Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Knicks 112, Heat 92 (Seriously)

New York Knicks 112 Final
Recap | Box Score
92 Miami Heat
Kurt Thomas, PF 11 MIN | 2-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | +8

4-minute Kurt managed a tad more stamina tonight, converting a couple of wayward Kobe assists while sour-pussing his way around the basket for seven timely bounds, helping spur the Knickerbockers to a more-than-decent effort on the boards for what seems like the first time in eons. I still don’t really get or grok the whole “Starter in Name Only” thing, but it seems to be working, so…

Ronnie Brewer, SF 27 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 0 PTS | 0

The corner bombs and mid-range uglies weren’t falling, but Brewer was brewin’ some hellacious one-on-one D facing off against the most unstoppable force on planet earth. (The MonStars woulda posterized Brew, but that’s to be expected)

Tyson Chandler, C 31 MIN | 4-7 FG | 5-8 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 13 PTS | +23

This quote from Tyson pretty much says it all: “It’s important to know how you can beat a team. Granted, it’s one game, but last year things were very different. We got smacked around a little bit by them. It’s important that you take a little from each game, take a little learning, because when it comes down to it we’re going to have to go through a team like this when it comes to the playoffs.” Exactly. Even on a night when he’s covering huge tracts of land and commandeering the defense as a whole like an in-his-prime Ray Lewis (and just as shout-y), he’s already prepping for the really brutal playoff battles that are yet to come. Miami wasn’t exactly in peak form, but Tyson’s probing for weaknesses/seeing the big picture/thinking long-term. Awesome.

Jason Kidd, PG 32 MIN | 4-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 11 PTS | +31

Kidd bonked some wide open shots, but the offensive flow is soooooo much better when he’s getting extended minutes that kvetching about aborted heaves is like complaining that Chopin’s Études sound pretty and all but they’re rilly hard for a 1st year piano student to play. So much brainy goodness. And if you didn’t enjoy the strip of DWade at the top of the key , the chasedown almost-block of Mario Chalmers and/or the slow-motion crawl to the tin past Jesus Shuttlesworth for a layup, then you, Sir, have no soul. Good day, Sir…I SAID GOOD DAY!

Raymond Felton, PG 35 MIN | 10-20 FG | 1-1 FT | 4 REB | 7 AST | 27 PTS | +19

Dear Ray,

I have no idea what your preferences are, gender-wise, regarding the choice of a life partner (though the fact that you do have an adorable moppet/rug rat down in the Carolinas leads me to believe that this entire bit may be in vain), but, as you’ve probably noted, gay marriage has been legalized in New York State. So, if you’re not doing anything Friday night, what say you and I put on our best finery, wake the local justice of the peace, and run on down to the courthouse n’ get hitched?

Like Julia Roberts said (more or less) in Notting Hill, “I’m just a guy, standing in front of a point guard, asking him to love him.”

No? Poop. Oh well. I’ll just have to pine from afar. I mean, Kim Kardashian was in attendance and considering the magnitude of Felton’s complete badassery, there’s about an 87.438% chance she got his digits after the game. We all assumed once Melo was declared out with a shredded fuck you finger, that we’d see 25-odd heaves from Ray-Ray. What I certainly didn’t expect was that he’d unleash deadly crossovers, ungodly finishes at the tin and a surgeon’s vivisection of every defender that was thrown in his path. He drilled contested threes, fed Tyson in the paint and picked out open gunners as if Miami had thrown sheet of tissue paper in the path of a raging, rabid bulldog. And when Miami started switching on the pick and roll, he ISO’d Haslem/Bosh like…gulp…Jeremy Lin circa Feb. 2012. (That’s right, a reference to Linsanity that isn’t filled with pangs of regret and dismay. Go figure.) The irrational confidence (The Marbury-esque, “I believe I’m the best PG in the NBA,” quote, f’rinstance) that fueled his eye-gougingly atrocious, Starksian brick-fest v. the BK Hipsters is the evil twin brother to tonight’s stupendous 27 point, 7 dime, 6 triple statistical wonderland. Considering the weapons at hand, there wasn’t much choice. But even in the midst of his white-hot night, he still was distributing with gusto and running the offense with aplomb. There may have been better outings during Felton 1.0 (under the kindly tutelage of of the Pringle Man), but I can’t recall one right now. Then again, I’m so giddy with glee right now I can barely splle or tipe, let alone recall events from two years ago. Just WOW.

Rasheed Wallace, PF 14 MIN | 4-13 FG | 4-6 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 12 PTS | -1

Not all was great and glorious. Exhibit A: Sheed’s offense. It’s not just the great big goose egg he put up outside the arc, it’s the fact that every time he got chuck-tastistc, I’m fairly sure Steve Novak was within spittin’ distance all by his lonesome. Still, he was a useful sub for Chandler during a valuable stretch in the 2nd half, leading to The Goatee’d One solemnly intoning, “That’s great minutes, Boy!” (Only Son of Wood could get away with referring to the Great God Balldontlie as “Boy”), and any evening when he does this is worth the price of admission.

Steve Novak, SF 34 MIN | 7-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 18 PTS | +13

You know how in the playoffs, Miami practically straightjacketed Stevak? Well, in two contests this season, NOVAKAINE (I think this might be the appropriate moment to resurrect that moniker, n’est pas?) has 35 points, 9 treys, and is gunning at a tidy 57% clip. I may still be tweaking out on the beauty of tonight’s win, but I’m pretty sure he even cadged Sheed’s three-fingers-to-the-temple flourish after one make late in the 4th. Only fair, if Sheed’s discount triple checking, Novak can…whatever the name for Sheed’s gesture is. Life is so much better when Steve’s ballin’, though, isn’t it? Air’s fresher. Sun’s a bit brighter. All seems right in the universe. And when he’s dusting off his newly-minted Arthur Murray School dance steps to cobble out the inch or two of space he requires, sending defenders flying off into some unsuspecting spectators lap/cardboard container of $12 Nachos, it’s like puppy breath and finding a twenty in an old pair of jeans and a random Facebook message from an ex telling you how good you look these days all mashed together, fresh out of the oven. Love you, Steve.

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

HI COPE!

Pablo Prigioni, PG 13 MIN | 3-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 7 PTS | +2

Even Steve Kerr seems to have picked up the “Prigioni = Pest” meme. Like many pests, vermin and other creepy critters, Prig’s vibe evidently is contagious, or, a “Contagioni”, if you will. [Rim shot. H/T Seth from P&T]. If everyone’s returned to an upright position and is no longer doubled over with knee-slapping guffaws at said delicious pun, resume reading about how Prigs put in some effective floor general-ing off the bench and probably merited some burn earlier in the 3rd, say when Miami was whittling away at an 18 point advantage. Why Woody chose to quarantine him for so long, I’ll never know. Get it? I’ll show myself out.

James White, SG 17 MIN | 3-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 7 PTS | 0

A serious HI to you James White. Strike that, no hi at all. As opposed to his usual garbage time antics, White did a nifty job subbing for a foul-prone Earl in the first half, doing his best imitation of an in-control J.R. — banking a corner three, converting a nice slash to the hoop and playing plus defense. Smiley face. Check plus. A+. All the plusses.

J.R. Smith, SG 23 MIN | 4-15 FG | 2-4 FT | 6 REB | 4 AST | 13 PTS | +7

Earl’s shot is still broken. {Dr. Hopla to the emergency room. Paging Dr. Hopla. We’ve got a shooting stroke in critical condition.} and he routinely got lost trying to keep up with whomever he was guarding (I don’t know about you, but I had serious difficulty telling which Heat was which, what with the white on white atrocities they dared to call uniforms. Then again, I probably shouldn’t go all Mr. Blackwell. Just wait until the Knicks break out their all-orange, “I just busted out of Gitmo” duds. Gah.), from LeBron on down. Regardless of events on the court the man’s swag-o-meter is always ratcheted up to 11 with, like, the knob torn off so you can’t lower it if the neighbors complain or something. So, like Whitney warbled, IIIIIIIII will always love youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu

Carmelo Anthony, SF DNP FINGER INJURY MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | PTS |

TAKE YOUR TIME. DO NOT RUSH BACK. IT’S NOT PERSONAL, BUT THERE’S NO NEED TO MAKE THIS ANY WORSE THAN IT NEED BE. LOVE, BOB

Five Things We Saw

  1. Remember last night, when I opined to our favorite fair-skinned, lithe recapper, the right honorable James X. Cavan, that a blank page would be the best way to express the Dadaist absurdity that was/is last night’s Knicks/Kitties tilt? Yeah, well, this win, against that team, sans Melo, was just as improbable and even more tabula rasa-inducing. Honestly, after 2k words, I’m still not sure what I could possibly say that would do justice to the immense joy that all of Knick Knation is feeling right now. The ball movement, the defensive rotations, the unselfish play, the aesthetically precise spacing, the seven (count ‘em, SEVEN) turnovers, the timely hoops to either stave off a Miami run or unleash the perfect, bomb-tastic antidote to Miami’s Flying Death Machine, DEATH FROM ABOVE, (or, “Shock and Awe” for those among us who don’t fret about the casual, persistent intrusion of military metaphors/terms into everyday life), it all culminated in a wholly dominant, glorious thrashing of New York’s most hated rival. By the end, when the all-white clad Florida Stormtroopers were shrugging their collective shoulders at sloppy turnovers and allowing Tyson Chandler enough time and space to make, sensual, delicate love to the partner of his choice, smoke a cigarette and maybe even prepare him/her a light snack or at least a beverage or something after he received the ball on a pick and roll and converted an almost laughably easy dunk, LeBron looked like he wanted to rip one of his ‘mates heads off and use the goop found therein to re-grout the tiles in his bathroom. Good. Mr. The Decision’s misery/impotent rage was like a bit of black truffle shaved on top of a medium rare, perfectly cooked Waygu tenderloin glazed with a Schadenfreude aioli. Suck it, LeBron. You too, Riley. I hope your stomach is roiling with such immesurable anguish and anxiety that you’re gobbling fistfuls of Prilosec whilst simultaneously weeping and furiously masturbating into your hand-tailored, silk Armani spankerchief.
  2. At around 7-ish, when it was announced that Melo’d sit, I’m pretty sure every Knick fan with an operant cerebral cortex was steadying themselves for a thorough thrashing or, at best, a moral victory where the team hung around and kept the score close before the Miamians ripped off a collective Knick limb and beat them over the head with it down the stretch. I had a boatload of ready-made excuses/rationalizations for a big ol’ check in the L column: No Melo. 2nd night of a back-to-back. The Heatles would be out for revenge after the opening night thrashing under the dark clouds of Hurrican Sandy AND they’d just benn snookered by the Wiz 48 hours ago. Like you, I assumed that in order to miraculously unearth a win, they’d have to limit themselves to single-digit turnovers, get insanely hot from three point range, and get an unreal, career-defining performance from Felt or Smith or, heck, even Chris Copeland coupled with an off night from two out of the three Big Three. Check, check, check and check.
  3. So, um, what’s wrong with the Heat? I suppose one could chalk it up to a general post-chip malaise/”When you’re No. 1, you don’t have to try so hard”-ism but, not to wholly judge them based on one or two contests versus the ‘Bockers, it seems to me like they’ve got two concerns that can’t casually be dismissed. First, the otherworldly, oh-so-devastating defense that smothered OKC and every other playoff foe just isn’t there. They’re not closing out on shooters nor are they rotating to stop dribble-penetration. When noted speed-merchants like Prigs and Felt and even Jason Kidd can practically sashay to the rack with nary a body to impede their path, you know there’s a problem. They were the 5th best defensive squad last because they employed superior athletes who trapped like fiends and seemingly possessed more limbs to deflect passes than Shiva. But, with their relative lack of size [insert “Size doesn’t matter!” joke here], unless they play in an over-caffeinated frenzy/with a royal chip on their shoulder, they’re vulnerable. Second, something’s wrong with Dwyane Wade. It could be a lingering injury or it could be, after years of getting whomped, he’s just lost a couple of miles off his fastball. It’s eerily similar to what befell Amar’e last season — the lift/explosion just isn’t there so he’s relying more and more on midrange shots which aren’t dropping. Why? Because the defense doesn’t fear him blowing by them so they get in his grill and he doesn’t have the legs to properly elevate. Look, I hate DWade as much as anyone but still, even in the case of a detestable Knick-killer, there’s something sad/tragic about watching a phenomenal athlete reduced to the status of a mere mortal. So yeah, that’s what’s wrong with the Heat. Did I just answer my own question? Yes. Yes I did.
  4. Since we’re in a Proustian, detailed recalling of the past-type mood, ‘member that game last year when the Nix were similarly shorthanded and they commenced to flinging shots at an “I’m behind by 20 points in NBA Jam and the only hope I have of winning is if Dale Ellis gets the ‘on fire’ thingy to happen so I better start chucking” rate. Welp, that happened, but 44 triples when they arrive in the grasp of wide open hands after ping-ponging around the perimeter and event under the hoop at back is a different animal altogether. I still say there’ll be far more outings like last night where the ball goes clang time and time again, but they’re running the core of the D’Antoni offense (and make no mistake, Woodson has DEFINITELY held on to a huge chunk of Mike’s playbook) with such machine-like efficiency, it’s hard to complain. I hope Melo’s return doesn’t completely mess it all up. I keed, I keed!
  5. Sorry this took so long to post, but I spent about an hour in a state of bliss that I didn’t want to disturb with the violence of trying to articulate the who’s, what’s, how’s and why’s of this gorgeous victory. You know what I mean? It’s like a soap bubble of joy floating in the air and you know if you touch it, it’ll burst into a million pieces of doubt about the aforementioned sustainability of a team shooting over 40% from downtown for the season or any long-term damage having been wrought upon Melo’s mitt or any logical, rational thought(s) that might pounce on this state of bliss like a tiger and rend it asunder. Then I called my Dad, because that’s what I always do, whether it’s a soul-torturing, blood-curdling defeat or (on rare occasions) a joyous triumph,. You know, when people talk about sports like it’s a thing for meatheads and knuckle-draggers and encourages some of our baser instincts – the clannishness and the petty nationalism and a Manichean, black and white, us-versus-them worldview — my retort is always that in the end, it’s not about the games at all really. It’s the people you share the experience with, whether that’s a blood relative or a gaggle of life-long friends or all you faceless names/avatars out there in KB-land. It’s a fealty to something greater than one’s self that is shared by a community, win or lose, and that the collective experience is what elevates sports beyond the mundane to, dare I say it, a spiritual pastime. And that’s a good and noble thing to partake in. So call your Pops or your Best Bud or shoot me a message on the Twitter. After all, we’re all this together. (Yes, I’m well aware that it’s a hella lot easier to wax poetic/see hoops as sacred after a beatdown of the bad guys, as opposed to the other way around) Let’s do it again tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow, to the last syllable of recorded time. First place, y’all.

65 comments on “Knicks 112, Heat 92 (Seriously)

  1. JoMo

    Great recap, Robert. I swear, with every three that Novak crushed, I could hear a faint roar throughout my entire block. I also had a revelation when Ray Ray crossed up Haslem. He looks just. like. O.D.B., Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Dirt McGirt. I just kept screamin’ “DIRTAY!” with every slick and shrewd move he unleashed thereafter.

    This win has caused unmitigated bliss.

  2. Count Zero

    “At around 7-ish, when it was announced that Melo’d sit, I’m pretty sure every Knick fan with an operant cerebral cortex was steadying themselves for a thorough thrashing or, at best, a moral victory where the team hung around and kept the score close before the Miamians ripped off a collective Knick limb and beat them over the head with it down the stretch.”

    /nod nod

    And when they went in at the half even I had my moral victory and was pleased even though I knew the blowout was coming. Then an extraordinary thing happened at the start of the third quarter…

    I think I owe Woodson an apology at this point. He’s a much better coach than I thought he was when he was in Atlanta. Maybe it’s due to his learning something about offense from Pringles?

    I never thought I would use the word “giddy” to describe my own state of mind — but it seems to fit tonight so I’ll go with it.

  3. jon abbey

    JoMo:
    I also had a revelation when Ray Ray crossed up Haslem. He looks just. like. O.D.B., Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Dirt McGirt. I just kept screamin’ “DIRTAY!” with every slick and shrewd move he unleashed thereafter.

    this is awesome.

  4. nicos

    Speaking of Felton’s crossovers- did Eric Spoelstra steal D’A’s defensive play book? Pretty much any screen at the top of the key was met with a switch that left a big on Felton. I know they wanted to take the roll away from Chandler but leaving your big on an island on the perimeter when you have little enough interior defense as it is probably isn’t the best strategy- see also the couple of times Chandler got switched onto LBJ and Bron just held the ball until some Knick inevitably turned their heads on then made the easy pass to the cutter for a layup. In the past they would have trapped the shit out of Felton and trusted their rotations- they really need a healthy Battier as Allen and Mike Miller are about as effective in rotation as Steve Novak.

  5. TheRant

    Thank you, Robert.

    What can I say? What can any of us say? I’m just sitting here at almost three in the f**king morning and I still can’t go to sleep, I’m just too happy.

    I’m glad Melo was able to show his injured middle finger to the Heat in the correct manner. We are a team. And we have a coach.

  6. yellowboy90

    One thing that might have went unnoticed was Smith at the end of the game denying the Heats points at the end by blocking shots and creating steals. I like the message the Knicks sent at the end and how they kept it a 20 point lead which sends a better message than 15 or 18

  7. Frank O.

    I have one concern after the win:
    Will Melo’s return disrupt this team’s flow and would he be willing to play with the second team?
    Lol

  8. njasdjdh

    1. Well, I’ll be…ruruland for President.

    2. This has nothing to do with his play, but I think it’s hilarious that Felton has a brand new baby and he got married in August and that baby is not his wife’s.

  9. cypes

    we are the best TEAM in the league RIGHT NOW been along time since i felt that way THANKS RAY RAY.and woody

  10. ruruland

    nicos:
    Speaking of Felton’s crossovers- did Eric Spoelstra steal D’A’s defensive play book?Pretty much any screen at the top of the key was met with a switch that left a big on Felton. I know they wanted to take the roll away from Chandler but leaving your big on an island on the perimeter when you have little enough interior defense as it is probably isn’t the best strategy- see also the couple of times Chandler got switched onto LBJ and Bron just held the ball until some Knick inevitably turned their heads on then made the easy pass to the cutter for a layup.In the past they would have trapped the shit out of Felton and trusted their rotations-

    No, they just can’t stop pick and roll. Their switches worked. They wanted Ray to take those shots.

    Expect a ton of that in the playoffs, and I’d absolutely expect Lebron to guard Chandler and then Felton. So he can decide to either switch or hedge and recover to Chandler with his incredible closing speed and strength to keep Chandler from scoring when he arrives.

    I wouldn’t change a single thing when/if we face them in the playoffs. The problems for the Heat defensively have only begun though.

    Remember in the first game of the season they blitzed the high pnr, which naturally led to a ton of open shots.

    If they start switching, that’s when you get their bigs and Lebron out of the paint, and torch them with post-ups or side screen and roll with Melo/Brewer/Smith and Amar’e.

    This team is going to be literally unstoppable on offense when those two get back. We have’t seen anything yet.

    Defensively, the Knicks we really fortunate to give up just 92 points. Heat had a lot of good looks they missed.

    Shump and Melo will help (Melo doesn’t need double team help, in the same way Brewer didn’t need it)

  11. ruruland

    TheRant:
    Thank you, Robert.

    What can I say?What can any of us say?I’m just sitting here at almost three in the f**king morning and I still can’t go to sleep, I’m just too happy.

    I’m glad Melo was able to show his injured middle finger to the Heat in the correct manner.We are a team.And we have a coach.

    How much fun is this, right?

    Great thing is, at no point will any pundit or mainstream news person ever really believe the Knicks are the best team in the east.

    Yeah, the Knicks (knock on wood injuries) will be favored against all teams not named Brooklyn and Miami, but none of those other teams should scare the Knicks, especially when you have as many guys as hungry as the Knicks have. They will clownstomp teams in the first couple of rounds at MSG in the same way Denver did in ’08-’09 at home. But I think this team is smart enough to know not to burn off too much pent up emotional energy.

    The Knicks will never have the pressure against the top teams.

    This is exactly what happened with Dallas.

  12. ruruland

    One thing I’d really like folks to talk about is the team’s Miami has played over the last two years in the playoffs.

    Who have they struggled with defensively and who have they dominated and what were the central differences?

    To me, it’s pretty clear that passing teams have had great success against Miami. Maybe that seems really dull and obvious to everyone.

    But when the Heat can really hone in on what you do from a dribble drive perspective, they just destory like no other. When you don’t have multiple attack modes, you are fucked no matterif you have harden, Durant and Westbrook all doing their thing.

    Oklahoma City was not a very good passing team, and still isn’t, though they have clearly stressed it and are getting better. They rely on semi-transition and isolation to create their ball movement, which typically is one pass to the open shooter (they have amazing shooters). That doesn’t work well against the Heat when that’s all you do.

    Boston, a very inefficient offensive team by playoff standards the last two years (18th and 27th in Ortg the last two years) has actually had pretty good success offensively against Heat because

    a) they had a variety of attack modes, from KG post-ups, Pierce post-ups/isolation, Rondo screen and roll and penetration, Ray Allen coming off screens.

    b) they moved the ball freely. Not even the Heat are faster than great ball rotation.

    Dallas had/did the exact same thing. Terry coming off screens, Dirk posting up, Barrea screen and roll, and great ball movement against their great rotation.

    And the most important trait both teams shared was patience. In effect, the let the Heat’s over-aggressiveness become its weakness.

    The Knicks have significantly better finishers than Dallas and Boston did (Chandler and Amar’e), Melo (Dirk/Pierce), better shooting, and the best pick and roll point guard (Rondo is not a great pick and roll point guard, but he is infiintely better than Felton in…

  13. ruruland

    I’m really interested in people’s thoughts on this because Chicago, OKC, Philly, and New York from last year all seem really similiar offensively to me.

    Indiana had a lot of success, too. They had multiple attack modes and decent ball movement.

  14. JK47

    I wonder if the Heat will do something to shake up their roster a bit. They seem to have the wrong role players.

    Mario Chalmers, Ray Allen, Shane Battier, Rashard Lewis, Mike Miller and James Jones all pretty much the same player: one-dimensional shooting specialists who are slow, don’t defend well and don’t bring a whole lot else to the table besides their shooting. Battier has the good defensive reputation but I’m not sure how great a defender he really is at age 34. Ruru mentioned it in the last thread– they rely on rotations a lot on defense, and the perimeter guys are all slow-footed.

    They’re 24th in the league in D-Rating now. They’re getting torched for a .500 eFG% and don’t force turnovers. In the other two of the four factors, defensive rebounding and FT/FGA, they’re average. The Knicks eviscerated them to the tune of a 120.2 offensive rating last night. It’s getting harder to argue that their defensive problems are simply a matter of effort.

  15. ruruland

    Also, in post 14, not saying Melo is better than Dirk in terms of pure efficiency of course or scoring from isolation/post-ups. Dirk is the best scorer in those situations in the NBA. But Dirk actually didn’t play all that great in the Finals against Miami, at least not compared to his historic run prior to that.

    But there’s this.

    Melo has two 40 point games against the Heat in his last 7. He has 3 40 point games against Lebron in his last 9 matchups. All of that was accomplished without another true offenive attack mode.

    I think he can have the kind of series or better than what Pierce had against Lebron in ’08 on the Celtics championship run. (Pierce wasn’t all that great until his 41 points in game 7. He was .532 TS on pretty low usage.)

  16. d-mar

    The Knicks ability to take care of the ball this season has been nothing short of astounding. 7 turnovers last night against a team that thrives on them, and Felton this season is averaging only 2.3 (last night he had 3 and it seemed like a lot!) Kidd has 9 the entire season, granted he missed a few games.

    That to me is the most important stat of the season so far, it means you’ll rarely get blown out and most likely have a chance to win every game against any competition.

  17. maxwell_3g

    a C for sheed???? i know he keeps chucking and missing threes (although I contend for spacing purposes, he needs to continue to shoot these, unless, of course Novak is open right next to him). but his defense and rebounding were tremendous. we wnet 4 minutes to start the fourth with sheed, prigs, brewer, kidd, and novak. we featured the sheed bricathon on offense, but i think the sum total was something like knicks 2, heat 2. i thought he played great

  18. Nick C.

    Wouldn’t a C be the average of F for upchuckery and A for defense/rebounding? This game was great. The team is something like a hydra. Take something away and another threat pops up to kill you.

  19. Owen

    Talk about rising to the occasion…..

    Great post!!!

    Absolutely loved it – and the victory last night. Clearly the server was excited about it too and decided to hit the bars.

    For me, the best part of the whole night was Novak’s threes and my wife leaping from her chair to do the discount double check. I married a good’un…..

  20. RicanKnick

    WOW!!! What a GREAT victory!!! Great recap Rob!!! “2At around 7-ish, when it was announced that Melo’d sit, I’m pretty sure every Knick fan with an operant cerebral cortex was steadying themselves for a thorough thrashing or, at best, a moral victory” #AMEN…Being a Knick fan for about 24 yrs now and it’s crazy how when we were wining by like 10 points, I was just expecting them to blow up the lead and end up losing by 7. SO GLAD it didn’t happened. I’m so proud of my NY Knicks!!! I saw the game with my girlfriend (who is a Heat fan) at a Buffalo Wild Wings and when we got home…yes…I didn’t get ANY. But I couldn’t have slept happier!!!

  21. DRed

    Owen:
    Talk about rising to the occasion…..

    Great post!!!

    Absolutely loved it – and the victory last night. Clearly the server was excited about it too and decided to hit the bars.

    For me, the best part of the whole night was Novak’s threes and my wife leaping from her chair to do the discount double check. I married a good’un…..

    Wife? I remember when you first started cheating on David Lee . . .

    Congrats

  22. StatsTeacher

    What an ass kicking. That’s gonna leave a mark for quite a while. Barkley WAS right, one team did get “beat like a drum”.

  23. Frank O.

    Ruru:
    Ball movement is king. The rotations simply can’t catch up when the spacing is good.
    I think, however, that Barkley is a bit right about DWade.
    The guy lacks that extra gear. He’s a good guard right now, not the cold-blooded-killer-who-could-stuff-a 7-foot-athletic-center kind of player he has been.
    And when the Heat can field two guys with that kind of raw athleticism and talent meshed with their particular kinds of will, it is devastating.
    But at the moment, it’s primarily Lebron, with DWade trying, and a cast of characters who have a) gotten suddenly old b) gotten complacent or c) they weren’t particularly good role players to begin with but Lebron and Wade could pick up the slack for all of them.
    Or there is option d) which is that the Knicks have so vastly improved as a team, having some better and more skilled and experienced guards, many more practices together and a coach who manages both ends of the court. Not to mention, two players, Melo and Felton, are having better than recent history seasons.
    Oddly, as good as Melo has been, there is a strong argument to be made that Ray Ray is the MVP of this team.

  24. Frank O.

    My point is that we shouldn’t write the Heat’s epitaph quite yet.
    There remain two more rounds with them. We’re a +40 so far. :)

  25. DRed

    Let’s not forget that the Heat are hiding their secret playoff superweapon, BigJorts55, deep on the end of their bench.

  26. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    I hope the Knicks keep shooting 40 3PA a game. More, more, more. Fewer long 2PA, more 3PA.

    At this point, I’m ready to call this as the Berri-ites have: this is a 60-win team, barring injuries.

    And it’s not because of Melo.

    ; )

  27. massive

    2007 Miami: 8th
    2008 Spurs: 3rd
    2009 Celtics: 2nd
    2010 Lakers: 4th
    2011 Lakers: 6th
    2012 Mavs: 8th
    2013 Heat: 21st

    These are the DRtgs of every championship team since the Heat won a championship in 2006. Every team except this year’s Heat remained a top 10 defense. So I’m ready to say the whole “Miami doesn’t play defense because they won a championship” argument is bullshit. They went for older 3 point specialists and effectively shoved Joel Anthony out of the rotation. Does anyone really believe the Heat can have a top level defense with Chris Bosh as their interior presence? I don’t. Things will not turn around for the Heat.

  28. johnlocke

    Barkley “may” be right about DWade, but how quickly we forget the performances this guy had against Indiana after everyone including his coach chewed him out. I’d need to know whether he was healthy or still recovering from injury (or a knee surgery) before casting such dispersions. Where Barkley is wrong is in his assessment of the Knicks. Like all stubborn analysts – he has confirmation bias. He still says he thinks Brooklyn is better than the Knicks after last night. His lazy analysis: they can’t be that good b/c (i) no one will shoot that hot in a 7 game series and (ii) we don’t rebound the ball all that well. No mentions of turnover differential, no mentions of defensive efficiency, no mentions of assist % (all of which are much more consistent than 3pt %) and all of which play a larger role in why we’re winning. Even if we’d shot league average from three last night, we would have still SPANKED the Heat!

    Frank O.:
    Ruru:
    Ball movement is king. The rotations simply can’t catch up when the spacing is good.
    I think, however, that Barkley is a bit right about DWade.

  29. johnlocke

    But we’re already injured. Did the Berri-ites do an updated model based on an injured Amare and injured Shump?

    The Honorable Cock Jowles:
    I hope the Knicks keep shooting 40 3PA a game. More, more, more. Fewer long 2PA, more 3PA.

    At this point, I’m ready to call this as the Berri-ites have: this is a 60-win team, barring injuries.

    And it’s not because of Melo.

    ; )

  30. johnlocke

    Depends on whether he was guarding Steve Novak in the corner, I’d say… lol

    flossy: Could Wade’s help defense on that play be any worse?

  31. massive

    Spurs: 1st
    Pistons: 3rd
    Spurs: 1st
    Lakers: 19th
    Lakers: 7th
    Lakers: 21st
    Spurs: 2nd

    That’s the rest of them through 2000. The Lakers are an interesting case as their defense fluctuated from year to year, but they still had Shaq in the middle for those teams. I don’t think the Heat will win a championship this year with a declining Wade and with Bosh at center.

  32. Juany8

    The Honorable Cock Jowles:
    I hope the Knicks keep shooting 40 3PA a game. More, more, more. Fewer long 2PA, more 3PA.

    At this point, I’m ready to call this as the Berri-ites have: this is a 60-win team, barring injuries.

    And it’s not because of Melo.

    ; )

    You’re right, it’s because of superstar point guard Raymond Felton. Isn’t it wonderful that we won despite the fact that our 2 best WP players had significantly below average games for this year? It’s too bad WP superstar Camby hasn’t given us anything either, I’m sure you predicted something about Rasheed Wallace playing major minutes and Felton, Melo, and JR being the clear cut top 3 offensive options on this team.

    Everything you said would make the Knicks a 48 win team (low minutes for Kidd, Brewer, and Camby, lots of shots for guys like Melo JR and Felton) has happened and they’re on pace for a 60 win season anyways. Just like they were last year under Woodson before we added any of these superstar role players.

    On the other hand, everything that Ruru and I said would happen has happened, although I will credit him for being more right than I’ve been. Felton was a perfectly fine replacement for Lin (maybe more than fine) The spacing and perimeter passing provided by guys like Felton, JR, and Kidd, after a whole season of watching Toney Douglas, Bill Walker, and Landry Fields (top 10 superstaaaaar), that was going to be a major upgrade for a team that had shown could put up 50 games last year. Melo is playing more consistently focused than ever, and Felton’s penetration has been a god send for the pick and roll attack with Chandler. I’m even at the point where I’m getting curious about Amare’s impact on the team, just because Ruru has been so goddamned right about everything else lol

  33. johnlocke

    By the way, for those saying we destroyed the Heat so who misses Melo, look at the quality of the threes we had in this game versus the first game against the Heat. To be honest, by my count only 4 of the 18 threes last night were what you called open threes, including most of Felton’s through the legs, behind the back, right between the eyes threes in Lebron’s face. I don’t think we can count on making 14 contested threes going-forward, so I wouldn’t start the bench Melo parade just yet, haha

    http://www.postingandtoasting.com/2012/12/7/3739538/knicks-heat-leftovers-every-three-pointer-all-eighteen-of-em

  34. Juany8

    As far as Miami’s defense, the problem is that their small ball lineup was never actually a good defensive unit to begin with. Miami needed the best game of Lebron’s life to beat Boston at home in game 6, and were tied going into the fourth quarter against a Celtics team that had a crap offense all season. Now OKC should have, and did, pose some problems for them, but Scottie Brooks turned in the worst Finals coaching display I’ve ever seen in any sport, and it turns out that Sefalosha, Perkins, and Fisher made it incredibly easy for the small ball lineup to work defensively. Didn’t help that Harden crapped the bed on offense and defense in the Finals, missing a bunch of wide open, no one within 5 feet of him shots that would have easily won OKC another game or 2.

    This year, it’s not really Ray Allen’s fault the perimeter rotations are breaking down (the guy was a starter on the best offense in the league last year….) it’s the fact that they have absolutely no answer for a pick and roll with spacing, a good penetrating guard, and a big roll man who can set good screens. Miami needs to crash into the paint every single time that happens, while also corralling the ball handler. That’s where the older shooters aren’t a good fit, they can’t crash in the paint to make up for Bosh and Battier’s utter lack of defensive presence AND still make it back out for 3. So when somebody tells you that somebody like Battier is playing good post defense and barely allowing shots, it’s because Miami is bringing hard double teams and allowing a hilarious number of 3’s. Everything is connected to everything else in basketball…

    So Miami’s small lineup faced Bass-Garnett-Nobody and Perkins-Ibaka-Collison in the last 2 rounds. Not one of those players is actually that good at rolling hard to the basket off a pick and roll, they’re pick and pop players at best, and even Dallas went away from the pick and pop in the Finals (cont).

  35. Z-man

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: I hope the Knicks keep shooting 40 3PA a game. More, more, more. Fewer long 2PA, more 3PA. At this point, I’m ready to call this as the Berri-ites have: this is a 60-win team, barring injuries.And it’s not because of Melo. ; )

    WOW! Or should I say WoW?

    I gues it must be because of Felton, you know, that guy you said isn’t good? Between WoW bums Felton and Anthony, and the two other high-usage low-efficiency players (JR and Wallace) getting serious minutes, and former WoW fave Brewer shooting at a TS% of .513, how are they possibly winning? Can Kidd, Novak and Chandler, with their respective usages of 11%, 14% and 15% possibly cancel that out?

    Of course, we need to rule out some things:
    Interaction effects
    Coaching
    Roles
    Defense

    Damn, I just can’t figure it out. Guess I’ll just have to keep on deluding myself into thinking that Melo is a superstar, Felton is a very solid PG and Woodson’s defense-first coaching philosophy matters.

  36. Juany8

    Dallas realized in the Finals that they had to adjust and start running pick and rolls with Chandler instead of Dirk like they had against other teams. The Pick and pop is just too easy for Miami to guard since they can swallow up space and bother ball handlers so easily. Chandler made them have to overhelp in the paint to make up for their lack of size, which opened up the spacing Dirk needed to operate on the block and that the shooters needed to make their open 3’s.

    This year though, Miami is even smaller and older, Wade is no longer the destructive defensive force he was even last year, Battier is being relied on way too heavily considering his role and age, and they don’t have a single great pick and roll defender on that team other than Lebron, except Lebron isn’t playing Power Forward right now so that he can save himself for the playoffs (by the way, kudos to Melo on stepping up to that challenge, even though I’m worried about it long term) So, Miami can still stifle perimeter oriented attacks (or at least should be able to, they still destroyed the Nets recently) but the Knicks have multiple forms of primary attack now, just like Dallas did in the Finals. They can space the floor for Anthony post ups, preferably screening to get him good position like Dallas used to with Dirk (and the Knicks are running a dazzling amount of screens right now, not just for the ball handler or shooter but for other screeners!) They can also just run a high pick and roll with Felton, who’s good enough to handle Miami’s pressure and at least make plays, and Chandler who provides a massive problem inside.

    Add in the fact that the Knicks have 4 perimeter defenders who won’t need a lot of help against Lebron and Wade (Melo, Shump, Brewer, and JR) as well as Kidd orchestrating everything (I said before the season that 2011 playoffs Jason Kidd was the absolute single best PG this team could have. He makes everything look better by just being out there)

  37. Juany8

    By the way, do you think the Knicks coaches figured that when they agreed to the “13 turnovers or less” sprints, they had any idea the Knicks would be quite this good? That turnover margin is going to be the most consistent thing all season as long as 2 of Felton, Kidd, and Prigs stay healthy. Shump might even help bring it higher, the guy was a monster at guarding players one on one

  38. flossy

    johnlocke:
    Depends on whether he was guarding Steve Novak in the corner, I’d say… lol

    Yeah I thought the same thing but he’s already so far from the corner as Felton is crossing up Haslem that he couldn’t have recovered to close out on a shooter if Felton had kicked it to the corner (especially since he looked to be running through quicksand all game)

  39. ephus

    Let’s start with the obvious: Son of Wood for Coach of the Year. He has taken this team to a level of team defense that I did not think was possible. The ball movement on offense is spectacular. ‘Melo is playing balls-out and JR Smith is [largely] under control.

    Now a little more poignant. As some of you may know from my countless posts on the topic, I have turned my 9 year old daughter into a major Knick fan. She watches the games with me, can recite all of the players with their numbers and positions by heart, and give me an accurate recap if I leave the game for a minute. I have often wondered whether I did something horribly selfish by indoctrinating her to be a Knick fan, since we have only known heartbreak since 1973. I know she loves watching the games, but that is because she loves sharing something with me that I passionately love. I have been tormented by the question of whether I should have downplayed my Knicks’ passion to her, so that she would not have fallen into the love of the Orange and Blue.

    After last night, I am optimistic that I did the right thing. I have genuine hope that this team, as currently constituted, can contend for the championship. If STAT and Shumpert come back healthy and are integrated into the program, I have believe in my bones that the KNICKS HAVE MORE TALENT FROM 1 – 10 THAN ANY OTHER TEAM IN THE LEAGUE. I may be delusional, but that is my credo.

    I am so glad to be a Knick fan at this moment. I am glad my daughter is a Knick fan to share this ride with me:

    I find I’m so excited, I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it’s the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope.

    Call me Red [Holtzman].

  40. johnlocke

    Favorite post game quote: Tyson Chandler on an eery familiarity with these Knicks:

    “”Dallas all over again,” he said. “Me and the light-skinned brother over there talk about it all the time.” That brother…was JKidd of course.

  41. Nick C.

    Z-man: Oh, and I left out things that don’t show up in the stats sheet…

    If they didn’t show up how did you know you missed them?

    Juan the overlap the paint are you referring to what seemed to me like either two guys by the lower corners or if Tyson took up a lower block position Allen or whoever hedging from his man in the corner?

  42. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Z-man: I gues it must be because of Felton, you know, that guy you said isn’t good? Between WoW bums Felton and Anthony, and the two other high-usage low-efficiency players (JR and Wallace) getting serious minutes, and former WoW fave Brewer shooting at a TS% of .513, how are they possibly winning? Can Kidd, Novak and Chandler, with their respective usages of 11%, 14% and 15% possibly cancel that out?

    http://www.thenbageek.com/players/33-ronnie-brewer

    Brewer’s STL and TO numbers are staggering. His ORB48 aint’ bad either.

    Surprisingly, there are other things that a player can do on a basketball court to make his team win.

  43. briand

    johnlocke: Favorite post game quote: Tyson Chandler on an eery familiarity with these Knicks: “”Dallas all over again,” he said. “Me and the light-skinned brother over there talk about it all the time.” That brother…was JKidd of course.

    The 2012 Knicks = 2010 Mavs comparison looks right to me.

    Superstar offensive player with defensive issues who has never won title before (Melo and Dirk) + lots of average to above average players (Novak, Smith, Felton, Kidd, etc. and Terry, Marion, Kidd, Barea, etc.) + Tyson Chandler (Chander and Chandler) = Championship?.

  44. Count de Pennies

    Looks like another car has joined the swelling traffic jam on the Road to Damascus:

    July 24, 2012:

    I don’t have to be happy with a 50 win team when I feel that the front office could have made it a 60 win team.

    December 7, 2012:

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: At this point, I’m ready to call this as the Berri-ites have: this is a 60-win team, barring injuries.

  45. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Z-man: Damn, I just can’t figure it out. Guess I’ll just have to keep on deluding myself into thinking that Melo is a superstar, Felton is a very solid PG and Woodson’s defense-first coaching philosophy matters.

    I still see no evidence that Carmelo Anthony is a superstar. Sorry.

  46. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Count de Pennies: I don’t have to be happy with a 50 win team when I feel that the front office could have made it a 60 win team.

    To be fair, Brewer wasn’t signed until the 25th.

    ; )

    And Wallace hasn’t been very good. Check his stats.

  47. lavor postell

    Rewatched the game again and I’m slowly starting to move to the opinion that Miami is not an unstoppable force. Defensively they are limited because Bosh is their center and their only passable solution to this problem is playing a traditional lineup with Joel Anthony at center. The problem is that Anthony is a fucking travesty on offense and they will have the same problems offensively with him that they experienced in 2010-11.

    People talk about unsustainable three point shooting levels. Guess what? That’s pretty much how the Mavericks and last year’s Heat won the NBA Finals. Dallas went berserk from 3, especially in games 2,4 and 5 of that series. The corpse of Shane Battier lit it up in the Finals last year, as well as the rest of their supporting cast. If you can hit the 3, that’s a threat that will always exist and when you move the ball like we have all year, there’s no reason to think all of a sudden we’re going to stop getting quality looks.

    Oh and lastly fuck Charles Barkley. Look you can think Brooklyn is better and that Miami isn’t trying yet, but the fact of the matter is show me a team with a better resume. Win in San Antonio, 2 20-point wins against Miami and 2 double digit wins against Philly. Then to dismissively say we can’t shoot like this. Charles did you watch the fucking game? Other than Felton and J.R. nobody took a three without being in rhythm. Also we totally can shoot like this if any defense played like Miami’s tonight. Can’t believe this guy gets payed to analyze the NBA. Hopefully the Garden faithful let him know what’s up next Thursday against the Lake Show.

  48. jon abbey

    I don’t watch Barkley much, but I think at least a bit of that position is just a persona designed to draw controversy and ratings. how many Knicks fans watched the first half of the late game last night solely to see how Barkley would react to the big NY win at halftime? a lot, I’m sure.

  49. DRed

    jon abbey:
    I don’t watch Barkley much, but I think at least a bit of that position is just a persona designed to draw controversy and ratings. how many Knicks fans watched the first half of the late game last night solely to see how Barkley would react to the big NY win at halftime? a lot, I’m sure.

    Dead on. Barkley is really good at it.

  50. Frank

    Juany8: So Miami’s small lineup faced Bass-Garnett-Nobody and Perkins-Ibaka-Collison in the last 2 rounds. Not one of those players is actually that good at rolling hard to the basket off a pick and roll, they’re pick and pop players at best, and even Dallas went away from the pick and pop in the Finals (cont).

    Totally agree on this point. Perkins is a black hole of offense, Ibaka/Collison are excellent players but not really offensive threats (at least not yet in Ibaka’s case), and Garnett/Bass are mid-long range jumpshooters at this point in their careers. Especially against Miami, who relies so much on their athleticism to get out to 3 point shooters after packing the lane, Tyson is just a destructive force. I didn’t really notice the “vertical spacing” that Spoelstra was talking about last night (and Ruru posted about this morning), but Tyson’s speed/ferocity seems to cause Miami to take one extra step into the lane, which opens up the shooters for their shots. Then Felton…. wow what a game. The mix of Felton’s attacking, Tyson’s beasting was just a pleasure to watch last night.

    And like I wrote before, there’s not only something very wrong with Wade, but also with Chalmers. Remember that guy? the one that absolutely tormented poor Jeremy Lin in that game last year? Chalmers used to be a really solid PG defender, but he has just been blown by in both games by Felton. He definitely looks fat and out of shape to me. And when he gets in foul trouble like he did last night, the drop off to Cole and whoever is huge.

    If I’m Spoelstra, I give Wade a week or 2 off to heal up mind and body. Miami will get a top 4 seed in their sleep, and that’s probably all they really need. I sit Chalmers, Battier, etc. until they’re really healthy. So what if they go .500 during that stretch? They’ll be better for it later in the season.

  51. Gideon Zaga

    What are the odds for the Knicks winning it all, I need to place a wager quick. And im also putting woody coach of the year and Melo mvp.

  52. DRed

    Gideon Zaga:
    What are the odds for the Knicks winning it all, I need to place a wager quick.And im also putting woody coach of the year and Melo mvp.

    You might want to wait a bit. I think we’re playing at an unsustainably high level right now. In the short term, there’s a chance we’ll stop hitting so many threes and stumble and you’ll get better odds.

  53. Frank

    DRed: You might want to wait a bit.I think we’re playing at an unsustainably high level right now.In the short term, there’s a chance we’ll stop hitting so many threes and stumble and you’ll get better odds.

    DRed – we just beat the defending champs at their place with 4 out of our top 10 players out. I think the ceiling for this team is pretty high, although it’ll obviously be difficult for Woody to sort out the rotation when all these guys are healthy. Even if we had hit 35% of our 3’s last night rather than 40, we would still have won by double digits.

    We are 32-10 under Woody in the regular season. We’ve gone beyond a hot streak and into a place where we should believe.

    I’m pretty sure the Miami Heat are believers right now.

  54. Juany8

    One hilarious note about the Dallas comparisons that I think everyone here but one person will find comfort in. Wins Produced claims that Dirk was basically an average player in 2011, when Dallas won the title and he won the Finals MVP. Jason Kidd, Tyson Chandler, and Shawn Marion were the clear cut top 3 of the team (Chandler, Kidd, Brewer anyone?) and Jason Terry sucked. Considering the similarities between Melo and Dirk/Terry and JR, I’m very happy about the fact that WP doesn’t think they are good. Berri wrote an article that said Dallas should have traded Dirk and kept Kris Humpries that very year… It’s amazing how often contenders just toss away WP superstars and get better or at least stay exactly the same. Suddenly OKC is the clear cut best team in the league, and I’m starting to think that Kevin Martin is just a straight up upgrade for them at this point (fit matters, as I will always stand on. A better player can be less valuable on a poorly constructed team)

  55. DRed

    Frank: DRed – we just beat the defending champs at their place with 4 out of our top 10 players out.I think the ceiling for this team is pretty high, although it’ll obviously be difficult for Woody to sort out the rotation when all these guys are healthy. Even if we had hit 35% of our 3?s last night rather than 40, we would still have won by double digits.

    We are 32-10 under Woody in the regular season.We’ve gone beyond a hot streak and into a place where we should believe.

    I’m pretty sure the Miami Heat are believers right now.

    Oh, don’t get me wrong Frank, I’m on board with this team. This is the first Knicks team I think has a legit chance to win a title since the 1990s. I just think that it’s now is not the right time to bet on it.

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