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Friday, April 18, 2014

Game Preview & Thread: Mavericks at Knicks

The Knicks have lost five of their last six games, so things are pretty dreary at the opponent. To make the postseason the Knicks have to go on a major run to end the season, so perhaps they’ll get back to winning tonight as they host the Dallas Mavericks.(LOL). To get a better idea of what the Knicks are up against tonight I brought in Kirk Henderson of Mavs Outsider and Tim Cato of Mavs Moneyball.

Enjoy!

The Mavericks come into New York on a two-game winning streak and currently hold the 8th spot in the Western Conference. Do you think the team holds steady and makes the playoffs?

Kirk: Right now, I think most Mavs fans would say yes without reservation. I’ve been taking the schedule a month at a time because it’s been clear the March and April slate of games were going to be brutal for Dallas. The Mavericks have played above expectations, are 11 games over .500 and are STILL 8th in the West. So to answer your question, I’d give a tentative yes, though seeding will go down to the final day with Phoenix, Golden State, and Memphis right there in the mix for the 6-7-8 seeds.

Tim:I don’t see Minnesota getting back into the playoff picture — it’s a four-team race for the final three spots in the West, in my eyes. Between Golden State, Phoenix, Memphis and Dallas (2.5 games separates them all), it may just come down to the schedule. I think the Mavericks’ fate will be decided one way or another in the first half of March, where they some of the top teams in the league. If they can stay afloat and at least not fall back by more than a game or two, I like their chances of making a strong April push.

The Mavericks have eight players on the roster with above-average PER’s, but which role player(s) would you say have been the most critical for the Mavs success this season?

Kirk: I’d have to say Devin Harris. He’s only played the past 15 or so games, but he came back from his toe surgery at just the right time. He’s a bit of a jack-of-all-trades in a deep guard rotation for Dallas. Everyone knows that Monta Ellis is going to put his head down and drive at the basket. The same goes for Jose Calderon and shooting the ball from deep. Harris gives Dallas that x-factor off the bench that opposing teams can’t always match. He’s still surprisingly fast and a good enough shooter to cause havoc. When you pair him with Vince Carter and Brandan Wright, the Maverick bench unit is pretty formidable.

Tim:Brandan Wright and Vince Carter are the two players off the bench who can change a game or spark a big run. Wright can struggle on defense in some match-ups, but he’s a lethal pick-and-roll finisher and slips the pick better than anyone in the league. His favorite pick-and-roll handler is Vince Carter, who’s more man than amazing these days but still can explode for some scoring bursts when needed.

Offense is definitely not an issue for this year’s Mavericks team, but are 23rd in the league in DRtg. Why have they struggled so much defensively?

Kirk: Whatever the question is, if Samuel Dalembert is the answer then you’re doing it wrong. When three of your five starters are Dirk, Ellis, and Calderon, there are going to be holes, massive, endless holes in a defense. Shawn Marion is 35 and a capable defender, but he and Dalembert are not able to cover for the lack of defensive ability in the rest of their teammates. This was always going to be the case, though, which is why Dallas has often embraced absurd line ups featuring DeJuan Blair as the starting center. The goal of a basketball game is to score more than the other team and on most nights the Mavericks are able to overwhelm their opponents.

Tim:Up and down the roster, the Mavericks just have lots of weak defenders who play major minutes. It starts with Jose Calderon and Monta Ellis, includes DeJuan Blair and sometimes Wright, and of course has to include the 35-year-old Dirk. In fact, the team being as high as 23rd in the league is a testament to Shawn Marion’s ability to be everywhere at once, and Rick Carlisle’s sheer brilliance on hiding poor defenders. If the defense can play well enough to avoid losing games for the Mavericks, the offense can and has bailed them out time and time again.

The Knicks are giving up 106.2 points per 100 possessions, 27th in the league, but how would you go about slowing down this Mavericks offense if you’re the Knicks?

Kirk:Goad Monta Ellis into a tough shooting night. He’s the spark Dallas uses to get going most games, mainly through high screen and rolls with Dirk. If Ellis has an even marginal chance at taking a shot, he’s probably going to. When he’s off, it causes problems for the rest of the Dallas flow. Dirk Nowitzki will still get his no matter who is guarding him, but Calderon and the rest of the offense tend to rely on Monta’s drives to open things up for them. New York is really well suited to shutting down Dallas, as they did in the first match up.

Tim:Start with Dirk. Double him, not just when he gets hot, but from the very start. He won’t commit the turnover in most instances, but that’s not the point. The Knicks need to get the offense out of rhythm and flustered, and not being able to rely on the number one option to get them quality shots is the first step in that direction.

Who ultimately wins tonight and why?

Kirk: New York in a close one. Dirk will put up a lot of points because that’s what Dirk does, but Melo out duels him because Dallas doesn’t have anyone who can remotely contain him. Add in the fact that the other match ups really favor the Knicks; New York has size in the guard positions that Dallas can’t match. It’s also the third road game for Dallas and a team this old travel can wear them down. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Mavericks won, but I expect this to be a frustrating loss for Dallas fans.

Tim:A month ago, I would have said New York. But the Mavericks have won nine of 12, mostly by taking care of Eastern Conference teams that they’re better than. I’m not sure the Knicks offense can keep up, so plan for a 120-110 style shootout.

150 comments on “Game Preview & Thread: Mavericks at Knicks

  1. maxwell_3g

    i hate woodson so much that i am rooting for the refs to punch him in the face every time he complains.

  2. maxwell_3g

    philly is really throwing the tanking gauntlet down against milwaukee tonight. philly is somehow down 27 early in the second half. thats impressive

  3. maxwell_3g

    the knicks players do know that other teams run plays to get corner threes? it seems we funnel the ball to force corner threes at times

  4. SlowMotion

    Cole Aldrich manages to make a case for the best defensive big active today…Sad reality for the knicks.

  5. d-mar

    I think the strategy of switching Felton onto Nowitzki is brilliant, Dirk is so incredulous he doesn’t know what to do. Well done, coach Woodson!

  6. SlowMotion

    I think the strategy of switching Felton onto Nowitzki is brilliant, Dirk is so incredulous he doesn’t know what to do. Well done, coach Woodson!

    Woody loves isos so much that he forces other teams to iso.

  7. Brian Cronin

    Here’s what I don’t get – this team is going nowhere, so why is Woody playing Melo so many minutes? He’s burning the guy to the ground! Look at Melo in the fourth! How does Woody not see this?

  8. Brian Cronin

    I love John Andaraise, but seriously, the Hall of Fame of Basketball period? Who even knows him outside of New Yorkers?

  9. Robtachi

    Here’s what I don’t get – this team is going nowhere, so why is Woody playing Melo so many minutes? He’s burning the guy to the ground! Look at Melo in the fourth! How does Woody not see this?

    Woodson.

    Is.

    An.

    Idiot.

  10. maxwell_3g

    Hey Brian. dont question it. its Johnny Hoops!!!!

    and your post about this being our best performance is telling. if your team’s best performance results in you being down 1 at the half to the Mavs at home, its been a bad season

  11. Brian Cronin

    Well, it was a bit hyperbolic, since the Knicks obviously have had better games. But not in a while!

  12. Brian Cronin

    Jimmy Fallon should watch Knicks halftime so he can see one of the few celebrity interviewers shittier than him.

  13. Brian Cronin

    You rarely see a guy drive into three guys while the shot clock is running out. Melo is seriously gassed. Woody, you’re so, so dumb.

  14. Brian Cronin

    It was definitely poor help, but man, I’ve re-watched it a few times and I can’t believe just how bad JR got beat by Ellis (which is why I’ve re-watched it a few times – well, that and because it was a commercial break). JR was practically THJ-esque. So while Chandler definitely should have helped better, Ellis beat JR so badly there’s not much Chandler could have done.

  15. Thomas B.

    I’m wondering if I can get the Knicks to offer me a buyout. I’ve been with the team for over 30 years, but it might be time.

  16. Brian Cronin

    This feels like every single game. Melo giving them everything they can ask for on offense and his teammates letting him down.

  17. SlowMotion

    Wow look at that one…and now Felton is on Dirk. Can it get any worse on the defensive end? Udrih could have not bern that bad.

  18. Brian Cronin

    “Teams have taken away the alley oop play between Chandler and Felton”

    By “teams” Clyde, of course, means “Woodson.”

  19. Brian Cronin

    Maybe Lebron will sit that game out. Melo might score 60 against the Heat with no Lebron to help Battier guard him.

  20. Brian Cronin

    If you told me back in 2000 that Vince Carter would eventually take the 8th most threes in NBA history, I’d tell you, “Oh, that’s somewhat surprising.”

  21. Brian Cronin

    We all understand that there is no chance that the Knicks are winning this game, right?

    If Melo can score 17 in the fourth, they have a chance!

  22. SlowMotion

    If you told me back in 2000 that Vince Carter would eventually take the 8th most threes in NBA history, I’d tell you, “Oh, that’s somewhat surprising.”

    And if you told me the knicks would be this bad I would have bet and lost money on it.

  23. Brian Cronin

    It is hilarious that they let Melo take that three. How in the world do you let him take that shot? Was there any doubt that he was going to drain that three?

    36 points through three! He’s very close to hitting 40 points in 3 out of 4 games! Amazing!

  24. Thomas B.

    This team is simultaneously funny, sad, and super embarrassing. Is Tyler Perry an executive producer at MSG?

  25. yellowboy90

    Why leave Amar’e in on that defensive possession where Dallas tuned it over instead of putting Cole in. Woody.

  26. d-mar

    The only question is do we lose this game in the last minute in heartbreaking fashion or do we just get run off the court earlier as Melo runs out of gas?

  27. maxwell_3g

    if you told me in 2002 that I would one day actually have some newfound respect for an aging vince carter after loathing him during his all star years, i would have called you crazy.

    kind of feel the same way about Kobe too

    I will NEVER feel this way about Lebron

  28. maxwell_3g

    if this isnt clear to everyone by now, Amare (the guy Ruru said would be a gamechanger for the Knicks) SUCKS!!!!! Tyler, cole, TH2 and everyone else should be getting all of his minutes

  29. maxwell_3g

    i really wish that we would release amare. Not because I hate him, but rather I fear that we will deal his expiring deal for a shitty long term max player deal (see Smith, Josh; Gordon, Eric) next year. the contract just needs to run out

  30. yellowboy90

    Melo should rest some but he will sub himself in. Force up a few bad shots and the lead will balloon a little. A turnover or two and the lead will balloon some more then the knicks make their run to get it close only to lose.

  31. Thomas B.

    Amare (the guy Ruru said would be a gamechanger for the Knicks)

    When Stat comes in things change from bad to worse, so technically Ruru was correct.

  32. maxwell_3g

    i love how woodson decides to focus on the ref not calling a jump ball, instead of addressing the fact that our defense just allowed another uncontested dunk, this time to dalembert of all people. way to focus on the right things!!!! idiot

  33. DRed

    Amare is what he is. He probably shouldn’t be playing much. But I stopped trying to figure out Woodson’s substitutions after he kept going back to Bargnani.

    we’ve got two free roster spots. We need to spend the rest of the year trying to find some cheap young guys who are decent/average NBA players. Forget the playoffs. See what Tyler can do. See if Cole is capable of playing 28 minutes a night. Get Bobby Brown and let him do what he wants to do. This season doesn’t fucking matter anymore. At the absolute best, we’re getting waxed by an actual good team in the first round, so let’s be proactive for once and start looking to next year.

  34. Thomas B.

    You’d think Woodson could focus on the game since he now has practically no reserves to worry about.

  35. maxwell_3g

    i dont dislike ruru. he seems like a nice guy. but when people claim insider status, and then try to sell you on the potential greatness of an amare (injured)/ melo duo, color me skeptical. i think all of us on this board our equals, right about some things, wrong about others (my undying belief in shump is a blind spot of mine). i just dont believe in the self professed “insiders”

  36. Brian Cronin

    What is crazy is that it should be obvious to anyone that the Knicks need to sign young guys for those last two spots, but they’re specifically looking for vets!

  37. SlowMotion

    I don’t see why we don’t hit the reset button, take some bad contracts and picks along with it. Melo is not taking a pay cut to stay knowing 90% of this team comes back next season or even coming back.

  38. maxwell_3g

    pierre jackson question (maybe you know Brian). If a team drafts a player (and therefore owns his draft rights), but does not have them on their 15 man roster (he is in the D-League), what does another team need to do to put him on their roster? is he being paid the NBA min right now, or as a d-leaguer?

  39. yellowboy90

    Pierre rights belong to N.O. They want call him up and didn’t want to trade him at the deadline.

  40. maxwell_3g

    i admire loyalty. i also admire people stepping up to a challenge instead of running from it (hence, i despise Lebron). All that being said, Melo being loyal to this front office and stepping up to this challenge would just be dumb. why would anyone ever be loyal to dolan?? staying here for this would be career suicide. i did not like melo when he came. I did not like him the first year. I respect the hell out of him now. no hard feelings when he leaves (and yes, this is my make up post for Ruru)

  41. Thomas B.

    What is crazy is that it should be obvious to anyone that the Knicks need to sign young guys for those last two spots, but they’re specifically looking for vets!

    Chris Smith is young. And I am hearing great things about Prigioni’s grandson.

  42. maxwell_3g

    yellow. that means they can just sit on him and pay him like a d-leaguer? or are the paying him the 2nd round draft pick salary (the NBA minimum) to play in the d-league?

  43. DRed

    I’d sign any grandson of Prigioni sight unseen. This franchise needs to start thinking long term and outside the box.

  44. Hubert

    I’ve really enjoyed watching Road House on AMC. Still 30 minutes to go. And hey, if you’re going to watch something you’ve seen countless times before, I would suggest that instead of this.

  45. Brian Cronin

    yellow. that means they can just sit on him and pay him like a d-leaguer? or are the paying him the 2nd round draft pick salary (the NBA minimum) to play in the d-league?

    Yeah, they can pay him like a D-Leaguer. Moreover, they are not actually paying him at ALL. He is just paid by his D-League team. It is kind of fucked up, really. He apparently told them the other day “Either sign me or fuck you, I’m going to play in Europe.”

  46. yellowboy90

    @77 like a D-leaguer because they didn’t sign him I believe. It’s like a guy getting drafted and playing in Europe I guess.

  47. maxwell_3g

    if i wasnt a knicks fan, i would find tyson very annoying. does anyone preen more after making a layup? hes like Bosh every time he does something remotely good

  48. Robtachi

    Melo has become such a sympathetic figure this year. Poor guy is giving this city his heart and soul.

  49. maxwell_3g

    see woody. the mavs took a shot quickly and now get another chance. its a thing called a “2 for 1″

  50. Brian Cronin

    But if Dirk wasn’t playing like he went clubbing with JR last night, we’d likely not be in this.

    Holy shit has he been bad, right?

  51. Brian Cronin

    It’s like someone is trying to script the ugliest way to lose. A shitty shot by Dirk that happened to go in.

  52. Brian Cronin

    Wow, looking at the replay, you gotta give it up to Dirk. His celebration was sooooooooooo fucking cool. Just basically, “Yeah? So? I knew I’d do that.”

  53. DRed

    Our starters went 28/48, including 11/19 from downtown, and we still managed to lose. That is some bad fucking defense. And we picked the wrong night to start turning it over.

  54. yellowboy90

    wow, fans really killing Melo for his D on Dirk’s shot. Not this board but still. It’s like the Knicks are playing against Kadeem Hardison in the The 6th man.

  55. maxwell_3g

    melo’s d was fine I thought. the offense on the last possession, by melo and JR, left a little (a lot) to be desired

  56. Hubert

    Honestly I’m more surprised that Wade Garrett’s dead than that I came back here and read something terrible happened. There was a better chance of the coin flip turning up heads than Woodson’s Knicks pulling out a close game.

  57. Brian Cronin

    wow, fans really killing Melo for his D on Dirk’s shot. Not this board but still. It’s like the Knicks are playing against Kadeem Hardison in the The 6th man.

    That’s ridiculous. Melo did all he could do on that play.

  58. Thomas B.

    Lmao the fan clapping with the belief the ball was going out.

    I replayed that like six times. It so captures what this team does to us every night.

  59. SlowMotion

    Watching the Knicks this season has taught me life lessons like sticking through tough times and being a hopeless.optimist.

  60. d-mar

    On the blackboard in every Knick opponent’s locker room is written some version of the following:

    “Any possession that does not start with a pick and roll and end with a dunk or an open 3 is a BAD possession!!!!”

  61. DRed

    Yeah, get on Melo for being unable to go by Old Man Carter if you want to be a dick, but he did a great job on Dirk, who hit a preposterous shot.

    Things Woodson doesn’t know:

    1. You can use all the active players
    2. Carmelo Anthony can rest a few minutes here and there
    3. Just because someone is tall, it doesn’t mean they are good at defense and rebounding
    4. They now have stats that account for the number of possessions
    5. Two . . . for. . .one? (h/t Cronin)
    6. It wasn’t all Beno’s fault

  62. maxwell_3g

    the ball hit the backboard in a spot too low to be a back shot, then did a weird round about on the rim, shoots straight up, and then goes down. i have not seem too many shots go in like that in my life. this season is getting stranger by the game

  63. yellowboy90

    Yeah the iso play was very bad. How do you continue to run the same thing only to fail and not change up by now.

  64. Hubert

    Road house actually has a very apt analogy for the Knicks season. Remember when the fat guy with the trucker hat and suspenders is shooting helplessly at the giant stuffed bear that will inevitably fall on him and crush him no matter what he does? That’s us. And this season is the bear.

  65. DRed

    the ball hit the backboard in a spot too low to be a back shot, then did a weird round about on the rim, shoots straight up, and then goes down. i have not seem too many shots go in like that in my life. this season is getting stranger by the game

    That shot was never in doubt.

  66. er

    Wow, apparently it was Melo who called for ignoring the 2 for 1. What the fuck, Melo?

    Yea I think Melo is responsible for a lot of dumb things in the offense. Which is why he needs a dominant pg to thrive. Oh what could have been CP3 to Melo for threeeee……imma go cry myself to sleep hahahah

  67. yellowboy90

    Side note: Watching the combine every year it amazes me how NFL players verticals are higher than NBA player’s, who uses flying verticals as a standard measurement and not standing verticals like the NFL.

    Also, I think the rbs have a perfect drill for Hardaway to improve his lateral quickness. A drill where the rb runs to a bag and runs left or right opposite to where the bag move to judge his reaction time. Instead of going opposite like rbs Hardaway would have to go the direction the bag goes.

  68. BigBlueAL

    A tweet that was RTed I read earlier that is pretty interesting to think about: If Melo had played as hard under D’Antoni as he did under Woodson we’d be in a much better place now.

  69. Brian Cronin

    While I agree with that sentiment in general, I think that there’s something to be said for a player transforming once they know that everything rests on his shoulders now, which is what Melo had when D’Antoni was fired. You’ll either crumble or you’ll step up. Melo stepped up.

  70. Brian Cronin

    One thing I will say about Melo and D’Antoni, and this really goes for many players (we just saw it last year with Howard and D’Antoni), players can’t always be trusted to know what’s best for them. But at the same time, you can’t force that sort of thing on anyone. You just have to let them figure it out for themselves. Right now, we’re all pretty much clamoring for the offense we saw in the All Star Game (and the Olympics), where Melo was allowed to be a spot up shooter. That was the exact offense Melo specifically didn’t want to play under D’Antoni following Linsanity. And I totally understood why he didn’t want to at the time, as it looked like a sign of disrespect to him that D’Antoni was basically saying, “Yeah, we’re going to take the ball out of your hands and give it to this nobody.” He could take that role when playing with All-Stars or with Olympians, but not with a guy out of nowhere like Lin. I totally understand it and don’t even really blame him, but man, what could have been had he bought in (not even so much that season but the following year, as there’s no way they would have let Lin go if Melo had embraced playing with him).

  71. BigBlueAL

    Yeah, in no way am I ripping Melo for the D’Antoni thing. Thats an old story that really doesnt need to be re-hashed. Just a pretty interesting thing to think about. Also wonder if Donnie Walsh was still around that season if maybe he couldve brokered a truce amongst them.

    Anyway Ive said it a million times and will say it again, if Melo stays it really should only be if the Knicks hire a real head coach. Period. It should be his main demand, who are they gonna hire to be the head coach after mercifully firing Woodson.

  72. Brian Cronin

    While I agree, who is to say that Melo doesn’t actually want to play for Woody next year? Maybe that’s why Woody still has a job. Perhaps he doesn’t want to be seen as pushing out another coach.

  73. d-mar

    Nobody would argue Melo is pushing out another coach, what would push out this coach is absolute and utter incompetence, obvious to anyone who has watched a single game this year.

  74. Brian Cronin

    It doesn’t matter what we think, though, it’s what’s going on in his brain, and I have no idea what is going on in his brain. I don’t think any of us do.

  75. yellowboy90

    How weird is it that Melo instantly became a high volume and efficient 3pt shooter when in Ny and JR instantly lost his high volume efficiency as a 3 pt shooter.

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