Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Easter rising as much Melo’s as Knick Knation’s

On an afternoon with more resurrection narratives than seemed plausible, only one could have its thread taken to redemptive conclusion inside the Garden’s hallowed halls.

With eight seconds left in overtime and his team down but a bucket, Carmelo Anthony dribbled in custom deliberate fashion towards the right wing – his favorite spot – and a waiting Luol Deng. Standing a good 25 feet from the rim, almost exactly where he’d hit the tying trey in regulation, Melo let one fly.

As the ball made its way rim-ward, the specter of the past 13 months – a controversial trade, disappointing Playoff exit, pre-Lin Garden boos, a dramatic changing of the coaching guard – made the orange orb’s arc and path one wholly suspended. In a moment that felt like a million, a pair of narratives dueled.

Either he errantly draws iron, and questions of Melo’s judgment (the Knicks were, after all, only down two) and crunch time pedigree once again pepper back pages and endless digital pulp.

Or it somehow lands true, and the story becomes something wholly other – one of a city and a fan base finally giving itself to a prodigal star self-risen from the crypt.

Amazingly, mercifully – miraculously, even – the latter won out.

In what’s already entered the ledger as one of the All-Star small forward’s signature performances, Carmelo Anthony’s 43-point Easter outburst could very well be looked back upon as a turning point for the Knicks. Mired in a three way dogfight for the 8th and final Playoff seed, a loss to the Bulls – particularly after squandering a 21-point first quarter lead – could’ve been crippling for the orange and blue, who face the East-leading Bulls one final time Tuesday night in Chicago.

With the return of Derrick Rose grabbing most of the holiday headlines, it was Anthony who seemed out to prove his superstar and leadership mettle. After banging home his first five shots, Melo hit something of a dry spell for most of the next three quarters, connecting on just six of his subsequent 17 attempts.

But with the game on the line –the seasons’ chips pushed to the table’s not-so-sturdy center – Melo rose to the occasion down the stretch, bringing the ‘Bockers back from the brink with a combination of silky jumpers, deft drives, and a pair of impossible 25-foot bombs, the latter of which proved to be the game winner.

Despite a full eight seconds in his quiver, Derrick Rose’s baseline floater missed its mark, and the Garden – unusually vocal for a Sunday matinee – turned positively electric.

Of course, there were crucial contributions abound: Iman Shumpert’s vise grip defense and stellar all-around performance (15 points, nine rebounds, six assists); Tyson Chandler’s gladiator glasswork (16 rebounds, 10 of them on the offensive end) and elbow contusion-defying floor dives; and a productive return of Jared Jeffries at once unheralded and indispensible.

But the day – the heroics, the narrative, indeed the moment – belonged to number seven.

The way the chips were falling –a massive lead slowly, brutally bludgeoned away – a Bulls win could have been the point when the Knicks’ season lost all momentum and sputtered to a Playoff-less stop. They could have folded, and it would all have been the same as it ever was for a team and a fan-base now a full decade into futility’s age.

But Melo – together with his clawing cohorts – wouldn’t let it happen.

Instead, the ‘Bockers could very well look back at Easter Sunday as the moment where an entire franchise – like the fortunes and feeling towards its $100 million cornerstone – found itself risen.

50 comments on “Easter rising as much Melo’s as Knick Knation’s

  1. dragonpavilion

    I know Tyson gets all the props for defense, but is it too far fetched to suggest Shumpert should be in the conversation for DPOY???

  2. Frank O.

    I would say it has been more than a decade of futility. It’s been almost 40 years since the Knicks won a championship.
    I realize folks look fondly on the Ewing era, but I recall it as one gut-wrenching failure after another, however great Patrick was.
    Not sure how long the knicks can sustain this run without a decent point guard. I am hopeful, but we all need also be mindful that lacking a point is a devastating weakness.

  3. jon abbey

    NBA Guru ? @NBAGuru

    Of the 23 Knicks 5-man combos that have played 20+ minutes this year, 7 have a +/- above 10. Shumpert is on 6 of them, most of any Knick.

  4. JC Knickfan

    Frank O.:
    I would say it has been more than a decade of futility. It’s been almost 40 years since the Knicks won a championship.
    I realize folks look fondly on the Ewing era, but I recall it as one gut-wrenching failure after another, however great Patrick was.
    Not sure how long the knicks can sustain this run without a decent point guard. I am hopeful, but we all need also be mindful that lacking a point is a devastating weakness.

    Yes, I’ve very concern. Did people forgot Indy couple games ago?
    In Bulls game 23-71 = 32.3% shooters not named Sweet Melo.

  5. ruruland

    jon abbey:
    NBA Guru ? @NBAGuru

    Of the 23 Knicks 5-man combos that have played 20+ minutes this year, 7 have a +/- above 10. Shumpert is on 6 of them, most of any Knick.

    It’s hard to quantify the negative impact of Douglas this year. From a glance it looks like there’s a 15-20 percent decrease with each unit he commands (when it’s someone else in his place with the same 4 guys the expected win percentage rises dramatically).

    Does anyone think the Bulls would be a top seed, let alone have home court advantage, if Douglas was running the show with Rose out?

    http://www.82games.com/1112/1112NYK2.HTM

    There is only one decent team in the league that has come close to giving 1400 minutes to guys who’ve combined to produce zer or negative win shares:

    Dallas with Odom Jianlian. http://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/DAL/2012.html

  6. Owen

    Ruruland –

    “http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/40021/daryl-morey-on-hero-ball
    “I think if you’ve got a guy who can create his own shot then you’re better off than not. ”

    Wait, did he just say “create a shot”?”

    If I could provide a little context here….

    Morey is talking about the ability to create a shot in end of game situations. He notes that the ability to create a shot is valuable when you need to control the clock and prevent your opponent from getting a chance to beat you after you get a shot of. It’s not easy to run a conventional offensive set while controlling the clock.

    He is hardly endorsing Carmelo’s general style of play.

    That said, given the team they had, lots of efficient low usage role players and defenders, Melo would have been a decent fit.

    It’s pretty amazing how Melo has thrived as the only real high usage player on the court. He’s definitely in a zone we haven’t seen him in yet with Amare and Lin out…

  7. daJudge

    My goal would simply to have a legitimate healthy point guard with a decent back up. It appears that Lin is legit, even though his shot making is superior to his passing. Nevertheless, his court vision is very good and he is a willing passer. I think he will mold himself into the player this team needs. I hope he heals and remains healthy, but who knows? He is pretty physical and takes a lot of heat on his drives. I am still happy with him (given the sample size) being the starting 1. I have been pretty unhappy with BD, even as a back up. Most of the problems surely involve his age and physical condition. But there are other issues and I don’t see Baron being a particularly effective back up one off the bench. Very disappointing and I think he brings some bad habits, highly unwarranted negativity and he seems selfish. I really thought he would be great, but I was wrong. Simply stated, there are no other point guards on this team. I think we need to make sure Lin is signed, jettison BD, TD and acquire a legit back up 1, D league or otherwise. A young pass first hustler. Look, this team is fine at the 5,4 & 3. We have a starting 1 in Lin and I just love Shump at the 2. Fields is certainly adequate coming off the bench with the right combo. So is Smith at 2/3. We just need a bonafide point guard. Right now, we don’t even have one.

  8. d-mar

    Good to see the Bucks get their butts kicked by OKC tonight. I say we go all out and beat the Bulls tomorrow, then rest our starters on Wed. to keep them fresh for the Wiz game on Friday (-;

  9. ruruland

    Owen:
    Ruruland –

    “http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/40021/daryl-morey-on-hero-ball
    “I think if you’ve got a guy who can create his own shot then you’re better off than not. ”

    Wait, did he just say “create a shot”?”

    If I could provide a little context here….

    Morey is talking about the ability to create a shot in end of game situations. He notes that the ability to create a shot is valuable when you need to control the clock and prevent your opponent from getting a chance to beat you after you get a shot of. It’s not easy to run a conventional offensive set while controlling the clock.

    He is hardly endorsing Carmelo’s general style of play.

    That said, given the team they had, lots of efficient low usage role players and defenders, Melo would have been a decent fit.

    It’s pretty amazing how Melo has thrived as the only real high usage player on the court. He’s definitely in a zone we haven’t seen him in yet with Amare and Lin out…

    Why is that amazing? It’s really not amazing at all actually
    —————————————————————-
    Yes, I read the entirety of his statement, and it doesn’t come close to addressing what is likely to be his overall assessment of players like Melo. The fact is that he pursued Melo hard. I don’t think it would be wildly speculative to think the more advanced analytics he uses captures quite a few things WOW doesn’t.

  10. jon abbey

    Faried with a massive game tonight against D-Lee, 27 and 17 in 24 minutes. it’d be more impressive if GS wasn’t actively trying to tank to keep their pick, but still.

  11. Brian Cronin

    Faried with a massive game tonight against D-Lee, 27 and 17 in 24 minutes. it’d be more impressive if GS wasn’t actively trying to tank to keep their pick, but still.

    Golden State just beat Denver a couple of days ago, so I don’t believe they’re trying to lose.

    The West, by the way, continues to be nuts. Everyone wins every night or everyone loses. No one gains any ground (well, except Memphis keeps winning).

  12. LMNYKFAN4LIFE

    yes doug i would take kevin love over tyson chandler check out the last comments in the last article to see y? ask yourself this knowing what i wrote previously and what i wrote last wouldn’t you take him too.

  13. jon abbey

    Brian Cronin: Golden State just beat Denver a couple of days ago, so I don’t believe they’re trying to lose.

    I watched a lot of that game, there’s a difference between trying hard in the occasional home game and barely trying on the road. they were down 17-2 tonight, and don’t cite the Knicks/Chicago to me.

  14. Brian Cronin

    Golden State played hard on the road in Utah this past Friday in a game that they should have definitely wanted to lose (since Utah gets Golden State’s pick if Golden State’s pick is outside the Top 7). They’re not trying to lose. Jackson is, for whatever reason, trying to still win games. It is more likely that Denver wanted to avenge their embarrassing loss on Saturday so they came out extra aggressive tonight (having Gallo back didn’t hurt).

  15. ruruland

    Brian Cronin: Golden State just beat Denver a couple of days ago, so I don’t believe they’re trying to lose.

    The West, by the way, continues to be nuts. Everyone wins every night or everyone loses. No one gains any ground (well, except Memphis keeps winning).

    I really like Memphis in the West. I mean, really like them. Maybe that’s obvious after this last week, but consider what they did last year to San Antonio in the playoffs without Gay. They took OKC to seven games, and probably would have advanced had they won the triple OT game.

    They have a bunch of guys who are likely to shoot much better moving forward. Gay, Conley, and Allen to defend OKC’s big three. But the biggest reason I like them is their ability to get OKC’s bigs in foul trouble.. Speights, Randolph and Gasol are all built for playoff style games–really strong and physical– whereas Durant and Harden’s flop games won’t generate as many calls as they normally do.

    If Mayo, Conely and Gay (and even Arenas) start making shots, I like them to make it all the way.

  16. ruruland

    Brian Cronin:
    By the way, Houston, Denver, Dallas and Phoenix must be thinking, “Gee, thanks for nothing, San Antonio!”

    Spurs should be trying to win first seed. Pop does this every year; he’s done it in Denver before. But they need that top seed.

  17. jon abbey

    ruruland: Spurs should be trying to win first seed. Pop does this every year; he’s done it in Denver before. But they need that top seed.

    why? didn’t help last year, and if they’re #2, Memphis will be on the other side.

  18. jon abbey

    can I just ask people to stop and think about this for a second…

    we are currently just one spot below Chicago in Hollinger’s rankings, they’re #4 and we are #5. if anyone saw that happening a month ago, I’m taking you with me to Vegas.

  19. jon abbey

    Brian Cronin:
    Heck, with the way Memphis is playing right now, they might be in the second round as the #3 seed!

    isn’t that impossible since they’re in the same division as SA? one of the Lakers or Clippers has to be #3, regardless of record, so Memphis can’t get higher than the #4/#5 matchup. right?

  20. LMNYKFAN4LIFE

    Kevin Love

    ’08-’09 minutes played per game(MPG) 25.3/ field goal%(fg%) .459 three point %(3p%)/.105 free throw %(ft%)/.789 offensive rebounds(or)/3.4 defensive rebounds(dr)/5.7 rebounds per game (reb)/9.1 assists (ast)/1.0 blocks (blk)/0.6 Steals(stl)/0.4 turnovers(to)/1.5 points(pts)/11.1

    ’09-’10 mpg/28.6 fg%/.450 3p%/.330 ft%/.815 or/3.8 dr/7.2 reb/11.0 ast/2.3 blk/0.4 stl/0.7 to/2.3 pts/14.0

    ’10-’11 mpg/35.8 fg%/.470 3p%/.417 ft%/.850 or/4.5 dr/10.7 reb/15.2 ast/2.5 blk/0.4 stl/0.6 to/2.1 pts/20.2

    ’11-’12 mpg/39.6 fg%/.451 3p%/.377 ft%/.822 or/4.2 dr/9.4 reb/13.6 ast/2.1 blk/0.5 stl/0.8 to/2.3 pts/26.5

    Tyson Chandler

    ’08-’09 mpg/32.1 fg%/.565 ft%/.579 or/3.6 dr/5.1 reb/8.7 ast/0.5 blk/1.2 stl/0.3 to/1.6 pts/8.8

    ’09-’10 mpg/22.8 fg%/.574 ft%/.732 or/2.2 dr/4.0 reb/6.2 ast/0.3 blk/1.1 stl/0.3 to/2.7 pts/6.5

    ’10-’11 mpg/27.8 fg%/.654 ft%/.732 or/2.8 dr/6.6 reb/9.4 ast/0.4 blk/1.1 stl/0.5 to/3.2 pts/10.1

    ’11-’12 mpg/33.1 fg%/.676 ft%/.679 or/3.5 dr/6.4 reb/9.9 ast/0.9 blk/1.5 stl/0.9 to/3.1 pts/11.1

    now seeing the stats side by side, and seeing that chandler doesn’t shoot threes, doesn’t shoot that much cause he is limited offensively, definitely doesn’t grab more rebounds, is getting better cause its his prime, and love has been getting better every year who would you pick.

  21. jon abbey

    so Minnesota is offering Love for Chandler? because then I can see how that’s relevant.

    and it’s pretty silly to list numbers from four years ago, who cares? any argument for Chandler is that he changes the game on the defensive end, and that’s not reflected in any of those stats. but it’s apples and oranges, I don’t think either of them is in the top five or maybe even ten players in the league.

  22. Brian Cronin

    oh, actually maybe the rule is the division winner is no lower than #4 now, never mind.

    Yep, division winner can’t be lower than #4. And if the division winner has a worse record than the #5 seed, the #5 seed has homecourt advantage in the first round. Memphis has a legit (if unlikely) shot at passing the Lakers for the #3 seed.

  23. ruruland

    jon abbey: why? didn’t help last year, and if they’re #2, Memphis will be on the other side.

    HCA against OKC. That’s the best home floor in the NBA right now (Garden is way too fickle for my tastes)

  24. ruruland

    jon abbey:
    so Minnesota is offering Love for Chandler? because then I can see how that’s relevant.

    and it’s pretty silly to list numbers from four years ago, who cares? any argument for Chandler is that he changes the game on the defensive end, and that’s not reflected in any of those stats. but it’s apples and oranges, I don’t think either of them is in the top five or maybe even ten players in the league.

    The way Chandler impacts the game is not reflected in any stats. Not steals, blocks or rebounds.

    His ability to harrass ballhandlers, hedge screens, contest shots outside and then recover to a big is similar to what Garnett did in his prime.

    Chandler isn’t quite as quick as Garnett and has a harder time keeping guys in front of him, but he probably contests more shots than KG did. it’s close.

  25. ruruland

    jon abbey:

    Actually, a few of us were talking about a significant run in the second half against this schedule. I talked about for months, but I don’t think it means all that much other than many Knicks fans being jaded and pessimistic. I thought it was pretty obvious, and if the team was healthy I think it could have been much more impressive. No one really saw the MDA thing but you could tell there were significant issues with him and this team early in the year. Hollinger’s rankings really favor recent trends.

  26. ruruland

    Also, it will be interesting to see how Love’s numbers look when he plays alongside a solid rebounding center and another true scorer.

    He is an incredibly versatile scorer who is very difficult to plan for. He has an amazing knack for finding and anticipating places to score before anyone else. So much of it is “garbage” scoring. He’s a really good pick and roll player, can space and catch, and has some moves facing his defender and with his back to the basket. Great ability to embellish contact and create cheap fouls.

    I don’t think he’s a player you build your offense around. I think he’s a guy who always finds ways to be really good without being the “primary option.” I think his numbers go way down with good players around him. Maybe that’s obvious but I don’t see him being a guy whose efficiency goes up with better players. He’s not a guy who scores a lot against defensive attnetion per se.

  27. Juany8

    ruruland: Actually, a few of us were talking about a significant run in the second half against this schedule. I talked about for months, but I don’t think it means all that much other than many Knicks fans being jaded and pessimistic. I thought it was pretty obvious, and if the team was healthy I think it could have been much more impressive. No one really saw the MDA thing but you could tell there were significant issues with him and this team early in the year. Hollinger’s rankings really favor recent trends.

    Ironically, the two professed non-Knicks fans had the most optimism about the team. Every player on the team happened to be shooting a career worst at the same time, and at the end of the day basketball is a make or miss sport. The best you can do is generate good looks, and this offense has been capable of that most of the year.

    Shump, Chandler, and Melo (yes I’m calling him a good, if historically inconsistent, defender) are great players to build a defense around, all that’s left is for Amar’e to consistently play well alongside Melo for this team to be a legit contender.

  28. max fisher-cohen

    jon abbey:
    can I just ask people to stop and think about this for a second…

    we are currently just one spot below Chicago in Hollinger’s rankings, they’re #4 and we are #5. if anyone saw that happening a month ago, I’m taking you with me to Vegas.

    It’s great to see, but let’s not forget that teams that Hollinger’s power rankings focus heavily on recent performance. For example, look at Denver in late April of last year: http://web.archive.org/web/20110419220123/http://espn.go.com/nba/hollinger/powerrankings

    Lost in the first round 4-1 despite being ranked 5 spots higher than OKC.

    Dallas was ranked 7th at the end of last year.

    Or San Antonio in 09/10: http://web.archive.org/web/20100418215416/http://espn.go.com/nba/hollinger/powerrankings

    They did upset Dallas but were then swept by Phoenix. The Lakers were the 10th ranked team at the end of the season and won it all.

    jon abbey:
    oh, actually maybe the rule is the division winner is no lower than #4 now, never mind.

    This is technically correct, but if you end up 4 seed due to division title but have a worse record than the 5th seed, the 5th seed gets home court, so practically speaking a division championship guarantees you only the 5th seed.

  29. ruruland

    Juany8: Ironically, the two professed non-Knicks fans had the most optimism about the team. Every player on the team happened to be shooting a career worst at the same time, and at the end of the day basketball is a make or miss sport. The best you can do is generate good looks, and this offense has been capable of that most of the year.

    Shump, Chandler, and Melo (yes I’m calling him a good, if historically inconsistent, defender) are great players to build a defense around, all that’s left is for Amar’e to consistently play well alongside Melo for this team to be a legit contender.

    Yep. I’d like to consider myself a Knicks fan by now though. is there a hazing ritual I’ve missed along the way, or does reading and respodning to THCJ’s posts qualify?

  30. ruruland

    max fisher-cohen: It’s great to see, but let’s not forget that teams that Hollinger’s power rankings focus heavily on recent performance. For example, look at Denver in late April of last year: http://web.archive.org/web/20110419220123/http://espn.go.com/nba/hollinger/powerrankings

    Lost in the first round 4-1 despite being ranked 5 spots higher than OKC.

    Dallas was ranked 7th at the end of last year.

    Or San Antonio in 09/10: http://web.archive.org/web/20100418215416/http://espn.go.com/nba/hollinger/powerrankings

    They did upset Dallas but were then swept by Phoenix. The Lakers were the 10th ranked team at the end of the season and won it all.

    This is technically correct, but if you end up 4 seed due to division title but have a worse record than the 5th seed, the 5th seed gets home court, so practically speaking a division championship guarantees you only the 5th seed.

    it’s all match-ups and style of play…. Phoenix had an extremely strong revenge factor, too. Denver wasn’t built for the playoffs, obviously.

    But I think momentum and the idea of “peaking” at the right time is important, not as much as it is in the NFL and MLB, but it matters some I think — Hollinger’s rankings reflect that, as imperfect as they are.

  31. jon abbey

    ruruland: Yep. I’d like to consider myself a Knicks fan by now though. is there a hazing ritual I’ve missed along the way, or does reading and respodning to THCJ’s posts qualify?

    you can call yourself a Knicks fan if you would still root for them if Melo got traded tomorrow (for equivalent value, let’s say). otherwise you’re a Melo fan who is rooting for NY currently, which is cool too, but not the same.

    and I think I was right there with you and Juany8, while possibly being slightly more grounded in reality. :)

  32. Z

    ruruland: Yep. I’d like to consider myself a Knicks fan by now though. is there a hazing ritual I’ve missed along the way, or does reading and respodning to THCJ’s posts qualify?

    You’re a carpetbagger, but that’s okay. You won’t be truly baptized until you endure 5 years of Isiah Thomas, 3 years of Frank Layden, 6 years of Michael Jordan, 7 seconds of Regie Miller, and 4 layups with Charles Smith… :)

    ruruland: HCA against OKC. That’s the best home floor in the NBA right now (Garden is way too fickle for my tastes)

    Have you ever been to a Knick game at the Garden? (that would probably be the first step toward full conversion).

  33. jon abbey

    Z:

    Have you ever been to a Knick game at the Garden? (that would probably be the first step toward full conversion).

    actually a true Knicks fan would not go to a game in person, since in doing so you would be supporting our Antichrist owner, even if you’re scalping the tickets. going for free (as I did once earlier this year) is I believe acceptable.

  34. ruruland

    Never been to Garden actually but it looks like I might be getting up there for playoffs. Can’t wait.

    I really appreciate the Knicks history, with how fans identify with some of the tough gritty teams. I think there’s a lot of substance there, it’s 180 degrees different than the majority of Nuggets fans.

    A also have tremendous appreciation for the guys who survived the media here. How can someone not like Patrick Ewing?

    I’m still a scorned Denver fan and probably always will be, but there’s been so much inter-breeding with transplants that the true, gritty, blue-collar fans that personified Denver sports for so long (think Old Mile High Stadium) are slowly dying off. I’ve feel really detached from my fan identity in Denver.

    But I’m looking forward to being in that kind of environment again.

    I can say though that I know as well as many what a championship drought feels like. Elway winning his first after 15 years will never be surpassed as a sports moment for me. Remembering what he had to go through to get it still kind of makes me emotional to this day. May sound goofy or corny or whatever but Melo in some ways reminds me of Elway. A lot of imperfections in their games, Elway’s star status was in doubt through different phases of his career, never had the prettiest stats, but there was always this underlying feeling that he would find a way to figure it out at the end. Elway did stuff at the end of games that defied belief, sometimes I think Melo has that quality to him.

    I’ve never been a fan of an NBA championship team, and I’ve only experienced two teams making it out of the first round (’94 and 2008)…….

    So, I feel like I can really empathize with many of you guys in that regard.

    I think it would be hard for me not to develop a real soft spot for the Knicks sans or post Melo.

    I really liked that line btw Z…..

  35. 2FOR18

    ruruland:

    I can say though that I know as well as many what a championship drought feels like. Elway winning his first after 15 years will never be surpassed as a sports moment for me. Remembering what he had to go through to get it still kind of makes me emotional to this day. May sound goofy or corny or whatever but Melo in some ways reminds me of Elway. A lot of imperfections in their games, Elway’s star status was in doubt through different phases of his career, never had the prettiest stats, but there was always this underlying feeling that he would find a way to figure it out at the end. Elway did stuff at the end of games that defied belief, sometimes I think Melo has that quality to him.

    I’ve never been a fan of an NBA championship team, and I’ve only experienced two teams making it out of the first round (’94 and 2008)…….

    So, I feel like I can really empathize with many of you guys in that regard.

    I think it would be hard for me not to develop a real soft spot for the Knicks sans or post Melo.

    I really liked that line btw Z…..

    BS. You were what, like 16, when Elway won? You have no idea what it’s like to be a longtime Knicks fan, which is why you can’t understand the pessimism here. The only reason you have any interest in the Knicks is because Melo is here. If Melo were traded to the Nets today you would then be torturing Nets fans on a Net blog, so I don’t see how you can call yourself a Knicks fan.
    Let me guess, you got killed on Nuggets blogs for your Melo fandom, so that turned you off to the Nuggets?

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