Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Knicks 98, Suns 96

Phoenix Suns 96 Final
Recap | Box Score
98 New York Knicks
Raymond Felton, PG 44 MIN | 8-16 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 19 PTS | +7

There are going to be a ton of caveats in this one, so please gird your loins. If you don’t have a metal stucco loin-girder, use a carbon-fiber loin-girder. Let’s start with the poor ol’ Penguin. Yes, he hit more than his share of step back 20 footers (and I hated every man jack of them), and the corner trey that he nailed to put the Knicks up 92-90 was clutch as heck (NOTE: This blog is neither authenticating nor denying the existence of ‘clutchness,’ we are merely stating that it was nice to see Ray-Ray hit that shot, because if he didn’t, the Knicks would have lost, which would have made us really, really angry) but dear [Deity], the defense.

There’s something noble in the utter state of shock/childlike innocence that is inevitably Felt’s reaction to a pick being set in the general vicinity of his person. “Ye Gods! What manner of obstruction be this! I was roaming free, attempting to hinder the path of my courteous opponent, when this scalawag appears before me, attempting to physically dislodge me from my appointed task! I shall allow another fellow ‘Bocker of virtue true to sally forth with said ‘ball-handler’ whilst I ponder this damning course of events! My Italianate friend, please attempt to curtail this Brazilian fellow. He is blurry and mendacious little gadfly!” (I’m not sure why I imagine Felton as a Victorian dandy/fop, I just do. Can’t you see Felt looking great in a ruff? You can’t? Kay…) It took half of the gobsmackingly dumb fourth quarter before Mike, Son of Wood realized that he shouldn’t be guarding Goran Dragic, because bulldog mentality.

Watching Raymond Felton try to stay in front of his man is like seeing an Oompa Loompa try to fuck a mudslide. it’s sort of sad and kind of hilarious, but you can’t help but wonder what in the name of all that is holy and good he’s trying to accomplish. Seriously, he’s terrible.

Kenyon Martin, PF 35 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 8 PTS | -10

Speaking of defending the PG, where exactly would the Knicks be without K-Mart? Before you start conceiving of levels of Hell that’d make Dante and Virgil blush, let’s just give thanks for the portrait of Tyson Chandler that Martin’s got tucked away in his grim, steel-reinforced survival bunker. You know, because he’s stealing/borrowing his basketball skills and the two of them never seem to be at the peak of their powers at the same time. No, I have no knowledge that Mr. Martin fears the coming zombie apocalypse/Ebola-type plague, it just feels like he’s the kind of cat that’s going to be prepared.

Anyway, where were we? Oh, right. The original model for Cheese Wagstaff from The Wire is actually the team’s best (and perhaps only) on-ball perimeter defender, snuffing both Barbosa and Dragic in OT after a shiftless switch or two. And the alley-oop pass to Melo/the gonzo putback of a gorted three point heave from Felt gave the team the razor-thin margin of victory. It’s amazing. I hated, HATED K-Mart for years and now I want to have his portrait tattooed on the delicate parts of my person. <3 u, Kevin. And yeah, you got screwed on that foul with 1.2 ticks left in regulation. After getting whistled for a tech in the 2n quarter, MSG’s cameras caught him saying, “I don’t get upset for nothing.” Well, you can get upset about that. We got hosed. Stupid refs.

Andrea Bargnani, PF 33 MIN | 3-8 FG | 4-4 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | +22

Bargs has appeared to have settled into a somewhat tepid, but predictable game pattern: he’ll hit his share of pick and pop feeds or low-post-ish moves, miss every three, even if time itself seems to stop while he cranks up the equivalent of the steam powered cotton gin that raises his arms into the air. He’ll do one endearing thing per game (EnT/36MPG), whether it’s finding an offensive rebound that has landed in his lap like manna from Heaven or a herky-jerky dribble drive and he’ll play his usual brand of wretched defense. Tonight’s secret mystery prize was the swell job he did in extra/free basketball dealing with Phoenix’s two-headed PG monster, Gorandro Drarbosa on switches, harassing them into to putting up an off-balance, ill-considered shot at the tin.

Carmelo Anthony, SF 46 MIN | 9-24 FG | 8-9 FT | 16 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 5 TO | 29 PTS | +2

Here’s the epitome of the bifurcated reaction one has to have to this game. Yes, Melo was a beast in the first half—using that I’m-definitely-going-to-send-someone’s-head-flying-into-the-pricey-seats-like-Baxter-getting-punted-off-the-bridge windmill block, deflecting passes, hoarding rebounds like a fat kid grabbing every single Ring Ding on the plate at a birthday party and slinging some of the sweetest passes seen ‘round these part since that guy who ate Vaseline was running the show (Seriously, go peep a Marbury YouTube mix sometime. Marbs was/is deeply flawed but…BOLD STATEMENT ALERT…he’s still the best point guard the Knicks have had since Clyde.) He picked out a streaking Kenyon Martin down court like Colin Kaepernick firing a laser to a wide receiver running a post pattern and the cross-court passes to find weak side, uncovered shooters? He would’ve racked up far more than four dimes if the Knickerbockers had been a tad more accurate from deep. The dish to Felt in the corner was just an extra dollop of icing on the previously mentioned Ring Ding. Beyond that, he routinely did the Little things that shant show up in your precious, precious stat sheets, NERDS. With the Knicks clinging to a 78-76 advantage, J.R was trapped at the free throw line with the shot clock running down. Melo cut to the corner, taking two defenders with him and leaving Timmy Jr. wide open for a simple pass from three. SEE. WE REALLY DO WATCH THE GAMES.

But here’s the thing that gives all the ‘haterz’ about 14,000,000 characters worth of bile-infused ammo. Whether or not he’s calling his own number, he absolutely copulated with the canine in the fourth and for a big chunk of overtime (the boffo turnaround being the exception that proves the rule.) It was all the stuff that makes us grind our teeth down to the nerve: pounding the rock till the ball resembles a deflated prophylactic, the jab steps that’d annoy/bore Bob Fosse, the contested mid range heaves in lieu of taking the ball to the rim all added up to a 4-14 line in the final 29 minutes of action. That’s…not good.

Iman Shumpert, SG 38 MIN | 2-5 FG | 1-2 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 6 PTS | +13

A quiet night for Iman, though there was another yeoman effort on the glass and one clutch steal after the lead had swelled to a heart-and-rage-increasing five with five minutes to go, and a predictably abortive fast break attempt following the deft swipe, taking on anywhere between 3 and 15 of the Arizonans. While hobbling on a tweaked ankle. Please don’t try that again.

Amar’e Stoudemire, PF 19 MIN | 2-5 FG | 5-6 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 9 PTS | +3

After an atrocious first half in which he seemed to turn he ball over every time he got it in the post (Yeah, it was a couple of travels and a questionable moving screen, but it just felt like more, mannnnnnnnnnnn.), he got to the line frequently in the 2nd and looked particularly spry in snaggling seven ‘bounds. Yeah, “spry” is a word you only use w/r/t an aged, wizened individual even if it doesn’t literally have to refer to the kind of gentleman/lady who spends his/her time shouting at clouds. But that’s where we are with STAT. Spry.

Toure’ Murry, SG 9 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -2

You know what’d be nice? A SERIOUS blowout, where Toure’ Murry could get something like 25-30 minutes of PT. Hopefully, that’d be a blowout win, but I’d stick around for another 40-point thrashing (just not by the Celtics, please) just to see how Toure’ would do if given the wheel of this no-longer-beached-but-still-really-expensive-and-yacht-like ship for more than the brief, “Don’t do anything dumb like airball a silly floater or Woody’s soooooo gonna yank you, Rook,” outings he’s currently getting. It does seem like he tries to do something capital-I Impressive when he knows his floor time’s gonna be brief, like that Euro-step drive in the 2nd was boss and the weird, “I’m the point of a dreidel,” move as he tried to dislodge himself from the paint after securing a rebound. So I’d like more, please. Perhaps a whole lot of the THJ/Smith/Hardaway/STAT/Kmart quintet that’s been starting the 2nd/4th quarters. They’ve looked good!

Tim Hardaway Jr., SG 15 MIN | 1-1 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | -10

Timmy Jr. good at shooting, evidently taking lessons on defense from J.R., where he just plain forgets to stick to his man, especially on backdoor plays, and on the boards from Bargs, who teaches us that staring straight ahead into the middle distance until everything goes blurry and/or you start to see a magical green alien from the future in the corner of your eye is always the best strategy. #MENTORING.

J.R. Smith, SG 25 MIN | 5-11 FG | 0-2 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 10 PTS | -15

J.R. wasn’t booed. I kind of expected at least a smattering of jeers from the bleacher creatures. That’s a good thing, I guess (and I’ll have some longer, better-formed thoughts on the past ten days of Earl’s life at a later date). For the most part, it was another somewhat sleepy if in-control effort, save for a YOLO-ish step back followed hard upon by a rushed trey. He still looks stiff/sluggish when driving, though he banged home his only two attempts in the paint. More importantly, LARRY LEGEND UNTIED AN OPPONENT’S SHOES SO THAT FINE IS TOTAL BOJAZZ. BOJAZZ I SAY. Granted, it was Chuck Person and nobody likes/liked that jagoff. Still, I was jonesing for last year’s JR, the one who gives exactly zero fucks, and would’ve hit the last-second shot to win it in regulation, even if there are lost tribes in Papua, New Guinea that knew that the Goateed One was going to run the exact same effing goddamn play.

Mike Woodson

Just for fouling Channing “Once a Knick, Once a guy we used to seriously describe as ‘A young Rasheed Wallace’ but has collapsed his game into a really tall, just as goofy/nerdy if definitely better defending Steve Novak (that’s a good thing!) Always a Knick, aka a guy who doesn’t know he should purposely brick the second free throw and looks over to his coach to see what he should do but somehow misses mouthing said coach saying ‘Miss it!’” Frye, you get’s a bright, shiny, brand spankin’ new A plus.

Five Things We Saw

  1. I think how one ultimately views tonight’s game depends a lot on your long-term outlook for this team. Yes, to paraphrase Gertrude Stein, a win is a win is a win (and that does make five wins [of all different stripes] in a row). Considering this is exactly the kind of game that they either gave away because certain individuals weren’t aware of the score or certain pariah-esque point guards are ISO’d against the other team’s hottest scorer or they go into an ISO-heavy funk or Woodson eschews timeouts or… Excuse me. My NBA primal scream sesh is starting and for some reason they require that I strip naked first, run a cheese grater over my inner thigh and douse my body in lemon juice whilst rubbing Himalayan Sea Salt in my eyes. They say it’s less painful than all of the ‘Bockers ulcer-inducing calamities and collapses that occurred in the year of our Lord, 2013. GAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!
  2. Much better, thanks. Yes, the fact that they held on, (and if Hornacek had kept Gerald Green off the court, they very well could/should have) is certainly a positive sign. And they looked great during the multiple stretches that fattened the lead to a ripe 14—slinging the ball around the perimeter, gang rebounding, collapsing the paint and recovering to outside shooters and holding foes to 30% from deep ; doing all the things that have led to a top-10 defensive rating during this 6-1 stretch. And most importantly, they fouled up three! That was smart! It may have been a complete and total accident, but they did it! YAY!
  3. On the other hand, he guy/gal who not only sees the glass half full, but filled with radioactively brackish water that would put the poisonous liquid that’s coming out of the tap in West Virginia to shame—you know, the guy who just brought up Gerald Green (I’m a crummy optimist)—would say that a team that’s headed in the right direction would have put away a tired, playing-their-fifth-game-of-a-five-game-road-trip-weary team, especially considering the deadly four-games-in-five-nights gauntlet the Knickerbockers are about to embark upon. This dour cat would definitely bring up the Knicks’ utter inability to execute a two for one, or that they allowed the Suns to score in the final seconds of every period (save OT) and that for a supposedly markedly improved defense, their were gobs of missed easy layups and bricked open threes. Is the improvement real? You can’t argue with the results, but you can certainly find a few stray threads in this winning sweater they’re knitting and pull at them till you’re staring at giant heap of useless wool. In a related story, I have some OCD issues.
  4. Some funzies. I always wondered if one Morris twin got ejected, he could sneak back into the game in his brother’s uni. Markieff got the boot tonight, and it’s entirely possible that he played the second half. YOU CAN’T PROVE IT DIDN’T HAPPEN. Hell, I think I saw Bobby Valentine in the stands in a mustache, for what it’s worth.

    This is my favorite tweet ever.

    JULIAN JAYNES ORIGIN OF CONSCIOUSNESS IN THE BREAKDOWN OF THE BICAMERAL MIND POSSE, YO

    In the ongoing George and Martha/Felix and Oscar-ish relationship between Walt and Mike, Clyde asked, “Would you ever wear one of my minks, Mike, if I loaned it to you?” Breen then replied, “it would be dragging on the floor.” Clyde countered, “No, to your ankles.” I wonder if they’d ever be willing to share an apartment and bicker but you know they really love each other and I could be their wacky next-door neighbor. That’d be bliss.

  5. So it’s off to Charlotte tomorrow, in search of 6 (SIX!) in a row. Someone go tell Melo.

31 comments on “Knicks 98, Suns 96

  1. Totes McGoats

    I don’t know about this game. Don’t get me wrong- we should feel good about a 5 game win streak. But..we were SUPPOSED to beat Phoenix at MSG. And that is not taking anything away from them- Hornacek is doing a wonderful job as is Dragic and some of their ancillary parts. But without Bledsoe and on the road against a hot team led by a peaking Melo and a resurgent STAT, a Knicks win should have been considered a lock. Still….5 straight feels damn good after the such a rough start. But, the fact remains that the team needs to rebound better and cut off penetration. I appreciate Melo’s work on the boards, but I’ve always found it….odd…for a SF and SG to be your most consistent boarders. That reeks of trouble to me. We have 2 bangers sitting at the end of the bench but even with Tyson out, they get no burn. Surely they’re worth 5 minutes a night, right? And the switching! I’m ok with it when Kmart, Shump and MWP are in the game, maybe even Melo. But NEVER when STAT or Bargnani are in the game. I think a game like this can be fool’s gold for a team that’s still trying to find and stick to an identity.

  2. ephus

    Very nicely done recap.

    I think that Bargnani had a better game than you are giving him credit for. Specifically, he had two very strong stretches that helped save the game for the Knicks. First, in the third quarter, he sparked the Knicks on a 9-0 run after the Suns tied the game at 54. 1) 2 free throws to make it 56-54. 2) Solid defense, 3) Two defensive rebounds at 61-54, leading to Carmelo’s free throws to make it 63-54. Bargnani then left for JR Smith.

    Bargnani did not return until 4:48 left in the fourth quarter, with the Knicks down 5 (a -14 swing). He immediately grabbed an offensive rebound and converted after a Kenyon Martin miss on a wild drive to make it 88-85. He again played solid defense and grabbed a defensive board with the Knicks down 90-89. JR Smith replaced him after Felton hit the 3 pointer to put the Knicks up 92-90 (a +7 swing).

    Bargnani missed some wide open shots, so I do not want to go overboard. I think he was useful.

    The roulette ball keeps spinning.

  3. Garson

    given our roster , coach, owner, and no draft pick – our goal this season is pretty simple.

    Climb into the 3-6 seed deadzone
    Defeat in a convincing manner one of the Raptor, Bulls, Nets, Hawks, Wizards in the first round
    Do not get swept by pacers or heat in second round
    Develop Shump , Hardaway Jr and Murry
    Trade JR at his high – no pun intended

    any steps backwards from last season is a failure. Although losing to the Pacers or Heat in a hard fought Semis is not progression, i can accept that as a semi-successful season.

  4. Crumple

    Funny you should mention the foul up 3 might have been an accident. I think the foul was on Felton and he definitely looked surprised to have been whistled.

  5. mokers

    I thnk the best thing you can say about this game is that it would have been a loss in Nov/Dec. Chandler has to get back soon because we are really asking a lot of Kenyon right now. You really do wish this game was a little easier, but when nobody else is having a great shooting night, there will be lots of bad stretches. The second unit is not so slick when STAT is not getting buckets. I am more optimistic than two weeks ago, but I would be more optimistic if the defensive scheme wasn’t so terrible. Watching the result of all of those switches can lead to nausea.

  6. mokers

    Garson,

    I agree. as much as some people bemoan a lack of upside of this current roster, having multiple seasons in a row winning a playoff series is still improvement for the franchise. Of course the front office doesn’t give me confidence that they are going to make the correct roster decisions to keep that momentum going, but I think it is still better than what we were dealing for most of this millenium.

  7. Crumple

    also why on earth did Barbossa go to the bench down the OT stretch? He had 14 poinit sin the 4th and was playing the first minute of OT….and then went to the bench never to be seen again.

    I’m not complaining……but wow.

  8. Hubert

    Paul George last year: 2,972 minutes, 37.6 mpg
    Carmelo Anthony last year: 2,482 minutes, 37.0 mpg

    David West last year: 2,435 minutes, 33.4 mpg
    Tyson Chandler last year: 2,164 minutes, 32.8 mpg

    George Hill last year: 2,620 minutes, 34.5 mpg
    Ray Felton last year: 2,313 minutes, 34.0 mpg

    knickster
    January 13, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    Once again, examining data out of context. Paul George was playing small forward, surrounded by Hibbert at center and Paul West as a power forward. His game is kind of effortless: he passes when he needs to pass, shoots when he needs to shoot, trusts and gets help on offense and defense from his team mates and lets the game come to him. He is a “suave”, finesse player. A great, efficient player.

    Melo, on the other hand played 37 HARD AS HELL minutes, in great part because of his style of play. 1. Melo played as an *undersized* power forward, not his natural small forward position, so he got banged by bigger guys like David West. That takes a toll.
    2. Melo is routinely double and triple-teamed by rough, big guys. And he does NOT avoid contact. He will often just lower his shoulder and barrel into several defenders. It takes a toll.

    That partially explains why he routinely disappears in fourth quarters. But most importantly: Melo is a bulldozer, often fighting a bunch of guys under the basket. Paul George seldom does that. Even LeBron’s straight-ahead game has less pounding that Melo’s game.

    So, Melo’s minutes MAY appear similar to Paul George’s. But on closer examination, it’s not the same at all. That’s the proper context.

    This is horse shit.

    You come on here spewing made up nonsense like the Knicks were only better than the Pacers last year because Woodson burned his players out to get a better record. Then in the face of evidence to the contrary, you invent a context to view them in and pat yourself on the back for inventing a way to ignore relevant data?

  9. Hubert

    (cont’d)

    Paul George’s minutes are effortless because they’re suave? That’s your argument? I want you to know I’m not attacking you personally. I’m attacking that argument. It is the least intelligent argument I’ve seen here in quite some time. Why doesn’t he just play all 48 since they’re so effortless?

    You do know Paul George guarded the other team’s best player all year, right? That’s kind of taxing. A lot more taxing than anything Melo ever did on defense. How do you factor the other half of the court into your “degree of difficulty for minute of play” index? Is it weighted heavily towards offense? Do you factor in the amount of time spent on each side of the court?

    But no, ignore that. Ignore any evidence that contradicts the agenda you came here to promote. Just continue to make ludicrous statements unsupported by fact and turn entire threads into arguments with you. That’s really going to add to the community. I’m sure you’ll be around a long time with that.

  10. Sweetney Ate Curry

    A great, efficient player.

    To continue Hubert’s argument…
    This assertion that George is somehow light years ahead of Melo in terms of efficiency is completely baseless.
    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=1&p1=georgpa01&y1=2013&p2=anthoca01&y2=2013
    I get that the arrow is pointing up with PG and I also get that he’s a gifted, young, 2-way player…but he’s still not much of a shooter and, as such, his efficiency comes and goes. Further, if what we’ve seen from Melo this year in terms of consistent defense and rebounding doesn’t disappear, then the gap between him and PG in those aspects of the game is much narrower than you seem to be implying.

  11. knickster

    That’s really going to add to the community. I’m sure you’ll be around a long time with that.

    I guess agreeing with you and your obtuse views is the only way I can make sure I won’t be banned! …lol…is that bullying or what?

    Just continue to make ludicrous statements unsupported by fact and turn entire threads into arguments with you.

    You are the one reviving this thread from yesterday, trying to add fuel to a dead fire, I must mention….lol!

    This is horse shit.
    You come on here spewing made up nonsense like the Knicks were only better than the Pacers last year because Woodson burned his players out to get a better record.

    But the Knicks were NOT better than the Pacers last year – as we clearly saw when they met in the playoffs. Yes, I know there are excuses – Melo was playing hurt, so was Chandler, Hibbert was in a conspiracy with Stern and the refs, blah, blah, blah…for fans like you, there are no teams better than the Knicks…

    You do know Paul George guarded the other team’s best player all year, right? That’s kind of taxing. A lot more taxing than anything Melo ever did on defense.

    I agree with you that Melo does not play much defense. Yes. But there is no question Paul George’s game looks and is far more fluid, effortless (“relaxed” if you will) than Melo’s.

    Ignore any evidence that contradicts the agenda you came here to promote.

    What agenda would that be?

    In any case, my opinion should not be so important to you. Every fan has a view on the team; sometimes those views align with yours, sometimes they don’t. No reason to chase people around trying to get them to agree with you. You’re coming off as a bit desperate for my approval…

  12. Frank

    While I agree that it’s hard to quantify how “hard” someone’s minutes are, Melo definitely did look tired at the end of the game. And given how aggressively PJ Tucker and Gerald Green were allowed to mug him when he was trying to get post position, I can definitely see it being a extra-taxing 46 minute game for him.

    Re: Phoenix – I was really impressed by Dragic off the bounce, Plumlee’s overall play, and the aggressive D from Tucker and Green. They got called for a lot of fouls but I would say they played Melo as well as anyone has this year. Between Plumlee, Tucker, and Bledsoe, they have an amazing defensive nucleus. They are going to be a load in the next few years with SIX first round picks in the next 2 drafts, a bunch of young talent, and a promising new GM and coach. AND their nucleus is under contract through next season AND even if they sign Bledsoe to a big deal (probably 8-10MM/year), they’ll still be nearly 20 million under the cap. That whole team has a big UP arrow on it.

  13. Sweetney Ate Curry

    Re: Phoenix – I was really impressed by Dragic off the bounce, Plumlee’s overall play, and the aggressive D from Tucker and Green.

    I’m really impressed with them overall. Their record is no mirage. They have a fairly well balanced roster (decent size, excellent quickness & overall athleticism, 3pt shooting, active & willing defenders), and Horny seems well on the way to becoming a really good HC.

    It’s funny, though, that despite changing front office regimes and coaching staffs, that organization seems married to one style of play: up-tempo. Not a knock on them, just an observation on their oddly consistent adherence to an identity they forged a while back.

  14. Hubert

    While I agree that it’s hard to quantify how “hard” someone’s minutes are, Melo definitely did look tired at the end of the game. And given how aggressively PJ Tucker and Gerald Green were allowed to mug him when he was trying to get post position, I can definitely see it being a extra-taxing 46 minute game for him.

    We’re not talking about last night’s game, Frank. Melo has hard games, sure. He’s had a lot this year. But we weren’t even discussing this year. Paul George has hard games, too. You want to say it’s easier for a 22 year old kid to handle the load, I might buy that.

    But the position but forth yesterday by the guy I’m not bothering to respond to any more was that the primary reason the Knicks finished ahead of the Pacers last year was because Woodson burned his guys out to do so.

    When faced with evidence that the Pacers top 3 guys all played more than their Knicks counterparts, the response was to single out one particular player and make up some bullshit about his 37 minutes per game being easy.

    Whatever. I guess George Hill and David West had easy minutes, too. In fact, the entire Pacers’ starting 5 played the most minutes of any starting 5 in the league last year, on a per game and cumulative basis.

    But it’s effortless for them. Because they’re suave. Or something.

    Whatever.

  15. Hubert

    Sorry to everyone else for reviving yesterday’s argument. I’d been away from the board, just saw it, was surprised no one had said anything about it (guess the game got in the way!), and just wanted to respond before moving on.

    Speaking of moving on, I have no idea what to make with that well-coached fourth quarter yesterday. Except, you know, for the Iso-Iso-Iso play calling.

  16. lavor postell

    But the Knicks were NOT better than the Pacers last year – as we clearly saw when they met in the playoffs.

    This is just not true. They both scored 537 points in that series. The Knicks lost in a hard fought 6 games with injuries to key players and also played the Pacers to a split in the regular season. Indiana won deservedly because of Vogel thoroughly outcoaching Woodson more than anything else.

    It’s fair to say that the Pacers were better, though not by a vast margin as the majority of evidence suggests the teams were evenly matched.

  17. lavor postell

    “I cannot coast,” James said, “because I don’t know if the next game will be the last game I’ve ever played. It’s my mindset, when I get out on the floor, I gotta go hard. I don’t know where it came from, the way I was brought up, the way I played when I was a kid.”

    Lebron please shutup.

    Now consider this: The Heat have been 7.6 points per 100 possessions worse defensively with James on the floor, according to NBA.com. With him on the floor, the Heat have allowed 103.9 points per 100 possessions, which would rank 19th in the NBA. With him off the floor, the Heat have improved to 96.3 points allowed per 100 possessions, which would rank just behind the Indiana Pacers for second-best in the league.

    Very interesting.

    And it’s not just the on-court/off-court numbers, either. James is currently blocking 0.3 shots per 36 minutes. That’s less than half his career rate. Same as Kyle Korver, Stephen Curry and Matt Bonner. Fewer per minute than Kyrie Irving, Mo Williams and John Wall.

    James’ steal rate has also tumbled, dropping to a career-low 1.3 per 36 minutes.

    I don’t think it’s a big deal if he is coasting I just think it’s funny that he acts as if he’s maxing out right now when the numbers bear out that that’s certainly not the case.

  18. mokers

    I’m really impressed with them overall. Their record is no mirage. They have a fairly well balanced roster (decent size, excellent quickness & overall athleticism, 3pt shooting, active & willing defenders), and Horny seems well on the way to becoming a really good HC.

    Count me in here as well. Hornacek is underrated as a player. .582 career TS over 34000 minutes in his career. Glad to see he is doing well as a coach. Lots of upside to that team. I remember a discussion here over the summer that involved the price the Pacers paid for Plumlee (Green, Plumlee, lottery protected 2014) compared to what we gave for Bargnani. The sum of the conversation being that Plumlee was so bad he should not be seen as an asset. But wow has he improved. They have draft picks to either improve the team and are in the perfect position to pick up salary, trade for players or be the 3rd team in a trade for more assets. Will be a real fun team to watch over the next couple of seasons.

  19. Sweetney Ate Curry

    I remember a discussion here over the summer that involved the price the Pacers paid for Plumlee (Green, Plumlee, lottery protected 2014) compared to what we gave for Bargnani.

    Yeah it’s looking more and more like a steal of a trade for the Suns. Not a knock on Scola, but that’s quite a haul for an aging vet who didn’t figure heavily into the Suns re-build plans (nor should he have). They are definitely in excellent position to build another consistent winner.

    I always loved Horny as a player. I used to go to 76ers camp every summer (along with a couple of other North East bball camps) and I have great memories of having C-Spoon, World B. Free, and Hornacek come in as instructors. Horny did a shooting/ball-handling clinic. C-Spoon didn’t really do much other than put on a rather un-impressive dunking exhibition. Still fun, nonetheless. Also…I miss being 12 and still feeling like I had a shot at playing in the NBA.

  20. lavor postell

    In regards to the Pacers, I’ll be very interested to see what moves they make in the offseason. Stephenson is going to get a huge payday, I would imagine at the minimum getting 11 million per. I can even see a team like the Bobcats going 15-16 mill a year plus for him. I doubt they’ll be able to keep him with George’s extension kicking in along with Hibbert’s monster salary. This could well be the last hurrah for this current version of the Pacers and not having their pick this year will not help them replace him quickly.

  21. Sweetney Ate Curry

    I would imagine at the minimum getting 11 million per

    At first glance I was thinking that this was a ludicrous AAV for him but upon closer examination I think you are right (though I would say $11MM is the ceiling rather than the floor). His efficiency has actually gone up with increased USG% and an off-guard who can get you 14 efficient points, 7 boards & 5 assists each night will be a very hot commodity on the open market.

    Donnie Walsh deserves some ire from us for picking Landry Fields AND Andy Fucking Rautins ahead of a hometown product who is morphing into a borderline All-Star in front of our eyes.

    Fuck.

  22. Kahnzy

    I don’t care how good Lance Stephenson has become, I am SO glad I don’t have to root for that guy. He’s one of the biggest pricks in the league (imo anyway). JR Smith is easier to root for than that asshole.

  23. lavor postell

    I don’t care how good Lance Stephenson has become, I am SO glad I don’t have to root for that guy. He’s one of the biggest pricks in the league (imo anyway). JR Smith is easier to root for than that asshole.

    +1000

  24. johnno

    That stat about the Heat being 7.6 points worse defensively with LeBron on the court than off is probably the most stunning statistic that I have read in a long, long time.

  25. Sweetney Ate Curry

    He’s one of the biggest pricks in the league (imo anyway).

    I certainly can’t refute the assertion that Lance is a huge prick…but I would have a much easier time rooting for him than I do JR because JR is both a punk AND a shitty basketball player. Lance is a punk but at least he plays the game the right way.

  26. ephus

    I doubt that Lance Stephenson graduates from head case to productive player in NY. Probably not in any city other than Indiana. Maybe San Antonio. And Lance’s issues were more severe than JR. More like Laurence Phillips meets Chris Herring.

    On Lance’s next contract, he maxes at 25% of the cap (13.9 MM this year) with 4 years and 4.5% raises for a new team and 5 years/7.5% raises for the Pacers.

    Lance will be an UNrestricted free agent, because he was a second round pick. He may choose to give Indiana the opportunity to match, but it is up to him.

  27. thenamestsam

    Lebron definitely hasn’t been up to his high standards on D this year, but criticizing him for saying he’s not coasting seems a little harsh to me. What’s he supposed to say? The whole Heat team is obviously coasting to some extent, just like they did last year for large stretches. What’s impressive is that they’ve “coasted” their way to a 27-10 record despite Wade’s maintenance program and career lows in minutes per game for Lebron and Bosh. It’s a risky strategy because there may actually be teams (specifically Indiana) they need home court to beat this year, but it’s going according to plan so far.

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