Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Hawks 100, Knicks 90

New York Knicks 90 Final
Recap | Box Score
100 Atlanta Hawks
Carmelo Anthony, SF 40 MIN | 11-24 FG | 13-14 FT | 9 REB | 2 AST | 36 PTS | -7

We’ve all indulged in our fair share of hand-wringing over Melo’s propensity for “going it alone.” Well, when most of your teammates look like they went to the arena straight from the Gold Club, sometimes that kind of bootstrap-grabbing gumption becomes necessary. If it weren’t for our junk-hobbled Captain, we might’ve been looking to the inevitable post-game Waffle House brawl for some kind of legitimate competition. And cheesy hash browns. Delicious cheesy hash browns.

Tasked with manning up — out of position, it might be added — a clearly vengeance-addled Josh Smith, Melo was somehow able to conserve enough energy to rattle off a second consecutive blitzkrieg of a game — shot-sprayin’, board-crashin’, dime-dishin’, the whole nine. He keeps this up, we might soon be asking the same stupid question posed during the Linsanity’s apex: Namely how the other would respond once brought back fold-ward.

Landry Fields, G 27 MIN | 3-4 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 7 PTS | +2

Back in February, it looked as if Fields had recaptured 2010’s bygone form. Tonight — with the exception of a few purposeful drives, or at least ones not being sent into the rafters for lack of proper flushing — Fields seemed more than anything like he was taking up space; not doing anything wrong, per se, but not challenging the defense either. If it were legal to wheel out a spring-loaded basketball pitching machine to the wing when the Knicks were on offense, just to make the “extra pass,” we’d have basically filled Landry’s role tonight.

Tyson Chandler, C 39 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-3 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | -10

Chandler’s myriad bumbles and boners made this one of his worst outings of the fast-dwindling year. With resident nuisance Zaza Pachulia nagging his every move (and scratching him in the eyes, probably), Tyson seemed unprepared for passes which — while undoubtedly zippy — still probably should’ve been reeled in. On the night, Tyson’s -10 was second to only Baron Davis and J.R. Smith. Baron Davis and J.R. Smith, who right now can be found in the Phillips Arena parking lot hitting each other in the head with tire irons, and laughing.

Baron Davis, PG 24 MIN | 2-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 4 PTS | -11

I think we all knew where this night was going when the first two possessions saw Baron cough up two mind-bendingly stupid turnovers. He’d go on to spend most of the night grasping at Jeff Teague’s shoelaces, pulling up for awful jump shots, and riding a stationary bike with his hamstring packed in ice. Really, it’s remarkable that we’ve managed to weather Lin’s absence this well.

Iman Shumpert, G 41 MIN | 9-14 FG | 4-8 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 25 PTS | -8

First off, kudos to Shumpert for not doing what I tend to do when revisiting my college stomping grounds, namely being very lazy and doing very dumb things. For the second consecutive game, ‘Pert Plus kickstarted a slow start into a tremendous overall performance, banking 25 (likewise for the second straight game), mannin’ up something beastly on Josh Smith and Joe Johnson both, and picking his offensive spots in what has become a fast-expanding range.

On a night when Melo was the only other semi-reliable option, Shumpert played a pretty good Sundance Kid. Which I guess makes the Hawks a bunch of ill-secured banks, and the Atlanta fans the Bolivian Army… ABORT ANALOGY ABORT ANALOGY

Mike Bibby, PG 6 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 PTS | -3

WOODSON: Alright, Bibbs. We’ve been through a lot of battles together in this building. I know you’re as read as I am to get back at these $%^&*!#^, right?

BIBBY: GUUUUUUUUUUGGHH!
(eyes roll back into head)

WOODSON: Alright, that’s my boy!
(love punches Bibby’s arm, which falls off)

BIBBY
: GAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!

WOODSON: Awwww man. Toney, sew that back on.

Steve Novak, SF 20 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 3 PTS | -2

No use in getting upset about Novakaine’ dearth of touches. I mean, it’s not as if J.R. Smith took, like, shot five times as much as he did, right? That would be ridiculous. Novak did hit a timely fourth quarter three, but didn’t do much beyond trying in vain to man Josh Smith, Willie Green, and — my personally favorite — Williams, MARVIN.

J.R. Smith, SG 33 MIN | 2-10 FG | 0-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 5 PTS | -11

When I was two years old, my folks took me up to this beautiful lake house in Northern Michigan. For a solid week, every morning at 4am I’d walk into my parents’ bedroom and start yelling “THROW ROCKS IN LAKE! THROW ROCKS IN LAKE! THROW ROCKS IN LAKE!” like a savant. Invariably, my Dad — being the good sport that he was and still remains — would get up and lead me outside to the lakefront, where I’d spend the next two hours hurling stone after stone into the vast liquid abyss. I couldn’t give two shits where the thing landed. I didn’t care whether it landed two feet in front of me or five feet behind me. I just wanted to throw a bunch of %$@#^@& rocks in the lake. That’s basically J.R. Smith.

Josh Harrellson, F 9 MIN | 1-3 FG | 4-4 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | 0

You’d figure being back in his SEC stomping rounds might serve to steal a rise out of our mustachioed muscleman. As it was, Jorts made a couple of nice contributions, allbethem largely offset by a handful of defensive miscues and silly fouls…. No, not fowls, Jorts, FOULS! FOULS with a U! OK Josh put the rifle down… JOSH PUT THE RIFLE DOWN!

Five Things We Saw

  1. Particularly given the Knicks’ out-of-body snipery against the Magic, it was only appropriate that their next foe would come out cooking. It’s not that the ‘Bocker D was bad; they did force 17 turnovers, were quick on rotations, and effective in many a help and double-down. The Hawks simply hit a lot of tough, tough shots, including no less than four, improbable continuations which — combined with their relative competence from the stripe — helped stave off a number of Knick mini-runs….
  2. Speaking of which, the Knicks went 22-33 from said stripe tonight. According to my trusted cheese grater, that means the Knicks basically lost the game on free throws. Down the stretch, if there’s one thing the Knicks both need to correct and have some semblance of control over correcting, it’s this.
  3. Willie Green scored 20 points on 8-9 shooting off the bench. The narrative here is far too tired to parse out again, but suffice it to say your chances of winning plummet fast and very hard when guys like this really get going. Guys like Willie Green.
  4. I don’t know if you know this about me, but I’m a poor sport. Like, the worst. So when things don’t go my way, I like to take it out on people or objects that have nothing to do with the actual outcome. I’ll throw pens, lamps, pens, cell phone chargers, hats — doesn’t matter. Every now and again, I like to take my anger out on the other team’s broadcast duo. For those of you who’ve never had the pleasure of listening to Bob Rathbun and Dominique Wilkins call a basketball game, here were some of the highlights:

    “You think that if that had been punted 20 rows up at MSG we would’ve gotten the ball back!?!?!?”
    – Bob Rathbun, referring to a ball inadvertently kicked by Tyson Chandler 20 rows into the Phillips Arena crowd, above which no one was sitting

    “Hawks looking to build on this two point lead….”
    – Bob Rathbun, budding soccer telecaster

    “OH COME ON, GET YOUR HANDS OFF OF HIM!” – Bob Rathbun, objective sports journalist

    “HOW DOES HE DO IT!?!?” – Bob Rathbun, amazed by the $100 million Joe Johnson making an 18-foot fall-away jumper

  5. Milwaukee beat Cleveland by 37 points tonight. Thirty-seven points. On the road, too. Might want to check those rear view mirrors, folks, cuz those plucky Bucks aren’t going anywhere any time soon.

28 comments on “Hawks 100, Knicks 90

  1. limpidgimp

    I just got back from tonight’s game after a night out. NY fans were impressively loud in the fourth quarter, until the game started slipping away.

    The whole first half, even the third quarter, was so low energy. Knicks only showed intensity in the fourth quarter. WTF.

    Hawks made hard shots in front of reasonably good D. It was a downer.

    The second unit looked lost out there on the offensive end.

    It really annoyed me how many free throws Knicks missed; that would have kept the game real close.

    I never thought Chandler had bad hands until tonight. The passes weren’t all pinpoint precise, but many of those were catchable. He finished unusually poorly at the rim today. And missed two free throws.

    I don’t think I’m being too hard on Melo by saying that there were plenty of shots near the rim that he should have made tonight. He did play good D on Smith tho.

    The explanation that Baron does stupid stuff bc he’s trying to make the super awesome pass is being too generous. His senseless decision-making is all the more inexplicable given that he’s a veteran. I’m also sick of seeing him hero ball, which he seems to find irresistible immediately after doing something stupid. “If I make this 3 pointer or amazing play, it will make up for everything…” Please just stop old man. He also got burned trying to keep his man in front of him.

  2. BigBlueAL

    Knicks have to make sure they win vs the Cavs then enjoy the 2 days off when hopefully they will get a little healthier. Thankfully after the Cavs game they only play 2 games in the next 7 days so there is some time to get healthier before the schedule gets real brutal again.

  3. jon abbey

    Jared Dubin ? @JADubin5

    Shump-Tyson duo since Woodson took over: 79.3 defensive efficiency.

  4. Brian Cronin

    It’s a really weird situation. Because of the position they put themselves into by sucking for so long, they really need to win every game. However, it is unreasonable to expect them to win every game, ya know? But while I know it is irrational to expect them to win all these games against non-elite teams, I also know that it sort of is the case because of the schedule. That said, if they can beat Cleveland and Milwaukee loses, then things should be fine. Unless the collective groin of the Knicks gets pulled, of course.

    As for the game, I missed it but watched the replay and…well….not a fun game (except for Melo and Shump, of course).

    I feel bad for Davis. He can obviously help the team, but he just can’t play that many effective minutes. He is not yet at that point, health-wise. What does Bibby have to do for Toney to pass him on the depth chart, I wonder? Take an actual shit on the floor?

    One thing I didn’t like, though, from the comments is this reductive idea of judging players based on tonight’s game. You know, stuff like “Look, Baron Davis sucked tonight, so saying he should play over Lin is obviously wrong.” But when he kicked ass the other night, was that proof that he should play over Lin? Making decisions about players game-by-game is just silly. Things even out over time and that’s when you judge them. Like Bibby. We’ve seen plenty of Bibby this year. We know he’s finished (great guy and he used to be a fine player, but come on, the guy just doesn’t have it anymore).

  5. Tony Pena

    It’s tough, but they HAVE to beat the crappy teams. The way they’ve been playing makes me feel confident that they can hold off the Bucks for that final spot, but they don’t want to just waltz in there and have a repeat of last year. Impossible situation but they’re going to have to use the rest of the schedule to build confidence. Meaning putting beatdowns on the Clevelands.

    Crazy that every win does so little. Hopefully BDiddy gets it back. I mean just last years version would be huge. Funny that back then it crossed my mind that Dan Gilbert was trying to stick it to Lebron by releasing him… Oh and I guess thats what happens when you “ride ‘em like the Secretariat”. Still funny though.

  6. ruruland

    Tony Pena:
    It’s tough, but they HAVE to beat the crappy teams. The way they’ve been playing makes me feel confident that they can hold off the Bucks for that final spot, but they don’t want to just waltz in there and have a repeat of last year. Impossible situation but they’re going to have to use the rest of the schedule to build confidence. Meaning putting beatdowns on the Clevelands.

    Crazy that every win does so little. Hopefully BDiddy gets it back. I mean just last years version would be huge. Funny that back then it crossed my mind that Dan Gilbert was trying to stick it to Lebron by releasing him… Oh and I guess thats what happens when you “ride ‘em like the Secretariat”. Still funny though.

    He’s playing injured (strained hammy)….. He’s not this bad.

  7. Tony Pena

    Hey, for what it’s worth, Melo’s extra “girth” is probably helping him fight through these injuries.

  8. ruruland

    Tony Pena:
    Hey, for what it’s worth, Melo’s extra “girth” is probably helping him fight through these injuries.

    Yes, his body is converting his fat reserves to repair the torn muscles in his legs.

  9. limpidgimp

    ruruland: He’s playing injured (strained hammy)….. He’s not this bad.

    It’s not a question Baron’s skill, which I don’t doubt. It’s a question of judgment. A professional athlete needs to know what his body can and cannot do. The fact that he says he has a strained hamstring makes his judgment look even worse, because that’s denial and delusion about the state of his body. If you know your body cannot perform how you want it to, then shouldn’t you be trying to set up other players than behaving like your 100% out there? He points to his injury after the game — but where is that conscientiousness about his body’s limitations during the game? And frankly what does a strained hamstring have to do with throwing the ball to lalaland?

    Anyway, even I am tired of carping about BD, but I’m just saying this is not about having a bad game but about generally poor judgment.

  10. ruruland

    limpidgimp: A
    Anyway, even I am tired of carping about BD, but I’m just saying this is not about having a bad game but about generally poor judgment.

    I don’t think you can questions a player’s willingness to play through injuries, at least not under these circumstances.

    Many players don’t have secondary skillsets they can rely on when injured. Melo has that skillset, with his jump shot, body positioning and craftiness, to be effective even when he can’t move laterally or explode towards the rim — as you saw against Orlando….but there are a lot of things Melo couldn’t do.

    I think maybe there have been a few nights in Baron’s past where he was able to play through injury and help his team win, but I don’t think he can fundamentally change how plays the gameto adapt to his injury in order to be effective.

    Baron makes risky decisions, he plays a freestyle game that is dependent upon his ability to keep his dribble alive and his head up….. He has a great handle, great court vision — but both of those attributes are hindered when he can’t move very well, that makes his decision-making look bad….For example, while he can see the play develop, he can’t quite get to the spot on the floor fast enough to execute the pass.. I saw that on those early turnovers.

    He talked about his balance being off, too. Sometimes you think your body will make the adjustment when it can’t.

    I don’t think he can say to himself, “ok, I’m just going to be a spot-up shooter today, or, I’m going to get out of the way on offense.”

    Baron played the game the only way he knows how, his body just wasn’t quite up for it….. But, I don’t think he was totally healthy against Orlando either. sometimes athletes can pull it off, and just like a poor 3pt shooter who makes that one shot that gives him the confidence to keep shooting, sometimes these guys…

  11. 2FOR18

    Damn, I pretty much called this game in the other thread.
    Not too concerned with this loss, but I’m concerned that Melo’s strongest games coincide with Lin being out. I don’t know the answer, but I think a legit contender can’t have 3 Alpha males (Melo, Lin, Amare).

  12. ruruland

    2FOR18:
    Damn, I pretty much called this game in the other thread.
    Not too concerned with this loss, but I’m concerned that Melo’s strongest games coincide with Lin being out. I don’t know the answer, but I think a legit contender can’t have 3 Alpha males (Melo, Lin, Amare).

    Lin needs to embrace the idea that he can be a great distributor first, and a very effective slasher, playmaker and shooter off of Melo post-ups…..There’s nothing wrong with diversity in the offense, quite the contrary, and there were a lot of scenarios tonight where Lin pick and roll and Amar’e side pnr would have made the difference…

    The more Lin looks to get Melo and Amar’e going, the easier his scoring will be later. MDA ostensibly brainwashed Lin into thinking he was THE MAN on the team. All 3 guys will need to sacrifice. But the synergy is potential if they make up their minds that it’s not just about getting out of the other guys way, it’s about playing with them and off of them…..

    That means Melo kicking it out to Lin, and Lin looking for Melo and Amar’e when he drives.

    Amar’e also needs to embrace playing off Melo post-ups—- he can be more effective than Nene was in Denver.

  13. Tony Pena

    @15 – Boston?

    You know, the players wont bitch about it but how quickly the schedule was set up was very strange. It was like ‘negotiations are going bad, really bad, lets start thinking about next season… We got an agreement!! Ok games start next week and there’s gonna be 70 games in 90 days…” Whoever takes it all this season is going to have a big asterisk engraved in that trophy. Wouldn’t a 50-game season with regular rest between games have had better quality? Two days oof this year is good “off time”. $$$….

  14. ruruland

    Tony Pena:
    @15 – Boston?

    You know, the players wont bitch about it but how quickly the schedule was set up was very strange. It was like ‘negotiations are going bad, really bad, lets start thinking about next season… We got an agreement!! Ok games start next week and there’s gonna be 70 games in 90 days…” Whoever takes it all this season is going to have a big asterisk engraved in that trophy. Wouldn’t a 50-game season with regular rest between games have had better quality? Two days oof this year is good “off time”. $$$….

    Gotta sell the tickets.. Owners had to get games, but they are the only ones who benefit… Quality of play is way down, obviously. I like watching basketball, but sometimes it’s hard to find a quality game.

  15. Tony Pena

    ruruland: Lin needs to embrace the idea that he can be a great distributor first, anda very effective slasher, playmaker and shooter off of Melo post-ups…..There’s nothing wrong with diversity in the offense, quite the contrary, and there were a lot of scenarios tonight where Lin pick and roll and Amar’e side pnr would have made the difference…

    The more Lin looks to get Melo and Amar’e going, the easier his scoring will be later. MDA ostensibly brainwashed Lin into thinking he was THE MAN on the team. All 3 guys will need to sacrifice. But the synergy is potential if they make up their minds that it’s not just about getting out of the other guys way, it’s about playing with them and off of them…..

    That means Melo kicking it out to Lin, and Lin looking for Melo and Amar’e when he drives.

    Amar’e also needs to embrace playing off Melo post-ups—- he can be more effective than Nene was in Denver.

    Agree.

    Amare is a soldier, he won’t have a problem with adapting his game whatsoever. If I’m not mistaken we saw some of that last year.

    Guys (in particular Fields and Lin) thinking twice about feeding Melo was a direct result of MDA. In that way HE was dividing the team.

  16. ruruland

    Tony Pena: Agree.

    Amare is a soldier, he won’t have a problem with adapting his game whatsoever. If I’m not mistaken we saw some of that last year.

    Guys (in particular Fields and Lin) thinking twice about feeding Melo was a direct result of MDA. In that way HE was dividing the team.

    agreed… I saw Amar’e finally figuring how to play off the Melo post-ups/ isos in the last few weeks.. he can take advantage of slanted defenses and defenders taking their eyes off him.. that quick cut from the wing to the elbow behind the defense results in a lot of foul shots.

  17. 2FOR18

    Tony Pena:
    @15 – Boston?

    You know, the players wont bitch about it but how quickly the schedule was set up was very strange. It was like ‘negotiations are going bad, really bad, lets start thinking about next season… We got an agreement!! Ok games start next week and there’s gonna be 70 games in 90 days…” Whoever takes it all this season is going to have a big asterisk engraved in that trophy. Wouldn’t a 50-game season with regular rest between games have had better quality? Two days oof this year is good “off time”. $$$….

    Boson is bad comparison. KG is all about D and doesn’t need to be fed; he is the anti-Amare. Rondo is a pass first pg. Pierce = Melo.
    Allen is the sniper the Knicks don’t really have.

  18. Tony Pena

    2FOR18: Boson is bad comparison. KG is all about D and doesn’t need to be fed; he is the anti-Amare.Rondo is a pass first pg. Pierce = Melo.
    Allen is the sniper the Knicks don’t really have.

    Very true. But being that the rest of the guys on the team don’t really need the ball I think there’s a good chance it can work. I had mentioned before that if Melo learns how to turn it on and off within lets say a quarter that will take him and this team to the next level. Tough to ask that in this crazy season. And yeah as ruru mentioned if Lin took that mentality to pass first more. He’s a smart kid though I think he’ll get it. Amare is just gonna have to live with scoring 20+ one night and 12 the other. I think he has the mental makeup though.

  19. limpidgimp

    @ 13
    Thanks for your well thought out response. I will have to find the game video to rewatch to see what you are talking about as far as his not getting to the right spot fast enough to execute the pass.

    As for BD’s “free styling,” that got me thinking about the generally unstructured play of the second unit. Like when BD is out there with Smith and Novak. Smith shoots many contested perimeter shots, but if Novak isn’t getting looks and BD’s free styling isn’t successful, then what offense do they have except Smith chucking? I’m not defending Smith’s capacity to shoot without conscience even during cold streaks, just saying isn’t that to be expected from the unstructured play of that group? Novak sure isn’t getting many shot opportunities from this free styling, especially since Novak doesn’t move well (or barely moves) without the ball.

  20. JR Sec 112

    On Lin, he is passing the ball more- shots way down since linsanity. And let’s remember they’ve played what, 15 games with their starting lineup intact? Maybe even less. They were starting to get it, with the exception that Melo’s jumper was off. Now its back on. That’s why I think the potential is so great, if they can grit it through this stretch and make the playoffs and get amare back.

    On BD, when are we going to admit that he’s half washed up already? Injured or not, we’re not getting the old Baron back. FWIW, there’s not a single game after which I would have argued BD should start over lin. Its ludicrous that after he has a good 5 min run, people here debate having Lin come off the bench. He’s just not a consistent playerright now and even worse, he doesn’t know his own limitations. Neither does JR smith. Which is why, on balance, neither are helping this team more than they are hurting it.

    Re Celtics analogy, Cs never had ball stopper like shump. I’d argue knicks are potentially better. What Cs did have was lots of games together to gel and develop chemistry. And they were tough as nails. Interesting to watch knicks and see if they can develop that swagger with a few more reps.

  21. Spree8

    If we’re going to use Lin like he’s ___, who’s primary job is to feed Melo the ball for ISO, then why not just start “the man” himself? I’m sure ___ can handle the “task”. We all know why Lin has better success running the point vs ___. Yesterday’s game vs Hawks where Novak and Tyson pretty much become useless and “offense ineffective” shows what we missed from Lin.

    Melo is our “best scorer” so he should get his shots, but when it comes to “creating for others” Lin should be our guy. Melo does not make teammates around him “better” like Lin does, not even close.

  22. daJudge

    Tough game to watch last night. Really though, Atlanta is a very good team and of course they were home. If you look at the game, we hit 5 more free throws and JR hits one or two more shots, maybe we steal the game. Chandler had the rarest of rare off game. I think we missed Lin a great deal and BD was not playing the best. Melo and Shump played their asses off and we could have stole this game even when the rest were playing poorly on offense. I think the defensive effort was still there. If we can keep the defensive effort up, we win by playing decent offense and minimizing turnovers. As someone said, we can’t win all of the games, but we need to win the ones we should, like tonight.

  23. Will the Thrill

    There have been probably 1 or 2 games where Baron has even played close to as well as Lin, and most games he is really, really bad. He is slow on defense, slow on offense, and makes all the mistakes that Lin does with turnovers. I realize that Lin can’t play the entire game, but I was just wondering how people can think that Baron should play over Lin because to me: I agree with JR Sec 112 in saying that he is already half-washed up and some games he hurts the team more than he helps it. Maybe its the injury? I’m not sure but I haven’t seen much to impress me with Baron this season and I think he is barely hanging on to his back-up point guard position.

    Brian Cronin: One thing I didn’t like, though, from the comments is this reductive idea of judging players based on tonight’s game. You know, stuff like “Look, Baron Davis sucked tonight, so saying he should play over Lin is obviously wrong.” But when he kicked ass the other night, was that proof that he should play over Lin? Making decisions about players game-by-game is just silly. Things even out over time and that’s when you judge them.

  24. TelegraphedPass

    Of course Baron won’t be his old self. He’s approaching his mid-30s.
    He looks pretty terrible out there, but he was never supposed to play this many minutes once we realized we had a starting PG in Jeremy Lin.
    Baron’s a better defender than he’s recognized for. He plays the passing lanes and hounds the ball handler better than most players in NBA history. He generates tons of turnovers with his quick hands, and he has a big body which makes it tough for his opponents to get where they want on the floor. He’s a step slower now that he’s getting older, but I wouldn’t say he’s a particularly bad defender.
    Ruru’s take on Baron sounds pretty accurate. He doesn’t need to be his old self, really, but his turnover issue is devastating the team right now. As freewheeling as his play style is, his career turnover rate of 14.6% isn’t that bad at all. Hopefully he gets back to that at least.

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