Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Knicks 93, Thunder 90

Editor’s Note: Following Friday’s far-too-nerve-racking win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, Knickerblogger was given exclusive access to rookie sensation and newly crowned Latvian Dictator for Life Kristaps Porzingis. By “exclusive,” of course, we mean “a battalion of Knicks PR supervised the interview with sniper rifles trained on my skull at all times.” Nevertheless, we were able to translate Zinger’s PR-savvy English — solid as it was — into Latvian, and then back into English again. The result is an unfiltered account of New York’s hair-raising win, from the perspective of the franchise’s once and future savior.

New York Knicks 93 Final
Recap | Box Score
90 Oklahoma City Thunder
Carmelo Anthony, SF 35 MIN | 9-20 FG | 1-3 3FG | 6-8 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 25 PTS | -1 +/-

WHAT KRISTAPS SAID: Melo’s a great player. He was a little streaky today, but got baskets when we needed them the most. I think he had 15 points in the first half? Anyway, he had a nasty baseline spin for a dunk in the third quarter, hit another turnaround. Probably wasn’t his best game, but he came through when we needed him.

ENGLISH-TO-LATVIAN-TO-ENGLISH-TRANSLATION: Sometimes when I’m carrying the team’s laundry, Melo will run up from behind and jump on the bag so the strap buckles my shoulder and I collapse into a heap of bones. This is what makes him a leader. That, and our secret handshake, which entails the two of us facing one another, jumping up once in unison, and him smacking me across the face as hard as he can. I enjoy this bonding.

Robin Lopez, C 33 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 3FG | 5-5 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 3 BLK | 6 TO | 7 PTS | 0 +/-

WHAT KRISTAPS SAID: I think RoLo struggled a little bit tonight. He gave us those two huge free throws, obviously, and a few big rebounds. I’m not sure what happened on that inbounds to Jose, but he’s a big part of our team and will continue to be. Plus he breeds gerbils in his hair.

ENGLISH-TO-LATVIAN-TO-ENGLISH-TRANSLATION: Robin is the only person I’ve ever met who has a stack of comic books exclusively for the shitter. There were a few times tonight when I was convinced he was on Quaaludes. I haven’t seen such terrible hands since my uncle Karis drank the whole bowl of vodka and raisin punch at the Porzingis family reunion and tried to catch the arrows in "archery chicken," which is exactly what it sounds like.

Jose Calderon, PG 30 MIN | 4-7 FG | 2-2 3FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 7 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | -5 +/-

WHAT KRISTAPS SAID: Jose was efficient, you know? He’s been around a long time and knows what the team needs. He hit his shots when he had them, and didn’t let Westbrook get to his spots too easily. Another guy I really admire.

ENGLISH-TO-LATVIAN-TO-ENGLISH-TRANSLATION: Do any of you know how old Jose actually is? He’s 44. He got drunk one night and showed me his birth certificate. He thinks he’s pulled this elaborate scam. It’s remarkable, really, this 44-year-old point guard still holding down the fort. He also has a uniquely old-school approach to hazing: just straight up taking my money at gun point, then cackling.

Arron Afflalo, SG 29 MIN | 6-11 FG | 2-3 3FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 14 PTS | +4 +/-

WHAT KRISTAPS SAID: A-ron-ron is a pro, you know?. Came up with huge baskets throughout the game, played some good D on Westbrook down the stretch. He just brings stability on both sides of the floor, and I think we all trust him. Melo especially.

ENGLISH-TO-LATVIAN-TO-ENGLISH-TRANSLATION: Sometimes when Arron shoots the trajectory is so low I’m afraid it’s going to hit me in the eyes. You think Melo’s hazing is bad? You know what Afflalo made me buy for him at the store and deliver to his house the other day? Douchebags. Actual douchebags. “At least four different varieties,” he told me. “Or I’ll tattoo my name on your ass with a Bic pen and a lighter.”

Kevin Seraphin, PF 11 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +2 +/-

WHAT KRISTAPS SAID: When Kevin gets into rhythm, he’s really hard to stop. I think Fish had some ideas about the rotation and that’s why Kevin didn’t see much time. But he’s so skilled on offense. I can learn a lot from him.

ENGLISH-TO-LATVIAN-TO-ENGLISH-TRANSLATION: If there’s one thing that Kevin Seraphin has taught me about being an NBA player, it's that whenever you can heave a 19-foot jump hook with your man so close to your face you can smell his tongue, you gotta do it.

Andrea Bargnani, PF

42 MIN | 9-13 FG | 1-1 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 19 PTS | +4

Aw, go twirl a cattle prod.

Derrick Williams, PF 16 MIN | 3-5 FG | 2-3 3FG | 1-4 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | +1 +/-

WHAT KRISTAPS SAID: Again, another guy who’s instant energy—can do a lot of things. I know how hungry he is to make a statement, and sometimes he can get a little fast. But hit some big shots when we needed them, for sure.

ENGLISH-TO-LATVIAN-TO-ENGLISH-TRANSLATION: Oftentimes, after a practice or game, when we’re all sitting in the locker room, I’ll look over and see four or five of Derrick’s dreadlocks playing poker. Then as soon as they see me they all just throw their cards and flop down like nothing happened. All anyone else ever sees are playing cards falling from D-Will’s head for no reason at all. But I know. I’ve seen.

Kyle O'Quinn, PF 4 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +1 +/-

WHAT KRISTAPS SAID: I think Kyle’s struggled a bit lately, and that’s probably why he didn’t see much playing time tonight. But he’s such a talented player. He’s so versatile. He’ll figure it out.

ENGLISH-TO-LATVIAN-TO-ENGLISH-TRANSLATION: Kyle O’Quinn haunts my dreams, often appearing as an axe-wielding centaur with wild eyes and blood in his beard. I’m assuming this is related to his parting words to me always being, “I am an axe-wielding centaur with wild eyes and blood in my beard. You will never sleep again.”

Lance Thomas, SF 20 MIN | 5-9 FG | 2-3 3FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 12 PTS | +5 +/-

WHAT KRISTAPS SAID: What can you say? A veteran guy who’s worked so hard on his game—he came up with some huge plays tonight. That dunk off Gallo’s steal, a big three during our third-quarter run. He does whatever it takes, and I respect that.

ENGLISH-TO-LATVIAN-TO-ENGLISH-TRANSLATION: Aside from spraying me with mace before I get in my car after practice, Lance has actually been pretty good to me.

Langston Galloway, PG 20 MIN | 2-4 FG | 1-2 3FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 5 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 5 PTS | -1 +/-

WHAT KRISTAPS SAID: I thought Gallo played really well when he was in there. Hit a few shots, was really active on D. I think he had four steals? Not really sure why coach kept him on the bench, but that’s the way it went.

ENGLISH-TO-LATVIAN-TO-ENGLISH-TRANSLATION: I’m assuming Galloway pissed in Fisher’s salad crisper, because there’s literally no other explanation for his only logging 14 minutes. He’s the best guard on this team, and it’s not even close. Perhaps he had a glass shard lodged in his spine, or was vomiting so much from the flu his teeth started falling out. I’d still have his children.

Jerian Grant, PG 13 MIN | 1-3 FG | 1-1 3FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | +8 +/-

WHAT KRISTAPS SAID: He’s gonna be special, man. I’m looking forward to spending my career with him. I think we were all happy to see him hit that three after all of his struggles. Once he figures the NBA game out, the sky’s the limit.

ENGLISH-TO-LATVIAN-TO-ENGLISH-TRANSLATION: That dude’s shot needs some work. Like “this car has two wheels and a family of dead gophers where the engine should be”-type work.

Sasha Vujacic, SG 4 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-1 3FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | 0 +/-

WHAT KRISTAPS SAID: Sasha played? Oh, well, he’s been great to me, you know? He knows the offense; Fish knows him from their playing days. He’s been a great teacher for me.

ENGLISH-TO-LATVIAN-TO-ENGLISH-TRANSLATION: I honestly don’t remember him playing. I just know he keeps sitting next to me on the bench and telling me about the orgies in Phil Jackson’s sweat lodge and how they had to stop them because Mark Madsen would show up unannounced yelling about cocaine.

Kristaps Porzingis, PF 26 MIN | 2-5 FG | 1-2 3FG | 2-4 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | +1 +/-

WHAT KRISTAPS SAID: You know, I thought I played okay. I hit that three to start the game, but fell asleep a few times on D. Ibaka was being pretty aggressive, so it was good I put the ball on the floor. I wanted to be there in the end, but I respect coach’s decision. It’s a process.

ENGLISH-TO-LATVIAN-TO-ENGLISH-TRANSLATION: YOU DISEASED PIG SPLEENS KNOW NOT THE MAJESTY OF OVARY-SEWING POWERS I POSSESS. I AM KRISTAPS, SON OF TALIS, BLOOD-HEIR OF GULURPIS THE BALTIC OCEAN HAWK, WHOSE GOLDEN TALONS CLAW THE CARRION OF MAN, WHOSE BEAK SCOOPS YOUR FEEBLE VISCERA LIKE THE LUNGS OF SO MANY MEDIUM-SIZED RODENTS, AND WHOSE WINGS GAVE SURVEY TO ALL THE LANDS OF LATVIJA. IT WAS GULURPIS WHO BADE MY BASKETBALL POWERS AND SEXUAL TOUCH, AND IT IS YOU WHO WILL BOW QUAKING AT MY BONY, PREPUBESCENT KNEE CAPS, WHILST I SIT ASTRIDE A THRONE ADORNED WITH THE SKULLS OF THOSE VANQUISHED BY MY PUTBACK DUNKS. I AM LATVIATHAN. BRING ME TO YOUR NEAREST SHAKE SHACK AND INFUSE ME WITH CALORIES. AND THEN PERCHANCE LOAN ME A KEY TO THE GYM SO THAT I MAY PRACTICE BETWEEN THE HOURS OF THREE AND EIGHT A.M., FOR I LOST MINE WHILST EVACUATING MY SEED SNAKE INTO MY TOO-SMALL TOILET.

Mike Woodson

Force of habit, I guess.

Five Things We Saw

  1. The Thunder were without Kevin Durant (any y’all out there say the Thunder was, go wilt arugula or something), which can tend to throw a shitwrench into things. Russell Westbrook has been otherworldly, because duh, but the Knicks seemed perfectly content with letting Russ feast on the stubbled, Iberico-cured corpse of Jose Calderon. Which, by some ethereal force I do not understand, never really happened. Let us not question it.
  2. If I’m Serge Ibaka, and I see I’m being checked by a 20-year-old blond child on stilts, I’m drooling enough to spawn lily pads on the floor. As it was, Ibaka was invisible for much of the game (though he was diligent about bodying Kristaps up away from the basket). Maybe he has tuberculosis?
  3. Shooting 12 of 20 from deep helps, obviously. As does this: https://twitter.com/HerringWSJ/status/667894786368495617
  4. The Bocker second unit held down the lead with their typical pluck and aplomb. Of course, it doesn’t hurt when your opponent’s bench looks like they rolled straight off the bus from the Gathering of the Juggalos. When Lance Thomas and Derrick Williams are causing you procedural confusion, your planets are trapped in some unholy house.
  5. Right as Russell Westbrook was amping up for a good ol’ fashioned throat spraying, the boys and blue came up with big buckets in big moments—punctuated by Melo and Afflalo’s opposing baseline jumpers. The result was a signature win against a very good opponent (however conspicuously shorthanded) on the road in a hostile environment where most of the fans either slaughter cows with handsaws or siphon oceans of deathgas for a living. Sorry not sorry.
  6. We’re not gonna talk about the last three minutes. Mostly because why ruin a good thing, right?!?!?!?!?!?!? But also because I, like many of you, spent those three minutes biting my nails so feverishly I actually gnawed a few fingertips off. I had to dictate this bullet point to my dog, who, bless her soul, now has my blood all over her. I should probably leave a note to my wife explaining this.

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83 comments on “Knicks 93, Thunder 90

  1. Frank O.

    Sometimes when Arron shoots the trajectory is so low I’m afraid it’s going to hit me in the eyes.

    I particularly loved this gem because for some reason as soon as I saw ‘trajectory,’ I knew exactly what you were going to say and started to laugh before I got to the end of the sentence.
    He did start to arc the shot a bit more tonight, but there are times it looks like the ball is simply going to slam the back board or hit the tongue.

    a couple observations:
    – This team is greater than the sum of its parts. Every night any three of the 13 folks in the rotation plays well and makes big plays. They may not be great, but they will be good.
    – Calderon is playing well over the past four games: TS% .747, 5 assists per game, 1.6 steals per game, and just under 10 pts per game. He played a sound game against one of the most formidable guards in the game.
    – Seraphin and O’Quinn are what they are: 0-14 minutes a game, lending some muscle to the middle, but both have terrible hands and have limitations. They are what they are, bench players.
    – Lopez is what I expected him to be: a respectable big man focused on helping the team.
    – Afflalo is a competent 2-3 with the ability to score. We haven’t had that in a long time. The team is different and better when he’s playing.
    – Melo is showing a lot of maturity. He’s playing hard, still playing a lot of minutes, but he’s not playing the intensive ball in his hands every minute type game. His usage is down to about 30.7%. Still central, but we are seeing him playing with his team, rather than being an island on the team. They are better for it.
    – Clyde’s observations were astute last night about KP, among others. He’s a rookie, and they are uneven by nature. We have no idea what it is to play 82 professional basketball games. Only pros know. The greats bring it almost every night. When KP figures that out, watch out.

  2. Z-man

    I just took a look at the upcoming schedule and its not looking all that bad. Mainly because so many teams have underperformed. Weird, since it looked so terrifying before the season started.

    I mean 7-6 after 13 games looked beyond impossible back then. We really do look like a sustainable .500 team!!

  3. JK47

    NYK are now 14th in defensive rating, 15th in offensive rating and 15th in SRS. A perfect storm of average.

  4. Frank O.

    I’ll take average 13 games in with 11 new parts after a 17 win season.
    If they are average at this stage, and clearly they are not playing at full potential, it is not unreasonable to anticipate better than average as we move deeper into the season.
    I think we’ll have a sense of this team’s real potential after about 25 games.
    It’s a good place to be when rebuilding.

  5. JK47

    After the Thunder’s epic brick fest last night, Knicks opponents are shooting a league-worst .283 from 3PT. This might not be sustainable.

  6. Glew

    To quote bill and Ted..Most triumphant and non heinous recap.

    I got to say I’m shocked at how well lance is playing. At times it feels like he has a Mario star.

    The late game management all around is very bizarre. With less than a minute or so to go and Westbrook at the stripe, fisher subs “Latviathon” for lance. Now Westbrook drains both free throws but had he missed the 2nd, Knicks need to come up with that rebound..why take the tallest and team leader in rebounds guy out?

    Additionally, at the end of close games Knicks seem to have a weird phobia of doing anything with the rock other then standing still and nervously passing to melo which feeds into his “hero-ball”. Also he needs to understand that the pick and roll with Kp is a much better play than crossover, crossover quick 3. got to show respect to affalo though, at least he doesn’t play like that as he knocked that big baseline jumper. Not sure why there was so much vitriol in that signing?

  7. DRed

    After the Thunder’s epic brick fest last night, Knicks opponents are shooting a league-worst .283 from 3PT. This might not be sustainable.

    Sadly this is true. But on the plus side, we’re 10th in the league in opp 3PA, which should be more sustainable

  8. Z-man

    On Fisher:
    If “you are what your record says you are,” he’s doing a nice job.

    My main quibble with last night’s game plan was with not calling a TO after Thunder cut it to 3. Why not move the ball to center court and have the entire backcourt to use for a set inbounds play? You needed one FT to ice the game. That’s on Fisher.

    RoLo’s other turnovers were on RoLo…bad judgment on his part.

    Some of our offensive fouls in transition are truly offensive. Williams killed the momentum he built with the two 3’s by committing that stupid foul.

    I like that Melo is the only guy that is above losing minutes for poor play, and that his minutes are being managed without costing us games. In fact, Fisher and Jackson deserve enormous credit for getting Melo to be more mindful out there.

    Fisher and Jackson also deserve credit for being loyal to Lou, Sasha and Lance, but not playing them more than their play dictates. Only Lance is getting consistent minutes, but he’s deserving them.

    I like that Cle is not being played, reinforcing with him that he needs to improve before getting meaningful minutes. I still see potential in the kid, but am glad he is going to have to earn everything he gets.

  9. ptmilo

    1. The return of Cavan exceeded impossible expectations. Hopefully KD took note.

    2 . I think the semi-triangle the Knicks run is a big part of their late-game offensive woes. Basketball is a different game in the last few minutes of a close game and in the playoffs. The way the Knicks run their offense for most of the game revolves around either throwing the ball to someone in the post who is either (1) Melo/Zingis or (2) someone who is really just a way station and not an efficient play creator, like Lopez or Seraphin… or quickly swinging the ball to the other side with no particular plan other than to try that again. I look at this as a not-horrible way to at least induce ball and player movement most of the time, though still not a great use of the Knicks personnel to create efficient shots.

    But during crunch time this becomes a disaster. Robin Lopez holding the ball in the middle of Q2 is a low risk, low reward way to keep the conveyor belt moving. Robin Lopez holding the ball at the end of the game is a high risk, low reward turnover put option handed to the opponent. The same is true of just randomly swinging the ball to the other side to try again as we see the Knicks so often do late in games. Late game plays have to keep the ball in the hands of threatening players and use less threatening players to exploit the opponents’ ferocity as rollers, back door cutters and offensive rebounders. When the Knicks do seem to realize this, their only alternative is to devolve into hyper-iso ball which is only okay if you have Michael Jordan or Lebron. They need a third option, and all they have to do is look around the league to find one. Lots of coaches do it better. Watch any Celtics game or if you want a team with somewhat comparable personnel, try the Pacers.

  10. daJudge

    Haven’t commented in a while. This was a wonderful recap by Jim. Thanks for the laughs and what a team. Go Knicks!

  11. d-mar

    After the Thunder’s epic brick fest last night, Knicks opponents are shooting a league-worst .283 from 3PT. This might not be sustainable.

    Well, the Knicks have a tiny little bit to do with that. One thing I’ve noticed this year is that they’re really rotating well on D and closing out on shooters. No more opposing players standing there with the ball outside the arc with time to check wind speeds, I see a lot more hurried 3’s with hands in faces.

    Not to say we’re going to hold all teams to .283, but I still like what I’ve seen from our perimeter defense so far.

  12. ephus

    1. The return of Cavan exceeded impossible expectations. Hopefully KD took note.

    +1.

    As soon as the Knicks held on for the win, I started looking forward to the Cavan-cap. I was going to stay up to read it, then I realized that I would have sweet dreams looking forward to it and that I could enjoy the Knick victory last night, and the Cavan-cap this morning.

    The standard by which all others are measured. If you ever need to smile, just read this. It was the high water mark of my post-1999 Knick fandom.

    2. O’Quinn may only have gotten one positive stat, but it was a great one. That give-and-go was a thing of beauty.

    3. Carmelo’s last bucket would not have happened last year. He got the ball in the post, got doubled and sent it out to Calderon. Calderon waited until the double cleared, and then got the ball to a reposted ‘Melo, who hit the step-back jumper before the double could arrive for the second time.

    4. RoLo is a big, ungainly 7’. It comes with benefits and burdens. Deal with it. Especially since he hits his foul shots.

    5. I feared the worst when ‘Melo missed both foul shots. Did he get chalupas for the entire crowd with that effort, or is that only in DC?

    6. Porzingis did not put up great numbers, but neither did Ibaka. Before the season started, I would have taken that result in a heartbeat.

    7. Ball movement —> open 3pt shots in rhythm (including SA-like drive and kicks for open corner 3s) —> big lead. I could get used to lots of games like this.

    8. 4th Q offense. No ball movement. No open shots. No 3s. I am used to lots of games like this.

    9. A road win over a quality team. I could get used to this.

    10. The 2015-16 Knicks – a team I can give a damn about. This is a good time to be a Knicks fan.

  13. stratomatic

    I know Thomas and Seraphin have given us some good minutes lately, but IMO it’s fool’s gold. O’Quinn should be ahead of both of them in the rotation. O’Quinn has a long term record of being a very solid defender, shot blocker, and aggressive rebounder that can score a little off the bench. These guys have been BAD players for their entire careers. They have had a few good games. If there’s a specific matchup issue or O’Quinn is hurting I can see it. But this is another Fisher mistake. It’s just a matter of time before it costs us a close game here or there because we are playing the inferior players.

  14. TyQuando

    Voicing agreement with ptmilo. Success at crunch time requires a star who can shoot or drive off his own dribble.

  15. GoNyGoNYGo

    Excellent game recap Jim. WE WANT MORE!!!!

    I’m kinda glad that KP didn’t have a monster game because I want the hype to die down a bit. He has so much to learn still, still very raw, and he’s going to hit a wall soon (he only played 50 games @ 21.4 mpg last year between Seville and Eurocup). His play right now should be all about learning and bulking up. I really hope he ignores all of the talk and focuses on that.

    All to those who are so ready to discard or trade Carmelo Anthony, this is type of game we could never have won without him. I heard the best description of how he affects a game the other day. He’s like a gravitational force. When the ball is in his hands he draws attention away from him. The difference this year vs. the past couple is that he seems to have people he trusts to pass the ball to when he’s doubled. That might be a subtle but important benefit of having Afflalo on the team. But Melo is a scorer. He can stop an opposing run cold in a single possession.

  16. Totes McGoats

    See..this..this is the kind of performance I expect from Calderon once he’s back to himself. I will gladly take 50-plus percent shooting on no more than 9 or 10 shots, 7 assists, a couple steals every night from him. Those are solid numbers for a starting PG in the triangle who has an all star scorer in the lineup. Hopefully we will see more of that from him as KP continues his growth, Afflalo gets more comfortable and effective, and Fish remembers that he has Oaq. Surprisingly though, Seraphin is playing well in his limited minutes. I had no idea he could pass that well. 7-6 through the 1st 13 games is a better start than I expected, hopefully the team can keep it up. I really like the makeup of this team. They play well together and take pride in playing defense. I don’t wanna jinx it, but I’m really encouraged thus far.

  17. stratomatic

    I should add one thing. As excited as I am that the Knicks are 7-6 and Porzingis appears to have star potential, I can’t help but notice that the east is a lot better and more balanced than it used to be. I knew it was going to be tougher than the consensus, but it’s even better than I thought. I’m having a tough time finding a way for us to make the playoffs unless KP and Grant step up in the second half and Gallo keeps playing really well (or there are major injuries elsewhere). There are only two bad teams in the east now (Nets and 76ers). Everyone else is either comparable to us or better than us. There are going to be a lot of teams fighting for those last couple of spots.

  18. bidiong

    So how do you guys decide who does the recaps? Did Jim just shoot an email out and say he was writing one and everyone else gave thanks?

  19. bocker84

    IT WAS GULURPIS WHO BADE MY BASKETBALL POWERS AND SEXUAL TOUCH

    Hahahahahaha I’m on the floor laughing. Thanks for spreading happiness today Sir Cavan!

  20. Z-man

    “All to those who are so ready to discard or trade Carmelo Anthony, this is type of game we could never have won without him. I heard the best description of how he affects a game the other day. He’s like a gravitational force. When the ball is in his hands he draws attention away from him. The difference this year vs. the past couple is that he seems to have people he trusts to pass the ball to when he’s doubled. That might be a subtle but important benefit of having Afflalo on the team. But Melo is a scorer. He can stop an opposing run cold in a single possession.”

    Jowles might just vomick up his milquetoast when he peruses this over breakfast.

  21. Z-man

    “Holy crap. I want to say something more, but I can’t…..just….holy crap.”

    Are you referring to Jowles’ commentary on the last thread? Oh, my bad, I thought you said wholly crap…

  22. johnno

    There are some valid criticisms of Fisher but he deserves credit for several things —
    – his team always plays hard (even when they’re blowing a chance at the top pick in the draft). Maybe the guys appreciate the fact that they are all getting at least some playing time?
    – he’s got everyone playing defense.
    – he’s got Melo playing the best defense he’s ever played as a Knick.
    – while Melo will always have the urge to play hero-ball, he’s got Melo playing better team ball than I’ve ever seen him play.
    Two non-Knick comments —
    – the Celtics can make the playoffs for the next three years and still have a top 5 pick each year. Thanks Billy King.
    – The Sixers look like they are even worse this year than the last two years. It must be tough to be a Sixer fan right now.

  23. Frank O.

    After the Thunder’s epic brick fest last night, Knicks opponents are shooting a league-worst .283 from 3PT. This might not be sustainable.

    One has to wonder if the Knicks are causing some of this. This team seems to stretch the defense to beyond 3 pt. For the first time in years, our guards are contesting shots. Not a lot of easy looks from out there. So I’m thinking that we are causing them to miss. It’s not just great fortune that teams just happen to get cold over the first 13 games they played.
    But I could be wrong.
    The other thing is 3 pt shooting it about rhythm. Maybe the Knicks defense, the different looks and players they are putting on the floor, is disrupting the other team’s flow. One of the coaches we faced, I can’t recall whom, noted that the Knicks are a tough team to play because their style of play from the starters to the back ups is very, very different. We have all noticed this. The first team is slower, more methodical, while the second team is faster-paced, has genuine penetrators and much quicker guards with some size.
    It’s strange to say about the Knicks, but I have a feeling we’re not a fun team to play against. We have a lot of size, we have a bench full of athletic players, we have three scoring options, with our first being an elite scorer, and we have bangers who rebound on both ends. The Knicks are one of the best O rebounding teams in basketball, although OKC was otherworldly last night in that regard. On any shot they had three big white jersey’s hammering the boards.
    If KP emerges as at least a very good player this year, consistently, I think this team is playoff bound. There are other teams in the east that seem to be playing at an unsustainable rate.
    We’ll see.

  24. DRed

    If you think about the nature of three point shots in the NBA, guys generally don’t shoot threes unless they’re at least somewhat open. Most of them are spot up attempts (this is one reason why Steph Curry wrecks defenses) Contesting 3s aggressively will reduce the number of threes attempted-most players will pass or dribble if they have a man in their face at the arc.

  25. DRed

    OKC wrecked us on the glass because of Westbrook. Our big men were aggressively trying to contain his penetration, and that pulled them away from the basket. And it kinda worked! All praise due to Waiters

  26. GoNyGoNYGo

    @34

    Jowles might just vomick up his milquetoast when he peruses this over breakfast.

    I might be the anti-Jowles when it comes to Melo.

    @36 – The Celtics worry me going forward. I hate to say it but I like their roster and their future. We’ve gotta hope for a fumble along the way. The Sixers are worse than the Nets. Nuff said. I have friends in Philly and they are not happy.

    @37

    One has to wonder if the Knicks are causing some of this.

    Did you know that the Knicks are 1st in the NBA in 3-point Field Goal Percentage?
    They were dead last last year.

    This is a WOW statistic, if you ask me. Couple that with a dominant interior wall (KP & Rolo) and that speaks loudly about why the team is above .500.

  27. Frank O.

    Man, I’m a Knicks guy all the way, but with Towns, Wiggins and Rubio, I love watching the ‘Wolves.
    That team is going to be a force like OKC was when Durant and Westbrook and Harding played together.
    Young, athletic, exciting.
    Three teams right now are must watch for me, the Warriors, the ‘Wolves and my Knicks.

  28. Frank O.

    They are above .500, but there were two or three very winnable games they blew, IMHO. This could be a 10-3 team, but for a little seasoning.

  29. ephus

    They are above .500, but there were two or three very winnable games they blew, IMHO. This could be a 10-3 team, but for a little seasoning.

    As the Big Tuna says, the Knicks are what their record says they are. They are a 7-6 team.

    Yes, they could be 10-3 with wins over Cleveland (2x) and Charlotte (just .1 second sooner for the KP 3).

    But, they could also be 4-9 with losses to the Lakers, Thunder and Raptors.

    They are neither. They are 7-6.

    This is a good time to be a Knicks fan.

  30. d-mar

    The Celtics worry me going forward. I hate to say it but I like their roster and their future. We’ve gotta hope for a fumble along the way.

    Eh, not too worried about them. They’ll keep playing hard, winning a few games they shouldn’t, finish with 43-45 wins, and get bounced in the 1st round. Until Danny parlays all those draft picks into a transcendent star, that’s their future. And their supposed most tradeable asset, Marcus Smart, is rockin’ a TS of .449, down from last year’s .491. Yuck.

  31. ClashFan

    A great road win, though the last few minutes were frustrating to watch. As someone already said, when the Thunder cut the lead to 3, the Knicks needed a timeout.

    The old cliche about how someone great cannot be stopped, only contained, was the story. Westbrook was not stopped, but he was contained, even at the cost of lots of O-rebounds for the Thunder.

    Why has OQ had his minutes so severely cut? He’s got a 4 year deal, and Seraphin is just on a 1 year. Sure, OQ has limits on his game, but he really should be getting at least 10-12 minutes per game. Does he have a minor but nagging injury? Is he being disciplined by Fisher? Are the Knicks sort of showcasing Seraphin in the hopes that they can get something for him later in a trade?

  32. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    But Melo is a scorer. He can stop an opposing run cold in a single possession.”

    He can also stop a Knicks’ run cold by running iso after iso with bricks off the back of the rim. All for the mega-max, boys! N-T-C! N-T-C!

  33. stratomatic

    Melo’s value is somewhere in between the “superstar” he’s portrayed as by some and the “barely above average” player that some people think.

  34. Z-man

    “SO KP scores 28 points against Charlotte and he ends up taking 7 shots the next game? Weird.”

    That is this team’s MO thus far. Play 12 guys, hope someone other than Melo steps up. Last was more of a team effort…Calderon, Afflalo, Lance stepped up, maybe even DWill a bit. KP was not very visible, but neither was Ibaka. It was a very triangle-y kind of box score.

  35. Ras1980

    Problem with Melo is that he limits the type of player he can be with his approach to the game. He wasn’t happy scoring 16 points with 5 assists/1 TO game like last game so he had a 25 point 1 assist/3 TO game. If Paul Pierce could change his game by being more of a distributor I don’t see why Melo can’t do it either. No reason why he can’t have 5 assists a game.

  36. Erik

    Hilarious write-up. I died like four times reading that, particularly Porzingis’ rant which began by addressing us as “diseased pig spleens” which is fucking sensational. I kind of had him sitting on the Iron Throne in my head for that scenario, surrounded by goat heads and the like.

    What a game, though. Just wish those last few minutes wouldn’t have gone so horrifically, from up 16 at 82-66 to barely squeaking out a win after surviving a 24-11 run to finish the game. I mean, after Lopez completed his final transformation and turned into Michael-J.-Fox-after-just-having-acid-thrown-in-his-eyes for the final inbounds pass and gave them the ball back, I had basically mentally conceded the game. That 3 from Waiters was in. I think the Basketball Gods gave it a nudge out, for one because the Knicks have stomped through enough of a shitstorm, and for two because Dion “I wanna be like Mike” Waiters doesn’t deserve that kind of shot going in.

    Even though the Knicks played the last 4 minutes with the confidence of an overweight Magic: The Gathering enthusiast on a first date, they escaped with a W, so all is well in Latvia today.

  37. Unreason

    That GULURPIS bit had me in tears.

    The perimeter defense stats, like Lance Thomas’ numbers, are too weirdly good for me to take in. I try to focus my attention on them, but my mind simply recoils and seeks comfort in more convenient facts. I assume they will go away. But if they don’t, WOW is right.

  38. EB

    I think Oaq playing less is just one of Fisher’s quirks. I think he’ll rotate guys into more and less minutes as part of some weird extended/longterm rotation. I think most of our backup bigs are pretty interchangeable so I’m okay with it. Though Oaq would be the one I’d want playing more.

  39. DRed

    Lopez was really fantastic for most of the game last night, so its nice his endgame meltdown didn’t cause a loss

  40. Doug Chu

    BAH GAWD JIM CAVAN JUST STOMPED A MUDHOLE THROUGH KNICKERBLOGGER DOT NET AND WALKED IT DRY

    Jim! Jim! Jim! Jim!

  41. Unreason

    @55
    True. And I really like what he brings. But man, what a meltdown it was. Travel, travel, turnover, throw the ball to someone in the front row…. on and on. He came very close to singlehandedly demolishing a large lead and giving the game away.

  42. etsuke

    So I was listening Zach Lowe’s most recent podcast when he starts talking about Curry vs. Lebron for best player in the league, and he references almost the exact same point I was trying to make other day:

    So where Lebron will always have Steph is just size, right? Because as pesky as Steph has gotten as a defender at the point guard position, he just can’t impact the game defensively the way Lebron can—switching across basically all five positions, giving you a dose of rim protection, guarding the post, all that stuff. He’ll just never get there. And, you know, look, size—I mean this is what you get—like, have we ever seen a team—how many teams have won a championship where the best player’s a point guard? Well one just did, but there aren’t that many. And so that’s where you start looking at—that’s the question people ask about Chris Paul, right? Like you get into the playoffs, you put a bigger guy on him, he has trouble getting his shot off, blah, blah, blah. Curry in theory faces that same issue compare to Lebron, but his shooting is the ultimate trump card because you have to put someone on him thirty feet from the rim, and there’s just never been a player like that ever.

    I thought it was funny.

  43. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    @60

    It is a funny coincidence, but it’s flat-out wrong. I know you’re not arguing that, but I have to just point out the stats here.

    3 of the 7 years that Chris Paul has played in the playoffs, he’s had the highest WS48 in the league. (I realize that many of those postseasons were only one series long, but his actual performance — not the length of them — are the issue, here.)

    His TS% is higher in the playoffs (2500 MP) than in the regular season. Aside from his ghastly performance in ’09, he’s ranged from average to league-best, with the latter coming more often than not.

  44. johnno

    Knicks are 12th in the league in defensive efficiency, which is pretty good on its face, but check this out — of their 13 games, five have been against teams that are in the top four in the league in offensive efficiency and three more were against teams in the top eight. They’ve only had two games against teams that aren’t in the top half of the league in offensive efficiency. So, they’ve been playing real good defense against a lot of good offenses.

  45. mokers

    How do people think the Doc Rivers coach/GM deal has been overall. Considering the assets they gave up to get him and the way Doc has been running the franchise as a GM, would they have been better off with somebody else? I think he is a great coach for the team, but when you look at the results, I don’t know. Chris Paul has the offense running amazingly and Rivers has done a good job with the defense, but could the bench actually be worse than when he arrived?

  46. Alecto

    what’s the word on our men in Europe Willie H and Louis Labeyrie?

    I saw that Labeyrie is tearing it up this year but since it’s a french basketball league…uh, it probably doesn’t mean much.

    Don’t know about Willie though.

  47. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Knicks are 12th in the league in defensive efficiency, which is pretty good on its face, but check this out — of their 13 games, five have been against teams that are in the top four in the league in offensive efficiency and three more were against teams in the top eight. They’ve only had two games against teams that aren’t in the top half of the league in offensive efficiency. So, they’ve been playing real good defense against a lot of good offenses

    I love this kind of nonsense. I really have no idea how to build a narrative out of

    -12th
    -five of thirteen
    -top four
    -top eight
    -2 out of 13 in the bottom half

    but I am really glad you can. Kudos.

  48. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    How do people think the Doc Rivers coach/GM deal has been overall. Considering the assets they gave up to get him and the way Doc has been running the franchise as a GM, would they have been better off with somebody else? I think he is a great coach for the team, but when you look at the results, I don’t know. Chris Paul has the offense running amazingly and Rivers has done a good job with the defense, but could the bench actually be worse than when he arrived?

    He gives playing time to this guy:

    https://streamable.com/b742

    hahahahahahahahahahahahahah

    Doc Rivers hahahahahahaha

  49. ptmilo

    It kinda seems like a waste to stick Willy H. back on Real Madrid at age 21 just to play 10 minutes a game. Last game he played less than 5.

  50. d-mar

    The Clippers kind of remind me of the Cowboys of the Tony Romo era. Lots of talent, solid regular seasons and then playoff fizzles.

    If they flame out again this year, I can’t imagine a hothead like Steve Ballmer is going to have any more patience with Doc.

  51. er

    The Clip joint are a raging dumpster fire. If it wasn’t for Houston they would be getting ridiculed way more

  52. Z-man

    @66 was it really that hard to follow? Let me help: he’s essentially saying that thus far, defensive efficiency stats suggest that the Knicks have played pretty good defense (12th out of 30 teams) despite playing mainly against good offenses (11 of 13 are in the top half of the league.)

    Hopefully that helps.

  53. rama

    Just a shout-out to “QuickHands” Cavan. So glad to see you back playing “archery chicken” again.

    Also: 7-6? Why isn’t the number on the right higher than the number on the left? What does that mean? I’m confused.

  54. ptmilo

    Side note: because we are Knickcentric, I don’t remember a single comment on how crazy it was that Westbrook just chucked a 40 footer with 11 seconds left down by 3. If Melo had done that we would have very grumpy.

  55. max fisher-cohen

    When Letterman unretires and does a top ten for Jim Cavan, this article belongs near the top of it.

  56. BigBlueAL

    I’m late to the party but I too have to say it was great reading Jim’s recap of last night’s game. The Mike Woodson grade was icing on the cake!!

  57. Grocer

    The date at the top of the page says Sunday, I had a mini panic attack that I’d missed the game and had to work tomorrow.

  58. TheOakmanCometh

    @63

    Doc is definitely a worse GM than he is a coach, but he hasn’t been universally terrible as a GM. Trading for and then extending his son, who shouldn’t even be in the league, is obviously horrible. But they came into the 2015 offseason capped out with no depth and he actually added some talent. He convinced Josh Smith and Paul Pierce to sign there for the minimum, which any team could have done. He managed to get rid of Spencer Hawes’ brutal contract (which, in fairness, he gave him) and got back a somewhat talented guy in Lance Stephenson.

  59. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Josh Smith counts as talent? Nah. He’s got a career .506 TS%. Dude’s been riding his reputation for years. Not a good player.

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