Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Knicks 87, Pistons 77

New York Knicks 87 Final
Recap | Box Score
77 Detroit Pistons
Kurt Thomas, PF 4 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 0 PTS | 0

I’m not going to be that guy who goes out there and says “MAN, I COULD HAVE PLAYED BETTER THAN THAT!” Because I’m 5’8” and the highest level of basketball I play is intramural—but I will say that I couldn’t have done much worse than Thomas did in his start. In his four minutes of action, he turned it over twice (both on J.R. Smith-esque passes) and aborted a trademark pick and pop jumper that wasn’t even close. Do his feet even leave the ground when he launches one? Asking for a friend.

Iman Shumpert, SF 19 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | -10

Shump led all players this evening with 14:26 of undivided Woodson disdainful death-stare. In fact—I’ll need to do some more research here—but it may have been his career high in that department. Shumpert’s poor night was a bit surprising considering he started off 3/3 from behind the arc, but his ball handling/decision making looked tentative to say the least.

To Shump’s credit, he was crashing the boards and whatnot but between some painfully poor switches and goofy, unforced fouls Woodson was entirely justified in pinning his hide to the pine.

But those elongated Woodson stares of disapproval, mannnnn, I wouldn’t wish those on my worst enemies.

Tyson Chandler, C 30 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-2 FT | 11 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -9

Those who actually have real lives: family, job, etc, may think Chandler had a poor evening from looking at the box score. This wasn’t exactly the case. Chandler did a good job fighting for rebounds when he had to, and didn’t need to create offensively since Felton and STAT were both locked in, and J.R. was doing something or other.

Raymond Felton, PG 37 MIN | 10-15 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 7 TO | 26 PTS | +8

Yes, the turnovers were terrible, but Felton’s saving grace this evening was that he was scorchingly automatic from the field. Whatever coach Woodson said to Felton in the locker room at halftime (perhaps it was, “Hey Ray, please stop turning it over so much”) it clearly had an effect on his play in the second half.

There was one point in the third quarter when Felton took an ill-advised shot that was rebounded and brought up court by Brandon Knight (who is a very good three-point shooter BTW). Felton initially tried to swipe the ball from Knight’s hands but missed. Clearly perturbed by the type of game he was having, he accosted Knight the full length of the court until eventually coming up with a big steal.

Felton also had a reverse lay-in—that don’t happen erryday.

James White, SG 8 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -4

know it says he started and played eight minutes, but man does White play some quiet minutes. It also claims he had 3(!?) assists; I don’t remember those either. I’m sure they were sublime.

Amar’e Stoudemire, PF 31 MIN | 8-12 FG | 6-7 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 22 PTS | +12

Oh man, can we please start him Coach!? Please please pretty please!?!?!

In the first half alone, STAT was 6/7 for 19 points, so Woodson of course sat him down to cool off for a little bit (perhaps out of fear that he would try to find a fire extinguisher or something). But Luckily STAT kept up the hustle plays in the second half and even gave the appearance that he was playing hard-nosed defense (was it a mirage? Maybe, but it looked good damnit). STAT was definitely aware that he needed to fill the scoring void left by the injured Carmelo, and he gave a performance that may have reignited the debate for him to be a starter (insert 2nd fire extinguisher joke here).

Steve Novak, SF 16 MIN | 0-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -2

As far as learning about games by looking at box scores, Novak’s night can indeed be understood from the stats. He shot five times. He missed five times.

Marcus Camby, C 6 MIN | 0-1 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +2

Camby was the big that Woodson put on the court with his new-look ALL GUARDS lineup consisting of Smith, Prigs, Kidd and Felton. I’m not sure we’ll ever see those five out there again together, but I definitely liked the look.

Pablo Prigioni, PG 17 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | +15

Prigs is a player that I always want to get more minutes, but based on his style of play, Woody might actually be using him to perfection. He conserves Prigs for late in the game when everyone else is fatigued, and then, the Argentine strikes. His only steal in this game resulted in a quick three-pointer. Prigioni continues to play defense like that one guy who you hate playing pickup basketball with because he takes it way too seriously. Although, since it’s the NBA, I’LL ALLOW IT!

Jason Kidd, PG 32 MIN | 2-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 6 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | +24

I really liked the way Kidd played tonight. He brought his trademark old man patience to the offense every time he possessed the ball. I thought the 32 minutes might have been a little much, especially considering he may about to be involved in The Battle for the Retirement Home, if he gets matched up against Derek Fisher in tomorrow nights test against the Thunder—their combined age is 79-years-old if you were wondering.

Kidd threw himself into traffic which led to steals and rebounds on multiple occasions throughout the game and although the contest was out of reach at the time, he recorded the final steal and seal.

J.R. Smith, SG 40 MIN | 7-22 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 5 AST | 4 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 20 PTS | +14

What player could better exemplify the type of game it was tonight than J.R. Smith. Yes, his stat line was yet another ill-efficient 7-22 from the field, but if you’re a believer in clutch—which clearly Mike Woodson is—than you gotta give it up to J.R.. Just when you were ready to fly to Detroit to yell in Woodson’s ear that it just wasn’t Smith’s night, he rattled off four consecutive three-pointers late in the game after starting off 0/5 from deep; you also probably remembered Detroit is a boring city and not worth spending your frequent flyer miles on.

Also worth noting—J.R. was 1/3 from his sweet spot shot—you know, the one where he’s fading away into the oblivion of the baseline for a deep two while being tightly guarded. I realize that Smith won two games (Charlotte and Phoenix) for the Knicks using that exact location on the floor, but what player would ever want that to be their go-to location on the court? As usual, the more questions you ask about J.R., the more you receive.

Typically, I try to think of a metaphor to embody the mercurial Smith every game; tonight, I equated his shot selection to an onside kick following halftime. When it works, the fans are in awe at the sheer marbles it took to roll the dice like that, and when it doesn’t, the fans collectively shake their heads at what breathtakingly stupid idea it was. And that, ladies and gents, is J.R. Smith’s shot selection.

Mike Woodson

Back in the 80′s there was a cartoon strip from David Lynch (yes, that David Lynch) that ran in the NY Press and a slew of other Division II free weeklies. It was called “The Angriest Dog in the World”. It was the exact same four drawings in each panel every single time. The text would vary slightly. Here’s an example.

Dog

If any of you are handy with the photoshop, and would care to replace “Dog” with “Coach” and superimpose a scowling, goateed animation for the canine in question, it would be greatly appreciated ’round these parts. A+ for Woody, just because I’m scared to think what he might do if we didn’t reward/validate his hate.

Five Things We Saw

  1. Pure ethereal relief. This was a game that the Knicks HAD to have as they open up a slate of games against strong Western Conference competition. However, the ‘Bockers looked utterly indifferent at several times tonight and played down to their opponent (haven’t we seen this movie before?).

    In the first half, the Knicks were up 15, and then proceeded to not just blow the lead, but allow the Pistons open up a 10-point lead of their own. Yet even with this up-and-down performance, the Knicks ended up winning by 10-points, getting key contributions from Smith, Felton and STAT down the stretch.

    Anytime you’re a fan of a team, you want them to constantly play as hard possible night-in and night-out—but the Knicks have a lot of old guys who obviously looked at the schedule and saw the Mordor-like Western Conference challenge ahead. They took their greenhorn opponents ever so lightly, especially without the threat of Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, and luckily for the Knicks it didn’t backfire horribly. Not this time at least.

  2. Woodson wasn’t just mad at Shumpert, he was straight up livid. Shump suffered a huge setback in this game despite some nice shooting to start things off. What was even more troublesome was how badly he was blowing his pick-and-roll assignments. Anytime the 6’8” Jason Maxielle’s testacles are consistently hanging in the face of your Defensive Player of the Year, YOU KNOW YOU GOT A PROBLEM! The Knicks certainly haven’t been deft—or even capable really—at defending the pick-and-roll of late, and tonight was no exception. I’ve been pretty vocal that Shump’s offensive deficiencies aren’t worrisome because of what he brings to the other side of the ball. But if he’s defending poorly and playing offense poorly, what exactly is he? James White with a cooler haircut?
  3. Woody put in a pretty interesting lineup that was clearly tailored to exploit Detroit’s weaknesses (although there are just so many of them). Felton, Kidd, Prigs, Smith and Camby, all on the floor at once. The uber-small-borderline-microscopic lineup created ball movement that was reminiscent of their early season success (subsequently bringing tears to my face). I would like to see this unit, or a similar amalgamation of it in the future, even once ‘Melo returns to action.
  4. Can we just do away with STAT’s minute limit please? Amar’e has exceeded his 30-minute cap in each of the past two games—both of which he has been heavily responsible for the Knicks’ wins. If Woodson wants to say that he’s saving STAT for this perilous impending road trip, fine, say what you will Woody, but at least give the man the start that he deserves. Starting Kurt Thomas for four minutes when your first player off the bench is playing in another stratosphere is completely nonsensical. If Woodson had started STAT and played him more than 11 minutes in the first half, I would imagine that the Knicks would have carried a lead of 20-points or greater into halftime. But hey, they probably would have blown that lead too.
  5. Buckle up everyone, we ‘bout to get Western up in these parts. Thunder, Jazz, Golden State, Denver, Portland, L.A. Clips and Jazz (Portland is presently the only one of these teams not in a playoff spot). Definitely frightening, although, imagine a band named the Golden State Thunder Jazz? I’d give it a listen.

23 comments on “Knicks 87, Pistons 77

  1. AvonBarksdale

    I prefer the other writers, sorry G_Rapp08. Love this site but ehhhh. In other news i hope Melo sits out tomorrow so we can see more STAT getting cozy on the block. I agree with the poster yesterday who thinks Woodson was covering for Melo for whatever reason about being asked to sit…he has lost credibility with me this season

  2. nicos

    If ever there was a game you could point to in terms of the relative value of high and low usage guys- the Pistons rolled out just about the worst front line in history and Chandler manages two points. Yes Felton was throwing the ball all over creation in the first half but it just shows how completely dependent Chandler is on being spoon fed by others to get his points. Not denying his value on that end- he’s a great offensive rebounder (though those tip-outs aren’t as good as putbacks so he’s not quite Moses Malone) and a terrific screen-setter and roller but a top ten offensive player as some have claimed? I don’t think so. There’s a reason Amar’e's usage is about double Chandler’s and it’s not because they run more plays for him. Similarly, when a guy’s usage is 34% and his TS% is still well above average (average TS% this year is 53.3, Melo’s at 56) that’s a pretty nice thing to have especially when the guys he’s been taking shots away from are usually Felton and JR- not the high TS% low usage guys who’ve been getting the same looks they’ve always gotten and either not taking them (Kidd, Prigs) or bricking them (Novak). With Amar’e reestablishing himself as a guy you can run the offense through if Melo’s usage stays at 34 and Amar’e seems stuck at 25 then you have a problem but I doubt that will be the case as they see more time playing together.

  3. nicos

    And for what it’s worth I thought the recap was just fine- a good balance between the jokes and actual game stuff. And I kind of hope that critiquing the writers doesn’t become the norm- unless you feel like it’s absolutely ruining the site (which I guess maybe JA did) these guys are really putting a lot of work and in general deserve far more credit than some of grief they’ve been getting.

  4. mr.JayP

    why isnt cope getting any minutes? Putting him with Ty to cover up any defenses lapses so he can spread the floor out on the other end seems like a better plan imo then starting kurt/white

  5. Robtachi

    Recap was fine. Let’s not start getting our sphincters all clenched up every time the prose isn’t in line with our own personal particulars.

  6. ephus

    Solid recap of a wobbly game. Shump was awful on both ends of the court despite having his best shooting night. Chandler was much uglier than his grade. His defense in the third quarter was at David Lee levels. JR Smith is the barometer for this team. When he is going right, Knicks can’t lose. When he is going wrong, he makes you question why God cursed you with being a Knick fan.

  7. Z-man

    I have no problem with this or any other recap. I love Seth, as jon does, and sometimes some of the writing here (and at P&T) is a bit tedious, but this is daily commentary about the Knicks, who cares whether it’s Shakespeare or drivel? Most of the time I just skim, just like I do with the more long-winded posts, as I expect people do to mine. I’m just glad that someone cares enough to give us ample food for thought after every game. Thanks, guys!

  8. daJudge

    First, very nice recap dude. Second, way off topic (you did mention a dog), but during the half I took my 110 lb New Foundland ‘puppy’ for a walk. Unfortunately, I forgot to remove her electric collar and she got a big shock when we crossed the invisible fence. I was so upset I shut the game off, which I haven’t done in a very long time. Later my wife came home—she won a bunch of money at the Racino. Still didn’t cheer me up. This morning the dog is fine and at least our boys won. I’m going to take Gypsy for a walk—sans shock collar.

  9. RicanKnick

    Nice recap!

    “But if he’s defending poorly and playing offense poorly, what exactly is he? James White with a cooler haircut?” EXACTLY!!!

    I’m also with you in the “StartAmareDepartmentAndForgetAboutThe30MinutesLimit”

    PAZ

  10. Frank

    Amare had an amazing 1st half but really cooled off in the second half – 2 or 3 turnovers and didn’t shoot that well. But the big problem was that he had obvious mismatches against everyone that was guarding him and they kept on swinging the ball to the other side of the court even though the Pistons didn’t even seem to be shading their coverage towards STAT. In a game like last night (when the 3s weren’t falling, we were throwing the ball away like crazy, and STAT could eat any of that front line for breakfast), the first option should be to throw it down to him in the post. Dude was something like 8-9 from the field at one point and somehow JR is still going one-on-one and shooting 19 footers without even trying to get Amare in the post.

    Whatever – any road win without one of your best players is still a good win. Even if it’s a crappy opponent missing their two best frontcourt players.

    And FWIW – I am all for keeping the 30 min limit on Amare. What’s the point of winning an extra game or two if it means he’s going to break down in the playoffs (or be a shell of himself for the next 2 years of his contract)? This team is deep enough that we should be able to withstand a few minutes of someone else on the floor.

  11. Frank

    nicos: Yes Felton was throwing the ball all over creation in the first half but it just shows how completely dependent Chandler is on being spoon fed by others to get his points. Not denying his value on that end- he’s a great offensive rebounder (though those tip-outs aren’t as good as putbacks so he’s not quite Moses Malone) and a terrific screen-setter and roller but a top ten offensive player as some have claimed?

    Halfway agree with this – I don’t think TC is a top 10 offensive player since he’s obviously limited in how he can score, but he’s a top 10 offensive threat. If you don’t take away the dive, he’ll shoot 80% from the field, draw an and-1 on about 25% of those, and you’ll lose. And the fear of that dive is why the Knicks’ offense is about a net +7 when he’s on the floor – a difference that is robust to whether or not Melo, Amare, or Felton are on the floor (actually even with ALL 3 of them off the floor the Knicks’ offense is better with Tyson on the floor than off). That dive opens up so much for the offense.

    ephus: JR Smith is the barometer for this team. When he is going right, Knicks can’t lose. When he is going wrong, he makes you question why God cursed you with being a Knick fan.

    This is so true. He really is the modern day John Starks. It feels like he should be better than that, but it is what it is.

    Someone should really show JR what Harden’s shot chart looks like. Harden shoots 70% of his shots at the rim or behind the 3 point line. JR is not as good a shooter or finisher around the rim, but adjusting his shot chart even a little would probably add 5-7 points to his TS at a minimum. Easier said than done obviously but the last couple games he’s had some really nice takes to the rim -

  12. Owen

    I also liked the recap.

    The Starks – Smith comparison, seems fair.

    Wasn’t Tyson’s best game in my opinion. I would have like to have had him assert himself during that rough patch a little more.

    That said, he did play much better defense down the stretch, which made up for his weaker spells…

  13. d-mar

    “Whatever – any road win without one of your best players is still a good win. Even if it’s a crappy opponent missing their two best frontcourt players.”

    Exactly. All I’m hearing is what a struggle it was to beat a lowly team, appalling that we got down by 10 points in the 3rd quarter, etc. etc. Every team in the NBA, including the good ones (the Heat are regularly getting down by double digits to good and bad teams and then clamping down in the 4th quarter) has these kind of games on the road. Take the positives from the game – STAT continues to dominate, maybe Ray has found his shot – and move on.

  14. er

    AvonBarksdale: I prefer the other writers, sorry G_Rapp08. Love this site but ehhhh. In other news i hope Melo sits out tomorrow so we can see more STAT getting cozy on the block. I agree with the poster yesterday who thinks Woodson was covering for Melo for whatever reason about being asked to sit…he has lost credibility with me this season

    This makes no sense, you want melo out so stat can get cozy against ibaka,perk, and durant?

  15. chrisk06811

    I enjoyed the writeup….good job, G_Rapp. These folks do this for us immediately after every game, and it’s much appreciated!

    We’ve criticized Kidd so much, but what makes the weird, small lineups work is that Kidd rebounds like a MAN; he should get some credit for that.

    I too am sick of these odd starting lineups. There’s no reason that the Thomas / White uni’s should need to be washed after a game. If you wanted to start Cope to see if he can get off to a hot start on offense, I’d be OK w/ that. Or, even Novak to switch it up. but when you play 2 guys a handful of minutes each, all you are doing is messing w/ your chemistry.

  16. flossy

    Frank: Someone should really show JR what Harden’s shot chart looks like. Harden shoots 70% of his shots at the rim or behind the 3 point line. JR is not as good a shooter or finisher around the rim, but adjusting his shot chart even a little would probably add 5-7 points to his TS at a minimum. Easier said than done obviously but the last couple games he’s had some really nice takes to the rim -

    The thing is, JR has *had* some .580 TS% seasons. It’s not that he’s incapable of taking the high-efficiency road, he just… won’t?

  17. max fisher-cohen

    BTW people in regard to the commentary on the writing — believe it or not, whether the author comes in here and comments on the article, I’m pretty sure most of us do read the comments. This isn’t Yahoo! news. You can tell whether or not your article is striking a nerve simply based on how many people bother to respond to the points you have made. So if you don’t like an article, the best option IMHO is to just ignore it. As others have said, constructive criticism can be helpful, but let’s not make it a meme to treat each article like we’re playing “hot or not?” The authors here, after all, do not get paid, and with regard to the recaps, do not have much time.

  18. jon abbey

    max fisher-cohen:
    BTW people in regard to the commentary on the writing — believe it or not, whether the author comes in here and comments on the article, I’m pretty sure most of us do read the comments. This isn’t Yahoo! news. You can tell whether or not your article is striking a nerve simply based on how many people bother to respond to the points you have made. So if you don’t like an article, the best option IMHO is to just ignore it. As others have said, constructive criticism can be helpful, but let’s not make it a meme to treat each article like we’re playing “hot or not?” The authors here, after all, do not get paid, and with regard to the recaps, do not have much time.

    again, if you can’t handle criticism, don’t write publicly. the site functioned just fine before we had recaps, and it would function just fine if we didn’t have any, despite the majority of people saying they like them. the posters here also don’t get paid, which doesn’t stop people from criticizing posts when they feel it’s necessary, and it shouldn’t.

    but yeah, if people would just rate Chandler on how he actually plays and not give him credit for playing like a DPOY every game whether he does or not, I’d probably personally comment a lot less on the specifics of the recaps.

  19. nicos

    Frank: Halfway agree with this – I don’t think TC is a top 10 offensive player since he’s obviously limited in how he can score, but he’s a top 10 offensive threat. If you don’t take away the dive, he’ll shoot 80% from the field, draw an and-1 on about 25% of those, and you’ll lose.And the fear of that dive is why the Knicks’ offense is about a net +7 when he’s on the floor – a difference that is robust to whether or not Melo, Amare, or Felton are on the floor (actually even with ALL 3 of them off the floor the Knicks’ offense is better with Tyson on the floor than off). That dive opens up so much for the offense.

    The problem is if you have a mobile big (see Noah or Asik) or perimeter guys who can blitz the ballhandler (Miami) his value largely disappears. If he’s not catching the ball moving towards the basket (even if catches it 6 feet from the basket with a guard on him) he’s incapable of scoring. He has value no doubt but it comes with a big asterisk.

  20. G_Rapp08 Post author

    jon abbey: again, if you can’t handle criticism, don’t write publicly. the site functioned just fine before we had recaps, and it would function just fine if we didn’t have any, despite the majority of people saying they like them. the posters here also don’t get paid, which doesn’t stop people from criticizing posts when they feel it’s necessary, and it shouldn’t.

    but yeah, if people would just rate Chandler on how he actually plays and not give him credit for playing like a DPOY every game whether he does or not, I’d probably personally comment a lot less on the specifics of the recaps.

    Obviously this was my first recap so I was pretty eager to see what the reception to it was and I’m relieved to see that it was generally well received. Big thanks to anyone who took the time to read and comment on it, I appreciate all of the comments be it positive or negative, and hope to be posting some more articles in the future.

    As for the Chandler thing, I still think a B- is a fair mark. I’m not going to fault a guy for only taking 3 shots in a game, and while it’s certainly true that he didn’t look like a DPOY last night, a lot of that blame can be spread elsewhere (SHUMPPPP). It’s not like a B- is a shining grade anyways haha.

  21. jon abbey

    “I’m not going to fault a guy for only taking 3 shots in a game”

    but sometimes you should, guys get too much blame for missing shots and not enough for not taking them. also, more than a few turnovers were guys trying to get Chandler the ball and Chandler being his typical lousy target when there is a body on him so he can’t jump.

    anyway, his getting a B- for this game isn’t nearly as off as many of the other grades he’s gotten this season. I’m just asking for people to view how he plays realistically, pros and cons (and inaction is more often a con than a pro).

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