Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Game Preview & Thread: Kings at Knicks

The New York Knicks welcome the Sacramento Kings for a 7:30 EST tip this evening. The Kings come in losers of their last three games on their current Eastern Conference road trip. To get a better idea of what to expect out of the Kings tonight I brought in Greg Wissinger from Sactown Royalty and James Ham from Cowbell Kingdom.

Enjoy!

The Kings have lost 10 of their last 12 games coming into tonight. What’s been the biggest reason for the slide?

Greg: Oh god, I didn’t realize it had been that bad. Pardon me as I drink an entire bottle of scotch. There are a couple reasons for this slide, the biggest being injuries. During that stretch the Kings have been without DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay at various points, including several games were both out. The Kings don’t have much depth to speak of, so missing one of their best players is a huge setback.

The other reason is defense. The Kings are pretty bad at it. They don’t put forth a consistent effort, and nobody on the roster is really a standout defender.

James: Injuries to key players have completely thrown Sacramento out of rhythm. Cousins missed six game with an ankle sprain and Gay has missed time with both an injured hip and the flu. Before the current slide, the Kings had gone 8-7 over their previous 15 game stretch, including wins against the Heat, Rockets and Trail Blazers.

The Kings made two pretty significant deals  this season in acquiring Rudy Gay and Derrick Williams. Do you expect the front office to continue to be aggressive as the trade deadline nears?

Greg: I think the Kings would like to make more moves, but they aren’t going to be making moves just to get a few extra wins this season. They’ll make a move if the right opportunity comes along, but it will need to be something that makes sense for the team long term. Although I suspect coach Michael Malone would sacrifice a limb if it meant the Kings would trade for a plus defender.

James: Yes is the short answer. New general manager Pete D’Alessandro is anxious to make this team his own. He has already replaced five rotational players with in-season moves and I would be shocked if the Kings stand pat at the deadline. They still have a pressing need for a shot blocker and a true point guard and they have a few assets to move.

Kings head coach Mike Malone gained notoriety for his defensive mindset as an assistant, but the Kings are currently 28th in DRtg and 12th in ORtg. Why has this team been so much better offensively than they have defensively?

Greg: I touched on this briefly before, but I’ll expand on it. The Kings are awful on defense due to a lack of talent and effort. But the disparity you see between offense and defense is based mostly on talent. That’s not to say that the Kings don’t put forth effort on offense, but rather that the players on the current roster are generally known as offensive players.

Isaiah Thomas is a slightly better defender than his reputation, but he’s not great by any means. Cousins, too, is a better defender than he gets credit for, and he’s put forth more effort on defense this year, but he still has a ways to go. Rudy Gay has the physical attributes to be a good defender, but doesn’t apply himself to it. Marcus Thornton is aware of defense as a concept, but he’s just awful at it. Ben McLemore is still very raw, and tends to play on instinct. You see him collapse into the paint to help, not recognizing that he’s just left Steve Novak open for a three.

I have been impressed with Malone as a coach thus far, and I have faith that he’ll eventually get the players to give a consistent effort on defense. The Kings have been rebuilding for a long time, but it’s difficult to count the time under the Maloofs as rebuilding. It will take time for the Kings to turn things around.

James: Sacramento’s roster has been in flux since the season began. Gaining any type of continuity has been next to impossible with all of the roster turnover. Adding to Malone’s issue is that the Kings current roster is chalked full of offensive weapons. His one defensive specialist was Luc Mbah a Moute and he was shipped out for Derrick Williams before we even made it to December. The core of Isaiah Thomas, Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins can really score. Now they need the right pieces around this trio.

Both Isiah Thomas and DeMarcus Cousins have all-star level PER’s with Thomas at 21 and Cousins at 26. How and why have they turned the corner this season?

Greg: Isaiah Thomas is the easier answer of the two. Isaiah’s been playing at nearly this level for two years, but couldn’t get consistent minutes as the team kept trying to replace him. The team tried again this year with Greivis Vasquez, but to Malone’s credit he recognized the problem and made Isaiah a starter. With Vasquez being traded away, Isaiah has finally secured his starting role and has made the most of it.

As for Cousins, it’s tough to say exactly why he turned the corner. It could be because he simply started to mature, finally. Or it could be that he felt support from the organization, thanks to the max extension he signed this offseason. It might be his relationship with Coach Malone. Cousins has said that before this year being on the Kings felt like being on an AAU team, so I like to think it’s the renewal of the organization that brought this out in him. I don’t know the exact reason, but it’s been a ton of fun to watch.

James: Malone has really handed this team over to Thomas and Cousins and allowed them to grow into their roles. Thomas’ numbers are elite when compared to other point guards and Cousins is probably the best offensive center in the game today. Unfortunately, the numbers haven’t translated into wins, so there are a lot of questions that need to be answered in the next 30 games.

Who ultimately wins tonight and why?

Greg: The way this season has gone, will either team really walk away from this contest as a winner? I think the Knicks will win, because the Kings have been awful on this road trip and might be checked out before the break. I think the Kings will win because there’s no way they go 0-4 on an East Coast road trip that also included Cleveland, Washington and Boston, right? Right?

James: My money would be on the Knicks because the Kings are really playing poorly right now. But the one thing about this Sacramento team is that they can beat anyone on any given night, just like they can lose to anyone on any given night. Chandler will be a good test for Cousins and I like the Gay/Anthony matchup.

172 comments on “Game Preview & Thread: Kings at Knicks

  1. DRed

    The Knicks are awful on defense due to a lack of talent and effort.

    Hey, that was a cheap shot!

    Extra A Thomas is going to roast Ray Felton like a luau hog tonight. But we really, really, really should win this one. I’m going to go full Cronin and say I’m confident we get the W.

  2. BigBlueAL

    So JR wont play tonight because the face mask he received today is too uncomfortable and he was told he needs to wear one for the next 4 to 5 weeks because if he gets hit in the same spot again he could go blind in that eye. He got hurt on Sunday yet they got him a mask to try out today?? Really takes that long to get a freaking face mask for him to try out??

  3. ephus

    My understanding is that the mask is made from a facial mold – not off the rack. Since the diagnosis was made Monday, getting delivery today seems reasonable. YMMV.

  4. BigBlueAL

    Worst play the Knicks run is when they run Felton off a screen so he gets a handoff from Chandler to take a 20 footer. Happens once or twice a game.

  5. ephus

    Have to disagree strongly because the worst play the Knicks run is the ISO-Melo above the arc with no off-the-ball movement. Happens at the end of most games the Knicks trail by 2-5 points.

  6. ephus

    Shumpert needs to work on his fast break offense. He is really bad in the open court.

    Have to imagine that would be fun to drill.

  7. maxwell_3g

    i think that we are at the point that shump needs to see a sports psych for his issues. it is painful to watch him aim jumpshots and turn down layups

  8. BigBlueAL

    I’ll take a Melo ISO any day over a Felton 20 ft jumper. Lets just say there are a few options for worst play the Knicks run lol.

  9. Brian Cronin

    I love when Melo goes into Beast Mode (and I love playing shitty teams that let him Beast on him).

  10. er

    Good quarter by Melo but one thing that I have noticed is that as a right hand player he always drives left. That’s one reason KD shut him down he didn’t let him go left. It’s a weird thing that I’m surprised more defenders haven’t picked up on.

  11. ephus

    To end the quarter, Knicks ran the worst play (described above). Melo wisely passed rather than taking the contested jumper off the bounce, but it led to a Felton heave at the expiration of the shot clock.

  12. BigBlueAL

    The Knicks should forfeit the rest of the season for allowing Jimmer to piss on them the way he is doing right now.

  13. maxwell_3g

    if we lose to the kings at home, is there a clearer message to the FO that we are not buyers and should be sellers??? if that message would be received, lets go Jimmer!!!!

  14. d-mar

    I don’t even think in Fredette’s wet dreams he could imagine an announcer saying ” Fredette having his way”

  15. ephus

    Fredette can stay in the game because Shumpert is doing less than zero on offense. If Fredette does not have to play defense, he looks like an NBA player.

  16. Brian Cronin

    As bad as that quarter was, they’re still well on their way to a win so I can’t complain too much. Too much. ;)

  17. DRed

    Shump was not good, but he was better than Timmy. Tyson and Melo get first half A’s. Everyone else does not

  18. DRed

    For those scoring at home, that’s two open 3’s resulting from Tyson rolling to the hoop. Floor spacing at its finest.

  19. maxwell_3g

    lord. the kings suck. their defense is as bad as ours. i think this puts demarcus cousins into perspective

  20. BigBlueAL

    Been hard on Shump tonight but still hope he isnt injured bad. Looks like he was holding his rib or hip area??

  21. maxwell_3g

    the kings are the only team that is worse on d and lower bb IQ than us. They should sign Kurt Thomas immediately and give him a free check. they seem to have some talent, but no direction

  22. maxwell_3g

    felton is so awesome….in that really sucky type of way. its actually fun to watch and say to yourself, “I was all-conference in HS, maybe I could play in the league”

  23. Will the Thrill

    HAHAH Felton floater! I guess he was trying for a Kobe assist to himself.. Can’t blame him…

  24. Will the Thrill

    Rudy Gay with the dumbest play of the game going for that no look rolling pass on the ground haha that will probably cost them the game.

  25. BigBlueAL

    Every time they show Woodson standing there with that stupid looking facial expression I feel like punching him in the face.

  26. maxwell_3g

    that flashback from last year. why the hell was novak in there to play D???? maybe we should have been bitching more about woody last year

  27. BigBlueAL

    The Knicks were very depleted injury wise in that game if I remember correctly. Plus I think the Knicks missed and the Kings didnt call a timeout so Novak wasnt able to be subbed out.

  28. BigBlueAL

    Embarrassing. Going to OT vs this Kings team playing a back-to-back and their 4th in 6 games on the road while the Knicks have had 2 days rest and a double digit lead in the 3rd quarter. Absolutely embarrassing.

  29. Kahnzy

    You know, one really has to wonder why the Knicks bother calling timeouts in end-of-game situations like that. I mean, we do the exact same thing every. God. Damned. Time. Throw it to Melo and everyone go stand in a corner. Who do they think they’re fooling when Woodson pretends to draw up a play on his whiteboard?

    Death, taxes, and Iso-Melo.

  30. DRed

    In all seriousness, why do you need a whiteboard to tell everyone to stand and watch after you dump it to Melo (again). Just say we’re running the same non-play on the other side.

  31. thenoblefacehumper

    I really am so conflicted about what I want to happen here. I know this has been said about like 15 games this season but there’s no way Woodson could survive this loss…right?

  32. Will the Thrill

    Embarrassing. Going to OT vs this Kings team playing a back-to-back and their 4th in 6 games on the road while the Knicks have had 2 days rest and a double digit lead in the 3rd quarter. Absolutely embarrassing.

    But if we lost this in their scenario, it would probably be deemed as a “schedule loss” by some people with no chance of winning.

  33. BigBlueAL

    Can they fire Woodson as soon as the game is over?? Do we really have to wait for a day or two for the inevitable??

  34. BigBlueAL

    Sad part is both the Bobcats and Pistons lost tonight and the Knicks arent gonna be able to take advantage of that because of this game vs the tough Kings.

  35. ephus

    I think the Knicks decided that Chandler was scoring too much on the PnR, so they stopped running it.

    FIRE WOODSON!

  36. ephus

    If the Knicks come out of the TO with Tyler/Stat/Melo/Chandler/Felton, I guarantee on open jumper to seal the game.

    FIRE WOODSON!

  37. Will the Thrill

    If the Knicks come out of the TO with Tyler/Stat/Melo/Chandler/Felton, I guarantee on open jumper to seal the game.

    FIRE WOODSON!

    Spot on

  38. kronicfatigue

    Knicks were down 2 possessions with 49 seconds left. You HAVE to foul there. Let’s say Kings burn 20 seconds, miss a shot, and Knicks hit an instant 3. So, in that case, Kings have the ball up 1 with shotclock turned off. So the Knicks will HAVE …

    omg, they aren’t fouling now with 24 seconds left??!?!?

    EDIT: Sorry, those were two thoughts happening at once. I was writing that in a best case scenerio, the Knicks would STILL have to foul at the end of the game….so they might as well foul now.

    Instead, Kings shoot too early in the clock (make it), Knicks hit a quick 3, and then DON’T foul the Kings. Seriously, wtf?! The kings should have waited until the shot clock was at 1 and then just thrown the ball high up in the air. The clock keeps running at that point, right?

  39. coyle022

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  40. er

    Wow as bad as Melo was this loss is on the d allowing ferdette to go off in the 2nd when the Knicks were pulling away and in the 4th when the Knicks were pulling away.

  41. thenoblefacehumper

    We’ve been confident about Woodson’s dismissal after countless awful losses before. I genuinely believe he’ll be out there for the next game.

  42. Kikuchiyo

    I’m impressed. Just when I thought that Worst Loss of the Season had been locked up, we get this gem.

  43. hoolahoop

    FIRE WOODSON!!!!!!FIRE WOODSON!!!!!!FIRE WOODSON!!!!!!FIRE WOODSON!!!!!!FIRE WOODSON!!!!!!FIRE WOODSON!!!!!!FIRE WOODSON!!!!!!FIRE WOODSON!!!!!!FIRE WOODSON!!!!!!FIRE WOODSON!!!!!!FIRE WOODSON!!!!!!FIRE WOODSON!!!!!!FIRE WOODSON!!!!!!FIRE WOODSON!!!!!!FIRE WOODSON!!!!!!FIRE WOODSON!!!!!!FIRE WOODSON!!!!!!FIRE WOODSON!!!!!!FIRE WOODSON!!!!!!FIRE WOODSON!!!!!!FIRE WOODSON!!!!!!FIRE WOODSON!!!!!!FIRE WOODSON!!!!!!FIRE WOODSON!!!!!!

  44. BigBlueAL

    Sad part is assuming Herb takes over the Knicks might actually become worse coached if thats actually possible. It is definitely over for this season. Just pray they hire JVG or Thibs in the off-season.

  45. John R.

    This team makes me sick as much as anyone else, in fact they often succeed at ruining my night, but what are the specific indictments on Woodson? I’m just curious, because the players have also been quite responsible for this year’s mess. You guys are all armchair coaches, I understand he makes questionable decisions, but this has just been a downhill slide since the EC Semifinals last year, anything that can go wrong will at this point…

  46. KJG

    It really makes you think… Coach stinks, clearly. These players…. These phucking losers. It’s completely hilarious. These aren’t men on the court. They are losers. Any wins they’ve accumulated have been the anomaly. Guys hit a few jumps shots and all of a sudden were back on track. Bull phucking Shit. I hate this team. I loathe them. These pieces of Shit are putrid. They have no heart. No passion. Melo. That piece of Shit is a joke. What a waste. A complete waste. A complete bottom 5 team. That last time out. That huddle was a joke. No one cared. It was Shit. Forget Lowry. Faried. This is done. It’s a wrap. I’m on an imaginary thread. I’m almost there. I’m leaning over the edge.

  47. hoolahoop

    As well as he’s played and as much as Melo has been a warrior this season, his compulsion to go iso down the stretch demonstrates how much of a champion he’s not.

  48. lavor postell

    Was with family so just been game casting this entire game. I could actually imagine what was happening based on each little segment. If Woodson isn’t fired at this point I will not watch a game until he does. It’s hard enough when the personnel on your team isn’t great but when your coach runs a playbook that belongs in the early 90s iso era you’re doomed.

  49. KJG

    This team deserves none of our time. We shouldn’t waste another breath. Lets talk needlepoint .. or HVAC… weather!.. anything. Phucking exotic birds. Eat Shit MSG. F u Dolan , Woodson and all the low lives wearing a Knicks uniform .

  50. ephus

    Here are five specific indictments of Woodson:

    1. Playing Melo 40+ minutes per game, which has coincides with Melo becoming a horrible closer.

    2. Going away from the PnR when it is the one thing that makes Chandler a weapon. It also gets Melo easy weak side looks.

    3. The worst play (which I previewed at the start of this thread) to close every close game: ISO-Melo from above the arc.

    4. Failure to use timeouts/fouls to correspond to game situation. Like not fouling down three with :27 to go.

    5. The over switching defense.

  51. maxwell_3g

    other than the complete inability to come up with a play at the end of quarters/ regulation, there is not a specific play to blame on woodson. his defensive strategy of switching killed us throughout the game. his desire to run iso sets and get away from pick and roll was equally ridiculous

  52. maxwell_3g

    watching league pass. seriously, the refs need to cut this crap with James Harden. they need to stop calling fouls for this guy, because his flopping is out of control

  53. thenoblefacehumper

    @145, watching too. Yeah it’s ridiculous. Literally every time he drives it’s a whistle. That last shot was impressive though!

  54. BigBlueAL

    Chris Herring just tweeted this:

    I’m so confused by what just came out of that press conference a few minutes ago.

  55. coyle022

    “Well again when Iman got hurt-we had a bad matchup problem…(filler)….so I had to go big.”

    Then said “we built our lead with Melo at the 4, but I had to go big” Really coach, you HAD to go big?

    Then the Woodson classic “They made shots”

  56. coyle022

    Asked about the two plays at the end of regulation, whether there was a set play or just “give it to Melo”

    Woodson: “Oh no it was give it to Melo”

  57. BigBlueAL

    Best part about losses like tonight is Isola going off on the the Knicks management on Twitter. Great stuff.

  58. coyle022

    Chris Herring ?@HerringWSJ 1m

    To those asking why Im confused by Woodson, Im confused bc all yr, Woodsons sought 2 go big. Tonight, he blames loss on inability 2 go small

  59. maxwell_3g

    as much as I cant stand woodson, i really hope that he doesnt become the complete scapegoat here. my feelings (negative) for Dolan are much stronger

  60. DRed

    Which, to be fair, is more an indictment of drawing conclusions from small sample size than anything about Melo.

  61. ephus

    This is not a good time to be a Knick fan.

    I hated the 1984-85 season the first time. It is even worse now.

  62. ephus

    Dolan is a horrible owner:

    1. Isiah Thomas as GM
    2. Isiah Thomas extended as coach
    3. Melo meddling.
    4. Fired Walsh.
    5. Soviet style press control.
    6. Will not cede power to basketball people.

    Right now, he needs to do one thing right and FIRE WOODSON!

  63. BigBlueAL

    Marc Stein just tweeted:

    James Dolan WANTS to keep Woody rest of season. Does NOT want to make change now. But losses to Bucks & Kings leading into break … ouch

  64. U Got A lot of Girbaud Jeans HA

    I tell a friend this game felt as bad as the Wizards loss on the Beal lay-up. He goes, “you mean the loss to the Bucks?”. You know it’s bad when you can make comparisons

  65. Brian Cronin

    This might not be how he meant it, of course, but if you read this a certain way it is hilarious.

    From Al Iannazzone:

    Tyson Chandler was asked if he’s worried about Mike Woodson’s job. ” No,” Chandler said.

  66. flossy

    Chris Herring ?@HerringWSJ 5m
    Fredette was the fifth player to log career-high against Knicks this season. Belinelli, Lance Stephenson, Evan Turner & Brandon Knight, too.

    why.

  67. Donnie Walsh

    Well, at least the Knicks can say they are undefeated against the Orlando Magic this season (at least until February 21st, that is)

  68. JK47

    On the one hand, the Knicks lost to the Suckramento Kings, and got clowned on their home floor by Jimmer Fredette.

    On the other hand, my Syracuse Orange went to 24-0 tonight after an insane play by the best freshman point guard I’ve ever seen, Tyler Ennis, in which he took an inbounds pass, split two defenders, dribbled the length of the court in four dribbles and drained a 35-footer with time expiring to send a tough Pitt team to a heartbreaking loss on their home court.

    So I got that going for me.

  69. lavor postell

    It’s so frustrating to me that the Knicks are my favorite team above all others by a huge margin because basically since my middle school years they have been among the most dysfunctional organizations in professional sports and a massive emotional drain barring last season’s team, which I thoroughly enjoyed, Pacers series and all. It really sucks because the last 3-4 seasons the Michigan basketball team has turned the corner and been a joy to watch, but my devotion to them is secondary to the Knicks. Last season they beat JK47’s Orange (sorry!!) in the Final Four in an incredible run to the championship game and I was more geeked that the Knicks won @OKC the next day, clinched the division for the first time since 1994 and won 50+ games. I’m going to try really hard not to watch another Knicks game though until Woodson is no longer the coach. Luckily they are making that very easy to do.

  70. nicos

    So down two with 14 seconds left the Heat don’t call timeout and go iso and have to take a fade-away three. Of course iso LBJ tends to end a bit differently than iso Melo.

  71. BigBlueAL

    The Knicks are my favorite team because during my middle school years they were 1 win away from being NBA champions. I miss being in middle school lol.

  72. lavor postell

    I’ve watched a lot of the Spurs rodeo road trip and Popovich is a master. He’s made more genius coaching decisions in their last 4 games than Woodson has in his lifetime. He’s got Belinelli playing like fucking Jordan, putting up a line of 16 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists.

    I’d definitely take Patty Mills over Raymond Felton at this point. I don’t know who said it, but I’ve had enough Raymond Felton as the starting point guard for my lifetime.

  73. AvonBarksdale

    MWP needed some minutes, Melo only had 2 assists on a night when everyone was pretty hot except felt/thj…The Bigs on offense were playing really well…the penguin couldn’t stay in front of the other teams point guard, we switched, we fouled, we doubled….it was so sickening i started to root for a guy named “Jimmer” to torch us with Novakian three’s all overtime and still i was surprised we couldn’t get a bucket/stop….Woodson needs to go, Melo needs to go STAT is back let’s build around him…unless he is willing to sign an extension for less and early i don’t think Melo should stay, getting knocked out in the first round if we even make the playoffs if he wants a championship now i dunno what i’m saying too upset to think straight!

  74. JoMo

    Does anyone else get furious when, after a loss like this, you get an intense, well-made MSG bumper that implores you to “WATCH AS THE KNICKS TAKE ON (the next baffling loss)!” This team continues to shit inside the heart of it’s fans, and then the marketing just turns around and hurls a 95mph fastball of flaming dogshit at the soul.

    Also, am I wrong in claiming that Kenyon Martin looks like an old turtle sniffing a fart? That’s the only amusing observation I’ve been able to make about the team this season.

    These are my advanced statistical insights.

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