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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Knicks 106, Magic 94

Orlando Magic 94 Final Recap | Box Score 106 New York Knicks
Kenyon Martin, PF 28 MIN | 5-6 FG | 1-3 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 11 PTS | +20On, the unending game of Whack-a-Mole! Time swings the mallet, Injury, and yet the heads of quadragenarian power forwards keep popping up out of orange and blue jerseys, ready to provide defense, rebounding, and “edge” and — on the right night — more makes than misses. Tonight, with Kurt Thomas laid low, it was Kenyon Martin’s turn. Starting at center, K-Mart clogged the lane, helped on to penetrators, took what was given him on offense. Docked a half grade for a lack of rebounding — the whole team protected the defensive glass poorly — but recognized here for providing what the Knicks needed on a night when their frontcourt was beyond thin.
Carmelo Anthony, SF 33 MIN | 7-14 FG | 4-6 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 21 PTS | +21Was immediately apparent that he was able to move better tonight than he has in weeks. Fought for position off the ball, bullied Arron Afflalo on it, forced doubles and — despite a goose egg in the assist column — passed out of them smartly. Didn’t force his shot but when he did take it, didn’t show much rust. Defense was good on the perimeter, not quite as good in the pivot. All in, an encouraging return. The home and home with Toronto will provide a test for his knee.
Iman Shumpert, SF 14 MIN | 2-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 7 PTS | +2Really liked Shump’s effort tonight. Hit a corner three and had a nice finish in transition after receiving the ball just inside halfcourt. Played a big role in how ineffective the Nelson/Afflalo/Moore trio were in the first half. Had a lovely drive-and-kick in quarter number two that promised of the kind of expanded skill set for which we’re all watering at the mouth. Came up limping on a strained knee at the end of the first half and sat out the second. We hold our breaths.
Raymond Felton, PG 25 MIN | 3-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 7 PTS | +21Quiet aside from a lovely reverse layup off a baseline cut. 4 assists without a turnover though, plus-21 in 25 minutes, and some of that bulldog defense we hear so much about was there for real tonight. A fitting symbol of the night’s general theme: “Unexciting but effective.”
Pablo Prigioni, PG 20 MIN | 2-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | +13Somehow Prigioni has become the best shooter in the Knicks’ entire stable of backcourt players. He’s also toned down the predilection for cartoonish turnover totals that plagued him in the early part of the season (he had only 1 in 20 minutes tonight). Combine his line with Felton’s and you get 13/9/6 with a steal and only 1 turnover in 45 minutes (on 5/10 and 3/6 from deep). The played well together (comprising the starting backcourt and staking the Knicks to a 22-7 lead) and apart (taking turns at the point as the Knicks held on in the second half); Prigs was the slightly better of the two.
Chris Copeland, SF 20 MIN | 4-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | -5His value is inversely proportionate to Carmelo’s health. When we are absent another player who can create his own shot, you can put up with the defense and the chucking and the general lack of any non-scoring value. But when Melo is Melo-ing, all the negative stuff in Copeland’s game stands out. He’s basically the Taco Bell to Melo’s Chipotle: I’m happy to give him minutes either when Melo isn’t available or when it’s 4 AM and I’m drunk.
Steve Novak, SF 26 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | -3Look who hit some threes tonight! Novak is back to being as exciting as the insurance company commercial that he loves so well. Cool defense, though, bro.
Marcus Camby, C 7 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -7Nooooooooope.
Jason Kidd, PG 23 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 5 PTS | -9The recent theme with Kidd, I guess, is that he’s still good when we don’t give him much to do. A few months ago he was the third or fourth most important guy on the team. Now we basically need to marginalize him for him to be effective, which seems like a paradox but is the best way I have of articulating it. Perfectly fine tonight — opportunistic on defense and mistake-free on offense — but no longer a player who seems to be at the center of everything that’s going right.
James White, SG 6 MIN | 3-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | -5Glimmers of life from Flight this evening. God knows we could use some more depth on the wings but it’s more likely that this was a one-time thing, juxtaposed as it was against the backdrop of an Orlando team that was well-beaten by the time he got involved.
J.R. Smith, SG 38 MIN | 8-16 FG | 4-5 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 22 PTS | +12We’ve been very quick to turn on Earl since things have gone south for the ‘Bockers and from a statistical perspective (and from plenty of other perspectives) our frustration is perfectly legitimate. Here is what I know: His efg% is 48% with Melo on the floor and 45% without him. The Knicks outscore opponents by 6 points per 100 possessions with JR and Melo playing together, that number goes down to an even zero with JR out there sans-Melo. He knows his role when he’s playing next to the guy who has been the alpha dog for most of his career; when he doesn’t, Bad JR is badder and Good JR is scarcer. He won’t give us 22 on 16 shots with 7 rebounds every night, but as long as the team is at or near full strength and he’s playing the role he should play, we can all calm down.
Mike WoodsonCredit where due. Made a bold choice to start Felton and Prigs together: it worked great. Went with a 0 PG look for a stretch of the 2nd quarter, it didn’t work, he adjusted at the half and went away from it. He sat Shump when his knee acted up and got Melo plenty of rest once the game was out of reach. Yes, this was a game against lowly Orlando, but he managed it well and got them a victory with minimal collateral damage (during a stretch when getting through a game without a broken foot or a torn MCL feels like a victory).

One Thing We Saw

  1. Speaking of broken feet, it looks like Kurt Thomas’ injury is more than just bone spurs. The 41-year-old big has a stress fracture in his foot, one he thinks he’s had for the better part of a week. He’s very likely out for the year and, if you’re betting on him playing another game in the NBA in his career, I hope you’re getting the odds.If this is the end for Kurt, let’s remember a player who came to the Knicks a decade and a half ago as a foul-prone banger who had shot 37% in just 24 games in the two previous seasons in Dallas and Miami. He was a role player during a Finals run, added a mid-range jumper, and became an improbably critical player on both ends of the court for three more playoff teams.
  2. He was traded for the rights to Nate Robinson on Draft Night in 2005, an evening that changed the face of the Knicks as much as any other in the past decade. Thomas played for six teams after leaving the Knicks, most memorably including a deep playoff run in San Antonio, and returned to New York this summer as a throw-in, included in the Raymond Felton deal due simply to the vagaries of the NBA Salary Cap. Injuries vaulted him to a role of unexpected importance, a humbler ascent than in his first Garden stint, but one no less unlikely. He was occasionally useful, frequently apprehensive, constantly old.
  3. But at the end, on what looks like it may have been his last night in a Knicks jersey, he stepped up on a foot he knew was broken, fought through 27 minutes in a game that the reeling, depleted Knicks had to have. He set screens, protected the rim, impacted the outcome in ways that far exceeded his statistical line. Did it all in pain that he downplayed so that he’d be allowed to do it.
  4. If Kurt Thomas exits now, he exits a Knick and he exits a fighter. And that is absolutely the farewell that he deserves.

50 comments on “Knicks 106, Magic 94

  1. TheRant

    lavor postell: Great recap. Everything about Kurt was perfect.

    Agreed. Very nice to honor Kurt Thomas.

    Ol’ Bug Eyes ran about a million pick and rolls for us over the years. I don’t remember a single complaint.

    He’s a hard worker and a durable player who deserves the Charles Oakley award for durability and service to the Franchise.

    Thanks, Kurt.

  2. AvonBarksdale

    the taco bell to my chipotle thing is hilarious and the recap is amazing…kurt thomas deserves better z man cause pics or it didn’t happen. i am stoked james white got his dunk on, the kidd-martin alleyoop was awesome and camby had the nice pass that he does to melo which is noteworthy. we owe toronto big time so i hope they step it up another level.

  3. Sovereign

    “If Kurt Thomas exits now, he exits a Knick and he exits a fighter. And that is absolutely the farewell that he deserves.”

    Amen.

  4. SJK

    Anyone got a link to James White’s dunk? I missed it. If not, what point in the game did it happen so I can look it up on league pass.

  5. slovene knick

    @5
    International site patrol report:
    there is Z and there is Z-man. Z stands for pezzimizm and Z-man stands for optimism on this site.

    Nice win for Knicks.

  6. ephus

    Kurt Thomas = The Giving Tree.

    Nice win.
    Better recap.

    If the Knicks just get to the second round, they will reach par for the season (as I set it pre-season). While I had hopes for a birdie or eagle many injuries ago, par would be a nice save out of a bad lie in the rough.

  7. Frank

    Great recap Kevin! Not sure if any of you guys listen to Dave Rothenberg overnight but after that Utah win, he basically said that if the Knicks go on to make any noise this postseason, we might look back on Kurt’s effort the other night as a turning point — that we had taken a bunch of haymakers with those blowouts out West and that Kurt’s broken-foot performance was like a fighter taking a bunch of shots and somehow making it to the end of the round. I thought that was a really good analogy.

    Melo looked great last night IMO – and you could tell almost immediately from his first 3 pointer — good elevation, easy stroke. Like Ruru said, he’s a totally different player when healthy. Going forward the rest of this year, and also in the coming years, you wonder whether Woodson should build in some off-days for him, like Pop does for his big 3, like the Yankees do for Jeter and the other old guys, etc.

    by the way – how great has JR been lately? Sure he shot 4-20 against the Clips but he did get to the line 10 times that game. We’re down to maybe 1 or 2 SMH shots per game. And so much more aggressive going to the hoop.

    I know most of us here and certainly everyone in the media is really down on this team right now — but without Amare, this is basically the same core that was so good in the beginning of the year – with K-Mart and Camby instead of Wallace. I’m still holding out a little optimism that we can make some serious noise later in May.

  8. Frank

    One other thing – does anyone else here think that Felton’s D has been MUCH MUCH better over the last couple weeks? I was expecting Jameer Nelson to go crazy last night but he was really quiet.

  9. Kevin McElroy Post author

    I absolutely love the Kurt Thomas/Giving Tree comp from ephus in #5. One of those guys where you can only understand the affection if you’re a Knicks lifer.

  10. jon abbey

    and sometimes not even then. the guy hadn’t been here in eight years and barely contributed before the (much-needed) Utah game. Camby love I could understand a lot better, as he was at least huge in the run to the ’99 Finals (he had an insane .280 WS/48 in 20 games that postseason).

  11. jon abbey

    Frank:

    by the way – how great has JR been lately? Sure he shot 4-20 against the Clips but he did get to the line 10 times that game. We’re down to maybe 1 or 2 SMH shots per game. And so much more aggressive going to the hoop.

    I think K-Mart has really helped him also. I agree that Martin should be starting and Smith coming off the bench, but the more minutes those two can play together after that, the better.

  12. Sibenik

    Hi guys! I’ve been following the blog for the last three years, but I haven´t posted yet due to english not being my first language.
    First of all I would like to congratulate you all for this great site, specially for your awesome recaps. It’s a nice way to follow the team for us who do not live in the US.
    About last night’s game, I think Orlando’s coach really helped us when he benched Udrih and O’Quinn for the entire third quarter (he didn’t make a single change in that quarter despite losing it 32-19). Those two players really hurt us in the first half (they ended up the game with a +/- of +12 and +15), and reentered the game at the beginning of the 4th quarter with the game over.

  13. Frank

    Hope Shump’s knee thing is just a false alarm. He really has been playing better lately. According to hoopdata in the last 10 games he’s averaging about 12 points/36 on a TS of 56.1.

    This summer will be huge for him. Other than his jumper he was basically unable to work on his game at all last offseason. I’d love to see him work on being a secondary PNR ballhandler and on finishing through contact at the rim. For a guy with his athleticism, his inability to finish is shocking.

  14. Kevin McElroy Post author

    jon abbey: I think K-Mart has really helped him also. I agree that Martin should be starting and Smith coming off the bench, but the more minutes those two can play together after that, the better.

    We need to balance the desire to have good defense at the 4 spot with the need to not run K-Mart into the ground. Once Chandler’s back we’ve probably gotta keep him at 20 mins or so but I’m with you that a lot of those should overlap with Earl.

  15. jon abbey

    Frank:

    This summer will be huge for him. Other than his jumper he was basically unable to work on his game at all last offseason. I’d love to see him work on being a secondary PNR ballhandler and on finishing through contact at the rim.For a guy with his athleticism, his inability to finish is shocking.

    it’s like he is a marionette not fully in control of his arms and legs at all times. this usually worked to his advantage on D last year, as his unorthodox style confused the crap out of the other team, but as you say, his inability to finish layups after great moves is pretty shocking.

  16. Nick C.

    jon abbey: it’s like he is a marionette not fully in control of his arms and legs at all times. this usually worked to his advantage on D last year, as his unorthodox style confused the crap out of the other team, but as you say, his inability to finish layups after great moves is pretty shocking.

    My recollection is that Shump had that same inability to finish his moves last year so we can’t even chalk it up to the knee or rust.

  17. ruruland

    Frank:
    One other thing – does anyone else here think that Felton’s D has been MUCH MUCH better over the last couple weeks? I was expecting Jameer Nelson to go crazy last night but he was really quiet.

    He’s been better. But a lot of it IMO is Kenyon helping on penetration and doing his thing on switches, two areas he’s every bit as good as Chandler. When those two things don’t happen it appears as though Felton is getting exposed, when that is really only part of the story.
    Also, major props to Kurt Thomas.

    I’m happy folks are beginning to recognize Kenyon’s value. He really should be a New York kind of guy.

    For people who don’t think the Knicks can make a post-season run and compete in a series with Miami, feel free to name a better front court than a healthy Chandler, Martin,Melo, Amare.

  18. jon abbey

    ruruland:
    For people who don’t think the Knicks can make a post-season run and compete in a series with Miami, feel free to name a better front court than a healthy Chandler, Martin,Melo, Amare.

    feel free to name a worse backcourt for a playoff team than the set of bozos we throw out there. :)

  19. er

    jon abbey: feel free to name a worse backcourt for a playoff team than the set of bozos we throw out there. :)

    lol hey thats not fair , they try they just aint that good

  20. Nick C.

    It’s a good point about the front court. But …
    Indiana (Hibbert, West, George, Granger assuming he isn’t out again), Chicago (Noah, Boozer, Deng), Memphis (Gasol, Randolph, Prince), on paper the Lakers (Howard, Gasol, Artest) would be in the mix off the top of my head. It may be jumping to a conclusion or why Indy and Chicago give the Knocks such trouble this years.
    The problem with the notion is the use of the word healthy and Amare with respect to this season involves a lot of wishful thinking, not to mention do we really believe the Tyson news and Kenyon has been great but lets see after twenty games.

  21. Frank

    Speaking of good JR — he now has 4 games in a row during which he has shot at least 5 FT attempts. Doesn’t seem like that much, right? But he hasn’t done it since 2009, and never did it before that. And he’s never had a stretch of even 5 games in a row with at least 5 FTA.

    For a guy with his athleticism/handle and a career usage of 24.7, that’s criminal. In comparison, Melo has had such a streak 20 times in the last 5 years. In fact he has 6 streaks of TEN games in a row with >5 FTA.

  22. yellowboy90

    How long is Amar’e out? Is anyone expecting him to come back and when he comes back expect him to stay healthy.

  23. flossy

    I wouldn’t bet the farm on Amar’e being healthy and effective for the post-season. If he is, it’s found money. I’d just worry about trying to work him in during the first round if he does come back. It’s starting to look like we’re either going to draw Boston or Chicago, and those teams aren’t going to be pushed over easy.

  24. Kevin McElroy Post author

    @25

    Frank no idea what happened there; I got an automail from the site asking me to approve or reject your comment. I figured there’d be cursing or something but there wasn’t. No idea what happened — first time I’ve ever seen it. Anyway it’s there now.

  25. Frank

    flossy: It’s starting to look like we’re either going to draw Boston or Chicago, and those teams aren’t going to be pushed over easy.

    I want no part of Chicago in that first round. I know Boston has all that experience but I like our chances against Boston. And my guess is that Derrick Rose will be back before season’s end, making Chicago a very very dangerous team. I don’t think they have a prayer of beating Miami (who does?) but they could be an ECF team if Rose is anywhere close to himself.

  26. Z-man

    jon abbey: feel free to name a worse backcourt for a playoff team than the set of bozos we throw out there. :)

    How about Mike Bibby, Baron Davis and Landry Fields?

  27. ruruland

    flossy:
    I wouldn’t bet the farm on Amar’e being healthy and effective for the post-season.If he is, it’s found money.I’d just worry about trying to work him in during the first round if he does come back.It’s starting to look like we’re either going to draw Boston or Chicago, and those teams aren’t going to be pushed over easy.

    The Knicks have a punchers chance of beating Miami if in 10 weeks Amare can get back to where left off.

  28. ruruland

    yellowboy90:
    How long is Amar’e out?Is anyone expecting him to come back and when he comes back expect him to stay healthy.

    my hunch is that he both comes back and finds his form more quickly than recovering from the right knee.

  29. lavor postell

    It’s worth noting that Rose still hasn’t played in a game all season, is recovering from the same exact injury as Shumpert on the same exact day. First, if this was Melo he would be getting just destroyed by the media and a number of Knick fans. Second, and more importantly, we’ve seen how long it’s taken Shumpert to move even remotely well laterally with explosiveness.

    This is what makes Rose so great is his agility, lateral quickness and explosiveness. I find it hard to believe he’s going to come back and start throwing up MVP (not my vote) numbers again without at least having to work off the rust and re-adjust to the pace of the game, especially if he comes back straight for the playoffs.

  30. ruruland

    Frank:
    Speaking of good JR — he now has 4 games in a row during which he has shot at least 5 FT attempts. Doesn’t seem like that much, right? But he hasn’t done it since 2009, and never did it before that. And he’s never had a stretch of even 5 games in a row with at least 5 FTA.

    For a guy with his athleticism/handle and a career usage of 24.7, that’s criminal.In comparison, Melo has had such a streak 20 times in the last 5 years. In fact he has 6 streaks of TEN games in a row with >5 FTA.

    He stops his own drives when he has step on defender. He can be much more efficient on the ball if he changes that habit. It’s obvious Woodson is helping.

    If Woodson is insistent on making JR a playmaker,I’m sure he knows he has to change him.

  31. lavor postell

    Also I just want to say Kurt gutting it out in Utah is all I want from a Knicks player ever. Gutting it through an injury and sacrificing for the betterment of the team over the individual. Giving a shit when it would be really easy not too as a 40 year old veteran, playing on a stress fracture. As a fan I’ll take a guy like that on my team as a player/coach/whatever Baron Davis is anytime.

  32. max fisher-cohen

    True, I doubt Rose comes back at anything but maybe 70% of what he was last year (at least for a while), but Chicago is already good and a tough matchup for us without Rose. If he is just a net positive for them, which seems likely especially in a Knick matchup given our struggles against PGs with any ability to score, that makes them at least as dangerous v. NYK as Indiana IMO.

  33. Frank

    Good news finally — according to multiple Twitter sources, Shump is fine and is expected to play tomorrow night. *wipes brow* *says prayer*

    Maybe our luck is turning around.

  34. flossy

    ruruland: The Knicks have a punchers chance of beating Miami if in 10 weeks Amare can get back to where left off.

    We’ll have a great chance against the Heat if an asteroid hits their team plane or the state of Florida breaks off and floats away into the Atlantic. Amar’e returning rust-free for the playoffs strikes me as just slightly more plausible, but I’d love to be surprised…

  35. nicos

    Frank:
    Hope Shump’s knee thing is just a false alarm.He really has been playing better lately. According to hoopdata in the last 10 games he’s averaging about 12 points/36 on a TS of 56.1.

    This summer will be huge for him. Other than his jumper he was basically unable to work on his game at all last offseason. I’d love to see him work on being a secondary PNR ballhandler and on finishing through contact at the rim.For a guy with his athleticism, his inability to finish is shocking.

    Most impressive to me is that he’s not just hitting the corner three but he’s hitting the three on the wing as well- that really bodes well for the future. As far as his struggles to finish go- I think he’s got some kind of kinesthetic issue right now. Last year he struggled to finish but at least he got the ball to the rim- this year it seems like he doesn’t really know where the basket is on his drives. He looks like Baron Davis last year where Davis always seemed to think he was two steps closer to the basket than he actually was- not surprising for a guy whose athleticism has been greatly reduced due to injury. It’s clear he has no lift at all in traffic- probably part physical and part psychological (not wanting to plant hard and risk another injury). Also- people forget that Shump hurt his knee right off the bat last year and came back much earlier than anticipated (and that may have had something to do with him blowing out his ACL) so it’s possible that he played most of last season at less than 100% too.
    Maybe feeling the pop last night and being fine today will give him more confidence in the knee. While don’t I think he’ll be 100% until next year, even a small improvement between now and the end of the season could pay real dividends in the playoffs.

  36. Garson

    My Goal for shump was always a glorified bruce bowen.

    If he can be the shutdown defender and sink the corner 3 consistently, that would be enough… Especially when he the beneficiary of the double swing pass of the Melo postup Double team…

  37. Frank

    Garson: My Goal for shump was always a glorified bruce bowen.

    lol even a non-glorified version of bruce bowen would be amazing.

    it looks like his on-ball defense is coming around, but doesn’t it seem like he runs hard into every. single. pick. Would be interesting to see how often they switch on PNRs in which Shump is involved.

  38. Kevin McElroy Post author

    @43

    That’s the most annoying part about Shump being used to guard spot-up shooters instead of ballhandlers — it neutralizes his best talent and makes him do the one thing he’s worst at on defense (fight through screens).

  39. jon abbey

    I keep thinking of Keyon Dooling when I look at Shump, he never regained the same insane, superior athleticism he had his rookie year after being injured, even though he ended up with a lengthy career.

  40. Frank

    jon abbey: I keep thinking of Keyon Dooling when I look at Shump, he never regained the same insane, superior athleticism he had his rookie year after being injured, even though he ended up with a lengthy career.

    can’t we think of Tony Allen instead?

  41. Knicks4Eva

    @15, welcome!

    Great first post too, I wondered at the time about benching Udrih.

    And your English appears to be perfect.

  42. BigBlueAL

    Reading all the quotes from Rose on when/if he returns, he would be getting absolutely destroyed in the NY media. Heck Isola and Berman still havent gotten over Lin not playing in the playoffs last season, can you imagine what they would be saying about Rose??

  43. Brian Cronin

    Oh yeah, totally. Think about the amount of shit he HAS gotten so far (not a lot, but he has gotten some). So now just multiply that by a gazillion and that’s how he’d be treated if he was a Knick. Berman and Isola live for this kind of shit. They’re essentially high profile trolls.

  44. BigBlueAL

    Speaking of the Bulls, lost at home tonight to Portland by 10 and it wasnt even that close, they were down 27 pts after 3 quarters.

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