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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Game Preview & Thread: Knicks vs. Hawks

A Wednesday night Hawks-Knicks early-season game is typically not a game either Knicks fans or Hawks fans too mark down on their calendars as a must-watch before the season starts. However, Knicks owner James Dolan made things interesting when he guaranteed a Knicks victory over the Hawks after the Knicks were torn apart by the San Antonio Spurs.

The Knicks have lost four of their last five contests and Tyson Chandler is going to miss significant time, but Dolan is confident his team is walking out of Atlanta with a victory. Trying to decipher why Dolan guaranteed a victory over the Hawks Wednesday night is not something I’d personally recommend; Dolan doesn’t have a filter, so all we can do is sit back, enjoy roll our eyes, and not dwell on it — unless you’re Mike Woodson.

Woodson is thinking about changing the starting lineup again and it appears Metta World Peace and J.R. Smith are the front-runners to be inserted into the rotation. I guess Smith’s 1-for-9 display on Sunday really showed Woodson something. Something.

The Hawks are coached by Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich’s long-time assistant Mike Budenholzer, so maybe that’s why Woodson is thinking about adjusting his starting lineup. The Hawks are second in the league in assists per game (28.0), which is something the Knicks have struggled with, averaging just 18.5 (24th). This past offseason the Hawks opted to let Josh Smith walk, replacing him with Paul Millsap. It’s paid off thus far — Millsap is averaging 20.9 points per 36 minutes (highest on the team). More importantly, Millsap is doing it at an efficient 60 percent TS% and 57.9 eFG%. The other Hawks big man, Al Horford, is averaging 20.5 points per 36 minutes.

Horford and Millsap have been great for the Hawks thus far, but the biggest reason why the team has been so good offensively is their point guard Jeff Teague’s progression as a passer. According to the new SportsVU data on NBA.com, Teague is creating 32.1 points per 48 minutes through his assists. Teague is also third in the league in assist opportunities per game averaging 19.0, per NBA.com.

So, if the Dolan’s guarantee of a Knicks victory over the Hawks is to come true it will mostly fall on whether or not the Knicks can stop Teague. If the first six games are any indication, that doesn’t seem to be very likely: Raymond Felton has had a rough start to the season on that front, and with the absence of Tyson Chandler, chances are it’s only going to get harder for Felton to get back on track. Felton has shot his best inside (51.9 percent in the restricted area), but is still shooting roughly four three-pointers a game and only making 24% of them. His counterpart tomorrow night isn’t exactly setting the roof on fire either from behind the three-point line — Teague is shooting 27 percent from three-point land — but he’s getting to the line six times per game and doubles Felton in the assists per 36 minutes (10-5) .

With the state the Knicks current frontcourt is in, the Knicks probably won’t be able to slow down Millsap and Horford Wednesday night, but maybe Woodson’s backcourt rotation choices will ultimately decide if Dolan’s guarantee comes true.

147 comments on “Game Preview & Thread: Knicks vs. Hawks

  1. SirJim

    Run and gun, make their bigs tired, and limit turnovers.

    Seems too simple, so more likely:

    Play big, attempt to match other team, force players into unfamiliar roles.

  2. DRed

    Atlanta is off to a decent start, and it’s never easy to beat solid NBA teams on the road, so I’m not particularly optimistic about this one. Some things I’d like to see-real minutes for Cole, maybe some time for Murry, no time for Hardaway, Earl making some shots, and some more open looks for Carmelo.

  3. Robtachi

    I hope Shump goes out tonight, hits 5 threes, and dunkfaces Al Horford 7 times, thereby convincing Dolan he’s too good to trade, or other GMs he’s worth more than advertised if the Knicks are so intent on trading him.

  4. stratomatic

    The latest rumor is that after Denver rejected the Shumpert for Faried deal, Dolan took over negotiations and changed it to Shumpert for Randy Foye. lmao

  5. DRed

    I hope Shump goes out tonight, hits 5 threes, and dunkfaces Al Horford 7 times, thereby convincing Dolan he’s too good to trade, or other GMs he’s worth more than advertised if the Knicks are so intent on trading him.

    About halfway through that rampage coach would bench him and bring in Hardaway.

  6. Brian Cronin

    The latest rumor is that after Denver rejected the Shumpert for Faried deal, Dolan took over negotiations and changed it to Shumpert for Randy Foye. lmao

    I wouldn’t put it past him. Seriously, though, what I think might actually be true is that Isola threw out Shump for Faried as a possible trade idea and the Knicks saw it and thought, “Hey, good idea” and then offered Shump for Faried. I truly believe that this organization is stupid enough to just see a columnist’s trade idea and try to go for it.

  7. SeeWhyDee77

    I know the previous thread was dedicated to the trade rumor..but we have no wifi at my job that allows me to access this site so now’s my time to finally say something about it.
    Nope. Don’t like it. I like Faried..but not for Shump. Forgetting the fact that this trade would mean the team thinks they made a bad choice in Shump over Manimal, this would be a bad trade because Shump is a bigger part of our future than Faried would be. No matter how bad we need a big, he’s still a only 6’8″ rebounding machine. If he was 6’10″ 250 then maybe we make this move. But to move an asset like Shump for a talented player like Faried makes no sense because the team likes Hickson more allegedly. If we trade Shump, who means more to his current team than Faried does to his, we are bidding against ourselves..again. If you are gonna move Shump, then it should be for a player who is clearly better for the team. While we can survive at the 2 with JR-TH2-Murry-Udrih, none of those guys offer the two way potential of Shump. If we didn’t already have Tyson, Faried would be great with Bargnani and Melo. I think the team is better off trying to package Tyson and Shump for a better option at the 5 and a pick. But that’s daunting as well because outside of Howard or Gasol there’s really no options. Unless we go with Bargnani at the 5 and get a guy like Aldridge or Monroe or Lovr. Speaking of Love, rumor has is it the team plans on recruiting him to pair with Melo. Plus 1 that move all day if it happens lol

  8. maxwell_3g

    never a good sign when Avery Johnson knows how to solve ur team’s problems better than your own idiot coach

  9. nyk8806

    Woody’s hands are tied. I truly believe that Dolan is doing some major meddling with the rotations/minute allotments that make Mr. Potato Head look way worse than he actually is (I don’t think he’s great, but he’s not an imbecile like he appears to be so far this season).

  10. maxwell_3g

    im fine with JR starting, but shump should start too. the fascination with screwing with shump that this regime has is crazy. we need MORE players like shump, not less

  11. DRed

    Interior D is ludicrously bad, but the offense is making up for it. Melo has done a nice job moving the ball.

  12. Will the Thrill

    Felton is bad on both ends this year. Wish there was a point guard worth drafting instead of draft TH2

  13. JK47

    No turnovers in the quarter for NYK and 5 first-quarter treys… Looking like last year’s Knicks at least for now.

  14. nyk8806

    Holy crap, just flipped over to the Houston/Philly game – Lin is 7/9 from 3 w/ 25 points, 8 assists, 3 TOs so far in 28 mins. Hopefully this means he will be totally gassed tomorrow and suck ass so I can keep telling myself how great a deal/fit Felton is for the team.

  15. Will the Thrill

    If the Knicks, and Lin can keep this up, the Knicks will technically be tied for first in our division!

  16. Brian Cronin

    Holy crap, just flipped over to the Houston/Philly game – Lin is 7/9 from 3 w/ 25 points, 8 assists, 3 TOs so far in 28 mins. Hopefully this means he will be totally gassed tomorrow and suck ass so I can keep telling myself how great a deal/fit Felton is for the team.

    Dear lord, do we need him to have a bad game tomorrow. Just to keep the comments to a minimum.

  17. Brian Cronin

    I am loving this. We should never have worried about the Hawks. They just can’t beat the Knicks for whatever reason. Awesome.

  18. maxwell_3g

    I don’t understand all of the TH2 hate. he has not shot well and he needs to dial back some of the shots, but his floor game looks good. Im happy with our pick

  19. JK47

    I am loving this. We should never have worried about the Hawks. They just can’t beat the Knicks for whatever reason. Awesome.

    Unfortunately there are 33 more minutes to play.

  20. SeeWhyDee77

    Let’s say for S&G’s that Dolan gets fed up with Woodson and dumps him. That happens in-season then there’s no doubt that Herb Williams is the coach for the rest o the season. But who gets hired. Stan Van Gundy? Do we go all in on Phil or Tom Izzo or Coach K? Or do we grab a young exciting college coach like Boston did? Shaka Smith? I don’t know..we may be looking at our best option for the foreseeable future in Woodson. I don’t think he’s a bad coach, I think he’s quite good actually. But he seems to be brain farting at the worst possible times, and that’s troublesome. That said, I think that alotta folks need to stop worrying about the temperature of Woodson’s seat. It’s piling on unnecessary pressure. Should we be worried? Or patient? Feels like a pick your poison deal in this situation doesn’t it? For better or for worse, this is what we have right now..hopefully Woodson and Co. will figure it out sooner than later.

  21. Will the Thrill

    World Peace is our second best 1 on 1 offensive player! Did not know he was capable of this! The threes are raining from everywhere!

  22. Will the Thrill

    Does Shumpert really have 7 assists or is espn.com lying to me? I think I only remember 1 of those.

  23. JK47

    These guys still just don’t really understand defense. When they get a stop it is merely the blind squirrel finding a nut.

  24. dtrickey

    I love matching the comments to what is going on with the play-by-play on espn. Thanks for the running commentary while I am at work guys!

  25. Kahnzy

    You know, and I’m only half-joking about what I’m about to say, Bargnani should just stay down on the offensive end of the court. We play 4-on-5 on the defensive end even when he’s there, so he shouldn’t even bother running down the court. Instead, he can just stay at the offensive end and cherry-pick for easy baskets.

  26. maxwell_3g

    I have to give it to bargs….when he tries, there is at least a high unintentional comedy aspect to his effort

  27. JK47

    Considering how poorly the Knicks played defense it is remarkable that the Hawks only scored 45 points in that half. Shooting 1-11 on mostly open three-pointers will do that to you.

  28. JK47

    Ray Felton isn’t too good on offense either.

    I know he’s our point guard and we’re stuck with him, but man is he an uninspiring player. He should really be a backup in this league, not a 30+ minute per night starter.

  29. yellowboy90

    I think the Knicks need to start trapping the high PnR especially when Antic is in. Also, when is Felton going to wake up?

  30. DRed

    This is the first time this year that the offense looks like it did last year. But holy christ the interior “defense” is an abomination.

  31. Robtachi

    I like Bargnani’s hustle tonight but I honestly cannot see a single skill that could have justified him as a 1st overall pick.

  32. Kikuchiyo

    I like Bargnani’s hustle tonight but I honestly cannot see a single skill that could have justified him as a 1st overall pick.

    Bargnani > Anthony Bennett

  33. JK47

    Melo now 6-17 from the floor, many of those very low-percentage long jumpers with a defender’s hand in his face.

  34. cgreene

    So Milsap who is bigger and slower than Melo is guarding him. And we keep going into the post instead of making him defend screen and roll.

  35. Donnie Walsh

    Man– without chandler, these games are hard to watch. There’s nobody to root for. Shump, i guess, but his days are numbered. Maybe World Peace, I guess, but I root for him somewhat against my better judgement. Man, Knick games were fun once :(

  36. Kahnzy

    I just keep reminding myself that I’m young enough to likely see James Dolan die and someone else assume ownership of the Knicks.

  37. Nick C.

    I do like K-Mart’s ferocity. I hate these last possessions. One on three, quick long three, one on two, shot clock violation. One more miss while typing as the deficit goes to five.

  38. Frank O.

    I’m not sure why the Knicks are nailing Stat to the bench. I mean what are they saving him for?
    Pretty ugly ball right now. Stagnant.

  39. JK47

    This team has no ability to do anything other than bomb three-pointers. When those are falling at an unsustainably high rate, the Knicks look like a competent NBA team. When those shots stop falling, the Knicks can’t do shit on either end of the floor. The Hawks aren’t exactly a legendary defensive team, and they’re able to hold the Knicks to low-percentage 20-foot jumpers every possession.

    Shoddy point guard play is one of the Knicks’ fundamental problems. Felton blows.

  40. maxwell_3g

    I agree donnie walsh. I can root for shump and MWP and prigs. I guess also for TH2 and Kmart, but the rest are hard to really be inspired by

  41. Kikuchiyo

    Shoddy point guard play is one of the Knicks’ fundamental problems. Felton blows.

    Yeah, but decent point guards are hard to come by. I mean, when was the last time we had a PG that could score, say, 34 points and get 12 assists?

    [trolling]

  42. cgreene

    Carmelo Anthony is an average NBA player or maybe slightly above. He has looked sluggish all year. He has no quickness. He can’t finish at the rim. He can’t jump. He can’t shoot. His rebs and assists are up. His D is awful. I have been a big Melo defender here. What happened to the guy? Seriously is there an explanation? Ruru?

  43. llcoolbp

    Not one of Melos finest moments. His worst tendencies are coming out this season. Hopefully, they turn it around or else this has the makings of one ugly season. Followed by the Knicks bidding against themselves and re-upping melo for 130 million. Then we will have the pleasure of watching him jack up shots as an out of shape 35 year old who was surrounded by yes men his entire life.

  44. maxwell_3g

    how can some of you guys hate TH2. he plays hard and makes an awesome fired up face. bottom line is that he brings energy to a team that sorely lacks energy

  45. Kahnzy

    Tim Hardaway Jr. with the Chris Webber fugazzi tough guy face. Hated it on Webber, hate it on Hardaway Jr. Oh well, at least we’re not losing anyone…for the moment anyway.

  46. Nick C.

    THJ!!!! I think this was the unit that balooned the lead in the first half (Prigs, THJ, K-Mart, Metta and Shump). Then again maybe Horford is sitting.

  47. DRed

    DRed’s favorite player to the rescue!! :-)

    Don’t ever let anyone say I wasn’t a huge fan from the beginning

  48. JK47

    Melo is back in the game. Does anyone think he’s going to do anything other than stink out the joint for the rest of the game?

  49. coyle022

    If Bargnani can just do this for the rest of the season we will win at least 45 games. If he reverts to Horrible GIF Bargnani the rest of the way it will get ugly

  50. Kahnzy

    Can you imagine the kind of player Shump could be on a great organization? Say San Antonio? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to see him leave, but his career would be better served if he went to an organization that actually had a clue.

  51. maxwell_3g

    bargs actually tries on d when his offense gets going. he needs to get to the point that he plays d (or tries to) all of the time

  52. Kahnzy

    The worst part about Bargnani not looking like the worst 1st pick in the history of ever is that James Dolan is sitting somewhere tuning his guitar saying to himself, “Man, if Toronto had held out, I’d have thrown them Shump in that trade as well. Suckers.”

  53. cgreene

    Melo did make 2 big plays in the 4th but how can he not be able to beat Al Horford off the dribble?

    Stars of the game are Shump and Bargs. Felton finally plays ok in the 4th.

  54. Shad0wF0x

    Right now I have 0 confidence in Melo taking Novak to the hole an dunking on him. I can’t remember the last time he dunked on someone.

  55. Donnie Walsh

    Well, this is the first game I’ve watched this year. I’d like to say that I’m happy they won, but honestly, I wish they lost. I just don’t like the players very much, and the faster they stick a fork in this roster, the better they’ll be (and the happier I’ll be).

  56. BigBlueAL

    If no Harden Knicks with a really good chance considering Rockets went OT tonight and double OT on Monday. Could be a tired, undermanned Rockets team visiting MSG tomorrow.

  57. BigBlueAL

    Melo has looked horrible tonight but in his defense this is his 4th game of 40 or more minutes and they have only played 8 games. Could be a reason for him looking sluggish tonight.

  58. EB

    Well, this is the first game I’ve watched this year. I’d like to say that I’m happy they won, but honestly, I wish they lost. I just don’t like the players very much, and the faster they stick a fork in this roster, the better they’ll be (and the happier I’ll be).

    Wow thats a little harsh. Even when they win they lose…

  59. coyle022

    Bargnani has only put up 20 pts, 11 rebs, 2 ast, and 1 blk TWICE in his career outside of tonight…and both happened when he was 24 years old. Great signs from Bargs and against a rugged Horford / Millsap frontcourt

  60. er

    Barg gotta keep up the rebounds

    Melo did make 2 big plays in the 4th but how can he not be able to beat Al Horford off the dribble?

    Didnt you see Horford running up and down the floor? Hes not exactly the Rick Smits of Centers.

  61. ess-dog

    Lin with 34 and 12 in the loss tonight. And Corey Brewer w/ 27!! and 5-5 from 3. Rubio w/ 16 assists, nasty.

    I like JR as a starter. It makes Felton shoot less. But damn, I can’t imagine this game w/o Shump. I think he’s a lot more comfortable as a 3 these days. I’m liking that lineup.

  62. er

    Wow thats a little harsh.

    I feel like thats the collective mindset here. He just typed it.

    I think Woodson needs to start calling plays on offense though. That third Q was abysmal. Good D and low turnovers in the second half won this game for the Knicks

  63. er

    I like JR as a starter. It makes Felton shoot less. But damn, I can’t imagine this game w/o Shump

    Agree with all of this. Shumps best game by far active on D made good plays. Melos worst game of the season . Woodson must take blame for that third though, its ridiculous that we have no offensive plays.

  64. JK47

    I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer here, but there was some luck involved in this win. The Hawks missed a LOT of open treys, and ate the Knicks alive in the paint. If they have a normal night shooting the 3, they blow the Knicks out. Nice job by NYK of protecting the ball and making enough shots to win, but the Knicks still did not look like a good defensive team in this game.

  65. Kahnzy

    I agree with JK47 on this one. A win is better than a loss, usually, but the fundamental problems the Knicks have still remain. Bargnani didn’t have a disastrous game, but between he and Felton we made what should otherwise be considered only a decent PG look like an all-star. We had the same problem last year, and it’s only gotten worse now than Chandler is out for the next month. We won because we had an above-average offensive game (at least when compared to the rest of the season) and because the Hawks had a below-average offensive game (again, when compared to the rest of the season). Hopefully our offense (with the exception of the putrid third quarter) is coming around now that Bargs is starting to hit open shots, but defensively we’re still one of the weakest teams in the league and that’s a major problem.

  66. er

    don’t want to be a Debbie Downer here, but there was some luck involved in this win. The Hawks missed a LOT of open treys, and ate the Knicks alive in the paint. If they have a normal night shooting the 3, they blow the Knicks out. Nice job by NYK of protecting the ball and making enough shots to win, but the Knicks still did not look like a good defensive team in this game.

    You are being one. There is luck in every game ie Tim Duncan game six blowing a chippy. If melo wasnt hitting the side of the Rim the Knicks blow the hawks out. The Knicks made the plays they had to and the Hawks didnt. Ill take the much needed W and move on , no feeling bad about a win. Also i noticed there was not as much switching so theres that

  67. er

    but between he and Felton we made what should otherwise be considered only a decent PG look like an all-star.

    Teague came into the game avg something like 20-9 so hes not decent hes pretty good. Need to work on the defense obviously as you guys said

  68. Kahnzy

    Also, Avery Johnson had a good point in the post-game. With Chandler out, we’re not going to beat teams with defense, and I’m fine with that. We need to shoot them out of the building to have a chance…but that doesn’t mean we should simply accept a starting center that has 3-4 not terrible defensive possessions a game, and a wide open lane down the middle for the rest of the game.

    It’s been said that firing Woodson doesn’t necessarily mean we get a better coach as a replacement, and I think that’s a fair assessment. But the incessant switching, unnecessary doubling, and just general clusterfuck defense we play isn’t going to change either so long as Woodson remains head coach. At least a coaching change gives us a chance to get away from that. For the same reason many want to get rid of Melo, as we’ve hit our ceiling with him, I feel the same about Woodson. It’s just not going to get any better, and while changing may make it worse, it also may make it better.

  69. Kahnzy

    Final point: Doris Burke is the reason why there aren’t more women in sports broadcasting. She gives the entire gender a bad name.

  70. d-mar

    Man, some of you guys are just un-effin-believable. The Knicks win a road game against a playoff team, and it comes down to us being lucky that the Hawks didn’t hit their 3′s? How about 11 steals and 3 turnovers TOTAL? Any credit to the Knicks for that? On nights where we can’t hit 3′s does anyone say the other team was lucky to beat us?

    “Man, those Kings sure are lucky the Nets are shooting 34% tonight, otherwise the Nets would be blowing them out” SMH.

  71. JK47

    I’d be pretty worried about Kevin Garnett right about now if I was a Nets fan. Another bad game tonight, 2-9 from the field so far. He is just killing the Nets on a nightly basis.

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