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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Knicks’ Week in Advance 12/01/08

Welcome to the third installment of “Knicks’ Week in Advance.” As always we will look at the Knicks’ Four Factors and compare them to those of their opponents. Based on each team’s stats I’ll offer suggestions for what the fans should watch for and what the Knicks should look to do that game.

Before we get into the match ups, I want to say a quick word on the importance of advanced stats. I think every fan would do well to understand how they work – especially in light of the style of play the Knicks adopted this year. For instance last week New York, the fastest pace team (98.7 possessions per game), faced the second fastest pace team in Golden State (97.2 possessions per game). Combine that with the fact that the teams are 26th and 27th in defensive efficiency (109.4 Knicks and 110.9 Warriors), and the Knicks’ rotation featured 7 players, you get the perfect storm for gaudy offensive numbers. That is how I predicted Lee could get 20 boards vs. the Warriors.

Of course that game Lee had 21 rebounds and Duhon 22 assists, prompting the casual fan to draw comparisons to Dwight Howard and Steve Nash. Without it’s proper context, the average Knick fan might expect numbers like that from the pair on a regular basis.

Four games this week. Home games against Portland and Detroit bookend a road trip through Cleveland and Atlanta.

December 2 Portland [First meeting of the teams this year.]

TEAM POSS EFF eFG TO OREB% FT/FG
New York Knicks-Offense 98.8 107 50.3 14.8 23.5 19.3
Rank
1
11
10
10
27
29
Portland Trail Blazers-Defense 86.2 107.3 49.7 16.2 25.2 23.5
Rank
30
18
21
13
8
13
New York Knicks-Defense 98.8 109.4 51.5 14.5 28.8 18.8
Rank
1
26
27
25.5
25
2
Portland Trail Blazers-Offense 86.2 113.5 51.4 15.1 32.8 22.1
Rank
30
2
3
12
1
21

Terrible Tuesdays continue for the Knicks (four Tuesday games, four playoff teams), this time Portland comes to town. In some ways, the Blazers are the Bizzaro Knicks. The Blazers are dead last in pace (86.6 possessions per game), while the Knicks are first in pace (98.7 possessions per game). The Blazers are a great rebounding team (detailed below), while the Knick are not. The Blazers waived a highly paid, petulant, offensive minded point guard before a power play between he and management became a distraction. The Knicks… well you know the story.

What to watch for 1: Rebounding. The Knicks are going to have trouble keeping the Blazers off the glass. The Blazers are 2nd in offensive rebound percentage (32.6%), and none too shabby on defensive glass securing all but 25.1% of defensive rebounds (6th). The Knicks give up 28.8% of all defensive rebounds (24th), while securing 23.5% of available offensive boards (27th). Long story short: make the first shot; there will not be many second chances.

What to watch for 2: The neutralization of David Lee. Lee at center is not going to have the easy match ups he had against the Warriors. Oden and Aldridge are solid interior defenders and strong shot blockers (2.7 and 1.3 blocks per 36 minutes respectively). What Lee can do to help the team is work the pick and roll with Duhon and then hit the 15 footer with consistency (why don’t they run that more with Lee and Harrington’s mid range game?). If Lee can lure Oden out of the paint, it could open things up for drives to the lane (if only there was a Knick that liked to do that).

What to watch for 3: The Blazers are exceedingly efficient on offense (113.1, 2nd in the NBA) and from the floor (51.1 eFG%, 5th). The Knicks will need a solid defensive effort against this team.

December 3 at Cleveland [Cavs won first meeting 119-101]

TEAM POSS EFF eFG TO OREB% FT/FG
New York Knicks-Offense 98.8 107 50.3 14.8 23.5 19.3
Rank
1
11
10
10
27
29
Cleveland Cavaliers-Defense 90.2 102.7 45.8 16.5 26.4 26.4
Rank
23
6
4
11
15
26
New York Knicks-Defense 98.8 109.4 51.5 14.5 28.8 18.8
Rank
1
26
27
25.5
25
2
Cleveland Cavaliers-Offense 90.2 114.8 52.4 14.4 30.4 25.9
Rank
23
1
2
6
5
7

The Knicks looked awful against the Cavs in the last meeting. It was the first game with new acquisitions Harrington and Thomas so maybe that had something to do with the Cavs one-sided victory. More likely, it was due to the Cavs being one of the best teams in the East.

What to watch for: Defense. When the Knicks last played the Cavs, I suggested that the Knicks pressure the ball and force the Cavs into poor shots and sloppy play. What did the Knicks do? They allowed the Cavs to post a 58.4 eFG% while only forcing 8 turnovers. The boys in blue have to do better. Hopefully, Mobley will be available to help the back court defense. I know the team should always play good defense, but it is crucial when playing a team as efficient as the Cavs.

December 5 at Atlanta [ First meeting of the teams this year. ]

TEAM POSS EFF eFG TO OREB% FT/FG
New York Knicks-Offense 98.8 107 50.3 14.8 23.5 19.3
Rank
1
11
10
10
27
29
Atlanta Hawks-Defense 90.1 107.8 48.4 14.9 28.2 22.7
Rank
24
21
10
22
21
11
New York Knicks-Defense 98.8 109.4 51.5 14.5 28.8 18.8
Rank
1
26
27
25.5
25
2
Atlanta Hawks-Offense 90.1 109.1 50.8 15.3 27.6 22.8
Rank
24
7
7
14
9
18

After a very hot start, the Hawks have cooled a bit but they are still a dangerous match up for the Knicks because their offensive efficiency (109.1, 6th) and eFG% (50.8%, 7th) exploits the Knick defense.

What to watch for 1: Pace. For a team with so many athletic players the Hawks don’t really push the pace (90.1 possessions per game, 25th). It will be interesting to see what the Hawks do if the Knicks push the pace.

What to watch for 2: Inside the paint. The Hawks, like the Knicks, lack a true center. Solomon Jones is solid interior defender (2.7 blocks per 36 minutes) but he is quite foul prone (5.5 fouls per 36 minutes). Josh Smith blocks the same number of shots per 36, but is more of a weak side defender than face up. If Duhon and Robinson can get inside they can open up a few easy baskets for Lee and Harrington when Smith comes to help.

December 7 Detroit [Pistons won first meeting 110-96]

TEAM POSS EFF eFG TO OREB% FT/FG
New York Knicks-Offense 98.8 107 50.3 14.8 23.5 19.3
Rank
1
11
10
10
27
29
Detroit Pistons-Defense 89.8 107.6 49.5 15.2 26.4 25.6
Rank
25
20
18
20
14
24
New York Knicks-Defense 98.8 109.4 51.5 14.5 28.8 18.8
Rank
1
26
27
25.5
25
2
Detroit Pistons-Offense 89.8 107.7 48.4 14.6 27.2 25.6
Rank
25
9
18
8
11
10

Last week I wrote that the Knicks needed to exploit the high usage/low efficiency of the Pistons’ offensive leaders. The Knicks did not do that in allowing the Pistons to post a 54.4 eFG%, which is 6 points higher than their season average (48.6%, 17th). Let’s try it again.

What to watch for: 12 p.m. opening tip. The Pistons will be on the road and maybe they partied a bit Saturday night in New York. Maybe they will be sluggish for this game.

I admit I’m reaching here, but I’ve been chasing two kids around all weekend. (Did you know that baking soda and rubbing alcohol can undo the work of a two year old artist who works in the medium of Sharpie on fine oak furniture?)

Read last week’s article, the same stuff applies.

35 comments on “Knicks’ Week in Advance 12/01/08

  1. TDM

    Again, great post Thomas B. If the Knicks were able to go 2-2 on the next 4 games, that would be amazing. Regarding the Detroit game, it sounds like there is some lockerroom turmoil in Detroit right now with AI (6-6 since he joined the team). Also, considering they have gotten blown out on every Sunday this season, this could be an opportunity for the Knicks to pull out a win. I also like our chances against the Hawks.

    Does anyone have any injury updates on N8, Gallo and Jeffries? Wasn’t Jeffries supposed to come back sometime in early December?

  2. Caleb

    Jerome James speaks! (via Newsday)

    “‘I can’t leave New York without at least making my stamp and letting New York know I wasn’t here taking money,’ Jerome James said. ‘That’s not me. I’ve always had a passion for basketball and unfortunately, due to injuries, I wasn’t able to show ‘em that side of me. Show them that side and then I’ll get my — out of here. I’ll leave.’

    As for negotiating a buyout of his own, James said he wouldn’t do that until after this season because he has a $6.6-million player option for 2009-10. The 33-year-old veteran said he would be willing to talk about a buyout once he exercises his option. But before then, he just wants to see some live action just one more time.

    ‘If I’m able to play a couple of games, play passionately and let people know I really wanted to play, hell, next year I will, buy me out,’ he said. ‘I’m out. I’m gone.’”

  3. Italian Stallion

    The knicks should just demand that he play and when he refuses, fine the crap out of him.

    What happens if he says “Yes”?

    That could poison D’Antoni’s relationship with the rest of team. I think the rest of the team actually doesn’t want him around anymore and was hoping he would be gone before the season started.

    The best solution from the Knicks perspective is either a “FAIR” buyout or sending him home until he agrees to one. Having him around in any way, shape, or form is a distraction for management, potentially for the team, and reduces the enjoyment of many fans (like me) that just want him off the team and screwing up some other franchise. I don’t want to read or hear about this loser anymore.

  4. AlbanyKnicks

    The knicks should just demand that he play and when he refuses, fine the crap out of him.

    The last thing the D’Antoni wants is for Marbury to play. D’Antoni tried to get Marbury to flake out (telling him he had chance to compete then telling him he was not starting and then not playing him on opening night), but instead Marbury was a model citizen (keeping his mouth shut). Finally, D’Antoni used the Isiah Thomas coach said/player said technique and claimed Marbury would not play.

    Can we really be sure D’Antoni would have played him significant minutes?

    If they really want Marbury to play they should have him practice with the team and they should put the requests in writing.

    Today Obama just appointed Hillary Clinton to Secretary of State and previously he forgave Joe Lieberman. Maybe the Knicks, including Marbury, will be inspired and show some real professionalism and do something similar.

  5. Dan Panorama

    AlbanyKnicks, this has long been my political parallel:

    Bush = Dolan
    Rumsfeld = Isiah
    Iraq = Marbury

    We got Dolan to fire Isiah and put someone competent in charge of policy, but we’re still mired in an expensive quagmire named Marbury and he has to become someone else’s problem fast.

    The equivalent of Lieberman is, say, Kobe and Shaq making up, or on another Lakers-example, Kobe bringing back Phil Jackson. The Clinton “team of rivals” equivalent, to use another Lakers parallel (don’t know why they work so well but they do), is bringing Karl Malone and Gary Payton to the team for a championship run a few years back. Nothing on the Knicks really resembles either situation much.

  6. DS

    AlbanyKnicks, this has long been my political parallel:
    Bush = Dolan
    Rumsfeld = Isiah
    Iraq = Marbury

    I’d say Z-Bo is Bush, Marbury is the economy, Dolan is the environment, Curry is Iraq, Jeffries is the War in Afghanastan, Scott Layden was 9/11, Michael Ray Richardson – the Iranian hostage crisis.

  7. Thomas B. Post author

    If by Iraq=Marbury you mean that Dolan (Bush) and Thomas (Rumsfeld) went to war with Marbury when they should have focused on the true problem, Afghanistan (Curry), then sure I agree.

    Iraq represented no real danger, yet the decison to war with Iraq has cost the country (MSG) countless dollars and lives (fans). The real danger to MSG was the length of Curry’s contract, the price you paid to get him (2 lottery picks), and his productivity. And now as the new administration (Obama=Walsh) prepares to withdraw from Iraq–by way of a buyout–Afghanistan contiues to be a problem for secure growth (2010 free agents).

    Rather than face the real problem, they went to war with Iraq to settle and old score (Bush I v. Saddam = Marbury’s crazy summer).

  8. Thomas B. Post author

    Again, great post Thomas B.

    Thank you counselor.

    Things were so much easier when I could just nit-pick with people about the spelling errors in their posts. Now that I’m putting myself out there every week, I gotta keep my game tight–as the young people say. Thanks for recognizing the effort I put into this.

  9. Thomas B. Post author

    Hard to see how the Knicks can win more than 1 of these games

    It is an uphill battle this week as each opponent has a winning record. In NYC’s 8 wins, only 1 was against a team currently sporting a winning record, Utah. They are 1-5 vs. teams with records currently .500 or better. 7-3 against the teams below .500.

  10. TDM

    From SI.com:

    “After meeting with Stephon and his representative this afternoon, we have directed Stephon not to participate in practice or attend games until further notice,” Knicks president Donnie Walsh said in a statement. “We want to continue to meet with him to discuss a long-term resolution.”

    The more time that goes by, the more I love the choice of Walsh as president of the Knicks. However, I’d love to have the Knicks banish Marbury for the remainder of the season, not just until some indefinite time.

    And now for the quote of the day:

    “They left me out for dead. It’s like we’re in a foxhole and I’m facing the other way. If I got shot in the head, at least you want to get shot by the enemy. I got shot in the head by my own guys in my foxhole. And they didn’t even give me an honorable death.”

    First of all, equating his trials and tribulations with war is offensive. However, bringing ‘honor’ into the discussion is laughable. Perhaps if Berman could unglue his lips from marb’s ass long enough, he could explain to him that honor isn’t earned by bragging about bagging interns in your SUV while testifying on the stand where your employer is being sued for harrassment. Nor is it earned by going AWOL when the coach tells you that you aren’t going to start, and then attempting to blackmail the coach for doing so.

    Personally, I prefer having him sit at home during his contract year.

  11. AlbanyKnicks

    Dan and DS, nice analogies.

    At least the Knicks have made it clear that they don’t want Marbury to play. Management should have released him months ago.

    I think that in negotiations, Marbury has the upper hand. He gets paid about $250,000 per game to sit at home. If he sits at home, then next season he will be in someone else’s training camp with a chance to make the team.

    On the other hand, the Knicks have been a pleasant surprise, have a decent shot at making the playoffs, and have made two big trades, yet most of the talk is about Marbury. If Marbury sits at home, the Marbury negotiations will continue to be a distraction.

    There are a lot of other things to discuss. As the Knicks aim to clear cap space, can they trade Curry and Jeffries? If the Knicks are short players, how come neither Rose nor James played in the Warriors blowout?

    Duhon has a nagging injury and Richardson has been injury prone. I don’t think it is wise playing them 40 minutes. Management promised to try and be competitive this year, yet they went through with the Mobley trade even when their own doctors said Mobley had a serious health problem. What are they doing to bring in another guard?

    Finally, I cannot resist making another Marbury related comment. On opening night Donnie Walsh expressed surprise that Marbury did not play. However, we have since learned that D’Antoni had told Richardson that Marbury would not play and Richardson had told the rest of his teammates. Were Walsh and Marbury the only members of the Knicks team who did not know that Marbury was not going to play?

  12. DRed

    Can someone sum up what STEPHEN A. SMITH said (if it’s at all interesting), so the rest of us don’t have to listen to his yelling?

  13. cwod

    If the Knicks are short players, how come neither Rose nor James played in the Warriors blowout?

    Because they suck. Really.

  14. Brendan

    You know, mostly I’m blind to it, but every so often something comes along which points out just how media-insane NYC really is. Marbury gets benched, sent home, and responds by mewling in the press about foxholes and war and such. Meanwhile in Indiana Jamaal Tinsley has been sent home for the whole year to date and his last “issue” involved actually being chased through the streets by thugs with automatics, and you hear nary a peep about him. Baffling.

  15. BiggieSmalls

    I’ll take the Bullet..

    He says Dolan is the key to the deal and Dolan doesnt want to appease Marbury for his actions at the trial last year… SAS says Dolan wants Marbury to suffer for his hi-jinks at the Harassment trial.

    He’s on the phone so it’s not TOOO bad.. but he warms up mid way through.

    SAS Says Q Rich and Marbs have always been oil and water so take his words with a grain of salt. Q Rich wanted to fight him outside the training complex last year and Marbs never came outside while Q was standing in the parking lot waiting for him.

  16. jon abbey

    haha, Jamal goes for 40 against Miami (he sure loves playing Miami), but GS blows numerous chances to put the game away and Jamal misses a short floater at the buzzer, Miami wins by 1.

    pretty sure we’ve seen that movie before…

  17. AlbanyKnicks

    haha, Jamal goes for 40 against Miami (he sure loves playing Miami), but GS blows numerous chances to put the game away and Jamal misses a short floater at the buzzer, Miami wins by 1.
    pretty sure we’ve seen that movie before…

    Jon,

    You are too kind. You only mentioned one of Crawford’s mishaps.

    It was far worse than that. Crawford took many ill-advised shots in OT. Also he fumbled a defensive rebound that would have clinched it for the Warriors when the score was 129-126 and about ten seconds left. Then after Miami hit the uncontested three, Crawford failed to call time out and failed to move towards the inbounds passer. The ball was stolen and Miami made 1 of 2 from the line just before Crawford missed the potential game winning shot.

    Oh, yes, on a couple of occasions Crawford failed to push the ball when there were fast break opportunities.

    Crawford made an incredible number of bad plays in the last few minutes of the game.

  18. Italian Stallion

    From Alan Hahn: (I especially like the Mike Tyson reference because that’s the way I described him the other day – actually I called Mike Tyson on stupid pills) LOL

    ***Especially after the latest episode and his comments ripping yet another coach. For those scoring at home, D’Antoni is the fourth straight Knicks coach with whom Marbury has had an issue in five seasons. In general manager circles, Marbury has been referred to as “the Mike Tyson of the NBA.”

    “I do not think a lot of teams will have an interest, but I think there would be at least a couple of teams,” one Eastern Conference team executive said. He added, “It will be fun to follow from the sidelines.”

    A Western Conference GM said a team might take a chance on Marbury, “especially if they have had an injury and feel like he can help them getting to the playoffs.” He added, “I would be surprised if he gets more than a minimum [contract], though.”****

  19. njhoop

    Just to talk about something than Marbury, did you know that the Nets got Dallas’ next 2 first round picks in the Kidd-Harris deal, and that they are not lottery protected? I would put the Mavs chances of making the playoffs this year at maybe 60-40 and next year, who knows, so once again Rod Thorn has proven himself to be a masterful GM. They are building a nice young team in the swamp.

  20. Nick C.

    I guess with Jamal the box score only tells a partial story. 11-22, 14-16 FT 40 pts, 1 reb, 7 ast, 1TO. looks pretty phenomenal. You guys describe a microcosm of how any why the Knicks have seemed to always fail to close the deal for years thanks to the collection of low basketball IQ players.

    Tom Candiotti?? is it knuckleballs, wild pitches. Help.

  21. o_boogie

    Tonight’s game against Portland is going to be a tough one. Aldridge, Pryzbilla, and Oden are a handful in the frontcourt; like Thomas B. said, rebounding will be hard to come by. One way we could take Oden and Pryzbilla out of the game is to force Portland to miss some early shots then just start running…turn the game into a track meet. However, Portland is good enough to slow the pace with their excellent defense or they can use their bench to go small ball by sliding Aldridge to the 5 and Outlaw to the 4.

    In a previous thread we had discussed that the Knicks strategy of shooting a lot of 3′s is a good strategy when facing superior teams due to the high variance involved. The only feasible scenario I see us beating Portland is if we have a good night shooting treys.

    If we could take 2 of the next 4 that would be ridiculous. Realistically, I do not see us getting more than 1 considering injuries and lack of depth in our backcourt. Any word if Nate is playing tonight?

  22. Caleb

    Portland plays one of the slowest paces in the league… interesting, for such a young team.

    Oden has been awesome in his limited minutes – leading the league in rebound rate – but he’s not even outplaying Przybilla, who’s shooting better than 80%… 80%!… from the field. Also rebounding and blocking shots, as per usual.

  23. Italian Stallion

    I fully expect to be watching something other than the Knicks by halftime because unless we are having a masterful night with 3 pointers, I am not even sure our starters are as good as Portland’s very deep second team.

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