Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Celtics 97, Knicks 90

New York Knicks 90 Final
Recap | Box Score
97 Boston Celtics
Carmelo Anthony, SF 45 MIN | 10-35 FG | 16-20 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 7 TO | 36 PTS | -10

Let’s start this off by taking a look at some pictures…

Here’s Melo’s shot chart. Hold on. You might need to borrow my kerchief to wipe away all the blood. Hm. That’s odd. Out, damn’d shotchart! out, I say! Hell is murky. Yet who would have thought the old Melo to have had so much blood in him? [Continues furiously/OCD-y wiping computer screen. Breaks screen. Hauls computer to the Mac Store, where bitter grad students at the Genius Bar treat me with bland disdain and charge ne vast ducats to replace what has to be a 10 dollar piece of equipment made by underage, slave labor.]

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The problem isn’t the volume of shots, which was pretty much a fait accompli once J.R. was banished to hang out in one of Boston’s finer Gentleman’s clubs for the afternoon. It’s the stupefying number of isolation sets (24 in total, compared to only 31 Pick and Rolls, according to Synergy), inefficient mid-range shots and the fact he only scored or drew a foul on 10 of them. Amazingly, there were only 14 Melo ISO’s in the first 3 quarters, but in the 4th/OT, Woodson dialed up a concussion-via-head-to-desk-inducing 11 of ‘em. Gah. From It was pretty clear from the opening tip that his shot was just plain off. 3-15 in the 1st half and an unsightly 7 turnovers for the game. Ick. Granted, the 20 trips to the line were at times the only means the Knicks had of putting points on the board and we’d seen him right the ship throughout this series. In the third, he looked to be getting back on track, hitting a respectable 3 of 5 but down the stretch…Double Gah. ISO-Melo galore. Let’s take a gander at this 4th Quarter/OT Francis Bacon-esque horror show.

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How one (whether it’s Anthony or Woodson) chooses this path on today’s cringe-worthy Choose Your Own Adventure book, in the face of vast reams of evidence from the first three games of this series and the third quarter, in which a Melo-free unit’s return to ball movement and PnR action was the key factor in slicing the deficit down to a manageable number, is absolutely beyond me. Maybe Jason Terry’s friend God can explain it to us. (More on this in a jot–the play calling, not the God part. Well, the God part too). Despite all that, If HE’D ONLY MADE HIS DAMNED CHARITY TOSSES (1-4 in the final 4 minutes) THEY’D HAVE WON THE GAME. [Rips all my clothes off runs out screaming into the woods. Rubs dirt all over body. Eats a grubworm because I need its life force. Possibly tries to have sex with a tree a la Willem Dafoe in Von Trier's Antichrist.]

Iman Shumpert, SF 44 MIN | 5-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 12 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 12 PTS | +5

Shumpert did a dandy job of swooping in from the wing to snaggle double-digit ‘bounds, a trait he clearly gleaned from the seance that J.R. Smith was holding somewhere Charlestown surrounded by Umbandan channelers/mystics that imbued at least one aspect of his essence to his fellow ‘mates for today’s proceedings. He was also a relentless, Prigioni-ian pest on defense, shadowing the taller/burlier Green/Pierce combo with aplomb and nailing a series of uber-clutch buckets during the aborted comeback effort.

Tyson Chandler, C 31 MIN | 2-3 FG | 1-2 FT | 11 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 5 PTS | -6

Everyday it’s a-gettin’ closer
Goin’ faster than a roller coaster
Love like yours will surely come my way
A-hey, a-hey-hey
Everyday it’s a-gettin’ faster
Everyone said, go ahead and her
A-hey, a-hey-hey
Everyday seems a little longer
Every way love’s a little stronger
Come what may
Do you ever long for, true love from me
Everyday it’s a-gettin’ closer
Goin’ faster than a roller coaster
Love like yours will surely come my way
A-hey, a-hey-hey

That’s right, Buddy. It does take a while to recover one’s form when one’s upper spine/neck is replaced by a worn-out, distended Slinky that won’t go down the stairs any more. The tap outs are coming back and the octopus-on-massive-doses-of-amphetamines quality to cover any and all defensive miscues popped up hither and yonder, like daises pushing through the soil after a particularly brutal, frigid winter. He also would certainly have accumulated more than five points had not Melo (and Felt, to be fair) missed him under the hoop time and time again.

Raymond Felton, PG 48 MIN | 10-21 FG | 3-4 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 27 PTS | -4

As Knick fandom’s Rabbi-In-Chief Seth Rosenthal said on the Twitter, STEPHEN CURVY. Just a glorious outing by our elusive, tight-lipped (No, not literally. Ever notice when things are going either particularly well or particularly badly, Raymond’s mouth transforms into something akin to Kurt Vonnegut’s drawing of an asshole from Slaughterhouse Five? This one.) floor general. Felt was positively monstrous in the 3rd, bulldogging to the Nth degree and bagging 16 points on 5-8 shooting, including this Smith-ian bomb to end the quarter. He’s been the Nix’ best, most consistent player so far in the series, and that’s a soaring evolution I don’t think any of us could have foreseen from our fave flightless seabird.

Pablo Prigioni, PG 28 MIN | 1-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 4 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 3 PTS | +1

A solid outing, including one of the most deviously tricky swipes EVAH from our Argentine pilferer, absolutely pantsing Avery Bradley under the basket (even if he probably stepped over the baseline to engage in his delicious pickpocketing). That said, on one theft at midcourt, streaking unimpeded towards the rim, Prigs nonsensically began to slow down, allowing his aborted layup to be sent sailing into the stands. Even allowing for his preternatural unselfishness, that was dpwnright silly.

Kenyon Martin, PF 22 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -1

TWEET. Hey? Why did I draw a foul? I’m just trying to write about Kenyon. I’m no where near Garn…TWEET. Oh come on! I get a foul for just typing the word Garne…TWEET.

Steve Novak, SF 7 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -9

Save for a borderline-absurdist fake on an aborted trey that sent two Irishman tumbling into the stands, Novak was more or less useless. He also got shoved to the ground in a manner akin to Charles Altlas’ famous 97-pound weakling/bag-of-bones/ectomorph by KG leading to the latter’s lone alley-oop dunk.

Quentin Richardson, SF 3 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -6

QUENTIN RICHARDSON PLAYOFF ANAGRAM: HENS NOR RANCID? QUIT.

Indeed, these chickens ain’t ripe. That said, he’s one heckuva sideline cheerleader. Though if given my druthers, I’d prefer if they’d brought back Renaldo Balkman if they rilly needed someone for some A+ pine-bound, towel-waving histrionics/dance moves.

Jason Kidd, PG 37 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 0 PTS | -5

Great work on the glass for Kidd, and once again, his on ball defense against younger, faster, stronger, bigger, less Lenin-esque foes was the stuff that dreams are made on. Even if his shot’s still waiting for the next ping pong ball to be called out at the Thursday Night bingo game at Shady Valley Retirement Community, I thought he passed up on more than a few heaves he should have sent skyward

Chris Copeland, SF DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS |

WISH

Marcus Camby, C DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS |

YOU

James White, SG DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS |

WERE

J.R. Smith, SG DNP SUSPENDED BY LEAGUE MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS |

HERE. We’ve all wanted to rearrange Jason Terry’s bridge work at some point or another, and it’s entirely possible the elbow wasn’t totally malicious/a suspension wasn’t warranted, but remember John Starks? You know, your Knick spirit animal? He got flagged for some rage-filled outbursts in the postseason too, and look at what the enduring legacy is–not the dunk over Grant and Pippen, but a certain Game Seven. Let’s hope that the past is not prologue.

Mike Woodson

We have covered and will soon cover most of my qualms with the Goateed one elsewhere, but one final grievance I’d like to air? Why no Cope? Granted, he’s looked as out of his element in this series as Ted Nugent at a Bard College Seminar on GenderQueer Roles in Post-Modern Global Oppressive Capitalist Societies but zero PT? Kay…

Six Things We Saw

  1. Look, without the team’s 2nd most important player, facing a rabid, frothing Bah-stan crowd that understands the history and leather-bound, hoary tradition that their basketball team holds in the NBA pantheon, (and definitely helped a crew of hobbled, steely-eyed valiant knights to one more glorious–if possibly meaningless–effort), coming into the game, I thought it would have taken nosebleed-inducing, above and beyond the call efforts from 3-4 of the Nix’ role players plus a standard-brand Melo outing to sweep this series. Save for our beyootiful Penguin, that didn’t really happen.
  2. This one started out like countless NY-BOS tilts we’ve seen before. The C’s stormed out of the gate, finally converting the open corner threes that the Knicks have permitted all series long and getting a deadly, throwback performance from Paul Pierce (that black-souled, terrible-bearded cur) who finally realized that he was being guarded by a swarm of undersized, if swarm-y, hyper-caffeinated point guards, and began draining elbow jumpers/curls coming off KG screens that he’s downed since you and I and possibly Norman Mailer were in short pants. Plus, Jeff Green was nigh-unstoppable, especially in transition. Even Jeff Van Gundy, a cat who’s ground his teeth down to the nerve endings holding on to his decade-long grudge against Dolan’s charges, was begging the ‘Bockers to pick him/force him to his left before he strolled/glided to the tin and James Worthy-ied in the New Yorkers’ collective face. Top top it all, the turnovers…by all that is holy and good, the turnovers. Unforced, stupid, casual careless passes and dribbles into traffic. Gaffes that’d make kindly ol’ John Wooden turn into Mike Rice. Yes, Melo, that stinging, throbbing sensation in your ears means I’m referring to you in large part. At one point in the opening half, they’d amassed more fumbles (10) than field goals (9), accumulating 12 in total by intermission and equaling their regular season average. Things got worse in the 2nd quarter, when despite his brick-tastic start, any unit that Woodson rolled out without Melo, was incapable of generating anything even vaguely resembling a productive shot–the Prigs-Kidd-QRich-Novak-KMart squad proving particularly unsightly. The lead hovered between 8-12 points for most of the 2nd, and, with two minutes to go, I hastily scribbled, “Must close out this quarter well. Lucky to be down this little. Could get ugly.”
  3. And of course, that’s exactly what occurred. Pierce banged home 8 points, including two oh-so-recognizable elbow threes, Bass hit a wide open baseline jumper and Jason Terry converted a buzzer beater (from Pierce, natch) and suddenly, they were down 19 at the half. I would have hoped that Son of Wood’s halftime pep talk consisted entirely of spittle-flinging, expletive-laden tirades and maybe even a rolled up copy of Field and Stream that he used to try to dent the back of Melo’s dome. Thanks to the avant-garde 12-tone whistle opera that Bill Kennedy and his cohorts attempted to compose, Barandon Bass and KG were sent to sit on the pine and ponder their transgressions and the Knicks sauntered to the charity stripe numerous times, allowing the Knicks to slowly but surely chip away at a 20-point mountain of their own dunderheaded, sloppy devising. Much of the deficit-slicing came at the fickle flippers of one Raymond Felton and the three-PG lineup that, lo and behold, returned to the ball-movement and pick and roll-centric play that’s been this team’s calling card the entire season, harassing the Bostonians into multiple turnovers and pushing the pace. As previously mentioned, Felt did get to the rim on one lovely, scampering up and under layup, but his shots were mostly garnered when he was given ample time to launch the threes that normally would make every Bocker-backer do the,
    No, no, no, no, NO…YES!” dance that’s accompanied the shots he takes when the defender ducks under the screen all season.
  4. Of course, once Melo got back into the game, ISO-ball returned full force. My notes at this juncture are just the deranged scrawls of a demi-human that’s possibly had a hatpin or meat skewer jammed into his Medulla Oblongata. MELO NOT LEBRON. WHY GIVE BALL AT TOP OF KEY. MOVE. MVE. WHERE’S PNR? THAT’S WHAT YU DRAW OWT OF TIMEOUT??? WHY????? And after all that sturm and drang and pent up frustration, one freebie, one half-decent possession, one miss by KG from the perimeter and they STILL manage to pull off as miraculous, impressive a comeback as this franchise has ever seen in the playoffs. The final two minutes were just so derp-tastic. Melo gorts the freebies. After a lovely defensive sequence leading to a contested Green jumper, Felton hits a foul line jumper off a high pick and roll (SEE!) to put the lead at two. Garnett hits an 18-footer off a two man game with Pierce. Anthony misses an elbow three that I was SOOOOOOOO SURE was going in, Chandler tips the ball back and they AGAIN go ISO-Melo at the elbow, leading to another silly contested heave. The overtime was more of the same–and whether it’s Melo’s stubbornness or Woodson’s blind stupidity, someone really needs to answer for this atrocious spate of play-calling. The post-game interviews were no help. The usual pabulum about “Making shots. They’re a proud team. We fought back. Had a chance. Blargle. Sputter. Wash. Rinse Repeat”–before Jason Terry finally started hitting the shots he’s nailed pretty much every game of his life prior to this season and grinning goofily whilst sitting in the proverbial catbird seat.
  5. Oh yeah, speaking of which…I missed seeing/hearing it live because I was too busy applying Bacitracin to the parts of my fingers/toes that I’d gnawed off in frustration, and I can’t find the quote but evidently Terry said that God speaks to him personally and told him he was going to bust out. Whether our Lord and Savior specifically mentioned 9 OT points or not has not been confirmed. I assume we’ll have to wait for a burning bush for clarification. Let me just say this: I understand the degree to which belief and faith play a huge role in sports. There are complex reasons why but one of them is that, despite the countless hours of training and analysis and preparation and hard work and on and on, so much of what determines winners and losers is plain dumb luck and random chance. That’s a frightening, horrifying realization. With so much riding on something as fickle as a roll of the dice, it’s not surprising at all for people–both fans and participants alike–to believe that it is some kind of divine, preordained will that leads one side to glory and parades and adulation and the really good-lookin’ wimmen for one side, and the other to shame and despair and derision for the other. I get it. Heck, I’ve been there. But I think if there is an all-powerful, all-seeing being that does either control or has created the known universe, he/she/it would have FAR BETTER, MORE IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO THAN TAKE TIME TO SEND FACEBOOK MESSAGES/DM’s/TEXTS/GET ON THE BLOWER AND IDLY CHEW THE FAT WITH JASON EFFIN’ TERRY.
  6. Thanks. I feel much better. Look, we all knew that this Celtic team was not going to go gentle into that goodnight. Honestly. save for the stretches in which they pulled away during the first three games the Knicks really haven’t played that well. That’s not a damning indictment. Heck, the Heatles have done the exact same thing in sweeping the Bucks. I’m not particularly worried. In all likelihood, this is just a blip on the radar on the way to dispatching them in five — a gentleman’s sweep, if you will, eerily similar to the game that the Knickerbockers stole last year v. Miami. The thing that does make me fret (FINE. I always worry about something) is execution down the stretch. I’ve been babbling all season about the life-lessons a team picks up over the course of the season if they are, in fact, real, live, honest-to-goodness condenders, and how they handle pressure situations is definitely a biggie. Today, they really copulated with the canine. Maybe it’s my fault. Due to work obligations, this is the first game of this series I’ve actually gotten to watch in real time. Advanced Superstitious Metrics say they’re 3-0 without my dark, foreboding presence in front of the teevee, so I’ll lock myself in the clothes hamper for game five and see if it improves things. Sorry. And that’ll do it. To paraphrase Robert Zimmerman, we’re going back to New York City…I do believe we’ve had enough.

32 comments on “Celtics 97, Knicks 90

  1. jon abbey

    “it would have taken nosebleed-inducing, above and beyond the call efforts from 3-4 of the Nix’ role players plus a standard-brand Melo outing to sweep this series. ”

    no, it would have taken one more basket in regulation.

  2. ephus

    jon abbey:
    “it would have taken nosebleed-inducing, above and beyond the call efforts from 3-4 of the Nix’ role players plus a standard-brand Melo outing to sweep this series. ”

    no, it would have taken one more basket in regulation.

    +1

  3. Robert Silverman Post author

    jon abbey:
    “it would have taken nosebleed-inducing, above and beyond the call efforts from 3-4 of the Nix’ role players plus a standard-brand Melo outing to sweep this series. ”

    no, it would have taken one more basket in regulation.

    I agree. I said that twice. In the Melo capsule and the 4th bullet point. I’m sorry if it was unclear, but the quote you’re referring to was meant to indicate what I thought they’d need in order to win and I’ve edited it accordingly.

  4. Kahnzy

    jon abbey:
    “it would have taken nosebleed-inducing, above and beyond the call efforts from 3-4 of the Nix’ role players plus a standard-brand Melo outing to sweep this series. ”

    no, it would have taken one more basket in regulation.

    Or a pair of missed free throws. Don’t get me wrong, I get as giddy as the next schoolgirl anytime Melo goes off at the end of games, but why is it that when his shot is clearly not falling do we still insist on giving him the ball 25ft from the basket and then have everyone else stand around? It’s not just Melo either, it happens all the time with every team. I get that it’s a player’s league and all, but Jesus feed the hot hand (or in this case the lukewarm PnR).

    The sweep would have been delightful and all, but at least MSG gets to drop a metric ton of balloons and streamers on Wednesday. That’s gotta count for something, right? Really, the worst part about the loss is that now we’ll have to listen to/read about how the proud Celtics stood up to the ball-hogging Knicks and we might not really have what it takes to knock of Miami in the ECF. Bleh.

  5. nicos

    To be fair, a big chunk of the groovy ball-movement third quarter explosion came with Garnett on the bench. Once he came back in, he just blew up any attempt to run those scissors plays where Chandler gets the ball at the top of the key and they run motion off of it. And he forced the Knicks out of a few half-hearted standard pnr sets as well. Still, the iso Melo 25 feet out ad infinitum was horrible to watch even if he got a bunch of makable looks and when he bricked that wide open 5 footer on the baseline you’d think Woodson would have at least tried to change things up a bit.

  6. jon abbey

    I would have liked to see Shumpert try to initiate the offense at least a few more times down the stretch. maybe he is the one who could have gotten the ball more to Chandler, although I really think a lot of that is Chandler somehow makes himself a terrible target a lot of the time, as he is rooted to the ground from some angles and seems to have his back to the ball an awful lot.

    also Chandler’s tipouts are great overall but possibly need a bit of strategy now that teams seem to be waiting on them a bit. if they can intercept, it’s often an easy fast break basket like the huge Terry three in OT, that one was a killer today.

  7. daJudge

    What’s going on with Chandler is my big issue and really my only issue. And Jon Abbey is right on point with a friendly amendment if you will…..two more made free throws in regulation would have also worked. Hey, we just wanted to win this in NYC.

  8. BigBlueAL

    I dunno, Ive been pretty encouraged seeing Chandler defend and rebound alot better the past couple of games. KMart today couldnt really cover KG in the post but Chandler basically shut him down and was playing some pretty good help defense trapping Pierce and Green at the 3pt line (not to mention defending Pierce’s game-winning attempt at the end of regulation). Also has thrown down a couple of nasty dunks too which is a good sign.

  9. Brian Cronin

    Yeah, Chandler was good today. Hopefully he is totally healthy by the time they play Indiana.

  10. Will the Thrill

    Chandler got us about 5 or 6 extra possessions with his tap-outs and loose ball fouls that he drew. I thought he played great this game.

  11. daJudge

    OK, sounds good, didn’t really see it, but makes me feel better. Maybe we’ll get a dominant game soon.

  12. david

    If they play Bass in the 2nd unit, I think we ought to play Copeland when he’s in the game. Woodson played Novak in two stretches — one with Bass on the floor and the other when Bass was out. He was modestly effective with Bass on the floor — spreading the defense, not causing any harm defensively because he was guarding someone who stands still. Copeland is right now a more effective offensive player. If we run a Melo-less unit of Felton, Kidd, Smith, Copeland and Martin, we should be able to score and not suffer defensively so long as Cope (or Novak for that matter) is guarding Bass. Unless Bass is in the game, I don’t see how you can play either Copeland or Novak, as there isn’t anyone else in the series they can guard (unless Shavlik Randolph gets some burn).

    Also, for the first time this season, Shump is starting to look like last season’s freak athlete, shutdown on ball defender.

  13. BigBlueAL

    I just hope Game 5 is an easy win. I dunno if my nerves could handle a close game in the 4th quarter with the fears/worries of losing the game and panic setting in being first and foremost in my mind lol.

  14. mokers

    Love watching Steph Curry play. Mark Jackson has that team believing they can win. It does help that the Nuggets don’t seemed to be worried about defending the Warriors.

  15. Zanzibar

    jon abbey:

    no, it would have taken one more basket in regulation.

    And that might have happened if we had taken the 2 for 1 opportunity at the end of regulation. Felton had the ball with 40 seconds left and we ended up taking a shot with clock < 24 secs. Am I missing something here? Though frustrating, I can live with players missing shots but mental errors in standard situations is truly maddening.

    jon abbey:

    also Chandler’s tipouts are great overall but possibly need a bit of strategy

    Watching replay, it looked like Chandler could have ripped control of that board without back tapping. I understand Tyson is still weak from his annual playoff flu but NO back-taps on critical possessions when you can control the rebound yourself.

    —-
    I absolutely loved Melo’s performance! Well, not the icy outside shooting of course but the way he took the ball strong to the hoop and put damn near the entire Celtic team in foul trouble. 20FTs? WOW!! That has happened 47 other times in playoff history, almost all by group of 8 all-time greats. In WCF year, Melo shot 10 or more FTs in 5 games; in other playoff years combined, 7 games. As playoffs progress, I’d like more of the Melo who is determined to attack the rim without first waiting for his shot to go south.

  16. johnlocke

    Stephen Curry…wow! He may end up being the greatest shooter of all time in the NBA. There was one three he made in the corner, where he let it go, turned around, looked at Denver’s bench and started running back, before the ball even went through the hoop. He let it go and knew it was going in. Amazing. One of my favorite non-Knicks to watch .

  17. nicos

    If it weren’t for the brittle ankles I’d take Curry over Harden- not as dependent on the whistle and a better playmaker which considering how often they both have the ball in their hands is a big plus. I also find Harden’s general floppiness a bit unappealing.

  18. ruruland

    As others have mentioned Chandler was great (about who he’ll need him to be if the Knicks want to beat Miami). Shumpert’s defense was amazing. Ray was fantastic, though it’s hard to say he’s been the Knicks best player in the series.

    However, if Melo is going to get the lionshare of the credit when the Knicks win (by some folks), then he should get the blame when they lose and he plays poorly. And so he deserves the lame for the game 4 loss.

    I’ll have some thoughts on that later.

    But consider the following:

    Melo’s horrid shooting and the 7-30 from the 3-point line should mean a 15-20 point loss on the road in the playoffs. Certainly it’s not going out on a limb to assume that the Knicks would blowout any playoff team at home if the opponent’s best player shoots poorly AND the opposing team goes 23 % from 3.

    Does the fact that our Knicks played such an awful offensive game and were one jumper dropping by Melo down the stretch mean that Boston is simply a terrible team?

    Or does it say something about the Knicks?

    Obviously it’s somewhere in the middle. And there’s not doubt that Boston’s ballhandling problems have been an issue in the series.

    But the Celtics are still an elite defensive team. With Garnett on the floor, they had a defensive rating of 99.3. They have multiple defensive lineups that have a 95 defensive efficiency or lower. The Green, Garnett, Bass, Pierce, Bradley might be one of the top three defensive lineups in the league (it yielded a 92 defensive rating in a limited sample in the regular season).

    Offensively, while Rondo has shown the ability to put up huge games/series in the playoffs, the Celtics were a net -3.3 with him on the floor.

    Rondo obviously is very important getting Boston into their sets and transition, but he hurts their spacing.

    When Boston makes jumpshots at home as they did Sunday, even with their poor rebounding, they are an extremely difficult team to beat.

  19. ruruland

    Zanzibar:
    I absolutely loved Melo’s performance! Well, not the icy outside shooting of course but the way he took the ball strong to the hoop and put damn near the entire Celtic team in foul trouble. 20FTs? WOW!! That has happened 47 other times in playoff history, almost all by group of 8 all-time greats. In WCF year, Melo shot 10 or more FTs in 5 games; in other playoff years combined, 7 games. As playoffs progress, I’d like more of the Melo who is determined to attack the rim without first waiting for his shot to go south.

    I said before the playoffs that Melo would have a few 40 point games and at least one 50 point game in the playoffs this year. I think he’s going to come close to the top two ppg in a playoff season of ten games or more (Jordan 36.7, James 35.3).

    I’d be surprised if he doesn’t put up an efficient 40 + on Wednesday, though the game may be out of reach for him to hit that number.

    He is locked in and blocking everything out, sometimes that’s a detriment to the bigger picture, but it will yield a ridiculous run and I think Melo will find a better balance when he plays with Amar’e and JR.

    I think Melo knows he has a chance to steal a title this year (and I think this is an instance where the team has fed off him), and he’s much more even keel and in the moment than he’s been, even with the struggles on Sunday.

    Things have not been easy to this point but there will be a point where he breaks Bass’ spirit (or the Knicks overall team play might not allow that to happen).

    Bass’ strength has proved a difficult match-up for Melo. Melo gets his first step on Bass at ease but he has the body to ensure that he does not get his shoulder ahead of him. Melo doesn’t flop when he gets that contact, he pulls up.

  20. ruruland

    But the scoring numbers when he is struggling is mostly indicative of the team’s reliance on him.

    I guess I understand the obsession with isolations for a few reasons.

    But I think if you really went back and paid attention you’d notice that many of Melo’s isolations came after a failed high screen and role. Lowe’s talked about the Melo isolation largely being the fall-back after a set is run, which makes a lot of sense when you consider the Knicks personnel.

    Also, Melo had quite a few isolations and post-ups where he got deep position, kicked it out for a good look, but the player declined the shot and dumped it back in with the clock going down.

    As we’ve talked about all year, Kidd and Prigioni, while a very good defensive tandem and good-great passers in the half-court, will only shoot if wide-open (and of course can’t create off the bounce unless given a wide berth).

    I get the idea of wanting Ray to shoot it more because he had it going, but the Knicks were consistently running high pnr with him and he was not turning down open opportunities.

    But if the dive wasn’t there and the Celtics were squeezing the corner, he would go to the Melo post-up as opposed to trying to create in isolation himself.

    The Celtics were largely taking away the Knicks continuity offense, which isn’t all that hard for a great defensive team when the Knicks typically had at most two players capable of attacking.

    There are so many holes for Amar’e to exploit against the Celtics defensive strategy, and he is exponentially more valuable player to an offense in the playoffs than Chandler.

    Some side pnr with Melo would do wonders. Melo’s playmaking goes up with Amar’e on the floor in every regular and postseason the two have been together.

  21. ruruland

    Also, in a lot of ways the Pacers are less of a defensive challenge to the Knicks than Boston was. While Indiana has a rim protector, Hibbert and West are two of the poorest high pnr defenders in the NBA. I don’t see how they defend the Knicks pet play over a series with committing extra defenders. because they sure as hell don’t want to switch out top.

    That should open up a lot of different things offensively. Bass is also a toucher match-up for Melo than George will be.

    And the Pacers cannot get away with David West on Shumpert or Smith, which will mean they’ll either have to take him out of the game (and he’s critical to Indiana’s spacing and rebounding) or put him on Kidd or Prigioni, which opens up the offensive rebounding game.

    When you think about it the Pacers are much better match-up for us. I kind of like that the Celtics series has gone 5 games though. These are great reps and you can see Prigs and Shumpert really emerging because of those reps.

  22. d-mar

    So 2 ex-Knicks, Lee and Gallo, are missing from the GS Denver series, and GS proceeds to dominate. Not sure what that means, but as great as Curry has been, Jarrett Jack is playing out of his mind also.

    This is not a great time to be a Nuggets fan (with apologies to Ephus)

  23. Zanzibar

    d-mar:
    So 2 ex-Knicks, Lee and Gallo, are missing from the GS Denver series, and GS proceeds to dominate. Not sure what that means…

    It means the death knell of WP if Denver loses to GSW. And don’t forget Curry is hobbled. The Nuggets have one of the best shot creators in the league in Lawson and are down 3-1. Could you imagine if he were replaced by WP darling Calderon (.233 WP48 versus Lawson’s .118?)? GSW might have swept them. The WP acolytes must be rejoicing that Melo had a lousy game to buoy their flagging spirits. First the Knicks reel off 15-1 record without Chandler (#5 in WP48 in entire league) and with JR stepping up as a 2nd shot creator. And now the Nuggets are struggling. If they go on to lose the series, it will be interesting to hear how it’s all just an outlier.

  24. Juany8

    Zanzibar: It means the death knell of WP if Denver loses to GSW. And don’t forget Curry is hobbled. The Nuggets have one of the best shot creators in the league in Lawson and are down 3-1. Could you imagine if he were replaced by WP darling Calderon (.233 WP48 versus Lawson’s .118?)? GSW might have swept them.The WP acolytes must be rejoicing that Melo had a lousy game to buoy their flagging spirits.First the Knicks reel off 15-1 record without Chandler (#5 in WP48 in entire league) and with JR stepping up as a 2nd shot creator. And now the Nuggets are struggling. If they go on to lose the series, it will be interesting to hear how it’s all just an outlier.

    As I’ve said lately, this season literally came up the worst way possible for WP as a stat. All their “stars” that switched teams got noticeably worse, going by the stat itself. The 3 WP darling teams (rockets, Denver, and Minnesota) have won a combined 1 playoff game so far, and healthy or not Minnesota was not getting home court advantage in the west. The best part? These guys are going to come in and call Denver a contender again next year, ignoring the fact that this will be their 3rd playoffs in a row losing to a team with a lower point differential. It’s apperently inconceivable that regular season success does not guarantee, or even predict, post season success. It’s all hot shooting, coaching, and outliers lol.

  25. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    I wonder how the Nuggets are losing with Wilson Chandler playing center. I wonder.

  26. jon abbey

    The Honorable Cock Jowles:
    I wonder how the Nuggets are losing with Wilson Chandler playing center. I wonder.

    yeah, that’s the reason, Karl’s poor management of personnel, not that their style is being exposed in the playoffs again.

    also GS is better without D-Lee, Bogut was awesome early on yesterday, just like I continue to believe we are likely better without Amar’e.

  27. johnlocke

    Curry is more aggressive w/o Lee in there. I love JR, but trusting him as the 2nd most important offensive player on a team against the Heat is a lot to ask…I think we’ll need Amare to beat the Heat.

    jon abbey: yeah, that’s the reason, Karl’s poor management of personnel, not that their style is being exposed in the playoffs again.

    also GS is better without D-Lee, Bogut was awesome early on yesterday, just like I continue to believe we are likely better without Amar’e.

  28. Juany8

    The Honorable Cock Jowles:
    I wonder how the Nuggets are losing with Wilson Chandler playing center. I wonder.

    Lol yea I’m sure Kosta Koufos and javale McGee would do a fantastic job of stopping curry from raining 3’s on them. Funny how it’s never brought up that Karl was Anthony’s coach all those years they lost in the first round. And melo never lost to a team with a worse record.

    Jon as far as David lee goes, the warriors aren’t better without lee, they’re just better with only a healthy bogut than only a healthy Lee. It’s not like any of the nuggets big men can actually guard anything, even amar’e would be a defensive upgrade over Kenneth Faried lol. It’ll be a bigger deal in the next round since golden state doesn’t have a prayer of keeping up with San Antonio’s small lineup, so it would have been nice to force them to play splitter. If bogut, curry, and lee stay healthy this golden state team is dangerous next year

  29. jon abbey

    the game that Denver lost at home in this series (the reason they are down 3-1) had Barnes/Jack/Thompson/Curry combining to shoot 40-63 for 101 points. it’s cute that you think playing Koufos and McGee more would somehow help with that.

  30. Garson

    If your the Golden State GM… How do you turn this into a championship caliber team?

    Curry and Thompson are set at PG/SG
    Jack and Landry are perfect off the bench.
    Barnes – not sold on but at this point , hes the SF

    I think their shot is upgrading Lee to a Aldridge/ Love caliber player.

  31. mokers

    I think Lee’s skillset could be very complimentary to Bogut, but they haven’t needed that secondary scoring as much with the way Jack has been playing and the high quality play of their rookies. They are just one rolled ankle from needing Lee’s scoring. It also helps that Karl hasn’t figured out a way to punish the Warriors for small ball. That being said, I bet they would try to trade lee, but wow, that contract…

    It’s really amazing how bad the Nuggets look when they are not in transition.

  32. mokers

    Garson:
    If your the Golden State GM… How do you turn this into a championship caliber team?

    Curry and Thompson are set at PG/SG
    Jack and Landry are perfect off the bench.
    Barnes – not sold on but at this point , hes the SF

    I think their shot is upgrading Lee to a Aldridge/ Love caliber player.

    It’s tough because Biedrins has a player option for the next season, Jefferson is signed for another year and I believe Jack is on a one-year deal and a FA after this season. Rush is coming back off injury, so he could take some of the scoring pressure if Jack leaves. Tough for them to add pieces this year, I would think.

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