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Friday, September 19, 2014

Knicks Morning News (2014.03.31)

  • [New York Times] Knicks 89, Warriors 84: Knicks Hold Off Warriors and Keep a Foot in the Playoff Race (Mon, 31 Mar 2014 05:05:38 GMT)
    The Knicks pulled to a game behind the Atlanta Hawks for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.    

  • [New York Times] N.B.A. Game of the Week: Mavericks’ Defense Is Key in Final Push (Mon, 31 Mar 2014 04:30:37 GMT)
    On Thursday, Dallas faces the Los Angeles Clippers, who have beaten the Mavericks three times this season in close games.    

  • [New York Times] Kaman Helps Lakers Surprise Suns 115-99 (Mon, 31 Mar 2014 04:25:09 GMT)
    Chris Kaman had 28 points along with 17 rebounds while starting at center for the vertigo-stricken Pau Gasol, Jodie Meeks scored 22 points, and the Los Angeles Lakers snapped the Phoenix’ Suns’ six-game winning streak with a 115-99 victory Sunday night.    

  • [New York Times] Aldridge’s 28 Lead Blazers Past Grizzlies, 105-98 (Mon, 31 Mar 2014 04:10:23 GMT)
    LaMarcus Aldridge scored 28 points in his third game back from injury and the Portland Trail Blazers extended their winning streak to three games with a 105-98 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday night.    

  • [New York Times] Knicks Beat Warriors 89-84, Eye Final Playoff Spot (Mon, 31 Mar 2014 03:58:07 GMT)
    J.R. Smith scored 21 points, Carmelo Anthony added 19 points and nine rebounds and the New York Knicks moved within one game of the final playoff spot by beating the undermanned Golden State Warriors 89-84 on Sunday night.    

  • [New York Times] Aldridge’s 28 Lead Blazers Past Grizzlies, 105-98 (Mon, 31 Mar 2014 03:58:07 GMT)
    LaMarcus Aldridge scored 28 points in his third game back from injury and the Portland Trail Blazers extended their winning streak to three games with a 105-98 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday night.    

  • [New York Times] N.B.A. Roundup: Cleveland Surprises Indiana and Tightens Race in East (Mon, 31 Mar 2014 02:55:09 GMT)
    The Cavaliers edged closer to the Hawks for the final Eastern Conference playoff berth, and the Pacers’ lead over the Heat for the No. 1 seed was cut to one game.    

  • [New York Times] Nets 114, Timberwolves 99: With Eye on Playoffs, Nets Extend Home Streak (Mon, 31 Mar 2014 02:42:30 GMT)
    The Nets improved their home winning streak to 13 games, matching a franchise high, after grinding out a 114-99 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.    

  • [New York Times] Bulls Topple Celtics 107-102 (Mon, 31 Mar 2014 01:51:58 GMT)
    D.J. Augustin scored 15 of his career-high 33 points in the fourth quarter and the Chicago Bulls held off the slumping Boston Celtics 107-102 on Sunday night.    

  • [New York Times] Pierce, Nets Win 13th Straight at Home, Top Wolves (Mon, 31 Mar 2014 01:37:04 GMT)
    They have gone from disappointment to dominant, a team that was booed on its home floor and now rarely loses there.    

  • [New York Times] Raptors Escape With a 98-93 Win Over Magic (Mon, 31 Mar 2014 00:49:04 GMT)
    DeMar DeRozan had 28 points, Jonas Valanciunas added 20 points and nine rebounds, and the Toronto Raptors escaped with a 98-93 victory over the Orlando Magic on Sunday night.    

  • [New York Post] Warriors coach could being eyeing move to Knicks (Mon, 31 Mar 2014 04:55:21 -0400)
    OAKLAND. Calif. — So what's the chances of another ex-Knick named Jackson making the move back to New York City? Barring a late-season collapse, Warriors coach Mark Jackson will guide…

  • [ESPN.com - New York Knicks] Opening Tip: Slim shot at making playoffs? (Mon, 31 Mar 2014 06:00:32 EDT)
    The Knicks pulled within one game of the eighth and final playoff spot in the East with Sunday’s gritty win over Golden State.But according to one metric, you shouldn’t get too excited about their playoff chances.The Hollinger Playoff Odds on ESPN.com state that the Knicks have just a seven-percent chance of making the postseason. Hollinger’s NBA Playoff Odds are based on the John Hollinger Power Rankings, which measure a team’s performance to date.

  • [ESPN.com - New York Knicks] Knicks avoid disasterous defeat vs. Dubs (Mon, 31 Mar 2014 01:38:53 EDT)
    OAKLAND, Calif. — Are the New York Knicks allowed to have heroes? In a season rife with disappointment, it’s difficult to credit anyone. Their 89-84 victory over the shorthanded Golden State Warriors may well have epitomized this no-winners-even-when-they-win dynamic. The Knicks beat a playoff team, bringing them within a game of the free-falling, eighth-seeded Atlanta Hawks.That’s a welcome result this late in the season, but it arrived after terrible fourth-quarter execution brought them to the brink of disaster.

  • [ESPN.com - New York Knicks] Rapid Reaction: Knicks 89, Warriors 84 (Mon, 31 Mar 2014 00:06:01 EDT)
    Buckle up, Knicks fans. New York is one game behind Atlanta for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with eight games to go. The Knicks find themselves in this position thanks to a gutsy road win in Oakland on Sunday. Carmelo Anthony scored four crucial points in the final 90 seconds, and the Knicks’ defense came up with several key stops in the closing minutes to seal the win. Give New York credit for bouncing back from one of its worst games of the season — a brutal loss on Friday in Phoenix — with a strong performance against a tough Golden State team.

  • [New York Newsday] Knicks stop Warriors, cut Hawks' lead to one game (Mon, 31 Mar 2014 01:41:03 EDT)
    The Knicks' perimeter defense has been dismal all season, but when they needed a potentially season-saving stop Sunday night, they got it.

  • [New York Daily News] One game out? Knicks escape with win over Warriors, eye playoff berth (Mon, 31 Mar 2014 05:31:44 GMT)
    It was one of those rare games when the Knicks were at their best when Carmelo Anthony was on the bench. But on a night when both the Knicks and Golden State Warriors were inept offensively, Anthony came through in the final two minutes as the Knicks moved to within one game of eighth place in the Eastern Conference with a 89-84 victory.    

  • [New York Daily News] Knicks Insider: Melo’s ability to light it up scores with Mark (Mon, 31 Mar 2014 05:12:06 GMT)
    Mark Jackson believes his former club can be a dangerous eighth seed — if they get in, of course — because of Carmelo Anthony. “You have a home run hitter in your lineup and a you have a guy that can win games single-handedly and a guy that makes everyone around him better,” said Jackson, whose Warriors hosted the Knicks on Sunday.    

  • 73 comments on “Knicks Morning News (2014.03.31)

    1. Totes McGoats

      Dare I say that the Earl of Smith may have just save what’s left of the season? I, amongst many others, have bashed him all season long. He deserves this one after last night- WELL PLAYED JR. I really enjoyed watching him last night in a game where Melo was saddled with foul trouble and too much iron in his diet. I never would have thought in a kazillion years that JR would be more consistent than Tyson. And here lately, he has been pretty much consistently playing good ball..even great on occasion.

    2. KnickfaninNJ

      The shake chart referred to last night is a nice idea but wrong statistically. If you have two players who have equal shooting percentages but one shoots twice as many shots as the other, the player with the fewer shots will have 1.4 times as big a shake as the other. You can see this effect in the tables in the article about the Blazers. Those who scored less had worse shake.

      To make the metric correct statistically, you have to divide by the square root of the number of shot attempts. But even, then I am not sure we’d learn much, because most of the variation in “shake” effects is probably due to this statistical effect and not due to actual player consistency effects. It would also be affected by shooting percentage, but not as much.

    3. Farfa

      I hear many rumors about Mark Jackson coming to the MSG next year. I don’t think they are true, but if they were, are we sure this is the guy we want at the helm? If the GSW offense is at times really atrocious with Curry in the lineup (and we just had a fine example of that awfulness), what kind of system can he devise with our players?

    4. KnickfaninNJ

      Farfa, I assume you mean coming to MSG as a coach. I agree with you and hope he doesn’t come. I would much rather have Kerr. It’s not just us watching this game making us think Jackson is not a good coach. Golden State Warrior fans hate him as a coach. And I like Jackson’s statements that he prefers to have a coach that teaches and runs a system, rather than teaches specific plays. I don’t see that Jackson has any experience doing that and not necessarily any aptitude for it either.

    5. danielbubbs1

      funny, looked at Cleveland’s schedule, they could easily win out…wouldn’t that be ironic if they actually snagged the 8th seed, and the Knicks collapse last week against them was the difference. Really, look at their schedule, not impossible at all.

    6. Farfa

      Yes, yes I did mean coming as a Knicks coach. After last night he’s welcome as any other team’s coach.

      Anyway, I was already of the idea we shouldn’t hire him before last night’s game. I just wanted to reiterate my belief after this game. Don’t know if Kerr is the right guy, he’s inexperienced as hell but that’s not a problem (look at Hornacek, or even – gasp! – at Jason Kidd, even if I think Kidd is a great communicator but a middling-to-weak in-game coach. Great soda spiller, anyway); don’t even know if the Triangle is the right system (I do believe it is, just by virtue of not having any aces up our sleeves in terms of trades or free-agents signings – assuming Melo resigns; Shump is a nice piece to put in the triangle, Stat and Bargs – gasp again! – could be adequate centers in that system. We would only need to find someone to take Chandler for a competent two-way guard, be it PG or SG. I wouldn’t mind a Chandler-for-Hendo and Neal swap with Charlotte).

      Anyway, please please please don’t give the keys to someone who’s a known quantity as a just good enough coach. We need someone who is (or could be) great at this. And I don’t see anyone like that around who’s not already employed, so why not taking a chance on Kerr?

    7. KnickfaninNJ

      I agree 100%. And I would add that recent history seems to show that the best new coaches aren’t recycled ones, so I’m also willing to take a chance on Kerr.

    8. thenamestsam

      I’m not a fan of Mark Jackson either. I think he’s fine and would be an improvement on Woodson but I’d much rather see them take a bigger risk with the coaching position. Kerr would be a good choice, I think Calipari would be a pretty good choice (I know technically an NBA retread, but I think he has come a long way as a coach since then and has done very impressive things with this year’s Kentucky team), I think Shaka Smart would be a reasonable high upside choice. I’m sure there’s lots of others I haven’t even considered. But Jackson just seems like a lateral move.

    9. lavor postell

      If Cleveland wins out and grabs the 8th seed what does that say about top-10 NBA player, Kyrie Irving? I don’t really expect Cleveland to win out, because there is a reason why they have 45 losses on the season and are more likely just on a hot streak right now, as we were on a hot streak a couple of weeks ago just blowing out a lot of bad teams and taking it to Indiana at the Garden. We saw how that came crashing down.

      Mark Jackson is definitely not the answer as a coach and I can’t seriously think Phil is a fan of his style of basketball or “offensive philosophy”. I think the hiring of Steve Kerr is just a formality at this point.

    10. Hubert

      Am I the only one who doesn’t want this team to make the playoffs? Four more excruciating losses is not something I want to experience. And as I’ve said previously, I don’t think we can get a single game off Miami or Indiana unless it’s a sweep-averting pride game.

      This season is like a sick dog. Put it to sleep, don’t extend it’s misery. Damn you, Atlanta, you cruel dog-owners.

    11. Farfa

      @lavor postell

      If Cleveland wins out and grabs the 8th seed what does that say about top-10 NBA player, Kyrie Irving?

      I think the fact that they’re playing much better with Irving out says three things:

      1) Irving makes no sense with another PG (or combo guard) in the lineup, he doesn’t really know or hasn’t learned how to play off the ball since he’s very effective only with the ball in his hands;
      2) Irving can’t play defense. He’s not the only one, but again, with a double PG (or combo guard) lineup it’s really hard to hide him somewhere, since neither Jack nor Waiters are good defenders;
      3) Mike Brown fails as a coach because he can’t seem to make the right choices when presented with any. Right now his team is playing good ball because he is forced to play those guys and those guys only.

      Oh and think about this: we can accuse Chris Grant to have been a bad GM, but how can it be only Grant’s fault that Anthony Bennett has been a bust till now? The kid has not been given a chance to prove himself in this league. It’s kinda impossible that you can’t find consistently 15 minutes a game to play one of your future assets, just to see what he has in him. How many “veteran” coaches who cannot develop players because of their own limitations do we have to endure in this league before their management kick them out of the door out of sheer common sense?

    12. Frank

      Am I the only one who doesn’t want this team to make the playoffs?

      probably. what’s the point of not making it? it’s not like there’s a draft pick to look forward to. a few weeks ago I sort of didn’t want them to make it either, so that Dolan would look foolish and maybe see the light and hire real basketball people. but he’s already done that.

      btw I definitely think we could get a game or 2 off Indiana. Not sure about Miami. The Pacers have been awful the last month+.

      Figure we need to go AT LEAST 5-3 to make the playoffs if not 6-2. Pretty small chance of that anyway given almost certain losses against Chicago and Miami.

      Question is whether teams (especially BKN) start resting guys to get ready for the playoffs and whether BKN decides to lose into the 6 spot to play Toronto in the 3-6 matchup rather than play Chicago in the 4-5 matchup. BKN could make some noise in the 2367 bracket against Toronto and then against Miami, with whom they match up pretty well (3-0 so far this year).

    13. Hubert

      what’s the point of not making it?

      Avoiding further embarrassment for the team, and avoiding more opportunities to cause me Woodson-or-Felton-or-JR induced extreme aggravation.

    14. lavor postell

      Hubert I totally agree we’d only get a sweep averting pride game against Miami. Indiana is a completely different matter though. Their offense doesn’t take advantage of any thing that we suck at defensively, which is a lot. George Hill is a tentative PG that defers to George, Hibbert, Stephenson and West. West is a very solid pick and pop big, but he isn’t nearly the player he was 2 years ago.

      Hibbert obviously will make Chandler his bitch again which I’d be ok with watching if only so I can hear people on here posting about how it’s not Chandler’s fault our defensive strategy sucks so he doesn’t need to try and according to WP/48 and TS% he’s still one of the greatest players in the history of the game. Stephenson and George both can take advantage of mismatches, but they are also likely to exhibit poor shot selection and overall decision making.

      Their offense is bad enough that even though we will struggle horribly on offense, we’d still probably have a shot in every game. Indiana is built to beat Miami with that frontcourt, but those advantages only manifest themselves extremely against certain teams. We’re not going to go ’99 Knicks and make a Finals run or even win a playoff series, but I’ll root for this team to make the playoffs since nothing short of an NBA title is going to save Woodson’s job and because knowing our luck somehow our pick we owe to Denver this year will probably end up going No. 1 overall.

    15. Nick C.

      I tend to agree Hubert. Several years ago this might have been enthralling, now, not so much. I just am waiting for Phil Jackson to come in and clean house. Not making the playoffs makes it that much easier. If Denver gets a prime lottery pick even better, so maybe when Jackson retires in a few years the moron Dolan would have a stinging lesson should he have the capacity to or choose to learn.

    16. Farfa

      @10

      Am I the only one who doesn’t want this team to make the playoffs? Four more excruciating losses is not something I want to experience. And as I’ve said previously, I don’t think we can get a single game off Miami or Indiana unless it’s a sweep-averting pride game.

      If avoiding the playoffs would teach something to Dolan and his cronies, I would be with you. Since I think that’s impossible and anyway Phil has been already hired, I would like for this team to fight until the 82nd game and hopefully beyond. We’re still fans. Of a wicked game, but fans.

    17. Hubert

      Anyway, it less than a week ago when I was the only person here saying we weren’t done after the Lakers loss. I think I said we’d probably get to work this Monday level on wins and by the following Monday we’d be level all together.

      There’s two key points coming up:

      1. Atlanta’s back-to-back with Detroit and Boston (if they win both, I doubt we get in; but I think they’ll split).

      2. Our home game against the Bulls. Win and I think we’re in.

      I’m assuming losses for us at Miami and at Toronto.

    18. Farfa

      I think the Philly game will say what there’s to say about Atlanta. I think they’re gonna lose because I firmly believe they want out of the playoffs and into the lottery, even if there’s not much to gain there. But even a 10-ish lottery pick could be a nice trade piece for Ferry, nicer than a 15th pick. So the real question could be: can we win enough games to leapfrog them (yes, if what I believe is true) and to keep Cleveland at bay (not sure)?

    19. lavor postell

      Something to consider is how many people even go to the games in Atlanta? Gate revenue from a playoff game is only nice if it’s actually adding something to the bottom line. Probably more value in tanking and gaining a few spots into the draft lottery.

    20. Hubert

      I think people want to make the playoffs because they believe we can have a competitive series with Indiana due to their current malaise.

      This isn’t the NFL. When the playoffs roll around, we’re not going to be a hot team going against a team in turmoil with a chance to win (remember when we all thought that in 2012? Three blowouts later, we were playing for pride). We’re going to be a 37 win team going up against a 57 win team and we’re going to get appropriately smoked.

    21. Farfa

      I want to make the playoffs because if I were in a bar and I saw Rachel McAdams (or Jessica Alba, or any token famous beautiful woman) alone at the counter I would hit on her.

      Would I get rejected? Of course. Would it hurt? Not by chance. At least I would have tried.

      Same with Indiana.

    22. Frank

      This isn’t the NFL. When the playoffs roll around, we’re not going to be a hot team going against a team in turmoil with a chance to win (remember when we all thought that in 2012? Three blowouts later, we were playing for pride). We’re going to be a 37 win team going up against a 57 win team and we’re going to get appropriately smoked.

      Not sure why you believe that. This 57 win team was dominated by US of all teams, and just got blown out by Cleveland. They needed overtime and huge comeback to beat Detroit. Since the All-Star break they are 2-8 against teams with a winning record. Now maybe they’re just bored, but by all accounts they are actually worried also.

      post-ASB Roy Hibbert averaging 9.6 points and 5 rebounds/game (in 29 minutes) with a TS of 49.2. Paul George is shooting <40% from the field with a TS propped up to 54 by the fact he's still getting to the line and has been shooting 92% from there.

      I don't think we should be afraid of Indiana if we are lucky enough to get to that 1st round series. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t think we’d win the series — but I don’t think we’d get swept either.

    23. airchibundo507

      I want to make the playoffs because if I were in a bar and I saw Rachel McAdams (or Jessica Alba, or any token famous beautiful woman) alone at the counter I would hit on her.

      Would I get rejected? Of course. Would it hurt? Not by chance. At least I would have tried.

      Same with Indiana.

      But this situation is more like approaching a Rachel McAdams that’s left a bad relationship and is ready to put herself back on the market. She’s been waiting over an hour for her date to arrive and it appears as though she has been stood up.

      There is a chance, albeit a small one.

    24. Hubert

      Frank,

      I don’t put much stock in looking at a team’s worst stretch of the season and thinking it might carry over. I think when the playoffs start, unless there are serious injuries, each team is very likely to be who they were over 82 games.

      I suppose the best reason for wanting to make the playoffs is hoping you luck into a serious injury to your opponent. Philadelphia had a great run in 2012 because of Rose’s injury, for instance. That’s extremely rare, although it has happened two seasons in a row to a #1 seed (Thunder with Westbrook last year, too).

    25. Hubert

      Hibbert obviously will make Chandler his bitch again which I’d be ok with watching if only so I can hear people on here posting about how it’s not Chandler’s fault our defensive strategy sucks so he doesn’t need to try and according to WP/48 and TS% he’s still one of the greatest players in the history of the game.

      And this is a compelling reason, too. That would be fun.

    26. Eternal OptiKnist

      dont get me wrong, its great to be a game out, but anyone who started mapping out where teams would finish, would have predicted Atlanta to lose a few in a row. I predicted 5, but they lost 6 which is nice. We also weren’t supposed to lose to the Cavs or Lakers but we also werent supposed to beat Indy at home or GS on the road so i think they cancel out and we are where we could have reasonably expected to be. That said, you also have to look forward and based on what i see, i think Atlanta will go somwhere between 7-3 or 5-5 (to finish 38-44 or 36-46); depending on how BK, Miami, Chi and Toronto rest their key guys down the stretch. That said, i think we have to 7-1 to close which i just don’t see; would be awesome and i’d be thrilled…i just dont see it. And even if we do net 38 wins and Atl does as well, we might not own the tiebreaker. We may look back on the Cleveland loss as the death knell…i do believe that game is why we lost the laker game. All i’m saying is im not giving up hope, but its more likely we dont get in than we do; we shall see! part of me wants to get in to prevent the Denver lottery, the other part is the fan from ’99. Hey…you never know. Go Knicks!!

    27. Hubert

      i think Atlanta will go somwhere between 7-3 or 5-5

      I think that between 3-7 and 5-5 is more likely.

      I have us going 5-3 and getting in.

    28. Eternal OptiKnist

      A few weeks back i thought Atl was tanking…i was so sure! But i changed my mind after their 5-game win streak and thinking maybe there isnt much of a difference in draft-choice quality between the 8th seed in the playoffs and just missing. But when i look at it, is the difference between the 8th spot and 9th spot the difference between the 17th and 10th pick (assuming they dont win the lottery)? And of course, the added bonus is that they could, in fact, win.

    29. Eternal OptiKnist

      So their last 10 i got W vs Phi, L @ Chi, W vs Cle, L @ Indy, W vs Det, L vs Bos (back to back), W @ BK (rested starters), L vs Mia, W vs Bobcats, W @ Mil. A 6-4 finish that would require 6-2 or 7-1 from us.

    30. Dan Panorama

      This is how the Indianapolis Star led off their article on the Pacers loss last night:

      This is what rock bottom looks like.

      The things people write about no. 1 seeds….

    31. Eternal OptiKnist

      @ 30. thats crazy, unmet expectations create so much animosity. But its not like they’ve won a hundred championships that they’d lack so much in perspective! I’m sorry, but if we miss the playoffs and Denver hits the lotto..that is the definition of rock-bottom.

    32. thenamestsam

      I definitely think there’s a little something more going on in Indy than malaise – they look very frustrated with how they’re playing and it seems like they’re trying really hard to get out of it and not finding it possible. I definitely think Knicks-Pacers would be a slightly closer series than you might expect for a 57 win team vs. a 37 win team…but that right there is the rub. It could be a much closer series than you’d expect given the quality of the two teams and still not really be all that close. I’d expect the Pacers to win in like 5 and a half games on average and with the Knicks propensity for blowing close games I’d probably end up picking 5.

      That said, I still very much want the Knicks to make it. At least Knicks-Pacers holds some potential enjoyment for me as a basketball fan independent of my feelings for the Knicks. There’s some animosity between teams, a star player, a big market, the slumping team vs. the surging team, etc. It has some stuff going for it. In contrast, Pacers-Hawks would have to be in the running for the least watchable NBA playoff series ever right?

    33. Brian Cronin

      I want the Knicks to make the playoffs because there is no benefit to not making the playoffs. Denver somehow winning the lottery won’t change anything – Dolan has already made his big front office move. I’d much rather lose in the first round of the playoffs than to not make the playoffs when there is no pick involved.

    34. Brian Cronin

      And yeah, tonight’s game with atlanta against Philly might tell the tale of the rest of the season. There’s a real chance Atlanta can lose that one. If they do, the Knicks are almost certainly going to make the playoffs as the Hawks are just never winning again.

    35. Eternal OptiKnist

      agree with everything you just said Sammy. Lets see it happen! My buddy just talked me into the Hawks going 4-6 or 5-5. That said, we have to go 4-3 0r .500 against BK, Wash, Mia, Tor, Chi, BK, Tor (assuming we handle business against the Jazz tonight). Hopefully Woody’s strategy of resting Tyson last night so he can sit Amare tonight will pay off. Our schedule is downright scary after tonight.

    36. ptmilo

      I don’t see anything different going on with the Pacers. I think this is just a matter of shooting volatility and strength of schedule. Paul George shot over his head early and under his head in March, while Indy’s schedule has gotten much tougher. They’ve really only lost to two bad teams in March (@ us and @ Cavs) while they’ve won @ Chi and @ Miami. They were portrayed as the most cohesive unit in history early, which is a little convenient when you’re outperforming. In fact they have at least their share of whiney (Hibbert) and mercurial (Stephenson) guys, and if good volatility comes before bad volatility for a team that hasn’t been around the block, you’re gonna hear the fake fifth person (“we” meaning “not me, per se”) melodrama start to crescendo.

      The story with Indy is that its bench is as ineffective as ever. The bench killed them last year and despite a big effort it hasn’t improved. Scola appears to be done. His defense was never great, and I don’t think he’s an effective scorer any more. Cope has barely played a meaningful minute all year. CJ Watson is a totally serviceable backup point guard, but Evan Turner has looked pretty terrible in his first 20 games for them. Oddly, the two bench culprits from last year, DJ Augustin and Gerald Green, are playing better than anyone Indy has on its bench by a long shot.

      They are still a bigger playoff threat than last year bc George and Stephenson have improved and West is only a little worse. Oddly that Scola trade has really been a disaster because it included Plumlee and a #1 in addition to Green. Plumlee by himself has probably been better than Scola this year.

    37. lavor postell

      I think the fact that Plumlee, Green and Augustin are all thriving outside of Indiana is an indictment on Vogel’s unimaginative offensive strategy. From watching them this year their offense seems to just be try to post up Hibbert or let George be the PNR ballhandler until he launches a shot. When the starters go to the bench and Stephenson stays in to run the show the strategy just seems to be let Lance do whatever he wants. Also I haven’t looked it up, but hasn’t Indiana been a pretty bad offensive team during Vogel’s tenure?

    38. ptmilo

      @37 — Interesting point, I don’t really have a feel for Vogel’s flexibility. I think he’s been in an odd position of being stacked with tweener guys who like to handle the ball (George, Hill, Stephenson) but aren’t really point guards or even particularly good passers. The Pacers were actually a very good offensive team in Vogel’s debut year when Granger was still effective. They had Collison then, though he was pretty erratic.

    39. johnno

      “Paul George shot over his head early and under his head in March”
      He hasn’t just shot poorly in March. Over the last three months, covering 45 games, he has shot below 40% from the field. That’s not a bad month. That’s a bad more than half a season.

    40. Farfa

      I think that the Indiana bench issues are mostly psychological. In Vogel system it’s really hard to get minutes outside of the starting five, and maybe that wears down on bench players. Green, Plumlee and Augustin have performed well because they have been given a free pass at mistakes that, simply put, would have killed Indiana. They’re playing well for heartwarming teams, but it’s not like the Suns and the Bulls are world-beaters. Remember that in Indiana they have a contender, and typically contenders have very limited rotations. What really baffles me is the lackluster performances of Scola, given that offensively he has always been a West-lite. Again, I think that the apparently immovable hierarchy of Vogel plans has a deep psychological effect on almost every bench player. Sadly, this doesn’t speak volumes about the communication skills of Vogel, who otherwise I like very much.

    41. lavor postell

      Scola’s game has been in steady decline the past 3 seasons which is why that trade was terrible from the outset seeing that they shipped out a first round pick and looks even worse now that Green got his mojo back and Plumlee is developing into a solid rotation big. Contenders can have limited rotations, but I can’t think of an NBA champion off the top of my head that has failed to receive a single noteworthy contribution from a bench player quite like this Indiana team the past 2 years. Nobody is saying that Augustin and Green were going to turn Chicago and Phoenix into “world beaters”, but you’d think that what they are doing for those teams would push this Pacer team over the top given how close they are.

      Even Copeland’s lack of minutes I don’t get at all. Maybe they wanted to take him away from the Knicks, but the guy can actually be a serviceable player in a rotation if you give him steady minutes. He’s a very good three point shooter that showed a pretty solid ability to create his own shot off the bounce and get to the rim. Sure defense can be your calling card, but you have to more arrows in your proverbial quiver than one. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to develop Copeland as a double digit scorer off the bench that could spread the floor for an offensively challenged team. We criticized Woodson for not utilizing Copeland more frequently during the season and playoffs, I don’t think Vogel is beyond the same criticism though definitely a better coach.

    42. ptmilo

      Philly has gone to their bench, but they just can’t find anyone to match Jeff Teague’s elite apathy level

    43. Brian Cronin

      I gotta say, people really did call this Philly game (not me, but other people did).

    44. Kahnzy

      Korver’s throwing an oh-fer out there.

      I’m with you on the whole “I hope his back spasms, but only enough to keep him out of games (or make him ineffective in the games he plays) and not enough to really hurt and cause much pain and that it miraculously heals overnight after the season is over” thing.

    45. Brian Cronin

      Knicks were at 13.6% Hollinger Playoff Odds coming in to tonight. I think a Philly win would bring that up to, like, 25%. Come on, Philly, you sons of bitches!

    46. ptmilo

      If I were an alien and this Sixers Hawks game was my first exposure to basketball, I would assume it was some sort of color coordinated community grieving ritual.

    47. BigBlueAL

      Amare out tonight. Berman has been ripping the “maintenance” day for Amare on Twitter, safe to say if the Knicks lose it will be entirely because Amare didnt play tonight according to Berman lol.

    48. lavor postell

      Wow San Antonio is amazing. Not sure how a team riding what’s soon to be an 18 game winning streak can fly under the radar into the playoffs, but they are….again.

    49. danielbubbs1

      funny, have to watch the utah feed overseas, and the announcers are knocking severely Amare being out for “maintenance” for such an important game.

    50. danielbubbs1

      also, remember Shump being out for “flu like symptoms” for that Cleveland game? I’m sure everyone does….so many little things you can point at for this knicks season….and just like that ATL has the lead

    51. BigBlueAL

      For being such a big game the Knicks look like they are playing a pre-season game. No intensity whatsoever so far.

    52. KnickfaninNJ

      Its amazing how many times Aldrich has taken his hook shot from the same place already.

    53. lavor postell

      I know the Jazz are an offensive juggernaut, but getting back defensively instead of getting caught with 4 players beneath the free throw line on every offensive possession would be great. Also I’m all for Aldrich playing minutes, but why are we just throwing him the ball and expecting him to get us points in the post like he’s Hakeem?

    54. BigBlueAL

      Hawks dont look like they are tanking in the 4th quarter tonight. Knicks better wake up and win tonight.

    55. maxwell_3g

      get home from the gym, turn on the TV, and I see the least shocking thing that I can think of. the knicks following up yesterdays “big win” by immediately falling behind 8 to the deadly Jazz who have nothing to play for….cuz knicks

    56. maxwell_3g

      also, in the vast homervision universe known as NBA league pass, 2 homers stand out as more annoying than all others….austin carr and the Jazz’s very own Matt Harpring……ughhh

    57. Dudley

      For those against Cole’s hooks.
      6 pts, 5 reb. – 10 min.
      Let the man free! We are playing the Jazz.

    58. BigBlueAL

      This was a recent Danny Ferry (GM of the Hawks) quote:

      “We’re not focused on trying to be the 8th seed in playoffs because that’s not our goal.”

      Too bad Millsap, Teague and Lou Williams didnt agree tonight lol.

    59. Thomas B.

      Hardaway’s defense is actually worst than Shumpert’s offense.
      Meanwhile Breen used the word “Wisely” within a few words of “Smith”
      The defense is what it normally is, but the offense seems worse than normal.
      Playoffs or not, Woodson has to go.

    60. d-mar

      Regarding Breen’s call on that last play, I never thought I’d hear “J.R. Smith” and “wisely” used in the same sentence.

    61. BigBlueAL

      There really has to be something wrong with me that Im so anxious/worried about this 2nd half because of what a loss would mean to the playoff chances of the Knicks. I need help lol.

    62. maxwell_3g

      im officially in the camp rooting for the knicks to make the playoffs. i hate the Heat, and since the pacers have now coughed up the 1 seed, i look forward to the matchup with the Heat. No, we will not win, but perhaps a chandler elbow will find wade’s eye, or a shump brick will deflect of off chalmer’s groin, or melo will dislodge lebron’s headband, or “cole blooded” will break bosh in half. i know im grasping here, but i want to see that series

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