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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Knicks 97, Sixers 92

Early in the season, the Knicks and Sixers were in similarly dire straits. Eleven games in, New York was 3-8 and in the midst of a six game losing streak. Meanwhile, the Sixers stumbled even more clumsily out of the gate, starting 3-13.

The difference lay in expectations. While the Knicks were projected to ride the sometimes bumpy learning curve to their first playoff appearance in seven years, most thought the Sixers would be content to leave only Toronto and New Jersey in their middling wake.

Fast-forward 5 months. While the Knicks have largely stuck to their up-and-down program, it’s been the Sixers who have completely re-written theirs, entering Wednesday’s showdown in sole possession of 6th place in the Eastern Conference at 40-38, a half-game ahead of New York.

But it was New York’s narrow 97-92 win that flipped the standings’ script – at least for a night.

Carmelo Anthony continued his recent torrid play, netting 31 with 10 rebounds, including five three pointers. During the Knicks’ five-game winning streak, Anthony has averaged 31.4 points and 8.8 rebounds, including 52% from beyond the arc and a TS% of 64%.

Amare Stoudemire added a belabored 18 on 19 shots, while Toney Douglas again provided a key spark off the bench, scoring 17 — many of them after replacing Chauncey Billups, who left with a minor right thigh contusion late in the third quarter.

Just as their new-found defensive intensity had in their previous four wins, Wednesday’s victory saw the Knicks exorcise yet another demon: that of the second half collapse. While the Bockers’ once again allowed an opponent to storm back – they were up by 13 at the start of the fourth –timely threes from Anthony and Douglas helped New York pull away down the stretch.

While the Sixers managed to start and stay anemic from the perimeter, their interior presence continued to give the Knicks fits, with Elton Brand and Thadeus Young combining for 49 points and 16 rebounds on 22-32 shooting.

The Knicks managed to keep Philly at bay with effective and timely three point shooting, going 11-31 from deep, compared to just 2-18 for their foes.

For a team just ten days removed from feeling both its fortunes and its fan base deteriorating by the New York minute, the Knicks’ recent streak certainly boasts a fortuitous timing. They’ll certainly need the momentum: With rest for many of the starters likely at some point during their final four games, at least the Knicks will have this stretch to look back to when the time comes rev up the playoff engines.

77 comments on “Knicks 97, Sixers 92

  1. BigBlueAL

    Those final 3 games are vs playoff teams but they will hardly feel like playoff games most likely. Indiana just clinched their playoff spot today and are locked in to the 8th seed so they have nothing to play for anymore.

    Bulls could have the 1 seed locked up by the time they play the Knicks. Boston also could have the 2nd seed locked up by the final game.

    I just hope the Knicks finish at worst 2-2 so they can finally have a winning record for once. Although 3-1 would make them 15-13 since the trade :-)

  2. Jim Cavan Post author

    You’re right about Indiana. I wouldn’t be surprised if Chicago played their starters heavy minutes in that game though. They’re young and fresh and don’t need the rest as much — better to keep the rhythm going. And if we’re looking at a scenario where we need one of either the Boston / Chicago games to stay in the 6 seed, we might be going all out as well. With Boston you never know. They could very well want to rest their starters regardless, but if a win on the final day gives them a better, less exhausting matchup, well, we could see a game there too.

  3. latke

    The Heat/Celtics game on Sunday will likely decide things as far as the 2/3 seed goes. That is the only tough game left on Miami’s schedule (they’ve owned Atlanta), so if they beat Boston, they are likely to be the 2 seed.

    I do think Chicago, on the last day of the season, will definitely rest their starters at least to a certain extent. Even if you’re not worried about fatigue, you still have to worry about injuries. Boozer and Noah are pretty injury prone, and if one of them, rose, or deng were to get hurt, well, it probably wouldn’t matter since indy is terrible, but still, I don’t think any coach would take that kind of risk in a meaningless game.

    That said, i’m pretty sure that secretly MDA would rather face Miami. Add to that the fact that Billups isn’t a young dude and stoudemire has been looking old, and I think the knicks’ stars won’t play much in those last couple games.

  4. Jim Cavan Post author

    You guys win. I just had to go back and change that entire last paragraph. THANKS A LOT!

    The other elephant in the room vis-a-vis Boston is how LA finishes. Even if San Antonio locks up the West, you have to think the Celtics and Lakers have their eyes on each other for the better record. We could see a scenario where Boston wants the win on the last day against the Knicks, even if they’re locked in either the 2nd or 3rd seed already. If they’re already locked in the 2nd, and New York needs to move up to the 6th, we could have a game. Then again, if Boston’s locked in and New York wants to stand pat….. my head hurts. I think it could end up being a lot more interesting than we think though.

  5. Z

    I think winning is an added bonus for teams that have clinched, but the biggest thing is to not have anybody get injured. The minutes will be conservatively doled out all around, us included (I hope!).

  6. dsulz

    They looked good tonight. They have all the same problems they’ve always had, but Carmelo’s outside shooting tonight was simply unbelievable. I’m more of a believer in defense winning games, but it’s nice to have–and I don’t exaggerate this–one of the top 3 most dominant offensive players in the NBA (Kobe and Lebron being the other two).

    P.S. Can we now dub Chauncy Billups–with this second inner contusion on his OTHER inner thigh–as the NBA’s version of the Black Knight from Monty Python & the Holy Grail?

  7. hoolahoop

    Turned the game off after three. Didn’t want to watch garbage time. Figured they couldn’t blow this one. Should have known better.

    I think maybe I’ve been too hard on Melo and vowed to myself to give him the same love I would for Gallo and gang. He thanked me by shooting the lights out. No question, he’s an elite scorer. But I still want to see his ass play defense and move the ball.

    The timing is perfect for the knicks to get hot – and Miami and Boston to go cold. Of course, things can change in an instant, but we couldn’t have scripted a better scenario… for the moment.

  8. Frank

    Good win, and good mental toughness to blow the lead and then get it back. I’m happy for Toney that he made some big shots down the stretch, but it’s very telling that the only player that scored in the last 9 minutes until Melo hit the 3 was… Toney Douglas. Sometimes he looks like he gets what a PG is supposed to do, and sometimes he goes into Hero-ball mode — and he’s at best our 3rd or 4th best hero. The ball movement in the majority of the 4th quarter was the worst I’ve seen pretty much the entire year, made worse by the fact that it wasn’t Melo iso’ing on every play but DWTDD instead. I’m sure the Philly defense had something to do with that, but Toney needs to be able to run the offense better than that.

    Meanwhile, Melo is just killing it. I seriously hope this outside shooting is the result of some mechanical flaw they found and fixed on his long jumpers, and not just a ridiculous hot streak.

  9. Frank O.

    hoolahoop: But I still want to see his ass play defense and move the ball..  

    I agree that Melo needs to play D and move the ball. But having said that, it appears he’s gotten that message. He has played some great D and he’s moving the ball really well.
    These Knicks are beginning to move the ball well. Two nights ago they had 31 assists.
    Fewer assists last night, but the 76ers play tough D and with Billups out and TD cold, there weren’t as many assists to be had.
    Indeed, there were a few times where Melo passed up shots,which led to shot clock violations.

    Either way, his play has been inspired.
    You know, sometimes teams have rough games because the other guys are tough and good. I love the 76ers game. They hustle, play solid D, and they don’t give up. Iggy was a bit off last night, and that’s probably why the Knicks won. In fact, Iggy may have been off because he had to contend with Melo all night.

  10. TDM

    No low post presence (and no guard even trying to feed the post) means the Knicks have to survive from mid-range and the perimeter. Unless they establish an inside/out game, and execute it for 4 quarters, their one dimensional play will be easy to defend. Ugly game.

  11. Thomas B.

    How bad to Fields look trying to defend Iguodala last night? On that 3 pointer Iggy sank, he makes a move to the right then steps back left for the straight away three. That is his favorite move to get room for a three–I called it before the shot went up. Every scouting report has to include that, how could Landry bite so badly to the fake to the right? Iggy created about three feet of space for himself while Landry looked like he was stuck in mud.

    I like Fields, I really do, but he has to improve the defense. We need a wing stopper and he has the size for it but I’m not sure he has the speed for it. His summer homework has to be on the defensive end, speed drills are a must.

    My second gripe is the overdependence on the 3 when the halfcourt offense slows. It is fine when they hit them, but it would be nice to still consider the pick and roll or pick and pop, or–here is a blast from the past–the drive to the lane and draw a foul play.

    That said, I still think the Knicks have the best chance of any of the lower 4 seeds of pulling an upset. Celtics and Heat have some holes right now. Shaq and Wade have some health issues. Celtics’ need help scoring (Knick defense should cure that), Heat lack depth and balance, so do the Knicks but the Heat are far more top heavy. The Knicks don’t have the same tier “big 3″, but the Knicks probably can floor a better “supporting 6″ than the Heat can.

    My mind wants to think the Celtics are the better matchup, but I still have a primal fear of them even with their missing center, lack of bench scoring and, the shooting struggles of Rondo. Time will tell.

  12. Jafa

    Thomas B.: That said, I still think the Knicks have the best chance of any of the lower 4 seeds of pulling an upset.  

    A better chance than Atlanta to beat Orlando? I like our chances and I’m salivating for a 1st round upset of Boston or Miami, but I think Atlanta may have a better chance at an upset that us.

  13. flossy

    hoolahoop: Turned the game off after three. Didn’t want to watch garbage time. Figured they couldn’t blow this one. Should have known better.  

    But… they didn’t blow it?

  14. Frank

    What do people here think the postseason rotation should be? My guess if we play Boston that our starting lineup will be Billups, Fields, Melo, Amare, and Shelden Williams. If we play Miami I think it’s possible JJ might start just to get another body out there that can conceivably not get embarrassed by Lebron and wade. Presumably we won’t go any more than 8 deep.

    Billups, Fields, Melo, STAT, TD are clearly going to play a lot.

    That leaves 6 guys – the two Sh. Williamses, JJ, Walker, Turiaf, and Anthony Carter fighting for the last 3 spots.

    Against Boston I think Carter will need to play so that TD can get a break from guarding Rondo. I’d like to see more of Bill Walker too – he has impressed me lately with his defensive effort and rebounding – he’s actually the 11th best SG in terms of reb rate, and seems to have been better than that lately. I think he could do a passable job on Pierce. That probably only leaves minutes for one of the Sh. Williamses, and given D’Antoni’s love of Extra E, I guess it would be him, with spot minutes for Shelden and JJ.

    Tough call – a lot of these guys deserve minutes.

  15. Frank

    So is this what it’s like on the Lakers/Celtics/Bulls blogs? 5 wins in a row and no one has anything to complain about? =) It’s like crickets here.

  16. Z

    Anyone know when the first round begins? Is it usually on the weekend immediately following the regular season, or do they take a few days off and start mid-week? (it’s been so long, I can’t remember!!)

  17. Frank O.

    @Frank #17

    I think Shelden needs to start at the 5, Amare 4, Carmelo at the 3, Landry at the 2 and Billups.
    Then you have TD.
    7 and 8 could be Williams and Walker, depending on who they’re playing.

    D’Antoni said he’s probably only going seven deep in the playoffs, maybe 8, but maybe not.

    Anyone see anything on Billups’ and Amare’s injuries?

  18. BigBlueAL

    Z: Anyone know when the first round begins? Is it usually on the weekend immediately following the regular season, or do they take a few days off and start mid-week? (it’s been so long, I can’t remember!!)  

    Playoffs begin Sat, April 16th. 4 series starts that day and the other 4 begin the next day Sun April 17th.

  19. JK47

    If it’s a 7-man rotation I presume it would be this: Amar’e, She-Will, Extra E, Melo, Fields, Billups, DWTDD. That would probably result in lots of minutes for She-Will… Not a bad thing perhaps.

    If you expand it to 8 or 9 I’d say Turiaf and Walker would be the next guys in line. If we draw the Heat in the first round I wouldn’t mind seeing Anthony Carter guard the hobbled Dwyane Wade for stretches of the game.

    No minutes for Jeffries, Mason or Brown and of course no minutes for Balkman or Rautins.

  20. Shad0wF0x

    Sheldon Williams – Chris Bosh and Kevin Garnett
    Amar’e – Heat Cs, Jermaine O’Neal and Glen Davis
    Melo – Pierce and LeBron
    Douglas and Carter – Rondo and Wade
    Fields – Wade and Allen
    Billups – Heat PGs (primarily)
    Extra E and Turiaf – Backup to Sheldon.
    Bill Walker if there’s foul trouble.

    I hope Melo’s offensive can somewhat tire out Pierce and LeBron. More so with Pierce because of age and the fact that LeBron is a built physiologically superior to most players. I also think that he has enough star power to get away with some pushing.

    Fields will have a hell of a time chasing after Allen.

    Douglas and Carter should defend Rondo and Wade. When Carter is out there, he should be in 100% hounding mode. Even if he can only sustain it for 5 minutes bursts or so, enough disruption, annoyance and fatigue built on those 2 is all I ask for. It’s just enough time for Douglas to rest when pulling off 70-90% defensive effort most of the time.

    STATs job is to provide weak-side shot blocking and keep (for the love of God please) his aforementioned assignments away from the boards. The Heat C’s should not score much at all if we’re to have a chance.

    For the most part, the 2 most important boxscore stats will be rebounding and 3pt shooting.

  21. jaylamerique

    I really need to stop reading the debates between Bucher and Broussard(sp?) but Bucher needs to be committed. Apparently he’d rather have rose than Lebron as a building block for a team. Does anyone hate Lebron and love Rose more than him.

  22. Jafa

    jaylamerique: I really need to stop reading the debates between Bucher and Broussard(sp?) but Bucher needs to be committed. Apparently he’d rather have rose than Lebron as a building block for a team. Does anyone hate Lebron and love Rose more than him.  

    I don’t get the superior DWade love either. One great MVP season does not make him better than a guy who has played on that level for 6 or 7 years?

    Get this, I’d pick Kevin Durant before I picked Rose.

  23. tenebrous

    The league just announced: NYK is not allowed in the playoffs due to indecisiveness from MDA. The league further announced that it wants good basketball and a winning mentality over the concept of a short rotation. If you don’t believe me search google.

  24. Jafa

    Frank: So is this what it’s like on the Lakers/Celtics/Bulls blogs?5 wins in a row and no one has anything to complain about? =)It’s like crickets here.  

    We have nothing to complain about. Nice to be a fan of a winning team for a change.

  25. Jafa

    tenebrous: The league just announced: NYK is not allowed in the playoffs due to indecisiveness from MDA. The league further announced that it wants good basketball and a winning mentality over the concept of a short rotation. If you don’t believe me search google.  

    Well, if they want good basketball, they should be happy MDA is in the playoffs and not someone like Jeff Van Gundy.

  26. Shad0wF0x

    @27

    Judging from what I’ve seen from few games I’ve watched, there’s not much of a difference between Westbrook and Rose. They’re both great players but to consider either of them to be better than LeBron is ridiculous.

    I think that Tom Thibodeau is the better explanation as to why the Bulls are this good. Their defense is what has vastly improved and it allows Rose to make mistakes on the other side of the court. It’s the opposite of the Knicks where if they make mistakes on the offensive, there’s not enough defense to back it up.

  27. Thomas B.

    Jafa:

    A better chance than Atlanta to beat Orlando? I like our chances and I’m salivating for a 1st round upset of Boston or Miami, but I think Atlanta may have a better chance at an upset that us.  

    (Quote)

    Yes, I think so.

  28. tenebrous

    Jafa:
    Well, if they want good basketball, they should be happy MDA is in the playoffs and not someone like Jeff Van Gundy.  

    Yesterday, they stood around watching paint dry. Mainly, I only see Fields running around (creating movement) and hes on the bench a lot. If MDA wants to be considered a hero why let everyone stand around like they did yesterday? Three players should be moving at all times – I don’t think MDA would disagree to that. If 3 players are moving at all times they cannot play so many minutes and probably a longer/deeper rotation is required. Having said that: DBrown needs speed drills, Carter needs shooting drills and Skywalker needs off the dribble shooting drills.

  29. art vandelay

    tenebrous, you must be the dude who would be criticizing Amare for missing a free throw in the first quarter of a game 7 nba finals victory on the road.

  30. hoolahoop

    tenebrous:
    Yesterday, they stood around watching paint dry. Mainly, I only see Fields running around (creating movement) and hes on the bench a lot. If MDA wants to be considered a hero why let everyone stand around like they did yesterday? Three players should be moving at all times – I don’t think MDA would disagree to that. If 3 players are moving at all times they cannot play so many minutes and probably a longer/deeper rotation is required. Having said that: DBrown needs speed drills, Carter needs shooting drills and Skywalker needs off the dribble shooting drills.  

    I agree.
    I like Dantoni’s uptempo, loose style of play, but I think he let’s his guys get away with too much unsound, poor fundamental play. I cringe at a lot of the shots TD puts up, but Dantoni seems to have no problem with it. I’d demand more ball movement and more intensity from the team. If Doc Rivers came here the vacation would be over for these guys. And it’s these small things that add up to make a team champions, instead of a prayer and a hope in the first round.

  31. BigBlueAL

    Sometimes I wonder if people here watch the rest of the NBA. Complaining about the Knicks offense, which is now 4th in the NBA in Offensive Efficiency, is a bit much. Of course they have their rough patches where the offense struggles and looks horrible but its a pretty rare occurrence. Half of the teams in the NBA look horrible on offense all the time. Probably why I hardly ever complain about the Knicks offense because compared to most of the NBA it is a beautiful offense to watch. Also this romanticizing about good fundamental play, gimme a break.

    The great/teamwork oriented Celtics offense is the 15th best offense in the NBA and is getting dominated by the Bulls defense tonight. Rip the Knicks D all you want because lord knows they deserve it and I do it all the time but the criticism of the Knicks offense for the most part is pretty absurd.

  32. Shad0wF0x

    So I only saw a small part of the Celtics at Bulls game tonight but as I’m writing right now, CHI 89 – BOS 75. I hope the Knicks are paying attention in how to potentially defend this team if they match up for the playoffs.

  33. tenebrous

    BigBlueAL: Sometimes I wonder if people here watch the rest of the NBA.Complaining about the Knicks offense, which is now 4th in the NBA in Offensive Efficiency, is a bit much.Of course they have their rough patches where the offense struggles and looks horrible but its a pretty rare occurrence.Half of the teams in the NBA look horrible on offense all the time.Probably why I hardly ever complain about the Knicks offense because compared to most of the NBA it is a beautiful offense to watch.Also this romanticizing about good fundamental play, gimme a break.The great/teamwork oriented Celtics offense is the 15th best offense in the NBA and is getting dominated by the Bulls defense tonight.Rip the Knicks D all you want because lord knows they deserve it and I do it all the time but the criticism of the Knicks offense for the most part is pretty absurd.  

    So what r u saying: play D and Don’t shoot the ball? They should have scored 160 points yesterday but they didnt and almost fell behind in the last few minutes. The paint was so dry yesterday it actually fell off the wall.

  34. tenebrous

    art vandelay: tenebrous, you must be the dude who would be criticizing Amare for missing a free throw in the first quarter of a game 7 nba finals victory on the road.  

    Ok so they win game 7. Now what happens next year? No playoffs? Out in the 1st round? Amare would probably be upset at himself for the miss. So what r u saying? I don’t know how Melody made those shots yesterday but they seemed a little unreal. I just don’t want another Starks game 7 predicament to occur.

  35. hoolahoop

    BigBlueAL: Probably why I hardly ever complain about the Knicks offense because compared to most of the NBA it is a beautiful offense to watch. Also this romanticizing about good fundamental play, gimme a break.

    I don’t know what you’re watching, but when I tune into a Celtics-Lakers game, or a Dallas-Spurs game, it’s immediately clear that these teams are playing at a completely different level, much more disciplined, much more cohesive, much more intense, etc. It’s truly a dance. For example, Nate Robinson would never get away with taking the same shots with the Celtics as he did as a knick. It’s unsound fundamentally, and Doc Rivers would have none of it, plain and simple.
    If you can’t see this either you’re wearing rose-colored glasses, or you don’t understand basketball – regardless of any statistics you could cite.

  36. hoolahoop

    BigBlueAL: Sometimes I wonder if people here watch the rest of the NBA.Complaining about the Knicks offense, which is now 4th in the NBA in Offensive Efficiency, is a bit much.Of course they have their rough patches where the offense struggles and looks horrible but its a pretty rare occurrence.Half of the teams in the NBA look horrible on offense all the time.Probably why I hardly ever complain about the Knicks offense because compared to most of the NBA it is a beautiful offense to watch.Also this romanticizing about good fundamental play, gimme a break.The great/teamwork oriented Celtics offense is the 15th best offense in the NBA and is getting dominated by the Bulls defense tonight.Rip the Knicks D all you want because lord knows they deserve it and I do it all the time but the criticism of the Knicks offense for the most part is pretty absurd.  

    don’t know what you’re watching, but when I tune into a Celtics-Lakers game, or a Dallas-Spurs game, it’s immediately clear that these teams are playing at a completely different level, much more disciplined, much more cohesive, much more intense, etc. It’s truly a dance. For example, Nate Robinson would never get away with taking the same shots with the Celtics as he did as a knick. It’s unsound fundamentally, and Doc Rivers would have none of it, plain and simple.
    If you can’t see this either you’re wearing rose-colored glasses, or you don’t understand basketball – regardless of any statistics you could cite.

  37. latke

    I’m looking at the mock drafts thinking about how the knicks are going to find a center. Here’s what I notice:

    2012: mock @ nbadraft.net has one 7 footer (all 200 pounds of him) in the first round.

    2011: nbadraft.net has no 7 footers in the entire draft (1st and second round).

    2010: no 7 footers drafted in the first round.

    2009: hasheem thabeet and BJ mullens (about 400 combined MP this season)

    2008: McGee, Brook and Robin Lopez, Hibbert, Ajinca, Koufos

    It’s crazy to me how hard it is to find a real center these days… Mozgov is then probably the 3rd best 7 footer to enter the NBA in 3 years. Makes me wonder how much we’ll regret tossing him into that trade.

    As far as the Chicago/boston game, it was sort of a playoff atmosphere, but Pierce, Rondo and Garnett all played around 31 minutes. Deng, Boozer, and Rose played between 36 and 39 minutes each. To me, that’s the real story of the game. To me, Chicago is the most overrated team in the NBA. Sure, they’re good, but they also seem to play all out every game whereas more vet teams like LA and Boston save themselves. I would be willing to bet good money that Chicago doesn’t get out of the conference finals. If Orlando wasn’t so mediocre, I might bet against them in the 2nd round.

    That said, I still prefer the Heat because of matchups (they suck in the positions where we are most weak defensively), and because they have so much pressure on them that they could crack. And despite the star power, Bosh and James have been underperformers in the playoffs.

    I also feel like their offense plays into our weak defense. They are an isolation team. Isolation offenses require the least of defenses in terms of fast rotations. They don’t have anyone whose going to be entering the hall of fame of mediocre players who’ve torched the knicks because they don’t really play to involve anyone other than their big 3.

  38. massive

    The Bulls, despite being the #1 seed in the conference, aren’t considered favorites to win the East. Derrick Rose isn’t even the NBA’s best PG, but they’re gonna hand him an MVP award this season. That screams overrated to me. They will not be representing the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals this year, though.

  39. BigBlueAL

    hoolahoop:
    I don’t know what you’re watching, but when I tune into a Celtics-Lakers game, or a Dallas-Spurs game, it’s immediately clear that these teams are playing at a completely different level, much more disciplined, much more cohesive, much more intense, etc. It’s truly a dance. For example, Nate Robinson would never get away with taking the same shots with the Celtics as he did as a knick. It’s unsound fundamentally, and Doc Rivers would have none of it, plain and simple.
    If you can’t see this either you’re wearing rose-colored glasses, or you don’t understand basketball – regardless of any statistics you could cite.  

    You just mentioned 4 teams who have all won over 50 games already. Of course the Knicks arent at that level yet, although only the Spurs right now have a more efficient offense than the Knicks of those 4 teams you mentioned but I forgot stats are stupid. Even though Im just talking about a pretty basic stat which is points per 100 possessions.

    If those are the only games you watch then no wonder you hate the Knicks and think they suck, but again there are 30 teams in the NBA. The reasons those teams are much better than the Knicks is because of their defense and rebounding not because of their offense.

  40. JK47

    Spare me all of the “beautiful dance” crap. The Knicks average 111.1 points per 100 possessions. The Celtics average 106.7 points per 100 possessions. The Knicks are a better offensive team, period. They score more points with the possessions they have. Of course, NYK can’t stop anybody from scoring, while the Celtics play some of the very finest defense in the NBA, so Boston is a better team than us, but they’re not better than us on offense.

    The Celtics turn the ball over a lot– they’re 4th worst in the league in turnover percentage. The Knicks are the 5th best. Do you really think this could be possible if the Celtics were really “more disciplined” and “completely playing at a different level” than us? They have a slight edge on us in eFG% but we easily trump them in three of the other four factors on offense.

    For example, Nate Robinson would never get away with taking the same shots with the Celtics as he did as a knick.

    Well, that’s weird, because Nate Robinson was far more inefficient as a Celtic than he was as a Knick. He had a .514 TS% this year, which sucks. With NYK he was in the .540-.550 range pretty much every year. If Doc runs such a tight ship and did such a good job of keeping Nate’s shot selection in check, why did Nate suck so bad with the C’s? Nate had a career-worst season in pretty much every quantifiable way this year.

  41. Brian Cronin

    Spare me all of the “beautiful dance” crap. The Knicks average 111.1 points per 100 possessions. The Celtics average 106.7 points per 100 possessions.

    Just curious…are the Knicks tied for 5th or are they 4th?

    Al mentioned them being 4th earlier. I thought that they had just nudged past the Thunder and tied the Lakers at 111.1 (while being right behind the Rockets). Hollinger had them 4th, though, with a lower number.

    Which one is correct?

  42. BigBlueAL

    Brian Cronin:
    Just curious…are the Knicks tied for 5th or are they 4th?
    Al mentioned them being 4th earlier. I thought that they had just nudged past the Thunder and tied the Lakers at 111.1 (while being right behind the Rockets). Hollinger had them 4th, though, with a lower number.Which one is correct?  

    Hollinger has them 4th (which is what I used), basketball reference has them tied for 5th with the Lakers. As you mentioned Hollinger has all of the teams roughly 3 pts lower than what basketball reference has them at, yet both of them have the Knicks less than a point out of the #1 spot.

  43. latke

    massive: The Bulls, despite being the #1 seed in the conference, aren’t considered favorites to win the East. Derrick Rose isn’t even the NBA’s best PG, but they’re gonna hand him an MVP award this season. That screams overrated to me. They will not be representing the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals this year, though.  

    vegas odds have chicago at 5:2, Boston @ 6:1 and Miami @ 4:1. LAL is the only team with better odds @ 3:2, so i think they are favorites to win the east. They just smell like a rick carlisle team: work their asses off in the regular season, come up short in the postseason. The MVP thing along with the big win total also brings back memories of Dirk’s “MVP” season when the Mavs racked up the best record in the league then lost to GSW in the first round. Felt like bad karma then, feels the same now.

    Interestingly, NY is 50:1 while ATL is 200:1. The only lower seed with better odds than NY is Denver: 30:1.

  44. Brian Cronin

    Hollinger has them 4th (which is what I used), basketball reference has them tied for 5th with the Lakers. As you mentioned Hollinger has all of the teams roughly 3 pts lower than what basketball reference has them at, yet both of them have the Knicks less than a point out of the #1 spot.

    Which is so weird. How can the numbers be different? So odd.

  45. Brian Cronin

    I believe its because they count possessions differently no??

    But even if they count possessions differently, shouldn’t all the rankings remain proportional?

  46. BigBlueAL

    Brian Cronin:
    But even if they count possessions differently, shouldn’t all the rankings remain proportional?  

    Yeah I get what you are saying, the numbers could be different but not the rankings. The point still remains that offense is NOT a problem at all with the Knicks no matter how “ugly” and “undisciplined” their offense apparently is to some.

  47. Frank

    hoolahoop:
    don’t know what you’re watching, but when I tune into a Celtics-Lakers game, or a Dallas-Spurs game, it’s immediately clear that these teams are playing at a completely different level, much more disciplined, much more cohesive, much more intense, etc. It’s truly a dance. For example, Nate Robinson would never get away with taking the same shots with the Celtics as he did as a knick. It’s unsound fundamentally, and Doc Rivers would have none of it, plain and simple.

    I know we’re not playing SSOL like Phoenix did, and also that I am probably grossly oversimplifying things, but shots early in the clock that may look undisciplined is exactly what SSOL is about. Check out this quote from Melo (from ESPN-NY yesterday)

    “”Now, in this system, the amount of 3s that we take as a team, and the fact that you have to take them if you are wide open, I think it forces you to go out there and practice on your off days and work on that shot.” ”

    You HAVE TO take wide open 3′s if they are there in this system. Other systems search and search for the perfect shot and are predicated on slowing the pace. You picked Chicago, Dallas, and the Lakers – these teams are all in the bottom 12 of pace in the league. We’re the 2nd fastest. It’s just a fundamentally different way of playing offense. If you don’t take into account 2008-9 and 2009-10 when the personnel running D’Antoni’s offense was obviously horrible and the roster was in constant flux, PHX was #1 in Offensive Efficiency 2004-2008, and we are #4 this year. The man knows how to coach offense.

    And funny that you would choose Nate – the reason Nate got benched was because he WAS too undisciplined.

    I read a quote somewhere the other day equating D’Antoni to Mike Martz – very appropriate IMO – offensive genius, stubborn with the system, NEEDS A DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR.

  48. Brian Cronin

    Yeah I get what you are saying, the numbers could be different but not the rankings. The point still remains that offense is NOT a problem at all with the Knicks no matter how “ugly” and “undisciplined” their offense apparently is to some.

    Oh yeah, #4 or tied for #5, obviously both are good. I’m just mystified at how the numbers could be different.

    That said, I still think offense is an issue, not because it is “ugly” (which I agree is not much of a complaint) but because however good they are playing on offense, they could be even better if they were running SSOL. If you have three offensive talents like Billups, Melo and Amar’e, the offense should be even better than it currently is if they were to run SSOL. So I can’t wait until they start doing so. It likely won’t happen until next season, but when it does, things could get verrrrrrrry interesting here.

    But, of course, the important point is the italicized word – it’s an issue, but yes, it is certainly not the most pressing issue with this team.

  49. Jafa

    Did you guys see this:

    http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/knicks/cal_to_the_bullpen_L33AvGz7jkmW3ClIRtwkNI/1

    I know it’s Vecsey and you have to take what he says with a grain of salt, but were also talking about the irrational Dolan so this does not seem so far fetched.

    So, according to this, Dolan would replace Walsh and Mike D with Calipari as both coach & GM. You know, its times like this that I with Amare & Melo would go up to Dolan’s office and just tell him that they signed up to play for a competent and experience GM/President and an experienced and accomplished coach whose system they both like already, and tell him to sit back and cash the big checks he’ll be getting when he increases ticket prices and collects playoff receipts. After that, they could tell Walsh to hire a defensive coordinator and we’ll be set for next year.

  50. Jafa

    @ 45 & 46:

    I don’t think Boston was resting anybody and their vets weren’t saving themselves. They stated that they wanted to go after the top seed before the game. Their star players only played 31 minutes because they were so ineffective against Chicago’s D that the coach went to the bench to see if he could get something going from his reserves.

    Bogans had Ray Allen locked up all night – I haven’t seen somebody make Allen that ineffective in a game in a while. He was physical with him, and was always in front of him, so much so that the guy with one of the quickest releases on his jumper couldn’t get any space to operate.

    Paul Pierce has good looks all night and he kept missing. KG was effective defensively against Boozer, but ineffective offensively. Once they took KG out, Boozer took them to school. Rondo looked inferior to Rose big time, and at this point, I would say even Westbrook is better than Rondo right now.

    If Boston meets Chicago in the playoffs, and everybody is healthy, it would probably take 7 games for Boston to advance, and I’m giving them the benefit of experience over Chicago. That game last night wasn’t a close game, it was a beat down. And if Chicago had an effective 2nd option like Melo, Boston would have no chance in a playoff series. Right now, that Boozer/Deng 2nd option thing looks so sub par, I found myself wishing they had a better #2. I hope they don’t get one because we have to see them every year in the playoffs for the next few years.

  51. Frank O.

    Jafa: Did you guys see this:http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/knicks/cal_to_the_bullpen_L33AvGz7jkmW3ClIRtwkNI/1I know it’s Vecsey and you have to take what he says with a grain of salt, but were also talking about the irrational Dolan so this does not seem so far fetched.So, according to this, Dolan would replace Walsh and Mike D with Calipari as both coach & GM.You know, its times like this that I with Amare & Melo would go up to Dolan’s office and just tell him that they signed up to play for a competent and experience GM/President and an experienced and accomplished coach whose system they both like already, and tell him to sit back and cash the big checks he’ll be getting when he increases ticket prices and collects playoff receipts.After that, they could tell Walsh to hire a defensive coordinator and we’ll be set for next year.  

    Dumb story.
    Dumb
    He conflates a single source into a gigantic scenario that isn’t even informed speculation.
    Journalistic standards are piss poor, and that story was worthless the moment words were put to page.
    I’m sick of sports reporters writing just any old shit, and no one, no one, holding them responsible for being wrong. If I worked that way, I’d be out of a job within a month.
    There’s probably money in building a website and then keeping score on what these sports reporters write. Then you could document what shit these guys are. Many of them make very good money making shit up…
    One source. Please. And what’s that source’s angle? We don’t know. But guaranteed, there’s an angle.

  52. ess-dog

    Frank:
    I know we’re not playing SSOL like Phoenix did, and also that I am probably grossly oversimplifying things, but shots early in the clock that may look undisciplined is exactly what SSOL is about.Check out this quote from Melo (from ESPN-NY yesterday)“”Now, in this system, the amount of 3s that we take as a team, and the fact that you have to take them if you are wide open, I think it forces you to go out there and practice on your off days and work on that shot.”

    I read a quote somewhere the other day equating D’Antoni to Mike Martz – very appropriate IMO – offensive genius, stubborn with the system, NEEDS A DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR.  

    Very telling quote. The difference from a Martz offense though, is that in basketball, you have the same players playing offense as you do defense. Even an average defensive team in the ssol system could have trouble holding leads because ssol lengthens games in effect. More possessions give teams more of a chance to come back. And our guys get tired like anyone else would.
    I just don’t know how to reconcile that aspect of the system. In fact, you’d think it would make more sense to have a DEEPER rotation so that guys could go full tilt more often, but that is not the case with D’Antoni.
    I guess I wish there was a way to slow things down when we do get say a 15 point lead from ssol, and start using the whole shot clock and get back on D. You’d think that would be very possible now just by posting Melo at the end of the clock. Of course a fantastic defensive big would help. We could even switch depending on the state of the game – Amare at C when we’re running, a more traditional big at C once we have a big lead.
    Of course D’Antoni might say the best course of action is to keep attacking, but I’m not so sure. It gives teams more of a shot to get back into games. Why not get a big lead…

  53. latke

    Jafa: That game last night wasn’t a close game, it was a beat down.

    This is just not true. It was 56-60 Chicago when Garnett sat down with 3:30 left in the 3rd quarter. When Garnett returned with 9:09 left in the 4th, it was 80-65. Derrick Rose did not rest a single minute of that game precisely because it was so close. he came out with 5 mins left because Chicago had pulled away.

  54. Frank

    @61 – I really do hope that D’Antoni expands his playoff rotation to 9 players, even if guys like Anthony Carter and Walker just get 5-6 minutes each. Carter instantly increases the defensive energy on the floor, and Walker has started to do a lot of the little things (rebounding, defense) recently.

    I agree with you re: changing our offensive philosophy when we have a big lead. It just killed me the other night when we were up by 20 against the Raptors and we were still shooting with 15 left on the shot clock. Just like in football where the best teams build a big lead with the pass, then grind down the defense and the clock with the run, I think we would do well with letting Melo do some of his iso thing when we have a big lead, letting the shot clock get down to 5 seconds or so before shooting.

    I can’t believe I just said that. But it seems like in any case, the bigger your lead, the fewer possessions you give your opponent the better.

  55. Nick C.

    @ 61 wasn’t that what was always said about Phoenix? you could always come back on them. it does make sense, though most hoops games are games of runs.

  56. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    JK47: The Knicks average 111.1 points per 100 possessions. The Celtics average 106.7 points per 100 possessions.

    And the difference between these efficiencies is 2 made 3-pointers over the course of 100 possessions. There aren’t many people who can tell the difference between 110 and 105 efficiency teams without the use of a notebook and abacus.

    That’s why we have Basketball Reference and 82games.

    ; )

  57. Frank

    Sounds like Amare is out tonight — I’d keep him out until next tuesday’s game against the Bulls, and play him about 20 min in that game and 15 min against the Celts in the season finale. That’ll be 35 min total in a full week — enough to keep him in tune with the game, but gives him tons of rest.

    I wouldn’t play Melo or Billups any more than 30 min/game going forward either.

  58. jaylamerique

    The Honorable Cock Jowles:
    And the difference between these efficiencies is 2 made 3-pointers over the course of 100 possessions. There aren’t many people who can tell the difference between 110 and 105 efficiency teams without the use of a notebook and abacus.That’s why we have Basketball Reference and 82games.; )  

    those 2 made 3 pointers might be hard for the celtics to come by since they don’t really stress the 3 point ball or take it much

  59. MSA

    Those 2 three pointers per game are more than the Celtics points differential in the season.

    I guess it means something…

  60. Frank O.

    You know from the time when the Carmelo trade appeared to be a done deal, I have maintained that Anthony’s efficiency would improve in the D’Antoni system because the ball moves, the floor is spread, and he isn’t forced to go one-on-everyone as much as he has before.
    Well, after 24 games, a decent sample size, Anthony is actually taking slightly more shots per game (19.6 v. 19.3), with a better overall shooting percentage (47% v. 45%), far better 3 pt shooting percentage (44% v. 33%).
    His PER increased a full point (22.3 v. 22.2), WS/48 jumped (.152 v. .128), his TS has skyrocketed (58% v. 55%), and his eFG jumped (51% v. 47%).
    His assists have increased only slightly and his TOs per 36 have dipped (2.5 v. 2.9).
    Last, his FT shooting has increased significantly, from 82% to 87%.
    The only dip he’s shown is in rebounding per 36 (6.5 v. 7.8), although his offensive boards are the same.
    All in all, I feel vindicated in having made the point that Carmelo would become a far more efficient player under D’Antoni’s system.

    Conversely, Wilson Chandler, who posted comparable to better efficiency numbers v. Carmelo before the trade, has shown significant declines in TS% and eFG%, to go along with his minutes.

    So for all those who used Carmelo’s efficiency to argue against a trade before, what have you got to say now?

    :)

    I still think the Knicks probably gave up too much. Any one of WC, Gallo or Mosgov would make the current Knicks significantly better overall, IMHO.
    But it’s nice to see Melo sharpening his game.

  61. ess-dog

    Frank O.: So for all those who used Carmelo’s efficiency to argue against a trade before, what have you got to say now?:)  

    Those still aren’t max money stats. But yeah, it’s great he’s playing better.

  62. Brian Cronin

    I think Melo could get into the 60s playing SSOL. And it would keep Amar’e’s TS% high, as well (as opposed to Melo raising his TS% while Amar’e drops his).

    No matter what, though, you have to loooove the extra threes Melo is taking.

  63. Frank O.

    Brian Cronin: I think Melo could get into the 60s playing SSOL. And it would keep Amar’e’s TS% high, as well (as opposed to Melo raising his TS% while Amar’e drops his).No matter what, though, you have to loooove the extra threes Melo is taking.  

    He’s got a pretty shot.

  64. Frank O.

    ess-dog:
    Those still aren’t max money stats.But yeah, it’s great he’s playing better.  

    His efficiency numbers aren’t up to Lebron or Norwitzki standards, but they certainly are comparable to Wade’s, and he’s a far better 3 pt shooter.
    Also, very comparable with Durant.
    Flat out better efficiency v. Kobe.

    As a wing player, he’s probably a max guy, or just about max.

    Still think they gave up too much for him, however.

  65. tenebrous

    Frank O.: You know from the time when the Carmelo trade appeared to be a done deal, I have maintained that Anthony’s efficiency would improve in the D’Antoni system because the ball moves, the floor is spread, and he isn’t forced to go one-on-everyone as much as he has before.
    Well, after 24 games, a decent sample size, Anthony is actually taking slightly more shots per game (19.6 v. 19.3), with a better overall shooting percentage (47% v. 45%), far better 3 pt shooting percentage (44% v. 33%).
    His PER increased a full point (22.3 v. 22.2), WS/48 jumped (.152 v. .128), his TS has skyrocketed (58% v. 55%), and his eFG jumped (51% v. 47%).
    His assists have increased only slightly and his TOs per 36 have dipped (2.5 v. 2.9).
    Last, his FT shooting has increased significantly, from 82% to 87%.
    The only dip he’s shown is in rebounding per 36 (6.5 v. 7.8), although his offensive boards are the same.
    All in all, I feel vindicated in having made the point that Carmelo would become a far more efficient player under D’Antoni’s system.Conversely, Wilson Chandler, who posted comparable to better efficiency numbers v. Carmelo before the trade, has shown significant declines in TS% and eFG%, to go along with his minutes.So for all those who used Carmelo’s efficiency to argue against a trade before, what have you got to say now?:)I still think the Knicks probably gave up too much. Any one of WC, Gallo or Mosgov would make the current Knicks significantly better overall, IMHO.
    But it’s nice to see Melo sharpening his game.  

    He has to. 65M or not, after those type of quotes his only option is to stick it to Denver.

  66. Frank

    tenebrous:
    He has to. 65M or not, after those type of quotes his only option is to stick it to Denver.  

    That’s my hope for Melo also – that he can pull a Kobe/MJ and use all the sh*t that has been said by George Karl et al. as ultimate motivation to bring his game to the next level. I’d love to see Melo and Amare get together in the offseason and really work on defensive fundamentals, boxing out (especially Amare), etc.

    Re: his worthiness of a “max” contract — if you consider that guys like Howard and Lebron are really underpaid in this market, and that if there WAS a free market they would be making $30-40M, then Melo’s current contract is probably reasonable. For all the Kevin Durant love, Durant’s career advanced stats and Melo’s NYK stats are IDENTICAL.

    Durant: TS 57.5, eFG 49.7, TRB% 9.5, AST% 13.1, USG 29.8, WS/48 0.154

    Melo: TS 57.8, eFG 51.2, TRB% 10.3, AST% 15, USG 30.7, WS/48 0.152

    My only worry with Melo is that this 3 point barrage is just a mirage, and that he regresses to his career averages (which are not that bad). His free throw rate has already dropped slightly – we will definitely need him drawing fouls and shooting free throws at 88% in the playoffs.

  67. hoolahoop

    JK47: Spare me all of the “beautiful dance” crap.The Knicks average 111.1 points per 100 possessions.The Celtics average 106.7 points per 100 possessions.The Knicks are a better offensive team, period.They score more points with the possessions they have.Of course, NYK can’t stop anybody from scoring, while the Celtics play some of the very finest defense in the NBA, so Boston is a better team than us, but they’re not better than us on offense.The Celtics turn the ball over a lot– they’re 4th worst in the league in turnover percentage.The Knicks are the 5th best.Do you really think this could be possible if the Celtics were really “more disciplined” and “completely playing at a different level” than us?They have a slight edge on us in eFG% but we easily trump them in three of the other four factors on offense.For example, Nate Robinson would never get away with taking the same shots with the Celtics as he did as a knick.Well, that’s weird, because Nate Robinson was far more inefficient as a Celtic than he was as a Knick.He had a .514 TS% this year, which sucks.With NYK he was in the .540-.550 range pretty much every year.If Doc runs such a tight ship and did such a good job of keeping Nate’s shot selection in check, why did Nate suck so bad with the C’s?Nate had a career-worst season in pretty much every quantifiable way this year.  

    Basketball is played on a court with a ball, not on paper with a pen. You can use stats to justify anything, but that’s not their value. The knicks play a high possession game with more easy buckets – by both teams, so your points per 100 is imprecise. So, if you think the “beautiful dance” is all crap,I don’t know what to say . . . just keep studying your hoop data.

  68. hoolahoop

    Frank:
    I know we’re not playing SSOL like Phoenix did, and also that I am probably grossly oversimplifying things, but shots early in the clock that may look undisciplined is exactly what SSOL is about.Check out this quote from Melo (from ESPN-NY yesterday)“”Now, in this system, the amount of 3s that we take as a team, and the fact that you have to take them if you are wide open, I think it forces you to go out there and practice on your off days and work on that shot.” ”You HAVE TO take wide open 3?s if they are there in this system. Other systems search and search for the perfect shot and are predicated on slowing the pace.You picked Chicago, Dallas, and the Lakers – these teams are all in the bottom 12 of pace in the league. We’re the 2nd fastest. It’s just a fundamentally different way of playing offense.If you don’t take into account 2008-9 and 2009-10 when the personnel running D’Antoni’s offense was obviously horrible and the roster was in constant flux, PHX was #1 in Offensive Efficiency 2004-2008, and we are #4 this year.The man knows how to coach offense.And funny that you would choose Nate – the reason Nate got benched was because he WAS too undisciplined.I read a quote somewhere the other day equating D’Antoni to Mike Martz – very appropriate IMO – offensive genius, stubborn with the system, NEEDS A DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR.  

    I never said that quick shots are bad shots. The beauty of SSOL is that you get better shots. Good shot selection, regardless of the system, is of paramount importance. Wide open three’s are great to take. That’s my point. Good looks are what’s important.

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