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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Game Preview & Thread: Knicks v. Cthulhus

In honor of the ‘Bockers’ league-leading winning streak, it’s Magic 8 ball time! Will the Knicks win today’s game v. the Right Proper Bostonians? (Shake, shake)  ”All Signs Point To…” Fer Chrissakes, I can’t read this thing. The little cube isn’t floating to the surface anymore and the water’s gotten all muddy. And who broke my Stretch Armstrong doll? The goo is getting everywhere. Oh well. Since beloved childhood toys can’t provide the answers to these pressing questions, we turned to Brian Robb of from our fellow TrueHoop dealership, CelticsHub.com, for a few keen insights into today’s titanic tilt:

 

1. The Celtics got off to a great start after Rondo’s injury, but they’ve tailed off quite dramatically of late. Is it just Garnett’s/Lee’s absence, or are there other, more deeply-seeded issues? What else’s gone wrong?

It’s been more injuries than anything else in my opinion. KG has been banged up for awhile now, but an underlying factor has been the shooting slump of Avery Bradley. He’s been atrocious for the past month or so offensively, and that’s tough for a team that struggles to score points. Combine that with a lack of depth and a number of new faces that Doc Rivers didn’t trust yet and you have a recipe for a swoon.

2. Jeff Green’s been beasting of late. Is there a change in his game that would account for this or is it just playing time or did Tommy Heinsohn dump a vat of PED’s in his Gatorade?

He was definitely starting to hit his stride in January right before Rondo went down, but he’s taken it to a new level without the All-Star point guard. It’s easy to forgot that this guy missed all of last season, so it definitely took awhile for him to get the trust off and regain his confidence. There’s no denying though that the C’s new spread offense gives him a much better role in the offense. He’s getting the ball in better places now and he’s making the most of it. No word on whether his watching old James Worthy tapes all season has also helped Green, but it’s a possibility.

3. Knick-Celtic games have been incredibly hard-fought, close games of late (cf L’Affaire Honey Nut Cheerios). What’s your prediction for this one?

I like the Knicks in this one. Boston is struggling defensively without Garnett and with J.R. Smith rolling, it’ll be tough for Boston to contain him, Carmelo and all the three-point shooters on the road. With that said, it will be closer than last time, because Rivers has finally realized he needs a true big on the floor, instead of trying to play Jeff Green or Brandon Bass at center most of the game.

 

Thanks Brian!  All your in-game thoughts go here. Happy Easter, everyone.

 

63 comments on “Game Preview & Thread: Knicks v. Cthulhus

  1. Thomas B.

    Why would I agree to do the recap the same night as the GoT season three premier, and the season finale of The Walking Dead? If my recap reads like I did not watch the game, this time it will be because I did not watch the game.

  2. ruruland

    Thomas B.:
    Why would I agree to do the recap the same night as the GoT season three premier, and the season finale of The Walking Dead?If my recap reads like I did not watch the game, this time it will be because I did not watch the game.

    Wait, you’ve been watching during this streak? 46 wins

  3. ephus

    Felton/Kidd/Smith/Copeland/Novak. Let’s just say that the Knicks do not have a lot of rim protection out there. Somehow, this lineup is holding its own.

    BTW, my feelings towards JR Smith have not abated despite Scalia’s best efforts.

  4. ephus

    Now, Prigioni in for Felton. Still nobody who would qualify as a true 4, let alone a 5. And they are on an 8-0 run.

    Don’t think this could have worked if KG was on the floor.

  5. ruruland

    ephus:
    Now, Prigioni in for Felton.Still nobody who would qualify as a true 4, let alone a 5.And they are on an 8-0 run.

    Don’t think this could have worked if KG was on the floor.

    Right, and they are playing a 5-out offense.

  6. d-mar

    We’ve all had our occasional problems with Woody this season, but you have to give him a lot of credit with the rotation he’s established, starting Prigs and having Kidd come off the bench. That 2nd unit is playing phenomenally (of course it helps to have a player like JR who could put the ball in off of his head right now)

  7. ephus

    And now K-Mart is out hurt. Strained abdominal muscle. “Questionable to return this game” translated from MSG speak probably means out for a week.Wish I was joking.

  8. ephus

    Zero rim protection = Jeff Smith getting highlight dunks twice this quarter. Camby still can’t get off the bench. Hurt or doghouse?

  9. AnonymousODG

    Sources tell me that Knicks medical staff will attempt to make small incisions in KMart’s right abdominal muscle to “balance it all out” and, if that doesn’t work, will just remove the whole abdominal muscle set “as it doesn’t seem to serve any real purpose anymore… like the appendix.”

  10. ephus

    Shumpert/Smith/Kidd/Prigioni/Felton. Smallest lineup I can imagine getting on the court. And they are holding there own.

  11. Brian Cronin

    I think it is a mix of physical issues plus dog house.

    Seriously, though, if melo is on and good jr is here, the Knicks can still hang with any team and can kick the asses of the bad teams (like a kg-less Celtics). Good JR really is THAT much of a gane-changer.

  12. Thomas B.

    ruruland: Wait, you’ve been watching during this streak? 46 wins

    First game in two weeks. As with any prediction of wins for a season one cannot account for unforseen injuries. The injuries significantly impacted my prediction. Furthermore, I predicted 45 wins, and as you can see the team has won 45 games. No need to remind me that I am correct. I’m not one to gloat.

  13. ruruland

    AnonymousODG:
    Sources tell me that Knicks medical staff will attempt to make small incisions in KMart’s right abdominal muscle to “balance it all out” and, if that doesn’t work, will just remove the whole abdominal muscle set “as it doesn’t seem to serve any real purpose anymore… like the appendix.”

    Nice

  14. yellowboy90

    Interesting that they give Melo the shot attempts but not the offensive rebounds this game. Maybe I am wrong?

  15. BigBlueAL

    Just read this stat on Twitter: Knicks have won their last 7 first halves by an average of 17.3 points.

  16. yellowboy90

    Chicago needs to beat Det and stop playing around. It would be nice if they can pass ATL.

  17. ephus

    K-Mart starts the third quarter. This is either good news (because he’s not really hurt) or REALLY bad (because Woodson is playing a hurt guy in a relatively meaningless game). I am betting on good.

  18. ephus

    While the Knicks have struggling on offense, they are doing a great job on the defensive boards. I know that the Celtics retreat rather than hitting the offensive boards, but these are great-looking two-handed defensive rebounds.

  19. BigBlueAL

    Bosh wins the game with a 3pter with 1 sec left. Beginning to think the only real challenge to the Heat will come from the Pacers or Knicks lol.

  20. AnonymousODG

    ephus:
    While the Knicks have struggling on offense, they are doing a great job on the defensive boards.I know that the Celtics retreat rather than hitting the offensive boards, but these are great-looking two-handed defensive rebounds.

    Melo has not been playing well. JR seems to have taken a nap. Time for Felton to step up.

  21. AnonymousODG

    I don’t recall having ever seen Pierce attack the basket like he has been doing tonight. I hate the guy but it’s almost marvelous how much he’s been eating us up in the paint and off the dribble.

  22. ephus

    AnonymousODG:
    I don’t recall having ever seen Pierce attack the basket like he has been doing tonight.I hate the guy but it’s almost marvelous how much he’s been eating us up in the paint and off the dribble.

    Really? The Celtics offense has revolved around Pierce getting to the rim for the last decade. He doesn’t play above the rim, but he sure does attack in isolation.

  23. BigBlueAL

    Pierce also has mastered flailing his arms on drives and drawing fouls. Its the main reason to me Melo doesnt get as many calls on drives, he goes in strong and doesnt flop or flail his arms on contact. He actually tries to make the shot.

  24. ephus

    JR Smith bails out the Knicks on offense by taking the ball to the hole with time expiring on the 24, then grabs a gorgeous defensive rebound. Good JR is better than Pierce.

  25. ephus

    Love the effort by Copeland to get the offensive board back on the glass before the buzzer. Little things that get you more PT.

  26. AnonymousODG

    ephus: Really?The Celtics offense has revolved around Pierce getting to the rim for the last decade.He doesn’t play above the rim, but he sure does attack in isolation.

    Clearly. He just seems so much more stronger and willful with his step tonight than in the last half-dozen games I’ve actually watched him play.

  27. AnonymousODG

    ephus:
    Just for grins, that was a great Kobe-assist by JR Smith on the putback by Cope.

    Complete with him glaring at the ref while totally oblivious that his team just got the putback for the score.

  28. ephus

    The floor may say Madison Square Garden, but the game being layed right now says Thomas & Mack Arena.

  29. yellowboy90

    This win helps me deal with the UF lost. The season finale of Walking Dead and the season premiere of GOT helps too.

  30. AnonymousODG

    Just to highlight how depleted and old we are, Shump, the dude who had to recover from a torn ACL has to play the garbage time. So weird.

  31. ess-dog

    Scary how important JR is to this team. Hopefully he found his game again and it will stick. The help from Cope doesn’t hurt either, remembering that both these guys are bench guys. I have to give credit to the Felton/Prig backcourt too, especially defensively.

    This team is starting to look like a team that can at least get to the Heat now.

    The bummer of it all is that we’re pretty much the same team with or without Amare. Kmart’s defense more than makes up for Amare’s offense.

  32. AnonymousODG

    yellowboy90:
    Big ups to Ray for probably ending the month shooting 50% and 40% from 3.

    Indeed. I’ll take an improved accuracy, more stealing, less turnover-prone Felton any day considering his dip in assists is just naturally shifting over towards Prig.

    Prig, btw, is 8-0 since starting at PG. Prigsanity, anybody???

  33. maxwell_3g

    ess-dog:
    Scary how important JR is to this team. Hopefully he found his game again and it will stick. The help from Cope doesn’t hurt either, remembering that both these guys are bench guys. I have to give credit to the Felton/Prig backcourt too, especially defensively.

    This team is starting to look like a team that can at least get to the Heat now.

    The bummer of it all is that we’re pretty much the same team with or without Amare. Kmart’s defense more than makes up for Amare’s offense.

    agreed completely. prigsanity. what about k-martinsanity?? can we call it tinsanity for short??

  34. Brian Cronin

    When JR is on like this, the Knicks can beat anyone. It really doesn’t matter who’s in the middle when JR is playing like this. It’s basically like adding a mini-Michael Jordan to your team out of nowhere.

    Granted, the Heat are pretty damn formidable (beating the Spurs without Wade or Lebron? That’s just insane), so the Heat would probably beat the Knicks, but when JR is playing like this, there is no reason that the Knicks can’t beat the Heat.

  35. ruruland

    Brian Cronin:
    When JR is on like this, the Knicks can beat anyone. It really doesn’t matter who’s in the middle when JR is playing like this. It’s basically like adding a mini-Michael Jordan to your team out of nowhere.

    Granted, the Heat are pretty damn formidable (beating the Spurs without Wade or Lebron? That’s just insane), so the Heat would probably beat the Knicks, but when JR is playing like this, there is no reason that the Knicks can’t beat the Heat.

    How about adding Chandler and Amar’e to a rim-oriented JR?

    What about when Melo gets going again? Can Shump and Felton continue to be as economical as they’ve been the last 6 weeks?

    Is it really that ridiculous to think the Knicks can’t play like the best team in basketball for a playoff stretch?

  36. lavor postell

    ruruland: How about adding Chandler and Amar’e to a rim-oriented JR?

    Please elaborate on this. What kind of shift in our offense do you anticipate taking place when Tyson and Amar’e get back in combination with a potentially rim oriented JR?

  37. Brian Cronin

    Is it really that ridiculous to think the Knicks can’t play like the best team in basketball for a playoff stretch?

    Definitely not ridiculous.

    Probably still unlikely, but not ridiculous at all.

  38. jon abbey

    the thing is that the healthier they are overall, the worse they seem to be somehow, for two seasons now. Chandler will obviously be welcome back, but I am not sure whose minutes Amar’e would take if Woodson insists on keeping Melo at PF.

    Woodson back to a .667 winning percentage overall now, 64-32.

  39. Brian Cronin

    Interesting point, Jon. I’ve always been a Melo at the 4 proponent, but when you look at it that way, all the Knicks’ most dominant lineups have come with him at the 4, haven’t they?

    I mean, don’t get me wrong, I don’t know if it really matters that much where he plays so long as JR is doing his thing (that is, being a top 25 player, which is what he’s been doing during this winning streak), but it is interesting to note that their best stretches (the stretch last year, the stretch top open the season and the current winning streak) have all come when Melo is at the 4.

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