Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Kn___s 80, Clippers 93

New York Knicks 80 Final

Recap | Box Score

93 Los Angeles Clippers
Kenyon Martin, PF 28 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-1 FT | 9 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | 0Martin, likely recalling his time with the Clippers last year, did a lot of fouling tonight. On most nights, that would be a bad idea, but with the terrible free throw shooting of LAC’s bigs, the fouls were a big part of why New York was able to keep this game from getting ugly. His +/- showed it too: he and Novak were the only Knicks not in the negatives. Martin deserves credit, too, for fighting on the boards, especially given how small the Knicks went for most of the game.
Kurt Thomas, PF 17 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -8For a moment it seemed like Kurt was going to join Chandler, Stoudemire, and Melo on our collection of guys with injured knees (can we get a group shot of them playing wheelchair basketball?). Fortunately, you don’t need knees when you never jump. Kurt was the featured player in the Knicks offense early on, more because LA didn’t bother to cover him than by Knick plans. He mostly missed, but Like K-Mart, he did his fair share of fouling, keeping the game ugly and putting the Clippers’ terrible free throwers on the line.
Iman Shumpert, SF 17 MIN | 2-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 5 PTS | -6After an uneventful first half, Shumpert played only seven minutes in the second. What I noticed most was the difference between he and Matt Barnes on both ends of the floor. The two have similar roles as defense-oriented, low usage players, but Barnes’ help defense, length, and ability to finish off the bounce make him so much more valuable than this iteration of Shumpert. Yes, we’ve seen a bit of a renaissance in Shumpert’s last few games, and yes, Shumpert is still recovering from the knee injury, but I guess what I’m saying is why don’t we have a Matt Barnes? He’s playing for the minimum and much better than most of our damned bench.
Chris Copeland, SF 26 MIN | 5-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | -11Jeff Van Gundy captured Copeland perfectly. After Cope swished a three, Van Gundy described his jump shot as “effortless”, and then just as Van Gundy was about to turn the reigns back to Breen, Chris dawdled into the passing lane, leaving the Knicks playing 4 on 5. “His defense is effortless too,” Van Gundy added. Yup. Woodson gave Copeland copious minutes tonight, and at first it worked out pretty well, but Copeland’s weakness seems to be his inability to get a step on defenders. If he catches the ball in good scoring position, he tends to make something happen, but he’s too slow to beat guys off the dribble. What’s worse, he doesn’t realize that shortcoming, which tonight led to a number of Carmelo-esque ball stopping with far worse results. With regard to the other end of the floor, as much as the 3/4 from distance, I will remember Copeland stumbling indifferently into Billups TWICE, the second time fouling him on a three attempt. I will remember him watching his defended 20-footer clang off the rim as his man, Blake Griffin, jogged upcourt for a dunk. You should remember those too. Copeland is not a solution against any team with a brain.
Raymond Felton, PG 41 MIN | 7-15 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 9 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 16 PTS | -4Felton started off terribly (-20 early in the 3rd quarter), but, combined with Kidd, did a good job of keeping the Knicks just close enough that Jeff Van Gundy only had to pull out one of his time-killing, inane rule change ideas — that banked free throws should be treated the same as airballed free throws. Felton’s nine assists were almost all for high value shots — five threes and two layups. Now that I’ve said some nice things, on to the mean: I think Felton’s new nickname should be t-rex. If his arms weren’t so damn short, he would be so much better. Those two blocks that Deandre Jordan had on him? If Felton could have just gotten a little more extension, they would have been scores. Speaking of layups — all those strange-angled shots at the rim that Felton misses would be much easier if he had the extra torque and control that longer arms would provide.
Steve Novak, SF 16 MIN | 3-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | +9Novak had a holy game, representing the trinity in numerous ways: three threes, two of which were from about 33 feet away for nine points (3*3!). He should have played more, but then like Copeland, he’s best as a surprise attack type player. Defenses adjust quickly to his limited game and shut him down when he’s out there for too long.
Marcus Camby, C 22 MIN | 0-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 1 PTS | -16Camby played his most minutes of the season today. He successfully took and missed six shots. His offensive game is kind of like Jared Jeffries’ in slow motion — the same level of awkwardness, but rather than rushed and panicked tosses towards the rim, Camby seems to slowly contort his body and lean in strange directions before shooting. Pretty disappointing game for Camby on the defense as well, only four rebounds and no blocks.
Jason Kidd, PG 25 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 11 PTS | -9Kidd showed up big time for about two minutes to hit three consecutive threes to staunch the bleeding from the dunkathon Blake Griffin was putting on at the other end of hte floor. Definitely one of Kidd’s better games in the last three months.
Pablo Prigioni, PG 12 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -1Lots of fouls for Pablo too and a pretty good +/-. I can’t say I noticed much in terms of his actual play though that deserves mention other than just how awkward he looks whenever he takes a shot off the dribble. Another night when the second best PP in the Atlantic didn’t get into the game until the 4th.
J.R. Smith, SG 36 MIN | 4-20 FG | 8-9 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 17 PTS | -19At least J.R. flamed out in a game that the Knicks likely weren’t winning anyway. Of the four field goals Smith made, three were assisted and the other was a driving dunk. The sixteen misses were mostly difficult shots off the dribble or relatively open threes, but can you blame him? Who else was going to shoot with this roster? Anyway, he deserves credit for wrestling his way into the paint on numerous occasions, drawing nine free throws.
Tyson Chandler, C DNP STRAINED NECK MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS | Tyson, you have a strained neck, too? Shit.
Mike WoodsonCredit Mike 2.0 for the fouling strategy, sending Griffin and Jordan to the line nine times for a net total of zero points. That and the low turnovers are what kept this game from getting out of hand. Credit him as well for being flexible with his lineups later in the game. He finally gave Copeland some extended run, allowing him to play through a lot of stupidity on the defensive end. Perhaps recognizing how few effective isolation players LA has, he also went with his three guard lineup, which worked about as well as any other. Likely as a result, the Knicks were outrebounded four the fifth consecutive game, three times by double digits. More evidence that Stoudemire was making an impact on the boards. Nonetheless, I’d rather have a coach that experiments and fails than one who sticks to a strategy that is proven to fail.

Four Things We Saw

  1. Before tonight, our 2001-02 frontcourt of Camby and Kurt Thomas had only played together for six minutes this season. It made me happy to see them out there together tonight. If you squinted, you could even imagine Chris Copeland’s dreadlocks as Sprewell’s cornrows, Iman Shumpert’s flattop as Allan Houston’s, Raymond Felton as Charlie Ward after a visit to Super Panda Buffet. Heck, we even had a four point play from J.R. in honor of Larry Johnson.
  2. Lately, the Knicks’ games look like a microcosm for their season. They start off unsustainably hot and jump out to a nice lead only to fall back to Earth — just like they started the season hot only to revert to the .500 team we’ve known for 2+ seasons now. They were up eight early tonight and Thursday vs. Portland only to relinquish their leads before halftime.
  3. Yeah, the game was close at times, but I never really had the sense the Knicks were in the game. Instead, it felt more like the Clippers didn’t have the heart to euthanize the dying old dog that is the New York Knicks. Once the Clippers took the lead at 16-15, the Knicks never retook it, and each time they got close, the Clips seemed to push the lead back to double digits with ease. Still, in a game where I imagine most fans had given up hope of a win before tipoff, you have to respect this ragtag squad for not following suit. They kept the game respectable, forcing the Clippers to play their starters the whole night.
  4. If the Nets beat Atlanta at home tonight, the two New York teams will be tied for the lead in the Atlantic with Brooklyn having what is probably a slightly easier remaining schedule (NY has more home games but a harder and more compact schedule). Boston, Atlanta and Chicago are only 2.5 games back. That said, if I’m Woodson, my focus is getting healthy. The Knicks are probably not going to fall below the Bucks, and finishing eighth is the only truly disastrous regular season outcome. What would be disastrous is if the Knicks push for a higher seed only to enter the playoffs beat up and worn out, only to repeat the last two seasons’ first round flameouts. Hopefully, for once, Woodson is able to see the big picture.

25 comments on “Kn___s 80, Clippers 93

  1. dtrickey

    This western road trip is starting to become reminiscent of a National Lampoons Vacation movie.

    That said as frustrating as this stretch has been, the goal for this season was to be playoff ready. As much as I hate loosing, I would rather see the coaching staff be a bit conservative with this roster as far as injuries go (especially given how much cash we have sunk into the 3 key guys who are out). Does that mean taking a hit during the season? Yeah absolutely, however I personally would rather see this team ready to go for the post-season and make some noise. Plus given our form over the last few years, March has always been pretty average for us.

    Also, reading into recent rumours, does anyone actually think signing Delonte West should even be a thought the front office contemplate? Locker room poison and hasn’t been overly impressive in the D-league. Personally I would rather see them stick with Pablo and Kidd. Good personalities and in Kidd’s case savy veteran leadership.

  2. chrisk06811

    “If Felton could have just gotten a little more extension, they would have been scores.”

    I’m sure I could score more if I could get a little more extension.

  3. sean joh

    Mark Jackson Tweeted to Chandler Parsons after tonight’s game, and CP respond it…..wow!

    @ChandlerParsons:
    2013-03-18 02:36
    “@JacksonMark13: @ChandlerParsons Congrats on a great year. GREAT seeing U 2night!!!!! #Warriors” just be glad u don’t have to c us again.

  4. Brian Cronin

    It was stupid of Parsons to mock Jackson last month, but it is also pretty silly for Jackson to fire back after tonight’s win. Be the bigger man, Jax!

  5. sean joh

    Brian Cronin:
    It was stupid of Parsons to mock Jackson last month, but it is also pretty silly for Jackson to fire back after tonight’s win. Be the bigger man, Jax!

    Bogut tweeted: “c u next game” after the blow out three-pts ball record set night (MJ hacked the rest three mins of the game)
    and began from there.
    I don’t know MJ’s personality when he was in NY, but this is really childish for me as a successful coach though.

  6. ruruland

    The only way the Knicks disappoint this year (and yes, I’m including the 20-21 stretch here) is if Melo has a partially torn meniscus or more damage to the knee than first thought and really can’t do what he normally does.

    If he and this team are basically healthy they aren’t going to flame-out in the playoffs.

    The inconvenient truth in all of this is that the Knicks have blown out Miami twice and had a 16 point lead in the game they lost, during what could be the second greatest winning streak in NBA history. At no point, no point, did they appear overmatched by that team. even when the Heat made their run in the fourth quarter in New York, the Knicks were missing open shots.

    If that’s the ECF match-up, with Amar’e back in to what he was prior to injury (which will be close to the time it took him to get going after the first surgery), I kind of like my chances of a game 6 in NY to go back to Miami for NCAA style single elimination, anything can happen deal. Miami has no answers for a healthy Amar’e.

    Look around.

    Indiana has cooled considerably (not surprising at all). Rose is an absolute headcase (you imagine if Melo did something like Rose is doing right now?)

    Rondo-less Boston? Brooklyn?

    Look, if these teams were major threats, they would have moved well beyond the Knicks by now. Those teams are what they WILL BE in the playoffs, barring Rose changing his mind.

    No one will look back on this team and remember that it played in a weak conference.

    New York fans like to tell you how great they are. It’ll be interesting to see how many people on this board try to cover their tracks in about five, six weeks.

  7. jon abbey

    it takes either a special kind of fan or a paid employee to be optimistic after four straight losses by an average of 20 points.

    and if you really think Amar’e is going to come back and make a positive contribution to this team in the playoffs, I’ve got a bridge I’m selling.

  8. AvonBarksdale

    i don’t believe what ruru is saying will come to pass, but i believe in what he’s saying and i’m just a regular fan.

  9. ruruland

    jon abbey:
    it takes either a special kind of fan or a paid employee to be optimistic after four straight losses by an average of 20 points.

    and if you really think Amar’e is going to come back and make a positive contribution to this team in the playoffs, I’ve got a bridge I’m selling.

    I’m saying five things:

    1) The Knicks are an old team that realize that the regular season is more a pre-season to the post-season than the real pre-season is pre-season to the regular season.

    2)The Knicks have largely risen to the occasion against the best teams throughout the year.

    3)The Knicks are a very good team when healthy, and there is a chance the Knicks are healthy by the post-season.

    4) We still haven’t seen everyone on their team playing well at the same time. I understand that that’s pretty much normal, but that’s often how great playoff runs are made. The Knicks, with Chandler, Melo, Amar’e and JR Smith playing near their best, are as formidable as any team, even if that is an unlikelihood.

    5)The Knicks have suffered more injuries, un-even effort than most of the teams behind them, and yet those teams are STILL behind them.

    If the Knicks had to go through Denver, OKC, and the Clippers in the post-season, I’d be just as depressed as Abbey.

  10. Brian Cronin

    Bogut tweeted: “c u next game” after the blow out three-pts ball record set night (MJ hacked the rest three mins of the game)
    and began from there.
    I don’t know MJ’s personality when he was in NY, but this is really childish for me as a successful coach though.

    Parsons also tweeted after that game a diss of Jax, as well. So yeah, that was definitely childish of them, but I agree, coaches shouldn’t be wading into the mire with the players on Twitter like this.

  11. jon abbey

    just to be clear, I’m not depressed, my life is going incredibly well right now. I just have really low expectations for this team, specifically in the first round of the playoffs.

    1) I can agree with this a bit, it’s true that older players thrive somewhat on the spread out schedule in the playoffs.

    2) yes and no, the Bulls have kicked the crap out of them consistently and that Indiana game out of the break was embarrassing.

    3) I’m not really sure this is true, their guards are subpar unless Kidd and Shumpert suddenly magically turn a corner.

    4) and we’re not going to, let’s be honest.

    5) which means an extra home game if we hold onto a top 4 seed, which would mean a lot more if we weren’t a pretty bad home team (12-10 at home since mid-December).

    this is a team that just lost a home and home to Toronto last month, with a healthy Melo/Chandler/Amar’e. I think it’s great that people can still be optimistic, whether they’re CAA employees or not, but I’ll believe this team wins a playoff series against anyone when I see it, and not before.

  12. Brian Cronin

    The only way the Knicks disappoint this year (and yes, I’m including the 20-21 stretch here) is if Melo has a partially torn meniscus or more damage to the knee than first thought and really can’t do what he normally does.

    If he and this team are basically healthy they aren’t going to flame-out in the playoffs.

    The inconvenient truth in all of this is that the Knicks have blown out Miami twice and had a 16 point lead in the game they lost, during what could be the second greatest winning streak in NBA history. At no point, no point, did they appear overmatched by that team. even when the Heat made their run in the fourth quarter in New York, the Knicks were missing open shots.

    If that’s the ECF match-up, with Amar’e back in to what he was prior to injury (which will be close to the time it took him to get going after the first surgery), I kind of like my chances of a game 6 in NY to go back to Miami for NCAA style single elimination, anything can happen deal. Miami has no answers for a healthy Amar’e.

    Look around.

    Indiana has cooled considerably (not surprising at all). Rose is an absolute headcase (you imagine if Melo did something like Rose is doing right now?)

    Rondo-less Boston? Brooklyn?

    Look, if these teams were major threats, they would have moved well beyond the Knicks by now. Those teams are what they WILL BE in the playoffs, barring Rose changing his mind.

    No one will look back on this team and remember that it played in a weak conference.

    New York fans like to tell you how great they are. It’ll be interesting to see how many people on this board try to cover their tracks in about five, six weeks.

    I’m definitely down with the whole “the rest of the East is pretty weak, as well, so why can’t it be the Knicks who lose to the Heat?” theory. I think it could definitely happen so long as, as you note, Melo and Chandler are healthy. I do agree with Jon that it is unreasonable to expect anything from STAT at this point (if it happens, great, but you can’t reasonably expect it to happen) but this team with a healthy Melo and Chandler can definitely hang with any other team in the East. They could also lose to any of these other teams, but they could win. Melo hasn’t been healthy in weeks and Chandler just missed the last two games. Of course they are not going to look good right now. Things are not as bleak as they seem when your top two players are hurt. If Melo and Chandler are healthy, the Knicks can compete with anyone.

    A couple of points, though, where I think you’re being overly generous to the Knicks.

    1.

    No one will look back on this team and remember that it played in a weak conference.

    Of course they will. Of course they will. We all remember how weak the East was ten years ago, we’ll remember how weak the East was ten years from now.

    2.

    The inconvenient truth in all of this is that the Knicks have blown out Miami twice and had a 16 point lead in the game they lost, during what could be the second greatest winning streak in NBA history. At no point, no point, did they appear overmatched by that team. even when the Heat made their run in the fourth quarter in New York, the Knicks were missing open shots.

    Then isn’t the truth just as inconvenient that the Knicks are 1-5 against the Bulls and Pacers?

  13. knicknyk

    Serious question. Harden vs Melo who would you pick as the better player, to build around etc.

  14. max fisher-cohen Post author

    @ruru

    Look, you gather all the evidence in favor of a certain conclusion and pile it up on the table in front of you, it’s going to look impressive. I could make a case that McDonalds is good for you if I just looked at the factors that favor that conclusion (I’m sure McD’s pays many people to do just that). The same goes for the Knicks. You do a great job of researching reasons why the Knicks are better than they seem. Seriously, your posts are often very interesting and have sometimes influenced the way I think of the team. But balanced… no.

    You want to compare them to Dallas, but 1st, they’re not as good as that Dallas team by a long shot. Those Mavs, while they lost a lot of games badly without Dirk, were also utterly dominant for large blocks of the season. The Knicks started 18-5? Those Mavs started 30-5. Dirk got hurt, and they lost a number of games by double digits, and when Dirk got 100% healthy, they went on another ridiculous run, winning 18 of 19 games in a far better conference than New York’s. Nowitzki was a +16.3 PPG that season. The argument that Dallas would be better in the playoffs when DIrk would play more minutes was pretty easy to make. Not only are the Knicks’ stars’ +/-s less impressive, but they’re all already playing heavy minutes. Dirk only played 34 MPG in 2010/11.

    As far as going to the ECF goes, it’s certainly possible. But beat the Heat… Without the Heat suffering injuries, I’d put the odds of that at maybe 1/100. Unlike New York, they have actually proven they can win in the playoffs. Our recent near victory? Orlando and Philly were MIA’s next 2 opponents. Both had 2nd half leads vs. Miami and lost by a small margin. Are they going to beat the Heat in a 7 game series as well? If you’re going to dismiss a team’s performance, it should be the Knicks, who are three months removed from playing anything like they did in those two early season victories.

  15. knicknyk

    Brian Cronin:
    Harden’s years younger, so it’s not exactly a fair comp.

    Based on current talent alone. So like disregard Hardens upside who would you say is the most talented player. Don’t judge based on who you will build around just on pure talent.

  16. ruruland

    “But balanced… no.”

    Balanced relative to the rest of the board, that’s how you should think of it.

    It’s really easy to throw up the white flag and be negative right now.

  17. Robtachi

    I was able to trade Amar’e to the Rockets for Thomas Robinson in NBA 2K13 so frankly I dunno what the hell Grunwald’s problem is.

  18. sean joh

    Robtachi:
    I was able to trade Amar’e to the Rockets for Thomas Robinson in NBA 2K13 so frankly I dunno what the hell Grunwald’s problem is.

    you should ask “what the hell Morey’s problem is” if he does this~

  19. Frank

    I don’t even know why anyone is trying to predict what’s going to happen going forward with our vision being somewhat clouded by injury. Healthy, I think this team can compete with anyone, including MIA, OKC, SA, and the Clips. We just don’t know if we’re going to be healthy in time for the playoffs.

    In terms of this losing streak? Obviously it matters in the standings, but is it any surprise at all that a team missing it’s TOP 4 frontcourt players can’t score and can’t win? Imagine Miami without Lebron, Bosh, Battier, and Haslem. Imagine Indiana without Hibbert, West, George, and Granger. SA without Duncan, Splitter, Blair, and Jackson. Clips without Griffin, Jordan, Butler, and Odom. To be honest, I’m almost impressed that we kept it that close with the Clippers yesterday.

    @16 MWFC – I don’t think these Knicks are as good as Dallas was, but I don’t think they’re that much worse either. Other than Dirk, that team had amazingly good luck and health – and even Dirk played 73 games. Our team is obviously old, but our most important guys are not – and the most painful injuries have happened to guys in their prime – Felton, Melo, Chandler (who has not missed much time) and Amare. And remember, Amare’s current injury is to his good knee. For the most part this is just bad luck.

  20. max fisher-cohen Post author

    @ruru

    I’d say more like balanced relative to what my perspective is of what’s reasonable, so yeah, who’s to judge what’s balanced? I just often find that when I research your posts, you often leave out the details that would reflect unfavorably on the Knicks. The Dallas analogy is just one example. That’s why I perceive you to be unbalanced. But you’re right — who’s to judge?

    As far as flags go, I’ve been pretty consistent this whole year in my view of the Knicks as a decent team in a bad conference with 47-52 wins as a likely outcome. I’d love for the evidence to convince me otherwise.

    I approached the Melo trade with a relatively open mind, believing that if certain things broke right for New York (find a good PnR point, pick up a stretch four who could shoot and was a good help defender, have Melo do more spotting ups and slashing and less isolation), they could be very very good for as long as STAT’s body held up, and that if not, management would be responsive to chemistry issues rather than allowing Stoudemire to become the albatross that he is. When that didn’t happen, my view of this team changed. I began to see them as trapped distinctly in the 2nd tier of wannabe teams. Just as my opinion changed then, though, it could change again.

    @Frank, We haven’t really been great even when healthy though. See: the months of January and February, when NY was 14-11 against a really easy schedule. The only time this team has been very good was early on, when the team was shooting 3s way better than could be expected. And I still believe that a core of Melo, JR at a his discount rate and Chandler is a really good place to start for a team looking to emulate Dallas as a long shot for a title. The problem is the rest of the roster is either just not very good or is very overpaid. 2010 Kidd and Marion are better by leaps and bounds than any of the complementary players New York has.

  21. Frank

    max fisher-cohen: @Frank, We haven’t really been great even when healthy though. See: the months of January and February, when NY was 14-11 against a really easy schedule.

    To be fair, Felton was out for all of January. Rasheed and Camby were basically non-entities for all of February. But you’re right – we did not play very well in February even when most of the bodies were healthy.

    Grunwald is going to have to do some really impactful stuff this offseason. I actually don’t mind that much if we fall in the standings — it’d obviously be nice to win the division and get a top 4 seed, but at the very least, a fall in the standings will equal a better draft pick – which may be the most important draft pick this team has had in a few years. The difference between a 6 seed and a 3 seed is really just one game at home — and if that one home game really is that important in the first round, then this team was never meant to do anything significant anyway.

  22. yellowboy90

    What can Grunny do? There are not that many cheaps. I think he has to take chances on Young talented FAs or trading for undervalued young talent. He also needs to hit on a PG in the 1st round. IF you look around the league most of the starting pgs are mid to ;ate round picks.

    In a perfect world Novak could get you something. IDK what though. I would like to get Freddette and Patterson from the Kings but I don’t know how. Hopefully Freddette could work himself into a quality role player e.g., Redick, but they are different athletes. However I still think the Knicks need a wing player that moves off of screens. I thought Smith could be that person and Melo would do more of that but. He can’t be the main post up, run off screens, and PnR ball handler option all the time. Having a healthy Amar’e to start the season was key to having players settle into there roles but oh well.

    Back to going forward. Donte Green, Martel Webster, Young Big, draft a pg, and trade Novak is where I would start.

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