Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Knicks 89, Warriors 84

New York Knicks 89 FinalRecap | Box Score 84 Golden State Warriors
Amar’e Stoudemire, PF 31 MIN | 5-14 FG | 5-6 FT | 13 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 15 PTS | -4Somehow it has gone unreported that Christopher Lloyd (Doc Brown) has been working night shifts in the Knicks’ analytics department. As much as a feckless traveling violation in the fourth quarter served as a sad encapsulation of where Amar’e is at physically, there were a couple of seminal moment–a freight train-like offensive rebound and one-handed throw down, followed by a death stare to the Warriors’ bench, one of the Knicks’ three field goals in the final period. A blissful, albeit brief, escape from reality, where STAT failed to help onto Steph Curry in the right corner on a game-tying three. Any time you can lock down Jermaine O’Neal sixteen feet from the rim you’ve got to do it. Oh, and the last time he snaggled 13 rebounds in a game, Dwight Howard was hanging around at the Epcot Center. By that I mean he was playing in Orlando. Dwight probably still likes to visit Epcot from time to time.

Carmelo Anthony, SF 34 MIN | 7-21 FG | 5-6 FT | 9 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 19 PTS | -14Foul trouble heavily handcuffed his first half, clearing the path for the bench to make a run in his absence. When the inevitable Dubs run arrived in the fourth and the Knicks tensed up on offense, the clock struck ISO-MELO. He didn’t have his finest evening at the box office, and was expertly suffocated by Andre Iguodala on one of the final possessions (leading to a shotclock violation), but it was neatly disguised by the work of the secondary lineup. More importantly: this game represents the first time in over two weeks that Anthony has played under 35 minutes.

Tyson Chandler, C 30 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | -1Chandler, as has been case all season, drifted in and out of this one. The Warriors were without David Lee and Andrew Bogut, so he was primarly tasked with shutting down the Ace of Speights and the artist formerly known as Jermaine O’Neal. Maybe he felt such pedestrian duties were beneath him or something, but last year, when facing an equally shorthanded Golden State frontcourt, he grabbed 27 rebounds This was not as good as that. An alley courtesy of his stoutly-shaped teammate and a two-handed jam that eviscerated  O’Neal were pleasant surprises in the third.

Raymond Felton, PG 28 MIN | 0-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | +1The Venn diagram doesn’t display a great deal of overlap between Ray Felton and Steph Curry (or at least it didn’t before somebody ate it). Another night of curious passing and anonymous defense, with an arbitrary airballed floater to boot. On the plus side: until SportVU officially starts to track the category, let’s agree that Felton leads the league in assists after crawling/bumbling and stumbling. A back-tap/scoop out for a Timmy treble drove a stake in the heart of the Warriors’ aspirations in the second stanza.

J.R. Smith, SG 42 MIN | 8-17 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 21 PTS | +10Second quarter scoreline: Earl Smith III 14, Golden State 12. As we saw on Friday night, no one can really say for sure how long this window of “Good J.R.” will last. As Winston Churchill once said, “J.R. Smith is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” It was fun to see a few aggressive drives to the basket weaved into the usual arsenal of step-backs and off-the-bounce heaves. Make yourself comfortable, Good J.R., stay a while.

Shannon Brown, PG 1 MIN | 0-0 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +2“What the… That’s it! Einhorn is Finkle! Finkle is Einhorn! Einhorn is a man!” Shannon Brown is DEFENSE! DEFENSE IS SHANNON BROWN! Shannon Brown, sent into the game by St. Phil (who was hovering in the rafters of the Oracle via astral projection), stepped in and saved the day with a steal on the final possession of the game. Two points and a steal in under a minute of playing time. I, for one, welcome our new “Shannon Brown: Defensive Stopper” overlord.

Pablo Prigioni, PG 20 MIN | 2-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 6 PTS | +4Prigs was back to his pesky best, canning a couple of threes and  orchestrating the offense with aplomb during the key second quarter stretch. Why he (and others) were pulled from the game in favor of the ghastly Felton-THJ-Smith-Anthony-STAT quintet remains a mystery. The combination of steady defense and level-headed floor general-ing is only part of what makes Pablo so valuable. 45.7% 3PT shooting helps, too.

Iman Shumpert, SG 26 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | +12Fourteen points over his previous four games (including tonight). Remember that time when Shumpert netted 53 points in a two-games span in Texas? No? Did I make that up? Oh, well. Shump is Shump, and the stereotypically gritty, wary, deliberate defense was there again tonight (save for an instance in which he too decided it was a good idea to help one pass away from Steph Curry). I wonder if he’s learned a thing or two since our friend Shannon Brown came on board?

Tim Hardaway Jr., SG 28 MIN | 6-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 15 PTS | +15The fourth quarter of a tight game with postseason consequences is not always the ideal time for a nap, Rook. Leaving Klay Thompson on an island for an uncontested trey was the most glaring example of an evening of questionable defensive choices. It wasn’t all bad, though. You’ve got to admire his wildly unabashed confidence, both on the break and from distance. It’s nice to have an offensive spark plug to throw into the works from time to time — if utilized correctly.

Three Things We Saw

  1. This game was… not pretty. Golden State mustered 13 total bench points, and players not named Stephen Curry finished a combined 18-of-58 (31.0%) from the field.
  2. The Warriors managed 18 freebies, 14 offensive boards, and 10 threes, and lost. Before tonight, that had happened a total of eleven times (in games decided in regulation) in 2013-14. Something tells me that there was a stroke of luck involved in this one (for the Knicks).
  3. Atlanta lost their sixth consecutive game tonight, placing the Knicks two back in the loss column of the eighth-placed Hawks. Don’t forget the tiebreaker, though. Both teams play again on Monday night; the Hawks host Philly, and the Knicks will travel to Utah. So, hope? Hope.

17 comments on “Knicks 89, Warriors 84

  1. steveoh

    I was there. Here’s what I saw, live:

    – The Knicks’ defensive pick-and-roll strategy of having the big drop back basically dared Steph Curry to pull up for a three. They might be the only team in the league stupid enough to do that. Steph just wasn’t greedy enough to make them pay for it. He should take that gift every time.

    – Iguodala completely shut down Melo in the fourth. He’s amazing to watch live. Very disruptive and active. Melo wasn’t comfortable at all.

    – For all this faults, and there are many, Felton worked his penguin ass off defensively in the fourth.

    – You could tell from the first possession after halftime that JR Smith was going to do whatever it took to shoot the Knicks back into the game, in a bad way. Bad looks, bad mindset, bad vibe. You can’t take a heat check right after a fifteen minute break. That’s not how it works, Earl.

    – Steph and Klay were wide open far too many times – not just in an instance, but throughout entire possessions. We just lost them off simple cuts. The breakdowns were basic and egregious. We’re lucky they didn’t make us pay. (Also, the Warriors are just as much of a mess offensively as we are defensively).

    – I hope Woodson doesn’t think that ghastly Felton/Shump/THJr/Smith/Amare lineup that made that run at the end of the second was a sign of effectiveness. The Warriors missed easy shots. JR went crazy. That’s all it was. Nobody in the arena could understand how that happened. I’m hoping Woody sees it for what it was too. (Who am I kidding here?)

    – The Knicks ISO offense in person didn’t look as horrible as it usually does on TV, but it’s still awful and unimaginative and easy to defend, especially against a solid defensive team like the Warriors.

    – Tangent: The Warriors really miss David Lee’s passing and playmaking abilities.

  2. Brian Cronin

    Excellent points, Steve, I agree on pretty much all of them. The Warriors did miss a ton of open threes. But, hey, live by the three die by the three, ya know?

    And yeah, holy shit, the idea that that Warriors lineup can’t get a good offensive team in insane. Can you imagine D’Antoni coaching the Dubs? Insane.

  3. dtrickey

    Man…..this is what is frustrating about the Knicks. Show zero heart in blow out losses to the Lakers D-League affiliate and Phoenix (although I will concede that Phoenix are playing a great brand of ball this year and Hornacek should be a serious contender for COY); then come out and grind out a gritty win against GSW (albeit missing a few starters). I hate to lose, but I can stomach it if the team shows a bit of fight and pride. Lord knows who’s going to front up against Utah. Clyde made a good point on Saturday against Phoenix that when the players are coming out pre-game for warm-ups etc. that you can’t tell whether they are doing well or poorly. It’s just the same vibe all the time.

    Big shout out to Shannon Brown too on that last play. Clutch defensive effort which is made even more better by the fact that he came in cold off the bench having played 0 minutes to that point. Credit to Felton too on that last play on Curry forcing him to dish mid-shot attempt.

  4. Brian Cronin

    Do you really think that was Brown, though? I think it was more a combination of:

    1. Great close out by Felton
    2. Terrible decision not to shoot anyways by Curry, as
    A. He could have possibly drawn a foul there
    B. If you can’t get a three off of a Felton close-out, what kind of awesome three-point shooter are you?
    3. Terrible pass by Curry to a teammate who was not looking for the ball

    Brown did a good job securing the ball when it was loose, but I don’t think he really created that steal. It was sort of gifted to him.

  5. SirJim

    I don’t mean to make your recap all about one thing, but I’m not sure how you can give JR Smith an A- when he subsequently disappeared and was caught with some terrible fouls in the second half. He didn’t make a field goal after halftime.

  6. Farfa

    Boy what a huge win. Boy what an ugly win.

    It would be a lie for me to say that I’m not elated following this game. I had no faith whatsoever that we could come away from the Oracle with a win. I didn’t see the whole game, just the first quarter and then the last quarter, so I don’t really know what happened in the two central stanzas. What I did see, however, is that we are still a very disjointed team who relies too much on ISOs and lucky bounces. Not good. I’ll take it this time, but this was not a step in the right direction (apart from the win and the very unusual defensive effort by Felton).

  7. Farfa

    Also, how about LA beating Phoenix? Can we officially call the month of March, 2014 the Pringles Vendetta?

  8. nicos

    Brian Cronin
    March 31, 2014 at 3:12 am
    Do you really think that was Brown, though? I think it was more a combination of:

    1. Great close out by Felton
    2. Terrible decision not to shoot anyways by Curry, as
    A. He could have possibly drawn a foul there
    B. If you can’t get a three off of a Felton close-out, what kind of awesome three-point shooter are you?
    3. Terrible pass by Curry to a teammate who was not looking for the ball

    Brown did a good job securing the ball when it was loose, but I don’t think he really created that steal. It was sort of gifted to him.

    Strange but true fact: Felton leads all Knicks guards (other than Shannon Brown) in Block%. Curry clearly read the scouting report and knew better than to test him!

  9. slovene knick

    Ind@Cle…a very good game of basketball for Cle…Cleveland is on fire(for the moment) and looks more dangerous for the Knicks than the Hawks.
    The Knicks “just” have to win…watching the game against GSW reassured me that they will have to not only win against “heavy” opponents but foremost against incurable flaws of their own team. They are hard on the eye to watch and even harder on soul to bear.
    Always tending in the direction of non-working bad habits.Good is a fluke bad is a mean….
    I hope I’m so wrong about them.Prove me wrong please.

    A year ago sports program airing in Europe called ESPN America was shut down after three years of operation(College Hoops/NFL & Baseball was on all the time). There I saw that guy Dellavedova play for Saint Mary’s for about three to four times and said to may self then:” that’s how a solid player that’s never going to make it to/in the NBA looks like”. I miss that program and I miss my player evaluation opportunities.

  10. Frank

    Holding the Dubs to 84 points is impressive but honestly – if you look at the NBA.com box score, we gave up 43 uncontested shots and they only made 16 of them (37%) – this from one of the best jumpshooting teams in the league. In fact, we only contested 36 of their shots, meaning that we only got within 4 feet of 45% of their shots. Pathetic. Granted we only made 13 of 33 uncontested shots (39.4%) but still.

    Credit where credit is due – Felton and Prigs made Curry work very hard in the 2nd half and especially the 4th. He got free on a couple of screens but the ball denial was pretty good — and good effort on that closeout by Raymond on that last possession.

    But man – is our offense broken in the 4th quarter. Melo iso is not such a terrible thing in general when he has the edge on his defender, which is most of the time, but when someone like Iguodala can play him very very well straight up with no help (ie. not Paul George with Hibbert behind him), it’s just bad offense. It was telling that Melo was a -14, and was the only one who was even close to that bad in terms of +/-.

    Speaking of Iguodala and Paul George — does anyone think that that’s maybe the best comp for George? I know he’s still a baby, and that Iguodala is a great player, but I sort of see Iggy as his most likely ceiling. George is a slightly better shooter, Iguodala probably a better defender and distributor.

  11. Garson

    Carmelo with a B+ grade is way off…

    We went on the big run with him on the bench as the offense flowed.
    When he was re-inserted in the 4th quarter, our offense got Stagnant as he started chucking up long 2s with a hand or 2 in his face. The offense transformed to 20 seconds of attempting to post him up… althought this is woodsons doing. His one pass , was to THJr who hit a 3. He didnt attempt to drive or pass.

    Even his made baskets was a contested jumper.

    Carmelo has been playing some great ball in general, however last night was not a B+ effort.

  12. Farfa

    @11

    Yes, I agree.

    I don’t think it’s entirely Melo’s fault (yes, he should be passing more; but it’s not like there’s a continuous stream of cutting players and oper shooters in the corners), but last night he just hovered around a C. This is not how the best player of a team in the hunt for the playoffs should play. And even recognizing the many, many warts in Woodson’s coaching, Melo should be reprimanded every time he doesn’t take this bull by the horn and understand that he (if not Woody) has to call some 3-4 P’n’R with Amar’e if nothing else is working. A rolling Amar’e frees up space for everybody else. And oh, given the quality of Chandler’s play of late maybe that P’n’R should become a 4-5 (smallball anyone? I’m appalled by the offensive showings of Shumpert, but our best look to end tight games right now should be Prigs-JR-Shump-Melo-Amar’e. Chandler seems to have lost the will to play).

  13. lavor postell

    Yeah I’m with Garson. Melo was at best a C+ yesterday. Even if we give him the benefit of the doubt that Iguodala played All-NBA level defense on him, he needed to drive to the basket and commit defenders. Even if he missed then, STAT and Chandler would have had uncontested offensive putback opportunities. Melo also was terrible in isolation the entire fourth quarter and passed like twice, of which one was an assist for a wide open THJ three and another he swung to JR who posted up Amar’e. I understand you’re the franchise player and all that, but keeping guys involved and looking for the open man are how you win, not ramming your head into a brick wall by consistenly failing in attempts to challenge Iguodala.

  14. er

    Clyde said melo looked tired. That helpd.to explain not driving and shooting short. Woody played him the whole second half just because he only played 10 mins in the first. He was gunning a little because he’s stubborn. That’s what makes great players great, always think they will make the next shot. Although he ducked foe the first 9 mins of the fourth he had an assist for a 3, a bucket and two free throws to end it. Tonight ends the road trip. Knocks have to lay waste to those eastern teanms

  15. thenoblefacehumper

    He was gunning a little because he’s stubborn. That’s what makes great players great, always think they will make the next shot

    Overall I’m a fan of ‘Melo, but there’s no excuse for continuing to go ISO at the end of games when it’s been demonstrably unsuccessful, both in the individual game and the season. ISOs aren’t inherently a bad play, but going back to it for the 6th time after 5 previous failures doesn’t make a player great. We’ve lost a few games that way. Regardless of if you want to blame it on Woodson, ‘Melo, or a combination of the two, it isn’t good.

  16. iyasin

    Yeah Melo hurt them but he also helped. He did score 4 down the stretch and had 9 rebs… they weren’t garbage bounds either, they were usually in traffic. And usually when his shot isn’t falling he gets to the line a lot, but credit to either igoudala or the refs for the paucity of FT’s shot by Melo last night.

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