Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Knicks 102, Sixers 92

New York Knicks 102 Final
Recap | Box Score
92 Philadelphia 76ers
Kenyon Martin, PF 27 MIN | 4-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 8 PTS | +3

Kenyon Martin should not be as important to a team in 2014 as he is to these Knicks but holy hell is he ever. Showed off a mid-range game tonight and made a couple of key passes to go along with his normal rebounds-defense-enforcement act. His flagrant was only probably even a foul on him and was probably closer to being a charge than to being a legit flagrant.

Andrea Bargnani, PF 24 MIN | 4-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | -8

The stats suggest a middling offensive performance but that’s too generous — his looks were far too clean for his shooting numbers to be so pedestrian and on a night when the team generally moved the ball very well he was a bit of a ball-stopper (one exception: a picturesque drive to the rim that culminated in a pretty leave for Amar’e who wasted it by traveling before he gathered for the finish). But, whatever, it wasn’t terrible.

The defense, however, was another story. It’s often a bit too easy to pile on Bargs’ play on that end but he was horrendous tonight: blown by when he drifted out to the perimeter and beaten for far too many easy finishes when tasked with protecting the paint. Teams like these Sixers – without a traditional post man and built on getting quick guards to the rim, creating three-point looks for their bigs, and getting out in transition – are a defensive nightmare for Bargs, completely neutralizing his defensive talents while underscoring his failings. On a night when the team played as a cohesive unit at both ends, the big Italian was a step behind.

Carmelo Anthony, SF 36 MIN | 8-21 FG | 2-3 FT | 9 REB | 7 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 18 PTS | +19

Delightfully well-rounded work from Melo tonight with a big fat caveat: 15 of his 21 attempts were mid-range jumpers (many without even setting himself; he made only 6) and as a result he had an inefficient scoring night that featured zero made threes and only three free throw attempts. The non-scoring stuff was sparkling: his seven assists were highlighted by a gorgeous no-look touch pass to Shump for an easy corner three, he continued his run of stout and opportunistic defensive work, and he led the way on the glass. Would’ve liked to see him take fewer turnarounds and attack more, especially given the success his teammates had scoring at the rim, but that’s the only complaint.

Raymond Felton, PG 36 MIN | 3-11 FG | 3-4 FT | 1 REB | 6 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | +4

Horrendous in the first half, a bit better in the second once he had his floater game going. Didn’t have a prayer to stay in front of the Sixers’ guards but if you look at the stats it didn’t end up hurting the Knicks as much as it felt like it might when the game got going. The importance of KMart’s rim protection really can’t be understated.

Iman Shumpert, SG 32 MIN | 2-9 FG | 1-2 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 4 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | +3

Pretty blah. Didn’t like his defense much despite the gaudy steal total; had some dumb fouls and was the culprit on a few too many open perimeter looks.

Amar’e Stoudemire, PF 22 MIN | 8-10 FG | 5-5 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 21 PTS | +7

A good performance. Well, less a “good” performance than a “great” performance. Well, actually, less a “great” performance than a “glorious, shining, golden gryphon made all the more brilliant by its realism and all the more real by its mysticism and all the more mystical by its elusiveness and when you look at it and it stares back at you, you see in its large, ferocious eyes not an image of yourself as you are but an image of your best self, the self you always knew you could one day become, the self that you will never give up on because to give up on that would be to give up on life and hope and beauty themselves”-ish performance.

Toure’ Murry, SG 12 MIN | 3-6 FG | 2-3 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | +6

Remains utterly deserving of about 12 minutes a night and utterly undeserving of anything more.

Tim Hardaway Jr., SG 22 MIN | 2-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | 0

First wing off the bench tonight. This should have nothing to do with any punishment being doled out to the Earl of Shoelace and everything to do with the fact that he is the Knicks’ best shooter and best bench player. His performance was solid if nothing particularly special.

J.R. Smith, SG 27 MIN | 5-8 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 6 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | +20

[INT. a sterile white room with a large metal table at its center. A laboratory. Camera holds on a large box sitting on the table. Pan out to reveal MIKE WOODSON and JAMES DOLAN standing in an adjoining room, staring into the laboratory through one-sided glass.]

[A DOCTOR enters]

DOCTOR: Good afternoon gentlemen, I hope you haven’t been waiting long.
DOLAN: Just so long as the results are…satisfactory.
WOODSON: Results don’t play the game.
DOCTOR: I think you’ll find them more than adequate. [Presses a red button on a console under the one-way glass] Yes, bring in Subject A, please.

[The door in the laboratory opens. JR SMITH enters wearing a hospital gown, his eyes wide but dispassionate. He sits at the table. An ORDERLY follows behind him]

ORDERLY: Open the box, Subject A.
WOODSON: [Concerned] Boxes don’t play the game.
JR: [Opens the box in silence, peers in to examine the contents, his face suddenly distorted in panic but his body unmoving, as if wrapped in an unseen straitjacket]
DOCTOR: [Presses the button again] You may proceed.
JR: [His arms springing into action, he turns the enormous box over, spilling its contents on the large, metal table. A dozen pairs of size-14 high-top sneakers, their laces all untied. He feverishly begins to tie them]
WOODSON: Shoes don’t play the game.
DOLAN: [His lips curled in a smile of ecstatic disbelief] Just as you told us it would be.
DOCTOR: My methods may be irregular, sir, but my results are above reproach. While his brother Chris sat on the bench in his stead last night, providing a near perfect body double, we performed the controversial Pipenovsky treatment. To the Subject, the sight of a shoelace secured with anything less than a firm double-knot is now as abhorrent you or I would find, oh, I don’t know: maybe the carcass of a brutally murdered kitten.
WOODSON: [Nodding in agreement] Brutally murdered kittens don’t play the game.
DOLAN: And this is for real?
DOCTOR: [Pressing the button] Phase Two!

[Three more orderlies enter the room, roughly yanking JR away from the table and holding him securely by the arms. The first orderly picks up a pristinely tied shoe, walks up to JR, stops 3 feet from his face, and, in one continuous motion, pulls one end until the knot is utterly dismantled]

JR: [Eyes bulging, face contorted in tortured dementia] WHA—NOOOOO!!!! NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! [He throws one of the orderlies off in an effort to get to the untied shoe and has almost freed himself of a second when the third plunges a syringe into his arm. JR falls limply into the arms of his aides]
WOODSON: [At a whisper] Powerful horse tranquilizers…don’t play the game.
DOLAN: And when he wakes up, he’ll still be like this?
DOCTOR: Absolutely. The treatment is irreversible. Actually, one thing: just make sure he doesn’t have a hot shooting night where everyone praises his indisputably brilliant play right when he gets back because if that happens there’s no telling what the fuck he’ll do next.

[SCENE]

Mike Woodson

When the team plays well, he looks good and, since the calendar has turned the team has played as well as it has in a very, very long while. Mostly the grade is for finally putting his money where his mouth is and applying his standard of accountability universally instead of seemingly given JR a pass for transgressions that exceed those that draw punishments for those who are less favored.

35 comments on “Knicks 102, Sixers 92

  1. Frank O.

    Interesting, Bargs suffers most against players like himself: bigs that can stretch the D. He’s not good beyond the paint, misreads what the offense does, and, hence, misses chances to help on D.
    There was one okay where he got caught switching and froze as the rest of the Knicks rotated. Then Bargs had the moment of recognition (only when the pass was flying) that his man was open for a corner three.

    Truly, his problem is consistency and concentration. Also, he’s been in the US for how long, and his English still is a struggle? I think he’s not that bright, or he’s just not trying hard enough.

  2. Frank O.

    I keep saying it, but Amare being this good, and playing well with Melo, gives the Knicks a very nasty one-two punch. It’s a toss up for me whether Bargs or JR should be the third scoring option.
    Also, I like that Woody us giving Amare the third off and using him in the fourth.
    That game was won by Amare, and it gave Melo a kind of rest. He didn’t have to put the entire burden of the game on his back.
    More please.

  3. Frank O.

    JR hot streaks should be treated as found money, nothing you build a budget from. He’s kind of like little Nate: his occasional explosions are good, but when he’s bad keep the leash short.

  4. Frank O.

    Shump didn’t shoot great but his D w as stout and he had 7 boards. Better than a C.
    I enjoyed the post.

  5. danvt

    Shump didn’t shoot great but his D w as stout and he had 7 boards. Better than a C.
    I enjoyed the post.

    I agree, lots of found money all over the stat sheet. The only small problem with the poor shooting from Shump and Felton last night was that if they had each hit another couple of shots, maybe we see more rest time for Carmelo. Great efficiency from JR, STAT, Murray, and TH2 picked those guys up and kept the game well in hand. Hopefully a critical mass of these players can continue to score the ball well. That plus the great Kenyon Martin, then there’s that kid we got from Dallas. When’s he getting back?

  6. KnickfaninNJ

    Interesting, Bargs suffers most against players like himself:

    I’m not sure it’s that simple. Bargnani did well against Bosch, who is a player like him. It may depend on how the other teams offense works.

  7. ephus

    Last night’s spin of the roulette wheel for Bargnani came up “0”.

    He failed to convert on a few easy looks. He is now passing up open 3s and attacking the rim. Needs to take and make some 3s to keep the defense honest.

    The defense was not nearly as energetic as it was against Miami. Bargnani is always going to be slow, but he does not have to. D slow and disinterested.

  8. Unreason

    I agree he needs to establish his outside shot to be effective. He’s seemed less determined to try and create when pressured lately, which I think is a good thing. I didn’t catch the game last night so I didn’t see how he did.

    If Amare actually returns to something like 3/4 vintage form, though, I’d prefer to see Bargnani used mainly as a cushion for Amare’s knees – giving him nights off etc. – and otherwise playing sparingly as his performance and the night’s match-ups dictate; especially when Chandler and KMart are healthy. Despite his recent improvements AB seems much less likely than a healthyish Amare to be a consistently productive 2nd or 1st option. Amare’s also likely to be at least a slightly better rebounder. They are both poor defender’s overall IMO and having them on the floor together seems like an open invitation to attack the lane.

  9. ephus

    If the Knicks get healthy, they are going to have to DNP -CD some players who have been getting minutes.

    Here are my rotation picks:
    PG – Felton 30/Prigioni 18
    SG – Shumpert 28/ JR Smith 8 Hardaway 12
    SF – Melo 30/JR Smith 18
    PF – Bargnani 20/ Stoudemire 22/ Melo 6
    Center Chandler 28/ Kmart 14/ Stoudemire 6

    Murry/ Udrih/ MWP all ride the bench absent injuries or foul trouble.

    If JR is playing dumb, plenty of others to take his minutes.

  10. JK47

    Yeah, I’m not really seeing what value Bargnani is adding to the team. He’s a frontcourt player who does not score efficiently, his three-point shot left the building in 2010, and of course his defense/rebounding problems are well documented. He’s just not very good at anything, and is flat-out awful at many things. He does not need to be racking up 2000 minutes.

  11. ephus

    There was one nice new Bargnani wrinkle last night: passing. He found a wide open Melo in the corner when the Sixers reacted to his penetration. Later, he found Stat wise open under the basket, but unfortunately Stat walked.

    Bargnani has real skills. If he works hard (like against Miami), he can contribute. If he coasts (like against Philly), not so much.

  12. Z-man

    I see Bargs as the equivalent of an innings-eating #4-5 starter. He’s played lots of minutes and been durable after coming off of two injury-riddled seasons. He hasn’t been worth trading a first round pick for, but he’s not killing us while Chandler/KMart/Amare/MWP have been limited by injuries and minutes restrictions.

  13. Frank

    yeah, the disappearance of Bargnani’s 3 point shot is really strange. How many players came into the league with a reputation as a shooter, didn’t really disappoint for the first 1368 3 point attempts shooting 507/1368 = 37% over the first 5 seasons of his career, then shot 100 for his last 335 = 29.8%? It’s just weird. He did tear ligaments in his shooting elbow in late 2012, but had already shot poorly for a season prior to that. Yet at the same time his mid-range jumper (10-15ft) got much better over his career, and his long-2 game (16-23ft) basically stayed stable in the low 40s% range. Almost feels like it has to be a mechanical issue or a legs problem. He did have a calf injury the year his shooting went downhill, but I can’t imagine that’s persisted this long.

    It’s too bad because if he were a 37% 3 point shooter rather than a 30% 3 point shooter, he’d be a completely different player even with all his other warts. And his 30% number is probably even worse than it looks because he’s wide wide wide open for most of those attempts.

  14. JK47

    And his 30% number is probably even worse than it looks because he’s wide wide wide open for most of those attempts.

    And it’s even worse than that, because so many of his misses result in long rebounds, leading to transition opportunities, leading to… Andrea Bargnani trying and failing to play transition defense.

    Bargnani is on pace to play something like 2600 minutes. I am gonna go ahead and say that your odds of being a good team are not real good if you are giving Andrea Bargnani 2600 minutes.

  15. Z-man

    Well, in January, Bargnani has played 29 mpg and the team is 5-1. He eats minutes that would go to Chandler, Amare or KMart if they were healthier. One key is that he is keeping his usage% down. But yeah, if he is not playing well, he should sit.

  16. Frank

    Say what you will about him- he has played steadily better as the season has gone on. His net rating has improved week by week. I’m not sure what it is but he is being productive even as his 3 point shot still hasn’t returned. Think about it- multiple teams now have not been able to exploit the Melo bargnani Stat front court. It may just be they’ve figured something out. Or it could just be small sample stuff.

  17. ptmilo

    yeah, the disappearance of Bargnani’s 3 point shot is really strange. How many players came into the league with a reputation as a shooter, didn’t really disappoint for the first 1368 3 point attempts shooting 507/1368 = 37% over the first 5 seasons of his career, then shot 100 for his last 335 = 29.8%? It’s just weird.

    There is more precedent for it than you’d think. 3pt shooting can be very volatile. Take Paul Pierce as one of many possible examples. In his first four seasons he went 537/1388 = 38.7%, very similar to Bargnani. He then went 233/775 = 30.1% over his next two seasons, again eerily similar to Bargs but with even more attempts. Pierce’s long term average is not far from the combination of those early periods and I wouldn’t be surprised if the same is ultimately said for Bargnani. Even so, I hope we get to witness most of it from afar.

  18. Brian Cronin

    I see Bargs as the equivalent of an innings-eating #4-5 starter. He’s played lots of minutes and been durable after coming off of two injury-riddled seasons. He hasn’t been worth trading a first round pick for, but he’s not killing us while Chandler/KMart/Amare/MWP have been limited by injuries and minutes restrictions.

    Excellent analogy for Bargs.

  19. bob cook

    Bargs is not as good as Dirk but is a big upgrade over Novak which is what the trade was intended to deliver to us. As we were focusing on winning “now”, the loss of the future draft choice was considered acceptable. It might be a…Sweetney for example. I feel that the continuous attacks on Bargs are still being driven by the admittedly amazing disappointment he’s delivered as the #1 pick. But the observation that his English is not good is…huh? It’s probably as good as Moses Malone. Anyone else remember, “Fo, fo and fo”? Anyway, Bargs is a useful bench forward/center. For anything else, get over it.

  20. Hubert

    Bargs is not as good as Dirk but is a big upgrade over Novak which is what the trade was intended to deliver to us.

    Can you point to a tangible thing that indicates he’s been a big upgrade over Novak? Also, the “upgrade over Novak” argument really gets derailed when you factor in that Copeland has assumed Novak’s role, and he was a real upgrade over Novak, and Bargnani had to replace what Copeland gave us.

    As we were focusing on winning “now”, the loss of the future draft choice was considered acceptable. It might be a…Sweetney for example.

    No, it wasn’t. Throwing something away is never acceptable. We should have RECEIVED a draft pick in the Bargnani trade. And even if you’re focused on winning now, we could have used the same package to acquire a better player for now. Luol Deng, for example, was acquired for less than what we gave up for Bargnani.

    the observation that his English is not good is…huh? It’s probably as good as Moses Malone. Anyone else remember, “Fo, fo and fo”?

    \

    Really?

  21. Owen

    It would be a better analogy if Bargnani were making half the league average rather than double it.

    I like to think about our second favorite CAA client as a guy we gave up a first round pick for in order to pay him 2 million dollars more per year than Paul Millsap is receiving for the same length deal.

    Bargnani has not played steadily better. His ts% is under 51%. His rebounding and defense are abysmal. He remains one of the worst acquisitions the Knicks have ever made. I would trade him for Kosta Koufos or Jon Leuer in a second but no one other than the Knicks are dumb enough to trade for Bargnani.

    I do like him. He says sensible things in interviews and seems like a really nice guy. But he continues to be a totally awful basketball player and easily the worst regular in the NBA over the past five years.

  22. Owen

    “, it wasn’t. Throwing something away is never acceptable. We should have RECEIVED a draft pick in the Bargnani trade.”

    +1

    the observation that his English is not good is…huh? It’s probably as good as Moses Malone. Anyone else remember, “Fo, fo and fo”?

    \

    Really?

    +2

  23. KnickfaninNJ

    Bargnani has not played steadily better. His ts% is under 51%. His rebounding and defense are abysmal.

    My personal impression watching the games is that his rebounding has gotten better. He also seems to have had more games with a good +/- (but +/- does seem to vary all over the place normally anyway). But I don’t know how to look up weekly or monthly averages to check this.

  24. Brian Cronin

    It would be a better analogy if Bargnani were making half the league average rather than double it.

    I dunno, I don’t think his analogy suggests that the Bargs trade was a good one, just that he has taken on a role of a fourth starter innings eater. He is wildly overpaid for that role and the trade to get him was a disaster, but now that he is here, he does at least fill that role well.

  25. lavor postell

    The Bargnani trade was a debacle because of the picks we gave up, but on this team in this season Bargnani has been more valuable than Novak would have been. Let’s assume for a second we keep Novak and Camby for this season and suffer the same early season injuries we had this year. Novak would have been completely worthless filling in minutes at the 5 and would have been even worse than Bargnani playing 30+ mpg in that role. Novak as a specialist floor spacing three point threat off the bench in 15-20 minute cameos like he was able to do last year is a valuable piece, but one that was limited in its effectiveness by teams in consecutive playoffs by Miami, Boston and Indiana. Hubert is definitely right though that the major problem in that trade is that we gave up a first round pick and 2 second round picks instead of receiving them while taking on a far worse contract than Novak’s.

  26. Owen

    It would be a better analogy if Bargnani were making half the league average rather than double it.

    I dunno, I don’t think his analogy suggests that the Bargs trade was a good one, just that he has taken on a role of a fourth starter innings eater. He is wildly overpaid for that role and the trade to get him was a disaster, but now that he is here, he does at least fill that role.

    I guess I don’t understand the analogy. Bargnani is a replacement level NBA basketball player and I strongly suspect our record would be better if we had given Cole Aldrich his minutes when Tyson was out. He is that bad on both ends of the court, as gif after gif demonstrates. He fails the eye test and the numbers test, as he has his entire career.

    Fourth or fifth starters are generally mediocre and replaceable and the best way to generate value from that rotation slot (the fifth especially) is to get above replacement level production at the cheapest possible price. Obviously, if you are talking about Doug Fister and the Tigers last year that’s another thing.

    But Bargnani doesn’t really fit the description to my mind. He is a bad basketball player who is wildly overpaid and was only acquired because he is represented by CAA. And you can find similar production very easily. Just look at Jon Leuer and Kosta Koufos or Cole Aldrich if we would let him play….

  27. JK47

    #4/#5 starters typically don’t rack up 220 innings. They are typically not key players on their given teams. Bargs is on pace to play 2600+ minutes. He’s second on the team in minutes. For better or worse (worse) he is one of the core pieces of the Knicks’ team. That’s where the #4 starter analogy fails.

  28. Brian Cronin

    They do when there are injuries to the top of the rotation, like here. Bargs shouldn’t be playing this many minutes, I absolutely agree, but he’s been forced into the minutes due to injuries.

  29. flossy

    Let’s assume for a second we keep Novak and Camby for this season and suffer the same early season injuries we had this year. Novak would have been completely worthless filling in minutes at the 5 and would have been even worse than Bargnani playing 30+ mpg in that role.

    What is the Knicks record in games where Bargnani starts at center and plays 30+ mins at the 5?

    I’m not sympathetic to the “we’d be screwed without him” argument because we have played horribly with him. The nice thing about having Steve Novak on the team instead of Bargs is that Woodson would never have even tried playing him 30+ mpg at the 5–he’d have given Cole Aldrich a real shot or we’d have made a trade for a stopgap or something. And I’m sure our record would have been better for it.

  30. JK47

    A #4 starter typically pitches, what, say 170 innings out of his team’s ~1450. That’s about 12% of the innings. Bargs has been on the floor 62% of the possible minutes this season.

    That’s why the analogy doesn’t work– Bargs represents a huge part of the team’s identity in a way a #4 starter does not. You can survive having a kinda mediocre #4 starter because he’s a relatively small part of your team. A starting power forward who is a bad player is a lot more damaging.

    A better comparison for Bargs would be Jeff Francouer. Jeff Francouer is the Andrea Bargnani of baseball– a bad player who for some reason keeps getting tons of playing time, making sure his team has a black hole in their lineup from a key offensive position (RF).

  31. Hubert

    #4/#5 starters typically don’t rack up 220 innings. They are typically not key players on their given teams. Bargs is on pace to play 2600+ minutes. He’s second on the team in minutes. For better or worse (worse) he is one of the core pieces of the Knicks’ team. That’s where the #4 starter analogy fails.

    And it’s where the Novak comp ends, too. Comparing Bargnani to Novak (if we’re going to stick with a baseball analogy) is like comparing a 5th starter to a LOOGY. If you had a really effective LOOGY, and you traded him for a number 5 starter, and gave up assets to do it, it’s kinda silly to say the trade was successful because the #5 starter has more wins, K’s, etc than the LOOGY. The LOOGY was really good at getting lefties out. The #5 starter is a below league average #5 and you could have gotten below average production without giving up the LOOGY and the picks.

  32. Hubert

    The nice thing about having Steve Novak on the team instead of Bargs is that Woodson would never have even tried playing him 30+ mpg at the 5–he’d have given Cole Aldrich a real shot or we’d have made a trade for a stopgap or something. And I’m sure our record would have been better for it.

    And this, too.

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