Milwaukee 83 – New York 67, The Good And The Bad

You didn’t have to look too deep last night to see examples of the opposing extremes. In a night where the franchise honored the 1970 championship team, their modern day heirs put up a 67 point stinker. Another polar event was the benching of Chris Duhon, who despite being third on the team in minutes played racked up a DNP in favor of newcomer Sergio Rodriguez. The Knicks scored 118 (albeit in overtime) against the #3 defense just two nights prior, but struggled to put up half that against the Bucks. Newly anointed savior Tracy McGrady followed up a 26 pts on 17 shots masterpiece with a 15 pts on 14 shots clunker.

But it wasn’t limited to T-Mac, as the entire team looked bad shooting. Chandler and Gallo, two youngsters who were supposed to thrive with the addition of talented passers, were a combined 4-14. Eddie House put up a Crawford-esque 4-16, Al Harrington was a meager 3-9, and Sergio Rodriguez made his predecessor look like a viable option with his 2-8 night.

The 1970 Knicks were known for their teamwork and fundamentals, as many of the telecast’s guests pointed out, and last night’s team failed to play as a unit. Rodriguez had lots of energy, but nearly too much for his teammates. He racked up 8 steals, and often pushed the ball up the floor. The problem was he was met by superior opposing numbers as the rest of New York jogged their way up the floor.

Other than cohesiveness, the Knicks lacked one other crucial aspect. With Lee bringing his game out to 15 feet and adding a long range bomber in Eddie House, the Knicks lack scoring in the paint to open the exterior. One play that stuck out in my mind was when Tony Douglas received the ball right under the hoop, but was unable to even get a shot off. Al Harrington can drive to the hoop, but he rarely passes the ball in that scenario. We’ve seen Tracy McGrady get the ball in a mid-post iso, but I’m not sure if he has that first step to get past his defender. The team is lacking someone that can really slash to the hoop. Perhaps they’ll get a view of one tonight as they face Nate Robinson and the Celtics.

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Mike Kurylo

Mike Kurylo is the founder and editor of His book on the 2012 Knicks, "We’ll Always Have Linsanity," is on sale now. Follow him on twitter (@KnickerBlogger).

19 thoughts to “Milwaukee 83 – New York 67, The Good And The Bad”

  1. The Duhon DNP was a shock. He stuck with him all this time then 20 minutes of Sergio v. the Thunder and Duhon is kicked to the curb. As for the Nate shout, he’s gone and had three sets of coaches to convince he could run the show and create and failed to do so either b/c of their blindness to his awesomeness or b/c he couldn’t. At any rate please don’t turn him into the next Balkman that we have to hear about endlessly like a psychiatrist lsitening to some dude ruing his ex.

  2. As much as this season is an official lost cause, I do think it is important not to completely mail it in these last 27 games. From a perception standpoint, we shouldn’t send a message to potential FA”s that our players quit on the season. I understand that a LeBron or 2 max FA’s would change things overnight, but from a “selling of the Knicks” perspective, we need to show something over the next weeks. Unfortunately, as we all know, the March schedule is brutal, so easier said than done.

  3. There were two players who the Bucks can thank for last night’s win: Luc Mbah A Moute and Andrew Bogut. These two were the major reasons that the Bucks’ defense was so stifling. At various points across the game Mbah A Moute shutdown McGrady, Gallinari, Chandler, and Harrington. Bogut made Sergio Rodriguez’s forays into the paint completely useless. Rodriguez’s strengths — quickness and passing — were overshadowed completely by his inability finish at the rim and his poor perimeter shooting.

    Look at the shot chart for last night’s game:;sbOptionLinks

    The reason we missed so many threes is because 16 of our 24 attempts were from 28 ft or more. As good as Bogut was on offense, it’s clear that the Bucks defense was absolutely crippling, and even if you put Bogut on an average game, we still would have lost.

    We actually played good defense. Against OKC, Westbrook was getting into the paint at will. That was not the case for Jennings, who finished an awful 1-9. The problem was we had no answer to the Buck’s defense, and the only player who could have been that answer — McGrady — will probably never get back to being the kind of player that gets in the paint and can finish.

    Again I’m going to push for Louis Williams in and sign and trade this summer. He is sergio rodriguez + finishing at the rim and perimeter shooting. His passing is not as fantastic, but he has the talent to really dissect defenses. Last season against Milwaukee he put up 20ppg in 28 minutes on 55% shooting. He put up similar #s against Cleveland and Boston, two other teams with strong defenses. He is young, and he makes a reasonable salary, and everyone on Philly’s roster is available.

  4. It’s hard to even talk about this game.
    The INTERIOR defense was not good at all. Bogut really bullied us. We need a friggin’ defensive-minded center already! When the opposing center has a statline of 9-11 from the field, something’s wrong.
    Latke, Louis Williams would be a good fit for a Lebron-led offense- or a CJ Watson who might even be cheaper. The hope is that Douglas can fill that role, but I’m losing faith.
    I’m just hoping this game was an awkward transition to a more fast-break style. The problem is, you need defensive stop in order to run. Sergio did a good job with steals, but we need BLOCKS too…

  5. latke,

    Good analysis. Along with talent, I would also say that when you’re facing a tough defensive effort will-power, intelligent play, and cohesiveness can help you get over it. It’s understandable that the Knicks lacked cohesiveness, I guess. Suppose the lack of cohesiveness could stifle the other two.

    Lou Williams is a good player, and I agree with ess-dog that in a LeBron offense he’d be a good offensive PG.
    While Douglas may not be (isn’t) as good a player, his outside shot and defense might make him just as good a fit on a team with a LeBron/Wade/Johnson/Roy/?T-Mac? kind of point-wing… if he develops on his rookie season. Between Sergio and Douglas you have what Williams brings you, but obviously it doesn’t necessarily help to have it in two players. Williams would be an upgrade for the Knicks on Duhon, Douglas, and Rodriguez, definitely. If Sergio can put it all together I think he can be as good as or better than Williams, but that’s a big if.

    What do you mean by a sign-and-trade, though? For whom? That would require Philly wanting to sign one of the Knicks’ free agents. Everyone may be available, but they’re not looking to give away the guy who might be their best player this season and has a cheap contract. I can guarantee you that.


    “We need a friggin’ defensive-minded center already! When the opposing center has a statline of 9-11 from the field, something’s wrong.”

    Yeah, and it’s been that way for a while. 9-11 from the other team’s 5 doesn’t seem that weird to me anymore. I can understand the reasoning that having a good offensive unit is better than having a mediocre defensive C in there (like Darko), but when the offense stinks too it’s frustrating.

  6. Thanks, Owen.

    I obviously have a bias, but here’s my take on Coon’s piece.

    Hadn’t really looked at how much more Cleveland can offer in a while. Less than a mill per for the first 5 years. That sixth year is nice, though, especially since it’s probably an option. LeBron will be coming off his age 30 season in 5 years and may want to lock in a long-term deal that carries him into his mid-30s then… although I guess waiting till 31 and getting another year of huge money post-prime would be good.

    My biggest comment is that I think Coon might write off the media market advantage a little too easily. The question is not whether James/Wade/Howard are doing alright in Cleveland/Miami/Orlando… it’s can they can do significantly better in NYC/LA/Chicago? I really have no idea, but my point is just that I think Coon is asking/answering the wrong question.

    “Simply put, the Cavs’ success in this year’s playoffs, or lack of it, may be the deciding factor.”

    Sounds right. (Unless he’s already decided one way or the other: never leaving, got to get to MSG, got to team up with Jay-Z, whatever…)

    “Add in a second player at near-maximum (in other words, a good player but not a superstar),”

    Another point of contention that I, as a Knicks fan, have with Coon: Wade is a superstar. Bosh is much more of a superstar than anyone in Cleveland. Is Coon speculating that the Knicks won’t have room for two max offers? The biggest trump card the Knicks have, in my opinion, is Wade/Bosh. If LeBron calls one of them up to say meet me in NY to play for the Knicks and they say yes… that’s a huge game changer.

    I would also be interested to get an expert opinion on how likely sign-and-trades for LeBron and/or Wade are if it’s obvious they’re leaving anyway… Knicks could offer them that 6th year, but would have to part with some precious resources (of which they currently have few).

    “They mortgaged their future by trading their 2010 and 2012 first-round draft picks… It would seem that James’s prospects are better in Cleveland than in New York.”

    Really depressing…

  7. “If LeBron calls one of them up to say meet me in NY to play for the Knicks and they say yes… that’s a huge game changer.”

    And unless he’s really worried about getting a 6th year and/or prefers Miami, I don’t see why Bosh would say no to that.

  8. “why Bosh would say no to that.”

    There is actually much much more pressure on Bosh and Wade to re-sign with their old teams (and not come to NY) than there is on LeBron.

    Coon says that a player’s team can make an “offer of $125.5 million over six years, versus the $96.1 million over five years that other teams can offer.”

    (1) Wade is older and more injury prone than the other two.

    (2) Bosh has his critics and if all of a sudden he starts getting the Antoine Walker wrap around the league, he could miss out on $30 million as well.

    (3) LeBron just needs to stay healthy. If he signs with the Knicks and sustain a major injury in the next fiver years, he’ll sign for enough money in that 6th year.

    Now as far as convincing Bosh that he can do the same…

  9. Yeah, I didn’t like how Coon just dismissed the notion of New York being a better draw, media-wise.

    We don’t know that it is, but it surely is important enough to note as a possible factor rather than dismissing it out of hand.

    Otherwise, I think Coon’s piece is strong. Clearly, Cleveland is a better fit if winning a championship in the next couple of years is Lebron’s ultimate goal. Then again, Shaq had a lot better chance of winning a title in the next few years following 1996 if he stayed in Orlando, but he chose to go to Los Angeles, where it took him three years before he won his first title – that still seemed to work out for him, ya know?

  10. When we do meet with Lebron, our presentation needs to blow him away… I would love to be there and see what the knicks bring to the table .

    I think our chances are more then 50 / 50 being that he had a chance to sign an extension and decided to test the waters. If that was the case back then when we only had room for Him, how could our chances not have grown? When he declined to sign the extension, we had the same team , now we have room for a superstar side kick.

    He keeps on saying that the chances of winning will be the main factor in where he decides to sign. Right now , Clevlend clearly has a better team, however, when Walsh presents to him in July , he needs to show him that the Knicks have a better long term future for him ( a side kick next year and another the year after)

    He also needs to blow him away with extras only New York has to offer, ie: Mecca stage , Yankees , Nike, Dantoni? anything else?

    That Presentation has to kick ass.

  11. god, that NY Times article is worthless. I have a couple of good friends working there, but it’s embarrassing how poor the level of journalism is there these days. that piece could have been written by most of us in a half hour, and could have been written last summer.

  12. I’ve found that when it comes to the NBA, the Times tends to write more for a casual fan than anything else, so I think that’s how that piece was intended, and as a piece to fill in a casual fan, I think it worked well.

  13. Yeah, actually, not that great a piece. Maybe part II will be better. Listening to Bill Simmons talking about adjusted +/- is painful. I don’t even like the stat but he clearly doesn’t understand how it’s supposed to work and has it confused with regular +/-. The leading hoops commentator in America…

  14. Yeah, actually, not that great a piece. Maybe part II will be better. Listening to Bill Simmons talking about adjusted +/- is painful. I don’t even like the stat but he clearly doesn’t understand how it’s supposed to work and has it confused with regular +/-. The leading hoops commentator in America…

    While I thought the piece was good (for a casual look at the various contenders for Lebron), if you didn’t like Part 1, you definitely won’t like Part 2.

  15. “I’ve found that when it comes to the NBA, the Times tends to write more for a casual fan than anything else”

    no one needs that in the age of the internet. provide real insight or don’t do it at all.

  16. DS,

    The conventional wisdom is that Bosh doesn’t like Toronto. No idea if that’s true, but in the sense that he plays in a city/country most US born NBA players don’t seem to like, he is double taxed (I believe), and his team is a mediocre playoff team with little probability of getting much better soon* I think he’s the most likely to leave. Could always do a sign-and-trade involving Lee in which Toronto actually gets the better deal directly, but the Knicks get the better overall deal since it brings LeBron in.

    Bosh has his critics (and his defense is easy to criticize), but I don’t think he has much chance of becoming Antoine Walker. Walker was a pathetically inefficient shooter: Through Walker’s 7th season and up to this season for Bosh (his 7th). Bosh’s TS% is almost 100 points higher and his Win Shares are twice Toine’s.
    I actually saw Toine in Vegas last year… didn’t look so hot.

    *They’re capped out and DeRozan is the only guy who is really on the rise. Colangelo is a very good exec who could continue to improve them incrementally or make one brilliant move, but Bosh can probably instantly end up in a better situation this offseason. Wade also is on a mediocre team, but Miami’s at least got tons of cap space to *potentially* support him.

  17. I guess my point is more that in my opinion it would be Bosh’s best move, and less that I can’t see why he wouldn’t do it. He can not do it to make more money and/or be THE MAN. However, I would rather be Scottie Pippen and be remembered for winning 6 rings as Robin than be Chris Webber and be remembered as a softy who couldn’t win as Batman.

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