Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Game Recap: Knicks 92, Hawks 79

That headline is not a typo. Tonight the Knicks held an opponent to less than 80 points for the first time since a 102-73 win over the Nets on April 15 of last year. The Hawks shot 45% from the field, got to the line only 9 times, and committed a woeful 19 turnovers en route to 79 points on 90 possessions. Considering the Knicks typically allow 109 points per 100 possessions, this was a considerable step up in defensive performance against an above-average offense.

Where did it come from? Hard to say. Turiaf was out, replaced by 27 minutes of Jared Jeffries. Jeffries didn’t strike me as having an exceptional defensive game, but the Hawks did seem to settle for a lot of mid-range jumpers (on which they were generally very unsuccessful), so maybe his presence counted for more than I noticed. The Hawks got 17 from J-Smoove, 15 from Kirk Hinrich, and 14 from our old frenemy Jamal Crawford, but aside from Hinrich everyone got their points at a pretty inefficient clip.

For their part, the Knicks scored a pedestrian 92 points on 90 possessions, including 26 on 20 shots from Amar’e, 15 on 11 shots from Landry Fields, and an UnMelonian 14-7-7 line on a slightly more Melonian 6/18 shooting clip from the Big Volumizer. Extra E made 4 threes and grabbed 6 rebounds. Anthony Carter turned into Vinnie “The Microwave” Johnson for a few minutes in the second half.

To my eyes, this one had more to do with the Hawks having an off-game than the Knicks turning into the ’89 Pistons overnight. But no matter the cause, the Knicks got a 13 point win on the road against a good team and they got some late-game rest for a couple key players on the first night of a back-to-back. Ugly as it was, that’s a result you’ll take any day.

So what do you guys think, improved Knicks D or just incompetent Hawks offense? Do we want to see Jeffries take more of Turiaf’s minutes long term (I don’t)? What to do with all of our marginal wing players who are suddenly all demanding more PT with their play (Extra E, Anthony Carter, even Roger Mason’s Son)?

89 comments on “Game Recap: Knicks 92, Hawks 79

  1. CRJoe

    Gotta give it to Amar’e, tonight he held his own defending in the post… He usually seems unwilling to take his spot in the paint (or it seems he doesn’t know what to do), but tonight he showed the willingness and read the offense pretty well…

  2. Thomas B.

    Hawks played very poorly. Nothing special from the boys in blue. I do like that the offense is going back to Stoudemire as the first option rather than Carmelo. I think Anthony will play better once Billups returns. I see Anthony as a finisher rather than a play maker. When he has to create the offense, he tends to do something that you don’t really want such as the turnovers.

  3. daJudge

    Nice Microwave reference Kevin. I thought Extra E really played an excellent game and Carter was a nice surprise in his home town. I also thought the defense was very good, lots of forced TO’s and they made plays. Perhaps the team is playing better together on D. I will never use the word “gel’ again except as it relates to my hair.

  4. Nick C.

    I think it was a little of both. It’s nice that Jr. and AC were able to contribute. This is such a weird team. Just when you think you’ve got them figured out…

  5. Matt Smith

    Agree that it was mostly an off night for the Hawks. However, I was actually very impressed by JJ. He was bringing a lot of intensity in terms of D, but where I think he really helped out was rebounding. He created several extra attempts for the Knicks by swatting the ball out to teammates from misses. He’s boxing out very well too. Did anyone else notice he’s been doing Moses Malone’s old technique of hovering by the baseline until a shot goes up and then boxing out? It’s a solid go-to for someone who has no offensive capability. I think he’s accepting that, which is good, because were not in need of more scoring options. Overall this might have been one of the better rebounding nights I’ve seen for NYK this year. It would be huge if we kept it up.

  6. JK47

    Melo completely sucked balls in this game. He looked just awful out there– nothing was dropping, even wide-open jumpers, and he was really sloppy with the ball. Landry Fields played solid perimeter D and Amar’e was good on both sides of the ball, and the Knicks’ offense was clicking in the 4th quarter.

    Still can’t figure this NYK team out, but I’m glad to have the W. Let’s see how we do tomorrow against a mediocre Jazz club at MSG.

  7. Jim Cavan

    Despite a ridiculous +15, I for one don’t want to see Jeffries taking Turiaf’s minutes, let alone starting. That being said, he does play pretty good help D, boxes out and rebounds at a decent clip, so there’s definitely a role for him.

    I really like what Carter’s giving us. As odd as it is to think and say, it’s like he’s rejuvinated. He wasn’t getting any burn in Denver, so I think he’s just thrilled to be seeing the court, and giving it his all when he does. Everyone talks about Billups being the obvious mentor for TD, but Carter has a few cents to throw in the fountain as well.

  8. Matt Smith

    Re-reading what I wrote, I want to put more emphasis on how much I liked JJ’s game. If he plays like that I’d definitely want him getting minutes over Turry. Although I doubt he’d put up that performance with a center who likes to bang around in the post, whereas I think Turry is more than comfortable getting physical (even if he’s not as long as JJ).

  9. CRJoe

    Matt Smith: Although I doubt he’d put up that performance with a center who likes to bang around in the post, whereas I think Turry is more than comfortable getting physical (even if he’s not as long as JJ).  

    The problem is that Turiaf’s body can’t hold up… He’s knees are already hurting and if continues to confront body-to-body with bigger guys we may lose him for the playoffs… So I wouldn’t mind seeing JJ cutting into Ronny’s minutes in the REGULAR SEASON only…

  10. d-mar

    Really like Amare’s game tonight, he was the best player on the court and besides his offensive production had a block and 3 steals – he was very active defensively. And loved the corner 3′s by extra E, they were true “splashes” that never touched rim.

  11. rohank

    I’m gonna say the Hawks looked pretty listless for the most part, but the Knicks D was REALLY active. I remember a bunch of people got steals all game, and it just seemed like the Knicks were contesting everything. Even some of the hawks made shots were tough Joe Johnson “in-your-face” shots.

    Notable D tonight from:
    Jeffries
    TD
    Extra E
    Carter
    Fields (especially on Johnson).

  12. rohank

    I also like that Melo dished out 7 assists on a night when his shot wasn’t falling and amare’s was.

    Melo dishes 7 and multiple role players step up for the Knicks. Well balanced scoring……coincidence?

  13. BigBlueAL

    This is the 5th time in the 7 games since the trade that the Knicks outrebounded their opponent.

  14. Jim Cavan

    BigBlueAL: This is the 5th time in the 7 games since the trade that the Knicks outrebounded their opponent.  

    Could be a promising trend. It might have to do with the slightly slower pace, though. In SSOL (that is to say, before the trade) guys would kind of hesitate to crash the glass, gambling one of the bigs would grab the board and outlet it, at which point they’d be in a better position in transition. Now I think everyone is crashing the defensive glass a little more, as they’re not as concerned about getting out as quickly as possible.

    Then again, of all the teams we outrebounded, the heat (6th) are ranked the highest, followed by Milwaukee (13th), New Orleans (20th), Atlanta (23rd), and Cleveland (24th). So it’s really been a mixed bag. Although Melo is an improvement over Gallo / Chandler, and Jeffries has certainly contributed.

  15. Jim Cavan

    “He took off the headband to relieve pressure.

    ‘I really couldn’t see,’ Anthony said. ‘My eye was blurry. I was seeing double almost the whole game. I was shooting the ball, just trying to get it up to the basket.’”

    This reminds me of a story my uncle once told me. He came home hammered one night when he was 16, so drunk he just parked the car on the lawn. The next day my grandfather grilled him at the breakfast table, asking him why the hell he didn’t park it in the garage. My uncle’s response? “I tried, but the garage was moving.”

    Can’t even see straight and still hoistin’ ‘em up. Guy really likes to shoot.

  16. BigBlueAL

    Jim Cavan: “He took off the headband to relieve pressure.‘I really couldn’t see,’ Anthony said. ‘My eye was blurry. I was seeing double almost the whole game. I was shooting the ball, just trying to get it up to the basket.’”This reminds me of a story my uncle once told me. He came home hammered one night when he was 16, so drunk he just parked the car on the lawn. The next day my grandfather grilled him at the breakfast table, asking him why the hell he didn’t park it in the garage. My uncle’s response? “I tried, but the garage was moving.”Can’t even see straight and still hoistin’ ‘em up. Guy really likes to shoot.  

    He shouldve listened to the advice Uncle Paulie gave to Rocky, instead of hit the one in the middle it shouldve been shoot it in the basket in the middle.

  17. John Kenney

    To everyone saying they’d rather see turiaf than JJ- Turiaf is one of the worst rebounding centers, and us winning the rebound battle has been an extremely pleasant effect of the trade. I want turiaf to see minutes too, but JJ’s done fine by me so far.

  18. Spree8nyk8

    alanhahn

    Knicks before trade (54 games): 104.5 points for / 104.3 points against. Since trade (7 games): 105.4 points for / 101.5 points against.

    but if you only read this board to see how the team is doing you’d swear it was a better team before the trade….

  19. BigBlueAL

    According to Chris Sheridan in his post-game article:

    Nobody on New York’s roster would dare admit it, but from being around the team you can almost get the sense that they are especially relishing the prospect of a playoff matchup with the Miami Heat.

    When the locker room first opened to reporters after the game, Stoudemire and Anthony were bantering and laughing about players on the Miami Heat crying after their loss earlier Sunday to the Chicago Bulls, with Stoudemire fingering Chris Bosh as the watery-eyed one (although Bosh, when asked by reporters in Miami whether he had cried, said he almost had but did not).

    “I heard Chris Bosh was crying tears,” Stoudemire said.

    “Tears?” Anthony asked.

    “Yeah, tears,” Stoudemire replied.

    “Wait til I call him, man,” Anthony said. “I’ll be like: ‘What are you doing?’”

  20. BigBlueAL

    Id still rather play the Bulls in the 1st round but man a matchup vs the Heat would be real fun.

  21. Robert Silverman

    BigBlueAL: Id still rather play the Bulls in the 1st round but man a matchup vs the Heat would be real fun.  

    No WAY would I rather play the Bulls. Rose would destroy us and their defense is far, far better. Nix-Heat. Still probably lose, but the NBA (cough, refs, cough) would make sure it went 7 games b/c of the ratings bonanza

  22. Kevin McElroy Post author

    I live in Chicago so I’ve been rooting for them to get the Bulls all year. But I also think people are sleeping on the Heat — we’d have a better shot at extending the Bulls to 6 or 7 games than Miami.

  23. jon abbey

    “I also think people are sleeping on the Heat ”

    yes, their whole roster at the end of close games. :)

  24. CRJoe

    Spree8nyk8: alanhahnKnicks before trade (54 games): 104.5 points for / 104.3 points against. Since trade (7 games): 105.4 points for / 101.5 points against.but if you only read this board to see how the team is doing you’d swear it was a better team before the trade….  

    oh also

    before the trade vs .500 or better teams 11-20
    since the trade 3-1

    Bottom line is we we’re 2 games above .500 before the trade, and we are 1 game above it since the trade… Throw all the stats you want in there but you can’t say we are actually a better team…

    At least not yet…

  25. John Kenney

    @CRJoe, not to be annoying, but one game above .500 over 7 games works out to a higher winning percentage than where we were at previously, as we only got 2 games above .500 in the entire 50-some before the trade.

  26. John Kenney

    So I agree I’d want a larger sample size, but i wouldn’t use the stat you used.

  27. CRJoe

    John Kenney: @CRJoe, not to be annoying, but one game above .500 over 7 games works out to a higher winning percentage than where we were at previously, as we only got 2 games above .500 in the entire 50-some before the trade.  

    No I totally get you, but the same argument works the other way around doesn’t it??? “Sure we’re allowed less points… In a 7 game span”…

  28. BigBlueAL

    Ha, someone on Twitter asked Oakley if he ever cried after losing a game like some Heat players apparently did today. Lets just say it was a no and Oak apparently wouldve been making fun of the Heat along with Amar’e and Melo today lol.

  29. Brian Cronin

    Through six games, the Knicks had given up over 105 a game since the trade. After seven, less than 102.

    So yeah, that’s the peril of small sample size, which is why we need more time to gather more evidence before we really make any judgments, good or bad, about the team as a whole compared to the team from before the trade.

    Now, that doesn’t mean that we can’t note trends during that streak, or point out reasons why they’re not doing well/are doing well, etc. but definitive statements about where the team is, as a whole, it is too soon to really tell.

  30. llcoolbp

    Just got back from 3 weeks in India, and what a change in my Knicks. I had no internet there (I was in a rural area). One phone call with a buddy of mine let me know about the Carmelo trade. I have been itching to see the “new look” knicks. By the time we de-plained, got home and I passed out (after a 27 hour journey). I woke up in my home in queens to catch the 4th quarter of the Hawks game. Of course the knicks were blowing them out and Carmelo never saw any burn in the 4th quarter. Oh well, tonight will have to do for my Carmelo debut. It’s good to be home and watch my knicks again. Let’s hope the D continues, as Miami and Chicago are both very beatable in the playoffs. Derrick Rose still reminds of a ball stopping point gaurd (ala Starburry), and the Heat are just dreadful in the 4th quarter. The knicks have about 20 games to hone themselves into a real dangerous threat come playoff time. Go Knicks!!!!!!

  31. Frank O.

    I took a night off from posting. Good win. Amare showed late why he’s the big dog.
    An observation about Jeffries. This is a classic case of how defensive stats are inadequate.
    First of all, the Knicks block a lot of shots, more than any other team in the NBA, I believe. Judging by that measurable stat, the Knicks D is formidable, but we all know they are not formidable.
    Jeffries on the other hand doesn’t block many shots, and his steals are average. But when you watch him on the court, the defense is more cohesive. He harrasses the ball, gets a lot of charges, and blocks out well. His energy is good and he’s always hustling. He generally appears to be a pain in the ass.
    In short, he’s an anchor on defense, he focuses on defense, and that is something this team has lacked.
    Turiaf, god love him, brings energy, and he blocks shots, but in my opinion he overplays blocks and gets into foul trouble. He can’t stay on the court long enough.
    Anthony Carter may have moved ahead of TD in the PG depth chart, in my opinion. When Billups returns, I suspect d’Antoni is going to shift Douglas back to a 2 with short spurts at PG. My opinion.
    The knicks are going to get into a lot of physical games. They are now very athletic, and teams will try to body them up and slow them down, but they’re not soft. It’s nice to see that mix of toughness and grace.

  32. Frank

    Despite his horrible shooting and a couple charges, I thought Melo played a good game. He basically put up a per-40 triple double last night, and people are still complaining. I’ll say one thing for this team – the offense looks pretty damn good and that is all while Melo has been in a horrible shooting slump. He’s had his share of contested long 2′s but he’s also missed a bunch of good shots that he should make. Those will eventually go in.

    Love the defense. I think perhaps the side benefit of having Melo is that there is enough O on the floor for MDA to feel comfortable throwing a bunch of defensive guys out there, as opposed to feeling like he always needs 5 shooters on the floor.

    I think we also match up well against ATL for some reason – we pretty much shut them down during the last pre-trade game also.

  33. Caleb

    “our old frenemy, Jamal Crawford” = perfect.

    I am not going to jump on the Jared Jeffries bandwagon.

    Anthony Carter, on the other hand – he is really a consistent, impact defender. A little shocking, at age 35. He’s still awful on offense but if TD is going to shoot 30 percent on threes anyway, what’s the diff?

  34. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    John Kenney: @CRJoe, not to be annoying, but one game above .500 over 7 games works out to a higher winning percentage than where we were at previously, as we only got 2 games above .500 in the entire 50-some before the trade.  

    Wait, what? Maybe I’m misinterpreting what you’re saying, but at one point the Knicks were 22-15.

  35. David Ackerman

    @Frank O., I agree. I think JVG said this a couple months back when we were on ESPN, but those high block totals are misleading because it also means we’re allowing a TON of people into the lane. ATL settled for significantly more jump shots than we’re used to seeing against the Knicks D.

    Also, @Frank in terms of Melo averaging a per-40 triple double, although his shot was off he looked a lot more comfortable in the offense. On more than one occasion he made the right pass, finding open teammates like Landry in the corner or STAT at the high post. And his shots didn’t feel as forced as they have in the past, even though they weren’t going in.

  36. d-mar

    I didn’t get to see a lot of the game last night, but from what I read, was Jeffries guarding Horford most of the night? If so, a 2-8 from Horford is very telling, as we know, he normally kills the Knicks. So I would jump enthusiastically on the Jeffries bandwagon if that were the case.

    Also, I don’t think there could be a worse feeling for a Hawks fan (and I assume they exist) than to have the away team’s supporters be louder than the home team’s like last night. At least the Nets have the excuse of being just across the river!

  37. DS

    I think a first round win over the Heat would make this the most satisfying Knicks season since 1999 – arguably since 1973!

    I am so glad that the Heat signed Bosh. I think that if they had used the cap room they spent on him to gain some depth instead, say, Hinrich, Kurt Thomas, and Korver they would have been so much better.

    I don’t know what to make of this whole notion that LeBron and Wade “disappear” at the end of games. I know NBA teams seem to shift strategies in the last 5 mins. of games, esp. big games, but it shouldn’t be quite so difficult for them to draw double teams and hit an open teammate.

  38. marxster

    I’m a bit surprised as to why some of the gentlemen on this board don’t give the Knicks some love when they win. It’s easy to be tough on them when they suck (see Cavs games), but you gotta give them props when they play well.

    I liked how they had many deflections, broke up plays and got points as a result.

    Every single Knick that played yesterday had rebounds and we beat them in pretty much in every stat.

    To me, the team looked active and willing to put in the effort, which is already a lot more than we’ve seen from them in the past. Good job. Hope it continues.

  39. DS

    Oakley Tweet: “What? HELL NO. Why? Do better. This aint little league. RT @Chi_BULLS_Ftw: @CharlesOakley34 you ever cry cuz a loss in a game?”

  40. KJG

    Hey all… I haven’t posted in maybe… I dunno, 3 years. But I read every game thread… I just wanted to make a quick comment on the intermittent defense I’ve seen of late. No advanced stats for this one but this team clearly plays frenzied D when the likes of TD and Fields start digging in… The whole team picks it up and plays D with purpose… Does it get helter skelter every now and again? Yes… But I’d rather see them hustling…

    One quick points… I love STAT, no question… But on the defensive rebounding front, I see him watching the flight of the ball too too much… his man slips right in front of him for position… this isn’t a groundbreaking discovery, I just happen to notice more often than not… he just needs an inkling of focus…

  41. Jim Cavan

    marxster: I’m a bit surprised as to why some of the gentlemen on this board don’t give the Knicks some love when they win.

    Here’s some praise: For all his energy and steady play, I thought Stat’s greatest contribution last night came just a few minutes into the game when he dove for that loose ball after a miss and botched outlet by Atlanta. I think that really set the tone for the night. As good of a leader as he’s been and will no doubt continue to be, it’s plays like that we should be seeing more of. I was nervous going into the game, but after that scrappy play, I knew we would make it a fight.

  42. Nick C.

    Jim, good point. I forgot about that. I remember thinking when it happened that I couldn’t remember the last time Stat hit the floor for a ball.

  43. Caleb

    @38 The early 90s Knicks, who put up – I think – the best defensive season in history – also were near the bottom of the league in blocks. I’m pretty sure they were dead last, at least one of those seasons. Oakley was the best defender in the league at his position and might never have blocked a shot in his whole career.

    So yeah, blocks are not the most meaningful indicator. I guess in a way they serve as a proxy for shots altered, opposition forced into lower-percentage shots, etc., but you can see pretty easily they don’t correlate closely with overall defensive efficiency.

    BUT I’m still not on the Jeffries bandwagon. I would call him an above-average defender, but he was never a game-changer. I’m willing to change my mind if Horford scores 4 points every time they match up.

  44. Jafa

    Kevin,

    Thanks for the write up. I think it may have be a combination of some OK defense from the Knicks and bad offense from the Hawks. Whenever the Hawks moved the ball well, they seemed to find a hole in the Knick D and the result was usually an open jumper by Hinrich or a dunk by Smith. Hinrich was so efficient I was wondering why he wasn’t being more aggressive in looking for his shot off the high pick-n-roll.

    Also, we won the rebounding battle 38 to 34. This was maybe the most encouraging sign. It was definitely a team effort, with Melo & STAT the high board men.

    Jeffries over Turiaf? Does it really matter? I mean, Jeffries is willing to take charges and can defend multiple positions, but Turiaf can at least hit an open J and will finish well when he goes to the rim. I guess it depends on the matchup we are facing, but I don’t care either way between these two.

    Marginal wing players demanding PT? Apart from Melo and Billups, the only other Denver import I see sticking in the rotation is Carter for his tenacious D and OK offense in spurts so far. Roger Mason? As soon as Billy Walker is back, Mason could go back to warming that seat that’s getting cold. Although he did hit 3s with confidence last night.

  45. dubisaweapon

    Robert Silverman:
    No WAY would I rather play the Bulls. Rose would destroy us and their defense is far, far better. Nix-Heat. Still probably lose, but the NBA (cough, refs, cough) would make sure it went 7 games b/c of the ratings bonanza  

    I have to agree here — we’re much better off playing the Heat then the Bulls in the first round. Even with the newly-acquired Mike Bibby we still outclass them at PG with Chauncey “I actually have a ring” Billups. We have the momentum in the matchup, having won the last two games against them. And I wouldn’t discount the impact of the Knicks fans that would no doubt flock to these games in Miami — nothing made me happier this year then hearing them boo Lebron last time around.

    Seriously, the Knicks nation rules. It is just awesome to hear the fans coming out in Miami and Atlanta (chanting MVP for Amare last night, booing Lebron at the foul line) to support the orange and blue. We are one of a handful of franchises that has that kind of clout.

  46. jon abbey

    very nice to see Shawne Williams hitting from 3 again, 8-15 now in the last 3 games after a combined 4-23 in the 8 games before that.

  47. Jafa

    d-mar: Also, I don’t think there could be a worse feeling for a Hawks fan (and I assume they exist) than to have the away team’s supporters be louder than the home team’s like last night. At least the Nets have the excuse of being just across the river!  

    This has got to be the craziest thing. Can you imagine another team’s fans being louder than Knick fans in the Garden? Knicks fans are everywhere, and its amazing for a team that has not been good in years. They were louder than the heat fans as well.

  48. dubisaweapon

    Jafa:
    This has got to be the craziest thing.Can you imagine another team’s fans being louder than Knick fans in the Garden?Knicks fans are everywhere, and its amazing for a team that has not been good in years.They were louder than the heat fans as well.  

    Gotta say that the Celtics were well supported in that first Celtics Knicks game at the Garden, but by no means were they louder then the New York fans.

    I don’t think we can underestimate the impact that the acquisitions of Stat and Melo have had on this front. There’s a buzz about these Knicks that is getting the faithful to come out to games like never before.

  49. cgreene

    Jafa:
    This has got to be the craziest thing.Can you imagine another team’s fans being louder than Knick fans in the Garden?Knicks fans are everywhere, and its amazing for a team that has not been good in years.They were louder than the heat fans as well.  

    Was at the Lakers game last year. Was pretty close. I think we have some short memories about how bad things got. Couldn’t imagine that if our team was where the Hawks are though.

  50. TheRant

    Jafa:
    This has got to be the craziest thing.Can you imagine another team’s fans being louder than Knick fans in the Garden?Knicks fans are everywhere, and its amazing for a team that has not been good in years.They were louder than the heat fans as well.  

    I have had the great joy of being a Knicks fan in Staples center watching us battle the Lakers about 15 years ago. We won in triple overtime and I was screaming my a** off. There weren’t many of us, but I’m always proud of my guys.

    Now, here’s a question. If Miami wanted to trade LeBron for ‘Melo, would you?

  51. Doug

    Caleb: Oakley was the best defender in the league at his position and might never have blocked a shot in his whole career.

    But he had an 8 in blocks in NBA JAM!

  52. Kevin McElroy Post author

    Frank: Despite his horrible shooting and a couple charges, I thought Melo played a good game. He basically put up a per-40 triple double last night, and people are still complaining.

    Glad that he was a willing passer and I continue to enjoy his commitment on the glass AND his defense was better tonight. But he was 6/18 and had 5 turnovers so you’ll have to excuse people who see it as a bad night.

  53. John Kenney

    @THCJ Sorry for confusion: we ended up 2 games over .500, that wasn’t the best we ever were at during the season up to that point.

    My point was just that you can argue the 7 games after that is a small sample size. but to say that the reason we’re not comparably better because we were two games over .500 before the trade and one game over after doesn’t make sense, in that the winning percentage for the second is much better.

    But I agree the sample size is small.

    Also… I’m starting to ride the JJ bandwagon a little bit.

  54. Ben R

    TheRant: Now, here’s a question. If Miami wanted to trade LeBron for ‘Melo, would you? TheRant

    I would trade Melo for LeBron in a heartbeat and I would throw in Amare, Billups and Fields if I needed to. LeBron is in a class by himself and there is not a price too high when it comes to getting LeBron.

    The Heat are stuggling but let’s not get carried away.

  55. Grymm

    I like JJ as a guy who does a couple specific things very well. However, I think you have to be very mindful of what other players are on the floor. On defense, he’s very good at ball denial, positioning, drawing charges, and getting his hands on the ball to be disruptive. He had 2 charges drawn last night I believe. He had a couple plays where fronted on Atlanta players (Thornton I believe) and when they tossed it over him, he pinned the player under the backboard. He slapped a couple balls that became steals for other players. A couple times in the second half, when JSmith picked up his dribble at the top of the three point line, JJ stood on top of him while Hinrich had to circle back to mid court just to get the ball moving again.

    However, he can’t shoot, dribble, or pass. As they move the ball around, he makes me nervous even when he’s just swinging it around. From the top of the key, Turiaf can make some nice passes to cutters at the hoop. JJ’s man is going to sag back heavily congesting the lane. Turiaf’s man sags as well. JJ is an active off the ball screener. A couple open threes were the result of JJ pinning another player’s defender. Also, the heavy screening action at least forces JJs man to stand somewhere close to him. However, if you put him on the floor with another player who’s a poor shooter, the paint is going to get very congested with free defenders.

  56. Ben R

    Great game from the Knicks, nice to see Melo moving the ball, he still shot a lot of long 2 pointers though. He really needs to remove that shot from his game. As for defense I think Melo can be a good defender when he wants to be, if he can bring it every night our defense could be pretty good. Amare on the other hand I think he is a poor defender all the time. It’s not a hustle thing or an effort thing I just think he is a poor man defender, he is a good shotblocker but is poor on rotations so he gives most of that back too.

    Crazy to think that since the trade we have beaten Miami, NO, and Atl but lost twice to the Cavs.

  57. Frank O.

    TheRant:
    Now, here’s a question.If Miami wanted to trade LeBron for ‘Melo, would you?  

    Hell…yes…
    they could throw in a few shit contracts too.

  58. Frank O.

    Ben R:
    I would trade Melo for LeBron in a heartbeat and I would throw in Amare, Billups and Fields if I needed to. LeBron is in a class by himself and there is not a price too high when it comes to getting LeBron.The Heat are stuggling but let’s not get carried away.  

    You go too far, sir. :)
    Not Amare.
    To me, Amare is special.
    Amare would be the leader on a team with Lebron, great as Lebron is.

  59. JK47

    It does seem like Jeffries is a real pain in the rear on the defensive end, as Grymm said in #58. He’s just long and disruptive.

    Right now the center spot is certainly a hole for us, but the combined play of Jeffries and Turiaf should at least prevent it from being a giant gaping black hole. I’m all for working Shelden Williams in there too– if there’s a role for Jared Jeffries on the team there’s got to be a role for a guy who has averaged 10+ rebounds per 36 minutes in his career. I’d like to see She-Will get some burn against some of our better rebounding opponents.

  60. Jim Cavan

    Re: Jeffries: I think how much burn he gets or whether he starts will largely depend on the matchup. Obviously D’Antoni has no problem shuffling lineups in this regard.

    As for the playoffs, I think if we end up playing the Heat you might well see Jeffries start, or at least get more burn than Ronny. You can throw him on any Heat big and he’ll at least do a decent job of keeping them off the glass. The offense between he and the Heat’s terrible Centers would obviously be negligable, but Jeffries would be valuable on help D whenever Wade or Lebron drive the lane.

    If we play Boston, however, I think Turiaf gets more burn. He’s a little more physical and could do a better job handling Kristic and Shaq. And particularly against Shaq, he has the ability to drag him out of the paint at least a little bit with his decent 15-footer. And as has been mentioned, he’s a very good passer from that area — better than Jeffries anyway.

    Still, I’m glad Jeffries is contributing and we have him as an option depending on the matchup.

  61. Matt Smith

    Jafa: This has got to be the craziest thing. Can you imagine another team’s fans being louder than Knick fans in the Garden? Knicks fans are everywhere, and its amazing for a team that has not been good in years. They were louder than the heat fans as well.  (Quote)

    Why yes, yes I can. For the past 5 years or so since I’ve been going to games frequently, I’ve endured NY’s own cheering more for Lebron, Melo, Kobe, and Wade than our own team. The Knicks have got a huge fanbase, but most of them (like any team I guess, but moreso here) are fairweather fans. Also, the Garden has a bigger corporate crowd than any other arena in the NBA.

  62. Matt Smith

    Jafa: This has got to be the craziest thing. Can you imagine another team’s fans being louder than Knick fans in the Garden? Knicks fans are everywhere, and its amazing for a team that has not been good in years. They were louder than the heat fans as well.  (Quote)

    Why yes, yes I can. For the past 5 years or so since I’ve been going to games frequently, I’ve endured NY’s own cheering more for Lebron, Melo, Kobe, and Wade than our own team. The Knicks have got a huge fanbase, but most of them (like any team I guess, but moreso here) are fairweather fans. Also, the Garden has a bigger corporate crowd than any other arena in the NBA.

  63. Z

    Jafa:
    This has got to be the craziest thing.Can you imagine another team’s fans being louder than Knick fans in the Garden?Knicks fans are everywhere, and its amazing for a team that has not been good in years.They were louder than the heat fans as well.  

    When Kobe scored 60 at MSG the crowd was chanting “MVP” to him…

  64. massive

    Melo’s shooting last night was absolutely woeful, but I am encouraged by his 7 boards and 7 assists. He showed last night that even if his scoring is off, he still has the talent to contribute to the game. Now maybe he’ll score efficiently, rebound, and pass more often (like LeBron).

  65. The Infamous Cdiggy

    dubisaweapon:
    Seriously, the Knicks nation rules.It is just awesome to hear the fans coming out in Miami and Atlanta (chanting MVP for Amare last night, booing Lebron at the foul line) to support the orange and blue.We are one of a handful of franchises that has that kind of clout.  

    I concur; I think when people (media) say “Having the Knicks be relevant/good is important to the league”, that’s part of the reason why.

    Ben R:
    I would trade Melo for LeBron in a heartbeat and I would throw in Amare, Billups and Fields if I needed to. LeBron is in a class by himself and there is not a price too high when it comes to getting LeBron.The Heat are stuggling but let’s not get carried away.  

    Call me cheap, but I think Melo + Amare = LeBron + draft pick (maybe 1st rounder?); OR Amare + Billups + Fields = LeBron + late 1st rounder OR LeBron + late pick + Heat 7th or 8th man.

  66. Nick C.

    The thing about Melo and passing is he may not be gifted at it but he is pretty close. Once or twice he hit an open shooter in the corner from the opposite elbow. Which may sound like nothing but wathc how many cross court passes get deflected, stolen or bobbled. It seems sometimes he decides he is going to put up a shot and that’s that. Offensively that’s my gripe.

  67. Matt Smith

    In terms of who I’d like to face of the 1st-4th seeds, the Heat rank first for me as well. Realistically, I don’t think we’ll win any of those series, but I think there’s a chance. But my biggest fear are big, physical centers who can board and score easily in the paint. Jeffries isn’t strong enough to defend them or box them out, and Turiaf isn’t long enough. I think our interior D and rebounding lose us the most games.

    I’d rather face the Heat first, then the Celtics, then the Magic, then the Bulls last. Celtics would’ve been second had they not dealt Perkins and (to a much, much lesser extent) Semih Erden. They are in another class defensively, but they lost a lot of length and power down low. Their veteran presence scares me a lot – they’d probably be 2nd on my real list but I’m going for intangibles here.

    Magic next because Dwight scares me that much. He would definitely need a double team, which is just how the Magic win games.

    The Bulls though when healthy are ridiculous. Noah would get 20 boards, Boozer is way too strong for any of our bigs to defend, and both Gibson and Asik would outrebound the heck out of us.

  68. massive

    I’d rather not see LeBron James in the 1st round this year, or any year for that matter. I’d much rather play the Bulls. Even if their rebounding and interior defense is stronger than ours, the use of Shawne Williams as a stretch four will make Boozer and Noah uncomfortable on defense. Having Jeffries now is also a plus because he can do a good job guarding Rose, and once Derrick Rose is uncomfortable, we see the player who will shoot his team out of a game, hopefully the series. We should also match up well against them because we lead the league in blocks. Derrick Rose loves to get in the paint, so maybe getting his shot pinned against the backboard a few times will take him out of his rhythm. I would really rather play the young and inexperienced Bulls over LeBron and the Heat.

  69. Frank O.

    Nick C.: It seems sometimes he decides he is going to put up a shot and that’s that.Offensively that’s my gripe.  

    I have to say it is palpable when he gets in that mode. Indeed, many star players have this mode. Like Lebron taking that shot yesterday at the end. You just knew he wasn’t going to dish, had no intention of dishing. Same can be said when Lebron tried to finish the Knicks. Stat could cheat and challenge from the weak side because there was no way in hell Lebron was dishing, even tho, IMHO, his ability to play-make is the thing that makes him a transcendent talent in the NBA. But you just knew he wasn’t dishing.
    I feel the same with Melo…but yesterday he defied that feeling in me at least three times. There were at least three other times where I just knew he wasn’t going to give it up and he didn’t.
    And that last second shot Melo took the charge on, it just felt like he was going to bull his way to the hoop and Jeffries’ man just slipped over because he knew too.
    The more Carmelo surprises me by dishing when it feels so strongly as if that ball is glued to him, the better the Knicks will be, IMHO.

  70. Caleb

    massive: I’d rather not see LeBron James in the 1st round this year, or any year for that matter. I’d much rather play the Bulls.  

    I agree, the Heat’s current struggles won’t mean much come playoff time. Unless they are battling injuries – they obviously can’t withstand losing one of the big 3.

    Orlando would be my preference to play; Dwight is the 2nd-best player in the league and we have no counter, but of the top 4 they seem most likely to self-destruct.

    Still…

    massive: Having Jeffries now is also a plus because he can do a good job guarding Rose   

    …I think you might be getting a little carried away.

  71. Caleb

    Jim Cavan: Can we all agree to refer to the Heat as Cryami for the remainder of the season?  

    my favorite pre-season nickname was the Golden Girls. Of course that is sexist.

  72. Trent Tucker from deep

    First time long time.

    A little late on the post but I don’t totally agree that the Hawks had an off game. Landry LOCKED DOWN Joe Johnson. Other than Heinrich, they had no offense. Horford can’t defend unless its down on the block. Nuff said. Knicks played well enough -3 important pieces. With TD, Landry, JJ, AC, Extra E and Billy W, there’s at least some commitment on the D end. Not a bad result last night

  73. Jim Cavan

    Caleb: Orlando would be my preference to play; Dwight is the 2nd-best player in the league and we have no counter, but of the top 4 they seem most likely to self-destruct.

    Totally agree. Although Chicago is still relatively green, and I think if we can get into Rose’s head we have a shot. But we also haven’t seen Chicago at full strength. The game in April will definitely be interesting.

    Orlando is definitely capable of self-destructing at any given point, but for them to climb to the 3 seed, the Heat would have to continue their slide, and Orlando would have to finish strong. I just don’t see those two things happening in confluence. If anything, after watching the Hawks the last few games, Orlando is chomping at the bit to face them in a series and would thus prefer to stand pat.

  74. Jim Cavan

    Actually, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that we end up with the 5th seed. ATL’s currently 4 games up, but they’re also a team that could easily implode down the stretch.

  75. Jafa

    I like our chances best against Chicago.

    Boston is too battle tested to drop an egg in the first round, Miami will be in us against the world mode and I wouldn’t want to see them then and Orlando looks shaky but has playoff veterans and a giant battering ram in the middle (coincidentally, our soft spot). Chicago is the youngest, least experienced of the group, and we have the psychological advantage (so far) of having beat them twice this year.

    Against Boston & Miami, we could probably go 6 games. Against Orlando and Chicago, I expect 7 games. Either way, we should be a tough playoff out.

  76. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    I saw a stat that said they were 1-18 in “clutch” shots this season as a team. It seems to me that it’s an aberration, a statistical anomaly. If they had even hit 40% of those game winning/tying shots, they’d be on pace for 65 wins and people would be wondering if 70 were a possibility without Joel Anthony’s lifeless body pretending to be an NBA starter for much of the first half.

    1-18 is not something that happens often in professional sports leagues, especially to a team that is otherwise deep and experienced.

  77. BigBlueAL

    The thing about who is the best matchup for the Knicks in the 1st round is this, every single one of the Top 4 teams in the East amazingly are in the Top 5 in the league in Defensive Efficiency.

    The Heat though are also in the Top 5 in Offensive Efficiency, where as the other 3 teams are all ranked lower than the Knicks with the Bulls not even in the Top 15 in the league. Thats why I prefer the Bulls because they are not a very good offensive team and I dont think they will be able to have Cavs-like games against the Knicks where as we have already seen the Celtics/Magic/Heat have great offensive games against the Knicks.

    Either way the Knicks will be hard-pressed to win a series against either of them but Im looking for a matchup that will at the least have the Knicks win 2 to 3 games and give us a good/fun series to watch. I think they can do that vs any team except for probably Boston though so in the end its why at this point I dont think it really matters who the Knicks face in the 1st round and whether they finish 6th or 7th in the East.

  78. latke

    According to Hollinger’s playoff odds, our most likely matchup is against Chicago with us as the 7th seed and Chicago at the 2nd seed. I like this matchup. We have the individual scorers who should be able to put up a decent offensive game even against the Bulls great D, and the Bulls’ mediocre offense (especially from the 3pt line) will allow us to put up a fight defensively.

    The next most likely possibility according to the hollinger stats is us holding onto the sixth seed and playing Miami, or us dropping to the 7th and Miami moving up to the 2nd (hollinger finds the latter scenario less likely). The only way IMO we win this series is by mental collapse from Miami. Miami’s biggest weakness is against quick PGs, and Billups is not quick. THis will allow Bibby to play big minutes, and I can totally see his 3pt shooting being a major difference-maker on the nights when we are able to contain the big 3.

    THe third most likely scenario is a matchup against Boston (us in the 7th seed, Boston in the 2nd seed), a team I think we are worse off against now than we were before the trade. Before, we had the quickness to punish Boston’s older players. Now, we’re much more reliant on the halfcourt, and Boston’s defense will be able to lock in. There are so many bad matchups here: Who will slow Rondo? Pierce can defend Carmelo, Garnett can defend Amare. Our biggest weakness has been defending the three pointer, and with Allen and Pierce, we could be in for some very long nights.

  79. BigBlueAL

    On this date in 1992 the Knicks defeated the Hornets 107-78 while grabbing 75 rebounds including a franchise record 52 defensive rebounds. Shit.

  80. Garson

    Anyone know why the Knicks are 7 point favorites tonight?

    Second night of a back to back , prob playing without Billups… I think Vegas likes the Knicks more then the Knickerbloggers.

  81. DS

    BigBlueAL: Its not about advanced stats, its all about heart and love:

    http://espn.go.com/blog/TrueHoop/post/_/id/25944/the-heart-of-sports  

    “A physicist, a biologist and a statistician are sitting in a street café watching people entering and leaving the house on the other side of the street. First they see two people entering the house. Time passes. After a while they notice three people leaving the house. The physicist says, ‘The measurement wasn’t accurate.’ The biologist says, ‘They must have reproduced.’ The statistician says, ‘Hey! If one more person enters the house then it will be empty.’”

  82. dsulz

    latke: According to Hollinger’s playoff odds, our most likely matchup is against Chicago with us as the 7th seed and Chicago at the 2nd seed. I like this matchup. We have the individual scorers who should be able to put up a decent offensive game even against the Bulls great D, and the Bulls’ mediocre offense (especially from the 3pt line) will allow us to put up a fight defensively.
    The next most likely possibility according to the hollinger stats is us holding onto the sixth seed and playing Miami, or us dropping to the 7th and Miami moving up to the 2nd (hollinger finds the latter scenario less likely). The only way IMO we win this series is by mental collapse from Miami. Miami’s biggest weakness is against quick PGs, and Billups is not quick. THis will allow Bibby to play big minutes, and I can totally see his 3pt shooting being a major difference-maker on the nights when we are able to contain the big 3.THe third most likely scenario is a matchup against Boston (us in the 7th seed, Boston in the 2nd seed), a team I think we are worse off against now than we were before the trade. Before, we had the quickness to punish Boston’s older players. Now, we’re much more reliant on the halfcourt, and Boston’s defense will be able to lock in. There are so many bad matchups here: Who will slow Rondo? Pierce can defend Carmelo, Garnett can defend Amare. Our biggest weakness has been defending the three pointer, and with Allen and Pierce, we could be in for some very long nights.  

    I’m still hopeful to pass Atlanta at the 5 spot. They looked really shitty last night. But overall, I agree with your analysis: we match up much better against Chicago than Miami and much better against either of those than against Boston. With Boston I fear we could be swept. That would suck.

  83. mon

    Well it seemed to me the Knicks made their run with some excellent swarming defense. There were blocks, Roger Mason, Jr. had a couple, and plenty of steals. Anthony “Microwave” (I like that!) Carter was outstanding, I haven’t seen him play that well in years.

    Amaré played tough, both ways.

    The Knick’s defensive efforts did, in the end, make the difference. That is the main thing.

    Other notes:

    Perimeter shooting was effective.
    Much of this tough play came from bench/role players.
    We’ll be even better with Chauncey, Turiaf and Walker.

    I hope we see more of this tonight against Utah.

    I feel, though, I’m the only one besides Carmelo who thought his game was really awful. His passes seemed to me more like bailouts once he recognized his jumpers and drives were not going anywhere. I’ve always liked Carmelo but he was sucking the the life out of the offense. I thought at one point he ran over to Tony Douglas to take the the ball out of his hands to finish the quarter (half?) instead of letting the point run the offense to set up a shot.
    Eye concerns were not evident there. Grrr… Chauncey Billups must have been turning over in his chair.

    Maybe Coach D’Antoni noticed to: Once Carmelo was benched the team started to play together.

    I want Carmelo to trust and look for other teammates besides Amaré. Then all Knicks, players and fans, might enjoy a lot of positivity.

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