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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Knicks Morning News (2013.12.07)

  • [New York Times] Matthews Scores 24, Trail Blazers Rout Jazz 130-98 (Sat, 07 Dec 2013 07:01:23 GMT)
    The Trail Blazers had the perfect recipe for a record shooting night — nice ball movement, open shooters, a good rhythm, and one of the NBA’s worst teams as an opponent.    

  • [New York Times] Lakers Beat Kings 106-100, Await Bryant’s Return (Sat, 07 Dec 2013 05:46:22 GMT)
    Jodie Meeks made two huge 3-pointers in the final minutes to finish with 19 points, lifting the Los Angeles Lakers past the Sacramento Kings 106-100 Friday night in what was expected to their last game before Kobe Bryant returns.    

  • [New York Times] Morris’ Double-Double Leads Suns Past Raptors (Sat, 07 Dec 2013 04:58:15 GMT)
    Markieff Morris made his first 11 shots en route to a 25-point performance and the Phoenix Suns handed the Toronto Raptors their fifth straight loss, 106-97 on Friday night.    

  • [New York Times] Korver Sets 3-Point Mark (Sat, 07 Dec 2013 04:25:20 GMT)
    Hawks swingman Kyle Korver set an N.B.A. record by making a 3-pointer in his 90th straight game in Atlanta’s 108-89 home win over Cleveland.    

  • [New York Times] Sports Briefing | Pro Basketball: Korver Sets 3-Point Mark (Sat, 07 Dec 2013 04:07:01 GMT)
    Hawks swingman Kyle Korver set an N.B.A. record by making a 3-pointer in his 90th straight game in Atlanta’s 108-89 home win over Cleveland.    

  • [New York Times] Durant Leads Thunder Over Pelicans, 109-95 (Sat, 07 Dec 2013 04:02:02 GMT)
    Kevin Durant scored 29 points, Russell Westbrook added 25 and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat New Orleans for the ninth straight time, 109-95 on Friday night.    

  • [New York Times] Harden Scores 34, Rockets Beat Warriors 105-83 (Sat, 07 Dec 2013 03:58:40 GMT)
    James Harden scored 34 points, Dwight Howard had 22 points and 18 rebounds, and the Houston Rockets beat the Golden State Warriors 105-83 Friday night.    

  • [New York Times] Knicks 121, Magic 83: Day That Starts Well Ends Even Better for the Knicks (Sat, 07 Dec 2013 03:52:09 GMT)
    The Knicks followed their victory over the Nets with another resounding win, over the Orlando Magic, as they shot better than 50 percent.    

  • [New York Times] Middleton Scores 29 as Bucks Beat Wizards in OT (Sat, 07 Dec 2013 03:28:57 GMT)
    Khris Middleton scored a career-high 29 points and Brandon Knight added 20 as the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Washington Wizards 109-105 in overtime Friday night.    

  • [New York Times] Celtics Get Quick Start, Beat Nuggets 106-98 (Sat, 07 Dec 2013 03:26:02 GMT)
    Kris Humphries came off the bench to score a season-high 18 points and grab seven rebounds, and the Boston Celtics ran off the first 14 points of the game Friday night before holding on for a 106-98 victory over the Denver Nuggets.    

  • [New York Times] Knicks Beat Magic by 38, End Home Skid at 7 (Sat, 07 Dec 2013 03:16:28 GMT)
    Carmelo Anthony had 20 points and 11 rebounds, and the New York Knicks snapped a seven-game home losing streak by beating the Orlando Magic 121-83 on Friday night for their first victory at Madison Square Garden since October.    

  • [New York Times] Analysis: Nets Hit Bottom, but Have Plenty of Company in East (Sat, 07 Dec 2013 03:07:16 GMT)
    As the awful play of the Nets continues, their biggest solace may be the shortage of quality teams in the Eastern Conference.    

  • [New York Times] Taylor Fills in With 20, Bobcats Beat 76ers 105-88 (Sat, 07 Dec 2013 02:55:26 GMT)
    Jeffery Taylor matched a career high with 20 points, leading six Charlotte scorers in double figures, and the Bobcats beat the Philadelphia 76ers 105-88 on Friday night.    

  • [New York Times] Bryant Scheduled to Return to Lineup Sunday (Sat, 07 Dec 2013 01:52:23 GMT)
    Kobe Bryant is to return to action Sunday for the first time since tearing his left Achilles’ tendon in April.    

  • [New York Daily News] Melo, Knicks cruise to second straight win in blowout over Magic (Sat, 07 Dec 2013 06:41:46 GMT)
    Call them the 12 games of Christmas. The suddenly surging Knicks don’t face another team that began play Friday with a record above .500 until Oklahoma City comes to town on Dec. 25.    

  • [New York Daily News] Knicks Insider: Anthony points at recruiting Rondo, H.S. caoch reveals (Sat, 07 Dec 2013 06:26:01 GMT)
    Perhaps Carmelo Anthony wants to stay in New York after all. Anthony’s former high school coach at Oak Hill Academy, Steve Smith, told USA Today on Thursday that Anthony has been actively “recruiting” Boston point guard Rajon Rondo “to come to New York,” a possible sign that Anthony, who said he will opt out of his contract after the season, is trying to add a player that would make it worth his while to remain a Knick.    

  • [New York Post] World Peace gives Knicks lift off bench (Sat, 07 Dec 2013 04:44:40 -0500)
    Amar'e Stoudemire was out and Metta World Peace was in Friday night. The only thing the Knicks lost was seeing Stoudemire play in a back-to-back scenario for the first time…

  • [New York Post] Oak Hill Academy coach: Anthony ‘recruiting’ Rondo to join Knicks (Sat, 07 Dec 2013 01:07:49 -0500)
    In an interview with USA TODAY, Steve Smith, a high school coach at Oak Hill Academy, confirmed a Post report from the summer that Carmelo Anthony wants point guard Rajon…

  • [New York Post] Melo has double the fun in Knicks’ triumph over Magic (Sat, 07 Dec 2013 00:52:04 -0500)
    Through 16 games, Carmelo Anthony averaged 22 shots a game for the Knicks. The Knicks were 3-13. "Me scoring 30 wasn't working,” Anthony said. So for two nights in a…

  • 44 comments on “Knicks Morning News (2013.12.07)

    1. hoolahoop

      The biggest looming question is whether Melo can sustain his role of a general contributor and facilitator without the need to score big points for self validation.
      He can be league MVP, or part of a long list of great scoring losers.

    2. ephus

      I respectfully disagree. There are a bunch of other questions:

      1. Can Carmelo command the double team against better teams? He has to be aggressive enough to force teams to react to him. It’s not just about facilitating.

      2. Can Bargnani continue to integrate into the Knick offense? He has started to take the ball to the rim aggressively, if not always effectively, off of the PnR. He is an impossible cover if he is a threat at the rim, from 15′ and at the 3 point line.

      3. Will last year’s JR Smith return? Last night was awesome. No step-back jumpers, just 3s and aggressive takes to the rim.

      4. Can Shumpert be part of the mix? He played his best game of the year last night. Strong defense, strong takes to the rim and decisive action on offense.

      5. Can the Knicks figure out how to defend the PnR? The last two games have not presented that challenge. In particular, can the Knicks stop letting teams put Bargnani on an island against a ball-handler 20′ from the basket. The Sportvu data confirms that Bargnani is good at contesting at the rim, if he is in position. But he gets beat off of the dribble and is bad at rotating to stop dribble penetration if someone else gets beat on perimeter.

      6. Does Amar’e have anything left in the tank? He looked good in spurts against the Nets, particularly in the PnR with ‘Melo. Is that real?

      Carmelo playing great is necessary, but not sufficient, for the Knicks to succeed.

    3. d-mar

      If I was an opposing coach, I would not double Melo. I would much rather put my best defender on him and take my chances with Melo putting up 25 shots than leaving 3 point shooters open.

      But for our sake, I hope they continue to double him, as he seems much more willing to pass the last few games and other guys are actually making shots.

    4. er

      If I was an opposing coach, I would not double Melo. I would much rather put my best defender on him and take my chances with Melo putting up 25 shots than leaving 3 point shooters open.

      But for our sake, I hope they continue to double him, as he seems much more willing to pass the last few games and other guys are actually making shots.

      The Problem is that there are only like 5 guys in the league who can play Melo 1 v 1

      K leonard
      Brandon Bass

      Are two of the best. There are a few other guys like A Aminu who are serviceable

      We Have seen numerous examples that Lebron cant, Battier cant. Paul George Cant. All teams need to help or he will destroy them like he did to Mo Harkless for 40 low post points. Theres only 1 Roy Hibbert to Help at the Rim so teams must double. The Knicks shooters are streaky enough to take the chances with them

    5. hoolahoop

      I respectfully disagree. There are a bunch of other questions:

      1. Can Carmelo command the double team against better teams? He has to be aggressive enough to force teams to react to him. It’s not just about facilitating.

      2. Can Bargnani continue to integrate into the Knick offense? He has started to take the ball to the rim aggressively, if not always effectively, off of the PnR. .. ..

      3. Will last year’s JR Smith return? Last night was awesome. No step-back jumpers, just 3s and aggressive takes to the rim.

      4. Can Shumpert be part of the mix? He played his best game of the year last night. Strong defense, strong takes to the rim and decisive action on offense.

      5. Can the Knicks figure out how to defend the PnR? ……

      6. Does Amar’e have anything left in the tank? He looked good in spurts against the Nets, particularly in the PnR with ‘Melo. Is that real?

      Carmelo playing great is necessary, but not sufficient, for the Knicks to succeed.

      You’re just naming players and saying what they need to continue how they’re playing, or get better at it. Yes, that’s all true.
      But, the straw that stirs the drink is Melo. Do you think it’s coincidence that Amare has suddenly busted out, or Shump has found Shump. It’s the product of good chemistry, from players feeling trusted and being involved. It carries over to every facet of the game. Even defense. An energized player who’s knocking down his looks is going to play hard on the other end.
      You hear it over and over again. Coaches blame a loss on the team being flat, not playing with energy. That’s the 3-13 knicks, But not the 2-0 knicks.
      Magic Johnson could have averaged 30, but he wanted rings instead.
      Melo can be one of the greatest players, ever, in a class with Magic, MJ, Bird . . . Or, he can be another Geoge Gervin.
      Winners vs. Losers.
      Team vs. me.

    6. hoolahoop

      You’re just naming players and saying they need to continue how they’re playing, or get better at it. Yes, that’s all true.
      But, the straw that stirs the drink is Melo. Do you think it’s coincidence that Amare has suddenly busted out, or Shump has found Shump. It’s the product of good chemistry, from players feeling trusted and being involved. It carries over to every facet of the game. Even defense. An energized player who’s knocking down his looks is going to play hard on the other end.
      You hear it over and over again. Coaches blame a loss on the team being flat, not playing with energy. That’s the 3-13 knicks, But not the 2-0 knicks.
      Magic Johnson could have averaged 30, but he wanted rings instead.
      Melo can be one of the greatest players, ever, in a class with Magic, MJ, Bird . . . Or, he can be another Geoge Gervin.
      Winners vs. Losers. Team vs. me.

      1. Can Carmelo command the double team against better teams? He has to be aggressive enough to force teams to react to him. It’s not just about facilitating.

      2. Can Bargnani continue to integrate into the Knick offense? He has started to take the ball to the rim aggressively, if not always effectively, off of the PnR. .. ..

      3. Will last year’s JR Smith return? Last night was awesome. No step-back jumpers, just 3s and aggressive takes to the rim.

      4. Can Shumpert be part of the mix? He played his best game of the year last night. Strong defense, strong takes to the rim and decisive action on offense.

      5. Can the Knicks figure out how to defend the PnR? ……

      6. Does Amar’e have anything left in the tank? He looked good in spurts against the Nets, particularly in the PnR with ‘Melo. Is that real?

      Carmelo playing great is necessary, but not sufficient, for the Knicks to succeed.

    7. DRed

      He is an impossible cover if he is a threat at the rim, from 15? and at the 3 point line.

      Dude, he had 17 points off 16 shots last night. Bargs has been not as terrible as I was feared (the shot blocking has been an unexpected bonus), but he’s still a slightly more efficient than average scorer.

      Melo, obviously, has been fantastic the last two nights. I will never understand why he doesn’t average at least 4/5 assists a game. Iso-Melo is great when he’s abusing poor Mo Harkless, but Melo is also obviously capable (and very effective) initiating our offense in other ways, and it drives me nuts when we don’t do it more often.

    8. ephus

      @hoolahoop – Even if Melo does everything that you (and I) want, if JR Smith cannot hit an open 3 point shot or STAT cannot catch on the roll and finish (both of which were true until the last few games), then the Knicks cannot win by Melo distributing to them. To take one heartbreaking example, because Jared Jeffries could not catch and convert when left wide open under the hoop, ‘Melo’s best game of the 2011 playoffs was wasted when ‘Melo made the perfect pass after drawing the defense as time ran out. All of my questions are about things that have to happen once ‘Melo creates the favorable match ups for his teammates.

      @DRed – I do not mean that Bargnani is unstoppable when I say he is an “impossible cover” if he is a threat at the rim, from 15′ and at the 3 point line. I mean that no defensive scheme has one player who can competently cover Bargnani in all three places, so he should always have a dominant choice. If opponents put a 4/5 on him, he should be able to get a quality perimeter shot everytime. If opponents put a 3 (or guard) on him, he should be able to post and get to the rim. His ability to Pop or dive to the basket makes it extremely difficult to have a defensive philosophy for how to handle him as the screener on the PnR.

    9. knickster

      Hello, everyone! Long-time lurker here.

      Too early to tell (just two wins against terrible teams), but it seems Knicks players are reacting positively to Carmelo’s new-found “team-oriented” basketball.

    10. lavor postell

      Something to think about is what our defensive strategy is against post-up centers when Chandler gets back. Chandler seems to do his best work when he is patrolling the paint and thwarting opposing ball handlers on the pNr, but in terms of individual post defense Bargnani has more than held his own against Howard, Hibbert and Lopez (who hit a number of difficult shots). I’ll be interested to see what our plan is against these teams in lineups with Bargnani and Chandler.

    11. Owen

      As always, I will believe Melo has committed to team basketball once he does it for 40 games.

      This has happened before. But the subtext of this whole season is making sure Melo’s scoring average is high enough going into free agency.

      Orlando is not good but that was a good win. We stepped on their throats and I am proud of how the boys played. Melo was great and I would love to see him play good fundamental basketball like that all the time.

      But history tells me that it won’t last. Melo isn’t stupid. He understands very well that what wins games and what gets you the biggest free agent deal aren’t the same thing.

    12. massive

      I think you have to play Bargs on the better post player and let Tyson Chandler roam. Think of it like football; Tyson Chandler is like mid 2000s Ed Reed, a very good player in terms of covering one guy, but what made him a HoFer was his ability to roam the field and stop plays from happening. Andrea Bargnani is your typical press cornerback; really good when you give him one assignment and tell him “just keep him blanketed for 4 quarters,” but struggles in space and with zone assignments.

      I really do believe that Andrea Bargnani is our best post defender, even with a healthy Tyson Chandler. He’s just so much better at getting in the way where Tyson Chandler just sorta gets takes the blows and hopes his length bothers his opponent enough. I think Bargs has about 20 pounds on Chandler, so that helps him hold positioning better. I don’t think Tyson Chandler would have shut Howard down the way Bargs did earlier this year.

    13. Z-man

      I disagree, Owen, Melon actually IS stupid. He just won a scoring title, yet the media is portraying him as a nonwinner. If he plays like this he becomes MORE valuable, not less.

      His problem is that he thinks the best way to win is for him to dominate the ball unless he trusts the shooters around him. That is why he is so different in Olympic play.

    14. d-mar

      Yeah, NBA owners aren’t stupid either (well maybe except one) I think they’d rather pay big bucks for a guy who commands double teams and makes others around him better than someone who wins scoring titles and nothing else. Hopefully, Melo gets that also.

    15. ephus

      @massive,

      I agree with your assessment of Chandler /Bargnani as defenders, but I do not think it is that easy to just say Bargs is our post defender. Opponents will put whoever Bargnani is covering into the PnR. And they will pull Chandler far from the paint so he cannot protect against penetration.

      I think that the Knicks probably would work best if Chandler and Bargnani are mostly apart. When together, there should be a bunch of zone. Same is true when Amar’e and Bargnani share the court.

    16. er

      Yeah, NBA owners aren’t stupid either (well maybe except one) I think they’d rather pay big bucks for a guy who commands double teams and makes others around him better than someone who wins scoring titles and nothing else. Hopefully, Melo gets that also.

      I think they know he has it in him. So for instance as discussed a few weeks ago if a team like the Spurs with a good coach and good role players had the chance to get him they would jump at it despite the feelings on this board.

    17. ruruland

      So, either Melo is stupid, or Melo prefers scoring as much as he can over winning.

      He’s doing what he’s doing now because….. why again?

      Ok.

      He was making the same passes earlier in the season, but with less frequency.

      Guys were shooting extremely poorly around him. Some of us said all along that when shots started to drop everything would change, and that shots not dropping was the single biggest problem with the Knicks because of its multiplying effect in other aspects of the game.

      Now, when shots don’t fall, and the Knicks are in a hole, Melo is going to try to score the team out of it.

      One of the things people don’t understand is that in the past, Melo has been a great half-court scorer without the benefit of 3-pt shooting.

      The Nuggets lost a playoff series to the Clippers in which Melo received more defensive than any other point in his career — JVG called three of those games and was shocked at the Clipppers “double-and-half”defense on Melo.

      Melo’s teammates shot about 20 percent on open 3-point looks in that series, which 8 years was considered a referendum on Melo.

      His first 5 years in the league he played with poor shooting, floor spacing and bad half-court offense.

      Oftentimes he WAS the only legitimate threat to score in the half-court, outside of a burst by Andre Miller or Kenyon Martin, Nene if he was actually playing.

      And Melo scoring a lot of defensive attention helped a handicapped Denver team win a lot of games.

      Scoring in the half-court when teammates have demonstrated an inability to make open shots is something Melo has done a lot of, and its worked.

      Melo has passed better than this. His passing was very good last year (not the best it’s been, part of that is lack of divers and Melos role), and him drawing doubles was one of the primary ways the Knicks generated ball movement.

      Very rarely would the immediate pass out of the double result in a shot/chance at an assist.

      Melo

    18. ruruland

      Melo had a low assist rate last year, but he was responsible for inflating his teammates assists by getting ball movement initiated.

      This idea that Melo is trying to score as much as he can, just because he can, espoused by the great Mike Breen and taken much further by people like Colin Cowherd, carries about as much weight as Brian Windhorst’s premise that wheb Melo took the most money he could last FA period, it defined who he is and guarantees he’s going to handle the next situation (and every future one) exactly the same way.

      Melo playing the role of facilitator was not a winning formula in his early development years.

      As roster construction changed around him and shooting was added,his passing skills and ability to read defenses improved, and his assists went up.

      Melo is going to go with what he thinks will give his team the best chance to win.

      If the Knicks are making shots and teammates are playing aggressive and confident around him, Melo will continue to play like this most of the game.

      If the Knicks are in a deficit, losing streak or teammates are slumping, he will shoot more (and a higher percentage of those shots will be difficult).

    19. ephus

      I don’t think Melo is stupid. I think he sometimes he thinks that no one else can get the job done, so he tries to do too much.

      The Knicks need Melo to decide that he is going to trust his teammates, especially when they seem to be crapping the bed. Melo has to trust Coach Woodson to surround him with players who can carry the load when he is doubled.

      And that is the meaning of team.

    20. hoolahoop

      Funny thing, when Melo plays hero ball and everyone else goes into one-on-one mode with no energy on either end, I, like knicks players on the court, get that un-energized, disinterested feeling. Watching Swamp People during time-outs morphs into watching the knicks during commercials. I actually start rooting for the knicks to lose. Do you think it’s impossible for a player to get that feeling?

      But, like Lin-sanity, and the Amare-Galinari days, the last two games were good times for knicks fans. I can enjoy a loss with the ball whipping around the perimeter and shots not falling. Eventually, they will. Ball stopping is boring and inefficient. I cannot stomach loss streaks based on iso ball.

      The rest of the season will be a litmus test. Melo has tasted the best ball the knicks have played this season with him in a reduced scoring role. With Melo as facilitator playing with a more team oriented approach, and Tyson back, the knicks could do some real damage in the playoffs.
      On the other hand, if he goes back to his old ways, we know what we’re going to get, no matter who else the knicks acquire. Then, the best thing to happen to the knicks would be for Melo to opt out and leave NY. It would be a bitter pill and short term set back, but I hate to imagine watching him play hero ball for another five years, and hearing excuses that the coach and other players suck.

    21. hoolahoop

      ruru, it’s always someone else’s fault. The players all suck, the coaches suck, everyone sucks.
      Most NBA players taking an open shot will shoot a higher percentage than Melo double/triple teamed.

      Melo’s teammates shot about 20 percent on open 3-point looks in that series, which 8 years was considered a referendum on Melo.

      His first 5 years in the league he played with poor shooting, floor spacing and bad half-court offense.

    22. hoolahoop

      @ ruru
      That’s putting the cart before the horse.
      And of course, takes all the blame off Melo.

      Melo apologists, which cowtow to him, do nothing more than enable him. . . . which is exactly why Melo would play so well for Pop in San Antonio. Melo would be forced to change his ways.
      And Melo apologists would say it’s because he now had good players surrounding him.

      If the Knicks are making shots and teammates are playing aggressive and confident around him, Melo will continue to play like this most of the game.

      If the Knicks are in a deficit, losing streak or teammates are slumping, he will shoot more (and a higher percentage of those shots will be difficult).

    23. Tony Pena

      hoolahoop – you’ve changed your criticism of Melo from blind hate to… somewhat reasonable displeasure. We can all be thankful for that. But you’re saying offensive system, level of players are non-existent? Ok. I guess it’s ALL Melo’s fault, if they win or lose. If you like passing and bricks you can rewatch the 4 or 5 games prior to these two. I agree with Ephus and his example with Jared Jeffries in the Boston series perfect. To throw in a football analogy, when a receiver keeps dropping the ball pass after pass, QB eventually goes away from him. Also agree with Ephus in that he just tries to do too much sometimes. That’s where having a good offensive system with some bread and butter plays comes in handy. Or at least having a good pass first PG.

    24. Z-man

      Melo had the opportunity to dictate who he signed with and what they would need to give up to sign him. So, he forces the Knicks to give up over a half-dozen assets in a way that would severely limit the team’s ability to put shooters around him. While I am glad we got Melo, at the moment I found out about the trade I thought we gave up 2 assets too many.

      Why didn’t Melo wait until he became an unrestricted FA and then sign with the Knicks? Then we would have had him, Amare, Gallo, W Chandler, Mozgov, Felton and valuable first round draft picks. So one of two things had to be true: 1) the absolute max money mattered to him more than surrounding himself with talent, 2) he was too stupid to understand that he was not good enough to win a championship after limiting the teams ability to make moves. I know the looming CBA crisis complicated matters, but he still should have been able to see that the deal he forced the Knicks into would almost guarantee that he would have to play hero-ball for 5 years to have any shot to win.

      So take your pick: greedy (not that I begrudge any player for seeking max dollars, just don’t cry about your teammates not making shots when you do) or stupid (or naive, if that makes you feel better.)

      I believe that if he continues to play team ball, he will be more marketable than if he plays at a 36% usage again.

    25. MarcusRinaldi

      going off of what you said er, I found it interesting that when we played the Spurs Pop went with the consistent double team on Melo even though he had Leonard. Pop is such a smart coach that you would think he likely would change this next game to throw us off by having Leonard cover him without the help of a double. It’s just difficult to make predictions right now because while there is great ball movement, we are shooting at such a high percentage that I don’t know how sustainable it really is. I think the next five games will give us a good indication of how for real the Knicks offense was in these last two. It’s such a pleasant sight to see that ball whip around the perimeter again

    26. Tony Pena

      Like it was being argued before the Nets game, the Knicks have a list of flaws that were just going showing up and compounding each other at the same time. 9 game losing streak still unacceptable though.

    27. ephus

      Some thoughts in defense of Melo:

      1.As Z-man acknowledged, Melo made his choice as the lockout loomed. He could not know what package would be available if he waited until the summer (or whenever the CBA was signed) to move.

      2. He reasonably could have expected Amar’e to be productive. A healthy Amar’e makes the roster look much stronger.

      3. Wilson Chandler could not stay if Melo was coming as a free agent. He was a restricted free agent and the Knicks would have had to renounce him to get the cap room to sign Melo as a free agent.

      4. Mozgov was a project who was years from productivity.

      On the it her hand, Melo seemed to have some loyalty to the Nuggets. He could have told them he would not sign an extension with anyone but the Knicks. He did not, either out of loyalty to Denver or fear that Denver would call his bluff. That gave Denver (with an assist from a panicking James Dolan) the leverage to get the extra picks and salary cap anchors (Balkman and Billups) attached to the deal. Maybe if Melo is a stone cold assassin, Gallinari stays alongside Melo.

      Bottom line, Melo had priorities that were higher than guaranteeing that the Knicks kept the most assets possible. And that’s ok, in my book.

    28. er

      going off of what you said er, I found it interesting that when we played the Spurs Pop went with the consistent double team on Melo even though he had Leonard. Pop is such a smart coach that you would think he likely would change this next game to throw us off by having Leonard cover him without the help of a double. It’s just difficult to make predictions right now because while there is great ball movement, we are shooting at such a high percentage that I don’t know how sustainable it really is. I think the next five games will give us a good indication of how for real the Knicks offense was in these last two. It’s such a pleasant sight to see that ball whip around the perimeter again

      Great point Melo was covered by 2.5 men all game. I think Melo took 10 shots in that game and no one else made anything. So yes teammates matter.

    29. hoolahoop

      @ Tony Pena and ephus
      Yes, I agree with you guys. It can’t be 100% on Melo whether the knicks are going to be an elite team or not. I’m simply trying to say that the knicks can be better playing smarter basketball.

      And yes, I initially hated the trade bringing Melo to the knicks, and hated his style of hero ball. I’ve come to appreciate that his talent is off the charts (maybe best in the NBA), and maybe more importantly, he’s a warrior. Night in, night out he brings it.
      Granted, NBA players are ridiculously paid, but guarding Melo in the post is a tough f*cken job.

    30. hoolahoop

      Another interesting Melo attribute that I’ve never heard mentioned – He’s able to trash talk without facial expressions that usually go along with it. From the perspective of tv, he often seems like he’s just casually talking about his favorite restaurants, but he’s probably saying “Listen mf, I’mma light you up for 16 this quarter”, or “you push me like that again and I’mma kick the sh*t outta your f*ckin ass” . . . all with a smile.

    31. Tony Pena

      If it works out, Melo sometimes seems like a tailor made ‘New York’ player. Tough, underrated, enigma? I’ve also come to appreciate his physicality. Going against Melo 1 on 1, I imagine is something like D III programs going against Alabama or Chip Kelly’s Oregon Ducks.

    32. EB

      @ Ruru

      You talk about Melo as if he’s a perfectly rational agent when it comes to whether he should pass or take shots. However, Melo often does take shots when double teamed when his teammates are shooting well. At the end of games during the winning streak he would go 1 on 5 for no reason. For instance, the Knicks played Chicago and he began iso-ing for the last two minutes despite team play getting them close in the first place.

      Second, although his teammates have been exceptionally atrocious this season, Melo has not shot well. He barely shot above .500 TS%. While JR, Amare, Metta, etc. were on some of the worst shooting performances in league history, players like Bargnani, Shump, Prigs, and others were shooting better and deserved the ball instead of Melo.

    33. ruruland

      Popovich does not mix his coverages on Melo. He hasn’t in years. It’s straight doubles on the mid-post, traps when they can. Melos numbers against San Antonio reflect that. If that’s how the smartest coach in the league, who’s always had an excellent wing defender, chooses to guard the guy, kind of says something.

      That 10 point game against the Spurs earlier in the year and the 12 point game in which the Knicks beat the Spurs in S.A. sort of prove that how Melos teammates perform on the shots the double teams he creates dictates the outcome.

      And hoop, I’m not arguing that Melo is anywhere near a perfect decision maker or player.

      In fact, I rarely admit this, but I absolutely agree with the Melo naysayers on a few things, particularly that he should take more of a passers mindset, even when teammates aren’t hitting and or the Knicks are losing (or Melo is trying to close.)

      My point is that Melo is neither stupid or simply trying to score merely for the sake of it.

      He’s playing to win in a way that’s been hard-wired into him by circumstances and intentional development from year to year in those same circumstances.

      Melo learned his lesson in the trade, even if it’s obvious that had Amar’e stayed at the ’10 level the Knicks would have had a championship caliber team.

      And if playing the style of ball he’s played the last two games is the best recipe for the Knicks most nights (which it hadn’t been at times throughout his career) then that’s what he’ll do.

      Melo wants to win (especially in NY) and wants to be surrounded by good players so he can be the guy we’ve seen the last two games far more regularly.

    34. Z-man

      Just to clarify, I am not anti-Melo at all. I wish we could have gotten him for less (say, one less pick and no Mozgov) but was OK with the trade and have rooted hard for Melo ever since (and defended him from critics many times.) I just think that regardless of how well he has played, his talent is way above his mental approach to playing championship-level basketball. He needs the right guys around him, yet doesn’t seem to understand what it takes to get them there, and winds up in deeply flawed situations. He’s on a plane with like Chris Webber, ‘nique, Malone, McAdoo, Wilt, etc., i.e. need the right guys around them, as opposed to LeBron, Bird, Magic, Jordan, Russell, etc. who also needed support but brought out the best in the supporting cast.

    35. DRed

      Melo had a low assist rate last year, but he was responsible for inflating his teammates assists by getting ball movement initiated.

      I’m not sure this is true. Going by on/off assist rate (if I’m using NBAwowy correctly), the Knicks average more assists per 100 possessions with Melo off the court. But they also score fewer points per possession, and the point an offense is to score points, not rack up assists. I think we all agree that at the preposterous usage rate Melo had last season that there were at least a few shots a game he took that were sub-optimal. Melo, to me, at least seems to be a skilled passer. Defenses obviously focus a lot of attention on Melo. He’s got teammates who can make open shots and/or finish at the rim (fewer this year than last year, but we’re not the Jazz either). So I think he should try to pass more frequently. I have no idea who is to blame for this. Woody is not exactly known for his ball movement offenses.

    36. Z-man

      On another note, the schedule is soft but packed…7 games in 10 nights! Good to see that the blowouts allowed for limited minutes for Melo, Bargs and Felton.

      Also good to see that Smith and MWP are contributing and that Shump is past his 0-0-0 days.

    37. DRed

      Here’s a list of players who have more than 5 catch and shoot FGAs per game, ranked by eFG%

      link

      I was looking at it to see where Big Bargs would rank, and I was surprised to see JR above him. This suggests that JR’s overall terrible shooting is probably some combination of injury, bad offense, and stupidity.

    38. ephus

      I think this is the chart DRed tried to post. Interesting that Kevin Love (whom many here were lionizing last month) has an eFG of 50% on catch-and-shoots this year, far below Bargnani and JR Smith.

      One more Melo point. Part of his maturation process is to maintain an aggressive attitude even when he is being doubled and kicking the ball to teammates.

    39. hoolahoop

      @ ruru

      In fact, I rarely admit this, but I absolutely agree with the Melo naysayers on a few things, particularly that he should take more of a passers mindset, even when teammates aren’t hitting and or the Knicks are losing (or Melo is trying to close.)

      THANK YOU!!!

      He’s playing to win in a way that’s been hard-wired into him by circumstances and intentional development from year to year in those same circumstances.

      I believe this may be true. But every single player in the NBA was dominant at some level, and some learn, sooner or later, that they can no longer win simply by dominating the ball. And in Melo’s situation, it’s certainly the case that the knicks are a better team with him as a facilitator. No human currently alive can beat elite NBA teams by iso’ing. He has to learn this or he’s going to leave NY with a bad taste in his mouth.

    40. Brian Cronin

      I am loving this stretch of games. The Celtics suck and, most importantly, they don’t have a great point guard. Their coach is amazing, though. I wish he was the coach of the Knicks.

    41. WalterK

      I joined this blog to post what I think is the most important and insightful comment made by a Knick this year. Made by the player I think is at the heart of the Knick situation. Here it is from the NYT after the Knicks beat the Magic. “I wanted to try to do something a little different to see if it worked,” he said. “Me scoring 30 wasn’t working.” And in my mind that’s all that needs saying.

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