Indiana Pacers 104 – New York Knicks 103 – Game Recap

And so it is
Just like you said it would be
Life goes easy on me
Most of the time

And so it is
The shorter story
No love, no glory
No hero in her sky

Good riddance, Fiz. I think you won’t be missed round here.

***

At last! A hard-fought game. A brutal, excruciating loss on a failed free throw attempt, but nevertheless 48 minutes of eminently watchable basketball at MSG. A few well rounded performances. A rotation that made some sort of sense. It wasn’t too much to ask, and yet you couldn’t ask for more (a win would have been welcome, if only to wish Mike Miller well on his first step of the journey among the real pros, but you get my point). The game never looked out of hand, some of the young kids played well, and the vets mostly didn’t hamper whatever it was that the neophytes were trying to do.

Actually, the Knicks started well in a way that was kinda reminiscent of the opener against the Spurs. They were tighter, they were crisper, they were jumpier in a good way. At the end of the day, they lost because they can’t hit free throws, lost their man on some crucial defensive rotations and missed more than a couple bunnies during the game, but then again, for the umpteenth straight season we’re not gauging things in terms of wins and losses. I definitely can’t wait for that time to come (it won’t be soon; I doubt there’s a chance of playoff contention until 2021-22, but you know what they say about the journey being the fun part, and we all can stick around for a couple seasons of real development, can’t we?), but minor improvements are always welcome.

As I was saying, the Knicks started quite well (staying in front of the Pacers for the first nine minutes of the game), then bumbled their way a bit, going down five at the end of the first quarter. Mitch was featured on offense, Randle wasn’t horrible, RJ was balling, and the rock was being passed around like they actually knew you aren’t supposed to go lazy iso every time down the floor.

The second quarter was a matter of trading blows (five lead changes), with Payton orchestrating like a semi-competent PG should do during an NBA game and Marcus Morris warming up (scoreless in the first, 9 points in the second). Sure, the Pacers were still punishing some blatant defensive mistakes, but they never looked quite able to pull one of those killer punches the Knicks saw delivered straight in their faces in a lot of the latest Fizdale coached games. The first half ended with the Knicks down 6, and it seemed about right. The Pacers are a better team, they’re coached pretty well and they have a few good players. Getting Domantas Sabonis, who looks like he can’t miss a shot against us, and the now injured Oladipo for Paul George is looking better and better by the day.

The third quarter saw the Knicks putting up a solid fight again, going to take the lead behind an incineratingly inspired shooting performance from Mook (11 points in the quarter) with 4:39 to go and then surrendering too many easy shots to Indiana wings, namely ex-Knicks Justin Holiday and Doug McDermott. We finished the quarter down eight. But hope was never lost.

The fourth was a grand guignol of missed opportunities on both sides. The Pacers quickly went up eleven on another McDermott three, but then proceeded to score just 12 points in the remaining 11 minutes. I wish you could ascribe that to the Knicks defense, but if we’re going to be fair it was 40% defense and 60% luck. Anyway it was good to see that people weren’t just rolling over and dying, but were trying their best to make it work. It was simply refreshing to see the players in a spontaneous huddle in the middle of their comeback effort, giving all their collective shits to focus on the task at hand. They simply weren’t able to put the ball in the basket when it counted. During the last 5 minutes of the game, the Bockers scored just one bucket (a horrible, stunted and snuffed drive by Morris than in the end scored on an old-man move five feet away from the basket) and missed something like 10 other shots. With 3:57 to go, the sequence was as follows: Payton dribbles the ball down the court, Morris shoots (miss), Randle grabs the board and gives the ball back out to RJ, Barrett shoots from the left elbow (miss), Randle grabs the board, goes up and gets blocked (miss), he grabs again the board, passes to Morris who shoots from the right elbow (miss), Payton grabs the board, passed the ball to Randle who drives and misses and eventually Sabonis corrals the rebound and ends that pathetic offensive showcase. All the way, the MSG arena cheered like you would cheer the team your son plays for: it’s the effort that counts.

At the end of the day, the game came down to Randle going to the line to shoot two with 0.1 seconds to go after Turner was done snuffing a bad Antetokounmpo impression by Mitch (if it went down the Garden would have probably exploded) that was rebounded by Randle who was subsequently fouled. He made the first and, as he’s wont to do, missed the second. Game over, but it was good fun.

The good:

– Marcus Morris (25 pts, 3 rebs, 1 ast, +9 +/-) is hopefully showcasing his talents for the upcoming trade window where he can be featured as a new signing (so, by December 15th). He played good ball, he didn’t seem to clog the offense, and quite never shot a bad shot. This is what a veteran should do on a “rebuilding” team. It’s probably a trust issue. If he sees the ball being passed around and people taking mostly good shots, it’s likely he won’t hijack many possessions fearing that others would do worse than him. Now, I’m not defending the fact that he heroballed us out of a few games in November, but as human being it’s at least understandable. If your colleague is routinely making burger patties fall on the floor, you’re probably tempted to go and flip them yourself on the grill even if your skillset is better applied to the cashier role. It falls on the manager to remove the burger failure from the kitchen, but if he doesn’t someone should step up. Problem is, if you’re no more than a competent journeymen you’ll end up making some other mistake that, even not resulting in a burger than tastes like dust and foot fungi, will probably see the burger misaligned or with too much ketchup and not enough cheddar on it. Or maybe you’ll confuse marshmallow paste with Monterey Jack, who knows. Anyway, raise your glass hoping that the FO trades Morris as soon as they can for a bag of potatoes and a draft pick to be reused later.

– Elfrid Payton (9 pts, 3 rebs, 7 ast, +11 +/-) had a killer impact on the game, notching the game-high plus/minus and generally looking like he understands the basic tenets of point guarding out there. He’s a flawed player who can’t shoot to save his life and whose defensive effort looks like the Bitcoin price chart from the last five years, but if he’s not the starting point guard and/or plays at least 28mpg by the end of December it will mean one of these three things: we’ve traded him (ok), he’s hurt again (dammit), Mike Miller deserves a spot on the dumb Knicks coaches conga line. Since Miller doesn’t strike me as the in over his head type, I’m quite confident he’ll be handed the reins.

The bad:

– Dennis Smith Jr. (1 pt, 3 rebs, 1 ast, -10 +/-) is soooo bad this season. He’s had a few goodish outings, but he looks outmatched 95% of the time and his shot is utterly broken. I really think he should be sent to the G-League for at least two weeks, if only to figure out himself a bit. On the other hand, we can at least live vicariously some of the Philly-famous Process through him: we have our own Markelle Fultz to pile upon! His advanced stats are the stuff of Lovecraftian tales: -0.097 WS/48, -7.5 BPM, -0.4 VORP, .392 TS%. I don’t know if Miller has his brand of dungeon (he looks more the kind to have an inflatable castle for his kids in the backyard), but DSJ should probably be sent into one for his own good.

Fun-sized bits:

– If you think the “improvements” we saw from the team are Miller’s merit, you’re going to be pretty deluded. I’m not saying he won’t be a better coach than Fiz (I’m willing to bet more than a thousand dollars on it), but this was just the players being given a modicum of responsibility and probably just a few generic instructions. I have moderate hopes for Miller, but this game can’t be proof of anything just like the first Dallas game wasn’t proof of Frank having turned the corner.

– I wish I knew what’s the secret to good Mitch games. This was quite good: 14 pts, 7 boards, 2 steals, 3 blocks and just 1 foul in 25 minutes. Oh wait, I probably know! Just run some fucking pick and rolls with him or drive into the paint and pass him the ball if his defender comes to help. If he’s active on offense, he’ll probably be making an all-around positive impact (even if some of his defensive possessions last night were butt-ugly. He desperately needs professional coaching, he won’t go far just by blocking things). Good job on not fouling guys in stupid ways, also.

– Randle was good in the first half because he got the ball at the top of the key with at least a half-full head of steam and just had to zero in to the cup in a straight line. If he gets the ball while he’s still and has to create entirely for himself he’s just a mess. I hope Miller will do something about that, which should be easy: Julius, if you get the ball standing around on the perimeter, just do one of this three things: pass the ball, shoot the ball only if wide open and there’s no one else to pass the rock, methodically back down your defender if you’re isolated but always look for the pass and don’t do weird dribbling stuff. If you don’t, you get benched. Easy peasy.

– Mike Miller looks like a hybrid between a mild-mannered Scott Skiles and a sedated Jack Nicholson. Basically you could cast him on Mindhunters and it’s equally likely to play the weary cop role as he is to be an unsuspected serial killer disguising as a tax accountant.

– You know what really irks me about this season, even more than whatever it was that Fizdale was doing trying to (ahem) coach? The “Knicks tackle kid cancer” initiative. I mean, how crazy cheap you have to be to donate the embarrassment of riches that is 50 dollars for every Knicks block? And have Mitchell Robinson dwarf that by donating 100 dollars of his own for every shot blocked by him? If this season went like last season, the Knicks would total 422 blocks as a team. It means that MSG (go check its net worth, please) would donate a miser 21.100 dollars to such a worthy cause (and Mitch would donate 16.200 dollars by himself, which is more than 1% of his full salary). If there is one thing that makes me ashamed of rooting for this god forsaken team, that’s it. Go fuck yourself, cheap-ass MSG honchos, for delivering such an half-assed idea of charity. Than go fuck yourself again, but harder, thinking about Jim Cavan, and pray that somehow the karma gods overlook your pathetic initiative while you’re guzzling down overpriced liquor in your penthouses.

Until next time, buddies. Let’s see what the new Melo vs. old Melo brings us in Portland next Tuesday.

 

 

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Farfa

Just an Italian basketball fan with an insane passion for all things Knicks (and yes, linguine Alfredo is not a real Italian dish).

105 thoughts to “Indiana Pacers 104 – New York Knicks 103 – Game Recap”

  1. Farfa, thanks for the recap. I hope you have working wheels now. What are the lyrics at the top from?

  2. Not yet, my new car will be delivered in about 15 days.

    And yes, mase nailed the reference: it’s “The blower’s daughter” by Damien Rice.

  3. I saw some encouraging things last night. Not in the sense that Miller changed things, but in the execution. I do hope he puts the ball in the guards hands more, in particular RJ & Ntilikina. RJ is a baller. He just has it. Give him the rock and let him grow. He’s my Melo. Hear me out lol. I’m only saying that as Georgetown fan, I never was a big fan of Melo, until I saw just how good he was when he came to the Knicks. I never was too big a fan of Barrett, but now that I have the chance to watch him on my favorite team- this kid is much better than I thought. He’s a natural.

  4. Oh..I can’t remember who said it in last night’s thread, but it was said that Payton should start and Ntilikina should run 2nd team. I agree. But only because I think that might get DSJ goin or traded. And Ntilikina/ DSJ/Dot/Knox/Mitch feels like a good mix. On the flipside, Payton played really well with MitchRob last night. So, I guess the question would be:
    Who’s J do we trust more? Ntilikina or Payton.

    Payton will play his way into a longer contract if he stays healthy. I think I’m ok with that

  5. Our best player played 25 minutes and Julius Randle was 6 for 18 in a game we lost by 1? Oh well these things just happen

  6. Our best player played 25 minutes and Julius Randle was 6 for 18 in a game we lost by 1? Oh well these things just happen

    The other obvious mistake you can see from the box score (I didn’t watch last night) is that they probably would have won if they didn’t try to force Dennis Smith(0-5, -10 in 12 mins) into the game.

    Rotating three PGs is ridiculous. Pick the best 2.

  7. Finished Fleabag last night. Season 2 is up there for my GOAT comedy seasons. The fourth-wall stuff in S2 was absolute genius and the ending, aside from that CGI, was fucking perfect. So thematically rich.

  8. as always, great recap farfa…too funny, yeah the block donation stuff is a little odd…and, is most definitely something that sticks out, and, not in a positive way, like it should…

    still need to finish watching the game from the 2nd quarter on, but, did just see mike miller’s post game – it’s been a while since I heard a knick coach speak and not have it all sound like a bunch of bullshit…

  9. Last year a friend showcased a piece he’d written for pipe organ in a church with a big fat pipe organ. There were some other artists, and I really enjoyed chillin in the pews with a can of beer (or several) while the kindly brother looked on. Probs the best religious experience I’ve had as an atheist.

    some really interesting acoustics inside of churches/temples…I wasn’t really sure what to expect from a show with jerry cantrell and “friends”…

    tiny place with maybe 300 people standing inside…tiny little stage, but, dude ending up squeezing 8 other musicians up there with him…he had a drummer, keyboard, someone on some kind of horizontal steel guitar, bass player, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, 2 singers (male and female), and jerry himself switching out different guitars each song…they all sat during the performance…

    most amazing thing – their sound didn’t overpower the small location at all…i don’t know how they did it, but, the sound fit perfectly…

    played some songs from his solo album and also the double album degradation…also covered a john fogerty and an elton john tune…mostly though played a bunch of his alice in chains music…it was great, just a wave of guitar sound that you could feel through the floor…

    it was really cool, he had a bunch of family and friends there, so, the show just had this awesome and intimate vibe…

  10. i got a good buddy who’s an atheist…it’s not too hard for me to understand that belief from some that there is no god…

    church, both catholic and protestant, played a part in my life growing up, but, wasn’t really til I found myself in my early 20’s laying in a hospital post a little brain surgery (skull fracture) that I actually committed to fully believing…

    for those of you, thinking of you strat :), familiar with saratoga racing, it was a friend from school named terry finley who actually helped close the deal for me…

    just a real simple act of placing a cross in my hand while I was going in and out laying in a hospital bed…

    it’s funny, right now i’m trying to teach my godson how to talk with god…when it comes to dealing with all the ups and especially down times in life, my thought is it’s much better to have faith and maybe not need it, than to need it and not have it…

  11. I guess I am still surprised with how bad Randle looks. I didn’t expect that much and I knew there was a mismatch with the rest our personnel, but he’s been awful. There is such a contrast between how effectively he uses his body when near the hoop and how badly he uses it when playing his “point forward” role on the perimeter. He’s a classic undersized bully ball four who is trying to take a step up the usage ladder because he knows his defensive deficiencies put a cap on his value. It’s not pretty.

    Sometimes I think the Knicks are trying to hold down Mitch’s value because they want to re-sign him to a reasonable extension. Other times I think about how dumb they are as a organization and I know this will end with him signing some ridiculous deal somewhere else just because Dolan.

    Happy to have Payton back. He makes them watchable at least.

  12. DSjr is the Andrea Bargnani of PGs.

    Bargnani looked like he had some promise as a stretch 4 before we found out he was mentally and physically soft and broke down in both ways. :-) The only things DSjr can do are jump, dribble, and make funny faces after he throws up a brick or commits an idiotic TO.

  13. someone on some kind of horizontal steel guitar

    KNICKS ON FRIDAY NIGHT
    MSG’S THE PLACE TO BE

    I GOTTA GET THEEEEERE

  14. @18

    I think the issue with Mitch aside from the obvious fouling problem is that he makes some mistakes on both asides that hurt in ways not reflected in his stats. He’s young, didn’t play college ball, and is behind the curve in some ways.

    Also, the boneheaded signing of Randle is hurting Mitch. They were obviously not a good fit unless Randle could stretch his game very effectively, but if you pay Julius Randle 18m and market him as your star FA signing, you are going to bench the “star” and make yourself look even dumber than most knowledgeable people already think. You start Taj Gibson to try to get Randle going and develop Robinson off the bench.

  15. On a Jets forum I read a post today where someone said, apparently seriously, that James Dolan has done a good job with the Rangers and has been unlucky with the Knicks. Yes, he said unlucky. Wow.

  16. Speaking of football, Gettelman’s heat map is all over the place but the decision to trade Beckham looks like a great move. That guy’s trade value today is zero. Might even be a cut.

  17. Rotating three PGs is ridiculous. Pick the best 2.

    Especially when one of them is actually a 2 guard….. and probably your best one.

  18. Knicks Film School
    @NYKFilmSchool
    ·
    16h
    The Knicks are 4-18, the Garden crowd doesn’t give a fuck, they’re cheering like a playoff game, and that’s why we are the best fans and worst consumers in the history of capitalism

    Filed under comments I wish I had made….

  19. I just started reading the recap but I had to stop and compliment Farfa on quoting The Blower’s Daughter, I love that song. When the key change hits and the female singer comes in…

  20. Speaking of football, Gettelman’s heat map is all over the place but the decision to trade Beckham looks like a great move. That guy’s trade value today is zero. Might even be a cut.

    Really, I have been wasting my Sundays with the Jets and, as such, my NFL interest is meh.

  21. There’s reason to play DSJr, but it stems entirely from “we’ve given up this season, let the young guy work out his shooting issues.” Whatever Keith Smart did, I’m glad he’s fired.

  22. Also, Randle’s $18 million isn’t that much in today’s NBA. While the price tag is worth more than Randle has given, a return to Randle’s baseline (or even close to it) would be a steal. Hopefully Miller will use him wisely and extract some positive value.

    Also the dominance we showed on the offensive glass, despite the misses, shows how Mitch and Randle may operate well together.

  23. Also @Jowles,

    Yes, season 2 blew me away. I can’t say it enough, season 2 is on a different level compared to season 1. Not to say 1 is terrible, but 2 just goes beyond for the reasons Jowles mentioned.

  24. Especially when one of them is actually a 2 guard….. and probably your best one.

    Now that Payton is back, I would really like to see us ditch the three-big lineups and run out Payton-Frank-Barrett-Morris with either Randle or Mitch at the 5. If Mike Miller does this I will be impressed.

  25. Question:

    All things exactly as they are (age, salary, experience, trajectory, etc) which 1 player would you want on your roster going forward:

    1. Myles Turner
    2. Jarrett Allen
    3. Johnathan Isaac
    4. Mitchell Robinson
    5. Richaun Holmes
    6. Jaren Jackson jr

  26. Jonathan Isaac. The rest of the guys on that list are centers which kinda goes to show that there are more Chandler-model centers out there than the rare DPOY power forward type.

  27. Jarrett Allen is pretty good. I have said this in game threads but Mitch could learn a lot from him. I think a more restrained and tactically aware Mitch might look a lot like Allen. Mitch is the better athlete but I think Allen is the better player overall at the moment, just by virtue of being able to stay on the court.

    I think those two are my favorites in the group but it’s a great question.

    Holmes has seemed very underrated for a while now. Does he suck on defense? I can remember being confused when Philly give him so few minutes and then also when they let him go.

  28. Also, Randle’s $18 million isn’t that much in today’s NBA. While the price tag is worth more than Randle has given, a return to Randle’s baseline (or even close to it) would be a steal. Hopefully Miller will use him wisely and extract some positive value.

    To put it into perspective, Randle is making THJ money. Problem is, so far this year Timmy is actually earning it and Randle isn’t.

    #dolansrazor

  29. I mean, I said Randle wasn’t earning it this year. The difference is that Randle has put up numbers in the past that would actually justify the contract. THJr has never really come close. I put that more on using Randle poorly than on Randle randomly falling off at age 25. Even if the .600TS% across two seasons and two different teams isn’t sustainable he should be able to post at least what THJr is shooting, if used correctly.

  30. @6 – I like that 2nd unit too and mostly because those might be the only current players that’ll be on the team next year. You can add Iggy and Iso.

    @21 – Astute point about Randle hindering Mitch. It’s a bad pairing and hence a big mistake. Mitch and Randle can’t play at the same time (a further indictment of Mills and Perry).

  31. If I were Miller, I’d go all in with Mitch and try to make him your #1 option… try to make him your Anthony Davis and let Randle work around that.
    Now obviously Mitch doesn’t have the guard skills Davis does, but he is an insane athlete and by many accounts can actually shoot well from deep. I really don’t think Mitch is just a Tyson Chandler clone (not that that’s bad) and should be challenged to up his offensive game. It would also make guys like RJ look better.

  32. Bit late to the party. Had a weekend mostly away from the internet (highly recommend) so only recently saw the replay. Whether it is just the usual post-firing uptick you see with teams or a genuine improvement under Miller this was easily one of the better efforts for the year. The offence looked somewhat coherent and the rotations made some sense. If we can get 59 more games like this I would be happy.

    On Fiz, following the PR release, his own statement and what the players are saying, he seems like he is a good guy to have at your organisation, but he may be one of those guys that is simply just better as an assistant than a HC. Nothing wrong with that and it would have been interesting to see what impact he could have had if he was supporting someone else here.

  33. I’d err on the side of them just playing better than normal. He’s been coach for like a day; no real way to make a difference in that time except not being Fizdale. He still only played Mitch 25 minutes.

  34. Now that Payton is back, I would really like to see us ditch the three-big lineups and run out Payton-Frank-Barrett-Morris with either Randle or Mitch at the 5. If Mike Miller does this I will be impressed.

    I’d way rather do that with Mitch than Randle for multiple reasons.

    1. Mitch is bigger and a real C
    2. Mitch can protect the rim
    3. Payton, Frank, and RJ is such a bad shooting group, we’d potentially face worse spacing problems for Randle than we have now. spacing would still be an issue hurting Mitch, but IMO, less so because he plays so far above the rim

    That’s leads to my politically impossible lineup of playing Randle off the bench. On another team you could do that, but doing it on the Knicks right now is an admission that you brought in an 18m player that doesn’t fit perfectly with your future C and the rest of the team. That’s hardly something that Mills/Perry would look too kindly on right now. If Miller plays Randle off the bench, then I’ll truly be impressed.

    What we need is better outside shooting out of at least two of Frank, RJ, and Payton. Long term we may get that, but I don’t think this is the year.

  35. To put it into perspective, Randle is making THJ money. Problem is, so far this year Timmy is actually earning it and Randle isn’t.

    Timmy showed signs of being a useful offensive player in Atlanta. We wildly overpaid him, but we also tried to turn him into a #2 option with a player that wasn’t a #1 option and then gave him a bigger role when KP was out. He doesn’t have the skill and control for that. Dallas did the right thing. They got him healthy and tried to turn him into a productive 6th man. But their bench has been ridiculously strong so far this year and he was playing well enough to try to turn him into the 3rd option they still need. I don’t think he’ll last in that role long term, but they are clearly using him better and giving him a chance to be productive even if overpaid.

  36. There was a decent article in The Athletic earlier this week about the Mavs, KP’s shooting struggles, how they are trying to overhaul his game totally, and what they are trying to build with him and Doncic.

    To me, Doncic still has to learn that less can be more. I didn’t think he was going to sustain some of those shooting stats given all the bad shots he takes. He’s starting to slow down a bit now, especially from 3. But the TOs are still piling up from the overly aggressive style. At 20, he’s a million miles ahead of where a normal human being should be on offense, but the hype is ahead of itself. On the flip side, he’s probably going to be as good as the hype fairly soon.

  37. I’d err on the side of them just playing better than normal. He’s been coach for like a day; no real way to make a difference in that time except not being Fizdale. He still only played Mitch 25 minutes.

    Oh yeah 100%. It’s a pretty low bar for Miller to get over, but if he can run some coherent schemes and his rotations prioritise minutes for the young guys then he is at least doing what Fiz should have done from day dot.

  38. At age 20, Doncic’s turnovers will take care of themselves as he ages. That’s not an aggressive thing so much as a young thing.

    Dallas can talk all day about what they want to do with KP, it doesn’t matter unless he actually puts up decent numbers. It’s the functional equivalent of saying you want your team to run more or that player x is in the best shape of his life.

    Right now, in the real world, KP has a sub-.500 TS% (though it may be slightly higher once BKref updates). KP also has the lowest ws/48 on Dallas and 3rd lowest VORP and BPM. I’m sure KP’s shooting struggles will end just as soon as DSJr’s shooting struggles end. Difference is we can actually see how Smart broke DSJr’s shot.

  39. @47

    I can’t agree with too much of that.

    KP had become close to a 40% 3 point shooter that was also efficient inside even though he was not skilled enough or ready to be a #1 option often double teamed. Where he had a huge problem was in mid range (where he is poor) and in his shot selection. He often took terrible shots trying to do too much.

    What Dallas is doing is limiting his mid range shots significantly, upping his 3 point attempts to help his efficiency and create space for Doncic to do his thing inside, and trying to teach him to pick and roll to get more attempts at the basket using Doncic’s ability to space for him and get him the ball inside. He’s stronger now and can finish better, but he looks clueless at times setting picks and rolling and Doncic rarely finds him inside.

    His efficiency has dropped because he’s hitting 3 pointers at a worse rate, free throws at a worse rate, and doing even worse at mid range despite generally getting better looks and rarely being double teamed.

    IMO, that does not suggest a major problem. It suggests severe rust off a 2 year layoff (especially shooting the worst FT% of his career.) Since a lot of players coming off severe injuries and long layoffs take awhile to get sharp shooting again, it’s likely he’ll return to his previous skill level at that one thing. So with the Dallas inspired better shot selection he should be more efficient without even becoming a better player. Since he was only 22 when he went down, there may be more improvement to come over and above where he left off.

    He’s already rebounding way better and still protecting the rim fine. If it was up to me, I’d worry less about turning him into a P&R player and let him drive more and try to draw fouls like Gallinari. He has the handle for it and with improving strength and some acting lessons, a 7’3” Gallo that also defends would be quite a load for defenses. Must get stronger!!!!

  40. Gallnari would be an interesting guy to pair with Mitch, right? It’s too bad Gallo is a bit too old.

  41. I don’t think KP’s half a season 3p% at .395 counts as him being a 40% shooter. His current .341 from 3 isn’t too far off his career mark. We’ve hashed this out before, but you sound a lot like Ruru right now:

    “Yes, but if only he changes his shot chart and gets healed from all his injuries Melo/KP will be a true superstar, you can already tell he’s doing X better!!!”

    “Then why are his numbers pretty much the same???”

    “Because temporary circumstance we should all assume isn’t permanent!!!!”

  42. The normal thing to do when a front office fires a coach is to explain why the decision was made, and what will happen next.

    This, though, is The Garden, where abnormal things happen.

    just saw this comment in an article over on espn…i guess it’s no secret our favorite basketball franchise does things – a little different…

  43. Mr. November hasn’t even hit his January wall yet. I wonder what’s gonna happen when he hits that 30 game wall this year.

  44. I’m late to the show but I throroughly enjoyed the Indiana game.
    Rotations were better.
    Defense looked solid – gave up “only” 28 3’s (7 fewer than our average 3PA-allowed per 100), only 13 foul shots (less than half our average FTA-allowed per 100), won the turnover battle, and actually had 9 more shots than the Pacers. (Granted the Pacers are among the worst in the league at generating 3’s and foul shots but hey who’s counting).

    Great effort from the Knicks. Honestly, without an absolutely monumental defensive effort from Myles Turner in the last couple minutes we would’ve won the game. That block on Mitch on the last possession might have been one of the best plays i’ve ever seen. Blocking a dunk from the side without fouling in that situation? Wow.

  45. “Miller’s a better technician than Fizdale and a better on-court communicator,” said one NBA coaching source.

    This quote from Berman syncs up with the eye-test and parrots what everyone here has been saying about Dizfail for a year and a quarter.

  46. I think I’m less encouraged than most. This was a pretty good effort but they had some decent games even under Fiz this year and they were always likely to show up focussed the day after the coach got canned. Without even a full day of practice the only thing Miller could do was tinker with the rotations, and he really didn’t much at all – still playing two bigs, still starting Taj, still have Trier locked in the dungeon. For me this was uncomfortably close to more of the same.

    He can get a pass of course because of the low prep time and I’m certainly more interested to see how we look tomorrow after a couple days of practice but a lot of times the new guy will mix some things up right away just to show it’s not going to just be more of exactly what got the last guy canned, and Miller didn’t do that at least for game 1.

  47. I’m encouraged about Miller, but not because of last night’s game. Teams often play hard for a new coach. They were helped by that and by good play from Morris and Payton, which could have been simply that both were now more than one game removed from their injuries. The only thing different in the rotations was that Payton played a lot of minutes. He earned that by playing well and then Miller kept him out there. I think Fiz would have left him out there too.

    Instead I’m encouraged by Miller because he seems like a straight forward detail oriented coach and is someone who rose through the ranks rather than a name coach.

  48. There’s really not much to be encouraged about. Miller coaching this team up is like trying to fix your shitty car’s transmission when you know you’re about to move to the center of Tokyo.

  49. Re: the starting lineup – my guess is that Miller will tinker a little. Prob was more out of respect for Fizdale that he didn’t make whole cloth changes on day 1. He played 11 guys – hard to play more than that. I’m not sure whose minutes Trier should take — if you ask me, DSJ should go to the G-league and rediscover his game Then give Trier his 10-12 minutes per game. Of course we’ll never do that because Mills and Perry are afraid of hurting players’ feelings. (never mind that Josh Jackson was the #4 pick in the draft and is playing and tearing it up in the G-league for Memphis right now)

    (it is crazy how bad DSJ has been. Team is net -16.9 per 100 with him on the floor. it’d almost be better playing 4-on-5)

  50. There’s really not much to be encouraged about. Miller coaching this team up is like trying to fix your shitty car’s transmission when you know you’re about to move to the center of Tokyo.

    Jowles…. Anne bleepin Bancroft couldn’t be enough of a Miracle Worker to get this ship righted….. but we hope for an actual “coach” who will actually “coach” the players which might actually improve them over time.

    Novel concepts like an actual offense and an actual defense other then weaves on offense with bigs orchestrating 29 feet from the rim and maybe a defense that doesn’t instaswitch 6 foot guys onto 7 foot guys every single time a screen is set?????

    I understand Hugh Jackman is reprizing Robert Preston’s role in “The Music Man.” Dizfail should apply to be his understudy…. he would be a natural as a flim flam man!

    He could then understudy Burt Lancaster’s seminal role in Elmer Gantry!

    Try to think of an NBA coach worse and more incompetent than Dizfail and I’m coming up blank….. the only thing close was when Ted Turner managed the Braves in 1977 for one game……

  51. Mike Miller does not have the star cachet to last long in this job. It’s really irrelevant how the team performs under him, he will be coaching out the string and then will be replaced by some bigger name next year.

    I’m happy for him that he made it this far, he’s like the career minor leaguer who gets an extended cup of coffee in the show.
    Good for him. I hope he enjoys the ride because it’s gonna be a short one.

  52. I’m not expecting miracles from a new coach; basketball doesn’t work that way. The players matter a lot to the coaches record. The Knicks do not have a roster of good players who fit together. That said, it still would be nice to have a coach who didn’t draw up after time out plays that often resulted in nothing, or one who drilled the players enough that they don’t get tight at the end of close games, or who got more motion and less iso into the offense. These are doable, and I hope Miller can do them.

  53. Mike Miller does not have the star cachet to last long in this job. It’s really irrelevant how the team performs under him, he will be coaching out the string and then will be replaced by some bigger name next year.

    Jeff Van Gundy sez hai!

    The odds are certainly in your favor , though…..

  54. Things that Miller can do:

    1) Not imbue the young guys with bad habits from a chaotic or non-existent offensive scheme, a la Knox in 2018-19.
    2) Promote defensive intensity, accountability and effort, especially in the midst of a horrific season.
    3) Play the young guys in a meaningful way.
    4) Pump and dump the short-term contract players. This is a crucial step for the rebuild.
    5) Demonstrate player ego savviness. There cannot be a bigger (realistic) jump in culture than from G-League to NBA. Every other professional league — EuroLeague, Liga ACB, the NCAA — has big money pumping through it. Going from the approach of coaching a guy making $35k a season to guys making as much as, prorated, $490k a game (e.g. Curry) must be a real challenge.

    Things Miller cannot do:

    1) Turn this team, as it stands, into a contender.
    2) Fire Steve Mills.
    3) Fire James Dolan.
    4) Undo the harm I’ve caused myself by religiously following this team for decades.

  55. @64
    Miller can’t really do the first #4. Only Mills and his apprentice can dump MoPo, and doing so would be sort of admitting that signing them in the first place was rather dumb.

    Maybe he can trade Morris somewhere for a first rounder and claim that was his plan all along, but he’s not getting anything of note for the $16 Million Dollar Man.

  56. Right, sorry. What I meant is that he needs to be on-board with a pump and dump strategy. You’re right that it needs to be a Mills/Perry decision that he executes.

  57. @65

    If they do trade Morris and Portis for literally anything, it shows their signings were good decisions in the end, because they just occupied space in a lost year amd brought back assets for pretty much nothing but opportunity cost. My fear is that trading then was never Mills’ and Perry’s intention, and they end up keeping them then losing them for nothing because well, they’re bad at their jobs.

  58. I believe coaching really does matter even in the NBA. Obviously a brilliant coach who is well liked by his players still isn’t going to do much if the roster lacks talent. But offensive and defensive schemes, drawing up plays out of time out’s and at the end of the game, holding players accountable and, with young teams, developing the young players…those are all VERY important things a coach has clear control over.

    I am hopeful for Mike. Even if he’s good, the team ain’t doing much this year but that’s ok. If Mike Miller proving himself to be a good coach is one of the good things to come out of this season, then that’s a pretty big deal in my book

    And screw the idea that he doesn’t have the cache or name recognition to succeed in NYC. That is the exact kind of thinking that has held this franchise back for years. Why can’t he make a name for himself as the coach for hte Knicks who helped turn it around? Did anyone know who Jeff Van Gundy was when he took over the coaching job for The Knicks in the 90s? All of the brilliant coaches we love were at one point unknowns. A good organization finds those people and supports them.

  59. I think he would be fine with the pump and dump. Mike Miller is literally playing with house money right now. The season is lost. Everyone knows the roster is weird. Mills and Perry could likely lose their jobs very soon. Mike doesn’t even have to win a lot of games. Just show competency and if the Knicks don’t give him the job next season, other, wiser franchises will recognize the work he did in this difficult situation. He has nothing to lose.

  60. And screw the idea that he doesn’t have the cache or name recognition to succeed in NYC. That is the exact kind of thinking that has held this franchise back for years

    I’m not saying it SHOULD be this way, I’m saying it IS this way. Sure, if Miller does a good job he should stick around but the Knicks don’t do well with “should.” James Dolan doesn’t want to know about your track record in the G League and how you worked up the coaching ladder, he wants to know if you are famous and if hiring you means The Straight Shot gets to open for The Eagles.

  61. there’s really no indication that any of these guys will be dealt… none of the short term signings made by these guys has ever yielded anything…. it’s much more likely that most of this roster will see the end of the year….

  62. And screw the idea that he doesn’t have the cache or name recognition to succeed in NYC.

    And next time you defend the franchise’s competence, just remember that you, stand-up comedian/Omaha man on the internet, have a smarter and more defensible take on this matter than the billionaire who will make the actual decision.

  63. Jeff Van Gundy sez hai!

    The difference is that Jeff Van Gundy came up under Riley, and when Nelson was fired 6 months into his failed attempt to make the team more offensively exciting, Van Gundy simply reverted back to Riley’s defensive oriented, dump it into Ewing system that had feigned success over the previous few seasons.

    Miller doesn’t have anything to revert back to. He has to reinvent the wheel without having anything even remotely round to work with. There’s a chance he goes 0-his tenure in NY.

  64. 4) Undo the harm I’ve caused myself by religiously following this team for decades.

    we’re all guilty of something; and, this is the penance we serve…

    glad though to be doing time with ya jowles :)

  65. not sure if there’s any other AIC fans out there, but, here’s a nice link to some of the songs they performed on friday…he mentioned he mixed up the playlist a bit for the saturday show, i don’t know though exactly what songs they changed up on…

    good question as to why sometimes it feels so good (cathartic maybe) to listen to some not always so happy stuff…i don’t know, maybe i’ve spent too much time down in a hole rooting for these knickerbockers :)

  66. As long as news sources continue to withhold any disclaimer that our Mike Miller didn’t play with Lebron James and win multiple championships, perhaps we can fleece the casual fans into thinking he does have the cachet.

    Also, not convinced that Dolan knows our Mike Miller isn’t THAT Mike Miller.

  67. I hold out hope that Miller can make things work better. If Fizdale is as bad as people here think, then Miller should be able to make improvements.

    We won’t make the playoffs, but we should be able to avoid another 9-game losing streak and back-to-back blowouts.

    Randle, Portis, Mitch, Ellington can all be used more effectively.

    Portis will still suck but force him to stand in the corner and only shoot threes or bench him.

    Ellington should be shooting better.

    Mitch should get more PnRs.

    Randle should not be allowed to create.

    Our rotation should be much better too. The whole Mitch situation needs to change.

    All these changes should lead to improvements and all can be changed by the coach.

  68. Here’s a link to a tune I helped Ariel Pink record earlier this year. It’s just me and him on this.

    It was supposed to be for a Hanukkah compilation that Verve is putting out but Ariel wasn’t thrilled with the terms of the contract so he’s just gonna put it out on one of his rarities compilations that’s coming out. We were going to cover a Hanukkah tune but there aren’t a lot of really good ones out there, so he wrote this instead.

    He gave a little sneak preview of it on a radio show a little while back, so here it is!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Az8_fjvh5RM

  69. Does this have some weird phase stuff going on or am I losing hearing in my right ear? Reminds me of pom pom era, for sure. Dig it (although I’d love a mono version so my head doesn’t explode)

  70. Yeah, there is some weird phasey thing going on with the radio station’s broadcast of this, I just played it back to back with the full WAV file and it definitely sounds like there’s some missing information on the right side.

  71. Isn’t the rumor right now that the Knicks are trying to be buyers in the trade market? That’s hilarious and really really frightening.

  72. Isn’t the rumor right now that the Knicks are trying to be buyers in the trade market?

    Of course whether this is a good thing or not depends on what they want to buy. Any rumors on that?

    Apparently, the Hawks are looking to add someone to help the team. They may already have deal arranged for after the fifteenth. They don’t seem to have a ton of power forwards, so maybe we can help them out and get something in return.

  73. Well, one would think that many NBA teams would be willing to deal a first round pick for a legitimate Dawg. But that also only works if the Knicks recognize the need to sell.

  74. Knick opponents are shooting almost 10 percentage points better than expected from 3-point range when left uncontested, according to data from Second Spectrum, the highest rate in the league. This is calculated using quantified Shot Impact, which gauges how well specific players shoot in a given scenario compared to what an average NBA player would be expected to shoot from that same location.

    I wonder how much of that is random

  75. the most encouraging thing from miller was putting mitch on the floor down the stretch… hopefully that’s a signal that he recognizes how important he is… along with giving payton the lionshare of the pg minutes… we should see some tangible improvement….

    that’s really all it takes…. the struggles we’ve seen this season are the result of giving a lot of time to some really bad players…. we don’t have many good players on this team but the little we do have .. haven’t seen the floor….

  76. along with giving payton the lionshare of the pg minutes… we should see some tangible improvement….

    I don’t remember who it was (Hubert maybe?) saying that he thought Pills cagily waited until right when Elfrid returned to fire Fiz to give the “actually having a PG” bump to the new coach. It may still be an overcomplicated explanation for a simple phenononon but whether they intended it or not I do think there should be a decent little bounce for Miller just based on Elfrid coming back to health.

    He’s nothing special but “nothing special” makes him like the 3rd or 4th best player on the team even in a vacuum and his skillset is desperately lacking with this group when he’s out. Regardless of where you come out on the semantic debate of whether Frank is a “point guard”, it’s clear this team is badly lacking in guys who can drive into the lane, draw the defense in and unclog the offense. Still a super small sample size obviously but Synergy has 53% of his posessions categorized as PnR, which is 8th in the league, whereas our other guards are down in the 20s with only DSJ above 30% (36%).

  77. If it’s ten actual points — shooting 50% instead of 40% — rather than ten percent, i.e. 44% over 40%, I don’t see how it could he anything but luck. That is an enormous gap and the season is still young.

  78. i love me some frank, but – he just doesn’t really help, as much as is needed, the other players on the court with him on offense, and, the guys (neophytes and mercs) we got out there really need the help…

    yeah, not sure if miller will stick elf back in the starting slot, but, it would help…

    a couple of years from now, who knows, maybe frank can run a team and help make the game easier for the folks out there with him…not now, not this situation though…

  79. i don’t think there’s anything cagey with what mills and perry did…. they haven’t even addressed the media about the firing… i’m not so into reading tea leaves but it’s clear to me that they only did this because they are getting immense pressure… and that pressure is coming from dolan….

    their days at msg are numbered and i’m pretty sure they know it… and it would take the knicks playing close to .500 ball the rest of the way to change that… mike miller or popovich ain’t gonna make that happen….

  80. Whenever you see a team that’s dead last in the league in some category the correct answer is usually going to be that they’re both bad at that thing and getting unlucky. From what I’ve read about those shot categorizations they can be a little finnicky, which you’d expect of course. How many feet of seperation, exactly, makes a shot uncontested vs. lightly contested? Does it matter if a defender outside that radius is running at you? What if they’re coming from the side as opposed to from the front? Not every shot that gets sorted into the “uncontested” pile is really going to be equally uncontested, no matter how good your model is. My point being that the Knicks really could be, and probably are given that stat, giving up “worse” uncontested looks than the average team. But there’s probably at least some amount of bad luck baked in there.

  81. Not a bad track JK47. Wasn’t suuuuuper into the new AP album tbh, but I always have time for an alternative holiday song. Currently working on a playlist so Christmas day doesn’t consist of Michael Buble Christmas standards.

  82. Latest album felt more like a throwaway to me, especially in relief with the previous one. DTBJ slaps too hard, as the kids say.

  83. I don’t really care much if the Knicks are buys or sellers, but if they are sellers and add picks, I feel strongly that the goal of accumulating picks should to trade them for good young players (preferably a star) that fits and not drafting another 18-19 year old in a couple of years that won’t be any good until 2028.

    I’m just less sure it’s going to be easy to move any of our vets and get much of value back than other people seem to be assuming. Most of them came to NY because we were paying a premium salary to get them here. Other than maybe Morris, none has done much to increase their value. If anything their value has diminished. Why is someone going to give us an expiring contract plus a pick for an overpaid veteran that isn’t playing we well as last year? Even Morris only looks so good because he’s hitting 3s at a rate that everyone is going to realize is unsustainable. Morris is simply not that good.

  84. DTBJ was a hard act to follow no doubt. I mean the new album wasn’t bad by any stretch, just was particularly memorable. At times it felt sonically like The Smiths made an album of elevator music.

  85. If we are buyers, it better not be another marginal PG. To me, you either go all in on Payton if he’s playing really well (and is still young enough to be part of the long term plan), keep developing the players we have and hope since they are so young one eventually breaks out later this year or next year, or you use assets to land an obviously high quality PG and end this madness once and for all. Any more of this idiotic bullcrap like Burke, Mudiay, Frank, DSJr, Payton etc.. and adding more to the party battling for minutes is simply the same foolishness. You don’t develop young players by moving them in and out of the doghouse every time one has a couple of bad games or someone gets hot off the bench.

  86. It’s massively too soon to judge Miller. I’ve seen a lot of coaches talk a good game and say exactly what I wanted to hear only to do something else. The proof will come on the court. But I’m optimistic on Miller because of his roots with the Spurs, knowledge of the triangle, and comments he made about spacing and ball and player movement. To me, that’s everything we’ve done wrong (besides signing bad players that don’t fit well together). His background matches his rhetoric. That raises the probability we are going to see a much better offense and a defense that fits the personnel instead of the desire to switch everything without the players capable of defending that way.

  87. The latest thing AP released was more of an odds and ends kind of collection, not really a fully conceived album. I’m hoping to be involved in the next proper album whenever he gets around to making that.
    We’re both happy with the way “Sit And Spin” turned out.

  88. The latest thing AP released was more of an odds and ends kind of collection, not really a fully conceived album. I’m hoping to be involved in the next proper album whenever he gets around to making that.

    Interesting note, as it doesn’t appear to have been widely reviewed and flew under the radar a bit. My go to allmusic.com (who usually update their data the day albums are released) doesn’t even list it as part of his discography, so it makes sense it is more of a B-sides type release now that you mention it.

  89. Yeah, it was clearly a “collection” rather than a big statement like pom pom. It’s not at all the same as, say, unfavorably comparing Damn. to the far superior To Pimp a Butterfly or whatever.

  90. Isn’t the rumor right now that the Knicks are trying to be buyers in the trade market?

    When you ain’t got nothing to sell, may as well buy.

  91. The reason our uncontested 3pt shooting is worse than other teams is because we routinely leave the other team’s best shooter wide open on multiple consecutive possessions. Other teams leave the Frank Ntilikinas or Julius Randles of the world open, not the Steph Currys or James Hardens.

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