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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Knicks Morning News (Monday, Mar 26 2012)

  • [New York Daily News] Amar’e aches are pain for Knicks (Mon, 26 Mar 2012 05:01:05 GMT)
    Bad backs and big men are always extremely dicey and that precarious position is exactly where the Knicks find themselves on Monday night â?? with their star big man suffering from a bad back and a huge game against Milwaukee at the Garden.

  • [New York Daily News] Knicks know what’s at stake vs. Bucks (Mon, 26 Mar 2012 00:03:40 GMT)
    The trained and clichéd response is to say that every game is equally important. So it was interesting that one Knick after another refused to dismiss questions about Monday’s game against Milwaukee at the Garden.

  • [New York Post] Amar’e and Lin say they’ll play tonight vs. Bucks (Mon, 26 Mar 2012 04:12:51 -0500)
    Both Amar’e Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin said they plan to play tonight when the Knicks host the Bucks at the Garden. But what the Knicks will get from the two stars is a much bigger issue â?? and a far bigger worry.
    Stoudemire and Lin were both hurting after Saturday…

  • [New York Times] N.B.A. Roundup: Thunder Open Tough Stretch With Win Over Miami (Mon, 26 Mar 2012 05:50:08 GMT)
    Kevin Durant had 28 points and 9 rebounds and tied his season high with eight assists as Oklahoma City beat the visiting Heat on Sunday night.

  • [New York Times] Gay, Mayo Help Grizzlies Beat Lakers 102-96 (Mon, 26 Mar 2012 05:26:02 GMT)
    Rudy Gay scored 18 points and O.J. Mayo had 12 of his 16 in the fourth quarter, helping the Memphis Grizzlies avoid a winless road trip by beating the Los Angeles Lakers 102-96 on Sunday night.

  • [New York Times] Aldridge, Felton Lead Blazers Past Warriors, 90-87 (Mon, 26 Mar 2012 03:50:10 GMT)
    Raymond Felton scored 24 points and LaMarcus Aldridge had 18, including a fadeaway jumper and two free throws that proved the difference in the final minute, leading the Portland Trail Blazers to a 90-87 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Sunday night.

  • [New York Times] Thunder Take Down Turnover-Prone Heat 103-87 (Mon, 26 Mar 2012 03:29:19 GMT)
    Kevin Durant had 28 points, nine rebounds and tied his season-high with eight assists, Kendrick Perkins added a season-best 16 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder opened a difficult stretch in their schedule by beating the Miami Heat 103-87 on Sunday night.

  • [New York Times] Hawks Beat Jazz in NBA’s First 4OT Game Since 1997 (Mon, 26 Mar 2012 02:56:11 GMT)
    Joe Johnson was exhausted by the time the Hawks and Utah Jazz had dragged each other into a fourth overtime — in Atlanta’s third game in three nights, no less.

  • [New York Times] Parker Scores 21 as Spurs Beat 76ers 93-76 (Mon, 26 Mar 2012 02:08:12 GMT)
    Tony Parker scored 21 points and the San Antonio Spurs beat the Philadelphia 76ers 93-76 on Sunday night in a matchup of short-handed teams.

  • [New York Times] Bradley Scores 23 as Celtics Beat Wizards 88-76 (Mon, 26 Mar 2012 00:35:21 GMT)
    Avery Bradley scored a career-high 23 points, and Paul Pierce added 21 points and eight rebounds for the short-handed Boston Celtics in an 88-76 win over the Washington Wizards on Sunday night.

  • [New York Times] 30 Seconds: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Is Still Expanding His Horizons (Mon, 26 Mar 2012 01:48:52 GMT)
    A conversation with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who has produced a documentary and written a children’s book.

  • [New York Times] Sports of The Times: Dwane Casey Still Roots for Kentucky, for Whom He Took a Fall (Mon, 26 Mar 2012 05:20:10 GMT)
    As a college assistant, Dwane Casey was punished more severely than the head coach for infractions, but he has forged a career in the N.B.A.

  • 112 comments on “Knicks Morning News (Monday, Mar 26 2012)

    1. d-mar

      I had the misfortune of attending the last Knicks-Bucks game at MSG, which was among the all time worst (although I was at the Laker game also, so I guess they cancel each other out) All I remember is Jennings having his way and prancing and preening on the Garden floor. If that memory and the fact that the Bucks have absolutely owned us for the last few years is not enough to motivate this team, I don’t know what is (and of course, putting the Bucks farther in the rear view mirror)

    2. Frank

      From Tommy Beer’s twitter account – in the last 12 games Kevin Love is AVERAGING 31.5 ppg, 14.3 rpg, 3.1 3’s per game – more points than Durant, more boards that DH12, and more 3’s than Novak.

      Dude is playing OUT OF HIS MIND right now. And Kahn didn’t give him the max extension because….?

    3. Frank

      Kevin Love has an opt-out from his contract after the 2014-15 season. In related news, the Knicks have only $3.9M (Shumpert) committed after that 14-15 season.

    4. massive

      Kevin Love is seriously good. Hopefully, they’ll suck enough to get one of Jeremy Lamb, Austin Rivers, or Bradley Beal in the draft. Between Rubio, Love, Beasley, one of the draft’s best 2 guards, and Pekovic, the Timberwolves could be really scary as early as next season. The western conference is so much more interesting than our conference.

    5. JK47

      The Knicks now rank 5th in the NBA in defensive rating, behind the 76ers, Bulls, Celtics and Heat. For all of the team’s struggles, that is an impressive accomplishment.

      Here’s where they rank in the defensive four factors:
      eFG%: 12th (and steadily improving)
      TOV%: 2nd
      DRB%: 8th
      FT/FGA: 23rd

      Offensively, of course, things aren’t so rosy. The Knicks still rank a lowly 23rd, and are below average in three of the four factors:
      eFG%: 18th
      TOV%: 29th (ouch)
      ORB%: 18th
      FT/FGA: 6th

      The Knicks’ rankings in offensive/defensive rating and their pythagorean record are virtually identical to the Dallas Mavericks:

      New York: 102.7 ORtg, 100.4 DRtg, 28-21 Pythag
      Dallas: 102.8 ORtg, 101.0 DRtg, 28-21 Pythag

      Of course the caveat is that Dallas has played a tougher schedule and is in the tougher conference. But also keep in mind that the Knicks amassed these numbers despite playing with a PG black hole for the first third of the season and with Amar’e Stoudemire looking like he was finished until 12 games ago. The Knicks that are taking the floor right now are definitely better than their 24-25 record.

    6. taggart4800

      I think this will be a test of Woodson’s coaching as much as the team tonight. Scrappy defense and canny players such as Dunleavy can rattle your confidence if you let it. Woodson has shown the flexibility to send out units best suited to restricting the opposing team, something D’Antoni did struggle with.
      There will be inevitable runs from the Bucks tonight, attributed to their defense (our offense or lack thereof) and Dunleavy has been playing very well. Keeping a level head and not letting panic sink in will also be key.
      Didn’t garner an awful lot of information from Bucks blog on true hoop, other than the fact that Ellis isn’t getting a huge amount of love.

    7. The Honorable Cock Jowles

      taggart4800,

      Whose confidence is rattled by canny players? Dudes at the Y? Or veteran players who have amassed tens of thousands of minutes played at the highest level of basketball play in the world?

    8. massive

      The Knicks have been winning with defense, and will continue to win with defense under Woodson. It helps that the Bucks have two overrated, high-usage chuckers on their team now, so hopefully they’ll shoot themselves out of the game. I also think the Knicks remember that they lost to the Bucks last game, so we’ll likely do to them what we did to Indiana, Detroit, Portland….I’m predicting the Knicks win this one easily tonight.

    9. jon abbey

      The Honorable Cock Jowles:
      taggart4800,

      Whose confidence is rattled by canny players? Dudes at the Y? Or veteran players who have amassed tens of thousands of minutes played at the highest level of basketball play in the world?

      it’s amazing how consistently clueless you are, but then again, you’re a bot.

      but good point, people who have been playing a sport at the highest level their entire life at the highest level never ever choke or get rattled. Jana Novotna, Jean Van der Velde, Nick Anderson, none of those actually happened.

    10. taggart4800

      I hear you THCJ,
      However it is all relative. The competition is equal in both situations. These veteran players are not playing at the Y? They are playing other veteran players who are also vying for a spot in the playoffs. My father is a retired pro’ golfer, at his home course he can score for fun but that becomes harder when each shot counts and has consequence.

    11. Z

      JK47:
      The Knicks now rank 5th in the NBA in defensive rating, behind the 76ers, Bulls, Celtics and Heat.For all of the team’s struggles, that is an impressive accomplishment.

      Interesting that all the top teams are in the east. Could it be that the east has a lot of teams with bad offenses, thus making the defenses that play against them seem a lot better than they really are? (Not saying the Knicks are bad defensively– they are vastly improved over years past– but they are inconsistent, and I find it hard to consider them an elite defensive team*).

      (*yes, I kow, I’m setting myself up to be hit with a link to a Wikipedia entry on confirmation bias… I’ve got it bookmarked already, so no need).

    12. jon abbey

      and if you want an example from recent Knicks games, the fourth quarter of the game in IND saw them get seriously frustrated with repeated foul calls on Lin, his herky-jerky movements really got into their heads, to the point where Hill got a technical.

      but you just keep analyzing the output of what you believe to be robots, good luck with that.

    13. jon abbey

      Z: Interesting that all the top teams are in the east. Could it be that the east has a lot of teams with bad offenses, thus making the defenses that play against them seem a lot better than they really are? (Not saying the Knicks are bad defensively– they are vastly improved over years past– but they are inconsistent, and I find it hard to consider them an elite defensive team*).

      the Knicks do still have the weakest strength of schedule played in the league, FWIW.

    14. massive

      jon abbey: the Knicks do still have the weakest strength of schedule played in the league, FWIW.

      True, but last year we would have allowed 110 points to the Cleveland Cavaliers of the world consistently.

    15. The Honorable Cock Jowles

      jon abbey: it’s amazing how consistently clueless you are, but then again, you’re a bot.

      but good point, people who have been playing a sport at the highest level their entire life at the highest level never ever choke or get rattled. Jana Novotna, Jean Van der Velde, Nick Anderson, none of those actually happened.

      That’s really your argument? You choose 3 events out of thousands of competitions and think that it’s evidence that players “choke?” I guess the entire 2008 Lakers team are a bunch of chokers because they happened to play a bad game in the final game of the championship series. Or Mariano Rivera’s a choker for giving up those hits in 2001. Or Aaron Boone’s a choker for his miserable performance in the 2003 World Series (the “clutch” home run in the ALCS must have been a fluke — or is it the other way around?).

      Availability heuristic, dude.

    16. taggart4800

      Mike Dunleavy is, not considering usage, a more efficient player than LeBron this year. Not a great accolade but a good benchmark. He has played a 1000 minutes this year though.

    17. Frank O.

      Has anyone seen how Amare was feeling? Woodson said the morning after was key to see how he was doing. I know the post said he was going to play, but there was no indication whether there was residual soreness, etc.

      Man, I hope Melo turns it around tonight.

      Who will Shump guard tonight? Would they consider putting him on Jennings for parts of the game?
      Also can’t let Dunleavy hurt us.


      But the key is the Knicks front court controlling Ilyasova and Gooden. Will miss Jeffries a lot in this one.

      tough match ups.

    18. taggart4800

      I think that is a great point. Under D’Antoni, whether his philosophy was right or not, we didn’t match up well with the Bucks. Bogut has gone from those days and we must limit wing scoring.

    19. jon abbey

      The Honorable Cock Jowles: That’s really your argument? You choose 3 events out of thousands of competitions and think that it’s evidence that players “choke?” I guess the entire 2008 Lakers team are a bunch of chokers because they happened to play a bad game in the final game of the championship series. Or Mariano Rivera’s a choker for giving up those hits in 2001. Or Aaron Boone’s a choker for his miserable performance in the 2003 World Series (the “clutch” home run in the ALCS must have been a fluke — or is it the other way around?).

      Availability heuristic, dude.

      you’re really too dumb to talk to. no, every blown lead is not choking, but yes, the mental aspect in sports is huge. are those small enough words for you?

    20. massive

      James Harden is 2nd in the league in TS% at .659, behind only our Tyson Chandler (.707). That is ridiculous.

    21. Brian Cronin

      Kevin Love has an opt-out from his contract after the 2014-15 season. In related news, the Knicks have only $3.9M (Shumpert) committed after that 14-15 season.

      Oooooh….

    22. massive

      I doubt Love opts out of his contract, or leaves Minnesota at all. The Wolves are going to be really good, permitting everybody stays healthy and they can get a legitimate 2 guard next to Rubio.

    23. The Honorable Cock Jowles

      jon abbey: you’re really too dumb to talk to. no, every blown lead is not choking, but yes, the mental aspect in sports is huge. are those small enough words for you?

      You’re a master of argumentation, abbey. Just a real whiz.

    24. The Honorable Cock Jowles

      massive:
      James Harden is 2nd in the league in TS% at .659, behind only our Tyson Chandler (.707). That is ridiculous.

      But at a usage of only 21%! Since our resident stat-dismissers have said that we can’t interpret shooting efficiency, we certainly shouldn’t assume any sort of value in Harden’s TS%. If he inflated his USG% up to Melo’s level, they might have the same TS%!

    25. Frank O.

      jon abbey: you’re really too dumb to talk to. no, every blown lead is not choking, but yes, the mental aspect in sports is huge. are those small enough words for you?

      Caustic tone aside, I have to say that if you have ever played a sport at a high level, you understand the levels of internal upheaval one might feel as pressure and circumstances press in.
      The greatest athletes are those who are able to manage the inner turmoil that comes from pressure.
      But pressure is felt by everyone. It certainly influences outcomes. Chuck Knoblauch was one of the best 2nd basemen in the world, a world class athlete, and uncanny hand to eye coordination, who was a world champion, and then suddenly he lost it mentally and had grave difficulties throwing to first from the space between first and second.
      There are oodles of examples, not just a few, of players – I recall a Cardinals pitcher who suddenly couldn’t pitch and had to move to a new position – who simply couldn’t handle pressure. Simply look at how many players were very good before arriving in pinstripes and then watch how they collapsed under pressure.
      The NBA is no different. There isn’t an NBA player who won’t hit the majority of their shots in practice, but then can’t hit anything under game pressure.
      I recall as a kid shooting baskets outside my house, and the tall UPS guy showed up and asked if he could shoot a few. He set up 24 feet or so from the basket, it seemed so much further when I was a kid, and drained 12 straight before finally missing. I asked him if he played pro. He laughed at me, said he only played college and he wasn’t that good.
      He could hardly miss…
      Even in my career field, journalism, where competition and deadline pressure are well noted, some can’t handle the day to day pressure and fail.

    26. Frank O.

      Truly great players, for whatever reason, manage their feelings and succeed.
      My brother was a great street fighter. I often wondered growing up if he wasn’t a bit autistic because in the frightening environment of street brawling and gangs and personal vendettas, I was always very shaky after and he was calm during and after, seemingly unemotional.
      He was unnerving, and his opponents showed it.
      And we all have had moments under pressure of extreme clarity, despite the circumstances, and they are so memorable for many of us because of their unusualness.
      If you are asked to perform a task in a moment, under duress on a regular basis, anyone who has been through it knows they are always a hair’s breath from choking, and success and failure often are that close, which of course is why people compete at whatever it is they choose.

    27. jon abbey

      The Honorable Cock Jowles: You’re a master of argumentation, abbey. Just a real whiz.

      thanks! if you want to pay me for my time, I’d be happy to debunk your statements at length, but since you’re a bot designed as a message-board experiment, it’s certainly not worth my time.

    28. Z

      Frank O.: pressure is felt by everyone. It certainly influences outcomes. Chuck Knoblauch was one of the best 2nd basemen in the world, a world class athlete, and uncanny hand to eye coordination, who was a world champion, and then suddenly he lost it mentally and had grave difficulties throwing to first from the space between first and second.
      There are oodles of examples, not just a few, of players – I recall a Cardinals pitcher who suddenly couldn’t pitch and had to move to a new position – who simply couldn’t handle it…

      Kind of ff topic of the Knicks/nba, but it should be noted that both Knoblauch and Ankiel were (probably) both on steroids, thus effecting their mental state, or at he very least providing a disconnect between their mental state and their physical abilities.

      But, yes, it is hard to argue that mental toughness is not a major factor in athletic success. If games were played by robots, who’d need games?

    29. jon abbey

      Bill James (who I am a fan of) is the one who started the silly “there is no such thing as clutch” concept, but he has recanted in recent years and admitted he was wrong. I dream of the day THCJ would do the same about any of his own ludicrous beliefs.

    30. JK47

      It’s pretty encouraging that the Knicks have been surging in defensive eFG% allowed. The league average eFG% is .485. The Knicks’ eFG% allowed under Woodson:

      DET .408
      TOR .464
      PHI .440
      TOR .493
      IND .430
      IND .444
      POR .407

      Granted, some of those are bad offensive teams, but still, only one of those opponents cracked the league average in eFG% allowed.

      The last time we played the Bucks, Tyson Chandler didn’t play and Iman Shumpert only played 5 minutes, and the Bucks had a .554 eFG%. Hopefully it will be a different story tonight as we have our ace post and wing defenders back on the floor.

    31. Frank

      If Amare is out for any significant amount of time, we seriously have a problem — our frontcourt depth has been an issue all season long, and with both JJ and Amare out, we could be looking at lots of Melo playing the 4 and/or Harrellson logging 35 min/game.

      Thankfully the Bucks are pretty undersized themselves. Melo can’t fall asleep on Ilyasova who is averaging 17.6 and 9 rebounds a game, shooting 46% from 3 since the all star break. This dude is just tearing it up since the ASB to the tune of (per-36):

      20 points, 10.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists, only 1.4 turnovers, on 66.2% TS.

      And he’s playing 31.6 minutes per game so it’s not like this is an extrapolation off 50 total minutes played or anything.

      But him guarding Melo will be a huge mismatch. Hopefully Melo’s success in the 3rd quarter of the Detroit game is a sign of a reemergence of his offense.

    32. bockadoo

      That’s one good thing about having duplicate stars – when one’s out the other picks up the slack. This would be the perfect game for Melo to go off. Would also be nice if Jorts played tough as he’s probably going to play more than normal. Really bad luck with JJ out for 2 weeks in a tight stretch run like this.

    33. Frank

      Meanwhile – I’m half-watching Tebow’s press conference and thinking to myself that Melo needs to go to the Tebow School of Dealing With The Press. As Darren Rovell wrote on his twitter: “28 minutes in, Tim Tebow is giving the New York Post absolutely nothing to write about.” Melo can’t go 28 seconds without sticking his foot in his mouth.

    34. jon abbey

      Frank:
      Hopefully Melo’s success in the 3rd quarter of the Detroit game is a sign of a reemergence of his offense.

      that is very optimistic, what did he hit, three layups and a mid-range jumper? but yeah, we could really use him breaking out on offense, especially since JR Smith has some kind of stomach flu.

    35. Ben R

      I think we’ll be fine without Amare tonight. Jorts can fill in defensively and Chandler can step up offensively. They don’t have a great center so we can just feature Tyson more and be fine.

      Let’s just hope he’s not out for an extended period or even worse hobbled for a couple weeks and is less effective.

    36. Frank

      jon abbey: that is very optimistic, what did he hit, three layups and a mid-range jumper? but yeah, we could really use him breaking out on offense, especially since JR Smith has some kind of stomach flu.

      hey, that’s 3 layups and 1 midrange jumper more than he’s hit in about 2 weeks! baby steps.

    37. Caleb

      jon abbey: the Knicks do still have the weakest strength of schedule played in the league, FWIW.

      wow, that’s what a week of Detroit and Toronto will do. We had gotten all the way up to only the 27th hardest sked!

      The conference comparison is a little weird this year. The two top teams are probably in the East.. and for the rest of the playoff teams, the East looks just similar. But then the bottom really falls out. East is only 98-130 vs. West, overall, and only 5 Eastern teams have winning records against the West. Best: Chicago is 11-3 and Indiana is 10-4.

    38. limpidgimp

      Tweets by Barbara Barker (Newsday):

      “Lin says he should be good to go tonight, but the decision won’t be made until game time.”

      “Woodson said he didn’t want Amar’e to have to drive to practice from the city. Doesn’t sound good.”

      “Amar’e did not come to practice. In city getting treatment.”

    39. JK47

      Amar’e has a .632 TS% over his past 12 games. We really can’t afford to have him lose whatever mojo he has going. He probably would have gone off on the Bucks, who really lack size up front.

      Milwaukee has been very good at exploiting all of the Knicks’ switching so far this season, so hopefully Woodson will make some adjustments.

    40. Caleb

      The Honorable Cock Jowles: But at a usage of only 21%! Since our resident stat-dismissers have said that we can’t interpret shooting efficiency, we certainly shouldn’t assume any sort of value in Harden’s TS%. If he inflated his USG% up to Melo’s level, they might have the same TS%!

      No, but fair to say it will go down. I remember the halcyon days of people thinking David Lee would maintain his 65 TS% as our featured, go-to scorer. Of course he really was a good offensive player, and kept it at 58 for the year he was featured, but it’s silly to think your efficiency won’t go down a bit as a higher-usage player.

    41. Caleb

      jon abbey:
      Bill James (who I am a fan of) is the one who started the silly “there is no such thing as clutch” concept, but he has recanted in recent years and admitted he was wrong. I dream of the day THCJ would do the same about any of his own ludicrous beliefs.

      That’s sort of an overstatement… Bill said there probably is a very small “clutch” talent. Back when he first shook things up on that, people assumed there was a huge difference in the way various players performed in the clutch.

      Sure, Ankiel, Knoblach, Nick Anderson – major meltdowns. But in the context of all the playoffs and all the sports over the last 20 years, you can see that’s pretty rare. I do think mental toughness is important, and the difference between NBA guys and rec league (or even high school, or most college), is big. But the same way everyone in the NBA is a fantastic athlete, everyone is mentally tough, too. I don’t think it’s a big differentiator.

    42. johnlocke

      The two things that scare me the most come big game / playoff time for the team is turnovers and FT shooting….but have been very very poor, and have only been masked during the winning streak. We need our guys to start making the game easier…by making free throws and not committing dumb turnovers that lead to breakaways

      JK47:
      The Knicks now rank 5th in the NBA in defensive rating, behind the 76ers, Bulls, Celtics and Heat.For all of the team’s struggles, that is an impressive accomplishment.

      Here’s where they rank in the defensive four factors:
      eFG%: 12th (and steadily improving)
      TOV%: 2nd
      DRB%: 8th
      FT/FGA: 23rd

      Offensively, of course, things aren’t so rosy.The Knicks still rank a lowly 23rd, and are below average in three of the four factors:
      eFG%: 18th
      TOV%: 29th (ouch)
      ORB%: 18th
      FT/FGA: 6th

      The Knicks’ rankings in offensive/defensive rating and their pythagorean record are virtually identical to the Dallas Mavericks:

      New York: 102.7 ORtg, 100.4 DRtg, 28-21 Pythag
      Dallas: 102.8 ORtg, 101.0 DRtg, 28-21 Pythag

      Of course the caveat is that Dallas has played a tougher schedule and is in the tougher conference.But also keep in mind that the Knicks amassed these numbers despite playing with a PG black hole for the first third of the season and with Amar’e Stoudemire looking like he was finished until 12 games ago.The Knicks that are taking the floor right now are definitely better than their 24-25 record.

    43. jon abbey

      Caleb: But the same way everyone in the NBA is a fantastic athlete, everyone is mentally tough, too. I don’t think it’s a big differentiator.

      I don’t get why you would say or think that, it’s like saying “everyone in the NBA is a great shooter” or “everyone in the NBA is a great rebounder”.

      clearly every player has different strengths and weaknesses, and to me it’s pretty obvious that this includes the mental aspect of things also, as well as the desire to win.

    44. Frank

      Caleb:

      Sure, Ankiel, Knoblach, Nick Anderson – major meltdowns. But in the context of all the playoffs and all the sports over the last 20 years, you can see that’s pretty rare.I do think mental toughness is important, and the difference between NBA guys and rec league (or even high school, or most college), is big. But the same way everyone in the NBA is a fantastic athlete, everyone is mentally tough, too. I don’t think it’s a big differentiator.

      It’s only rare if you think of all your outcomes as binary (ie. make or miss). But if you think of it as minor changes in reaction time, an inch here or there on the accuracy of your jumper, etc. then it probably is a lot less rare. We have ALL seen players “pull the string” on their free throw attempts in big spots – but maybe “pulling the string” is all relative. Let’s say even the best of shooters have a +/- 2″ radius on the location of their shot compared to their desired spot. If you’re aiming for the center of the cup and are not a “choker”, maybe in a big spot you only miss your spot by 2 inches – ie. within your normal variability = made shot. If you’re a bigger choker, maybe you miss even your normal variability by 4 inches = missed shot. So the most obvious choke jobs (like Nick Anderson for instance) is just the most extreme on a spectrum.

      But you see other kinds of less obvious “choking” all the time – a big shot goes up with a few seconds on the clock, and guys just watch the ball bounce around rather than crashing the boards, whereas the “non-chokers” are hitting the glass.

      I’m a big believer in “clutch” and “choking” although I think those words are too extreme. Some guys are able to maintain their focus in big spots, and others aren’t quite themselves. If we were all robots with specified error rates, then I would say there is no such things as clutch and…

    45. Caleb

      I don’t disagree that some players might have better mental focus than others, but if you can’t see an effect easily, it probably isn’t very big. And this isn’t an easy one to see.

      Without looking at numbers, I am talking out my #$%, but I think if there was a frequent or big “clutch” effect, we’d see lots of articles and data on who improves performance in the clutch, who gets worse, etc. If I saw data which shows player X shoots a higher FT% in the last quarter every year, while player Y shoots worse, than sure, I could be convinced.

      What I have seen is that everyone shoots a lower FG percentage in clutch situations, while some players do better than others. Of course it’s tough because the sample size is tiny (how many clutch shots ARE there in a season?)… and because mental toughness/weakness is only one factor in those situations, along with refs allowing physical play at the end, defenses gearing up on certain players, etc. We know Kobe shoots a terrible percentage (on FGs, not FTs) in clutch situations – but does that mean he’s mentally weak? I don’t think so.

      LeBron got raked over the coals for missing last-minute shots last year, but in past years, his playoff numbers were lights-out. Did he suffer a Knoblauch breakdown? Or was it just random chance?

      The other stuff you guys mention – drive, desire to win, etc. – I think just get wrapped into other skills. You have drive and will to win, so you practice and try hard and we see the results measured in other ways (rebounds, shots made, etc.)

      Or, you’re Eddy Curry.

      Anyway, I would be interested to see a chart showing player FT% in, say, the last 5 minutes of the game, vs. the first 43 minutes.

    46. Frank

      oh f#^$

      FisolaNYDN: Amar’e, who injured his back last April & couldn’t play for 3 months, is having an MRI today for similar injury, Daily News has learned.

    47. Frank O.

      jon abbey: I don’t get why you would say or think that, it’s like saying “everyone in the NBA is a great shooter” or “everyone in the NBA is a great rebounder”.

      clearly every player has different strengths and weaknesses, and to me it’s pretty obvious that this includes the mental aspect of things also, as well as the desire to win.

      Out of the three most recent comments on clutchness, Jon’s, Frank’s and Caleb’s this seems the simplest and most sensible. Performing well in “clutch moments” well is a skill just like any other. Some are better than others, however slightly and however less efficiently than they perform under normal circumstances. There are still those who are better and those who are worse. In clutch circumstances, teams typically use their best players, and it is measurable among those who are best.

    48. Frank O.

      Frank:
      oh f#^$

      FisolaNYDN: Amar’e, who injured his back last April & couldn’t play for 3 months, is having an MRI today for similar injury, Daily News has learned.

      This is really disappointing

    49. art vandelay

      Frank: oh f#^$FisolaNYDN: Amar’e, who injured his back last April & couldn’t play for 3 months, is having an MRI today for similar injury, Daily News has learned.

      Well, there goes the season if he is done for…amazing how every year come down the stretch this team is doomed during playoff time by an injury to its major star…used to be Ewing in 90s now it, unfortunately, may be STAT.

    50. Jake S.

      art vandelay: Well, there goes the season if he is done for…amazing how every year come down the stretch this team is doomed during playoff time by an injury to its major star…used to be Ewing in 90s now it, unfortunately, may be STAT.

      (Begins drawing hot sorrow bath in his despair room).

    51. Will the Thrill

      If Amare is really out, our offense is truly screwed. Without Melo being able to score at all, we barely have any options on offense. Lin is going to have to be as aggressive as he was during the Linsanity streak (and be close to as effective) for this offense to show some signs of life. If Melo can somehow pull it together, we may be able to make playoffs but without Amare, we need to focus even more on defense (because scoring is going to be difficult either way).

    52. limpidgimp

      art vandelay: Well, there goes the season if he is done for…amazing how every year come down the stretch this team is doomed during playoff time by an injury to its major star…used to be Ewing in 90s now it, unfortunately, may be STAT.

      It would suck if Amar’e can’t play this game. But if Knicks don’t have the heart to win without Amar’e and JJ, then they can’t make it deep into the playoffs anyway. The Bulls were winning without Rose.

    53. JK47

      The Amar’e that was beasting to the tune of a .632 TS% over the last 12 games is probably not returning. Maybe this’ll all just turn out to be nothing but it sure sounds bad.

    54. art vandelay

      limpidgimp: It would suck if Amar’e can’t play this game. But if Knicks don’t have the heart to win without Amar’e and JJ, then they can’t make it deep into the playoffs anyway. The Bulls were winning without Rose.

      I am not overly concerned if STAT misses one game…what does concern me is that the same back that made him a shell of his former self and probably limited him 85% of this season thus far is acting up again…it is not a positive development…I think we can only HOPE he just misses a game or two from this…I think that is best-case scenario (and that it doesn´t completely set him back upon his return).

    55. Juany8

      Um… does anyone realize that if you’re simply taking averages of all the events that happen in a game, clutch is included in that average? Of course you can’t easily differentiate it statistically, it’s supposed to be rare AND it’s not independent of the average you’re comparing it to. I’ve never seen someone bother trying to compare first quarter performance to 4th quarter performance, or how someone produces when their team is down vs. when they are up a lot, etc. Not to mention “clutch” statistics just keep track of any random close game in a season, and only when it happens to be close. The entire performance of last night’s OKC-Miami game was more indicative of clutch and pressure performance than a random close game against the Pistons in January. Any moment of a Finals game is more important than any moment of a random regular season game. Yet somehow Lebron’s performance against Charlotte when down 5 is kept track of while is 40% career shooting in the Finals isn’t.

      It’s hilarious that THCJ keeps mentioning the availability heuristic but keeps falling for it with statistics. He believes in the stats that are readily available and easily recalled. There is no effort to analyze their (enormous) error and bias, just a repetition of the same broken assumptions and a steady stream of personal insults to anyone who doesn’t agree.

      By the way, here’s a very interesting, statistically supported article in support of clutch performance. This guy does a far better job than I could in analyzing and writing about it.

      http://skepticalsports.com/?p=2620

    56. art vandelay

      I did think, however, that the injury last year was a muscle on upper back and this time it is lower back…not sure if that is correct, though.

    57. ephus

      If Amar’e is out, the Knicks still will have 9 man rotation for tonight, which is deeper than most teams use in non-compressed seasons. The defensive pressure is going to be on whoever is checking Ilyasova, which might be ‘Melo, Novak or Jorts. I do not think that Shumpert, Smith or Fields have the size to take Ilyasova, and Chandler does not have the quickness to handle Ilyasova on the perimeter.

      This should be a big offensive night for Chandler, working off of the P&R.

      Let’s Go Knicks!

    58. Brian Cronin

      Yikes, from the sound of it, it seems like we’ll be seeing the following starting lineup (since Lin might not play either due to a sore knee):

      Davis
      Shumpert
      Fields
      Melo
      Chandler

      I mean, whatever, it is far from a bad lineup, but when your entire front court is Chandler, Melo, Novak and Jerome Jordan? Yikes (especially since it is really just Chandler, Melo and Novak). Gooden is likely salivating.

    59. limpidgimp

      As for the discussion about ‘clutch,’ Henry Abbott, in his recent article “Jeremy Lin’s clutch swag,” actually put together stats for performance in the the closing 5 min. I don’t take the numbers too seriously since the sampling is small (and skewed by situational blips like Jeremy getting to the free throw line so many times due to forced fouling), but it’s interesting just as an attempt to try to gauge clutchness with stats.

      http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/39286/jeremy-lins-clutch-swag

    60. Brian Cronin

      @67 – did something happen to Jorts?

      Oh duh. Thanks. That makes me feel better. Interesting that they’d prefer to start Fields and Melo as the forwards instead of Melo/Jorts, which they did earlier in the season when Amar’e missed time.

    61. Frank

      @64 – thanks for posting that link – made for interesting reading. What is obvious to many here and less so to others (THCJ being the major offender) is that the statistics we have are relatively horrible and that just about any statistical model based on bad stats is bound to have many many weaknesses. On top of that there are 2347873 confounders in pretty much any situation, so to be such a fervent believer in ANY model to the point of ridiculing others just makes that one look bad.

    62. Caleb

      Juany8:

      By the way, here’s a very interesting, statistically supported article in support of clutch performance. This guy does a far better job than I could in analyzing and writing about it.

      http://skepticalsports.com/?p=2620

      This is an interesting site, I didn’t know about it. And his hypotheses are reasonable.

      But I wouldn’t call this statistically supported. “Skeptic” throws in a few random examples of individual players or teams stepping up performance in a handful of clutch situations. And only one basketball example – Dennis Rodman – where he uses a lot of numbers, but I can’t tell what calculation he is using as the root measure of performance.

      Like I said, “clutch” vs. non-clutch is measurable; it’s not like I’m religiously opposed to thinking the ability exists but I’ve never seen someone measure a big difference and I’ve seen some evidence on the opposite side.

    63. Caleb

      Brian Cronin: Oh duh. Thanks. That makes me feel better. Interesting that they’d prefer to start Fields and Melo as the forwards instead of Melo/Jorts, which they did earlier in the season when Amar’e missed time.

      I think he is wary of running out Jorts for 30 or 35 minutes, so letting him come off the bench.

      but I agree – he’ll be a key to the game. None of our other PF candidates have a chance of keeping Gooden off the boards. On the other hand, Stoudemire couldn’t do it either.

      Seriously, if Stoudemire is out for any extended period, now is the time for Melo to lay his cards on the table. If he can play like he did in past years, the Knicks won’t lose that much. Scoring will be a little less efficient, but our rebounding and defense is better, if anything. On the other hand, if Melo keeps shooting 35-40 percent, we don’t have much offense. In that scenario, Lin is a bigger worry, although he sounds like more of a short-term injury.

      Baron, Jorts, Melo… spotlight is on!

    64. Mike Kurylo Post author

      #53 – Exactly.

      If clutch existed the way it’s purported to, then it’d be pretty easy to figure out which players did well in the clutch and which choked. BTW I’d like to point out to the anecdote provided by @28. Perhaps the 500 or so people that are talented enough to play in the NBA have already weeded out the ones that fold like a lawn chair on game day, so maybe at that level it just doesn’t amount to much.

      Now the lack of a study doesn’t mean it’s non-existent, but probably not to the point where a person with the naked eye can detect it. Perhaps Dunleavy is giving someone in the Knick locker room the cold sweats. But we’ll never know. Also the wild swings from game to game may mask it. So a 4-17 night might be from random chance, or maybe it’s because Dunleavy looks like Peeta Mellark.

      So my point would be, it’s more likely what the players ate that morning, how they slept, or who they slept with will have more of an effect on their performance than the psychological toll of Dunleavy’s versatility. But I’m willing to be proven wrong.

    65. Mulligan

      art vandelay:
      I did think, however, that the injury last year was a muscle on upper back and this time it is lower back…not sure if that is correct, though.

      I have a similar memory. Dear god I hope this isn’t a big deal.

    66. LMNYKFAN4LIFE

      Mulligan:
      So if they move Melo to the 4, who’s our starting 3? Smith, Shump or Novak?

      they are talking about a Lin, Shump at the two, fields at the three, melo, and chandler. i think its a good starting lineup which can be retooled with novak at the three, smith at the two, Jorts at the pf position later in the game. this bench production will be good but we don’t have JJ and that hurts, that means chandlers gonna have major minutes and that scares me.

    67. LMNYKFAN4LIFE

      Brian Cronin: Oh duh. Thanks. That makes me feel better. Interesting that they’d prefer to start Fields and Melo as the forwards instead of Melo/Jorts, which they did earlier in the season when Amar’e missed time.

      i think hes looking for the mismatch and knows fields is better suited at the three, not to mention needs to check one of the guards its a good strategy IMO. also melo is trying to get out of slump and i think woodson is trying to get him out with a great mismatch offensively. good move all around by woodson

    68. johnlocke

      Rebounding and defense only better when we actually have JJ in place of Amare…with no JJ or Amare will be tough on the inside …Chandler can’t box out and get rebounds all by himself. Not sure who can have a big game if both Lin and Stoudemire are out. I see Melo shooting a lot and having an inefficient game. Have to hope Novak and/or Smith are EN FUEGO this game

      Caleb: I think he is wary of running out Jorts for 30 or 35 minutes, so letting him come off the bench.

      but I agree – he’ll be a key to the game. None of our other PF candidates have a chance of keeping Gooden off the boards. On the other hand, Stoudemire couldn’t do it either.

      Seriously, if Stoudemire is out for any extended period, now is the time for Melo to lay his cards on the table. If he can play like he did in past years, the Knicks won’t lose that much. Scoring will be a little less efficient, but our rebounding and defense is better, if anything. On the other hand, if Melo keeps shooting 35-40 percent, we don’t have much offense. In that scenario, Lin is a bigger worry, although he sounds like more of a short-term injury.

      Baron, Jorts, Melo… spotlight is on!

    69. LMNYKFAN4LIFE

      Caleb
      “Like I said, “clutch” vs. non-clutch is measurable; it’s not like I’m religiously opposed to thinking the ability exists but I’ve never seen someone measure a big difference and I’ve seen some evidence on the opposite side.”

      Caleb this is so true but i don’t believe you caught the true meaning of what you stated. The man that doesn’t play worse is the man that doesn’t choke. Clutch doesn’t mean hes better it just means that he doesn’t play worse. All players mess up of course but can you say Micheal Jordan wasn’t clutch. The man had the flu and dropped 55 on the Knicks in the garden that to me explains clutch. When his back was against the wall he scored one of his highest point totals against the Knicks in the Garden. The Knicks of the 90’s were one of the meanest and best defensive teams in that era add the flu IMO that’s clutch.

    70. Caleb

      johnlocke:
      Rebounding and defense only better when we actually have JJ in place of Amare…with no JJ or Amare will be tough on the inside …Chandler can’t box out and get rebounds all by himself.Not sure who can have a big game if both Lin and Stoudemire are out. I see Melo shooting a lot and having an inefficient game. Have to hope Novak and/or Smith are EN FUEGO this game

      I would say Jorts is a solidly better defender than Amare, and his rebounding #s are a little better, too. To the extent Melo is at the 4, not so much – at least, depends on the matchups.

      All in all, I think we can absorb his loss fine on that end of the floor – on offense, though, you need Melo to soak up the shots. Or hope that JR gets hot.

    71. LMNYKFAN4LIFE

      Caleb: I would say Jorts is a solidly better defender than Amare, and his rebounding #s are a little better, too. To the extent Melo is at the 4, not so much – at least, depends on the matchups.

      All in all, I think we can absorb his loss fine on that end of the floor – on offense, though, you need Melo to soak up the shots. Or hope that JR gets hot.

      totally agreed i think they can both have a good game too and chandler will be used more in place of amare on the pnr. maybe woodson will use melo in the pnr with Lin, and they can make a good connection that way. that will help us later in the year and in the playoffs. if he uses the baron with melo first, it will help melo and Lin make the transition of how to do communicate better on the court. all in all a good situation. this is why i love having someone like the baron off the bench. much better upgrade at the point than Chauncey IMO

    72. Frank O.

      Z:
      Knicks can survive without Amar’e.

      Well, this is when their depth theoretically is supposed to help them out.
      I hope they bring a Sixers game-like intensity to this one. If they do, they should win.
      BTW, I’m beginning to this the Raptors are better than we thought. That loss looks different after they beat the Bulls.

    73. Z

      Frank O.: Well, this is when their depth theoretically is supposed to help them out.
      I hope they bring a Sixers game-like intensity to this one. If they do, they should win.

      I agree. But I wasn’t talking about one game. I think the Knicks can survive without Amar’e indefinitely.

    74. max fisher-cohen

      The schedule for the last 17 games of the season is pretty damn brutal.

      10 of 17 are against teams over .500. Two more are against Milwaukee, who will likely finish over .500, so that’s 12 of 17 against good teams.

      All ten of the teams we play with winning records are top 4 teams in their conference.

      By contrast, Milwaukee only plays 6 of their last 18 against teams with winning records. Even if you count the two contests vs. NY, that’s 8 of 18 against winners, four fewer than New York.

      The one positive is that we have 10 more home games. However, Milwaukee has the same advantage with 11 of their last 18 at home.

    75. d-mar

      Z: I agree. But I wasn’t talking about one game. I think the Knicks can survive without Amar’e indefinitely.

      With all due respect, you’re out of your freakin’ mind

    76. JK47

      If by “survive” you mean “limp into the playoffs and get crushed in the first round” then yes, they could possibly survive.

    77. outoftowner

      I think the Knicks can win without Amare, or win with Amare if he’s full strength. But the worst case scenario would be if Amare comes back half-strength and he’s ineffective offensively while still a disaster defensively. That would kill the season.

    78. outoftowner

      Also, if Lin is out, I’d like to see Toney Douglas get a try as backup point guard.

    79. LMNYKFAN4LIFE

      the beast that has come out of amare these past few games is totally needed by the knicks. he is efficient on offense again and has been able to be effective on defense. another thing he doesn’t turn the ball over as much anymore. i wish he played this game and sat out the magic game, but id rather have a healthy amare than a repeat of last year. the reason he needed so much rehab was because, he had the time to do it and he kept playing with a bad back. sore does not need to turn into bad back IMO. i think Woodson is doing the right thing ESPECIALLY since playing Boston in the payoffs last season when he was healthy it was close but when he wasn’t we had been slaughtered.

    80. art vandelay

      outoftowner: I think the Knicks can win without Amare, or win with Amare if he’s full strength. But the worst case scenario would be if Amare comes back half-strength and he’s ineffective offensively while still a disaster defensively. That would kill the season.

      If you think defenses love to zone us now with our putrid backcourt outside shooting, imagine what playoff-time defenses would do to us without STAT and 39%-shooting Melo…frankly, we need to have STAT in tip-top shape (playing like he has his last 12 games) to have ANY chance of going anywhere, including winning any playoff series.

      If we are depending on a rookie Jorts or Jordan come playoff time, fuhgetabouttttit…and Fields is highly suspect after last season´s playoff debacle, Shump is a rookie as welcome…frankly, this team that has shown difficulty scoring at times will need STAT to have any prayer whatsoever.

    81. Brian Cronin

      Also, if Lin is out, I’d like to see Toney Douglas get a try as backup point guard.

      You can put that thought of your mind, not with the relationship between Woodson and Bibby. But yeah, I, too, would like to see Toney get another shot to see if he can hit a shot now (only if the choice is him or Bibby, of course). The guy was a great shooter when healthy for two seasons and now suddenly he can’t hit anything (and he is apparently healthy?)? That just seems unsustainable.

    82. Juany8

      Why not just run Shump and JR together as the back court? They can both dribble and be playmakers, neither is particularly good but Bibby is a corpse and TD was the dumbest player I have ever seen earlier this season (other than possibly Bill Walker). Landry can soak up the minutes at the 3 where he will hopefully be less exposed, and Melo is going to have to play big at the 4. I mean if the point guard is point to be terrible, they should at least be trying to lock people down insted of hoping Bibby can make an occasional 3.

    83. art vandelay

      Do we know for sure that STAT and Lin are out tonight? If so, any word on short and/or long-term prognosis on both?

    84. outoftowner

      art vandelay: If you think defenses love to zone us now with our putrid backcourt outside shooting, imagine what playoff-time defenses would do to us without STAT and 39%-shooting Melo…frankly, we need to have STAT in tip-top shape (playing like he has his last 12 games) to have ANY chance of going anywhere, including winning any playoff series.

      If you’re talking about the Knicks winning playoff series, that is IMO kind of a pipe dream at this point, whether Amare is healthy or not. But I think you’ve highlighted the real problem which is the ghastly perimeter shooting. I don’t think there’s ever been a team that had this many healthy players shoot way below their career averages. It makes no sense.

    85. art vandelay

      In the first, second and fourth periods, the Knicks hold opponents to 41.3, 41.8 and 41.8 percent, respectively, but in the third, that number jumps to 49.4%.

    86. art vandelay

      outoftowner: If you’re talking about the Knicks winning playoff series, that is IMO kind of a pipe dream at this point, whether Amare is healthy or not. But I think you’ve highlighted the real problem which is the ghastly perimeter shooting. I don’t think there’s ever been a team that had this many healthy players shoot way below their career averages. It makes no sense.

      It certainly is a pipe dream unless they finish 6th or above, but maybe catching Philly is a pipe dream as they are 3 games back with 17 to play and have a decidedly more difficult schedule….also atlanta just keeps finding a way to win ball games (all of a sudden Joe Johnson is on fire), and whoever said Indiana will fall out of playoff picture I think was incorrect….yes, they may be vulnerable come playoff time in round 1, but they have likely built up too large a lead imho to not make the playoffs.

    87. art vandelay

      Brian Cronin: The Knicks need to finish 8th for 1999 redux. Don’t mess with destiny!

      Yes, actually I am very afraid instead we finish 7th and face the Heat.

    88. steveoh

      Alan Hahn ? @alanhahn

      With Lin out and Baron still under a minutes limit, Toney Douglas is expected to get his chance for redemption.

    89. steveoh

      Another one. Wow.

      Tom Haberstroh ? @tomhaberstroh

      Lin out and Amar’e out indefinitely with bulging disk. Knicks starting 5 tonight has never played together before.

    90. Brian Cronin

      With Lin out and Baron still under a minutes limit, Toney Douglas is expected to get his chance for redemption.

      Awesome. I mean, the circumstances are terrible, but it is awesome that Woodson is acknowledging that Bibby is just awful. I am really impressed with him there. Not many coaches can realize such a thing with a veteran who played with them for so many years.

    91. Mulligan

      How bad is a bulging disc? Geez, between Gallo, Baron and now STAT we should all be back experts.

      Baron’s was a herniated disc, right? What was LJ’s? STAT better be working on that 3 point shot all summer!

    92. Bruno Almeida

      Z: I agree. But I wasn’t talking about one game. I think the Knicks can survive without Amar’e indefinitely.

      if his contract goes with him, I’d have no problem whatsoever with this.

      the way it is right now, we need him.

    93. Bruno Almeida

      steveoh:
      Alan Hahn ? @alanhahn

      With Lin out and Baron still under a minutes limit, Toney Douglas is expected to get his chance for redemption.

      I don’t know why, but I kinda like it, I still feel ________ is redeemable… he can’t have possibly forgotten completely how to shoot or defend in 6 months.

      it’d be great if he could become a good contributor and eventually settle into the backup PG spot for next season.

    94. Mulligan

      Honestly, TD is so low on my list of things to care about with this team. Maybe only in the sense that he proves himself worth trading for a draft pick (but then again, I think you can trade anyone for a 2nd rounder).

      Man. Poor STAT.

    95. Z

      d-mar: With all due respect, you’re out of your freakin’ mind.

      No due respect needed :)

      And by “survive”, I mean, really, that I don’t think it effects the fate of the team much from here on out. Either the Linsanity crew resurfaces, Carmelo remembers how to play, or they lose and
      miss the playoffs. The first two options are preferable to having Amar’e anyway, and the latter was the most likely scenario anyway.

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