Knick Fans Should Be Thankful This Christmas

Hey Knick fans, what’s there to be unhappy about? (And for those needing a little extra Christmas cheer, I highly recommend Twas The Night Before Knicksmas.) Wait before you answer this question, I want to put things into perspective.

First, the Knicks will have cap space this offseason. And not just a few million through the mid level exception to grab a Jerome James or Jared Jeffries. But rather enough room to get the best player in the NBA. And perhaps with a little luck there will be space for a second star as well. Considering the overspending of the last decade, this alone should have New Yorkers dancing in the aisles.

Second, the roster has some good young talent. David Lee has blossomed from a late round pick to become one of the better power forwards in the league. Maybe he’s not an All Star talent, but he’s in the discussion. It’s easy to imagine Lee on a championship team as a key element. Additionally New York has Danilo Gallinari, an intriguing 21 year old. Gallo showed he’s deadly from three his first year, and in his second he is wowing fans with multidimensional play. Personally if I’m the Knicks GM, he might be my only untouchable player on the roster.

Rookies Toney Douglas and Jordan Hill are both still raw. From the minutes I’ve seen of Douglas, the guy can defend. He’s lightning quick on the defensive side of the ball, and if he can put together his game on the offensive side, he’ll be a solid pro. Jordan Hill is a #8 pick that has been buried on the bench, but his potential is unknown. Certainly there’s a GM out there that fansied him last summer and would be willing to part with something of value for his services. Finally, of course there is Nate Robinson, who is talented and may find himself out of D’Antoni’s doghouse yet. And if he doesn’t then he might fetch the Knicks another young player, a draft pick, or some cap space.

As for D’Antoni, he’s the best coach the Knicks have had in about a decade. Complain all you want about his short rotation, favoritism, or system, but isn’t that par for the course of a good coach? Think of the last 2 good Knick coaches. Jeff Van Gundy treated Marcus Camby like a red-headed step child for a year. It took Ewing’s injury and subsequently Camby leading the team to the Finals for Van Gundy to realize the talent he had. And Pat Riley forgot he had Rolando Blackman in the playoffs and instead played Greg Anthony (with a TS% of .487 that year) 17 minutes per game. Blackman had almost as many playoff minutes (34) as Corey Gaines (28) that year.

No matter what you think about D’Antoni, it’s clear that he’s a step up from Don Chaney, Herb Williams, Isiah Thomas or Lenny Wilkens. (I won’t even mention that other guy, considering the joyous season we’re in). D’Antoni turned Phoenix into one of the best teams in the league, and was one bloody nose (and a few suspensions) away from a title. There’s no chance any of those other guys would have been able to accomplish with the Suns. And if you think that D’Antoni gets too much credit for Phoenix’s success, think about Phil Jackson for a second. How many championships did Jackson win in the 2 years Jordan fielded fly balls? Even having Kobe and Gasol and Odom wasn’t enough talent 2 years ago. Given the players, Jackson is the type of coach that’s good enough to win a title. And the same is true of D’Antoni.

Finally Knick fans should thankful of the front office. Oh sure we can argue about every little move, and debate lots of the small stuff. But to put things in perspective, we owe a draft pick because of what Isiah Thomas did in 2004. In the preceding years, Knick fans would be cowering in fear of a news announcement involving their team because it likely meant that they traded away a draft pick or gave another team the cap space to sign the player of their dreams. Those days are gone. In fact if the team announced a trade, I think most fans would imagine it would involve acquiring a draft pick (like when we got Toney Dougals) or freeing up some extra cap space (like when we sent Jamal Crawford or Zach Randolph packing).

When I think about my childhood, opening Christmas presents wasn’t about what I didn’t get. I rarely got the exact toy I wanted, and some Christmases were leaner than others, but more often than not I got lots of good things that I enjoyed. And the same should be true of Knick fans. In the spirit of Christmas, for one day we should be thankful for the things we have and not fret the things we don’t. That, and let’s beat the tar out of the Miami Heat!


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Mike Kurylo

Mike Kurylo is the founder and editor of His book on the 2012 Knicks, "We’ll Always Have Linsanity," is on sale now. Follow him on twitter (@KnickerBlogger).

188 thoughts to “Knick Fans Should Be Thankful This Christmas”

  1. Very sweet and very true. And you didn’t even mention the fact that the Knicks are playing their best ball in years. Even that Grinch, Hollinger, seems to have some faith in us. We’re not the laughingstock of the league anymore, people!

    (not to ruin the good cheer and all with some brass tacks, but i’m curious to know if others agree with Bill Simmons and believe the Knicks should trade Gallo if it will free them of Curry’s contract, and Hill, if it will rid them of Jeffries contract? I agree that those pairings make sense, but I wonder if Knicks fans are willing to part with Gallo, for example, in return for an extra $12mil in cap space next year.)

  2. Rooster should be the only untouchable on the roster. I think with his emergence this season, he should be a major draw for FA’s..well that and cap space and the Garden

  3. guys…not to be the curmudgeon here, but if trading gallo means freeing up the cap space to get TWO superstars…how can you not make that deal? even if it’s pure speculation and wishful thinking, how could you pass on a chance of LeBron + Bosh over LeBron and Gallo? Even if LeBron is out of the equation, Wade and Bosh? Joe Johnson and Bosh? The likelihood of a stud FA coming to NY increases dramatically if we have the cap space to team him up (potentially) with another superstar.
    And that’s before we even start talking about a guy with a bad back, one of the most worrisome injuries for a youngster to have. In my opinion, nobody is untradeable in the pursuit of the all-mighty cap space.

  4. Well said KB,

    thanks to all the readers at You guys are what makes this fan community click. It’s an honor to be on the team.

    Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, and a Kwaazzzyyy Kwanzah. However you get down may it be merry.


    p.s. If you partake of a little egg nog or other alcoholic beverage, please stay out from behind the wheel.

  5. @jako..I think that the only way DW should consider movin Rooster is if it means we move Curry AND get a good pick/young player. Say we were able to sign LBJ, Gallo would be way to valuable as a floor spacing 4 to LBJ or even Wade than any FA bigs would be. Otherwise I say he’s our best carrot, outside of playin in NY and the possibility of winning a ring with another star-which is a huge if. However, I believe that DW can move Curry if he gets some PT at least in the D League for a couple weeks, and if we throw in the emerging Chandler or the young Hill. So, if DW doesn’t over play his cards, we will be in even better shape.

  6. now that I think about it, DW’s FA plan will only work if we ge a true superstar. And the way I see it, there’s only 2 on the market. The rest are just all star caliber players. If we were to land say Bosh or Amare and Joe Johnson-sure we’d be improved, but I don’t think those guys have the mental make up of a “true superstar”. I honestly think that their production will drop off a little when the get to NY just like other so called superstars in the past who didn’t exactly lead us to the finals. Wade and LBJ are 2 different animals..I think those guys are stars who can will a team to victory no matter where they play. Now-if we land Wade as opposed to LBJ, then I say without question-go after Bosh. That combo will work great because Bosh won’t hafta be THE MAN in NY. Adding to that point, wouldn’t Bosh, Rooster and Wade be just as awesome a core as LBJ & Rooster and say..David Lee? If ur reading into what i’m saying, u see that I think landing Wade and LBJ is near impossible-plus they’re both slashers who will problee play well together, but they are far more dangerous as individual players with a rebounder and shooters around them.

  7. Mike read Mike.
    Bender has looked a bit rough this morning.
    Nice lay by harrington.
    But even when things aree rough i trust our d

  8. Jeffries leads the league in charges taken? He gets some serious love from the ESPN announcers. People are taking notice of his performance.

  9. LAWL the Knicks are featured twice in a “Where Defense Happens” commercial as a good defensive team.

  10. I’m off to meet a few friends for our annual “China Buffet on christmas meeting before we do other things for the day” enjoy the rest of this holiday season, and today’s game of course-and be safe no matter what u do. Live well, laugh and love hard-nothing’s is ever guaranteed..except for a knick win today! Be e z…

  11. ESPN announcers no-sell a cutaway to Nate on the bench.

    Q bricks a layup attempt off the front of the rim.

  12. My vitriol is somewhat mitigated by the fact he 1) bricked a layup off the front of the rim and 2) airballed a 3 attempt to end the half, BUT STILL you guys.

  13. its good sign that we didn’t shoot particularly well, but are still only down by 4. these guys play off wade well. without him, though, they would be bad.

  14. I find it interesting that d’antoni thinks the under 100 streak is more a result of knicks’ pace

  15. Good foul by jeffries. How often in the past would a knick use a soft foul and permit the continue

    Nice dunk, lee!

  16. If you were counting on the Knicks for anything for Christmas I don’t know what to tell you.

  17. Can Mike PRETTY PLEASE pull Harrington – as a Christmas present to all Knicks fans. His shot just isn’t falling today. Too much nog last night I think.

  18. Essentially this is a test against a slightly above average team — and they’ve exposed the Knicks and kept us on the perimeter. For the first time, I’m thinking it’d be nice to put in Nate for some instant offense. A show of good will from D’Antoni to the little man. Give him 5 minutes of burn and see how he responds.

  19. Ok – can we get a foul call? Where was the loose ball foul on the Harrington ‘bound?

    And Gallo’s shoes…classy. Elf classy

  20. Really, much as Mike D said in the interview not that long ago, the Knicks aren’t playing badly. They just can’t buy a bucket.

    Of course, Wade getting touch foul calls like it’s the 06 Finals doesn’t help with the frustration.

    Where has Jeffries been this second half? Chandler and Fraggle and Hughes have really all been total non-factors.

  21. Of course Harrington finally makes a shot and he gets T’ed up. He did get drilled in the head on the shot though.

  22. Jeffries i think has a few fouls. The non call on harrington lucky lay in was ridiculous, but the T was just dumb. The dude is his own worst enemy

  23. Jeffries has 4 or 5 fouls as usual. Fraggle straight sucks today – too much nog. Hughes shot is looking like Hughes shot — not good.

  24. Fuckin harrington head down chucker. He kills the knicks.
    They made a run with gallo.
    Great hands lee!

  25. Gallo still gets a little tentative down the stretch. Sometimes it seems like he has no idea what to do without the ball.

    But a little chance at redemption for You Can Call Me Fraggle at the line.

  26. Another killer non-call. O’Neal loose-ball foul on the rebound leads to the friendly rim.

    That’s just awful

  27. Per usual – the Knicks — ripping defeat from the jaws of victory. Chandler is NOT a 3 point shooter. He should be pulled everything he shoots one. It’s all about the pump fake, to dribble drive or pull up J. It’s like watching a bad re-run.

  28. I wouldn’t say they “ripped defeat from the jaws of victory” in this one. They couldn’t buy a bucket most of the game, made a late run, and fell short.

  29. They could have easily won this game. But instead of driving/cutting to the basket, they chucked 3’s all game. Harrington was god awful. You give some of his minutes to Darko/Hill today and put them on Jermaine O’ Neal and I think we grab more bounds — play better interior. Plus — our seldom used bigs don’t dominate/hog the ball nearly as much as Fraggle.

  30. My last post of the day: Harrington: 32 minutes, FG- 5-20, 0-7 from 3-pt. That’s the story of this game.

  31. Lee was a force in the game, but too often the ball moved away from him.
    Gallo also needed more touches

  32. D’Antoni needs to be more adaptable with the shortened rotation when it’s clear early on that someone just doesn’t have it, like Hughes today. Toney Douglas being buried is more inexplicable to me than Nate.

    I thought the shot selection was mostly OK, they just didn’t drop. 28 3s, 11 of them from Gallo, isn’t too many. maybe a few less from Harrington would have been welcome, but no one else seemed to want to shoot.

  33. Florida is our kriptonate….I think we could won easier against Cleveland or Lakers not to talk about Boston, Atlanta,Portland….I think it’s a curse we have yet to brake…and we will in 2010(before and after the summer)!

  34. I took my parents to the game today. My dad doesn’t know much about basketball (last night he asked me if Shaq was on the heat) but at the end of the game, he even said: “it seems like they don’t give gallinari the ball enough”

    As an aside, he also said that the knicks need to go back to school to learn how to shoot the ball

  35. Jon,

    I don’t know if it was that no one else wanted to shoot, or they didn’t have a chance because Harrington shot it every time he touched it. The offense stopped once he touched the ball. He cost the Knicks the game (28% TS%). If you’re cold you shouldn’t necessarily pass up good shots, but it’s also not the time to try to take over the game on the offensive end.

    I hate to go back to the Nate thing, but Harrington’s play takes the Nate plays outside the offense argument for benching him off the table. The technical foul–Ts in key moments have haunted him since getting to NY–hurts the immaturity argument against Nate. If Harrington is not benched after that game–not saying he should be–then it’s pretty hard to rationalize the Nate benching as anything but personal. And I am not one of the people who was calling it personal earlier.

  36. Harrington was terrible. The knicks have benefitted lately when he wasn’t shooting as much. It was so obvious to ne that lee and gallo need more touches. They are by far the best two players on the team

  37. So, who had the better game, Gallo or Beasley?

    Gallo! Scored, rebounded, passed the ball and was also responsible for several missed shots by the Heat because of his size. Beasley caused some havoc on the offensive end but did little of anything else. I think Gallo’s TS% was higher. Someone confirm?

  38. This wasn’t that great of a game to attend. Really sloppy. Duhon is terrible at all facets of the game, Wade made some really tough shots down the stretch and there were a couple of “We want Nate” chants.

    Also I forgot how fiercely people will fight for cheap t-shirts that get slingshot into the crowd.

  39. The big downside to the game was that Harrington played terribly in a showcase game every General Manager was watching. His putrid shooting will stick in the mind of every GM who fields a call from Walsh.

    Harrington should be getting the most touches, not Lee or Gallo. Let’s keep the big picture in mind – it would be nice if Donnie W got a future asset for him, and the only way to do that is to showcase him and have him statistically contribute to a win. Unfortunately, Big Eddie is so terrible in D’Antoni’s system that it doesn’t even make sense to pretend we could get something for him.

  40. Well at least it was a winnable game against the #5 team in the East. That’s all you can really ask for with this group. Hey! We have the exact same record as this time last year! And we moved Z-bo and Crawford, right? So there’s hope.
    And even though he’s been much better lately, I still think this team would be better without Harrington. Give his minutes to Gallo, Lee and Hill. Hell, who knows what Hill will do, but at least he won’t kill ball movement every time down the court. Unfortunately, I think we’ll have to trade Hill to move Jeffries or Curry. I would still do it though.
    We ARE getting Lebron, and we might as well get Bosh while we’re at it. Douglas, Chandler, Lebron, Gallo, Lee, Bosh, Bender, and 3rd guard X, and there’s your rotation. Landry, Curry, and a few more to fill out the bench – maybe Von Wafer etc.

  41. I don’t buy the “showcasing” a player before you trade him theory many seem to go by. Harrington is a known commodity. You “showcase,” when you have a young unproven player who doesn’t fit into your future plans or when a player is coming off an injury. There’s plenty of tape on Harrington, one game whether good or bad is not going to change people’s opinion of him…

  42. The Cavs will be a good regular season team. They will probably be pretty torid the rest of the way. Heck they might just get through the East, but I just don’t think they have the guns to beat the Lakers barring a major trade…

  43. Also while I wouldn’t shed a tear for Harrington if he was traded tommorow, let’s not get quick selective memories either. Up until the recent rough stretch he is in, pretty much since he got that food poisoning bug that seem to throw him off his rhythm, Harrington was playing out of his mind. He was playing perhaps the best basketball of his career, and looking like a genunine 6th man of the year candidate.

  44. KnickFan4Life,

    Agree that Harrington does not need to be showcased. In fact, a lot of the teams who might want him–should the Knicks look to move him–probably aren’t looking for him as a 1A option. They’re looking for a dangerous scorer and solid all-around veteran who can fit into their offense. In this sense having Harrington take a million shots per game might hurt his trade value since it fuels his reputation as a chucker.

    Harrington has played well since coming to the Knicks. Two big explanations of the Nate benching that people are buying are that he will not play within an offensive system and he is immature. If those are in fact reasons why Nate was benched, then it should follow that Harrington is a candidate to be benched: he was hijacking the offense and made a hugely immature move which establishes a pattern of immature technical fouls in key 4th Q moments. I know Harrington will not be benched, I just see some hypocrisy there.

  45. Sure Harrington is a veteran with an established track record, but it’s only human to go by what you see rather than the cold objectivity of the stat sheet. Every GM (and quite a few beat writers who help establish local opinion on prospective trades) saw Harrington’s Christmas Day chucking and ducking. While it may have only minimal impact, I cannot believe that there wasn’t at least a little bit of a showcasing aspect. As such, it was unhelpful.

    There were times during the game that screamed for Nate. I love D’Antoni and think Nate’s a bit of a knucklehead, but with the offense struggling, D’Antoni should have reached out for Nate and tried him out for a bit. While he has little trade value right now, Nate has a unique helter-skelter skill set that could have been properly showcased yesterday. Good Nate is a shot of adrenaline that quite a few teams could use for instant offense.

  46. Ted to be fair I do feel Harrington has played a little smarter this year, and you can argue that one of his notable hanging on the rim T’s last year shouldn’t have even been called. The T yesterday was a bit touchy-feely, a lot of refs would have let that pass. But I can see an argument where Harrington needs to be a little more careful considering refs seem to look to technical him.

    He is along with Nate probably the only Knicks who can create their own shots consistently, I do feel however that he does a slightly better job of doing it within the flow of a game, and the main thing with him is he hustles back on D something Nate failed to do repeatedly. In a lot of ways Harrington has made Nate more expendable since he has sort of taken over Nate’s role of instant open the can offense off the bench. I don’t think the offense Knicks currently play could handle too many players like Nate or Harrington because it would interrupt the motion and ball movement. Yesterday was definitely not one of his better games though…

  47. Gapeseed,

    I don’t think Christmas Day games are somehow more visible to NBA GM’s, this is what they do for a living afterall every day. It’s not like oh now I have some time off, let me see how the rest of the league is doing, like it is for the rest of us…

  48. I think Spoelstra dodged a bullet yesterday. His strategy of packing it in and not allowing the pick and roll could have easily burned him if Gallo was hitting anywhere close to his normal % from 3 and Harrington wasn’t ice cold. It’s a shame, because our defense was once again solid and that was a very winnable game.

    I agree with KF4L that there’s no showcase of Harrington, every GM in the league knows exactly what kind of player he is by now.

  49. There were lots of positives to take from this game.

    1) the refs definitely gave the Heat an advantage. There were bs calls in favor of Wade, there were non-calls on Wade (hitting Lee hard in the face on a jumper), there was a classic foul on Harrington for being knocked to the ground under Wade and then getting a tech for being annoyed by it. In a relatively close game, the refs helped Miami win.

    2) Gallo is a competitor. Big stage, and he played hard and well. He didn’t SHOOT well, but he played well. He’s far beyond Beasley – no doubt in my mind who I’d want on my team. The kid is going to be GREAT. You can just see it on both ends of the court – he almost blocked Wade on that jam in the 4th quarter, coming off his man in the corner; he knew what was coming and just missed it. That’s real aptitude on D, even if it’s still a little more potential than has been realized.

    3) DLee is a big time player already. He’s going to command a max or near-max deal at the end of this year, and I’d take him over Bosh in a second. If we hadn’t gone away from him inside, we could have kept it closer while our shots weren’t falling.

    4) As DLee said after the game, if we had hit some shots today, we would have won by 25. Problem being that they didn’t – but Harrington isn’t going to stink forever. He was playing great before the illness a few games ago and hasn’t seemed to get it back. He plays well, or we hit a few more shots, and we crush an inferior team…who just happen to have a superstar.

    5) Lastly, one superstar makes all the difference. See point #1 – there was the victory right there. But even more, Wade was hitting crazy shots and took over the game toward the end – the way superstars are supposed to. While I would love to have 2 stars, I’d be thrilled with our current team plus Wade or LeBron. If Douglas is anything at all at point (taking over for Duhon), if we find a solid defensive center to play backup minutes to help when Lee is overmatched, this team goes far.

  50. KnickFan4Life –

    I agree with you to a point that these GMs are (or at least should be) professionals, but there isn’t enough time during the day to watch your team as well as all the other teams, unless it is nationally televised on a day like Christmas. And that’s for a good GM – how many games do you think guys like McHale, Jordan and Isiah actually watched?

    Regarding Gallinari – I think the Knicks would be crazy to even think about trading him. His ceiling is probably Dirk, and Dirk’s a Hall of Famer. But the wild card is his back – the degree to which the Knicks are willing to part with him would probably reflect their confidence that his back will hold out. Nothing engenders loyalty like charismatic homegrown talent, and the Knicks have Gallo and Lee as two homegrown stars. If we can keep Lee and add LeBron, we would have a 60 win team and perennial championship contender. With Gallo and Lee, would we really need to add a second Max player?

    Without question, it is an exciting time to be a fan!

  51. Gapeseed: Doesn’t a GM have scouts that watch other teams’ games and report to him? If he only trusts what he personally sees, then his team is going to have an awfully thin database of scouting information to use for player evaluations. If a GM has no scouting report on Harrington until he suddenly has the opportunity to watch him play a Christmas Day game, he should be fired. Because he would be an incompetent.

    I see where you’re getting at, but I will have to agree with the other dudes who said that Harrington, as a veteran, doesn’t require a statement game to make his reputation known to the front offices of other teams.

    Also, even if Al had played out of his mind on Christmas and scored 50 points with 11 rebounds and 6 assists, the effect on his reputation would be marginal. One game is too small of a sample size and other GMs know his performance will regress to his career mean.

  52. Hi Doug –

    Perhaps it is not a point worth arguing, and I can see your point about scouts. But it wasn’t that long ago when Walsh called his scouts on the carpet for picking Hill over Jennings, so the process isn’t seamless.

    And as Knicks fans, we are painfully aware that there are bad general managers in the league who are apt to make lousy trades. Perhaps the GMs are not as poor as IT, but all it takes is one guy mesmerized by a Harrington breakout performance to make a deal.

    So in that tiny, limited way – Harrington’s off night could have been bad for us.

    Hope everyone is enjoying their Christmas weekend!

  53. Fraggle will rebound — er — start picking it up soon, but his game vs. Miami cost us that game. When I look at this year it’s about 3 things: 1) winning and keeping Utah from getting a top 10 pick. 2) developing our young core of TD, Hill, Gallo, Ill Will. 3) Trading away trash so we have max flexibility in 2010 (i.e. trading Jeffries/Curry) with Nate as a way to sweeten those deals a bit.

    So when we lose the game, our rooks get DNP’s and our trade bait plays like crap or not at all – it’s frustrating to say the least. Hopefully we’ll be able to get back on track vs. the Spurs. I’ll be eager to see how Dejuan Blair does. I like D’Antoni but think he’s done a lousy job getting the rookies developed. A lot of good team use their frosh players. NY should try it out too.

  54. hotdamn says:
    December 26, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    Fraggle will rebound — er — start picking it up soon, but his game vs. Miami cost us that game. When I look at this year it’s about 3 things: 1) winning and keeping Utah from getting a top 10 pick. 2) developing our young core of TD, Hill, Gallo, Ill Will. 3) Trading away trash so we have max flexibility in 2010 (i.e. trading Jeffries/Curry) with Nate as a way to sweeten those deals a bit.

    So when we lose the game, our rooks get DNP’s and our trade bait plays like crap or not at all – it’s frustrating to say the least. Hopefully we’ll be able to get back on track vs. the Spurs. I’ll be eager to see how Dejuan Blair does. I like D’Antoni but think he’s done a lousy job getting the rookies developed. A lot of good team use their frosh players. NY should try it out too.


    Dantoni came here with something of rep for not playing rooks too much. I scratch my head sometimes at his inability to play Douglas more though. I fear he is going to make the same mistake with Duhon where he was pretty much burnt out the second half of the season. TD has looked very mature to me in limited time. He seems to have a very good grasp on the defensive end and is a much better shooter than originally thought. If Dantoni is concerend about his PG abilities, I don’t see why he can’t play him with Duhon depending on the matchup or with Hughes who you can get by with handling the ball.

  55. I promise you NBA GMs are not watching the nationally televised game on Christmas morning to get a look at Al Harrington for the first time.

  56. Gapeseed,

    I’m not sure Walshtoni is in much of a rush to trade Harrington as long as they are in contention for the playoffs.


    Harrington played well last season, too.

    “He is along with Nate probably the only Knicks who can create their own shots consistently”
    Create and make. Lee is doing a pretty good job now, also.

    “The T yesterday was a bit touchy-feely, a lot of refs would have let that pass. But I can see an argument where Harrington needs to be a little more careful considering refs seem to look to technical him.”
    He reacted at the ref’s non-call by punching the air and saying something right to his face… they would have called that on anyone. Michael freaking Jordan (to quote Darko) would have been T’ed up on that one. That was an immature play at a crucial juncture of the game. If he were running down the court and punched the air it probably would have been let go, but he looked right at the ref who was standing a few feet away and acted out.

    “I do feel however that he does a slightly better job of doing it within the flow of a game, and the main thing with him is he hustles back on D something Nate failed to do repeatedly.”
    When he gets the ball and you know a shot is going up, it’s hard to say that comes in the flow. I think he was doing a much better job recently of playing within the offense, but after a miserable game he pulled a Jamal Crawford and tried to take over the game down the stretch as if he were Michael Jordan. He and Wilson Chandler were taking most of the shots down the stretch… exactly the game plan during the 1-9 days: let the most assertive scorers–Harrington and Chandler–shoot when they want. It was really painful to watch the end of that game because it looked like the old days.

    Nate mostly guards/ed the PG, he picks him up in the backcourt or around mid-court. He’s not supposed to get back into the paint or on the wing. When Breen criticized him on that “celebration” play before his huge 4th Q against the Magic he was literally waiting for the ball to be inbounded so that he could pick up his man… which he did about 3 seconds after Breen’s mouth closed.

    re: Douglas

    Shooting, along with defense, is what he brought to the table in college. There is good reason to be concerned about his PG ability, since his assist-rate is lower than David Lee’s. The Knicks are 11 pts/100 possessions worse with Douglas on the court, and his 2nd and 5th most common 5-man units include Duhon.

    I really don’t think it’s reasonable to say that Duhon wore down last season when he was playing under 40 mpg… every star would have to retire after a few years in the league if that were the case.

  57. I’m not calling Harrington to be benched, just saying that if he remains in the line-up it’s hard to argue Nate is benched for playing outside the offense or immature actions. So, the two reasons left are defense (which I also don’t think is particularly valid) and personal. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t bench a guy for personal reasons, but Walshtoni should just put it out there if that’s the reason.

    “I really don’t think it’s reasonable to say that Duhon wore down last season when he was playing under 40 mpg…”

    Wore down because of the minutes he was playing.

  58. Ted I guess we can agree to disagree on Nate issue. I feel like we haven’t been watching the same player last couple of years. I also have to disagree with you on the Harrington thing. Harrington is one of those players that has become something of a target with refs, a lot of players would have gotten a pass on that especially considering the point that it happened in during the game. But still Harrington should have known better considering refs seem to look for him.

  59. Ted re: Douglas, he hasn’t really been given a chance to play the PG exclusively or even play much at all, to use Ass/To stats at this juncture isn’t particularly fair. All I am saying is we need to see him a little more before making such an early judgement on whether he can play PG at this level.

    Re: Duhon, Duhon played almost exclusively as a backup most of his career pre-Knicks. I think a lot of players would have some trouble adjusting their first year after and would wear down at some point. To go from playing 15-20 to playing 30+ can be quite the adjustment. Duhon clearly had some troubles after the all star break and I feel pretty confident saying part of it was he hit a wall.

  60. Ted I see what you are trying to say with the Nate thing being personal, but I think that argument gets diminished when you consider Dantoni isn’t even playing Douglas at the moment. While some of it might definitely be personal, most of it is probably just Dantonis stubborness especially when it comes to his lineup preferences.

  61. Tough issue re Nate:

    On a micro level, Nate should be in the rotation. At the very least, he is instant energy off the bench on both ends of the floor. He’s fun to watch, and can light it up at any point. And if he plays, he can be shopped.

    But on the macro level, the Knicks have been at least .500 with him stapled to the bench – a marked improvement over their play with him. Now you can chalk that up to Gallo’s emergence or the resurrection of Hughes and Harrington or even the quirks of the NBA, but the Knicks are succeeding without him. D’Antoni was spoiled in Phoenix with his Hall of Fame point guard and overall winning, so he is vulnerable to seeing cause and effect in benching undisciplined Nate and experiencing a micro Renaissance. My guess is that we won’t see Nate again unless there is a string of injuries or the Knicks once again slip under the waves.

  62. KnickFan4Life,

    I don’t have a huge problem with Nate not playing at this point, just a bit of a problem… at this point I’m on board to say that the benching may have worked for the team, but it would be nice to see whether it worked for Nate’s game by actually putting him in a game (depending on what he’s shown off the court in practice/lockerroom/etc.). There has been a lot of speculation on why he’s not playing, and while watching the xmas game it stuck out to me that Harrington was dominating the ball and made a hugely immature play that cost the Knicks 1 pt plus momentum.
    As I said, I don’t think Douglas has a huge case for playing time right now.
    Stubbornness is what I’m considering “personal…” a personality issue.

    When has Harrington been targeted by refs (he’s towards the bottom of PF/36 among Knicks)? When have you ever seen a player yell at a ref right to his face and not get T’ed up?

    I’m not trying to make a final career judgement on Douglas and what he can or can’t become. To date, though, the Knicks are A LOT worse when he’s on the court and his playmaking skills have been non-existent. I don’t put that much stock in +/- unless a pattern emerges over time, but the Knicks coaches have said they use +/- stats. Assist rate is an estimate of teammate’s FGs that a player assisted on while on the floor. Ast-rate is something that often picks up after a player’s rookie year, but to date Douglas have shown zero ability to create for teammates. It’s not only because he hasn’t been put at PG–again Lee’s assist-rate is higher and he’s spent zero time at PG that I know of–although, I agree that it reflects his role at least a little. That’s not to say combo-guard, because just about every successful combo-guard in the NBA has an ast-rate about twice Douglas’ right now. I would speculate that D’Antoni has told him to go out there and look for his own shot. I assume this because in Summer League Douglas was looking almost exclusively for teammates, so it seems like he’s doing what he’s told. My point is just that he really doesn’t look like someone you can count on to run an NBA offense right now as the primary distributor. Long-term, it’s a concern about Douglas’ ability to play the 1.

    Duhon played 29 mpg over 74 games his sophomore season with the Bulls and was in the mid-20s there until falling out of favor his final season. He averaged 36.8 last season. I don’t see 8 mpg as that huge a jump, but if your theory is correct there should be a trend of guys who got more minutes–whether due to switching teams, a promotion, or injuries ahead of them–and hit a wall.
    His play was down later in the season, that much is obvious. “Hitting a wall” is not the only or even most likely explanation, though. There are a lot of explanations I have seen people offer that don’t involve hitting a wall because of minutes played: reversion to the mean after a ridiculously hot start, other teams making adjustments, his nightlife, and

  63. Apropos of nothing, I was reading the Daily News today and there was talk about the last decade in the NBA, and it was interesting to think back to the early days of the decade when the Eastern Conference was sooooo pathetic.

    Look at the Eastern Conference All Star team in 2001 (this team actually ended up winning the game, as the East just went to a lineup of Dikembe Mutombo and 4 guards and won, with Mutombo playing unbelievably well on defense and Allen Iverson and Stephon Marbury both having sick fourth quarters, with each guy making some insanely clutch threes to win the game):


    PG Allen Iverson
    SG Vince Carter
    SF Tracy McGrady
    PF Anthony Mason
    C Antonio Davis

    Yes, Anthony Mason and Antonio Davis started the game!!! (Grant Hill, Alonzo Mourning and Theo Ratliff all made the team but could not play due to injury)

    The bench

    C Dikembe Mutombo
    SG Ray Allen
    PG Stephon Marbury
    SF Glenn Robinson
    SF Latrell Sprewell
    SG Jerry Stackhouse
    SG Allan Houston

    How amazingly crappy is that All-Star Team?!!?

  64. Bender and Hughes are killing the Knicks off the bench lately. Might be time to change the rotation.

  65. This “place” that I am watching the game at has audio from the Pacers-Heat game playing at the same time at a louder volume. Awful.

  66. Jeffries gets the ball in the low post and misses the rim on the layup attempt. If you’re 6-10, why can’t you rise up and dunk the ball?

  67. Gallo completely burns George Hill for the drive from the perimeter but the layup doesn’t fall. blerghhhh

  68. Jeffries in the low post…and scores?

    Clyde says his fundamentals were completely wrong, lol.

  69. No one bothering to put up a game thread?

    After I missed the first, I didn’t want to jinx it. ;)

  70. Thank you Duhon for blowing the game on that possession, misses both FT’s, they keep the ball then misses a WIDE-OPEN 3.

  71. Lee and Duhon are playing out of their minds tonight, but the Spurs have too many weapons and too much experience down the stretch. With the 3’s not dropping, the Knicks aren’t pulling off the upset tonight.

  72. I can’t knock guys toooo much for missing shots – what are you going to do?

    But I can knock them for…

    1. Going away from Gallo through almost the entire fourth quarter. He missed the only shot he took (not counting the last second meaningless shot), but it doesn’t help when that’s his first look all fourth quarter (they did give him the ball again and he was fouled – although they didn’t call it).

    2. The insanity of not fouling, down five with under 24 seconds left. Did Duhon think that the NBA suddenly put in a 5-point field goal?

  73. Nates missing.

    Hughes and Harrington once again had games that, had it been Nate who was having said game, would be ripped to shreds by the media.

  74. Check the schedule. The next 11 games are very winnable. The Knicks should go 8 and 3 at least.

  75. Harrington was fine tonight, it waa Jeffries embarrassing offense along with getting nothing from Hughes and Bender that was the problem. It is time for Nate to start getting minutes because the offense has been struggling lately. If not Nate then at least TD because Bender deserves 0 minutes from now on.

  76. Lee really looked like an all star tonight. Duhon killed us. God, will the knicks ever have a real point guard? Who can we get? We need a seasoned player to start with Bron… But who’s available? Miller? Alston? And we really need to dump Jeffries. If we can do those 2 things I’ll be happy.

  77. wow..dantoni must not like that guy Berman from the ny post, he kind of shut him down in the post game interview..guess he’ll get benched/banned from post game press conferences from now

  78. what did Berman ask him?? since i dont live in NY and dont have MSG i dont get to see D’Antoni’s post-game press conference til later tonight when puts it up.

  79. wish i knew how to link sorry..but berman started out trying to ask about the sluggish offense, and dantoni got kind of touchy and wouldnt let him finish the question..then tried to laugh it off as usual..

  80. I didn’t see that, but Berman is as inept as any sports reporter in the country, god knows how he still has a job.

    meanwhile, if Gallinari is on the floor, he HAS to touch the ball on the offensive end. how hard is this to figure out? San Antonio went on two runs in the second half, at the start of the third and with around six minutes to go in the game, both times with Gallo in the game, both times he didn’t even touch the ball for 3-5 straight possessions. this is inexcusable.

  81. also, this is another game I hope Owen saw, as Lee decidedly outplayed Duncan head-to-head. Duncan is on the exerting-minimum-effort-before-June plan this year, but still very impressive.

  82. meanwhile, if Gallinari is on the floor, he HAS to touch the ball on the offensive end. how hard is this to figure out? San Antonio went on two runs in the second half, at the start of the third and with around six minutes to go in the game, both times with Gallo in the game, both times he didn’t even touch the ball for 3-5 straight possessions. this is inexcusable.

    Yeah, they should take the general hint that when the other team automatically throws two/three men at a guy, it’s usually a sign that you should go to the guy, not away from him.

  83. “also, this is another game I hope Owen saw, as Lee decidedly outplayed Duncan head-to-head. Duncan is on the exerting-minimum-effort-before-June plan this year, but still very impressive.”

    Didn’t see it, out of town, but I saw the line. 28 points on 13 shots, tough to beat, although the five turnovers are a bummer. Lee has had real problem with turnovers, especially of the non-ballhandling variety, like moving screens. But that’s an unbelievable effort. Very sorry I missed it. And great to see a +2 next to his name in this one….

    Jeffries yet again put up a + in a loss, changed man this year…

  84. Knicks were in it again and played another very solid defensive game. Lack of execution killed them late and some horrible non-calls by refs didn’t help. The way game was called you would think game was in SA.

    There was one key possesion that was very telling of this team at the moment. The ball went around the court pretty much every player got the ball, and several players did not take wide open shots, including Gallo, Harrington and Duhon. We just don’t have that player that will take over in that sport. Gallo has it in him but its not quite there yet.

    Again not really understanding Douglas not playing, also might be time to relax on the Bender experiment. Interesting to see if Dantoni will make a rotation change soon because I think Hughes has not been playing well and I know he was hurt but he wasn’t playing very well before that either. I believe he will make a change but not sure what he will do. Standing by…

  85. D’Antoni has to make a rotation change soon because there is no point in playing Bender anymore. Hughes and Jeffries need to have their minutes reduced so there are to me 10-15, if not 20, minutes that should be available for an 8th man in the rotation and if it wont be Nate is has to be TD because this teams needs another guard playing besides Duhon and Hughes.

  86. Jeffries was awful offensively as per usual. But he had 2 blocks and a steal plus 2 o boards.

  87. By the by, after two losses without a game thread, we’re damn sure going to have a game thread up on Tuesday night. ;)

  88. The Eastern Conference is starting to consolidate. Miami and Toronto are moving up the standings. Detroit and Milwaukee are coming back to earth. Looks like the Knicks are going to battle it out with the other middling teams for the 7th and 8th spots.

    These 2 losses were not that hard to take, given that both Miami and SA are better on paper. The poor shooting from 3 balances out the earlier hot stretch.

  89. Merry Christmas everyone, wish all $$$$$ or happiness this New Year. LOL
    I been a long time reader on this Knick Blog
    The Christmas Day Games practically all the teams gave playingtime to 10 or more of their players, except for the Knicks.
    The Knicks gave playingtime to 7 and a half of their players.
    There’s a problem in Houston…..oops I meant in New York.
    Both rookies would’ve like to get playingtime for their family and friends on Christmas Day.
    I’m sure all six of the Knicks healthy ending contract players would’ve luv receiving some decent playingtime minutes on Christmas Day.
    I LUV a winning Knicks team, but the decade of “divided lockerroom players” or the “pet-player favoritism” or the “player vs coach episode” is getting old, and the reruns are boring.
    I dont know what your Magic-Ball predicts, but after the Christmas Day Game my Magic-Ball only predicts 2-Wins out of the next 10 Knick games…..and that’s not good.

  90. I notice the majority of the Knick-Fan base was so tired of Isiah Thomas Bullshuuuut, that they took fast to favoring (Indiana) Donnie Walsh, (Phoenix) Mike Dantoni, and (Italy) Danillo Gallinari.
    I wanted Isiah Thomas Fired the day he gave my Brooklynite homey Marbury a Knick Jersey.
    Some people just dont belong in the New York melting-pot.

    Both of Walsh offseasons were unsuccessful.
    Dantoni is repeating himself by using one guard in a two guard game. Nash had a 42 minute SG-Joe Johnson, and a 39 minute SG- Bell…..Duhon has a 32 minute natural SF-Wilson Chandler helping him in the backcourt.
    Gallo is a decent peremiter shooter receiving playingtime above his level of talent. It’s to early for him to be a starter, he has way to many flaws that need to be corrected in his first full season in the NBA. The game vs Miami Heat Gallo could not defend any of the Heats SF, PF, or Centers during the 43 minutes of playingtime. And the game vs the Spurs Gallo’s 36 minutes of playingtime could not defend the Spurs SG, SF, PF, or even rookie Blair at the center position.
    Gallo’s first full season in the NBA should be getting his peremeter shooting down pact to be consistent in our NBA schedule, and staying in front of NBA SF on defense to size up their moves while learning what side they favor the most.
    All this Knick-Fan “GLOATING” over Gallo’s individual play has not notice his rookie inconsistency b/c there is to much on his plate.

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