Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Knicks 112, Nuggets 106

Denver Nuggets 106 Final
Recap | Box Score
112 New York Knicks
Carmelo Anthony, SF 39 MIN | 10-24 FG | 11-16 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 34 PTS | -10

Two games on the lam, and the requisite rust was there, albeit in an assasin’s sepia. Thankfully, Melo recognized the delicate injury for what it was, avoiding settling for too many jumpers and instead taking it to the tin to the tune of 14 first half free throw attempts. On defense, Anthony for the most part handled the Nugget’s mismatch inducing movement fairly well, coming up with a nifty reach-around swipe on Iggy (it’s almost like these guys practiced together over the summer or something — weird).

The second half was different animal altogether – as in, I was getting very vivid flashbacks to last January’s double overtime loss, in which Melo shot like 45 times and Gallo’s fuck-you efficiency helped propel the Nuggs to a demoralizing Garden win. Once the first few jumpers started narrowly clanging and the aggressive takes were no longer being rewarded with referee tweets, you got the sense that Melo was about to enter one of those basketball junkie spells were if I can just sink the next one, it’ll all turn around. Thankfully, the Knicks were able to regain and mushroom the lead with Anthony stapled to the pine, which made anything he contributed – and he did: a trio of jumpers (including one three) and a couple key ‘bounds and stops at the other end – a small fortune found. Who knows whether Melo will take this as a proper demon exercising, but I for one am glad he got the monkey off his back. And Koufos.

Ronnie Brewer, SF 27 MIN | 3-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 9 PTS | +6

Brewer’s contributions were mostly limited to the defensive end, where some exemplar ball-hawking helped key the Knicks’ early mini runs. He also accounted for two of the more absurd plays of the night: a first half-closing heave from 80 feet that very nearly banked in, and a trapeze tip in off a J.R. hoist at the end of the third. Thankfully, the couple seconds of hot Brewer-on-Brewer action in the first half didn’t commence a universe-melting paradox.

Brewer seemed much more active defensively in the second half – a little quicker on his feet, a little fleeter of hand, and three huge steals to his credit.

Tyson Chandler, C 37 MIN | 7-8 FG | 1-4 FT | 12 REB | 1 AST | 15 PTS | +12

One would be hard pressed to conjure a better microcosm of Chandler’s unique brand of offensive effectiveness than his first bucket: a point-blank put-back off a slightly askew Felton feed that the recipient caught below the rim and with left hand gently negotiated over the rim as he fell to the floor. You have to see it on replay to appreciate the beauty of the thing, but damnit was it sexy. The remainder of the first found Chandler making his usual workaday living at the rim, with three beautiful rim-rockers – two from his floor general, and one on a follow of a Melo miss – being the principal punctuations.

There’s been quite a bit of handwringing (particularly on our fair board, which, stop calling each other twats, please) about whether Tyson is underutilized or over-utilized, undervalued or overvalued, or maybe he just is what he is (a beautiful basketball creature, and not the punch line of a really bad Goldilocks parable) and maybe it’s OK if he only shoots eight times but makes seven of them and six of them are scream-inducing and the seventh – an absolutely poetic timeout draw-up from Woodson in which Melo received the pass, took one dribble left and handed off to Kidd who immediately flipped it up for a rolling Tyson – makes us cry.

By far Tyson’s most crucial contribution came on the defensive glass, where his presence (to say nothing of his actual numbers: 12 ‘bounds) helped stave Denver’s relentless glass-hounding keep the overall margin at a reasonable number. He did have a few rotational lapses, but Denver’s 60 paint points were by no means on him entirely — many of those came in transition, and many more happened with Chandler well out of the picture, at least as far as I could tell.

Now, the the fun part: Over his last five games, Chandler is averaging 15 points and 14.3 rebounds on 67% shooting from the floor.

Jason Kidd, PG 34 MIN | 4-7 FG | 6-6 FT | 4 REB | 7 AST | 17 PTS | +9

You almost wish they’d start tracking pump fake foul bites as an actual statistic – not just because J-Kidd would be the league’s all time leader running away; but because every one is so godddam entertaining. Take tonight, for instance, when Jason got both Corey Brewer (a smart defender not typically victimized by such voodoo) and JaVale McGee (who once planked in a convenience store freezer) to bite from the exact same spot on the court in the span of a couple minutes. Now to be fair, JaVale would’ve fallen for the same move 30 seconds later, and 15 seconds after that, and 5 seconds after that. Still, the hypnotist’s guile with which Kidd pulls this shit off time and time again is truly glorious to behold.

Overall, this game revealed the bulk of Kidd’s Jedi-like repertoire – a pair of huge, run-staving threes early in the third (the second of which was followed seconds later by a kung fu deflection off Gallo’s hambone on the other end), and a bushel of impeccably timed, prescient plays in the game’s waning moments (his inbound steal and quick dish to Brewer for a two-handed flush). For my money J-Kidd was quite clearly the game’s MVP – his lack of statistical bulk moot in light of a yogi’s awareness and appreciation of basketball space and time.

Raymond Felton, PG 27 MIN | 4-15 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 6 AST | 10 PTS | +2

I half-expected Ray to come out on roller skates, just to help him get up and down the court a little easier after three games of being options one through three on offense. To his credit, Felton held back from too many settling jumpers (nine of his 15 attempts came in the paint), but also got barbecued by fellow Tar Heel Ty Lawson a number of times in transition. Woody decided to sit ray for a pretty big chunk of fourth quarter clock, leading many to wonder Ray had somehow re-opened his paw scab. But with Felton clearly gassed and Deron Williams less than 48 hours away, it was pretty clear Woody was just playing the percentages. Ray would come back in for one last win-securing burst, so obviously he’s just fine.

Kurt Thomas, PF 9 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -4

KURT THOMAS ANAGRAM FUN: TASK HURT OM

Steve Novak, SF 20 MIN | 2-5 FG | 1-1 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 7 PTS | +8

A combination of playing 65 minutes the last two games (more than his norm) and matchup nightmares on defense precluded Wood from calling Novakain’s number too often. But aside from Kidd, no one was more instrumental in turning the third quarter tide than Steve, who drilled a pair of triples to virtually erase Denver’s theretofore game-high eight point lead.

J.R. Smith, SG 34 MIN | 5-19 FG | 3-6 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 15 PTS | +12

The team chopper didn’t touch down on the MSG’ heliopad until four in the morning, which is basically code for “we could not find J.R. Smith in downtown Chicago until two.” And the play was about what you’d expect: Shots shorter than Ramones songs, a handful of brain lapses on D, and general shot selection shit-itude. Even ignoring the doubtless huge nine rebounds, this might be one of the strangest +12s I can remember seeing.

Pablo Prigioni, PG 12 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 5 AST | 3 PTS | -3

A curious give-and-take kind of outing from Prigs, who displayed some admirable offensive decision making (on drives and kicks, especially) while being ground into hamburger by Andre Miller on the defensive end. Still, five assists in 12 stopgap minutes? Even if he misses every shot he takes (he’s been hitting his threes at a quickly improving clip, actually) and literally just sits down on defense, that’ll be more than enough to justify the burn.

Four Things We Saw

  1. If this game were an ex-girlfriend, it would be the quasi-schizo — you know, the one who has icanhazcheezburgers set as her homepage and thinks 50 Shades of Gray is “a modern literary tour de force.” We knew we were going up against a relatively fresh, speedy squad with a coach smart enough to sense weakness and demand a sixth and seventh gear in an arena where low altitude and friendly rims can often be a benefit, but the end product was less a mad dash than a bipolar battle of wills: The Nuggets would ratchet it up for a few possessions, then we – along with the 66 free throws – would slow it down for a spell. And back and forth it went, in a weird, helter-skelter flash of fouls and drives and chaos and intermittent spells of patience and beautiful plays. It was a strange thing to watch, and almost narcotic-like in its hallucinatory effects.
  2. Remember when Mike D’Antoni had a chance to hold on to Corey Brewer and kicked his ass to the curb instead? It might’ve made positional / personnel sense at the time, but the hype surrounding Brewer’s mid-career renaissance isn’t without merit. He was (thankfully) off a bit from distance, but his arsenal of sweeping, traffic-defying flips and banks make for a truly interesting player patina — amazing given the man’s pine needle physique.
  3. The Nuggets shot 56% to the Knicks 43%, scored nine thousands points in transition, and still lost. The reason? Don’t act like you don’t know. Three pointers (The Knicks were 12 of 20, the ‘Gets a mere 5-17) and turnovers (nine for the good guys, 16 for the jazz cigarette legalizers). Both of which have become season-defining trends early on. Also add to that the Knicks’ success in keeping the league-leading Nuggs off the offensive glass (they only had five on the night).
  4. There’s a reason Woody was visible pumped right after the final horn: As with us, he knew the situational demands posed by tonight’s tilt – our fourth in five nights, our star one accidental swipe from squirting blood all over five rows of fans – meant tallying a first home loss was eminently possible. Probable, even. But there was, once again, a defiant resolve not lately known by fans of the orange and blue. Just when Denver looked like they might ratchet up the tempo and blow the roof off the joint, we responded with a stop, a swish, a measured possession, taking just enough air out of the ball to give us a chance. Even with Nets, Round 2 a mere 48 hours away, they didn’t let themselves look ahead or rest on laurels or laws of averages. They fought, they pressed on, and they won. And so in a season with more plot twists than a game of Clue between five cops on mushrooms, the Knicks end arguably their toughest stretch to date with a 3-1 mark, expanding their division-leading lead to 3.5 games in the process. Happy Holidays, indeed.

47 comments on “Knicks 112, Nuggets 106

  1. Owen

    “and the seventh – an absolutely poetic timeout draw-up from Woodson in which Melo received the pace, took one dribble and handed off to kid who immediately flipped it up for a rolling Tyson – makes us cry.”

    This and Novak were the high points for me. That play was truly beautiful.

  2. jon abbey

    some chances for revenge coming up: 2 against Brooklyn plus Houston and Chicago in the next six games.

  3. BigBlueAL

    Just read these back-to-back tweets from an ESPNLA writer:

    Kobe on Dwight: “Defensively hes having a phenomonal year. A defensive of the year type of year.”

    Me: “You think he’d win if you guys keep giving up 117?” Kobe: “Tyson won it last year and they weren’t very good defensively”

  4. ruruland

    BigBlueAL:
    Just read these back-to-back tweets from an ESPNLA writer:

    Kobe on Dwight: “Defensively hes having a phenomonal year. A defensive of the year type of year.”

    Me: “You think he’d win if you guys keep giving up 117?” Kobe: “Tyson won it last year and they weren’t very good defensively”

    Not sure what Kobe’s aim is in regards to his team… Is he already trying to seperate Dwight from MDA?
    BTW, here is the owner of the biggest Nuggets message board:

    Re: Nuggets @ Knicks 5:30 ALT/NBATV
    « Reply #42 Today at 1:32am »

    ——————————————————————————–
    Slowly making our way to 10th seed.

    This is easily the most dissapointing season for the nuggets and that is saying a lot. No hope, no future, awful present…everyone is overpaid and unmoveable except faried.

  5. jon abbey

    I think it’s time for a new coach in Denver that all those young guys can connect with better, but also all of those home games they’ve got left will help. they’re in such a hurry to leak out on the fast break that they sometimes don’t bother actually playing D before that. :)

  6. Nick C.

    Coming into work I heard it said that in a late huddle Woodson said to run the offense through Melo. Melo said no, run it through Kidd. Speaks volumes.

  7. jon abbey

    yeah, I also just read that Melo wanted to play against Miami until Kidd and Chandler explained to him that it would be smarter to sit out. it’s like having three coaches, two on the floor and one with the best voice/facial hair combo ever.

  8. Frank O.

    Nice job, Jim.
    Not ready to give up on Denver, btw.
    They need a player.
    The NBA TV analysis was dead on, IMHO.
    Gallo seems to lack the assassin’s chip. He seemed able not attack the rim effectively at will, but he doesn’t do it enough.
    The team lacks an alpha.

  9. mcwop23

    Was JR left out on purpose? I know he was chucking but he did a lot of other things. I’d be remiss to say that some of those other things weren’t positive.

  10. jon abbey

    mcwop23:
    Was JR left out on purpose?I know he was chucking but he did a lot of other things.I’d be remiss to say that some of those other things weren’t positive.

    I just noticed this too, and in a game where keeping DEN off the offensive boards where they generally thrive was key (they amazingly only had five offensive boards all game), JR was our leading defensive rebounder with 8. I sure hope he finds his shot again soon, though, it’s been brutal lately.

  11. Nick C.

    Every time I think JR is Jamal redux with the overdribbling trick shot fetish, I remind myself or he does something to show that there is soooo much more to JR’s game than just shooting. Not that I am thrilled about the shooting but he is more than just a one-trick pony.

  12. Frank

    I swear I’m not trolling here, but living in NYC and not having League Pass, I really don’t get to see Faried play so much. So I pretty much have to rely on stats, THCJ, and various basketball writers to form an opinion on him. So last night I finally get to watch him play, and…. can’t say I was impressed. Their spacing completely collapses when he’s on the floor, and other than an alley-oop or two to him, he was basically useless on offense. +/- obviously has its weaknesses but he was a -10 last night, and for the year, the Nuggets are a net 1.8 points/100 poss better with him OFF the court — offense is a wash (Despite his 5.1 offensive rebounds/36) and they are worse on defense when he’s on the floor. And last year, they were 4.4 points/100 poss better with him off the floor too. Hmm.

    You can tell that the Knicks were quite aware of keeping him off the glass – keeping him to 7 rebounds in 30 minutes with zero on the offensive end is pretty impressive considering we are not a good rebounding team. Tyson/Kurt/Melo did a nice job last night rebounding/boxing out, and even though JR stunk up the joint on offense, 9 rebounds in 34 minutes is nice.

    I think the Nuggets’ big problem (no surprise) is lack of outside shooting. Lawson and Gallo have both had bad shooting years, and who else is there that gets minutes? I still think they’ll make the playoffs, but for them to make any noise at all, Lawson/Gallo have to shoot in the low 40s from 3, and they probably can’t play Faried that much. He’s terrible on defense, and his offensive contributions from offensive rebounding are probably a wash with his inability to do anything else.

    Really, I’m not trolling. Just telling it like I see it.

  13. Frank

    And I don’t really know much about George Karl, but you have to love the quotes yesterday about how he’s so happy Melo “gets it” now, comparing him to Ray Allen, Gary Payton, etc. as guys who loved to score points without worrying about the team until they grew up and “got it”. Then compared them to Chauncey Billups, who just got it from the beginning.

    Talk about an amazing lack of insight — these were ALL guys you coached and nurtured from early in their career George!!! And they all “got it” right after they left you? Is that a coincidence? Have you no responsibility for making sure players “get it”? And, um, Chauncey Billups bounced around the league until he landed with Larry Brown. He came to you as a finished/established product!

  14. jon abbey

    yeah, his athleticism is remarkable, but he’s no threat ever on offense, even with Novak or Kidd on him. he also got at least one basket by not going back on D and letting his teammates play 4 on 5, which worked but is not a sign of a good player. he’s got huge holes in his game, which are masked by his athleticism to the casual observer (and the misleading as usual box scores).

  15. Z-man

    If I’m not mistaken, all 7 of Faried’s rebounds came in the first quarter (I distinctly remember the commentators mentioning early on that he “already had 7 rebounds” well before the quarter’s end.)

    He has a great motor but that’s about it. I’d take Reggie Evans over him in a second. Oh, and his FT form was, yikes!

  16. Frank

    This whole Faried thing has got me thinking about how special a player Rasheed Wallace was / could have been / still is. Basically a 7 footer who plays great defense, can score in the post, and hit 3′s at a league average or better rate. He’s a shell of what he was in Detroit, and he’s still a good player (especially if he stops shooting 8.4(!) 3s per 36 at a 29% rate). Faried is basically Ben Wallace-lite (although far more clueless on the defensive end) — and no matter whether Ben Wallace was DPOY and led the league WP during those years, I’m pretty sure Detroit is not winning anything without the frontcourt versatility that Rasheed brought.

  17. johnno

    Frank: Talk about an amazing lack of insight — these were ALL guys you coached and nurtured from early in their career George!!! And they all “got it” right after they left you?

    I don’t understand people’s love affair with Karl. I’ve been saying for years that he’s very overrated as a coach. It amazed me that Melo always got blamed for not getting the Nuggets out of the first round of the playoffs and Karl got a complete free pass. Why? Wasn’t he in charge?

    Frank: keeping him to 7 rebounds in 30 minutes with zero on the offensive end is pretty impressive considering we are not a good rebounding team.

    It’s not completely accurate to say that the Knicks aren’t a good rebounding team. They are actually a very good defensive rebounding team — 6th in the league in defensive rebounding rate (i.e., percentage of possible rebounds), so they usually do a very good job of keeping teams off the offensive glass. Where they are really poor is on the offensive glass, ranking 26th in the league in offensive rebounding rate. Here are the bottom 6 teams in offensive rebounding rate — Celtics, Heat, Mavs, Spurs, Knicks, 76ers. I’m not sure what to make of that, but it really is an interesting list — there’s not a bad team on it.

  18. Juany8

    Any player that is a defensive liability has to be incredible on the other end to even be a net positive, especially at PF or Center. Otherwise they are a nice bench player, like Novak, at best. Faried is a fairly nice player on offense but such an awful defender that he kills any team’s chances of being good on that end.

  19. cgreene

    In fairness to Karl Kemp and Payton did not “get it” after they left him. He took them to the Finals and those were some good Sonics teams he coached there.

    Nick C, who is your source? Ha

  20. d-mar

    Frank:
    For everyone’s enjoyment – JADubin breaking down that awesome inbounds play with the oop to Tyson.I know he’s only been our coach for 1/2 a season, but people should start talking about Woody as a damn good coach, and stop talking about iso-Joe etc.That was a long time ago and he’s obviously a totally different coach now.

    http://hoopchalk.com/2012/12/10/knicks-shake-up-nuggets-with-double-hand-off-play/

    Man, I got chills watching that play again, like a basketball ballet. The whole crowd at MSG just went nuts, because the execution was so perfect and we recognized (again) that Woody is one hell of a coach.

    And not to throw dirt on a coach whose reputation is sliding into oblivion, but one my biggest complaints about D’Antoni was he never seemed to have creative plays drawn up after timeouts or at the end of games. And this from a supposed offensive genius.

  21. Frank

    johnno: It’s not completely accurate to say that the Knicks aren’t a good rebounding team. They are actually a very good defensive rebounding team — 6th in the league in defensive rebounding rate (i.e., percentage of possible rebounds), so they usually do a very good job of keeping teams off the offensive glass. Where they are really poor is on the offensive glass, ranking 26th in the league in offensive rebounding rate. Here are the bottom 6 teams in offensive rebounding rate — Celtics, Heat, Mavs, Spurs, Knicks, 76ers. I’m not sure what to make of that, but it really is an interesting list — there’s not a bad team on it.

    I never ended up writing about it (because I’m not totally sure I trust the numbers), but last week I took Kirk Goldsberry’s offensive rebound% by shot location chart (see here: http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/8719297/how-kobe-bryant-missed-shots-translate-new-nba-statistic-kobe-assist) and did a reverse analysis of expected defensive rebound% based on opponent shot location (compared it with hoopdata shot locations). What came out is that if you take opponent shot location into account, the Knicks actually get far fewer defensive rebounds than would be predicted by Goldsberry’s chart. Basically, by opponent shot location, the Knicks should be 9th in defensive rebound rate (ie. their opponents mostly take shots from locations that are less likely to lead to an offensive rebound), but instead they rank 20th in DRR. (or at least that’s what their rank was on thursday or friday when I did the analysis).

    Anyway, this shot location stuff / spatial analysis is really awesome stuff. I wish I had more access to it, but then I’d probably get fired from my real job.

  22. Frank

    Great stuff from Mike Prada SBNation on Javale Mcgee, and why he doesn’t play much: http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2012/12/10/3750242/nba-scores-2012-brooklyn-nets-milwaukee-bucks

    “The key stretch, though, was at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Thanks to some great transition play, the Nuggets held an eight-point lead. Over the next few minutes, JaVale McGee did the following things.

    Tried to cross over Tyson Chandler at the top of the key to set up an 18-footer. Missed badly.

    Committed an over-the-back foul going for the rebound.

    Caught a pick-and-roll pass from Ty Lawson, spun away from the hoop, tried a fadeaway, got stripped and flailed his arms out as he lost the ball to J.R. Smith.

    Tried to grab a defensive rebound with one hand, stumbled, lost control and let the ball go out of bounds.

    Went for a blocked shot on Jason Kidd that he absolutely didn’t need to go for, allowing Kidd to slip a pass to Chandler for a dunk.

    Went for another block on Ronnie Brewer and committed a foul when Kenneth Faried was right there as well to block the shot.

    There were other reasons the Knicks went on a 12-0 run there to take a four-point lead, but in case you were wondering why George Karl is reluctant to give McGee more minutes, that stretch explains it.”

  23. JC Knickfan

    Did anyone think J-Kidd would be this good? Based on last playoff performance, using the ever liable eye-test I thought old age was starting to catch-up to him. He’s playing career low in mpg, but he is averaging career highs in TS%, FT%, FG% and 3pt%.

    I probably just jinx him.

    Anyways – Good write-up JP Cavan

  24. Nick C.

    cgreene: In fairness to Karl Kemp and Payton did not “get it” after they left him. He took them to the Finals and those were some good Sonics teams he coached there.Nick C, who is your source? Ha

    It was early hours so it would have been either Robin Lundberg or Jared Max on ESPN 1050. I can’t remember if they were referencing a post-game interview or their own in the locker room conversation or hearsay.

  25. JK47

    The Knicks are 6th in the league in DRB%, a solid number which has been climbing as of late. They’re a good defensive rebounding team despite getting nothing at all from Marcus Camby.

    The combination of Kenneth Faried and Javale McGee does not work at all. The five-man unit of Lawson-Iguoadala-Gallinari-Faried-McGee is horrific– the offensive rating of that unit is 90.0 and their defensive rating is 1.33. That’s the second most commonly used unit for the Nuggets and it is absolutely killing their team. That unit is way worse than the Washington Wizards both sides of the ball.

    Faried and McGee can’t play together. At all.

  26. Frank

    JK47: The Knicks are 6th in the league in DRB%, a solid number which has been climbing as of late. They’re a good defensive rebounding team despite getting nothing at all from Marcus Camby.

    hmm. last week they were #20 in DRR on hoopdata (didn’t check Hollinger), and today they are#12 in DRR on hoopdata. Not sure how these things get different #s.

  27. d-mar

    Have to give props to my son for a great call on JR’s second foul shot in the 4th quarter. After he missed the first, Melo replaced Novak in the first lane spot. My son turned to me and said “watch Melo on this, he’s gonna sneak in behind Gallo and get the rebound”. My reply was that JR would never miss 2 straight FT’s, but he was absolutely on the money, as a huge tip in by Melo followed.

    He also said before the game to watch Javale McGee, that he will do at least one incredibly dumb thing before the game ends, well, he missed on that one by about 5, as Frank’s post #26 shows.

    I told him he should apply for Clyde’s job when he retires!

  28. jon abbey

    JC Knickfan:
    Did anyone think J-Kidd would be this good? Based on last playoff performance, using the ever liable eye-test I thought old age was starting to catch-up to him.He’s playing career low in mpg, but he is averaging career highs in TS%, FT%, FG% and 3pt%.

    the first half of that last sentence is connected to the second half. Felton and Melo and JR Smith make it so Kidd can float through most of the game without expending much energy (he rarely is even the main PG), allowing him to pick and choose the best stretches to impact the game, which he is the best at that I’ve ever seen from a guy who’s not a current superstar.

  29. Owen

    Thanks for posting that inbound weave play lob dunk spectacular. Awesome stuff….

    Re the Nuggets. I don’t think you can discount the fact they have have now played 15 of their first 21 games on the road. Not sure how that is possible but their record will turn around in a big way in the coming month.

    The return of Wilson Chandler could help them too.

    I said in the game thread that I can’t remember a lower ball iq player than McGee. He does something dumb pretty much every time he touches the ball, except when he does something ridiculous. And I was disappointed with Faried also.

    That said, this team is a lot better than they have shown so far. A lot better. It’s pretty clear. Once they clean up their free throw issues and get Faried and Mcgee to play a little smarter, they are going to be extremely dangerous. I see them making the playoffs and making for a very uncomfortable first round out for anyone other than the Thunder.

    Gallo incidentally was a lot better than I expected yesterday, given how bad his numbers were coming. Given the shooting numbers he put up as a Knick it’s pretty shocking to see what he has done so far this year. In the grand tradition of offering excuses for players you like, I will speculate that the hand and wrist injuries he suffered late last year have really affected him. Hope he rights the ship because there will always be a soft spot in my heart for the Italian Stallion….

  30. Juany8

    JK47:
    The Knicks are 6th in the league in DRB%, a solid number which has been climbing as of late.They’re a good defensive rebounding team despite getting nothing at all from Marcus Camby.

    The combination of Kenneth Faried and Javale McGee does not work at all.The five-man unit of Lawson-Iguoadala-Gallinari-Faried-McGee is horrific– the offensive rating of that unit is 90.0 and their defensive rating is 1.33.That’s the second most commonly used unit for the Nuggets and it is absolutely killing their team.That unit is way worse than the Washington Wizards both sides of the ball.

    Faried and McGee can’t play together.At all.

    Nuggets pay a lot more for that lineup than the Knicks pay for Felton-Kidd-Brewer/JR-Melo-Chandler, and it just so happens those 2 lineups are both over +13 points per 100 possessions over their opposition.

    Also I know a lot of people here love Novak, but he was easily the worst singing of the summer. He gives the team nothing but 3 point shooting, and he’s no longer the best 3 point shooter in the league so it’s not quite as valuable. Furthermore, out of the top 12 lineups the Knicks have put on the floor in terms of minutes played, every single negative lineup contains Novak in it. Out of those same lineups, Novak is only in two lineups (that have played 35 minutes together total this season) that have outscored the opponent while they were on the floor.

    Novak’s lack of defense and lack of ability to keep moving the ball on the perimeter are pretty huge killers. He’s probably going to lose his spot in the rotation once everyone is healthy

  31. Static

    Actually, I think Novak is better and more valuable than he was last year because

    1. He can now pump fake, and still hit a shot at a high rate

    2. He can take 1 or 2 dribbles, and still hit at a high rate.

    Those things can be invaluable in the playoffs.

  32. Frank

    Juany8: Also I know a lot of people here love Novak, but he was easily the worst singing of the summer. He gives the team nothing but 3 point shooting, and he’s no longer the best 3 point shooter in the league so it’s not quite as valuable. Furthermore, out of the top 12 lineups the Knicks have put on the floor in terms of minutes played, every single negative lineup contains Novak in it. Out of those same lineups, Novak is only in two lineups (that have played 35 minutes together total this season) that have outscored the opponent while they were on the floor.

    Novak’s lack of defense and lack of ability to keep moving the ball on the perimeter are pretty huge killers. He’s probably going to lose his spot in the rotation once everyone is healthy

    I tend to agree with you, although he had very good +/- numbers last year (net +4 per 100 poss). His defense seems to have been super-awful lately though.

    Re: his signing — would you rather have him or a vet’s minimum guy? Not sure what other vet’s minimum guy with remotely similar shooting skills was available to us. I know you mentioned Delfino but he’s making $3MM per year = not available to us. The only thing I was disappointed with re: Novak’s signing was the length of the contract and the fact that it was guaranteed in 15-16 when Amare (and everyone else) comes off the cap. Still not sure why they gave Felton a guaranteed contract for 15-16 also.

  33. lavor postell

    Agree to disagree juan. Novak is the one guy on the team that is a knockdown shooter and isn’t nearly as streaky as J.R. While numbers will never truly tell you the story there’s something to be said about a guy who is more than capable of busting a game open or closing a deficit quickly if he gets 3 good looks in a row. I’m almost a hundred percent sure he will not get dropped from the rotation at any point this season.

    What has happened to our Gallo? Remember when D’Antoni called him the best pure shooter he’d ever seen? My favorite version of Gallo the player was in his rookie season cameo when he would come in and launch about 15 3′s a game. I still remember his debut against Philly when he hit 7-12 from downtown. Just had a beautiful stroke.

    Something has happened to his shot form and maybe as Owen mentioned it’s because of the injury, but he is far from the player he was last year and even further from being the perimeter threat he was in NY. Lawson had a nice game tonight, but he has also been god awful this season considering his contract.

    Again I think this team’s salary structure is asanine. They are paying way too much for players who’s peak is a 4 seed. They do not have the horses to play with OKC, SAS or Memphis. Memphis in particular with their experienced bigs would absolutely roll Faried and Mcgee inside.

    Lastly the Lakers and D’Antoni. It’s like watching the Knicks when they went on that horrific losing streak after acquiring Melo. Scoring like 115 a game and giving up 120. Howard is an assclown and I would absolutely hate for that guy to be on a team I supported. He really just seems to not grasp the team’s situation and how to act accordingly.

  34. Frank

    lavor postell: Lastly the Lakers and D’Antoni. It’s like watching the Knicks when they went on that horrific losing streak after acquiring Melo. Scoring like 115 a game and giving up 120. Howard is an assclown and I would absolutely hate for that guy to be on a team I supported. He really just seems to not grasp the team’s situation and how to act accordingly.

    Have to start wondering how much Phil will get when Jim Buss comes crawling to him. Can the Lakers have 4 coaches in one year?

    Seriously though – how bad does it have to get before MDA gets fired? obviously way too early now, but if they’re under .500 at the ASB you have to wonder whether there will be a mutiny.

  35. Count de Pennies

    lavor postell: Howard is an assclown and I would absolutely hate for that guy to be on a team I supported.

    There’s at least one Laker fan who agrees with you:

    Time Warner Cable needs to re-shoot that commercial they play 78 times per game, the one where Kupchack welcomes Howard into his office and then daydreams about wanting to see Howard’s jersey on the wall in 10 years, displayed among the retired numbers of all of the great Lakers.

    The new ad should feature Mitch sitting Howard down, telling him he’s the most overrated piece of garbage to ever suit up in the purple and gold, and that he can’t wait until next summer when Howard’s contract expires and the Lakers no longer have to worry about his stench of loserness ever tainting their organization again.

    All vitriol aside, we’ve heard talk ever since the trade about how the Lakers would do all they could to woo Howard and make sure he’d sign a long-term deal. Well after what he’s shown as a Laker, the front office should in all honesty be thanking their lucky stars this albatross is only going to be a one-year burden.

  36. Garson

    I remember convos last season offering Amare+Chandler for Howard when they were shopping best offers.

    Now, fastforward to present day , the only reason we do that is to get Amare off the books.

    Chandler straight for Howard – Would have never thought we would say no to that , but at this point its not even a question! How far we have come…

  37. Juany8

    Lavor and Frank, you guys are perfectly right about Novak’s ability to shoot, he is a good offensive weapon overall. I just think the fact that he’s bad at everything but shooting makes him worth roughly what JR got at best. Plus I think the Knicks would have been able to sign and trade Novak (maybe for a guy like Daquon Cook or Delfino like I mentioned) but I’m not 100% sure about the details on that.

    Still when Amar’e and Shump comes back, who is benched? Even if you simply give Shump the backup PG minutes Prigs is getting, how are Amar’e and Melo going to split their minutes? That’s ignoring the fact that Shump isn’t exactly a good point guard, and I kind of like Prigs overall. Maybe if you gave Amar’e all the backup big minutes (basically 2 of Chandler-Melo-Amar’e are always playing) but I don’t love benching Sheed and Camby (hopefully he gets healthy and somewhat productive) in favor of Novak.

    This is why I’ve been in favor of a trade, it’s not that any player on the Knicks is bad, it’s that they have too many good players that are going to get squeezed out of the rotation, and it’s only going to get worse when the best players will all increase their minutes. If you want to get a bunch of regular season wins, having good players 1-12 is awesome, if you want to win in the postseason it’s much more important to have good players from 1-8. I can’t be the only person who’s noticed that guys like Novak, Bonner, and Korver tend to become rather useless in the playoffs when the kind of space they require to shoot well is only available like twice a game.

  38. Juany8

    Garson:
    I remember convos last season offering Amare+Chandler for Howard when they were shopping best offers.

    Now, fastforward to present day , the only reason we do that is to get Amare off the books.

    Chandler straight for Howard – Would have never thought we would say no to that , but at this point its not even a question! How far we have come…

    Lakers have actually been better with Howard off the court than on it, as mind blowing as that sounds. It’s starting to look kind of amusing that some people thought Kobe was going to be the 4th best player on the team, the Lakers have actually been a very good team when Kobe is playing. When he sits they become a laughable team, which at the very least is a nice sign for the playoffs if Kobe can manage to play around 40 minutes. Guess we’ll see, I do think the Lakers end up being a top 5 team in the west with a solid chance of making some noise. Right now the top 4 in the west are putting some serious separation between them and the rest of the league

  39. flossy

    Juany8: It’s starting to look kind of amusing that some people thought Kobe was going to be the 4th best player on the team, the Lakers have actually been a very good team when Kobe is playing. When he sits they become a laughable team,

    Well, when Kobe sits, who is handling the ball and initiating the offense? Steve Blake, Darius Morris and Chris Duhon. Yuck. No coach in the NBA is going to be able to win much with those three getting 20-26 mpg each. I know D’Antoni has his detractors, but I don’t think it’s fair to judge the Lakers until Steve Nash has started 10-15 games. If they’re still playing like garbage, then yes… blow the whole thing up.

    I do think it’s interesting though that Kobe is playing his best basketball since maybe his late 20s, and so far is scoring at a high volume with shockingly high efficiency. I read (on grantland maybe?) that it has to do with MDA’s pushing Kobe to be the ball handler in PnR situations, where it turns out he excels (more as a scorer than a passer, but still).

    It brings to mind how Melo is an A+ elite scorer as a PnR ballhandler, but for whatever reason doesn’t run that play more than once or twice per game at most.

  40. Z-man

    Juany, I disagree about the Novak signing. While he has dropped off a bit from last year, he will be a key ingredient to many a regular season win and will positively affect playoff seeding. He is still very capable of being “the best” 3-pt shooter in the league, and he is by far the best one on our team. What’s great about it is, we have enough defensive pieces to live with his shortcomings on that end in select situations. He was a key player last night, hitting two consecutive monster 3′s (one contested) with the game on the line. He has that “backbreaker” quality to his game and must be kept honest at all times, creating space for others. His defense is still poor, but the effort (and a couple of instances of toughness) have improved somewhat since last year. I would think that we could get equal value for him in a trade pretty easily.

  41. johnno

    Juany8: I just think the fact that he’s bad at everything but shooting makes him worth roughly what JR got at best

    Who cares whether Novak got a million dollars a year or so more than he’s worth? It’s not like they used up cap space to get him and it’s not like they could have given the extra money to sign someone else. They were over the cap. The only reason they could give him more than vet minimum was the Bird rights, so “overpaying” him is a non-issue.

  42. lavor postell

    Juany8: Lakers have actually been better with Howard off the court than on it, as mind blowing as that sounds. It’s starting to look kind of amusing that some people thought Kobe was going to be the 4th best player on the team, the Lakers have actually been a very good team when Kobe is playing. When he sits they become a laughable team, which at the very least is a nice sign for the playoffs if Kobe can manage to play around 40 minutes. Guess we’ll see, I do think the Lakers end up being a top 5 team in the west with a solid chance of making some noise. Right now the top 4 in the west are putting some serious separation between them and the rest of the league

    Don’t actually disagree that the Knicks might be too deep and that a trade for a better quality player while sacrificing some depth might help down the road. I just don’t see the point of worrying about it right now. We are in a position where we can sit tight until the trade deadline and see if something becomes available that has great value.

    I think the Lakers will remain what they are as long as D’Antoni is their coach. They’ll probably get on a roll at some point, but their schedule is going to really stiffen up now. They are 7-6 at home and 2-6 on the road. One thing we are all too aware of is how stubborn MDA is. His system will change very little and he is not a great tactical coach in terms of making adjustments or drawing up plays.

    The biggest problem again is their utter lack of something resembling quality rotation players up and down the roster. Duhon is playing major minutes and will even when Nash comes back. Jamison is a perimeter shooter who isn’t all that great of a shooter. Meeks can stroke it. He and Jordan Hill are the only two bench players that should get major minutes in the NBA.

    Nash-Kobe-MWP-Gasol-D12

    Meeks-Hill-Jamison-Duhon/Blake

    This is a…

  43. Frank

    Pretty sure the Lakers’ offense will be just fine when Nash gets back. That defense, though…

    Poor D’Antoni – must seriously be deja vu to have all this frontcourt depth and no PG to get it to them.

    Has anyone heard when Nash is coming back? Hopefully not before Thursday? Or Christmas?

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