it is helping me let go of some of the anger and the pain I’ve been feeling so thank you.
    It is pretty hard not to look at the Knuckets and envy their team chemistry, their spirit, their depth and their coach. George Karl looks years younger and happier than I’ve seen him…ever.
    D’antoni seems puzzled, confused and out of his depth.
    Chauncey looks old, and a step slow. Now, I realize the deep thigh bruise has hampered him since he came back, and he did have a great first couple of games with the Knicks, BUT (and this was a huge part of my issue with the trade in the first place), for all his big shots, and clutch play he has never been a great playmaker/passer, not even at his peak when Detroit won it all. Even if I’d stipulate that his shooting % will come up, he is what he is and likely a 19pt 5 assist guy as a 32 mins a game starter-which is not bad, but a lot of point guards would average more assists on this team in this system. Including 26yr old Ray Felton who was getting trashed here very recently as nearly everyone jumped down my throat when I suggested that trade off should have been a deal killer. I was told in very know it all condescending ways that I did not understand the gigantic gap between Felton and 34 yr old Chauncey, and how Chauncey’s great shooting would open everything up offensively. And that he was supposedly (still) a better defender. Those statements do not pass the so called eye test. Felton whether you love him or not is a much better passer and much quicker than Billups at this point in their respective careers.
    Melo is simply not such a huge upgrade over Gallo, either. I posted at the time and still belive that upgrade was basically trading a 22 year old 6’10” still improving guy who scores 16 and is very likely a 20 point (plus) scorer,…

  29. jon abbey

    hoolahoop:
    Dantoni pretty much said that he abandoned SSOL with this new incarnation and is adjusting his style to the players he has.  

    I believe that since then (after the Pistons loss?), Amare and D’Antoni have said they’re going back to SSOL. right?

  30. StevenU

    Melo is simply not such a huge upgrade over Gallo, either. I posted at the time and still belive that upgrade was basically trading a 22 year old 6’10? still improving guy who scores 16 and is very likely a 20 point (plus) scorer, for a 25 pt scorer.
    Not nearly enough of an upgrade to justify dismantling a decent young improving team.

  31. Spree8nyk8

    There simply is no point in trying to put logic on this board. No matter how well it’s explained, if the Knicks aren’t the best team in the league right this moment then many residents of this board are going to mock them. They started off this season THE FIRST SEASON OF REBUILDING!!!!!!!!!Read that again please, this is the FIRST SEASON OF REBUILDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!they started off very poorly and then due to some gelling and an easy schedule they had a nice 13-1 run, after that they came back down to earth and did not play nearly as well. The team we had WAS NEVER GOING TO COMPETE FOR ANYTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Not the atlantic, not the east, and certainly not the NBA title. It was never going to happen. And yes, initially the nuggets are doing better than the Knicks. But shouldn’t you have expected that to happen? They kept the core of their team and added role players which should be easier to fit in, we lost our core and added stars who are much harder to fit mid season. The trade of course is going to work out for them much sooner. But over the long haul do you see Denver winning anything? Really? I mean ANYTHING? I don’t….The Knicks are going to be able to keep adding pieces. This trade did not kill our flexibility the way that some are suggesting. They could opt out of Billups deal after this season if they want and have some room then, or take it the year after to go after a bigger FA. There are lots of directions they can go in.

    I know i’ve been an asshole to people here. But I just don’t understand your lack of patience. I’m frustrated with them too, because I know they are better than this. I’m just not deluded into thinking they used to be something that they aren’t now. THEY NEVER WERE. The sooner you start to realize that will be the sooner you find happiness with the future. The future is bright when you have great players to build around.

  32. Spree8nyk8

    If the 90’s knicks would have had the strength to strip down the roster once to get a second star, maybe Ewing would have had a ring. That 90’s team was much better than the team we had before the trade and they NEVER got it done. Sometimes you have to take a step back if you truly want to go forward. We lost youth and a ton of depth in that trade, but we didn’t lose anyone that isn’t very replaceable. We didn’t lose any superstars. We lost some really good role players, but role players are available all the time. We’ll find some. Don’t you worry. At least this time we are going to try to win a championship with talent. Because anyone who watched the 90’s knicks learned a hard lesson. Heart isn’t enough to win the title. Talent is what eventually is going to be needed.

  33. Spree8nyk8

    StevenU: Melo is simply not such a huge upgrade over Gallo, either. I posted at the time and still belive that upgrade was basically trading a 22 year old 6’10? still improving guy who scores 16 and is very likely a 20 point (plus) scorer, for a 25 pt scorer.
    Not nearly enough of an upgrade to justify dismantling a decent young improving team.  

    He is a gigantic upgrade over Gallo. Melo draws a double team and is capable of making great passes out of that double team. Melo can get to the line with much greater consistency than Gallo. Melo can break down defenses 1 on 1.

    See this is the fucked up part. Gallo was my favorite Knick before the trade. But holy christ I feel like I’m the only person that remembers him. I mean he was super efficient yes…he’d get you 18 on 6-8 shots sometimes. But how often was he completely invisible? How many times did he show ZERO offensive initiative. He never demands the ball and takes a game over. He’s not going to explode for 40 or 50. He was a terrible defender and a very bad rebounder (especially for 6’10”). And his 3pt shooting has regressed. But now since he’s gone and we don’t have him anymore people talk about him like he was a fucking unicorn. He wasn’t some mythical basketball phenom. He was a 16-18 pt guy who said himself “i’m not a star”. And I love the guy to death but he’s right. He is not a star, and he’s not going to be one.

  34. Spree8nyk8

    I will say this about the trade. If we were wrong about any aspect of that trade it was probably about billups being a big upgrade over felton. Felton’s heart is severely missed right now. And his assist numbers seemed to be much better than what we have now. Idk, I really hope that Billups picks it up, but I really really miss Felton….

  35. StevenU

    Spree, your point that they were not going to win anything this year is totally valid. And naturally, being New York, there is always an urgency to win now, make a splash, grab the headlines (aka impatience). And I am sure you’re a real fan like most of us. I think we are all more than a little frustrated and to say this is year one of a rebuilding plan debatable. Sacrificing two entire seasons (completely unprecedented in the NBA and to the best of my knowledge in any sport ever) with the sole purpose of getting LeBum plus one was also part of the rebuilding plan.I would call it year 3.
    I for one am very happy we got Amare and was 100% fine with NOT having a second superstar just yet. Especially given what you just wrote: They were not-and are not-winning anything this year. And I do not think it’s simplistic to say our options going forward are certainly more limited now than they were prior to the trade. Nor do I think we are any closer to winning anything of substance, having gutted our depth, defense and size-none of which were strengths anyway (and gotten older in the process).

  36. StevenU

    Spree,
    At least you agree with me (now) about the Felton part. And I hear you re: the legend of Gallo already being a lot larger than he was as a player-granted. At the same time, he IS 22. He IS still learning the game and improving and expanding his game. He IS a lot more efficient than Melo. And yes, those stretches where he disappeared drove me batty, but that is just the kind of thing a young player can improve. I wish I could find it but there was a great article about Paul Pierce and how his coach at Kansas would scream at him to just do something-anything, because of how he drifted in and out of games. Paul Pierce is not an incredible athlete just a great player. I believe Gallo was being humble and it doesn’t matter if he thinks he is a star-only what he produces. And I never once saw him pout rather than get back on D.

    Spree8nyk8:
    He is a gigantic upgrade over Gallo.Melo draws a double team and is capable of making great passes out of that double team.Melo can get to the line with much greater consistency than Gallo.Melo can break down defenses 1 on 1.See this is the fucked up part.Gallo was my favorite Knick before the trade.But holy christ I feel like I’m the only person that remembers him.I mean he was super efficient yes…he’d get you 18 on 6-8 shots sometimes.But how often was he completely invisible?How many times did he show ZERO offensive initiative.He never demands the ball and takes a game over.He’s not going to explode for 40 or 50.He was a terrible defender and a very bad rebounder (especially for 6’10?).And his 3pt shooting has regressed.But now since he’s gone and we don’t have him anymore people talk about him like he was a fucking unicorn.He wasn’t some mythical basketball phenom.He was a 16-18 pt guy who said himself “i’m not a star”.And I love the guy to death but he’s right.He is not a star, and he’s not going to be one…

  37. Spree8nyk8

    Idk how much older we really got. Chauncey can be gone at the end of the season if they want to go that route. And let’s suppose that we didn’t get melo and that he instead went to NJ (which would have happened). What would we be doing this season that would make a huge impact? I don’t see many superstars available this offseason. Next offseason sure, but we have money then. So in my opinion (which is only that) it’s better to get what you can now. Now that we have a real core in place we can start to define what is needed and find those pieces. It’s much more difficult to add a core to pieces than it is to add pieces to a core. So I’m fine with where they are at this point. The only thing I would really like is for them to play with more heart. THAT and THAT ONLY is what I do miss about the old team. The old team definitely had heart. But like I said before, heart doesn’t win titles, talent does.

  38. StevenU

    Gallo was absolutely not a terrible defender-maybe as a rookie, but that was one of several areas of his game that were visibly improving.
    I would take Gallo, Chandler and Felton back for Melo this second, even without the Mosgov, AR and the picks.
    OUCH! It still hurts.

  39. Spree8nyk8

    @StevenU

    I just think it’s much easier to be efficient when you are the guy that doesn’t demand the ball. for the most part Gallo never takes a contested shot. If at any stage in his career he wants to move into a star caliber player he’s going to have to take more shots, which means he’s going to be focused on defensively, and more of those shots will become contested. I don’t think he’s going to be quite as efficient then. Also while he may not have pouted and not got back on defense, the difference between him and Melo defensively is that Melo CAN actually play good D. Gallo cannot. It’s frustrating that Melo doesn’t choose to defend well with more consistency, but maybe with a coaching change that will come. I’m pretty sure Phil Jackson could get more D out of him. I don’t know how much more D anyone is going to squeeze out of Gallo though.

    And about the Felton part, I ALWAYS thought that. But because so many here insisted how much better Billups was I pretty much just assumed I was wrong.

  40. StevenU

    Spree-of course talent is key-but you also need heart. Balance. Complimentary skill sets. We regressed in those areas because of the desperation for star power, and now we have two great offensive stars, and less of a team.

  41. Spree8nyk8

    StevenU:
    I would take Gallo, Chandler and Felton back for Melo this second, even without the Mosgov, AR and the picks.
    OUCH! It still hurts.  

    See this is a comment that I just don’t get…..Why would you do that? What upside is there to taking back pieces that are NEVER going to help you win? If you were going to trade Melo at least you could trade him for another star. I mean if worst comes to worst at least next season we could trade him for one of the superstars that will be up for grabs (howard/paul/dwill). None of those guys could get you any of those guys, but Melo could. That is reason enough for me, and on top of that Melo is just much better than any of those guys. There is some adjustment pain right now but in the end it’s going to work out one way or the other.

  42. Spree8nyk8

    StevenU: Spree-of course talent is key-but you also need heart. Balance. Complimentary skill sets. We regressed in those areas because of the desperation for star power, and now we have two great offensive stars, and less of a team.  

    No, we do not have less of a team. THAT is a mistake. Denver is doing better because they had more there to begin with. We have not become worse from the trade, we are probably about the same or slightly better.

    As far as the heart goes. Like I said before (but has been once again ignored), heart is easier to add than Talent. If that were not the case the 90’s knicks would have won 10 titles because they had heart in spades…..but they did not have the talent. And talent is going to trump heart 99/100.

    We can go out and find pieces that bring the heart and desire we’ll need. But for us to have passed on the trade and then tried to find talent to add. Would have been a much more difficult thing.

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