Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Knicks 110, Pacers 109

As with a fellow rite of spring, jockeying has once again become an important factor in the NBA’s regular season home stretch.

With just three games remaining entering  Sunday’s series finale against the Pacers, the Knicks were  playing close attention to the top of the standings, where Miami’s convincing afternoon win over a floundering Boston put them in sole possession of the second seed.

Conventional wisdom had it that the Knicks would prefer to play the Heat, against whom they’ve won the last two. But Boston’s noticeable late season limps might be enough to convince the Bockers to hold steady in the six spot.

The Pacers, on the other hand, were one of four Eastern Conference teams (the Magic, Hawks and Bulls being the other three) whose postseason positions had already been sealed. Which begged the question: how hard would Frank Vogel run his starting steeds Sunday night?

Not quite hard enough, as it turns out.

Carmelo Anthony hit his second game-winner in a Knick uniform, capping off a 110-109 win in which he scored a game high 34, including six three pointers.

More importantly, he came up with a stifling, well-timed block on Danny Granger’s last second jumper – almost the same shot, incidentally, that Granger had hit over Shawne Williams to give the Pacers a 117-115 victory back in March.

Most importantly, with that one sensational sequence, New York’s prodigal hero helped secure the Knicks’ first winning season in 10 years, while putting them within one win (or a Sixers loss) of securing the sixth seed outright.

With Amare Stoudemire sidelined for the second consecutive game with a mild ankle sprain, Anthony was once again the focus of the offense. And though his efficiency wasn’t quite what it’s been during much of the team’s 7 game winning streak (11-28 and a TS% of just under 54%), all eight of his fourth quarter points were key to keeping the Knicks within striking distance.

Chauncey Billups added 21 (11 of them from the free throw line – the only place he found some semblance of consistency), while Toney Douglas turned in another solid performance off the bench, banking 14 on 10 shots.

Though sporadic, the Knick ‘D’ was at times tenacious. They turned 5 first-half steals (which accounted for all of Indy’s TOs in that span) into 13 points, helping build a 69-61 lead at the break. Later, the Bockers were able to recover from a horrendous third quarter in which they shot just 4/20 and were outscored 35-20 by holding Indiana to just 13 points in the final frame.

But perhaps most impressively, they held the Pacers scoreless for the final 3:31 of regulation – one of the longest and most noticeably inspired stretches of the season.

At this point, the Knicks know three things: (1) they’ll be playing late into April for the first time in seven years; (2) they finish the season against Chicago (at home on Tuesday) and Boston (in Beantown Wednesday); and (3) a win over either (or a Philly loss) would keep them where they are in terms of seeding.

Where the team plane lands Friday, however, remains anyone’s guess.

98 comments on “Knicks 110, Pacers 109

  1. latke

    San Antonio has also locked in its spot. That’s so crazy that Atlanta hasn’t. Let’s say NY beats Chicago (doubtful) and ATL loses to Miami (likely). How closely will we be watching that Bobcats/Hawks game on Wednesday?

    Though sporadic, the Knick ‘D’ was at times tenacious.

    Would you call it tenebrous as well?

  2. BigBlueAL

    latke:
    San Antonio has also locked in its spot. That’s so crazy that Atlanta hasn’t. Let’s say NY beats Chicago (doubtful) and ATL loses to Miami (likely). How closely will we be watching that Bobcats/Hawks game on Wednesday?

    Would you call it tenebrous as well?

    Hawks already clinched the 5th seed because even if Knicks catch them the Hawks would be 1 game better in their conference records.

  3. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Okay, okay. Truce, Carmelo. I’ll shut up until we get swept OR blown out at home during the playoffs.

  4. Z-man

    BigBlueAL: Hawks already clinched the 5th seed because even if Knicks catch them the Hawks would be 1 game better in their conference records.

    My understanding is that division record comes first, no? Is tha only if teams are in the same division? If so, the Knicks would have the better record in division…

  5. marxster

    I’m wondering what guys on this board are expecting of the Knicks in the playoffs. I mean, the goal for this year has been to get into the playoffs. We’re in. Now what?

    It’s pretty unreasonable to think that we’re winning the east and going to the NBA finals. So, what would you be satisfied with? A first round exit but the team plays well? A second round exit?

    It’s pretty clear that to go deeper into the playoffs we need a big man. If Donnie can manage that for next year, it’ll all be on D’Antoni.

    Anyway, I’m happy to see they’ve built up some momentum over the past 7 games, let’s see what that translates into.

  6. TDM

    Does anyone else feel a little better about playing the Celts in the first round? Originally, they were the team I least wanted to face, but they are 14-11 since trading Perkins away, and have shown little interior D since the trade. (Sounds kind of like the current Knicks actually) Not to mention, Rondo seems to be playing hurt and has been inconsistent recently.

  7. Spree8nyk8

    Newsday quote about Melo’s clutchness:

    “* – Carmelo’s game-winning jumper — he called it “Another Melo moment” — was the 16th go-ahead field goal made in the last 10 seconds of a game in his career. That total is now the most by an NBA player since the 2003-04 season, which moved him ahead of Kobe Bryant (15). Ray Allen (11) and Dirk Nowitzki (10) also top the list.

    Anthony is now 19-for-39 in shots that either tie or put his team ahead in the final 10 seconds of regulation or overtime, which is the highest percentage of any active player in those situations since 2003-04.”

  8. Spree8nyk8

    marxster:
    I’m wondering what guys on this board are expecting of the Knicks in the playoffs. I mean, the goal for this year has been to get into the playoffs. We’re in. Now what?

    It’s pretty unreasonable to think that we’re winning the east and going to the NBA finals. So, what would you be satisfied with? A first round exit but the team plays well? A second round exit?

    Well I firmly believe we are destined to win our first round series. It’s just my opinion. But the only problem I have with saying that is that the three teams at the top of the east I think all have about the same shot at each other. So if you can beat one of them, you can beat any of them. Do I expect to see the Knicks in the finals, NO, of course not. Could it happen? Yeah, it could, if you can beat any of those teams in a road series there is no reason for you to feel like you couldn’t beat the others.

    Either way it’s going to be fun.

  9. Jafa

    I’m expecting us to beat Boston in 6 games and probably fall to Miami in 7 games. Anything beyond that would feel like 1999 all over again. Anything below that increases the pressure for next season exponentially.

  10. Caleb

    It would be a massive upset (like, 8 to 1 or worse) for the Knicks to get out of the first round. To win three series in a row, I’d say it’s more like 50 to 1. (not as bad as 3 times 8:1, because if they win the first, I’d have to say they’re better than I think).

    Of the top 3, Boston is definitely the most vulnerable opponent. But that’s not saying much.

    If the Knicks put up a real fight – win a game or two, play tough and don’t get blown out more than once – I would consider the playoffs a success.

  11. Frank

    I think if the series goes to 6 games or longer, that’s a reasonably good season for us. This team is pretty flawed right now, but that can all be changed with one good draft pick or other pickup of a defensive big man to put next to Amare, and a real training camp where D’Antoni can make these guys even more efficient.

    That being said – I sort of give us a 40% chance of upsetting the Celtics. We’ve been very competitive with them all year, were a bad timekeeper/ref crew away from beating them on Amare’s 3, and were dominating them until the mid-4th of the most recent meeting. I feel like our team has come together pretty well since then and I would hope that 4th quarter collapses like that are a thing of the past.

    And as much as Shaq might make a difference assuming he comes back, I think Shelden Williams and Turiaf will be able to guard him well enough that the difference isn’t that marked. Or you go small and put Shawne in and watch as Shaq tries to either guard Amare or get out to Shawne in the corner. As great as Shaq was (he’s still reasonably effective) – he’s got to be in terrible shape at this point. Run him and run him and he’ll be out of the game pretty quickly or start giving up lazy/tired fouls.

  12. cgreene

    Here’s the conundrum.

    If the Heat get hot then we can get blown out and swept and wind up looking bad. If the Heat falter a little and, say, we win 1 of the first 2 games we could win the series because they can get out of rhythm very quickly and even choke as we have seen throughout the season.

    Boston has a history of needing 6-7 games to win series even in the 1st rd. So chances are we will get a couple of games against them. But I don’t see any way we win the whole series because of their late game execution and experience. I.e. they won’t choke. The Heat might.

    So if we want to just make sure we feel good about ourselves and get a couple of games and go into the summer looking for the big man that will get us to next level we choose the Celtics. If we want to actually win the series we choose the Heat with the downside of that being a sweep that makes us look/feel badly.

  13. d-mar

    I don’t think we even need to discuss the possibility of playing the Heat, as BBA said earlier, there’s no way they are losing either of their last 2 games at Atlanta and Toronto. They want the 2 seed and the chance to play Philly instead of us, so they won’t take their foot off of the gas, and they’re playing with a lot of confidence right now.

    As far as Boston goes, I would be hugely disappointed if we got swept, even if the games were close, and would feel pretty flat if we only won one game. I would love to split the first 4 games, and let Boston feel the pressure of a must win game 5.

  14. latke

    Caleb: It would be a massive upset (like, 8 to 1 or worse) for the Knicks to get out of the first round. To win three series in a row, I’d say it’s more like 50 to 1. (not as bad as 3 times 8:1, because if they win the first, I’d have to say they’re better than I think).

    Vegas has the knicks at 50:1 to win a championship, so nice call.

    Everyone in the east but the Bulls has shown serious flaws at different points during the season. I think since the trade we have been better the 4th best team in the east. Orlando is pretty average now, and Atlanta has struggled big time. It’s not impossible that we upset either Miami or Boston, but for me to be satisfied, I think what I need is for NY to win 2 games. Make it a series. Make the other team sweat.

    The 1st round of the playoffs are looking to be pretty exciting with a lot of strength, especially, in the west, on the bottom half of the bracket, and a lot of top teams struggling.

  15. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    I don’t know about that, Caleb. Maybe I’m naive about odds, but their chance of winning the first series probably lies around 35% (especially given that Boston’s margin of victory isn’t that great). It’s the NBA — the talent gap in the playoffs is simply not that wide. Would Vegas put 8 to 1 odds on a team that has a 1 in 3 shot at winning?

  16. Matt Smith

    No comments about Jared Jeffries’s incredible performance including a 3PM line that wasn’t zero?

  17. Frank

    I must say I was on the fence before but now I’d rather play Boston. Have you guys looked at LBJ’s stats from the 08-09 playoffs? 35.3 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 7.3 apg. PER of 37.9. TS of 61.8 on a usage of 36.4. The Heat have 2 guys that can just outright win a series on their own. They may be a flawed team but I don’t buy the talk that LBJ is not a good postseason performer — no one said that when he scored 4872 straight points against the Pistons that one game, or singlehandedly took the Cavs to the NBA finals. I think he probably was not really trying his hardest in last year’s playoffs so that it would look more reasonable when he left — I’ve tried for 6 straight years here and we couldn’t get anywhere, I think I’ll move on now. I have no doubt that LBJ will be giving it 150% this year.

    The Celtics on the other hand – this is a team that must be running on fumes in terms of confidence. Jeff Green is not a good fit for them, and they’re pinning their hopes on a 50 year old center and Jermaine O’Neal with zero knees. I know they’re veteran and blah blah but they got absolutely manhandled by Chicago and Miami this past week.

  18. art vandelay

    Go back to Boston or Miami for a game 5 on the road with the series knotted at 2-2 and it was certainly an excellent season (regardless of how rest of series goes) and first year of the official rebuild after gutting the team for 2 years in my book.

  19. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    I’m just excited for 40 straight nights of high-quality, nationally-televised NBA basketball! During finals, no less!

  20. Caleb

    The Honorable Cock Jowles:
    Would Vegas put 8 to 1 odds on a team that has a 1 in 3 shot at winning?

    No! But to be 1/3 for winning the series, you’d have to think their odds of winning any given game are upwards of 45 percent – and that doesn’t factor in Boston’s homecourt advantage.

    The Knicks have only won 52 percent of their games against opponents (the league) with a .500 team. And Boston is a lot better.

    Off the cuff I’d put the Knicks’ chances of winning any given game at maybe 2 in 5; on the road maybe 1 in 4.

  21. Garson

    I have been arguing with some friends about this , i had to post to hear some thoughts…

    Would you rather have Paul and throw ins? Or Sessions and Verejao.

    My argument is i feel Sessions would work well with Amare… and Verejao would energize the D enough to give a crap on a nightly basis. Verajao would also be the closest thing to Oakley since his departure

  22. Jafa

    Man, you guys have such low expectations. I would have been ecstatic if our pre-Melo team won 2 playoff games against Boston, but the stakes for the Melo-Knicks are much higher.

    Melo by himself on a team was good enough to make the 1st round and lose. STAT by himself on a team was good enough to make the 1st round and lose. Melo & STAT & Billups (about as old as all of Boston’s main cogs) should be good enough to make it past the 1st round. After that, they should be good enough to make both LBJ and Wade sweat really bad before bowing out.

  23. Jafa

    Garson:
    I have been arguing with some friends about this , i had to post to hear some thoughts…

    Would you rather have Paul and throw ins? Or Sessions and Verejao.

    The real question is Paul vs. Verejao, as Sessions may not even be better than Toney Douglas right now. I say if Mike D is still the coach, we go with Paul to give him the PG that can really run his system and keep trying to outscore the opponent with better guns. They could win 55+ games with Paul.

  24. Caleb

    Jafa:
    Man, you guys have such low expectations.I would have been ecstatic if our pre-Melo team won 2 playoff games against Boston, but the stakes for the Melo-Knicks are much higher.

    Melo by himself on a team was good enough to make the 1st round and lose.STAT by himself on a team was good enough to make the 1st round and lose.Melo & STAT & Billups (about as old as all of Boston’s main cogs) should be good enough to make it past the 1st round.After that, they should be good enough to make both LBJ and Wade sweat really bad before bowing out.

    Another way to look at it: what do the Knicks have to do in the playoffs to make the Melo trade look like a winner? Put that way, they have to do a lot better than winning a game or two. Improving this team is a lot harder than improving version 1.0, so if we aren’t in the conference finals or close (like 4-2 or 4-3 in Round 2), then I think the trade will be looking bad.

    But after what we’ve seen, anything better than 4-2 in the opening round, or even 4-1 in with tight-well-played games, would beat expectations and be fun to watch.

  25. Frank

    Hmmm- that’s a toughie. I assume we mean in 2012. I think you have to want Chris Paul no matter what. As hard as it is to find guys that defend, rebound, and have a great motor at the 5, Chris Paul is a hall-of-fame level talent from mainstream, advanced stat, any perspective. You need to go Paul here.

    Then I’d spend every draft pick we have, buy every draft pick that’s for sale, and spend them all on guys 6’10″+ that have shown rebounding/defending/motors in college or abroad.

  26. Jafa

    Frank:
    Hmmm- that’s a toughie. I assume we mean in 2012.I think you have to want Chris Paul no matter what.As hard as it is to find guys that defend, rebound, and have a great motor at the 5, Chris Paul is a hall-of-fame level talent from mainstream, advanced stat, any perspective. You need to go Paul here.

    Then I’d spend every draft pick we have, buy every draft pick that’s for sale, and spend them all on guys 6’10?+ that have shown rebounding/defending/motors in college or abroad.

    Sign me up for this strategy Frank. Starting with our 1st round pick this year (as we don’t have one next year). We could even purchase picks from Phoenix (always for sale), Utah (don’t they have like 4) and Minny (call it hand washing for giving them AR).

  27. Frank O.

    Hell yeah! Meaningful games in April!

    I think the Knicks shock either the Celts or Heat in the first round. Both teams are deeply flawed, and the Knicks are dangerous.
    I realize the Knicks also are flawed, but this bunch is peaking at the right time.
    Amare was a man among boys last year in the playoffs, so I expect him to be a monster this year. Coupled with Melo’s, frankly, fantastic play of late, they will be impossible to contain.
    The keys to the Knicks advancing will be the following:

    1. The Knicks can play defense. The question is consistency. If they can put a consistent effort together, they will be tough because there is no team in the east that can contain their scoring.
    2. How Chauncey goes so too will go the Knicks. If he is strong and plays tough, hits a majority of his shots and gets to the line, the Knicks are a very tough team.
    3. Supporting cast needs to show up. If Landry and TD and Williams and Walker and Turiaf can at least put forth consistent, high-energy minutes, it will take pressure off the Knicks leading three guys.

    I really hope Amare was watching the defense since he’s been out. The Knicks played some tenacious D in spurts. Amare needs to play big on both ends.
    Playoff ball is physical and exhausting. Nice that he’s getting some rest before it begins.

    But this is all gravy. They are a winning team and enter the playoffs, which in my book begins Tuesday, a hot team

  28. Frank

    shocker of all shockers – eddy curry doesn’t get a contract with MIA after several “workouts”, according to twitterverse.

    re: Amare – I hope this one week rest brings his focus and his legs back. There were times this year when he played good defense. As long as we can hide him behind Shelden/Turiaf/JJ, I think he’ll be ok.

  29. TheRant

    marxster: I’m wondering what guys on this board are expecting of the Knicks in the playoffs. I mean, the goal for this year has been to get into the playoffs. We’re in. Now what?

    I’m happy we’re in the playoffs, but I’m mostly looking to the team getting even better end-over-end for the coming two or three years.

    I will consider the season a success if by the end of the month Dolan has re-signed Donnie Walsh. We will have lost most of our ability to advance via trades and cap room, but re-signing Donnie will confirm to me that Dolan appreciates how far we have gotten and is at least focused on in looking like he cares about the slow and steady climb of rebuilding in a capped league.

    If Donnie leaves, then I barely even care if the Knicks win a single round this year, cause I’ll probably feel like we’ll never get much further than that. And I’ll be weepy all summer.

    (Unless we beat the Heat and Riley suffers a stroke and I get to watch LeBron and DWade cry during a press conference. That would make me feel good, I guess, even if Donnie is gone.)

    Oh, and I guess I’ll feel better if the Magic and the Hornets totally abandon Dwight Howard and CP3, respectively, during the playoffs. For obvious reasons.

  30. gabriel

    So excited so see the knicks going to the playoffs. Where is hoolahoop, cock jowles, and the rest of the nuggets/gallinari fans. i would respect you more as posters if you commented when the knicks and carmelo are playing good (kudos to cockjowles for some melo love, although he states he will begin hating on melo When we get swept or blownout ). Carmelo has been playing like a top ten player. furthermore, unlike gallo/chandler Melo is a closer.
    Sorry about the rant. But to the question of paul vs sessions/varjeo. I would probably go with sessions and varajeo. Because we would be filling two needs who are relatively young and healthy which is point guard and center, and it immediately help secure our most vulnerable position which is a defensive,rebounding, high motor center. this move will actually helps three position bc it will give amare a much lighter load to deal with. those two pickups also will make the draft much easier. I think it is kinda obvious especially with his knee issues. Which would make 2 out 3 stars with horrible knees, which is taking on much risk. However if its deron williams now thats a different argument.

  31. JK47

    I get the feeling that we will battle VERY hard against either the Celtics or Heat and probably come up a little short. If we take two games or more in the first round of the playoffs I think we have to consider it a successful season.

  32. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    gabriel:
    So excited so see the knicks going to the playoffs.Where is hoolahoop, cock jowles, and the rest of the nuggets/gallinari fans.i would respect you more as posters if you commented when the knicks and carmelo are playing good (kudos to cockjowles for some melo love, although he states he will begin hating on melo When we get swept or blownout ).

    The difference in Wins Produced between Paul and Williams is about the same as Williams and Devin Harris. That’s not a favorable comparison for either Williams or Harris. Furthermore, Chris Paul’s season, for all the talk of being “injured,” has been better than any point guard’s in the league (he’s 2nd in the entire NBA in WS/48).

    And re: Carmelo, did you forget how much the Knicks gave up for him? For what, a 14-12 record? You don’t think the players we were watching for most of the season could have done that? If the trade hadn’t been made, the playoffs would have been a near-certainty anyway. And yes, it appears as though Carmelo is a “closer.” But it’s hard to get those opportunities when, unlike teams led by the LeBron Jameses of the league, you’re letting the other team keep it close until the end.

    14-12. With two “superstars.”

  33. cgreene

    The Honorable Cock Jowles:

    14-12. With two “superstars.”

    pretty good under the circumstances I would say. middle of season trade. no depth. no center. amare not playing at 100%. the horrible 10 game stretch. lotta potential there once roster adjustments are made. melo and billups get used to playing new system. amare gets back to full strength. have a full pre-season to prepare. looks like a 55 win team next year to me. thanks for pointing that out, thcj. oh… wait… that’s not what you meant?

  34. Frank

    @38 – I appreciate that you have really staked out your Carmelo position and need to somehow justify it in light of the recent 7 game winning streak, especially when it is looking a bit like your personal dream team, the Knuggets, will draw OKC and possibly get knocked out in the first round.

    But really – to perseverate on the 14-12 record is a little silly as pointed out by cgreene. I mean if 10-20 games after a completely team-wrenching trade is how we should evaluate players, then you probably also think that the European teams that beat the American Olympic teams in the early 2000s also had superior players right? I mean, they had a better record in the Olympics than our “dream teams” right? No matter that a lot of those guys have been playing together for years, and the “dream teams” were always thrown together in a few weeks before the Olympics. I mean seriously, shouldn’t we just get the Puerto Rican team that beat the “dream team” by 19 points and sign those guys? Can you imagine how low-cost those guys would be? (even cheaper than Ty Lawson, amazingly!)

    LOL – sorry for the snark. but seriously – we should all be happy that our NYK are looking better. I really think we need to look forward and not backward at a trade that 99% of us think was lopsided the wrong way. What’s done is done, and wishing we had drafted Lawson, wishing that we had kept Mozgov — all that doesn’t matter now.

  35. art vandelay

    cgreene you also forgot to mention the Point guard acquired in said deal, Billups, missing 6 games during that stretch and not being at full strength even for several games after returning from injury when he was actually hurting the team.

  36. art vandelay

    well stated, Frank…we could have done a LOT of things differently over the course of the last 10 years that completely destroyed the franchise…at least in this case, though we overpaid, I am pretty confident we got an elite-level or close to elite player, and billups is a better than average point guard even this deep into his career….we didn´t get marbury here, or curry, or crawford, or give up unprotected lottery picks….things could be a lot worse.

  37. Jafa

    Frank:
    shocker of all shockers – eddy curry doesn’t get a contract with MIA after several “workouts”, according to twitterverse.

    Here’s the Yahoo article:

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=AnG_1aP5NxqJ0C3iL9QknBG8vLYF?slug=aw-wojnarowski_miami_heat_reject_curry_041111

    “Curry’s poor conditioning and more than 350 pounds of weight ultimately doomed his bid to join the Heat.”

    More than 350 pounds? I mean, this may be great for an offensive lineman in football but a basketball player weighing more than 350? How much does Shaq weigh?

    “Several NBA teams, including Miami, are expected to monitor his progress over the summer and consider the possibility of bringing him to training camp next season.”

    I say he’s done with his NBA career and better contact Antione Walker on what not to do to survive in retirement.

  38. Thomas B.

    Boston seems to be the weaker (right now) of the top seeds. Combine that with the Knicks looking like the strongest of the lower seeds, and maybe the Knicks give the Celts a run for their money.

    I do find the chatter about Miami and Boston being “deeply flawed” very amusing. I love the Knicks, but this team is far more flawed than Miami or Boston. The Knicks have every flaw the Celtics have–no interior game, lack of a defensive center and wing, questionable shot selection at the point. Add to that the Knicks’ overall poor defense and rebounding.

    The one nice thing is that the Knicks seem to be playing closer to their best entering the playoffs than the Celtics are. If niether of the O’Neals can be effective and, if Rondo can’t break down defenses, the celtics will have trouble scoring. If the Knicks can pick up the defense against this team, then sure they could shock everybody. The Celtics don’t get much bench scoring, but the Knicks have to keep KG and Davis off the offensive boards if they plan to take advantage of the scoring troubles.

  39. Frank O.

    Thomas B.:
    Boston seems to be the weaker (right now) of the top seeds. Combine that with the Knicks looking like the strongest of the lower seeds, and maybe the Knicks give the Celts a run for their money.

    I do find the chatter about Miami and Boston being “deeply flawed” very amusing.I love the Knicks, but this team is far more flawed than Miami or Boston. The Knicks have every flaw the Celtics have–no interior game, lack of a defensive center and wing, questionable shot selection at the point.Add to that the Knicks’ overall poor defense and rebounding.

    The one nice thing is that the Knicks seem to be playing closer to their best entering the playoffs than the Celtics are.If niether of the O’Neals can be effective and, if Rondo can’t break down defenses, the celtics will have trouble scoring.If the Knicks can pick up the defense against this team, then sure they could shock everybody.The Celtics don’t get much bench scoring, but the Knicks have to keep KG and Davis off the offensive boards if they plan to take advantage of the scoring troubles.

    Thomas: I do think both the Heat and Celts are deeply flawed, but so too are the Knicks. As I said, the Knicks are peaking while the Heat and Celts have been up and down. Knicks will match up well with either team.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if the Knicks steal the first series.

  40. gabriel

    “I hate donnie walsh right now.
    You just don’t give away 4 role players for a superstar killer in the NBA.

    Who is 26 yrs old.

    YOU JUST DO NOT DO THAT!

    THAT’S NOT HOW MEDIOCRITY IS WON!!”

    cant take credit for it, heard it somewhere.

  41. BigBlueAL

    Read an interesting stat regarding the Heat and Celtics. The Heat take 4 more FT per game than their opponents while the Celtics actually shoot almost 1 less FT per game than their opponents.

  42. Frank

    Meanwhile – a great post at BBR re: the age-old fight over whether more minutes = lower, higher, or the same production for guys playing limited minutes.

    Despite Mike K’s “layman’s guide to statistics” saying that “Study, after study, after study shows a player’s per minute production to stay the same despite how many minutes they play” — this statement really isn’t true (which I’ve said over and over with much ridicule directed at me). If 5 people get better, 5 stay the same, and 5 get worse, on average everyone stayed the same — but that doesn’t mean that the 10 people that got better or worse didn’t really exist. So here is a post from BBR discussing this:

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/blog/?p=9206

    More interesting is the link provided down near the bottom – which was a statistical analysis of what players’ stats tend to do when they change teams, roles, or both — quite interesting considering many people expected Melo to be exactly the same player here as he was in Denver, despite the possibility that the “D’Antoni effect” exists. The end result is that predicting the future based on a different team’s past is not as accurate as one might think.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/blog/?p=8472

  43. Frank

    also interesting is the scatterplot of the results of the study in comment #12 (same author, Neal Paine) — as you can see, the general trend is that players stay the same or maybe somewhat better than even — BUT – there are many players below the Mendoza line with worse PERs despite more minutes. So while you would necessarily expect a player to have higher or lower production with more minutes, you wouldn’t be surprised if they surprised you in either direction.

    That is not the same as “Study, after study, after study shows a player’s per minute production to stay the same despite how many minutes they play”.

  44. CRJoe

    Going back to the post trade ranting, my biggest gripe has always been the “What do we do now???” question…

    How are we supposed to surround ‘Melo & Amar’e with the supporting cast, I remember Brian arguing we could strip the entire team to throw a contract that starts at 13.5-14 mill the first year to Chris Paul… and then??? Eddy Curry & Jerry Stackhouse completing the starting five with Balkman as the 6th man??? Even if we go for the more reasonable way of getting say, Marc Gasol & Luke Ridnour or something like that, we would still wind up with a flawed roster and a run to the conference finals at best…

    My concern is that we have put together a roster that has little flexibility to improve in the next 4 years, either via trade (where we don’t have young assets/picks to bait anyone) or FA (where we have room for two role players or one great player… And a bunch of minimun contracts)…

  45. Jafa

    CRJoe @ 51,

    Its all relative to the competition. We seem to be building our team the same way Miami has built theirs (although their stars took less money which helped). East contenders in the next couple of years may include Miami, Chicago, New York and New Jersey (if they get DWill and D12 on the same team, which follows the same model we are using). Except for Chicago, all these teams will be heavy.

    So, relative to our main competition, were on the right track. However, in the west, the organically grown teams (via draft and opportunistic trades) like OKC, Denver, Portland, LAC and Memphis will rule the land, setting up Finals matchups that showcase opposing team building philosophies.

  46. ess-dog

    The Honorable Cock Jowles:
    I’m just excited for 40 straight nights of high-quality, nationally-televised NBA basketball! During finals, no less!

    Damn, you’re a student? I was picturing a Mr. Burns-type in a secret underground volcano lair…

    Re: playoffs, I think both Miami and Boston will be tough. On the one hand, I think Boston is one injury to either Pierce, KG or Rondo away from becoming very beatable. And since 2 of the 3 are over the hill, that is a possibility. On the other hand, I hate looking at the Celtic colors, fans, announcers, logotype, mascot, everything and would prefer not to have to have indigestion the whole time I watch the series.
    But when you consider the Heat: 1. Melo has a great record against LBJ. 2. Every game will be like a home game. 3. They’re weaknesses are our weaknesses (center and pg.) 4. They’re coach really shouldn’t be running a Dairy Queen, much less an NBA team.

    It’s a toss up.

  47. BigBlueAL

    “They’re weaknesses are our weaknesses (center and pg.)”

    PG is not a weakness for the Knicks. Against the Heat PG will actually be a huge advantage for the Knicks.

  48. CRJoe

    But the main difference between Chicago and Miami is their depth… When healthy Chicago has relied in their multiple threats to dominate games, they have a slashing in-the-paint-monster in D-Rose, a dominant low post presence in Boozer, a versatile scorer in the wing with Deng, and then you have a bunch of opportunistic scorers that compliment those 3 primary weapons so well (a second chance scorer in Noah, a spread the floor shooter in Korver and a I-have-no-idea-how-he-does-it in Taj Gibson, who’s putting 13 points per 36 minutes, better than Shawne and Landry)… I’m not even gonna discuss their team defense ’cause it’s simply ludicrous…

    And then you have Miami…

    If Miami sees a bad night from either Wade or Bosh they struggle (they’re 6 and 10 when Wade shoots 40% or worse, and 2 & 3 when he hasn’t played)… And their supporting cast has suffered instead of improving via those miraculous opportunities they we’re gonna have since everybody was gonna be busy with the Big 3, House is having his worst season since ’05, Chalmers has never looked worse, the same can be said of Ilgasukas & Dampier, all of them are or we’re starters… Has Bibby ever handled the point so poorly (1.3 asist/TO ratio)??? Have you ever seen worse defense from a point guard??? (I’m sparing Miller due to injuries)… Miami doesn’t have the weapons to win the conference over Boston or Chicago, even if their most recent game seems to dispel that notion, much less go all the way over any of the top 4 seeds in the west, and unless the Grizzlies suddenly decide that Mike Miller is the missing to their championship run and that Gasol kid is just holding them back, they have nowhere to go for the next 6 years, no tradeable assets no space, nothing…

  49. ess-dog

    BigBlueAL:
    “They’re weaknesses are our weaknesses (center and pg.)”

    PG is not a weakness for the Knicks.Against the Heat PG will actually be a huge advantage for the Knicks.

    I agree but defensively against Chicago or Boston, Billups can be considered a liability.

  50. latke

    Iguodala sitting tonight v. Orlando. They’re only down 6 mid 3rd quarter, but it’s hard for me to imagine they’ll pull this one out without Iggy and Williams. Boston is also resting all it’s starters and is down 1 to the Wizards, so it looks like they will definitely be our matchup.

  51. CRJoe

    latke:
    Iguodala sitting tonight v. Orlando. They’re only down 6 mid 3rd quarter, but it’s hard for me to imagine they’ll pull this one out without Iggy and Williams. Boston is also resting all it’s starters and is down 1 to the Wizards, so it looks like they will definitely be our matchup.

    It depends on how long Howard plays, they were up by 9 when he went out in the second, when he came back, they were down by 2… If Van Gundy sits Howard the whole 4th quarter this game’s definitely Philly’s…

  52. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    ess-dog: Damn, you’re a student?I was picturing a Mr. Burns-type in a secret underground volcano lair…

    Grad student and I teach composition at a small college a couple hours north of NYC. Last semester I wrote a paper on the rhetoric of advanced statistic “technical writing.”

  53. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Frank:
    Meanwhile – a great post at BBR re: the age-old fight over whether more minutes = lower, higher, or the same production for guys playing limited minutes.

    Despite Mike K’s “layman’s guide to statistics” saying that “Study, after study, after study shows a player’s per minute production to stay the same despite how many minutes they play” — this statement really isn’t true (which I’ve said over and over with much ridicule directed at me).If 5 people get better, 5 stay the same, and 5 get worse, on average everyone stayed the same — but that doesn’t mean that the 10 people that got better or worse didn’t really exist.So here is a post from BBR discussing this:

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/blog/?p=9206

    More interesting is the link provided down near the bottom – which was a statistical analysis of what players’ stats tend to do when they change teams, roles, or both — quite interesting considering many people expected Melo to be exactly the same player here as he was in Denver, despite the possibility that the “D’Antoni effect” exists.The end result is that predicting the future based on a different team’s past is not as accurate as one might think.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/blog/?p=8472

    That study uses PER as a relevant statistic, and it is not. PER rewards volume shooting, even at abysmal (below replacement level) efficiency. The study is a sham.

  54. CRJoe

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: That study uses PER as a relevant statistic, and it is not. PER rewards volume shooting, even at abysmal (below replacement level) efficiency. The study is a sham.

    Don’t you think you’re discrediting PER a little much??? Take for instance Monta Ellis and Andrea Bargnani, the both of them are among the top ten in field goal attempts in the league, and they shoot at a decent rate (54% True shooting)… Yet, their PER is barely above average…

  55. CRJoe

    It works the other way around too btw… Among the top ten leaders in PER, there are 3 players who are NOT IN THE TOP 40 in fg attempts… Gasol, Howard & Chris Paul… The three of them are either 1st or 2nd All-nba team and yet there are 40 guys taking more shots than them in the League (which in Howard and Paul’s case is just appalling)…

  56. BigBlueAL

    Celtics are in a tight game down the stretch and none of their Big 4 are on the floor. Interesting.

  57. BigBlueAL

    OH WOW, the Big 4 didnt even play tonight for the Celtics. The Wizards are truly awful then.

  58. cgreene

    Can’t believe I am watching ESPN NBA Coast to Coast right now and they are talking about the Knicks as a huge 1st rd threat. Times are a changin. Bruce Bowen thinks they are going to ECF. Ha.

  59. JK47

    Now that the #6 seed is wrapped up, I propose giving 35 minutes in each of these last two games to Renaldo Balkman, because it’ll be funny.

  60. art vandelay

    Is New Orleans clearly losing its game tonight on purpose to avoid matchup with lakers? they are down 12 in 4th quarter at home to Utah….suspect, no?

  61. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    CRJoe: Don’t you think you’re discrediting PER a little much??? Take for instance Monta Ellis and Andrea Bargnani, the both of them are among the top ten in field goal attempts in the league, and they shoot at a decent rate (54% True shooting)… Yet, their PER is barely above average…

    54% is about league average, and I believe Bargnani might be one of the worst rebounding players in the league over 6’4″. Ellis probably doesn’t do much aside from shoot, too. So, yeah, Bargnani is league average by this measure (but well below average by most others).

  62. Z-man

    So, we have nothing to play for in the next 2 games, do we rest guys? Melo’s wrist, Amar’e’s ankle, Billups’ thighs…

  63. d-mar

    Our game against Boston Wed. will be a sub extravaganza, I’m sure Celtic fans who bought tickets in advance are thrilled.

    Maybe Balkman can dive for a loose ball in front of the Celtic bench and KO one of the Boston starters.

  64. CRJoe

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: 54% is about league average, and I believe Bargnani might be one of the worst rebounding players in the league over 6’4?. Ellis probably doesn’t do much aside from shoot, too. So, yeah, Bargnani is league average by this measure (but well below average by most others).

    So you’re agreeing that PER is not rewarding this high volume shooters….

  65. Z-man

    PER has its weaknesses, like all other measures of overall value. Mike K has pointed out the virtues and flaws of the common overall metrics, if I recall correctly.

    That said, THJC, you must agree that the PER outliers are not all that many, especially for players with big minutes. Which all-in-one stat do you think surpasses PER, Berri’s Win shares? Adjusted +/-? They have their outliers, too.

  66. BigBlueAL

    I was kinda hoping that at least tomorrow night’s game would still mean something but since its not I really dont want Amar’e to play at all. Rest that ankle.

    Melo and Billups give them token minutes on Wed and thats it. Dont have problems with them playing normal minutes tomorrow night though.

  67. BigBlueAL

    Last time Knicks faced the Celtics in the playoffs I was 9 yo and following/rooting for the Knicks for the first time ever. That series started my love affair with the Knicks.

    Damn I feel old now lol.

  68. John Kenney

    To all those who think we “should” get out of the first round with a roster that includes amar’e/melo/billups… keep in mind that you’re then arguing a roster that includes rondo/garnett/pierce/allen “shouldn’t”.

    On a random note: Russell Westbrook shoots around 20% better on ISO 3pt attempts than spot ups. He shoots 46% on iso 3′s! Isn’t that the weirdest stat ever?

  69. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    CRJoe: So you’re agreeing that PER is not rewarding this high volume shooters….

    No, I’m saying that despite Bargnani being terrible (like, really bad), he’s still above average with respect to PER because he shoots a lot.

  70. jon abbey

    the schedule works out terribly IMO for the Amare situation, you’d prefer he didn’t need to get live game action against the very physical combo of Noah and Boozer but that’s really the only choice at this point, maybe 25-30 minutes.

    is there a site that tracks career head-to-head individual matchups? I’d like to see Billups/Rondo and Melo/Pierce especially.

  71. latke

    jon abbey:
    the schedule works out terribly IMO for the Amare situation, you’d prefer he didn’t need to get live game action against the very physical combo of Noah and Boozer but that’s really the only choice at this point, maybe 25-30 minutes.

    is there a site that tracks career head-to-head individual matchups? I’d like to see Billups/Rondo and Melo/Pierce especially.

    ask and ye shall receive:

    Billups/Rondo: http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/h2h_finder.cgi?request=1&p1=rondora01&p2=billuch01

    ‘Melo/Pierce: http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/h2h_finder.cgi?request=1&p1=piercpa01&p2=anthoca01

    Rondo matchup doesn’t look too bad… Pierce/’Melo matchup not so great.

  72. Z

    Anybody know when the exact date and times of the first round games are going to be announced? I happen to be in Boston next weekend and, voila– so are the Knicks! (I am hoping to be able to catch my first live Knick playoff game since watching the Spurs celebrate on the MSG court…)

    I know that, back in the day, the Knicks used to get the Saturday matinee game to start the first round. Is that likely to remain the case, all these years later?

  73. BigBlueAL

    From the speculation Ive read it looks like it will be a Sun/Tue start to the series in Boston. I would assume the Sun game would be the ABC game which would mean I think a 3 or 3:30 start. Games in NY could be on Fri and Sun.

    Wont be official until all reg season games are done though, so early Thurs morning or late Wed night the schedule should be out.

  74. CRJoe

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: No, I’m saying that despite Bargnani being terrible (like, really bad), he’s still above average with respect to PER because he shoots a lot.

    Aw come on now… Bargs is not that bad, there are only 15 guys in the league who average 20+ and 5+ per 36 minutes, and is a pretty convincing list…

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/psl_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&type=per_minute&per_minute_base=36&lg_id=NBA&is_playoffs=N&year_min=2011&year_max=2011&franch_id=&season_start=1&season_end=-1&age_min=0&age_max=99&height_min=0&height_max=99&birth_country_is=Y&birth_country=&is_active=&is_hof=&pos=&qual=pts_per_g_req&c1stat=trb_per_mp&c1comp=gt&c1val=5&c2stat=pts_per_g&c2comp=gt&c2val=20&c3stat=&c3comp=gt&c3val=&c4stat=&c4comp=gt&c4val=&c5stat=&c5comp=gt&c6mult=1.0&c6stat=&order_by=off_rtg

    Sorry for the enormous link… But as you can see he’s with very select company there… 10 all stars, Aldridge, Randolph, Granger… Brook is the only one who seems like an odd man out, but still is an above average player…

  75. Brian Cronin

    How are we supposed to surround ‘Melo & Amar’e with the supporting cast, I remember Brian arguing we could strip the entire team to throw a contract that starts at 13.5-14 mill the first year to Chris Paul… and then??? Eddy Curry & Jerry Stackhouse completing the starting five with Balkman as the 6th man???

    In that scenario, the Knicks would have their second round picks that year plus Jerome Jordan (who would make less than the cap hold, so he’d be available, as well).

    I dunno who would be available that year for the veteran minimum (if there even is a veteran minimum), but Chris Paul/Roger Mason Jr./Melo/STAT/Jordan is a very good team. And that’s before even taking into consideration gems you might uncover from the D-League or some better veteran 2 than Mason.

    The Bulls have the best record in the Eastern Conference, and they start Keith freakin’ Bogans at the 2!!!

    So I am not (and I presume the Knicks are not) too concerned about who the Knicks would surround a Paul/Melo/Amar’e core. Of course, the key is making New Orleans think that the Knicks would willingly do that (and Paul would, as well) so that the Hornets trade Paul for the poo-poo platter of Toney, Billups, Fields, the 2011 first round pick and the right to swap first rounders for infinity (or whatever trade the Knicks can come up with to get the Hornets to deal). That way the Knicks wouldn’t have to renounce whoever else they’ll have on the team by that point.

  76. BigBlueAL

    Chris Paul is amazing and is clearly the best PG in the NBA but man his injury history really scares me. Not to mention watching him this season go through alot of games where he just looked awful.

    Its a testament to how good he is that he still is putting up amazing numbers this season.

  77. Brian Cronin

    By the way, do you know who is an unrestricted free agent in 2012?

    A 36-year-old Vince Carter. That would not be a terrible option at the 2 for the veteran’s minimum, no?

  78. Z-man

    Brian Cronin:
    By the way, do you know who is an unrestricted free agent in 2012?

    A 36-year-old Vince Carter. That would not be a terrible option at the 2 for the veteran’s minimum, no?

    I hate the guy, and would rather not, but whatever. He probably gets more than that anyway.

  79. Frank

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: That study uses PER as a relevant statistic, and it is not. PER rewards volume shooting, even at abysmal (below replacement level) efficiency. The study is a sham.

    “Sham” might be a bit strong of a word — he’s not trying fool anyone with the study, and as noted by others, PER is not that horrible a stat. I can’t remember which stat you like, but if it is Berri’s stat, then I strongly argue against any stat that has ever had Troy Murphy in the top 20 players in the league.

    In any case, that wasn’t my point. My point is that no matter what statistical measure you might like to use, blanket statements like “Study, after study, after study shows a player’s per minute production to stay the same despite how many minutes they play” are gross generalizations. In something as inexact as individual stats in a team sport, some players will always do better, some the same, and some worse when given more minutes (except probably free throws, which are a decidedly individual stat). I agree that there is no overall trend towards better or worse, but that is a very different statement than “production will stay the same” no matter how many minutes are played.

  80. Frank

    Jermaine O’Neal with 15pts, 13 reb, 5 blocks in 37 minutes. That he can play that many minutes and be productive like that can’t be a good sign for us.

  81. Z

    Brian Cronin:
    By the way, do you know who is an unrestricted free agent in 2012?
    A 36-year-old Vince Carter.

    I think Carter may have a Billups like buyout in his current contract this summer, so he may not be available in 2012. But if he is, then yes, that would definitely be a good way to spend $650,000.

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