Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Knicks 110, Sixers 88

New York Knicks 110 Final
Recap | Box Score
88 Philadelphia 76ers
Carmelo Anthony, SF 30 MIN | 7-16 FG | 6-6 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 21 PTS | +20

Look, we know a Carmelo Anthony who carefully picks his spots, regularly finds the open man, and knows when he’s about to hoist one too many was bound to be as sustainable as a Soviet tar factory. He might not read every headline, but Melo absolutely knows when his game – and thus his stock amongst the viewing public – is peaking, and as a result can hardly help himself from trying to push that luck further up the index ladder. That’s basically what we saw tonight — early on, anyway. But at least the slow starts and stretches of blind hoists are being coupled with board pounding and fleet-footed rotations on the other end, and a more discerning shot selection as the game wears on.

You wanna know the best part? You can actually hear Melo on the defensive end. It’s total barking nonsense, but after a hundred or so games of far-too-regular glazed-over indifference, we’ll take it.

Tyson Chandler, C 28 MIN | 5-9 FG | 4-4 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 14 PTS | +14

So I guess Tyson puking all over the place yesterday wasn’t just a figment of our collective imagination; dude actually had the flu or strep throat or SARS or something. He looked noticeably better tonight, and wisely took advantage of Kwame Brown’s latest NBA outbreak by freely roaming off him and daring whatever guard was in Tyson’s vicinity to try and thread an impossible needle. Luckily, Sheed’s remarkably quick ascendance from second rate summer league carnival barker to serviceable NBA soldier made it possible for Tyson — who still managed to tally a few genuinely terrifying stops and throw-downs and pair of very fluid-looking mid-range jumpers before departing — to get out of the game and chug some Nyquil. Are kids still doing that?

Jason Kidd, PG 18 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 3 PTS | +12

We should’ve known Kidd would sandbag the whole of this year’s preseason slate, only to turn it on just in time for one last stab at the mountaintop. His first three games were tempered flashbacks to a bygone brilliance, minus the uncanny combination of speed and strength and plus a few dozen brow furrows. Woodson wisely limitd J-Kidd to 18 cursory minutes in this one, which was perfect because Jason was gonna be late for Silver Platter Night at Perkins. His ability conduct players to proper spacing in spite of atrophied skills, and man up respectably well on dude’s twice his size and half his age (one stand against Spencer Hawes sticks out) have been nothing to scoff at.

Raymond Felton, PG 23 MIN | 6-13 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 8 AST | 16 PTS | +12

As Jared Dubin aptly pointed out on the Twits, Ray Ray had yet to turn a solid first stanza into a totalizing four-quarter performance. He might well have done so tonight, had he not been yanked in lieu of a fresher Pabby Prigs in trash time. While he was out there, Ray did a much better job checking Jrue “Contract Year” Holiday, caressed a few fabulous lobs Tyson’s way, converted on a couple of powerful drives, and snagged some crafty rebounds. We’ll let him live for now.

Ronnie Brewer, SG 33 MIN | 5-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 10 REB | 0 AST | 13 PTS | +16

One of these days – when he finally gets his sea legs back about him – Ronnie won’t need to approach every layup like there’s a 12-sail mobile windmill roaming the paint. Speaking as someone who’s returned to the court after missing a game with a really bad hangover, it sometimes takes a while before your peripheral awareness reaches even keel – until then it’s pretty easy to psyche yourself out with thoughts of limbs that simply aren’t there.

Still, Brewer’s quickness is coming around, particularly on D, where he’s figuring out how to effectively funnel his man into low post trouble. Despite some subpar post-injury hops, Ronnie seems to have a well-honed knack for where the rebound is headed, and has been especially adept at quickly finding the proper outlet man in transition. And the three point shooting? Who saw that coming? QUICK, SOMEONE BREAK HIS OTHER ARM!

Kurt Thomas, PF 6 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | +5

Kurt still can’t crazy-eye the basket into a friendly bounce, but dude’s remained eminently serviceable regardless, and has absolutely mastered the art of just shoving bros out the way on defensive rebounds. I have no earthly idea how the refs don’t see it, but there it is.

Really though, the most worrisome thing about KT that I’ve noticed thus far is that my wife can’t tell him and Ronnie Brewer apart. I thought Ronnie’s gold molar was a dead giveaway, but whatever…

Rasheed Wallace, PF 14 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 10 PTS | +3

At this rate, by December Rasheed Wallace will be opening the arena doors, assembling the floor, microwaving the nacho cheese, moving out the baskets, operating the pre-game smoke machine (the one that’s not a sawed off milk jug), and playing all 48 minutes while coaching the team and rubbing everyone’s quads.

By the time he hit his preposterous fading three from the top of the key to close out the third, Sheed was on a 74 –per-36 clip, and his gray spot had signed a lucrative endorsement deal with Just For Men. We kind of figured the shot would come around; what we weren’t sure of — and what we’re pleasantly surprised to see — is how well Sheed could manage himself on the defensive block. He had peeps jumping over, through, and around him a few times down the garbage stretch, but the help defense was in pure Piston form.

Steve Novak, SF 22 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 PTS | +3

It’s weird how ridiculously sad I get whenever Novak misses – my shoulders slump and I sigh and fart and just feel horrible about myself and life in general. Which, unfortunately, has been the case the past couple games, as Stevak’s typically true aim has been a few degrees off. No need to panic, however, especially if he can keep from getting hammered into bonemeal on the defensive end.

Chris Copeland, SF 3 MIN | 1-2 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 5 PTS | 0

CHRIS COPEL-ANAGRAMS: Lead his corn PC.

Pablo Prigioni, PG 25 MIN | 3-5 FG | 4-4 FT | 1 REB | 6 AST | 11 PTS | +10

Mike Breen seems fairly certain that Prigs is “an irritant,” to the point where he repeated it ad nauseum throughout the first half. Every time Mike says this I like to think of him arriving for his pregame shootaround banter with Clyde, as Pablo careens shot after shot off the rim and into Mike’s knees, and Mike turns around just as Prigs grabs the ball and says “lo siento” without making eye contact…

Anyway, it feels like Prigs is starting to find some kind of geriatric rhythm a mere handful of games into his NBA career: he’s measures more confident with his dribble, and showing a frighteningly early acumen for hawking passing lanes. But from Priggie Slim’s first eight outings can even come close to watching him pick off a pass on the wing, drive to the rim with a defender in each pocket, leave the floor for a layup knowing that if he puts it up it’s going to get sent THROUGH the backboard, before flicking it around the airborn defenders at the last possible second, the ball bouncing aimlessly towards half court before J.R. Smith picks it up on the fly and carries it the rest of the way for an and-one flush. Prigs deserved seven assists for that – one for each bounce.

James White, SG 3 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | 0

As far as I’m concerned, if James white doesn’t step on someone’s head, it was a DNP.

J.R. Smith, SG 34 MIN | 7-15 FG | 1-1 FT | 7 REB | 5 AST | 17 PTS | +15

After a breakout 20-point performance Sunday afternoon, J.R. Smith came out swinging. Literally. Like, he almost hit Royale Ivey in the face. As he did yesterday, Smith began with a few errant looks and an air of general skittishness. That all soon subsided, however, as J.R. turned in one of the finest all around performances I can ever remember seeing from him — hounding defense, deft dishes, good rebounding, and an overall assassin’s discretion on the offensive end.

Five Things We Saw

  1. Seriously, that first quarter had some of the ugliest stretches of basketball I’ve ever seen – like 10 ATOs decided to cap off a night of buttchugging with some garbage can basketball in a basement where everyone’s falling over all the other buttchuggers trying to dribble a taped up bunch of sucks. Chalk it up to a back-to-back coupled with a tangible malaise of familiarity. Things got a little more professional thereafter, thank God, but now you can go Google buttchugging and make it a truly capital evening.
  2. Once again the help defense and ball-slap-ery were both remarkably taut, though there were a few more lapses than were witnessed yesterday. This remains the most encouraging development of the young season, to be sure. But what’s made it truly special is the quickness with which the Knicks are able to shake off a sluggish start and hunker down. Whereas in seasons past it would take a quarter or more for the defensive communication to get clicking – if it ever clicked at all – this year Woodson seems to have really drilled home the idea that there’s really no good goddam good reason at all why you should ever have an “off” night on defense.
  3. The arena crew had to replace a net right before the third quarter, an inconvenience Breen naturally blamed on Prigioni.
  4. For the third consecutive game, the Knicks were damp from downtown, hitting 13 of their 32 hoists. Which helps mask maladies such as getting out-boarded by 11 and getting to the strip seven fewer times than your interlocutors. We’ll ride this train so long as it’s chuggin’, obviously, but defense can’t be the only thing we fall back on when the rim gods get fickle and the shots aren’t falling.
  5. As pretty much everyone is probably aware by now, the Knicks are 3-0 for the first time since the millenial season of 1799 — the year star pointe white man Zebediah Adams led the Knickerbockers to their first ever Colonial Sheepsgutball title over Malcolm “Fire Hair” McGillicutty and the heavily favored Providence Rum Dandies… Actually Encarta’s telling me they did it again in 1999. Which doesn’t seem like all that long ago, until you consider that the following were real things:

    * Wikipedia was Encarta
    * Chumbawumba made millions of American dollars
    * Anthony Davis was SIX
    * South Park was in its third season
    * I drove a beige Mercury Sable and never once changed the oil
    * You had to page someone if you wanted some jazz cigarettes

    So, yeah, it’s been a while. None of us have any idea how long this bonkers manna will last, but it sure is fun. I don’t know what kind of Jedi shit Woodson’s been spittin’, but he’s clearly got this team’s ears and asses right where he wants them — and their hearts right where we all always wanted them to be.

26 comments on “Knicks 110, Sixers 88

  1. ephus

    The first three games could not have gone better. When the roster is fully healthy, this team is a threat to beat anyone in the playoffs.

  2. jon abbey

    “his gray spot had signed a lucrative endorsement deal with Just For Men.”

    this is a white spot that he’s had since his teens, I believe.

  3. jon abbey

    JR is there at the bottom.

    some research makes it seem like Sheed’s white spot is probably a birthmark, although I didn’t see anything definitive. he’s definitely had it since UNC at least, though.

  4. nicos

    Man, if Brewer can hit that corner three consistently that would be huge- he’s been an awful three point shooter in the past so it’s very unlikely he keeps it up. It’ll be interesting where he gets minutes when Amar’e gets back as even if Amar’e comes off of the bench Melo will be taking up a good chunk of the minutes at the three he’s getting now.

  5. ruruland

    nicos:
    Man, if Brewer can hit that corner three consistently that would be huge- he’s been an awful three point shooter in the past so it’s very unlikely he keeps it up.It’ll be interesting where he gets minutes when Amar’e gets back as even if Amar’e comes off of the bench Melo will be taking up a good chunk of the minutes at the three he’s getting now.

    When you spend a few hundred hours on something I think there’s a chance you can improve.

    If there was ever an example of a guy who commited the time to developing a 3pt shot, he’s on the Kncks roster.

    If he can simply make 35% he suddenly becomes an elite role player, and I’d argue as good of a role player as any guy on a contending team.

  6. ruruland

    JC Knickfan:
    Defense is looking good. I know we still have time, but what do with Amare when he come back?

    Starting or not starting, he’s going to be a big positive.

    The Knicks need a second consistent threat to the middle of the defense in the pnr.

    Without Amar’e they are a good not great paint scoring and ft team. With Amar’e they can be a great paint scoring and good ft team.

  7. ruruland

    “They, right now, do not have a weakness,” Collins said. “If they continue to play like this, they are going to be a force to be reckoned with in the East.”

    I disagree. They lack a guard who can seriously pressure the smaller elite guards, rim protection, shot contestion and rebounding when Chandler and Wallace aren’t in the game, and a second elite scorer who capitalizes on the Knicks spacing and pnr skilled pgs.

    Oh wait.

  8. nicos

    ruruland: When you spend a few hundred hours on something I think there’s a chance you can improve.

    If there was ever an example of a guy who commited the time to developing a 3pt shot, he’s on the Kncks roster.

    If he can simply make 35% he suddenly becomes an elite role player, and I’d argue as good of a role player as any guy on a contending team.

    Well, he’s never shot above .275 so he has a ways to go. He’s never really taken very many- he’s never averaged more than one a game- so perhaps repetition will help. If he could hit 35% from just one spot- either corner most likely- and have the confidence to take it whenever he’s open (something he lacked in Chicago) it’d make a huge difference. I was thrilled when we got him- he’s a great wing defender and smart (if conservative) passer. He’s not even moving at 100% and he’s locking people up. He’s going to earn minutes whether he can hit the three or not, it’ll just be a huge plus- especially once Amar’e comes back.

  9. nicos

    Also, one vast difference from last year- the quality of shots they’re getting late in the clock. No panic from any of the point guards- they’re pulling the ball back out and running sets even when the clock is running down- that’s going to help Melo’s TS% a ton.

  10. ruruland

    nicos: Well, he’s never shot above .275 so he has a ways to go.He’s never really taken very many- he’s never averaged more than one a game- so perhaps repetition will help.If he could hit 35% from just one spot- either corner most likely- and have the confidence to take it whenever he’s open (something he lacked in Chicago) it’d make a huge difference.I was thrilled when we got him- he’s a great wing defender and smart (if conservative) passer.He’s not even moving at 100% and he’s locking people up.He’s going to earn minutes whether he can hit the three or not, it’ll just be a huge plus- especially once Amar’e comes back.

    I prefer trendlines over career averages, particularly when it comes to the 3-pt shot for guys who came into the league without it.

    But in this instance, the fact that Brewer’s never shot more than 85 3s in a season makes very difficult to guage what he’s ultimately capable of shooting.

    There’s a ton of precedent for guys like Brewer who came into the league without a 3pt shot, had pretty terrible career % on relatively small sample, who developed into at least average 3pt shooters.

    But even without a consistent 3pt shot, he does so many things above average, like you mentioned. Defensively, his Synergy numbers have consistently been better than many of the percieved top wing defenders, including his teammate Deng.

  11. ruruland

    nicos:
    Also, one vast difference from last year- the quality of shots they’re getting late in the clock.No panic from any of the point guards- they’re pulling the ball back out and running sets even when the clock is running down- that’s going to help Melo’s TS% a ton.

    yeah good point.

    Melo is getting a lot of great shots right now and he’s not converting at the rate he’ll likely convert at as the season wears on.

    His isolations are way down, as are his mid-range contested shots. He’s dominating in the post, but shooting quite poorly on spot-ups.

    He’s not even close to getting going on offense.

    He loves facing Marion (,http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8RZIcxsdVo) and I suspect it might be one of those games that really kick-starts him, particularly with the days off. Melo has always had to manufacture points on b2b, and you could see his legs really weren’t there tonight.

    Dallas is a very good team, and imo, will eventually be the second or third best club in the west when they are healthy.

    Friday is a huge challenge.

  12. jon abbey

    ruruland:
    Dallas is a very good team, and imo, will eventually be the second or third best club in the west when they are healthy.

    Friday is a huge challenge.

    of course Dirk is out which helps, and Marion left tonight’s game with a knee strain. Mayo has been going nuts, who guards him?

  13. massive

    One thing ruru deserves credit for is calling the Wallace signing a (potentially) great one. Almost everybody mocked him for this, and Wallace now looks like the best healthy PF on the team not named Carmelo Anthony. Hopefully he can remain productive in whatever minutes he gets in the future.

  14. ruruland

    jon abbey: of course Dirk is out which helps, and Marion left tonight’s game with a knee strain. Mayo has been going nuts, who guards him?

    He often operates off Collison’s penetratio and in transition. I like Kidd on him.

  15. ephus

    I, for one, am excited that Chandler has added a 15′ – 18′ shot to his arsenal. If he takes and knocks it down consistently (or at least at 45%), he will force teams to guard him away from the rim and help with the spacing for ‘Melo and STAT. It still going to be difficult to play all three together, but maybe with Kidd and Felton providing floor balance it could work.

    I see a Prig, Shumpert, Novak, STAT and Sheed unit being really effective. STAT will need time with the ‘Melo, but he will have lots of room to operate in the lane with Novak and Sheed demanding coverage on the perimeter.

  16. Frank

    Regarding Brewer’s three-point shooting, I remember there was a shot chart on him that showed he was about a 37% shooter from the right corner. So they thought this out about putting him on that spot. Woodson has said that he is a numbers driven guy- makes you feel like he knows all this.

  17. H20

    Frank:
    Regarding Brewer’s three-point shooting, I remember there was a shot chart on him that showed he was about a 37% shooter from the right corner. So they thought this out about putting him on that spot. Woodson has said that he is a numbers driven guy- makes you feel like he knows all this.

    I think this is the chart you are referring too, also someone mentioned last night that Dave Hopla the shooting coach we hired may have helped brewer with his shot a little.http://vorped.com/bball/index.php/player/shotchart/1124-Ronnie-Brewer/season/2011-2012-REG

  18. Juany8

    I wonder how people are starting to feel about picking teams like Atlanta and Brooklyn over the Knicks. It seems like picking up old veterans who know how to play and handle a winning locker room helped out after all.

    I’m also at the point where I’m glad the Knicks passed up on Lin (and not only because I’m a Rockets fan lol) Felton spaces the floor better and fits in better with the Knicks dogged defensive identity. I also feel that if Lin was here soaking up the media attention, it would cause resentment among his teammates, and the best part of the Knicks play so far is everyone being pretty damn unselfish and united. Lin is certainly a better player than Felton, but the most important PG on this team is Kidd anyways, the offense simply works when he is on the floor.

  19. The Infamous Cdiggy

    Juany8:

    I’m also at the point where I’m glad the Knicks passed up on Lin (and not only because I’m a Rockets fan lol) Felton spaces the floor better and fits in better with the Knicks dogged defensive identity. I also feel that if Lin was here soaking up the media attention, it would cause resentment among his teammates, and the best part of the Knicks play so far is everyone being pretty damn unselfish and united. Lin is certainly a better player than Felton, but the most important PG on this team is Kidd anyways, the offense simply works when he is on the floor.

    I can’t say I’ll ever be at the point of being happy the Knicks passed up Lin, but even by watching Sunday’s game, I kinda-sorta see where the whole “Felton/Kidd a better fit” thought process comes from.

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