Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Knicks 131, Raptors 118

I’ll give you one guess which team has the worst defense in the league? If you picked the Toronto Raptors, you’d be right. The Raps have a defensive efficiency of 113.0, but if you watched yesterday’s Knick game you probably didn’t need to know that number to come to that conclusion.

New York teed off against Toronto last night, shooting a sizzling 67.3% eFG, including 15-27 from downtown. The long range festival was led by Toney Douglas (6-9) and Carmelo Anthony (5-7). ‘Melo’s three point percentage on the season is now 37.2%, and 42.4% as a Knick. This would be the highest total of his career, edging out his 37.1% in 2009. Anthony’s downtown mediocrity was a concern prior to the trade, but so far he’s alleviated those fears.

Jared Jeffries started the game at power forward, although he saw only 13 minutes. His two points on an open layup came courtesy of a brilliant behind the back pass from Chauncy Billups. Derrick Brown saw some minutes in the fourth quarter. The seldom used guard played the final 10 minutes, played some solid defense and had a crowd pleasing left handed dunk.

29 comments on “Knicks 131, Raptors 118

  1. Nick C.

    Watching the game I was wondering what Carmelo’s 3 pt % was with NY, because lately he seems to be pretty good after a spotty first few games. Unasked question answered thanks.

  2. Spree8nyk8

    Really glad the Knicks are at least heading into the playoffs on a high note. I’d really like to see them get the 6th seed back, not because I care about the opponent, but I think it’s important mentally for them to track that spot down.

    On a side note I’m supaglad the Laker luckbox train has slowed down some. Looks like the Spurs are going to be able to keep the #1 seed. So hopefully someone will at least force the Lakers to go on the road and win.

  3. Frank

    Few thoughts:

    I’m loving is the 15-20 min/game or so that Shelden is getting. Dude is shooting with an (unsustainable) TS of 64, and posting a WS/48 (whatever that really means) of 0.206. Which, if I’m not mistaken, means he’s better than Kevin Garnett (0.194)! Seriously – he looks like he can shoot the 10 foot jumper when left wide open (which he will be quite often) and is as beastly as anyone we have on the glass.

    Melo’s 3 point percentage is truly unexpected to me, and I’m hoping he’s not wasting all his hot shooting on essentially meaningless games. He DOES seem to be shooting mostly uncontested 3’s– I didn’t watch him play much for the Nuggets — was he as uncontested there as he is here? The other thing is that he seems to clearly like the wings for his 3’s – not sure whether statistically speaking that’s his best spot and so D’Antoni is setting things up for him to shoot from there.

    The only bad thing about last night was Amare’s continued indifference on the defensive boards. He must seriously be the worst boxer-outer ever.

  4. Caleb

    I don’t know if this is true, but in the Post Brian Lewis cites “sources” as saying Walsh has been offered the chance to stay on, if he wants.

    On the court, the most troubling thing is Stoudemire’s total collapse as a rebounder. He is at a career low rate and sinking fast… if this is the new normal for the next few years we have problems.

  5. TDM

    Caleb: I don’t know if this is true, but in the Post Brian Lewis cites “sources” as saying Walsh has been offered the chance to stay on, if he wants.On the court, the most troubling thing is Stoudemire’s total collapse as a rebounder. He is at a career low rate and sinking fast… if this is the new normal for the next few years we have problems.   (Quote)

    Elton Brand’s broken hand is going to just get worse as the season continues. Seeing as he is their leading scorer, rebounder (Offensive and Defensive) and shot-blocker, the Sixers will go as he goes. Aside from Brand, there is really no one that can contain Amare on the Sixers, so I’m hoping for a big game from STAT tonight.

  6. Z

    Caleb: the most troubling thing is Stoudemire’s total collapse as a rebounder. He is at a career low rate and sinking fast… if this is the new normal for the next few years we have problems.   

    Aside from two explosive moments last night, Amar’e looked like a jump-shooting Jared Jeffries…

  7. flossy

    I’m really not worried about Amar’e playing 36 minutes last night or not rebounding well… it seemed pretty obvious (to me at least) that he was, um, not over-exerting himself to say the least. He got a five assists and seemed content to let his teammates rain threes to put the game out of reach without him breaking a sweat, which, you know what? It’s the Raptors and the Knicks just clinched a playoff spot, so I think it’s probably okay. I think he knew he didn’t have to give much effort on the boards for the Knicks to win and he was correct.

    I was actually more pleased that he looked like he had some bounce in his step and a smile on his face for the first time in weeks. I think he secretly likes babysitting the second unit like he did in the fourth quarter last night… and it was so nice to see both Landry and Toney deliver passes right on the money to him off the pick and roll… I can hardly remember the last time I saw that!

  8. jaylamerique

    for a team that everyone believes isnt’ very inventive or orginal on offense and with stars that duplicate each other, i am surprised the heat are 2nd in offensive eff. Mike Miller has been horrible, Bosh isn’t as eff. yet their playing great on that side of the ball. they have the 5th best defensive eff. and the best point differential. Yet, everyone believes they had a bad year. I think their going to the finals at the least and could possibly win a title. The heat model of team building clearly works.

  9. Thomas B.

    The game against the Raptors borhered me really. I was upset with the way the team played after getting the big lead. The defense got sloppier, the offense just turned into “hey, I wonder if I can make this crazy shot.” Anthony being the best example of that. Nearly the end of the first half he took a 3 pointer from about 35 feet, he made it. The next possession he take one from 25 with a man in his pocket, he missed. Rather than goofing off, the team should have been working on the half court game, building the lead, and getting comfortable enough to sit the starters.

    I’m glad they got the win, but it was a wasted chance to improve.

  10. Frank

    jaylamerique: for a team that everyone believes isnt’ very inventive or orginalon offense and withstars that duplicate each other, i am surprised the heat are 2nd in offensive eff. Mike Miller has been horrible, Bosh isn’t as eff. yet their playinggreat on that side of the ball. they have the 5th best defensive eff. and the best point differential. Yet, everyone believes they had a bad year. I think their going to the finals at the least and could possibly win a title. The heat model of team building clearly works.  

    As scary as the Heat look, I’m not sure their “model of team building clearly works”. It might be as easy as “Get Lebron James on your team” model of team building, not get 2.8 stars on your team. The 08-09 and 09-10 cavs had very little offensive talent on the team other than LBJ, and still were 4th in the league in offensive efficiency both years at ~109 pts/100 poss, essentially the same as Miami is this year despite having Wade and Bosh instead of Boobie Gibson and Anderson Varejao. The 08-09 cavs were tied for 2nd in defensive efficiency at 99.4 pts/100, and the 09-10 cavs were no slouches allowing only 101.5 pts/100.

    The 10-11 cavs (until the trade deadline) are essentially the same team as last year except no Lebron. They went from an efficiency differential of +7.3 per 100 poss to -10.6 per 100 poss from 09-10 to 10-11. So LBJ to no-LBJ = a net of 18 points per 100 possessions. There’s a reason that 4-5 teams basically had a yard sale for their entire teams to try to get that guy.

  11. Caleb

    Frank:
    As scary as the Heat look, I’m not sure their “model of team building clearly works”.It might be as easy as“Get Lebron James on your team” model of team building  

    Well said… the “model” works well if you have 2/3 of the league’s best players.

    When you slot 2nd tier guys into your model (cough, cough) it doesn’t go so smoothly…

    But I agree with Jay and others who say the Heat are formidable title contenders – we should all have those kind of problems.

  12. Caleb

    And since March 1, Stoudemire is averaging 7.3 boards a game… Eddy Curry territory.

    He’s hit double-figures four times in 20 games, six times in the last 33. The first half of the season he was already having a rough time on the boards – worst since his rookie year – but still hit double figures 20 times in 44 games.

    I don’t think it’s a function of the way he’s being used; he’s played for D’Antoni most of his career and was used the same way in Phoenix.

  13. Caleb

    Caleb: And since March 1, Stoudemire is averaging 7.3 boards a game… Eddy Curry territory.  

    I take it back… sort of.

    Curry’s career high was 7 boards a game – he did have one year when he got his rebound rate up to 14 (his first, with the Knicks). He also hit 12.4 his rookie year and 11.9 during his near All-Star campaign (that’s what they said!) in 2006-2007.

    Stoudemire’s last six years are 17.8, 17.0, 15.2, 12.9, 14.5 and 12.8. I’d hate to see his # post All-Star break.

  14. Caleb

    Thomas B.: http://sports.espn.go.com/new-york/nba/columns/story?columnist=oconnor_ian&id=6298694Can he lead the team to at least one playoff series win before such claims?  

    not worth responding to him!

    It’s like a poster I won’t name who said the other day we shouldn’t judge this trade now because it was about the future. That’s why we gave up 4 of our top 5 prospects, plus draft picks and big chunk of cap space, for a guy in the prime of his career…

    I’m not saying the team was destroyed forever, or even that it can’t look better in a year, but this trade was about speeding up the timetable.

  15. Frank

    @15 – yikes, I think that was me that said that. I still think we gave up too much, but that the trade itself was not such a bad thing. Prospects are called prospects for a reason – they haven’t reached their potential yet. And you never know who WILL reach their potential, and especially in a salary cap league, you often need to pay based on perceived potential, not what they actually do become.

    Anyway – I’m really excited to see these playoffs. Trouble with stats-based analysis/prediction of playoffs is that the playoffs really are a different animal than the regular season, and most players don’t have enough playoff sample size to make a real judgment. Especially in 7 game series, both teams know exactly what the other wants to do which is why the game inevitably grinds into halfcourt slowdown. Plays are started, recognized, and defended well. Transition opportunities are taken away. Shooting percentages go down because the defenses are attuned to what the offenses are trying to do. Drawing fouls and hitting FTs become even more important as a result.

    So maybe that is why “superstars” are important, and why other than the Pistons of 6-7 years ago, basically no team without 2 elite level players has won a championship in the last 20+ years. Maybe that’s why players who can score when all else breaks down, who know how to draw contact, and who get respect from the zebras are so important in getting beyond regular season success to championship contention?

  16. endyendy

    Thomas B.: The game against the Raptors borhered me really.I was upset with the way the team played after getting the big lead.The defense got sloppier, the offense just turned into “hey, I wonder if I can make this crazy shot.” Anthony being the best example of that.Nearly the end of the first half he took a 3 pointer from about 35 feet, he made it.The next possession he take one from 25 with a man in his pocket, he missed.Rather than goofing off, the team should have been working on the half court game, building the lead, and getting comfortable enough to sit the starters.I’m glad they got the win, but it was a wasted chance to improve.  

    I felt this way too, wanting them to step on the gas in the second half and get it to 30+. A good, excessive blowout should do wonders for the ego. I’m glad they didn’t let the Raptors get it to single digits as I’ve seen so many other times, but I just dislike deciding not to play any defense in the second half. Maybe they’re using that reserve of energy for tonight, however, so I can’t be upset with a win that was still quite easy.

  17. Caleb

    @18 Fair enough – I would just say that good or bad, the trade was about cashing in our chips (or, prospects), a bet that what we get now is better than what we would get by waiting.

  18. Frank

    btw, updating our nearly daily watch on Carmelo’s greatness or lack thereof, these are his stats currently with our NYK in 23 games(per 36):

    25.7 pts, 6.3 reb, 3 assists. USG% is 30.7, TS is 57.5.

    Among currently active players, here is a list of players who have matched these numbers in a whole season (I lowered the usage criteria to 26% for those thinking he shoots too much):

    http://bkref.com/tiny/dGk9z

    LBJ (x3 seasons, ages 24,25,26)
    Shaq (x2 seasons, ages 27 and 30)
    Ray Allen x 1 (age 30)
    Dwyane Wade x 2 (age 25/29)
    Paul Pierce x 1 (age 28)
    Gilbert Arenas x 1 (age 24)
    Kobe Bryant x 2 (ages 28/29)
    Dirk Nowitzki x 1 (at age 26)
    Tim Duncan x 1 (at age 25)

    Out of those, Shaq, Ray Allen, Pierce, Dirk, Arenas, Kobe, and Duncan are probably in the twilight of their careers (some more than others)

    That leaves the Melo in the company of just LBJ and Wade in terms of guys in their primes who may be able to do this going forward.

    Like him or not, he is a rare talent I guess. He probably would be the worst player amongst any of those (except maybe Ray Allen and Arenas although even that is debatable) but still – nice company.

  19. Frank

    Well, no one else is talking so I will continue talking to myself.
    I just discovered hoopdata.com last week and keep finding interesting stuff. Today I decided to look at opponent shot locations and %s.

    Interestingly, we are middle of the pack (in terms of opp FG%) defending at the rim and between 10-15 feet. We are top 3 defending against shots from 3-9 feet (FG%-against of 35.9%). We are horrible defending against long 2s 16-23 feet (FG%-against of 42.9, worst in the league), and 5th worst at defending 3’s (eFG%-against of 56.2). Just looking at the numbers it appears that our interior defense isn’t really the problem, it’s defending open jumpshooters. Naturally, there may be a bunch of reasons why it looks like that (ie. we all collapse on interior scorers because our interior defense sucks, leaving wide open shooters), but still is an interesting breakdown. And indeed – the issue is that we are 4th worst in the league in opp-FGA at the rim and they convert at 65%. Some of that likely has to do with put-backs and our horrid O-rebounding.

    What about good defenses? The best eFG-against teams are, not surprisingly: CHI, BOS, MIA, ORL, and LAL.

    Looking at Chicago – there was an article I linked to a few days ago showing how Thibs really tries run opponents off the 3pt line and force opponents to shoot long 2’s. True to form, CHI is top 10 in fewest opponent attempts inside 15 feet, and #2 in 3PA-against (15.7/game) and #1 in opp-eFG (49%) on 3’s.

    Anyway – slow wed afternoon – thought I’d just throw this out there.

  20. BigBlueAL

    Frank: Well, no one else is talking so I will continue talking to myself.
    I just discovered hoopdata.com last week and keep finding interesting stuff.Today I decided to look at opponent shot locations and %s.Interestingly, we are middle of the pack (in terms of opp FG%) defending at the rim and between 10-15 feet. We are top 3 defending against shots from 3-9 feet (FG%-against of 35.9%). We are horrible defending against long 2s 16-23 feet (FG%-against of 42.9, worst in the league), and 5th worstat defending 3?s (eFG%-against of 56.2).Just looking at the numbers it appears that our interior defense isn’t really the problem, it’s defending open jumpshooters. Naturally, there may be a bunch of reasons why it looks like that (ie. we all collapse on interior scorers because our interior defense sucks, leaving wide open shooters), but still is an interesting breakdown. And indeed – the issue is that we are 4th worst in the league in opp-FGA at the rim and they convert at 65%. Some of that likely has to do with put-backs and our horrid O-rebounding.What about good defenses? The best eFG-against teams are, not surprisingly: CHI, BOS, MIA, ORL, and LAL.Looking at Chicago – there was an article I linked to a few days ago showing how Thibs really tries run opponents off the 3pt line and force opponents to shoot long 2?s. True to form, CHI is top 10 in fewest opponent attempts inside 15 feet, and #2 in 3PA-against (15.7/game) and #1 in opp-eFG (49%) on 3?s.Anyway – slow wed afternoon – thought I’d just throw this out there.  

    I think even the biggest anti-Melo trade people have come to grips with the fact that Melo has played very well for the Knicks. You can still criticize the trade obviously all you want but you cant criticize Melo for his play since the trade.

  21. outoftowner

    I was checking out the Nuggets roster, and it seems like they’ve basically hit home runs over and over for years in terms of personnel. Look at this:

    2010:
    Signed Gary Forbes out of training camp.

    2009:
    Traded a future 2nd round draft pick to the Detroit Pistons for Arron Afflalo.

    2008:
    Signed Chris Andersen (5 yrs, 26 million)
    Traded Iverson for Billups.
    Traded a 1st round draft pick for Ty Lawson.

    2006:
    Traded Howard Eisley and two second rounders for JR Smith.

    These are really lopsided deals (left off the obvious pillagings of the Knicks for Nene, Camby, Gallo, Chandler). None of them required cap space or a high draft pick. Either they are picking up random players and developing them really well, or their NBA scouting is light years ahead of everyone else. Something’s up.

    I wonder if Mark Warentien knows some of their secrets…

  22. latke

    Frank, you’re still picking the things that Anthony is best at (with, admittedly, one new addition: his shooting efficiency). I think nearly everyone here would have to admit that Carmelo right now is playing better than anyone here expected.

    The bottom line though is that his WS/48 with New York is still only .144, which puts him tied for 50th in the league among guys who’ve played more than 1500 minutes this season. Even if you say USG% is undervalued by WS/48, that .144 WS/48 still ranks him at 17th out of 37 players with USG rates above 25%. He is a very good player. He has proven that.

    He just isn’t Lebron, Wade, Durant, Howard, Paul, Williams, Nowitzki, Bryant. He’s not even Derrick Rose or late-model Kevin Garnett. He does appear to be playing to his strengths a lot better here though, and I think there’s potential that he does move himself up to that cusp of top ten players if he continues to improve his defense and shot selection. If you put Garnett’s intensity and focus on team play into Carmelo, he undoubtedly would be a top 10 player. He has the gifts. He has the skill.

    So the problem isn’t so much that Carmelo isn’t an excellent player. The problem is that the air up at the top is really rarified. You can’t have holes in your game. You have to be premiere in most ways, and above average in all other ways.

  23. Matt Smith

    @22

    Frank, here’s why stats out of context are misleading. Having a dominant post presence impacts other parts of your offense in a lot of different ways, so having weak interior D impacts your defense outside of the post as well.

    Look at the Magic, who shoot the most threes in the league. Their best offensive player isn’t a three-point marksman, it’s Dwight. Dwight is good enough to draw doubles, and also good enough to kick out to the open three shooter. On the same token, D’Antoni calls for help D on almost anyone in the post – including players like Lopez and Bargnani – which automatically opens up other people behind the arc. The lack of size also allows for more offensive rebounds by the other team, which usually leads to a quick kick-and-shoot.

  24. hoolahoop

    latke: If you put Garnett’s intensity and focus on team play into Carmelo, he undoubtedly would be a top 10 player. He has the gifts.

    Doesn’t it make you scratch your head and wonder?

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