Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Knicks 114, Magic 106

New York Knicks 114 Final
Recap | Box Score
106 Orlando Magic
Carmelo Anthony, SF 45 MIN | 14-29 FG | 8-9 FT | 6 REB | 6 AST | 40 PTS | +7

The early going found Melo looking like he’d walked the perimeter of Epcot Center (is this still a thing?) a couple dozen times — settling for mid-range jumpers and refusing to skewer Orlando’s sacrificial small forwards on dribble-drives. But his shot fell at a consistent enough clip, his extra-pass instincts (four dimes in the first half) were on point, and a late flurry of tin-takes helped keep the Knicks from drowning in their cow pie of an opening period.

Ol’ #7 stayed silent for much of the third, save for a nice pull-up three to briefly give the Knicks the lead anew. After the Magic regained an eight point lead, Melo took over, smoking Josh McRoberts like a Philly left sitting out for weeks, hitting a ridiculous shot clock-beating three to tie the game, and strapping the rest of the Bocker’s to back throughout a video game of a fourth quarter fury. Until – and that begs when over if – Amar’e returns to form, and J.R.’s surprising production aside, this is still something of a one-man scoring show. But what a show it is, why with wizardly passing and consistently locked-in perimeter defense now a steady part of the program.

Ronnie Brewer, SF 17 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -15

Hearing Ronnie wax pregame poetic on the Knicks’ seemingly re-remembered defensive identity with phrases like “being your brother’s keeper,” you can’t help but like the guy. On the court, it’s an entirely different story altogether. Because when your coach yells at you so loud – as happened to Ronnie at the tail end of Orlando’s early 14-2 blitz – that the sound travels through the television, up the stairs, into your bedroom, and wakes your dog up, you’re two fuck-ups away from being demoted to team flight attendant. I don’t know if it’s a matter of “running out of gas” or “regressing to the mean” or what, but Brewer’s sporadic uselessness is becoming a problem. Nowhere was this thrown into higher, grosser relief than on a second quarter attempted three from the corner that Moe Harkless sent into the mezzanine nacho stand.

His early guffaws were remedied somewhat by a couple of nice Myiagi-hand swipes early in the third, but Brewer was – rather mercifully, sad to say – benched down the stretch.

Marcus Camby, C 13 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 2 PTS | -15

Personnel realities being what they are, Camby at the starting four gives the Knicks a far, far better look — on defense, on the boards, in eyeballs — than Kurt Thomas, even if minute management will likely remain a legitimate concern. The first half contributions were negligible, beyond a vintage 16-foot twine-tickling catapult…. But then the Knicks decided to run their offense through Marcus Camby to start the second half (Kubrick was writing a script based on this idea when the Illuminati took him out), a truly remarkable stretch that included no less than four pin-point entry passes from the high post. Not all were duly converted, but that kind of precision and skill from a big man – no matter his NBA odometer – is a nice thing to have on hand, for sure.

Tyson Chandler, C 36 MIN | 6-6 FG | 2-4 FT | 12 REB | 2 AST | 14 PTS | +14

For all the rightful accolades bestowed aboard our pivot’s shoulders, a flurry of early turnovers proved trusty hands are not exactly a Tyson Chandler hallmark. Couple that with something of an early clowning by Nikola Vucevic – who two games before had broken Scott Skiles’ team record for rebounds in a game – you get not the most auspicious of starts for our stubble-bearded bulwark. Tyson rallied in the second, however, became far more active on the offensive glass, converted a deft one-handed continuation off the rim, and manned the defensive paint with aplomb.

Vulva-check or whatever his name is remained a problem the game through, but Tyson was able to capitalize on enough touches around the rim to make the match a wash.

Jason Kidd, PG 35 MIN | 5-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 7 AST | 15 PTS | +12

We needed every one of Kidd’s dagger treys, timely dimes, and prescient swipes tonight. Obviously the whole “check Jameer Nelson” thing was a complete disaster, but at least Kidd is physical enough to exact something in the way of energy out of quicker, fleeter-footed opponents, which can pay dividends in a tight game like this.

Other than Melo’s junk-swinging stretch heroics, no one hit bigger shots at better times in this one than J-Kidd. His impact was so obvious and instantaneous, in fact, that after his first fourth quarter three the Central Florida Fox Sports affiliate featured a commercial with Kidd peddling a pond-front senior mobile home community.

Amar’e Stoudemire, PF 17 MIN | 3-7 FG | 5-5 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 11 PTS | 0

Let it be noted: What STAT did in the way of a tribute to his late brother Hazell – inviting a group of 30 kids down to the Amway Center on his dime, meeting with them before and after the game, and imparting upon them life lessons learned from the man he calls “my mentor” – was beyond classy, and as true a hat-tip to local roots as you’ll ever see.

That said, there’s enough rust about Amare’s game to give a Mastadon lockjaw. The movements are more fluid, and you can definitely see STAT is making a concerted effort to survey the floor and find the open man, but he’s still snowplow slow on rotations, remains timid around the tin, and is getting his shit stuffed at far too high a clip. That said, patience being the relevant virtue, there’s been enough in the way of marginal improvement – and on-the-fly chemistry – to suggest Amar’e is nothing if not on the right track.

Steve Novak, SF 28 MIN | 2-6 FG | 1-1 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 7 PTS | +26

A pretty vanilla outing from our bread rope-hued slinger, whose sheer ability to space the floor helped garner him a game-high +26.

Chris Copeland, SF 4 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -3

Chris Copeland Anagaram Fun: ACID CORN HELPS

Pablo Prigioni, PG 14 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 5 PTS | -6

Not quite the brilliant stop-gap performance we witnessed Thursday night, but a few nice moments from our Pampas point man. Like Kidd, Prigs struggled mightily with the Magic’s aggressive dribble-drives and cuts. On the bright side, it does look like Pablo’s being a bit quicker and more confident with the three-point trigger, and it’s pretty clear he’s anxious to get something in the way of P&R chemistry going with Stat.

J.R. Smith, SG 31 MIN | 8-18 FG | 2-3 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 18 PTS | +20

A few too many J.R. step-back marked the game’s early moments, and it looked for a while like we were destined for a barrage of Orlando nightlife tweets. But J.R. pulled it together, facilitated a number of beautiful second quarter passing chains, and scored six straight – all on drives to the rim – during the ‘Bockers’ second quarter surge.

For all his timely buckets (and there were many), by far Earl’s greatest contribution was his encouragingly consistent D. A few blunders or botched rotations might’ve flown under the radar, but it sure looked like J.R. was the most consistently engaged on that front, a trend highlighted by a heady inbounds bat-away that resulted in a 24-second violation late in the third quarter. So long as we don’t flip on our boob tubes to find J.R. donning an infected Donald Duck face tattoo come Monday, I’d say tonight only added to the growing found money legend of our resident enigma.

Four Things We Saw

  1. For those of you who wisely decided to go to dinner or hang out with your friends or kids or eat bricks of piss-soaked cat litter instead of watching the first quarter, congratulations: you get to live an extra week. The Magic blitzed their way to a 14-2 lead three minutes en route to a 36-point (on 62% shooting) opening stanza. After corralling the sophisticated San Antonio dribble-drive attack two days previous, the Knicks looked like glaciers on skateboards in the early going, letting the Magic’s pesky motion offense cleave out space seemingly at will and giving up open looks the court over. All’s well that ends well, obviously, but unless there’s some kind of wink-nod bet that we don’t know about – “Alright, alright, it’s January – let’s spot these *#$!&% 10 or 12 and have some fun!” – these putrid first quarter starts have to be addressed.
  2. Somewhat germane to the above bullet: After giving up 12 paint points in 48 minutes in Thursday’s rousing win over the Spurs, the Knicks surrendered 44 to the Magic Saturday night. Now, it should be noted that Orlando isn’t lacking in serviceable bigs – Vucevic has been on a tear of late, Nicholson seems destined for a productive career, and even Charlie Day stunt double Josh McRoberts looks like he’s no longer terrible – protecting the paint has become yet another realm of selective effort for the boys in blue.
  3. Thank Yaweh for the Bocker bench, who out-dueled their white-clad foes to the tune of 43-18 points on the night. Smith, STAT, and Steve (there’s a nickname here, I know there is — FIND IT) were key to this, obviously. It’s hard not to feel good about our second unit firepower going forward, particularly when Shump and his fade (it just got its own driver’s license) get back and Brewer and Camby assume more limited roles.
  4. We’ve long been lamenting Woodson’s switch first ask questions later defense, but tonight the Magic showed exactly how bad an idea that can be when the team you’re playing is loaded with quick, 6’4”-and-under guards, burly but fleet-footed bigs, and pretty much nothing in between: Way too many mismatches, far too regular rotational breakdowns, and a bonanza of easy buckets. There might well be a method to this madness, and quite frankly I’m way too lazy to go back at the last 12 months of game tape and compare the points per possession on switches versus non-switches. What I do know is that, when this switch thing isn’t working, it’s unbelievably frustrating to watch, and my family stops liking me for the rest of the night.
  5. But a win’s a win, dagnabbit. I imagine playing your fourth in five on the road is tough, but it must also risk detachment when you start sandwiching home and road games – “We just won a big game in our house and we have our biggest rivals coming into town on Monday and oh by the way we have to fly to Florida for 36 hours so go pack your bags wait J.R. why are you packing four jars of Jif peanut butter?” That sort of thing. These Knicks sure don’t make it easy on themselves a lot of the time, but they’ve proven over and over that no lead is safe, and that’s as valuable a trait as any, to which anyone who’s watched the last two finals will surely attest. After all, when it comes to basketball, bliss without blood pressure is just, well, a video game.

36 comments on “Knicks 114, Magic 106

  1. maxwell_3g

    So long as we don’t flip on our boob tubes to find J.R. donning an infected Donald Duck face tattoo come Monday, I’d say tonight only added to the growing found money legend of our resident enigma.

    classic. as strange as it is, JR is establishing himself as an all time memorable Knick. hes right up there with Johnny Newman, with John Starks potential

  2. ruruland

    maxwell_3g:
    So long as we don’t flip on our boob tubes to find J.R. donning an infected Donald Duck face tattoo come Monday, I’d say tonight only added to the growing found money legend of our resident enigma.

    classic.as strange as it is, JR is establishing himself as an all time memorable Knick.hes right up there with Johnny Newman, with John Starks potential

    lmao

  3. ruruland

    No way Dwight stays if they don’t win championship

    “Those guys on the Clippers team, they really enjoy each other off the court and it shows,” Howard said Saturday after Lakers practice.

    And how about the Lakers? Do they have that chemistry?

    “It’s something we have to do to get better,” he said. “We have to play like we like each other. Even if we don’t want to be friends off the court, whatever that may be, when we step in between the lines or we step in the locker room or the gym, we have to respect each other and what we bring to the table.

    topic came up because of Howard’s complimentary comments about the Clippers after Friday’s game, and a strange play in which Lakers forward Jordan Hill injured his ankle, rolled around in pain on the ground, but none of his teammates came over to check on him.

    Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said he addressed the play involving Hill with the team at Saturday’s practice, but didn’t think the Lakers lacked chemistry.

    “I think it was a lapse. I don’t think it was meant,” D’Antoni said of the team’s lack of a reaction to Hill’s injury. “It’s something we addressed and talked about.

  4. ruruland

    There have been 34 games in the NBA since 1985 where a player had at least 40 point, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and just one turnover.

    Meanwhile, Owen’s disappeared again.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pgl_finder.cgi?request=1&player_id=&match=game&year_min=&year_max=&age_min=0&age_max=99&team_id=&opp_id=&is_playoffs=N&round_is_ec1=Y&round_is_ecs=Y&round_is_ecf=Y&round_is_wc1=Y&round_is_wcs=Y&round_is_wcf=Y&round_is_fin=Y&game_num_type=&game_num_min=&game_num_max=&game_month=&game_location=&game_result=&is_starter=&is_active=&is_hof=&pos_is_g=Y&pos_is_gf=Y&pos_is_f=Y&pos_is_fg=Y&pos_is_fc=Y&pos_is_c=Y&pos_is_cf=Y&c1stat=pts&c1comp=gt&c1val=40&c2stat=trb&c2comp=gt&c2val=6&c3stat=ast&c3comp=gt&c3val=6&c4stat=tov&c4comp=lt&c4val=1&order_by=pts

  5. llcoolbp

    ruruland:
    There have been 34 games in the NBA since 1985 where a player had at least 40 point, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and just one turnover.

    Meanwhile, Owen’s disappeared again.

    Interesting link. Jordan did it 7 times. Including an amazing 54 point 14 rebound 6 assist 1 turnover effort against his whipping post cavs in 1989. Back when you could clothesline players and hand check. This is Melos second such game. Gary Payton had 3 such games. It’s easy to forget how good he was. There are some surprising names there too like Andre bargnani, leandro barbosa, and c j Watson.

  6. nicos

    ruruland:
    No way Dwight stays if they don’t win championship

    “Those guys on the Clippers team, they really enjoy each other off the court and it shows,” Howard said Saturday after Lakers practice.

    And how about the Lakers? Do they have that chemistry?

    “It’s something we have to do to get better,” he said. “We have to play like we like each other. Even if we don’t want to be friends off the court, whatever that may be, when we step in between the lines or we step in the locker room or the gym, we have to respect each other and what we bring to the table.

    topic came up because of Howard’s complimentary comments about the Clippers after Friday’s game, and a strange play in which Lakers forward Jordan Hill injured his ankle, rolled around in pain on the ground, but none of his teammates came over to check on him.

    Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said he addressed the play involving Hill with the team at Saturday’s practice, but didn’t think the Lakers lacked chemistry.

    “I think it was a lapse. I don’t think it was meant,” D’Antoni said of the team’s lack of a reaction to Hill’s injury. “It’s something we addressed and talked about.

    What’s ironic is nobody seems less enthusiastic than Howard. Even when the Lakers were making that late run he looked like he had just taken a big dose of Lithium, just vacant. He’s been sulking non-stop for over a year now- inexcusable for a guy who’s been catered to as much as he has.

  7. massive

    This is a pretty good mix of every type of shot Carmelo has hit this season. It really displays Carmelo’s array of moves on offense that make him unstoppable. Melo is the complete package in the half-court, or at least he is aesthetically.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=wJwwNm4QHzE

    0:04 starts “Dribble Pull-Up”
    3:32 starts “Step Back”
    4:58 starts “Post-Up and Fadeaway” (shows more than described)
    7:28 starts “Layups and Dunks”
    11:08 starts “Three Point Killer”

    And here’s a fantastic mix of the Knicks’ season up until January 1st:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=EPEdPznjtqw

  8. JK47

    How many shooting guards in the Eastern Conference would you rather have than JR Smith?

    Wade, of course. Other than Wade, who else? Joe Johnson? Nah. Ray Allen? Still a great shooter, but a one-dimensional player at this stage of his career. Monta Ellis? Nope. Lou Williams? I guess you could maybe make a case for him… Jason Terry? I think I’d prefer JR Swish over Terry.

  9. sisterray

    “Kubrick was writing a script based on this idea when the Illuminati took him out”

    Brilliant!

  10. Bruno Almeida

    Kobe must be so incredibly mad at Dwight, and he’s absolutely right to be this time.

    man up, you’re a freaking professional NBA player, living in Los Angeles, making huge money to play with Steve Nash / Pau Gasol / Kobe Bryant…

    I have pretty much lost all respect I had for this whiny little bitch.

    JK47:
    How many shooting guards in the Eastern Conference would you rather have than JR Smith?

    Wade, of course.Other than Wade, who else?Joe Johnson?Nah.Ray Allen?Still a great shooter, but a one-dimensional player at this stage of his career.Monta Ellis?Nope.Lou Williams?I guess you could maybe make a case for him… Jason Terry?I think I’d prefer JR Swish over Terry.

    considering age + salary + injury history, I don’t think Wade is so obvious… I’d rather have JR + healthy Shumpert and some money left than paying 20 million to Wade…

    Wade has been rather ordinary this season, imo… he’s still really good and he’s got some moments when he’s THE D-Wade we’re used to seeing, but those are far and few between these days.

    it might be that he’s saving himself for the playoffs, San Antonio style, but I dunno, there just seems to be something wrong about him.

  11. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    ruruland:
    Drummond best player in the league.

    Kidd>> Lebron

    http://www.thenbageek.com/players?direction=desc&sort=%22WP48%22

    Funny how the assumption is that Drummond couldn’t possible be an awesome basketball player and that Kidd’s production at the SG position couldn’t possibly be better than LeBron’s at the PF.

    It’s not a ranking of players according to their 1 on 1 ability, ruruland. You mock it because it doesn’t sit with your preconceived notions, almost as if you believe that Drummond couldn’t score a layup on his own if his life depended on it.

  12. Bruno Almeida

    what I understand about those rankings is that you can’t take them out of the context… there’s a reason “Minutes played” is a cathegory right beside WP48…

    all that ranking says is that Drummond, in his role, with his playing time, with his usage rate, is playing fenomenal basketball.

    it never implies that Drummond is THE BEST PLAYER in the NBA (or second best, because Paul is ahead of him), but in this specific context, Drummond’s contributions have been highly valuable.

    I don’t see a problem with that stat, seeing it this way.

  13. Juany8

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: Funny how the assumption is that Drummond couldn’t possible be an awesome basketball player and that Kidd’s production at the SG position couldn’t possibly be better than LeBron’s at the PF.

    It’s not a ranking of players according to their 1 on 1 ability, ruruland. You mock it because it doesn’t sit with your preconceived notions, almost as if you believe that Drummond couldn’t score a layup on his own if his life depended on it.

    Lol I will gladly say that there is no position you could stick Kidd at that would make him a more valuable player than Lebron this season. To imply otherwise is a joke, even you have to admit that

  14. Juany8

    And I am sad to say that JR Smith will get no all star love this season. After Wade and Rondo, Deron Williams will probably get in by legacy, and I think the coaches will vote Kidd rather than JR just based on reputation, if they even think the Knicks deserve 3 players

  15. ruruland

    Bruno Almeida:
    what I understand about those rankings is that you can’t take them out of the context… there’s a reason “Minutes played” is a cathegory right beside WP48…

    all that ranking says is that Drummond, in his role, with his playing time, with his usage rate, is playing fenomenal basketball.

    it never implies that Drummond is THE BEST PLAYER in the NBA (or second best, because Paul is ahead of him), but in this specific context, Drummond’s contributions have been highly valuable.

    I don’t see a problem with that stat, seeing it this way.

    Usage rate doesn’t mean anything. Melo is a below league average player despite well above league average efficiency and extremely high usage. He could score 1000 points a game and it wouldn’t make a difference.

  16. ruruland

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: You mock it because it doesn’t sit with your preconceived notions, almost as if you believe that Drummond couldn’t score a layup on his own if his life depended on it.

    That’s not even in the ballpark for reasons I’ve mocked it.

  17. ruruland

    Bruno Almeida:
    what I understand about those rankings is that you can’t take them out of the context… there’s a reason “Minutes played” is a cathegory right beside WP48…

    all that ranking says is that Drummond, in his role, with his playing time, with his usage rate, is playing fenomenal basketball.

    it never implies that Drummond is THE BEST PLAYER in the NBA (or second best, because Paul is ahead of him), but in this specific context, Drummond’s contributions have been highly valuable.

    I don’t see a problem with that stat, seeing it this way.

    It doesn’t say shit about his role either. It’s saying he’s the second best player in the league when he’s on the court.

  18. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Juany8: You really think Tyson Chandler and Anderson Varejao have been top 5 players in the league? Honest question, because once you factor in minutes that’s what WP says

    Absolutely. What makes you think they’re not? Because your eyes tell you so? How many minutes of Cavs games have you watched this season?

  19. Juany8

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: Absolutely. What makes you think they’re not? Because your eyes tell you so? How many minutes of Cavs games have you watched this season?

    Not many, but all basketball logic tells me I’m right. Varejao is a very nice player, and I’d even say he should be considered for an all star spot if he’s playing such beast defense, but he’s not the 5th best player in the league.

  20. ruruland

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: Absolutely. What makes you think they’re not? Because your eyes tell you so? How many minutes of Cavs games have you watched this season?

    The Knicks would be much better off limiting Smith and Melos minutes and riding a starting five of Chandler, Thomas, Brewer, Kidd and Prigioni, true or false?

  21. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Juany8: Not many, but all basketball logic tells me I’m right. Varejao is a very nice player, and I’d even say he should be considered for an all star spot if he’s playing such beast defense, but he’s not the 5th best player in the league.

    Good. So your “basketball logic” is the basis for your assertion. We’re done here.

  22. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    ruruland: The Knicks would be much better off limiting Smith and Melos minutes and riding a starting five of Chandler, Thomas, Brewer, Kidd and Prigioni, true or false?

    Well, I think Carmelo’s role is much more of a SF, so I think he should get significant minutes. But yes, Prigioni should be starting over Felton, Kidd over Smith.

  23. ruruland

    Ok, but Novak would supplant Melo at the 3, right, even with a sf positional adjustment? (WP doesn’t account for the minutes distributed at multiple positions?)

  24. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    ruruland:
    Ok, but Novak would supplant Melo at the 3, right, even with a sf positional adjustment? (WP doesn’t account for the minutes distributed at multiple positions?)

    Are you asking me if I think Novak can’t be good without Melo or someone like him? Yes I do.

  25. ruruland

    That’s not what I asked you. Novak is a better basketball player than Melo according to WP. I’d like for you to confirm that for me.

  26. chrisk06811

    Jim….lots of words I don’t know. Are you trying to make me a better scrabble player?

    I fear that I too suffer from sporadic uselessness.

  27. jon abbey

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: But yes, Prigioni should be starting over Felton, Kidd over Smith.

    it must be nice to live in a world where defense is irrelevant, your Kidd/LeBron statement above might be the dumbest statement I’ve ever seen about basketball (non-Berri division, he has most of the top 100 locked up tight).

  28. Juany8

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: Good. So your “basketball logic” is the basis for your assertion. We’re done here.

    I’m glad you make statements like this. It makes you look like a joke, I don’t even have to point out the flaws with your arguments anymore, you make it clear that you don’t have an argument to begin with

  29. Bruno Almeida

    ruruland: It doesn’t say shit about his role either. It’s saying he’s the second best player in the league when he’s on the court.

    I know it doesn’t say that, I’m saying that.

    that’s the way I interpret those numbers, and I am well aware that there are many stat guys who truly think that if the formula ended up with Drummond as the 2nd best player in the league, he is the 2nd best player in the league, period.

    however, not everyone who looks at advanced stats is stupid like that.

    I do think Anderson Varejão’s contributions to his team, on his specific role, are marvelous and incredibly valuable, he could, in my opinion, single handedly push a contender over the top with a trade…

    I’m just glad it’s pretty much impossible for Miami to get him, because I think they would be unbeatable with him at the 5.

    and when you think that Tyson Chandler might have been the most influentional factor behind the Mavs winning a title, I wouldn’t underestimate his contributions either.

Comments are closed.