Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Cleveland Cavaliers 105 – New York Knicks 123 – Game Recap

It’s weird. I’m at a loss for words. I’ve become so used to recapping losing efforts (or hard fought wins) that such a lopsided win looks dull and unworthy.

The win was never in doubt. Like, never ever. The Knicks took control of the game in the first quarter behind the heroics of a seemingly reborn Julius Randle (fifteen points in the period) and a pretty cohesive defensive effort by the whole team, keeping the Cavs at 20 points scored.

The second quarter was more of the same, only with a little scare everytime the Cavs started hitting two or three triples in row, hitting the MSG crowd with a Charlotte PTSD jab in the jaw. Luckily, these Cavs were way more outmatched than the Hornets (the Cavs are a bad team, and they also were without Kevin Love and Larry Nance Jr. They also gave to the almost lifeless husk of Brandon Knight a full 12 minutes of play) and never got to get dangerously close to our guys. Second quarter ended with the Knicks up 64-51 and with Randle having scored 23 points.

Third and fourth quarter just came and went like the third act of the movie Hancock. You know, that weird superhero movie where Will Smith plays the alcoholic superpowered antihero being and for around an hour of playing time you stay focused on the action, and then suddenly nothing makes sense anymore but whatever, what came before was fun so you just trudge through the last 30 minutes while your mind wanders around and you play a little Jeopardy with yourself trying to remember the name of the actor who played principal Belding in Saved from the bell? Yeah, just like that.

Told ya, it’s hard to write anything about such an easy, unchallenging win. I’m almost more sympathetic to the Cavs than overjoyed for moving up the ladder (two games from the 8th seed! No really).

Let’s get to a few details, then:

The good:

– You know those times when it feels like it’s your day? Those times when you do the same things you always do, but it feels like you’re gliding effortlessly through a huge amount of work without breaking a sweat and maybe looking good enough that Cindy at the reception smiles veery warmly in your general direction? And maybe you also find a spare 20$ in your pockets just as you walk inside the bar to throw down a few beers? This was essentially what happened to Julius Randle (30 pts, 7 rebs, 4 ast, +24 +/-), who netted the first Knicks 30+ points game of the season while changing pretty much nothing in his shot selection. It was just a matter of shots falling. In more than one occasion he looked like a sad, huge bulldog was doing its best James Harden impression, left handed stepback jumper after jumper. Mind you, I’m glad that Julius had the chance to submit such a good scoring night; I just hope this doesn’t devolve into a reassurance that this is the right way to deploy him. At the very least we can rejoice at the thought he looks to have dropped that stupid dribbling spin move that was pretty much akin to the hammer throw olimpic discipline; it’s not a coincidence that he turned the ball over just once last night after the single turnover happened during the Charlotte game. If he cuts back on them and has the chance to pass the ball from the high post more than twice per game, things will be better.

– Shooting 5 for 13 isn’t gonna cut it by itself, but Marcus Morris (23 pts, 6 rebs, 1 ast, +27 +/-) sustained himself on a steady free throws diet, hitting 12 of 13. I don’t particularly like his offensive game for the Knicks, but there’s no denying he’s a heady veteran – at least until it’s time to blow off some steam and get a T for his troubles. I don’t care much for his role in this Knicks’ iteration, but as long as he looks good and his numbers aren’t bad I think we all can be happy, he might really be a trade market delicacy for starved playoff-bound teams, and maybe a low first rounder can be had for him. Diss him all you want, but 19/6 tweeners that shoot 40+% from three don’t really grow on t(h)rees, so yeah, Portland, you’re more than welcome to hand us your 2021 top-18 protected first rounder.

The bad:

– Ah, come on, it was long due. Kevin Knox (6 pts, 3 rebs, 2 ast, -13 +/-) chose the best time to post such a weak performance, and that’s good anyway. He shot an abysmal 2-for-10, including a 0-for-4 from three that (surprise!) brought his 3p% for the season to 38.9 and his FG% to 39.0. This, coupled with his strange dip in free throw shooting (63.2% for the season), looks like regression to a mean is rearing its ugly head pretty much as we expected. Anyway, we couldn’t have expected Kevin to have come such a long way from his absurdly awful rookie campaign, so I’m still happy to see his improvements. In a particular occasion (and Mike Breen noted that too) he hit Portis with a pocket bounce pass on a sort of short roll that last year didn’t even have a chance to exist in his own basketball Hyperuranium.

Fun-sized bits:

– Strangely empty night from RJ. He still scored 15 points and shot again 4 for 5 from the line (finally over 50% for the season on free throws, yay!), but 2 rebounds and 1 assists are not enough. He’s also missing a bit too much around the rim, such as on an absolute bunny in the third just after an easy dunk. His defense isn’t lacking though, as he came away with 2 steals and 2 blocks. His averages till now are very sound: 16/5.5/3.5 and 1.3 steals. I’m so excited for his third year season, he looks like one of those players who keep on adding things well into their late 20s. He’s gonna be an amazing second violin if we ever land a bonafide superstar.

– Mitch was uncharacteristically imprecise, “shooting” 3-for-7, but was still able to gobble 8 boards and 4 blocks in 17 minutes. Even accounting for his weak “shooting” night, he’s going with 71% from the field and 73% from the line for the season. His B-R page has me needing to change my underwear everytime I open it. 10 games in he’s good for .297 WS/48, 7 BPM and 30 PER, and he isn’t playing that well either. I wonder what would happen if a smart coach were to feature him heavily on PnR based sets instead of letting slow footed PFs initiate the offense over and over.

– Frank was quite good in playing PnR in snail mode. He might not be a PG, but he can play as the PnR ball handler in a pinch. 6 assists tonight (and a couple ones straight up wasted by – guess who – Gibson) and spurts of very good defense. I’m getting used to this homeless man Shane Battier at the point.

– I like the fact that Dotson is now the nominal 2-guard backup. He knows his role and can play a decent brand of modern basketball. God knows how I wish I could forget his former allegations. I feel physically unable to fully root for him.

– Rotations were good again, but why in the hell Portis played center a few minutes tonight with Morris and Randle on the court? It will never make sense. Fizdale has somehow stumbled into kind of an ideal rotation plan, still he wants to muck it up with unnecessary mish-mash big lineups? I really don’t get it.

– Don’t get fooled by last night DSJ’s numbers (not that good to begin with), he padded his stats in garbage time. Hoping for a recovery, but his advanced stats look like a vomited upon Chinese Pollock ripoff.

– Nothing new on the Portis/Gibson front. First one isn’t a good player and shouldn’t see more than 10 minutes per game, second one is a much needed lynchpin for an otherwise aimless collection of misguided players.

And so we won again and we’re 4-10. Will it be enough to buy a few more breaths for Fiz? Stay tuned for the Philly slaughter and you’ll find out. See ya!

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113 comments on “Cleveland Cavaliers 105 – New York Knicks 123 – Game Recap

  1. ess-dog

    sad, huge bulldog

    He reminds me, specifically, of the existential pitbull Featuring Ludacris on “Big Mouth.”

    But, yeah, not much was different from Randle except that his stupid long twos went in. About 80% of his highlights were “nonononoAHHHH!” shots, although there were some other positives: not as many dumb passes/dribble-drive attempts thereby fewer turnovers, and he took/made his open threes without hesitation.

    All in all, I very much agree with Brian’s “TRADE RANDLE NOW!” assessment.

  2. alsep73

    Great recap as always, Farfa. And I am professionally required to know that Dennis Haskins played Belding.

  3. alsep73

    Iseman:

    Knicks say RJ Barrett has a sprained left thumb. He’s probable tomorrow vs the Sixers.

    Mitch’s ankle and RJ’s thumb would help explain why both of them missed some gimmes last night.

  4. alsep73

    Also, Payton’s hamstring still isn’t healed. They’ll re-evaluate him in another 10 days. So DSJ keeps his rotation spot for now.

  5. DRed

    That sounds good to me-maybe not in terms of winning, but if Dennis and Frank have a nice stretch of games where they know they’ll get minutes.

  6. GoNYGoNYGo - Dolan must sell

    My comment isn’t about the NY Knicks but rather some kid that lit up the scoreboard in Westchester…actually 2 players.

    Grand Rapids vs Westchester game

    The Westchester Knicks lost a close one but I like these lines:

    Ignas Brazdeikis (SG) 36 Pts, 57% FG%, 4/9 from 3pt. 6 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Stl
    Kenny Wooten (C) 14 Pts, 83% FT%, 5 Reb, 2 Ast, 4 Blk

    Wouldn’t it be great to trade away Ellington and maybe Morris and replace them with these fellows? I look forward to seeing them in MSG in 2020.

  7. ess-dog

    Frank having a non negative WS48 and VORP is lovely to see.

    Yeah but RJ has replaced him, which sucks.

  8. Grocer

    Wouldn’t it be great to trade away Ellington and maybe Morris and replace them with these fellows? I look forward to seeing them in MSG in 2020.

    If we can get something decent for Morris we should def trade him but I’m leery of bringing up Wooten so he can sit on the bench. Better to get regular minutes in Westchester. Same for Iggy. An absence of Ellington doesn’t generate enough minutes.

  9. Farfa Post author

    Jowles, I guess it has to do with the fact that they’re scared that Iggy would steal Knox’s minutes.

    Or they’re just stupid.

  10. Bruno Almeida

    Iggy is also 20, so if he steals Knox minutes because he’s just a better player, that’s still a win situation. But well, pedigree matters for this front office and they will prioritize guys because of draft position and name, like we’ve seen already.

  11. geo

    as weird and unconventional as it was – that impromptu (actually prompted by jimmy d shoving his shoe up mills’ butt) millsperry media thing the other day may have been a bit helpful in making fiz stop playing with different lineups and get things figured out…

    the player rotation looks a lot better now than it has compared to all of last season and early on this season…

    even if fiz did get lucky figuring out frank and taj could be effective starters…it’s good to see him settling in much better rotations than all of last year (we have better players on the roster so that does help)…

    i’m almost stunned to think we actually have 5 guys in the rotation (frank, RJ, dot, Taj and mitch) whom can defend…it’s been a long time since that’s happened…once payton heals up and hopefully replaces DSJ – that will make 6 out of a normal 10 man rotation that are willing defenders…

    who knows, if we can continue to cut down on turnovers (randall alone figuring things out should help immensely with that), and hit around 70% of our free throws – we may actually play some competitive basketball this year…

  12. thenoblefacehumper

    Whenever I look, I’m struck by the extent to which Iggy and Knox’s college numbers were virtually identical. Where there were differences, they were in Iggy’s favor. I guess Iggy was slightly older, but they were both freshmen playing in comparable conferences (again, differences in strength of schedule likely favor Iggy).

    And yet Knox was taken 9th while Iggy was taken 47th.

  13. Owen

    Iggy looks like a guy who can do it even though he looks like he can’t. Knox the exact opposite.

    I mean, I don’t think Iggy will amount to that much but he seems like he has much better instincts than Knox for how to play the game.

  14. alsep73

    We have a lot of combinations of players on this roster who’d be much better off combined into a single being: i.e., a point guard who could defend like Frank, pass like Payton and get to the rack like Smith would be interesting, even if he still couldn’t shoot. A player with Knox’s shooting ability and relative athleticism who had Iggy’s instincts for what to do when he puts the ball on the floor would also be exciting, even if he still couldn’t defend much.

    Heck, put Taj’s fundamental understanding of the game into Mitch’s body, and you’ve got a Hall of Famer.

  15. bobneptune

    Whenever I look, I’m struck by the extent to which Iggy and Knox’s college numbers were virtually identical.

    What??? (IGGY V KNOX) :

    ws/48…. .201 v .133

    3pt% ….. 39.2% v 34.1

    TS%……. .571 v .556

    Et cetera…. et cetera…. et cetera

    IGGY’s metrics are much stronger than Knox in all areas….. not even close.

    It took IGGY a few games to put up 30 in the summer league and two games to put up 36 in the G-league. Clearly the guy has serious offensive skills. Whether he can play the other end of the floor…. I have no idea but he is a far better prospect by any estimation than Knox.

    IGGY clearly has more “feel” for the game than Knox and the notion his dad is an MMA fighter probably argues Iggy has some stones/moxie.

    I cannot wait til Morris/Portis/Randle to be moved and Knox/Iggy get to play and let the chips fall where they may…..probably to the top of the lottery……

  16. Jack Bauer

    “Or they’re just stupid.” – Based on past experience I’ll go with that

    The Mavericks are making those #1 picks we got look less and less valuable so far. Waiting on KP’s anemia to kick in soon.

    Iggy > Knox

  17. TheClashFan

    MoPo = Morris and Portis. I’ve used the ref a couple of times in the past to refer to them, a couple of guys the Knicks more or less wasted money on to try to “compete” this year.

    Sorry for the confusion. I guess it hasn’t hit critical mass, yet.
    :-)

  18. thenoblefacehumper

    What??? (IGGY V KNOX) :

    ws/48…. .201 v .133

    3pt% ….. 39.2% v 34.1

    TS%……. .571 v .556

    I think I made it pretty clear who had the advantage, but none of these statistics are all that predictive when it comes to NBA success. Their PTS/40, 2PT%, FT%, TRB/40, AST/40, STL/40, and BLK/40 were very similar. These are the numbers that tend to be much more predictive.

  19. Z-man

    On a side note, KAT is really putting up monster numbers and yet it seems like no one has him in the MVP discussion.

  20. geo

    Heck, put Taj’s fundamental understanding of the game into Mitch’s body, and you’ve got a Hall of Famer.

    mitch has got some freak athletic ability – plus, he seems like a very competitive individual…a really good base to build from, unfortunately he looks completely lost out on the court a lot…all the switching on defense seems to be fucking him up a bit…which, considering he didn’t play in college and was playing high school ball a few years ago – sort of makes sense…

  21. Z-man

    Meanwhile Knox is plummeting towards last year’s bs. His 2pt% is up a measly .005 from last year, his rebounding is exactly the same. He’s passing better (less turnovers) and shooting less with better shot selection (i.e. more 3’s) but his defense is still god-awful.

  22. Z-man

    As to Frank, his .445 TS% is up a scant .008 from his rookie year although on significantly lower FTA/36 and USG%. , his rebound%’s are all slightly lower, his AST% and TOV% are slightly lower. It seems that his entire positive WS48 is based on an increased steal% and block%. I guess he’s on the rise lately but his numbers aren’t all that different from his rookie year.

  23. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    UrbanDictionary says it’s “master of the painfully obvious,” which made me feel even more out of the loop

    ; )

  24. Early Bird

    @ theclashfan,

    I got it. MoPo. It’s great because I feel more poor shooting is on the way when those two are in.

  25. bobneptune

    I think I made it pretty clear who had the advantage, but none of these statistics are all that predictive when it comes to NBA success. Their PTS/40, 2PT%, FT%, TRB/40, AST/40, STL/40, and BLK/40 were very similar. These are the numbers that tend to be much more predictive.

    Knox’s only and I mean only NBA transferable skill is 3 point shooting…. and Iggy is a quantum level above him from their college days. Neither of them are here for their defense, rebounding and passing. They are here because of their ability to score efficiently not to be equal in POINTZZ.

    IGGY’s CV is way better as far as scoring with efficiency. I don’t see how that could even be discussed.

  26. Early Bird

    Yeah, but what are Iggy’s measurables? How big is his butt? Can he even dominate a game of 3-on-3 basketball?

  27. alsep73

    mitch has got some freak athletic ability – plus, he seems like a very competitive individual…a really good base to build from, unfortunately he looks completely lost out on the court a lot

    That’s the thing. Even if he never gets any smarter, he’s still a really valuable player to have, because the athleticism and instincts are so otherworldly. But imagine how great he could be if he had a clue out there?

    Of course, this raises the question of whether this is the coaching staff to properly develop him, or Knox, or Frank, or RJ…

  28. geo

    Carmelo Anthony filling up the stat sheet in his first quarter back.

    with a minus 10 in the +/-…next closest is minus 5…

  29. geo

    Of course, this raises the question of whether this is the coaching staff to properly develop him, or Knox, or Frank, or RJ…

    teaching basketball fundamentals aside – fiz seems to have taken a more “tough love” approach with mitch…

    not sure why, but, to be honest – i don’t really know much about any of these folk’s personality…mitch may be a pain in the ass behind the scenes and not so coachable…i’ve heard him speak shortly a few times, but, i have no idea what type of person he is other than he grew up with his grandmother in pensacola and he likes pit bulls…which, are usually pretty wonderful dogs…never been a fan though of cropping their tails and ears…

  30. bobneptune

    teaching basketball fundamentals aside – fiz seems to have taken a more “tough love” approach with mitch…

    Alienating our best young players is a big part of what we do here…….

  31. Early Bird

    I’d like to think that somewhere out there Ruruland is flooding a Trailblazer forum with arguments about how Melo’s 10pts on 14 shots and 5 TO’s helped create all-star gravity value for Portland.

  32. bidiong

    Looks like if Melo just shot from 3 he would have had an efficient night. Lol

    Honestly, I wish the best for him. We might have had a little playoff success if Amare didn’t punch a fucking fire alarm like an idiot.

  33. TheOakmanCometh

    I can’t kill any player for being rusty in his first game back after a year’s absence. But the fact that Melo thought it was a good idea to use 19 possessions in 24 minutes while being rusty shows that he hasn’t learned a thing.

  34. Early Bird

    I’m going to assume a majority of Melo’s eleven 2-pt attempts were not at the basket, so I don’t give him credit for continuing to take shots he knows he shouldn’t.

    Melo this is why you weren’t in the league, midrange shots. What does he do his first game back. Presumably 11 midrange shots.

  35. Brian Cronin

    On a side note, KAT is really putting up monster numbers and yet it seems like no one has him in the MVP discussion.

    Wiggins’ surgence (can’t really be a resurgence if he never surged in the first place, right?) likely kills any narrative for Towns. But yeah, he sure deserves some attention. He’s amazing. Man, I fell in love with that guy’s so much watching them play a lot that year (along with Duke). I’ll never fall for that trap again! No fantasizing about players the Knicks will never be lucky enough to draft!

  36. Brian Cronin

    Meanwhile Knox is plummeting towards last year’s bs. His 2pt% is up a measly .005 from last year, his rebounding is exactly the same. He’s passing better (less turnovers) and shooting less with better shot selection (i.e. more 3’s) but his defense is still god-awful.

    What kills me about Knox is that the shit he’s not improving on is typically the easiest stuff for a second year player to improve on. Who is coaching these guys?

  37. Brian Cronin

    Alienating our best young players is a big part of what we do here…….

    Seriously. I think it’s clear that they truly don’t think he is their best young player by any stretch.

  38. bobneptune

    I’m going to assume a majority of Melo’s eleven 2-pt attempts were not at the basket, so I don’t give him credit for continuing to take shots he knows he shouldn’t.

    Melo this is why you weren’t in the league, midrange shots. What does he do his first game back. Presumably 11 midrange shots.

    Don’t presume when the facts are at your fingertips. You can use the dropdown menu to show he missed 3/4 point plank and 2/2 inside 8 feet

    https://www.espn.com/nba/playbyplay?gameId=401160841

  39. slovene knick

    Maybe i’m seeing things but i think Fiz has some seriously fragile like all nba fragile guards to coach. Psychologically fragile.
    Dsj had gone thru serious family issues, but was able to play against Dallas as expected where revenge(emotion) and well known opponent(game planning) might be the factor. But in the other games was like he’s not there mentally.
    He has to do something to motivate himself and prepare himself better for particular opponents or he’ll soon sub Trier in the dungeon.
    Frank…omg. A wife of poster here probably nailed it with the perpetual panic attack thing . Just a question of how severe it is at a certain moment.
    He kept the attack at bay during the last game when he finally established some resemblance of a presence on offense, some PG aura and to top it all HE was a recipient of returned passes!!! from the likes of Rendall :)), Morris and RJ for the first time this year, so he was trusted by teammates to do his thing a lil. It was wow for me. And what he needed later in the game to go back to his corner fetal pose was Fizdale’s arm around his shoulder accompanied with some higher decibel explanation during the 4Q TO.
    IDK…maybe i’m just imagining things and he swam out flow of the game involuntarily.

  40. Ntilakilla

    Frank Ntilikina is in the 83rd percentile in on/off for PGs at +11.5. The Knicks play like a 37-win team when he’s on and a 13-win team when he’s off.

    The numbers more than back up what is being seen by those of us who choose to use our eyes. According to Cleaning the Glass, the Knicks score 5.8 more points per 100 possessions and give up 5.7 fewer when Ntilikina is on the court. The resulting plus 11.5 total is easily the best among Knicks who have seen at least 150 minutes

  41. GoNYGoNYGo - Dolan must sell

    I watched the G-league game which Iggy scored 36 to see what the kid was really about.
    He is a legit threat from 3 and he has a post-up game. Most of the time he camps out in the corner or at the top of the arc. He just knows how to score. At times, in the 2nd half of the game, he needed to be triple teamed. He can handle the ball and doesn’t give up his dribble but he’s not a willing passer either. On defense he’s solid but can improve. He communicates and has quick hands.

    The kid can play but he needs minor league game time. The most encouraging thing I heard was (according to the announcers) that he looked like crap the game 7 days before. The conclusion was that someone on the Knicks watched the game, coached him up and that he brought those lessons to the game. He’s coachable.

  42. KnickfaninNJ

    When you say you watched it, did you go to the game or is their some way to stream it or watch it on TV?

  43. bobneptune

    Frank Ntilikina is in the 83rd percentile in on/off for PGs at +11.5. The Knicks play like a 37-win team when he’s on and a 13-win team when he’s off.

    The numbers more than back up what is being seen by those of us who choose to use our eyes. According to Cleaning the Glass, the Knicks score 5.8 more points per 100 possessions and give up 5.7 fewer when Ntilikina is on the court. The resulting plus 11.5 total is easily the best among Knicks who have seen at least 150 minutes

    No one without an Ax to grind is the least bit surprised here. Frank is a ball mover and a willing and slick entry passer who is a savant on the defensive end. His inclination is toward winning basketball.

    He is also abysmal as an offensive threat…..

    Bobby Duhon or Ray Felton level of shooting would make him a real plus player

  44. Hubert

    I want to be excited about any evidence in favor of Frank. But for most of the season, when he has been out of the game the Knicks have not had a PG on the floor.

  45. Hubert

    It may seem counterintuitive but the one stat I keep an eye on to see if Frank is likely to come good is his rebounding. Nothing new so far.

  46. Owen

    The fact his steals have popped is reassuring. And the defensive impact is definitely there.

    It is puzzling though how little progress he is making elsewhere….

  47. KnickfaninNJ

    If a small up tick in steals and blocks changes an all in one stat considerably, that has got to be a very noisy stat.

  48. Hubert

    His steals and blocks have doubled since his rookie year and his WS/48 improved by 0.05. Seems reasonable.

  49. swiftandabundant

    Tonight’s game is big. We’re 3-3 the last 6 games and one of those losses was a super close one. The team has been playing better but tonight we will see if its for real or just a mirage. If they can win tonight or even if its a hard fought L where they play well, then we can maybe start to believe they’re turning a page.

    Everyone is so quick to say its a disaster but this is an entirely new team that still has A LOT of very young players and they’ve had to deal with an injury to the only legit PG on the roster. Plus the early season schedule is ROUGH. If we can hang in there through December, the schedule gets A LOT easier after the new year.

  50. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    We’re 3-3 the last 6 games and one of those losses was a super close one.

    haha, pathological

  51. Early Bird

    Don’t presume when the facts are at your fingertips. You can use the dropdown menu to show he missed 3/4 point plank and 2/2 inside 8 feet

    I see a large cluster of missed shots in the Melo zone, about 5ft inside the arc. Also shots from 8ft out are still part of the problem. So, 1-7 from midrange kinda supports my point.

  52. swiftandabundant

    Actually, Jowles, what is pathological is taking one sentence from another person’s post and quoting it out of context in a feeble attempt to belittle that person for being a fan of the team and wanting them to succeed.

    Like we get it. You’re super smart and cynical and know everything there is to know about basketball because you have some super spread sheet of stats or whatever. Some of us just want to root for The Knicks and watch them win and improve. Some of us aren’t ready to throw in the towel and spend every day writing post after post trashing the team. Sorry if I think the season isn’t over less than 15 games in when we have an entire new team and a lot of young players. Seriously, go F yourself.

  53. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Man, you took that one way too hard. But I do disagree with almost everything you’ve written, mostly for how it’s framed.

    Tonight’s game is big.

    It’s a team with the league’s 3rd-worst record and 2nd-worst SRS playing an away game against one of the most stacked teams in the league in November. Will it be entertaining? I hope so. Important? Not really.

    We’re 3-3 the last 6 games and one of those losses was a super close one.

    Subtext: if I set the endpoints just this way, it obscures the two 20+ losses that preceded the epic 3-3 “run.”

    The team has been playing better but tonight we will see if its for real or just a mirage.

    Again, endpoints.

    If they can win tonight or even if its a hard fought L where they play well, then we can maybe start to believe they’re turning a page.

    Or it’s one of 50+ losses they’ll likely have by the end of the season. You cannot believe that this team is turning the page based solely off of trouncing of a 4-9 team playing without two of its best players (Love and Nance).

    Like we get it. You’re super smart and cynical and know everything there is to know about basketball because you have some super spread sheet of stats or whatever.

    We have spilled so much e-ink on the difference between Knicks realism and cynicism, and yet you still think that I’m the latter 100% of the time, even though I have completely ignored Barrett’s warts with the exception of his dreadful, and disconcerting, FT shooting.

    Some of us just want to root for The Knicks and watch them win and improve. Some of us aren’t ready to throw in the towel and spend every day writing post after post trashing the team.

    But you’re putting it out on the page, my dude. Don’t be surprised when people disagree with you. I forgive you for the aggression at the end.

  54. KnickfaninNJ

    But Swiftandabundant is correct that data suggests the Knicks might be getting better. The margin of victory last game was far greater than anything before and we do have more wins recently than at the beginning of the season. It’s not convincing but it’s tantalizing.

  55. TheClashFan

    A competitive loss tonight could be a “win.” To me, “winning” this season depends on how Mitch, RJB, Frank, and Knox play.

    I’m hoping that Mitch and RJB are two foundation pieces, and that one of Frank or Knox develops into a solid rotation guy to keep long term. I seriously doubt that both will, and certainly neither may pan out. I have very faint hope for DSJ to amount to anything b/c of what appears to be between his ears.

    Maybe Frank can develop into a bit of combo guard off the bench, but we’re still waiting for him to shoot consistently (take more and make more). And, of course, in very close games he should be in there late for his D. Knox? Stretch four. Just keep shooting threes and bulk up.

  56. Early Bird

    There’s precedent for teams taking time to gel when importing lots of new players. Especially excusable given our pg situation. For instance, the KG Celtics and LBJ Heat.

    I still think we suck, but maybe our league worst SRS won’t be so abysmally obvious of an outlier.

  57. Bruno Almeida

    @65

    Every time you have one of your now pretty regular posts about this, it gets annoying because I really don’t think you realize even the most pessimistic people here are rooting for the Knicks too. Why would someone waste years on this website if they didn’t care deeply about this godforsaken franchise?

    I also just want to root for the Knicks and watch them win and improve. But what the hell do you want us to do when that doesn’t happen?

  58. ptmilo

    if i’m gonna be tantalized about something please don’t fucking let it be the puncher’s chance of winning 31 games and keeping marcus morris thru april

  59. swiftandabundant

    Jowles, the fact is that you LOVE to rain on the parade of anyone who expresses optimism about The Knicks and bludgeon us with your stats to prove how wrong we are.

    FACT. The Knicks are 3-3 in their last 6 games. You can talk about “end points” all you want. Do you honestly believe that teams are just instantly good or bad and that there isn’t any sort of time where teams need to gel in order to learn how to play together?

    If they get blown out tonight and lose the next 3, then sure, that 3-3 meant nothing. But if you actually read my entire post, you would get that I understand that. Instead, you chose to cherry pick one line and laugh at me expressing just the tiniest shred of optimism that maybe we could be at the start of things turning around.

    And yes, tonight is a big game. The 76ers are good team. Its on the road. We have yet to win back to back games but the team has looked better overall in the last 6 games. They win tonight and it could give them confidence. You have to learn how to play as a team and winning against a good team can give a team confidence. I guess you think that’s all bullshit coach rah rah stuff but I believe it to be true.

  60. alsep73

    Fun with admittedly small sample sizes, via Tommy Beer!

    Frank Ntilikina and Dame Dotson have shared the floor together for 47 minutes this season.

    Yes, that’s a small sample size, but in those 47 mins, the Knicks are:
    * allowing a minuscule 74.0 points per 100 possessions

    * scoring a massive 117.5 points per 100 possessions

  61. JK47

    The only thing that matters on this team is how the guys on rookie contracts play. I don’t really give two shits whether Marcus Morris and Wayne Ellington lead us to some marginal wins. If the team improves and it’s because the kids are playing well, then that’s great. If the team improves and it’s because the mediocre veterans are playing mediocre instead of shitty then honestly who gives a fuck.

    I’d rather be watching a 20-win team populated almost entirely with prospects than a 28-win team where boring veterans are getting most of the minutes. But that’s just me.

  62. KnickfaninNJ

    Actually Philadelphia is a tough matchup for us. They are big and rebound well, negating an advantage of ours. If we can even be competitive, I will consider that progress.

  63. geo

    @65 and @73…why empower any one else to make you feel anything beyond joy…i know, easy said, not so easy to do…

    swift and abundant – note to self…

    we are all simply enjoying onanistic pleasure together…it ain’t that serious, and honestly, after all this time – if you let the stuff THCJ says bug you – that’s kind of on you…

  64. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Jowles, the fact is that you LOVE to rain on the parade of anyone who expresses optimism about The Knicks and bludgeon us with your stats to prove how wrong we are.

    I am using the dumbest stats to make my case. It’s just that your representation stands diametrically opposed to the numbers we currently have. You could go over to FiveThirtyEight’s ELO or whatever, if you wanted.

    FACT. The Knicks are 3-3 in their last 6 games.

    Also FACT: the Knicks are 3-7 in their last 10 games with a MOV of -7.0. See what I did there?

    You can talk about “end points” all you want.

    Okay.

    Do you honestly believe that teams are just instantly good or bad and that there isn’t any sort of time where teams need to gel in order to learn how to play together?

    I believe that the importance of “gelling” is wildly overstated. Steve Kerr recently talked at length about the Bulls failing to “gel” in time for the Magic series in, I believe, 1994. He has also talked about how Durant needed a little time to adjust to the new style of play that he encountered on the Dubs.

    However, Durant also failed to shoot better than .600 TS% in just 3 games through the first 18 (through the end of November — endpoints!). He was absolutely lighting it up, despite this lack of “gel” time.

    Gel might be a thing, but do you think that these guys are suddenly going to go from 28th-best team in the league to 15th just because of familiarity? If so, your optimism is unfounded.

    If they get blown out tonight and lose the next 3, then sure, that 3-3 meant nothing.

    No. The 3-3 means very little to begin with. It just means that you trying to read the tea leaves based on one blowout win against a team missing two of its best players, a narrow loss against a bad team (which was still a loss) and a largely arbitrary set of contests — it just didn’t mean that…

  65. GianaDani

    According to Cleaning the Glass, the Knicks score 5.8 more points per 100 possessions and give up 5.7 fewer when Ntilikina is on the court.

    Other half of story is kind of relevant in this case as it usually is. When Frank sat, the line up was JR+ four PF and they performed dismally as was pointed out here consistently while Fiz was fantasizing about position less basketball.

    So… congratulations, yes, we did better with Frank on the floor then with Fiz’s abysmal experiment that almost got him immediately fired.

  66. swiftandabundant

    Geo, honestly this defense of Jowle’s obnoxiousness is super annoying.

    So if someone insults your intelligence and it upsets you, its on you, not the person who insults you?

    Jowles loves to strut around here acting like he is better than everyone and insult people for having different opinions (or world views) than him. Its obnoxious and he needs to be taken down a notch.

    He can be pessimistic all he wants. He doesn’t have to be a dick about it.

    Its not on me to shake it off. Maybe I’m having a bad day, maybe I’m just sick of the holier than thou attitude he exudes on this blog towards anyone who disagrees with him. Its on him to be nicer. Its not on me to be more chill about him being a dick.

  67. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    …the sample meant anything of greater value than the complete set of 2019-2020 Knicks data in the first place.

    Jowles loves to strut around here acting like he is better than everyone

    No, I just think I’m less impassioned than you about the likely-upside potential of this Knicks team, which is mostly comprised of scrubs and overpaid role players.

    I think Z-man’s basketball prognostication track record is mixed at best, and its low points are hilariously wrong in a way that I find real, real fun. I also have an absurd amount of respect for his real-world person for the things he has done in defense of vulnerable children and their ability to get a good education, as guaranteed by their 14th Amendment rights.

  68. mase

    As much as I don’t want to jump into the fray, the fact remains we are probably going to get blown out.
    The sixers rebound better and we have no answer for embiid, being the major reasons. Let’s keep things in perspective.

    Blind Optimism could create a demoralizing and insufferable downward spiral of losses and firings if we let it.

    I hope to see some competitive b-ball from out young core, and that’s the best we can ask.

  69. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    I’m not fighting with anyone on this. It’s derailing shit and that was not my intent. I just don’t get why swift is angry about being implied to be a pathological optimist when he basically admits it whenever he’s on the defensive about it.

    You can be a sports fan driven by belief instead of reason. Okay! You know that’s not how this site functions, and then get surprised, and angry, when someone’s like, “WeLL, aCkYsHaLLy…” Chill my dude.

  70. GianaDani

    rank Ntilikina and Dame Dotson have shared the floor together for 47 minutes this season. Yes, that’s a small sample size, but in those 47 mins, the Knicks are:* allowing a minuscule 74.0 points per 100 possessions * scoring a massive 117.5 points per 100 possessions

    We haven’t seen defense that leads too offense in a very very long time, – so it looks astonishing doesn’t it?

  71. Farfa Post author

    You can be a sports fan driven by belief instead of reason. Okay! You know that’s not how this site functions, and then get surprised, and angry, when someone’s like, “WeLL, aCkYsHaLLy…” Chill my dude.

    I mean, I write the recaps and I’m almost sad when we win if it’s not thanks to our young players, talk about how this site functions…

  72. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    I mean, I write the recaps and I’m almost sad when we win if it’s not thanks to our young players, talk about how this site functions…

    Well, you know that at a certain point, it’s robbing Peter to pay Paul. I don’t want the Knicks to go 0-82, but as ptmilo said above, the “upside” case (if all you care about is seeing a big scoring night to beat a lottery team in November, thanks to one of the dudes who’s going to opt out next summer) is 30-something wins and taking us out of the running for a top-5 pick, which, by definition, means that you have the opportunity to pick the best player 1 through 5 available that year.

    That’s when you start getting the sinking feeling that the sure things are going to be gone, and we’re going to end up picking 7-10 again and going for warty “upside” guys like Knox and Ntilikina (and even Barrett, sorry not sorry) because apparently that’s a big part of what we do here.

  73. DRed

    We have an answer for Embiid he’s called Mitchell Robinson. He will also come off the bench (and then probably get in foul trouble). Our big problem against the Sixers is likely to be that we won’t be able to score and they’ll keep us off the offensive glass enough and get out and run on us.

  74. alsep73

    We have an answer for Embiid he’s called Mitchell Robinson.

    How has Mitch generally done against big, strong more traditional centers like Embiid? I mean, Embiid will also go out to the 3-point line, but my faulty anecdotal memory is conjuring up images of our wiry shotblocker getting abused down low by widebodies who can play down low.

  75. d-mar

    How has Mitch generally done against big, strong more traditional centers like Embiid? I mean, Embiid will also go out to the 3-point line, but my faulty anecdotal memory is conjuring up images of our wiry shotblocker getting abused down low by widebodies who can play down low.

    I do recall one game last season where Mitch blocked Embiid 2 or 3 times, but Embiid probably also shot his usual 14-15 free throws and I’m sure a bunch of those were Mitch fouls.

  76. Bruno Almeida

    I just wish we had someone like Masai as our GM so I could safely root for this team to win games, with the trust that the guy in charge is going to be able to draft well and find value everywhere else. But as long as the men in charge are not to be trusted with building a team incrementally, I’ll still be here in my corner hoping we get first overall picks or at least top 3 picks, so we can luck out into some real talent.

    We’re all at least relatively excited by Barrett, who looks like a somewhat blue chip prospect. Would you trade Barrett for Rui Hachimura or Jaxson Hayes or Cam Reddish, just so we could have watched 5 more wins last season?

  77. ptmilo

    swift, you have it wrong. in a world where james dolan is god, camus is the great optimist: ’tis
    better to learn than to kiss and cheer. the masochists are all the other hellholes who choose blind hope in an eternal fade away. melo nirvana!

    (this post is a dm to geo)

  78. Dink

    Mitch did get bodied by bigger dudes last year, but I remember him holding his own against Embiid in the 2 games they played against each other. Here are some quotes re: Mitch from February:

    “He’s long,” Embiid told MSG’s Rebecca Haarlow after the game. “I mean, a couple times I thought I had a shot and he just came up with his long ass arms and blocked it.”

    “He’s long. That’s all I can say,” Embiid said. “Obviously can move really well, has a lot of potential. He needs to work on his body, but he’s got a chance to be a good big man in this league.”

  79. DRed

    Mitch had 4 blocks both games he and Embiid played in last year. Embiid had 26 points both games (on 21 and 13 shots), but one of them Mitch only played 17 minutes. That was probably the game Kornet gave Embiid problems.

  80. thenoblefacehumper

    You know what sucks, or at least might suck? This combination of true things:

    1) Marcus Morris is playing pretty decently
    2) The trade market for a 3/4 who can shoot and not embarrass themself on defense might be fairly robust (I could see Portland, Philly, Milwaukee, Houston, Utah, and Minnesota having some interest off the top of my head)
    3) There is no chance in hell we’re trading Marcus Morris if we somehow come within sniffing distance of .500

    3 really screws up a lot of the incentive structure. It makes even youth-fueled wins a tad bit annoying. You’ll still never see me complain about an RJ/Mitch fueled win, but man can you imagine if there was a first rounder on the table for Morris and we passed it up…?

  81. thenoblefacehumper

    Hot take: recognizing the incentive structures in place and adapting your wishes to them (i.e. not always rooting for the Knicks to win) requires a more devoted brand of fandom than the “would fail the Marshmallow Test at age 35” types.

  82. geo

    see swift – as much as i do love me some jowles – this is exactly what i was trying to say:
    swift, you have it wrong. in a world where james dolan is god, camus is the great optimist: ’tis
    better to learn than to kiss and cheer. the masochists are all the other hellholes who choose blind hope in an eternal fade away. melo nirvana!

    it’s so weird…it’s like me and milo are one and the same…only really really different…

    jeez milo, i hope you’re butt ugly and poor…otherwise life just wouldn’t be fair…

  83. DRed

    I think Morris is on a straight one year deal. If playoff teams want Morris he’s going to want to be traded because playing in the playoffs will make him more money. If there’s a market for him he’s not going to finish the season with the Knicks.

  84. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    I just want to check in on Cam through the first sixth of the season.

    .366 TS% on 111 FGA and 24 FTA
    8.8 TRB% (for comparison, Bargnani had a career 9.5)
    10.2 AST%
    -0.110 WS48
    -7.2 BPM
    -0.4 VORP in 315 MP

    “would fail the Marshmallow Test at age 35”

    damn

  85. ptmilo

    not that this tell you much, but the knicks were +8.7 in the 30 minutes last year when mitch and embiid played simultaneously and got obliterated in the other minutes

  86. alsep73

    Shams says James Wiseman is being suspended for 12 games and will be reinstated on January 12. But there’s also this fun bit of business:

    NCAA also says Wiseman “must donate $11,500 to a charity of his choice.” Wiseman will be cleared to play on Jan. 12 at South Florida.

    I should hope there’s no deadline on this, and that he can just pay it once he’s got that NBA money rolling in. Because otherwise, a kid in his present financial circumstances might have to violate NCAA rules again to make such a donation.

  87. geo

    Also, the marshmellow test has replication issues.

    fuck it, savor every win you can…tomorrow ain’t promised you know…

  88. Hubert

    You know what sucks, or at least might suck? This combination of true things:

    1) Marcus Morris is playing pretty decently
    2) The trade market for a 3/4 who can shoot and not embarrass themself on defense might be fairly robust (I could see Portland, Philly, Milwaukee, Houston, Utah, and Minnesota having some interest off the top of my head)
    3) There is no chance in hell we’re trading Marcus Morris if we somehow come within sniffing distance of .500

    Allow me to add one more true thing to ease your mind:

    4. There is no chance in hell we’ll come within sniffing distance of .500

  89. Hubert

    It’s not unreasonable to think Morris could net two first round picks if you find a team with a contract they need to dump.

    We always talk about minnesota, for instance. Morris is worth a 1st. Taking Dieng’s contract is worth a first.

    Ergo, Morris for Dieng should cost two firsts.

  90. Stratomatic: Frequently wrong, but never in doubt

    If I was the 76ers I’d keep dumping the ball to Embiid in the post. I don’t think Gibson can’t guard him and Mitch will probably get into foul trouble trying.

    If we double, then he’ll have to throw it back out at least some of the time. Then we can at least hope the 76ers lack of really good 3 point shooting this year could work to our advantage.

    If Simmons guards Frank, expect a really rough night for our boy. I don’t see why they’d waste Simmons on Frank though.

    This is a tough matchup for us.

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