Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Knicks 113, Magic 97

Orlando Magic 97 Final
Recap | Box Score
113 New York Knicks
Carmelo Anthony, SF 39 MIN | 8-17 FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 20 PTS | +20

Early-season Melo – the guy that willfully passed to open teammates out of even the most advantageous single-teams – helped keep the first quarter offense on pace with the Magic’s cartoonish clip (the deep three to end the first didn’t hurt, either). Moe “How Can You Be So Harkless?” tried his best to frustrate Anthony with incessant slaps and flails, but luckily – as would probably not be the case with Iguodala, Deng, or another similarly top-tier wing defender – Melo kept his wits about him and picked his spots, even if it meant temporarily jeopardizing his 20-point game streak.

The series of rushed third quarter chucks had us all making angry Cosby faces (the only kind of Cosby face as far as I’m concerned), but Melo managed to coax enough buckets through the yarn to keep the Knick offense humming along. Or rattling along, anyway. As with Tyson, Melo’s five dimes weren’t only found gold for his own bottom line; they helped re-lube an offense lately grown rusted — the curse to a blessing begat by a truly gifted offensive player prime-saddled and bound for banners.

LOL lube!

Tyson Chandler, C 32 MIN | 10-11 FG | 1-1 FT | 7 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 21 PTS | +14

Way too many games of Greg Kite-level usage rates must’ve burned Tyson worse than subway clap, and he responded by spending much of the first quarter looking like Kareem incarnate – flicking in a couple beautiful hooks and converting a few more by way of red-faced throw-downs. But even Chandler’s Mongolian brand of paint hoarding couldn’t mask the fact that his cavalry were riding blind, three-legged mules around the perimeter.

Tyson’s offensive resolve was even more pronounced in the second half, where he reeled in – or batted out – a majority of his five offensive rebounds and hammered home a couple more bunnies. Ditto on the defensive end, which went from pillage-ready first quarter parcel to moated second half keep thanks in large part to Chandler’s omnipresence. Scramble all that with a handful of wonderful passes, you get a true Tyson masterpiece. It’s like that painting of Jesus with the poop smeared all over it, you see, except with less poop and more halos.

Raymond Felton, PG 31 MIN | 6-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 9 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 15 PTS | +13

At this rate, the next time Felton headlines a Garden of Dreams gig at MSG, some thirty-something mom who spent four years bench-warming at Barruch College is going to challenge Ray to a run up to 11 and win 12-3 – all on 2s. Luckily Ray was taking at roughly 70% of what he was giving Jameer Nelson in the early going, connecting on a three, a pair of floaters, feeding the beasts, and protecting the ball to the tune of zero turnovers.

Felton’s plus-minus skyrocketd in the second half thanks to two things: 1) continuing his limited orchestration of the offense without getting in the way; and 2) Jameer Nelson crash landing back at the Jameer Nelson mean. Make no mistake about it: Ray has looked more and more comfortable in the paint with each passing game – he’s doing a better job of choosing between lobs and floats, and isn’t giving up his dribble as easily – but the perimeter D still needs work, even if the problem ultimately resides within the system itself.

Iman Shumpert, PG 22 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | -1

J.J. Redick’s first quarter barrage (37-37 for 79 points and a suite full of gold-hearted hookers) was a startling testament either to Redick’s underrated-ness, or Iman Shumpert’s overrated-ness – can’t really figure out which. I don’t want it to be the latter, obviously, and recognize that catching back up to the “top tier young wing defender” narrative might require a few more hardwood embarrassments. But there’s some truth to the idea that Shumpert’s value, at least right now, lies on his on-ball abilities, and not being able to navigate 1000 pounds of screens in chasing down pinpoint shooters.

Shump getting smoked was salved over somewhat by some nice spurts at the other end (a Ronnie Brewer Memorial Three Pointer, deft running one-hander, and a purposed approach to hitting the glass), but it was probably wise of Woodson to limit Shump’s minutes in this one; less for knee precautions than a simple recognition that, sometimes, the rust is just too thick to risk flaking off and cutting everyone else’s feet. That’s an old Egyptian proverb, by the way.

James White, SG 10 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -1

The look about White (who started, by the way) after Reddick hit his third consecutive shot was one of a dude who just fed $8.50 into a $1.50 gas station air machine without it ever turning on; just completely bewildered, hands tossed to the heavens and brow furled so violently you kept waiting for it to start bleeding. Whether or not the Knicks end up trying to reel in Kenyon Martin, White needs to make a bigger, better impression in the limited burn allotted him.

Amar’e Stoudemire, PF 21 MIN | 7-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 14 PTS | +3

So, uhh… That’s pretty efficient. Say what you will about his defensive gaffs – and there were enough in this game to feed the Farrelly Brothers for the next 30 years – STAT has looked remarkably comfortable around the rim, with fully loaded springs and soft touch to boot. He’s getting off the ground faster, making his decisions more quickly (his spin for a little left-handed bank was particularly pretty), and – despite the occasional errant dribble – is doing his part to dispel the idea that our gilted frontcourt can’t co-exist.

Chris Copeland, SF 8 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 3 PTS | -2

Chris Copeland Anagram Fun: SPINACH COLDER

Ronnie Brewer, SF 4 MIN | 0-0 FG | 1-3 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 1 PTS | -2

So Hack-a-Brew is apparently a thing now? Damnit, Ron. How’d it ever come to this?

Steve Novak, SF 23 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | +13

I’m no hardwood scientist, but it seems to me like Novak – just a few inches shy of seven full-throated feet – could, unlike Prigs, stand to hesitate a little more with his jumper. Not that he’s shooting too often or in the wrong circumstances; far from it. But for as high a release as he has, the Spalding seems to sling a little too quickly. The garbage time buckets hopefully helped with the confidence, but with the way everyone else in the regular rotation has been playing, the margin for error is becoming slimmer by the brick.

Pablo Prigioni, PG 16 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | +2

At least one of Woodson’s wisdom nuggets has been on-point: He’s been telling Pabs to not hesitate as much with his shot, and over the last few games our Argentine’s quick trigger has started to pay some dividends. With J-Kidd out nursing his withered back jerky, we know Prigs would have to be summoned to shoulder a heavier-than-usual load. The three-balls helped, no doubt, but it it was Pablo’s fluid game management – punctuated by a few truly beautiful P&R flourishes with Stat – that reinforced precisely how valuable he can be, even on an ostensibly deep team.

For those of you offended by Prigs not being included in the Schick Rookie Challenge, a change.com petition should be up shortly. Just scroll past the ones for victims of arsenic poisoning and PTSD. Should be in there somewhere. As Kevin McElroy brilliantly pointed out, the thought of Pablo regaling Andre Drummond with memories of “living through the Falklands War” seems a moment even the usually cadaver-stiff NBA PR wouldn’t want to pass up. For shame.

J.R. Smith, SG 35 MIN | 4-8 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | +21

A few days back, the Wall Street Journal‘s Chris Herring (@HerringWSJ) tweeted a little bit of info imparted by the Knicks’ newfangled court-camera technology to the effect that J.R. is shooting some ungodly percentage (north of 50%, I think) from behind the arc directly off the catch and without any dribbles, and 8.3% (That number I remember, mostly because it’s pretty fucking hard to forget), on threes when he took two or more dribbles before cutting loose. Say what you will about “advanced stats,” that information is hugely important and eminently useful.

I have no idea whether that information has also been shared with J.R. himself, but I did notice a decided shunning of over-dribbles into pull-ups in lieu of purposeful drives and some really, really nice dishes (the one to a cutting Stat for a first quarter flush being especially noteworthy). Which is all going a long way to say that I’ll take this kind of J.R. performance – measured, smart, not entirely spectacular – over the kind that ends with me slapping my own face as hard as I can.

Five Things We Saw

  1. We all saw it: Jameer Nelson and J.J. Redick running around the MSG hardwood like they lease the joint, negotiating shots both routine and totally impossible en route to a ridiculous 9-11 first quarter that had Knick fans the planet over lighting their gasoline-soaked bed posts on fire and marching en mass to Woodson’s Garden office, which I can only assume is between utility closet and the nacho cheese vat. Orlando’s motion offense is predicated on proper spacing, aggressive dribble-drives, and rapid-fire passes resulting in easy lay-ups and a good number of open jumpers. Against a team that switches on ball and off-screens alike, a quick start can mushroom very quickly into disaster for the defense. The hot hands eventually cooled off, thank Christ, but Redick and Nelson once again proved a hefty handful for the Knick D.
  2. At one point early in the game, the Knicks sent a double team on Glen Davis. It failed, of course. Davis left soon thereafter with a sore foot. Woody-Ergo: DOUBLE TEAM EVERYONE BECAUSE THEY’LL GET SORE FEET AND LEAVE.
  3. After getting smoked like Benedict salmon by the Magic guards in the first half, the Knicks employed a weirdly effective strategy to start the third quarter – hedge hard, often into full-on traps, on ball screens. It actually worked on a few occasions, with the double-team – usually featuring Chandler – batting the play far enough afield to force the Magic into rushed sets and mid-range jumpers from not-ideal sources. I don’t know of this is something that’s a legitimate long-term strategy or not, but it was a hell of a lot better than the pussy-footed switches to which we’ve grown accustomed.
  4. With a fourth quarter triple from the left wing, Carmelo Anthony tallied 20 points for the 30th consecutive game, breaking the record of 29 previously set by Richie Guerin back in the 1820s or something. Which was really cool for the fifteen minutes of locker room and Jim Cavan house parties before Resident Wet Blanket Seth Rosenthal pissed on everyone’s parade by noting that, if you string together two season, Guerin actually chalked 20 in 33 straight (the final 29 of one season, and the first four of the next). So, yeah, I guess Melo will have to put that cake I sent him with me inside it in the freezer. Thanks, Seth. Jerkbutt.
  5. Aided by a Nets home loss to Miami, the ‘Bockers fluffed their Atlantic cushion to 2.5 games ahead of Friday’s home showdown with the Bucks. With four games left on their five-tilt home stand, gobbling up Ws when and while we can is of the utmost. While the Blockers flirt with full roster strength, getting Sheed and Kidd back – even if the former lags far behind the latter – can only help. Whether that’s enough to mask the fast manifesting palls (double-teaming career afterthoughts, switching on 1-5 picks like its some kind of performance art, etc.) is anyone’s guess. But – as I’m sure some old Irish saying goes – better to be second-guessing than next-year-waiting.

29 comments on “Knicks 113, Magic 97

  1. ruruland

    Nice recap for the most part, even though I have issues with your remarks vis-a-vis Amar’e and defense. Glad you noticed the traps. Excellent adjustment.Smart coaching.

    Also, I’m pretty certain that players are responsible for deciding when and when not to double. I’m pretty sure it’s a read. Kidd loves to double everything, and he’s incredible at digging down for steals, but now everyone does it and they’re nowhere near as good (Shumpert can get steals this way).

    Also, for people like Owen to talk about Melo not passing is idiotic. Complete ignorance.

    He only had five assists tonight,but once again the second and third pass was creating open looks every time he touched the ball in what is known called the Melo-post in some circles. They were even doubling him off the ball at times and beyond the 3-point line.

    One thing that people like Owen would never appreciate about the game of basketball is that while Melo is not making the high-reward skip pass over the defense consistently — the kind that leads to direct assists– the simple pass out of the double team might be even more efficient as it greatly reduces the exposure to turnovers.

    Few players are creative and skilled enough as passers to consistently make the skip pass without turning it over (Lebron).

    Not sure how Melo scored 20 points against that kind of defensive approach. Chandler’s screening is good enough you can’t always trap him pnr. The transition 3-pointers were really his best chance to get a clean look, smart look, even though they were deep.

    Also, it’s obvious how much more effective Raymond when he isn’t running pnr every play and guys like JR, Melo and Shumpert can get him a few wide-open catch-and-shoots.

    It’s no coincidence that Chandler’s efficiency and usage is back on the upswing since he’s returned.

    Also, the Felton pnr with either Chandler or Amar’e was great again, with both bigs on the floor.

  2. ruruland

    As you can see spacing really isn’t a problem, as either Amar’e flashes to the basket (which he did a ton off when guys like Robin Lopez were the primary rollers) or Chandler is sitting there just outside the paint, defenses still have to stop a layup somewhere when Felton gets deep as he so often does.

    Also, more Prigs. Sadly, the Knicks best ball-defender on these little guards.

  3. ruruland

    Cancer (not Gasol):

    “Although his team is riding a three-game winning streak, Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni sounded exasperated before Wednesday’s game against the Phoenix Suns when asked about Pau Gasol’s reaction to his fourth-quarter benching the previous night.

    “Well, you know, ‘all for one’ didn’t last (very) long, did it?” D’Antoni said, sarcastically referencing the Three Musketeers’ rallying cry. “Forty-eight-hour shelf life. That’s not bad. We’ll take what we can get.”

    —————————————————————–

    http://sports.yahoo.com/news/nba–forget-kobe-dwight–the-lakers-will-pay-for-doubling-down-on-failed-reunion-tour-of-d-antoni-nash-094336411.html;_ylt=AsPthyulXdUXiDzkM7k6kYALcykA;_ylu=X3oDMTFpMWNzbTFtBG1pdANCbG9nIEluZGV4IGJ5IEF1dGhvcgRwb3MDNDAEc2VjA01lZGlhQmxvZ0luZGV4;_ylg=X3oDMTFrODdzYXZuBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANhdXRob3IEcHQDc2VjdGlvbnM-;_ylv=3

  4. AHouston20

    I thought Tyson’s D in the first half was terrible he didn’t even bother making a semblance of help on many drives to the basket. However he was great in second half, not sure if the more agressive defensive approach on the Magic’s PnR energized him (he seemed to relish the chance to trap guards) or if he was merely saving himself considering lack of depth behind him but would be nice to see more consistent defensive effort out of him

  5. AHouston20

    That said his offensive game was on-point all game long it was incredible to see some back to basket simple hook shots. If he could do that more especially when he gets an offensive rebound, or switch, and has a guard on him he could become so much more valuable on offense.

  6. Kurt

    @ruru in number 4-
    Mike D’Antoni passive aggressive? I’m SHOCKED! Shocked, I tell ya!

    One point that I do agree on is Chandler vs. Howard (even a hundred percent healthy Howard). Even forgetting about personality, maturity, etc., I’d prefer Chandler in a contemporary NBA offense over Howard. Howard just isn’t a skilled enough post up threat to make it worth the lack of movement that marks a good NBA offense these days. At the very least, Howard’s extra skills are not worth the extra money he is compared to Chandler.

  7. Kurt

    Or, to put it another way, if we were ranking (a la Bill Simmons) NBA contracts, I’d take Chandler’s over Howard’s.

  8. DRed

    There’s nothing funnier than ruru defending Stat’s defense. All NBA analysts, all the defensive stats, and all our eyeballs say he’s not good. Why am I taking you seriously again, fanboy?

    Like I said on the game thread, when he’s this awesome on offense it doesn’t matter, but you are straight up delusional if you think he’s a decent defensive player.

    As for Melo, do you think he might have had a better offensive night if he hadn’t taken a few ridiculously long threes off the dribble? They weren’t double teaming him on those shots. He’s a wonderfully skilled offensive player, but even this year he still takes some stupid shots.

  9. massive

    I think we really need to commend Amar’e for his team-first approach. STAT isn’t even the 6th man for this team, he’s scoring at a sky high efficiency (way over what anyone could have reasonably hoped for), and he’s doing it between Melo and Chandler with no problem. Stoudemire’s off-ball prowess is still elite, and his shooting touch seems to be on its way back. He’s also a very solid play maker on defense. Gotta love the way he approached this season as a team-first guy.

    It was great to see Chandler look to post up early. I didn’t know he had an offensive move outside of “catch ball in air and finish with authority.” Felton’s 9 assists, 0 turnovers, and 13 FGA are right where his numbers should be. His defense has been alarmingly bad since December, though. Let’s not act like we weren’t anxiously waiting for Shumpert to come back since we had a huge problem containing quick guards. I hope we figure this perimeter defense thing out. You know, like working on lateral agility and not giving your man his dominant hand? The perimeter defense is inexcusable for this team with our athletes.

  10. ruruland

    DRed:
    There’s nothing funnier than ruru defending Stat’s defense.All NBA analysts, all the defensive stats, and all our eyeballs say he’s not good.Why am I taking you seriously again, fanboy?

    Like I said on the game thread, when he’s this awesome on offense it doesn’t matter, but you are straight up delusional if you think he’s a decent defensive player.

    As for Melo, do you think he might have had a better offensive night if he hadn’t taken a few ridiculously long threes off the dribble?They weren’t double teaming him on those shots.He’s a wonderfully skilled offensive player, but even this year he still takes some stupid shots.

    You clearly haven’t paid enough attention to my comments on STAT’s defense for me to care what you think.

    As for Melo, those long 3-pointers weren’t off the dribble.

  11. massive

    I honestly think STAT’s defense hasn’t been as terrible as everyone thinks. It’s like a “I believe he’s terrible, so every time I see him do something wrong I’m gonna hold onto it because it goes with my opinion” thing around here. Sorta like the same way people (not named Jon Abbey) don’t call out Tyson Chandler for not trying very often because it’s widely accepted that he is a top-notch defensive anchor. Stat isn’t great, but he isn’t exactly Steve Novak out there either.

  12. DRed

    massive:
    I honestly think STAT’s defense hasn’t been as terrible as everyone thinks. It’s like a “I believe he’s terrible, so every time I see him do something wrong I’m gonna hold onto it because it goes with my opinion” thing around here. Sorta like the same way people (not named Jon Abbey) don’t call out Tyson Chandler for not trying very often because it’s widely accepted that he is a top-notch defensive anchor. Stat isn’t great, but he isn’t exactly Steve Novak out there either.

    Amare can block some shots, but I’m not sure what else he’s decent at on defense. Maybe he’s not as bad as people think, but basically every team he’s ever been on has been better on defense with him off the floor-I think it’s fair to say he’s a bad defensive player. The frustrating thing about Amare is that he’s a great athlete. He’s tall, stong, and he’s fast, so you’d think he’d be a good defender, but he’s just not. So no, he’s not as bad as Steve Novak, but Steve is an unathletic jump shooter who nobody expects to be good at defense.

  13. Kurt

    DRED: I’ll be the first one to admit that STAT still has to improve on his D, and that he’s still learning how to be a productive team defender. I also agree that there is lots of advanced stats from previous years saying that his team plays better D when he’s on the bench. I would also agree that, at the beginning of Amar’e’s return, he had some egregious miscues.

    Here is a post with good documentation:
    http://www.hardwoodparoxysm.com/2013/01/10/video-proof-chronicling-the-defensive-and-rebounding-woes-of-amare-stoudemire/

    But part of ruru’s point is that lots of times when nba analysts comment on STAT’s defense, confirmation bias plays a big role in how they see all Knicks defensive breakdowns when Amar’e is on the floor. Instead of breaking down the game film, they think, whoa, that looked ugly, Amar’e is just as bad as ever on D.

    But I think such an approach is overly superficial. If someone created more recent video analysis like the above I’d love to take a look at it. Aside from the breakdowns I gave already, I noticed one play either tonight or last game in which Amar’e hedged and went back to his man when the guard played it as a switch.

    At some point over the course of the year, you could make the argument that, even if STAT might be unlucky on many breakdowns, it has to be his fault at some point if the advanced stats say his drating is horrific. But until we reach that point, I’d prefer thick description and particular examples to our first glance impressions.

  14. Kurt

    As I’ve argued previously, defense requires many skills different from offense, especially for a big man help defender. First, athleticism is different from lateral quickness. STAT is far from the first or last hyper-athletic player with defensive deficiencies.

    Also, Amar’e noticing when to cut and which angles to use on the weakside baseline is different from reading defensive situations. His sense of pacing and flow on his dives and his trailing in transition, not to mention his ability to start a handoff reflect what I’ll call a good offensive aptitude, for lack of a better term. Defensive aptitude requires a different set of skills and training that he does not have and has not received.

    Finally, effective team defense, especially for a big man, requires an ability to focus sharply on both one’s man and the ball for 24 seconds straight. At least in the past, I think a good portion of his poor rotations were from an inability to focus well off the ball.

    Even from the perspective of advanced stats, I think it’s necessary to break them down further. I remember at one point two and a half years ago, Synergy ranked Amar’e’s on ball PPP as equivalent to Bosh’s. In other words, I’d prefer commenting specifically rather than making broad statements like “bad defender.”

    DRed: Amare can block some shots, but I’m not sure what else he’s decent at on defense.Maybe he’s not as bad as people think, but basically every team he’s ever been on has been better on defense with him off the floor-I think it’s fair to say he’s a bad defensive player.The frustrating thing about Amare is that he’s a great athlete.He’s tall, stong, and he’s fast, so you’d think he’d be a good defender, but he’s just not.So no, he’s not as bad as Steve Novak, but Steve is an unathletic jump shooter who nobody expects to be good at defense.

  15. nicos

    re: Amar’e’s defense- Chandler has spent a good chunk of the year letting penetrating guards walk right to the rim and nobody says a peep. Passivity doesn’t jump out at you the way a blown rotation does but it leads to just as many hoops. For the most part tonight Amar’e did a solid job of challenging penetration without blindly chasing/over-rotating. And as mentioned, he was pretty effective in some trapping situations and didn’t give up any egregious offensive rebounds so I’m not really sure what the complaint is- sometimes it seems as if the recappers (who all do a really terrific job by the way including Jim’s tonight) came up with a bunch of funny “Amar’e’s defense is sooo bad” lines while he was out and they’re determined to use them whether they’re warranted or not.

  16. iserp

    yellowboy90: off topic but what do the Pistons do with all those back up pgs?

    They should start Calderon and not look back. After so many shoot first combo guards at the PG they will thank having someone who spaces the floor, doesn’t turn the ball over and gets the ball to the bigs. He has lots of flaws, specially on defense, but i think he meshes well in that team. If they are lucky, they will resign him for the cheap and he will continue to contribute (court vision and shooting age well).

  17. massive

    I feel terrible for Calderon. Both Toronto and Detroit are bad, but at least Toronto is a better city with a better fan-base. I wish he ended up on a contender….like the Knicks.

  18. iserp

    Realistically, there are no contenders with cap space to sign him, not to mention that most of them already have good PGs. On basketball terms, Monroe / Drummond looks like a winner and they have cap space to improve the team either this summer or next summer, before Monroe’s contract have to be extended. If he stays healthy till then, he will be in a nice team.

    However i think Calderon felt Toronto as home, and it is sad to see him leaving the team.

  19. iserp

    BTW, i understand the rationale of trading Rudy Gay from the Grizzlies perspective (although i would’ve liked to see one playoff run with both Gay and Randolph healthy). And Detroit sneaked in, got rid of a veteran they don’t have use for, and have a look at a real PG.

    But Toronto?? Are they aiming for mediocrity on purpose???

    Even if Rudy Gay gives them a good return for his max salary, they won’t have cap space, nor pick this year. They still have two years of Landry Fields, and i guess they will want to resign Kyle Lowry, as they spended a lottery pick on him. And they will problaby have to pay for someone to take Bargnani of their hands… Demar DeRozan already fell back to earth, and his extension is quite suspect. Bryan Colangelo is on the Isiah Thomas tier of GMs.

  20. Nick C.

    Nice write-up. I wonder if the Knicks cams are tracking data for opponents shooting percentages: close out as shot going up/un guarded v. man in front of shooter and hands go up before shot goes up? If so and it is along the lines, albeit nowhere near as absurdly drastic as JRs data, they might tweak their schemes before a half dozen threes fall in the first quarter.

  21. flossy

    I only watched the 2nd half, but I actually thought Amar’e played pretty good defense? There was one spectacular breakdown on PnR coverage, but apart from that he generally hedged well and got back to his man in time, made the right rotations and was agressive in closing out on shooters without fouling.

    This is just my armchair psychology, but it honestly looked to me like the touches he was getting on offense were making the game fun and he was more energized and focused on defense as a result. Makes me think the Knicks should be trying to get him a lot more shots, since he’s now posting a TS% of .627 (!!) with a usage of 24% in a sample that includes all of his first few crappy games.

  22. ephus

    I only saw the second half, but STAT’s defense in the second half looked acceptable to me. I watched without sound (the Heat-Nets was getting the big play in the sportsbook) and really tried to follow his d. He did a nice job in the late 3rd and early 4th, when it was still a game, switching and hedging and recovering. Apparently, the first quarter was a defensive apocalypse. How much was STAT on the court at that time?

  23. flossy

    ephus: Apparently, the first quarter was a defensive apocalypse. How much was STAT on the court at that time?

    He sure as hell wasn’t guarding Jameer Nelson or JJ Reddick.

  24. Darrell H.

    flossy: I only watched the 2nd half, but I actually thought Amar’e played pretty good defense? There was one spectacular breakdown on PnR coverage, but apart from that he generally hedged well and got back to his man in time, made the right rotations and was agressive in closing out on shooters without fouling.This is just my armchair psychology, but it honestly looked to me like the touches he was getting on offense were making the game fun and he was more energized and focused on defense as a result. Makes me think the Knicks should be trying to get him a lot more shots, since he’s now posting a TS% of .627 (!!) with a usage of 24% in a sample that includes all of his first few crappy games.

    I agree with you. Relative to the rest of the team, Amar’e did play good defense. The Knicks are playing low energy, lazy defense. It’ll be interesting to me to see how Amar’e looks on D against a good team, in a close game, down the stretch.

  25. Juany8

    I agree with Ruru on one point, if you’re going to call out Amar’e every single time he messes up a defensive possession, you have to call out Tyson Chandler for barely playing average defense on most nights. I’ve seen just as many instances of Chandler failing to rotate over to stop penetration as Amar’e and Melo, and that’s kind of his biggest role on this team. I don’t think Amar’e has become good or anything, but he’s consistently putting forth effort, boxing out more effectively than in past years, and as a result he’s been decent on that end, especially considering he’s still adjusting from the injury and the new defensive schemes. His offense has been awesome so far, his passing especially has been much better than I expected.

  26. Kurt

    I was wondering that myself, iserp. Hasn’t Collangelo been at Toronto longer than Isaiah was GM?

    iserp:
    BTW, i understand the rationale of trading Rudy Gay from the Grizzlies perspective (although i would’ve liked to see one playoff run with both Gay and Randolph healthy). And Detroit sneaked in, got rid of a veteran they don’t have use for, and have a look at a real PG.

    But Toronto?? Are they aiming for mediocrity on purpose???

    Even if Rudy Gay gives them a good return for his max salary, they won’t have cap space, nor pick this year. They still have two years of Landry Fields, and i guess they will want to resign Kyle Lowry, as they spended a lottery pick on him. And they will problaby have to pay for someone to take Bargnani of their hands… Demar DeRozan already fell back to earth, and his extension is quite suspect. Bryan Colangelo is on the Isiah Thomas tier of GMs.

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