Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Knicks 102, Heat 90

New York Knicks 102 Final
Recap | Box Score
90 Miami Heat
Carmelo Anthony, SF 40 MIN | 18-26 FG | 7-8 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 50 PTS | +15

Lazily rotated out on a number of Mike Miller bombs. What a toolbox.

Iman Shumpert, SF 23 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | +6

Talk about returning to the scene of the crime. As many in the NBA intelligentsia noted heading into tip-off, the mental hurdle that this game represented for Shump is one that few outside the professional or collegiate ranks could ever truly appreciate. Which made the clicking long ball all the more encouraging. The D was spotty at times, but that’s kind of par for the course in this one. Efficient, energetic, mostly mistake free – keep the change, Shump.

Tyson Chandler, C 24 MIN | 0-2 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 1 PTS | +13

The fact that Miami didn’t think to do a Tyson Chandler Bobblehead Night tells you everything you need to know about the Heat organization, its fans, and the state of Florida in general. Equal our championships in one-third the seasons notwithstanding. There was an ’89 Camry’s worth of rust to be knocked off, but Chandler looked more and more spry as the game ground on. Given how readily the Knicks sent double teams to aid Tyson on the Block – even against Rashard Lewis, who has entered the paint maybe 15 times in his career – you have to wonder whether he should’ve been out there at all. This believe was shamed out of me immediately upon Tyson’s pulverizing recovery block on a Bosh layup attempt; the kind of psychological dagger that seals a game minutes before the final buzzer. Welcome back, sir. Please trim whatever that is.

Raymond Felton, PG 38 MIN | 4-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 9 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 10 PTS | +15

Raymond Felton wetting himself over the prospects of facing a depleted Heat team because “point guard is their weakest position” would be infuriating if it weren’t so priceless. The subsequent start was totally predictable: Brick, turnover, foul, turnover, brick, foul, nap time. He would come back to hit a terrible off-balance fading jumper (with the clock winding down, granted), but for the most part remained invisible for much of the first half. Ray picked up big time in the second half, hitting a number of tough late shot-clock jumpers, swinging the ball effectively, and doing a much better job bodying up the admittedly hapless Norris Cole. His bulletin board material has since been replaced by the “Free ‘Strip’ Steak” coupon J.R. Smith dropped on his way out of the Knick locker room.

Pablo Prigioni, PG 13 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 3 PTS | -4

Woodson’s past reluctance to wheel Prigs out for heavy minutes against the Flying Death Machine couldn’t help but subside in the wake of Pablo’s recent stellar play. To mixed results, however. Save for a nice late second quarter steal-to-transition-three, ‘twas a mostly muted affair from our more angular point. When Norris Cole is giving you fits, it’s probably time to take it easy – throw on some Steely Dan and hammer a Cuban or two.

Kenyon Martin, PF 24 MIN | 4-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | -1

His abdomen didn’t unravel like a yarn spool on the first flush, so we’ll assume K-Mart’s good to go for the home stretch. As with Chandler, the Heat did an excellent job of neutralizing Kenyon’s interior presence – at least in the first half. Tonight’s performance was notable for a good mix of clumsy touches, a couple timely buckets, and a slew of flying anvil fouls that helped turn would-be flushes into regular splits at the stripe. He also dunked on Chris Andersen’s head, which is a win for humans.

Chris Copeland, SF 8 MIN | 1-2 FG | 1-1 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 3 PTS | -3

CHRIS COPELAND ANAGRAM FUN: CHANCRE ID SLOP

Steve Novak, SF 13 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-1 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -2

All those in favor of making Novak stay back and mow Melo’s lawn the next time we board for Miami? Not everyone at once. Sure, that corner three to end the third was great. But one shot does not an invisible performance preclude. the Heat just know how to strike that perfect balance between keeping an eye on ol’ Steve, while staying honest to the rotations around them.

Jason Kidd, PG 27 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +10

I neglected to take a single note on Kidd until well into the third quarter, when “just tried to chase down Allen on crutches” broke the seal. A fourth quarter rife with timely plays and heady positioning helped salvage an otherwise shaky – though by no means disastrous – tilt. Too much time on the notorious South Beach shuffleboard courts, perhaps.

J.R. Smith, SG 30 MIN | 5-15 FG | 2-4 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 14 PTS | +11

Some spurts of decent play – HUZZA that initial bomb from the wing – peppered a night in which Earl simply wasn’t getting the whistles to which we’ve grown accustomed this past fortnight. J.R. made up for it with some strong ‘bounding, hard-nosed D, and one dagger three late in the fourth with the Knicks already pulling away. His flight to Atlanta will arrive 25 minutes before tipoff tomorrow.

Five Things We Saw

  1. Without the services of LeBron, D-Wade, Mario Chalmers, and Bimbo Coles, Miami’s strategy was simple: Beat the Knicks at their own game. To wit: Plant Bosh on the block, spread the floor, bat the ball about, and hit the open the shot. Barring that, once you goad the Knicks into a mess of switches that result in flagrant mismatches on the interior (Jason Kidd on Rashard Lewis was a personal favorite – I don’t really know why), dump it down low and garner either an easy bucket or a pair of throws. The plan worked to perfection for the first 30 minutes or so, with the Heat hitting over 50% of their threes and tripling the Knicks’ output in the paint. All the while, tremendously bad switches abound. I almost ate my seltzer can.
  2. This is how the Knicks ended the first quarter: Melo heat check with 24 seconds left, late foul on Battier at the other end, immediate technical foul, three free throws for the Heat. If I’m Woodson, I’m strapping Melo to a chair, forcing his eyeballs open a la Alex in A Clockwork Orange, and making him watch this until Dolan tells me to stop. Should we meet the Heat in a seven-game series, that’s the kind of shit that can turn “anyone’s game” into “James White played 29 minutes.”
  3. Let’s talk about Mike Miller. I remember watching Mike Miller fold like a cheap lawn chair against my Spartans back in the 2000 title game. Kid could barely shoot, though his next-level talent was undeniable. Save for a three-point rigor mortis spasm in last year’s Finals, Mike Miller has been clinically dead for at least four years. But as every fan of zombie flicks understands, you give those fuckers enough time and space, they’ll gnaw you new eye sockets. I’m not sure what was more predictable: The three barrage (18 first half points), or the fact that he completely disappeared down the stretch. The entire second half, specifically. It was fun / terrifying while it lasted.
  4. The Knicks did a much better job of limiting turnovers in the second half, while forcing enough on Miami’s end to keep them from recapturing their earlier rhythm. That, coupled with snappier rotations, better help defense, and tauter perimeter pressure, was the secondary difference.
  5. Yu Darvish wasn’t the only one within an inch or two of perfection tonight. Melo’s performance was a lot of things: incendiary; encouraging; effortless. Few may realize this, but – with a hat-tip once again to Kevin for pointing this out – Melo only needed one more of those rattled-out triples to break the single-game scoring record for a Knick playing on the road (Willis Reed and Bernard King each tallied 53). That says something. It says that Melo is capable of lighting it up anywhere, and not just in center-focused light of MSG. For a team that may well spend the better part of its spring march — however long it lasts — sans the power of home court, few things are more valuable.

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20 comments on “Knicks 102, Heat 90

  1. Brian Cronin

    How is the Lakers/Mavs game still on? It is too late for basketball!

    Great win for the Knicks. Now if the Pacers would just lose another game for crying out loud!

  2. AnonymousODG

    Something interesting I just read. That bizarre technical called on Carmelo early on? Called by the same ref that threw out Camby in the Memphis game: Bennie Adams. Who also happens to be the same guy who was infamously called a gay slur by Kobe Bryant (who got fined and shamed by the media for weeks).

  3. Brian Cronin

    It’s crazy how big Wednesday night’s game is. They really need to knock Atlanta down to the #6 seed, just to be safe (obviously, they also want to make sure that they play Boston instead of the #6 seed, but still).

  4. Frank

    Brian Cronin:
    It’s crazy how big Wednesday night’s game is. They really need to knock Atlanta down to the #6 seed, just to be safe (obviously, they also want to make sure that they play Boston instead of the #6 seed, but still).

    Yeah I want zero part of Chicago, Rose or no. And I’d love to make Miami go through Chicago to get to the ECFs.

    Gotta figure Chicago doesn’t really want to play us or Indiana in Round 1 either so that works out nicely that they’ll play hard to the end.

  5. yellowboy90

    ATL has a real easy schedule so tonight is huge. Also, why can’t Doc continue to rest Pierce and just be happy healthy and at 8 than being banged up at 7.

  6. ephus

    I wish I could have been sitting at a bar next to Ruruland during this game. After every ‘Melo-made basket, I would have just looked at him and said, “You were right.”

    With the return of Tyson Chandler, the emergence of Kenyon Martin, the maturation of JR Smith, the recovery of Iman Shumpert and the dominance of Carmelo Anthony, this IS a great time to be a Knick fan.

  7. Juany8

    If Melo goes on a hot stretch now that the rest of the team is actually playing well, this team is getting the second seed. Nice to see chandler back too, even if he didnt do anything last night. This team looks as locked in and “healthy” as they were early in the year (during the amazing start to the season shump was injured and camby was gone)

  8. Keniman Shumpwalker

    Juany8:
    If Melo goes on a hot stretch now that the rest of the team is actually playing well, this team is getting the second seed. Nice to see chandler back too, even if he didnt do anything last night. This team looks as locked in and “healthy” as they were early in the year (during the amazing start to the season shump was injured and camby was gone)

    I mean…Camby is still basically “gone”. Woody is totally Camby-averse. I wonder if there is some dynamic between the two of them of which the general public is unaware. I’m hoping there is not and Woody is just saving him for the playoffs…but I’d like to see him at least get a chance to log some minutes and get his legs under him before the second-season starts. We’re going to need 10-15 good minutes from Camby every night against the Pacers/Bulls/Heat.

  9. DS

    So anyone else think it would’ve been better having K-Mart chasing Bosh last night while Chandler patrolled the paint? I guess it all worked out OK and granted, there are injuries to consider. But still…

  10. Frank O.

    A very satisfying win.
    You knew the Heat essentially were playing out of their minds in the first half while the Knicks D took about 20 minutes off.
    Kind of reminded me a bit of the Bosh Raptors team with him as centerpiece.
    There is an old saying: great shooters can still shoot long after their legs are gone and their balls have withered. Mike Miller could have been 60 draining those wide open, slow rotation 3s. The guy can flat out shoot, so if you give him about 5 feet of space, he’s going to hit a lot of those.
    Also, on defense, Mike Miller owned JR. I think he rejected at least a few of JR’s drives and altered a bunch of others.
    But in the second half, when the Knicks went to Martin, you could feel things shift. Then Chandler started to force Bosh to adjust, and it was a matter of time.
    And, honestly, I have seen Kobe’s biggest night, and it was great. But never before have I seen someone so completely on fire from outside as Melo was. He was draining open jumpers, toughly guarded jumpers, just anything.
    I was fairly convinced that at some point he could have done a Medowlark Lemon toss from half court and it would have snapped the nets.
    Last point: as I watched Lebron and Wade walk off the court, they kept looking back at the Knicks. I don’t care if they were hurt or just resting, nobody wants a rival – who has beaten you badly at least twice during the season – to come to your house and beat you. And they didn’t want to see it turn into the Melo show. If these two teams meet in the playoffs, it is going to be a war. Someone might want to get Ray some Depends.

  11. Frank O.

    “That is a game that drives the analytics guys crazy,” Heat forward Shane Battier said. “He didn’t attempt a shot within 15 feet of the basket. Most nights, we would take that every single time. He made a ton of shots. There were some we had poor rotations on and he had really clean looks and that was just breakdowns in our defense. A lot of shots you would take 11 times out of 10, and he just had it rolling.”

  12. thenamestsam

    Frank O.:

    There is an old saying: great shooters can still shoot long after their legs are gone and their balls have withered. Mike Miller could have been 60 draining those wide open, slow rotation 3s. The guy can flat out shoot, so if you give him about 5 feet of space, he’s going to hit a lot of those.
    Also, on defense, Mike Miller owned JR. I think he rejected at least a few of JR’s drives and altered a bunch of others.

    I think the Mike Miller thing is pretty interesting. He has been completely out of the rotation for them, but god damn did he look good last night. He was clearly forcing things a little in the 2nd half when their offense dried up and they weren’t sure where to look, but he looks so much healthier than he did last year and he still was important for them then. I think they may have discovered he deserves real minutes in their playoff rotation.

    Nice win for the Knicks and truly epic performance by Melo. One of the best raw shot making displays I’ve ever seen. To throw up 50 without really getting inside or getting to the line is freaking incredible. It will be very interesting to see how the Heat would try to defend him in a playoff series. As soon as they put Haslem on him it was obvious they weren’t really going to tip their hand about how they might want to guard him in an important competitive game, although they did show some fronting in the 4th quarter.

    Knicks defense in the first half was very concerning. That Heat lineup may have beaten the Spurs, but they did it mostly by chucking bad shots. That they were dominating points in the paint against us is not a good sign. Obviously it was largely a focus/intensity issue, but it did reenforce that the recently rejuvenated Knicks D hasn’t really been tested by even a decent offensive team.

  13. Frank O.

    Miller said in the press this morning that in the second half he was gassed and said his limited playing time has caused him to be in not that great of shape.
    But if he can improve his fitness, not sure they Heat can afford not to have him out there. And he wasn’t just shooting. He was driving and defending and creating. Pretty solid first half.

  14. MJG1789

    The only thing I can find in my memory that’s remotely comparable is the night Glen Rice went for 56 as a Charlotte Hornet. All jumpshots. But honestly this was more impressive. Melo is a bad, bad man.

  15. thenamestsam

    Frank O.:
    Miller said in the press this morning that in the second half he was gassed and said his limited playing time has caused him to be in not that great of shape.
    But if he can improve his fitness, not sure they Heat can afford not to have him out there. And he wasn’t just shooting. He was driving and defending and creating. Pretty solid first half.

    That makes sense. I also think Miller fits more naturally into their playoff rotation than their regular season rotation. During the regular season they’ve primarily closed with lineups involving no PG (Wade, LBJ, Battier, Allen, Bosh) but they haven’t really played that way for long stretches, I think mostly because they don’t want to putthe onus on Bron and Wade to bring the ball up and to guard PGs for big minutes (both are pretty taxing). I don’t think that will be a concern in the playoffs, so I don’t really think they need to keep a 2nd pg in the rotation (especially since Cole has been so brutal this year). I suspect Cole will be only used for spot duty if a quick PG is getting hot and their real, clinching game, all the cards on the table rotation will be Chalmers, Wade, LBJ, Battier, Bosh starters with Birdman, Allen and Miller getting the lion’s share of the minutes off the bench.

  16. SSS

    DS: So anyone else think it would’ve been better having K-Mart chasing Bosh last night while Chandler patrolled the paint? I guess it all worked out OK and granted, there are injuries to consider. But still…

    I think we’ll see that in the playoffs. In this game, with Chandler being eased back and Martin needing his minutes limited, I think it made sense to make sure that one was on the court at all times.

    Getting ‘Sheed back or being able to play Camby would really provide some needed flexibility with the rotations. And even though I’m focusing on defense / rebounding here, Amar’e coming back would help as well.

  17. Frank

    thenamestsam: As soon as they put Haslem on him it was obvious they weren’t really going to tip their hand about how they might want to guard him in an important competitive game, although they did show some fronting in the 4th quarter.

    One thing I definitely noticed from last night’s game is that when Battier got good fronting position on Melo, the entry passer relatively quickly moved onto the next offensive option — as opposed to the playoffs last year where we kept trying to throw Melo the ball until there were about 5 seconds left on the shot clock. With all those injuries last year, Melo was literally the only playmaker on the entire team, and so it was a mess if he couldn’t even get the ball. This year we’ve got Felton and JR who can at least put the ball down and penetrate, or get other action if Melo is well guarded.

    You have to figure that their main defensive strategy for Melo in the first 3 quarters will be ball denial — and in the 4th, it’ll be Melo vs. LBJ mano e mano.

    btw I guess that’s what happens when you try to single Melo. Battier is right — the Heat will probably take that shot selection any day of the week. Truth is, though, that you only let him keep shooting like they did if you really believe there is no such thing as the “hot hand”. But I have yet to see anything that I would consider conclusive about the presence or absence of such a phenomenon. When you see Melo last night or that game during the Olympics, or just watch Stephen Curry play for a week or two, you might rethink that conventional wisdom.

  18. thenamestsam

    Frank:

    btw I guess that’s what happens when you try to single Melo.Battier is right — the Heat will probably take that shot selection any day of the week.Truth is, though, that you only let him keep shooting like they did if you really believe there is no such thing as the “hot hand”.But I have yet to see anything that I would consider conclusive about the presence or absence of such a phenomenon.When you see Melo last night or that game during the Olympics, or just watch Stephen Curry play for a week or two, you might rethink that conventional wisdom.

    I ‘m with you on the hot hand and in that vein I think their big error was starting Haslem on Melo. Melo was predictably getting wide open jumpers as Haslem sagged WAY too far into the lane on help or backed way off Melo knowing he wouldn’t be able to stay with the drive. Making some wide open ones definitely helps your rhythm and by the time they put Battier on Melo it was too late.

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