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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Nuggets 120, Knicks 118

To be honest, if before the season started I had known that the Knicks would drop this game, I wouldn’t have been too upset. The Nuggets have been a quality team for a number of seasons, and losing to them on the road would be no great problem. The problem is that I likely would have assumed that the Knicks entered the game with a better record than the 3-7 they sported as they entered the Pepsi Center this evening, a record made even more excruciating by the manner in which the Knicks have lost. Tonight’s loss was the Knicks’ fifth by five points or less, which doesn’t include the 21 pt blown lead in the game against Minnesota. The team is proving that it is good enough to make the game close, but also that they are still that play or two away from getting over the hump. Down by eleven points with just over six minutes left, the Knicks made up the difference in three minutes to tie the game at 109. From that point on, however, the Knicks missed six of their last nine shots, with only a Raymond Felton(19 pts 11 ast) three-pointer with one second left bringing the margin back to within two points. Quick thoughts from the box score:

  • If there was a positive to be taken away from tonight’s game, it was the continued emergence of Landry Fields into a bona fide starting guard in the NBA. Count me as among the optimists when it comes to Fields- he’s displayed an excellent ability to drive past his defender and finish at the rim, and his numbers tonight (21 pts on 15 fga and 17 reb) back up the data from the season thus far. Fields is an efficient scorer whom I’d love to see given more opportunities to display his previously-questioned-now-undeniable athleticism.
  • And the loser tonight? That distinction must belong to Roger Mason Jr., who managed an astonishing +/- of -11 in only six minutes of playing time. Mason looks nothing like the shooting guard who fearlessly fired three-pointers on San Antonio Squads earlier in the decade. His minutes could almost certainly be better divvied up between Fields and Bill Walker, giving Mason a nice seat next to Eddy Curry.
  • On the Nuggets side, rumored Knick-to-be Carmelo Anthony scored 26 points, requiring 21 shots to do so and turning the ball over five times. I leave it to you to decide if you’d be excited to trade for him.
  • Wilson Chandler contributed five blocked shots, keeping his average at an incredible 2.3 per game and putting him in the top ten in blocks per game in the NBA this season. Those critical of Ill Will’s efficiency may have been pleasantly surprised by his 23 points on 16 attempts, although one would like to see him corral more than one rebound.
  • Finally, Gallo’s shooting woes continued (6-19), though he did shoot 7-8 from the stripe to give him 21 pts.

All in all, the loss tonight puts pressure on the Knicks to take a game from the Kings in Arco Arena this Wednesday. If the Knicks are to truly be considered a playoff team in the East, it’s the type of game they need to win, not only to add a W to the win-loss column, but also to stop what is now a six-game losing streak.

70 comments on “Nuggets 120, Knicks 118

  1. latke

    “If there was a positive to be taken away from tonight’s game, it was the continued emergence of Landry Fields into a bona fide starting guard in the NBA.”

    The Denver commentator compared Fields to Josh Childress, which to me might be the best comparison i’ve heard so far. They’re both highly efficient and athletic guards who rarely force shots. They both also rebound very well for their position and are decent low volume 3pt shooters.

    Hey, if I had to pick a way to lose, I’d much prefer tonight’s loss — a result of simply missing a lot of shots — both free throws and open Js — that we should normally make, than what some of the other recent losses have come as a result of — inconsistent effort and poor decision-making.

    I’m not saying we made great decisions tonight, but I saw significant improvements in ball movement, along with consistently solid defense. Billups and anthony were a combined 12/33 (36%) from the field. We also shut down the nascent Aaron Afflalo, holding him to 7 points on 1 of 4 shooting. Obviously the fouls were a big problem, and I think there were a lot of non-calls that could have gone against the knicks, but again, this was an improved overall effort. Harrington and Forbes burned us badly, but I’d rather have them taking the shots (especially forbes) than Anthony or Billups.

    I’m going to pick the knicks to win tomorrow night. Golden State will be a big challenge though, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we get blown out. Hopefully, we can recover against the Clippers and go home with some sense of optimism.

  2. nicos

    Hey man, Give Chandler his proper due- he was averaging 2.3 blocks coming in to this one- now he’s at 2.55 (good for 5th in the league)- shades of the Human Eraser!!

    And it’s hard to be encouraged by a team shooting 9-31 from 3 but most of those were wide open looks- if the Knicks can’t start knocking those down- specifically Douglas & Gallo- it’s going to be a long year. On the plus side, they did stop jacking up threes and started running about as close to a motion offense as you’ll see them run- lots of hard cuts and not just by Fields- and for one night at least, you can’t argue that Felton couldn’t get them quality shots. Of course it helped that Denver’s help defense was almost non-existent.

    And aside from the awful shooting from 3, a good game for Gallo- active on D and consistently hit the boards. On offense he moved the ball well and continued to get to the line even though his shot wasn’t falling.

  3. Brian Cronin

    The annoying thing about Gallo is that he seemed to get up for this game. What the heck, dude, why do you need to “get up” for games at all? Every game should be treated like this one, not just because you remember your back and forth with ‘Melo last year!

  4. crazchino

    btw, was it wrong of me to expect the knicks to be 6-3 going into this game? everything after the 4th game seemed pretty winnable. philli, minni, houston, the bucks, the wizards, gs…

  5. Frank O.

    I wrote this last night before the game started:

    This is one of those games where the Knicks could play very tough and lose to a better team.
    I’m f-ing tired or moral victories…

    But again, it’s early and this is a new team

    As a result I crashed at 10:50 or so because I was tired and had a sense it would be frustrating as hell.

    Having said that Fields was fantastic. Now the league will begin to adjust to him. Curious to see how he reacts to more attention.
    Didn’t he D up Carmello last night?

  6. Mike Kurylo

    Some more notes:

    Goat of the game was Felton who turned the ball over out of bounds on the inbounds pass with the Knicks ability to tie and seconds left. Alan Hahn and I both agree he misses open players way too often.

    Carmelo Anthony didn’t play well down the stretch, almost costing his team the game.

    Landry Fields can get up for rebounds. Took one away from Wilson Chandler last night. But he’s like an early David Lee – needs someone to get him the ball in the right spot. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, since that often forces players to take bad shots.

    On one play, the Knicks had a 2-3 break. Gallo stopped to take the pull-up three, but was two feet over the line. Bad because he should have taken the action to the rim (he settles from outside too much). Worse because he should have held the ball and setup the half court offense. He really needs to start knocking down his threes, although he does well enough drawing fouls and hustling here & there.

    Amar’e hit another 4q three pointer. Maybe the Knicks should regularly feature him from downtown, since no one else can hit them.

  7. Brian Cronin

    I always thought Harrington was a cool guy, but boy, that Daily News article sure did him no favors. That was straight out of grade school. “A lot of guys think Gallo is teacher’s pet. Not me, though! I liked him. I would always tell people, ‘Hey! I don’t care if you all hate him and think the team makes him seem like he’s better than the rest of us! I like him!’”

  8. jaylamerique

    does anyone else get the sense that Azu isnt coming back anytime soon or at all. i mean theres been no reports regarding his injury. the guys been out for almost a year and yet we haven’t heard whether or he not he is practicing with the team yet.

  9. Frank

    I will choose to call this a moral victory. Denver is a very solid western conference playoff team that has already beaten the Lakers this year. Not to keep bashing Gallo but if he just hits the wide wide wide open shots he’s supposed to, we win this game. If we shoot even a little better than horribly from the line, we win this game.

  10. Frank

    Mike Kurylo: Some more notes:Goat of the game was Felton who turned the ball over out of bounds on the inbounds pass with the Knicks ability to tie and seconds left.

    I think it’s pretty tough to call Felton the “goat of the game” when he went off for nearly a triple-double- 19pts, 11 assists vs. just 1 TO, 8 rebounds, a steal, and a block on a 1-game TS of 55. I think I even saw him run the PnR decently a few times.

    I think “goats of the game” should go to Douglas and Mason, who combined for a -22 in 22 total minutes, and to Gallo, who continues to miss just totally wide open looks when no one is standing within 5 feet of him. And to Amare for missing 5 out of 8 FTs.

  11. Ted Nelson

    Would be nice to see the Knicks hire a new shooting coach or something…

    jaylamerique: we haven’t heard whether or he not he is practicing with the team yet.  

    If he’s not practicing with the team and is still rehabbing his knee, it’s not exactly news-worthy… I have no idea what is going on, but I’m not ready to jump to any conclusions.

    Brian Cronin: The annoying thing about Gallo is that he seemed to get up for this game. What the heck, dude, why do you need to “get up” for games at all? Every game should be treated like this one

    I don’t think that’s really fair… He’s been playing well all season and has improved what he set out to improve as far as explosiveness: rebounding and getting to the hole/line a lot more. His shots haven’t been falling, and they didn’t fall again tonight. Usually he’s been responding by taking less shots, but tonight he just kept jacking them up. Maybe he just decided to break out of his slump himself (and failed), but maybe a coach or someone planted the bug in his head that just because he misses a few 3s doesn’t mean he should stop shooting them (which unfortunately didn’t really work out, but in principle could).

    Mike Kurylo: he settles from outside too much

    When his 3-pt shot goes in at it’s career rate I wouldn’t call it settling… If he makes 4-10 from 3 or even 3-10, one of those two being what you would expect on an average night of his career, the Knicks might win that game. This season his shot is off, but in 3 of the 4 games before last night be averaged 2.67 3PA per game, so he wasn’t settling too much. I think he’s doing what he can to bust this slump by getting to the basket. He’s second on the team in FTA/36 by a good margin (taken 57 FTAs and 59 3PAs) and very efficient when he does go inside. My biggest problem (besides his shots not falling) is when he tries jumpers and his feet aren’t set, because by my count he’s about 0-infinity on those…

    Basically, if he were hitting 23/59 (39%) from 3 I think we’d all be thrilled with his season (59% TS%, 18.4 pts/36) and the Knicks would have won at least another game or two. And let’s not forget that the difference between that and the 18/59 that he is from 3 on the season is only 5 made 3P… 0.45 3P per game. It does seem like he’s in a pretty big and insurmountable slump, but it’s a really small sample. He has a scorching hot 7/10 night (or 2 3-5 nights) from 3 and he’s up to 36%.

  12. Mike Kurylo

    Ted Nelson: Mike Kurylo: he settles from outside too much

    When his 3-pt shot goes in at it’s career rate I wouldn’t call it settling…

    Neither would I. Settling is when he has a 3 on 2 break and he pulls up for a long two. He draws enough fouls, so he should go to the rack more.

  13. ess-dog

    I mean, watching that game, you have to admit that this is a much better group of players than last year. The athleticism is actually pretty amazing (Gallo being below average at his position but not much.)
    Maybe there’s a way this team can abandon the three and be more like the Thunder who are dead last in three point percentage at .253 but they take ten less a game than the Knicks. They’re also strangely last in assists, yet they’re 6-4 (having a guy named Durant doesn’t hurt I guess.) But they are a young team like us, so I think the example makes sense. So how are they winning?
    Well first of all they’re 1st in ft%- always nice. And they’re good at not turning the ball over. Basic stuff.
    I mean we’re 1st in blocks, 8th in rebounds! We clearly need to tighten up our team defense, but we have great potential on defense.
    I think if we just stop the turnovers and hit our free throws and stop shooting wild threes (aka play smart basketball) we could win a lot of games.

  14. chrisk06811

    To number 7: I’m not sure I want Al Harrington to give me a view of team culture and morale.

    To Felton haters: He had 1 TO all game. He almost had a tripple double. If we hit a few more shots, he has a tripple double. Your assists suffer when you pass to guys who miss. He hit 2 of his 4 threes. He had as many O rebounds as our starting center and forwards combined. He blocked a shot.

    How is it we didn’t sign Earl Barron, who had a great last month for us last year? Our 2 C’s combined for zero pts and 4 rebounds last night.

  15. jaylamerique

    chrisk06811: To number 7: I’m not sure I want Al Harrington to give me a view of team culture and morale. To Felton haters: He had 1 TO all game. He almost had a tripple double. If we hit a few more shots, he has a tripple double. Your assists suffer when you pass to guys who miss. He hit 2 of his 4 threes. He had as many O rebounds as our starting center and forwards combined. He blocked a shot.How is it we didn’t sign Earl Barron, who had a great last month for us last year? Our 2 C’s combined for zero pts and 4 rebounds last night.  (Quote)

    the same reason that no one else signed him after last season. he’s just not that good. i truly believe that teams that have nothing to play for are going through the motions at that point of the season, so i dont trust his numbers from the end of the year.

  16. jaylamerique

    ess-dog: I mean, watching that game, you have to admit that this is a much better group of players than last year. The athleticism is actually pretty amazing (Gallo being below average at his position but not much.)Maybe there’s a way this team can abandon the three and be more like the Thunder who are dead last in three point percentage at .253 but they take ten less a game than the Knicks. They’re also strangely last in assists, yet they’re 6-4 (having a guy named Durant doesn’t hurt I guess.) But they are a young team like us, so I think the example makes sense. So how are they winning?Well first of all they’re 1st in ft%- always nice. And they’re good at not turning the ball over. Basic stuff.I mean we’re 1st in blocks, 8th in rebounds! We clearly need to tighten up our team defense, but we have great potential on defense.I think if we just stop the turnovers and hit our free throws and stop shooting wild threes (aka play smart basketball) we could win a lot of games.  (Quote)

    that team is a real mystery. i mean durant isnt shooting as well as he normal does, they cant really space the floor because they lack shooters. they dont have a good enough passer to make their offense work and their defense is pretty bad. yet they have a winning record. how does that even happen and why cant that happen with the knicks

  17. dubisaweapon

    I’m still depressed about these guys losing a sixth game in a row, but to my mind the performance from last night was MUCH improved over their no-heart, no-hustle effort against the Rockets.

    At home against Houston, the Knicks looked downright anemic and uninspired. That was far from the case last night, with Felton relentlessly pushing the pace on offense and Landry Fields simply killing it. Yes, they missed shots and still made mistakes, etc. but that is what a young team that hasn’t played together much is going to do. Better that then the Isiah-era deja vu on display last Sunday at the Garden.

    That being said, D’Antoni has got to reign in the three-ball until these guys prove they can hit it. Gallo was a perfect case study – he was dreadful from downtown and only became effective when he started getting himself to the line in the 2nd half. Overall, the Knicks took 19 threes in the first half and only 12 in the second, and the change in emphasis definitely helped get them back in this game.

    So yes, another lose but a greatly improved effort. If the Knicks play like this every game, night in and night out, they’re definitely going to improve. And Landry Field is the man.

  18. Ted Nelson

    “Maybe there’s a way this team can abandon the three and be more like the Thunder who are dead last in three point percentage at .253 but they take ten less a game than the Knicks”

    The difference to me is that the Knicks have a bunch of good shooters. It should be a strength if the shots start falling. OKC doesn’t have shooters. Westbrook is really breaking out, which is a key for them as their team defense seems to have fallen off.

    ess-dog: So how are they winning?

    It’s not just the FT%, they are getting to the line more than any other team. Getting to the line a ton and making almost all your FTAs is lethal. They don’t turn it over, but aren’t much better in that department than the Knicks. They’re an average ORebing team. They are actually a really bad shooting team overall, with the 26th eFG% in the league. http://knickerblogger.net/statpage/2011/o_oe.htm

    Knicks’ offense is pretty middle of the pack in everything besides eFG%… the shots have to start falling.

  19. David Crockett

    latke: “If there was a positive to be taken away from tonight’s game, it was the continued emergence of Landry Fields into a bona fide starting guard in the NBA.”The Denver commentator compared Fields to Josh Childress, which to me might be the best comparison i’ve heard so far.They’re both highly efficient and athletic guards who rarely force shots.They both also rebound very well for their position and are decent low volume 3pt shooters.

    Hey, now where have I heard *that* comparison before? :)

    http://knickerblogger.net/nba-post-draft-tradefree-agency-thread/#comment-291490

  20. Ted Nelson

    jaylamerique: yet they have a winning record. how does that even happen and why cant that happen with the knicks  

    Check out the stats page here on Knickerblogger for the 4 factors.

    OKC gets to the line more often than any other team and hits a higher % of their FTAs than any other team… It’s not a mystery.

    Mike Kurylo: Neither would I. Settling is when he has a 3 on 2 break and he pulls up for a long two. He draws enough fouls, so he should go to the rack more.  

    But do you think that’s a recurring pattern/big problem? Certainly he could take it inside a lot more, but I’ve been pretty happy this season. For a primary jump shooter he’s been getting to the line a good amount and hitting when he does go inside. At some points during the slump he’s also made a point of passing up open outside shots to penetrate. He still takes a lot of jumpers, and maybe he needs to get inside even more…

  21. David Crockett

    Frank:
    …I think “goats of the game” should go to Douglas and Mason, who combined for a -22 in 22 total minutes, and to Gallo, who continues to miss just totally wide open looks when no one is standing within 5 feet of him. And to Amare for missing 5 out of 8 FTs.  

    Anyone else think it’s time to cut bait on RMjr? He seems to be this year’s Roberson. It is (still) reasonable to expect his shooting to improve, but I thought we were getting more of a true combo guard who could run the offense for short stretches even if he wasn’t scoring. Well, even if he starts shooting better–hardly a guarantee–he can’t run the offense. In that sense he’s completely redundant with Douglas and doesn’t warrant enough minutes to shoot himself out of his slump. Short term I’d rather his minutes go to Walker, where we’d get actual improvement in 3 point shooting.

    I wonder if we could coax a guy like Luther Head, who can run the screen roll, from Sacto (once the trade restrictions for both players expire in December)? Their money is similar, as are their career numbers. For its part, Sacto would gain a little size.

  22. ess-dog

    Ted Nelson:

    Certainly he could take it inside a lot more, but I’ve been pretty happy this season. For a primary jump shooter he’s been getting to the line a good amount and hitting when he does go inside. At some points during the slump he’s also made a point of passing up open outside shots to penetrate. He still takes a lot of jumpers, and maybe he needs to get inside even more…  

    It’s really strange. Gallo’s shot looks really bad all of a sudden. He seems to fall one way or another on his shot and doesn’t land in the same spot he jumps from – a recipe for bricks. Look at Landry’s outside shot – even though there’s an over-the-top stasis look to it, he makes sure to jump straight up and land in the same spot.
    Maybe Gallo’s trying to avoid contact too much? I would love to see a breakdown of his form from last year vs. his form from this year and really see where the problem lies.

  23. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    (Hey guys: do us a favor and use end-punctuation and capital letters. It’s easier to read!)

  24. ess-dog

    Also, Chandler has broken the average mark for WS/48! He’s at .104 right now and seems to have righted the ship. He’s not overreaching on his offense as much lately and he’s moving the ball much better. And the blocks are pretty awesome.

  25. David Crockett

    Ted Nelson:
    Certainly he could take it inside a lot more, but I’ve been pretty happy this season. For a primary jump shooter he’s been getting to the line a good amount and hitting when he does go inside. At some points during the slump he’s also made a point of passing up open outside shots to penetrate. He still takes a lot of jumpers, and maybe he needs to get inside even more…  

    With Gallo it’s hard to find the right balance. He’s polarizing in the sense that some are perhaps too effusive in their praise while others are overly critical in response. (As always, it’s not the player it’s the emerging story about the player.)

    I think it’s fair to criticize Gallo for settling too much–even in the D’Antoni offense. At the same time, you have to acknowledge that his floor game is developing (especially considering that he’s not what you would call a fluid athlete). He’s knocked down the open jumpers that the offensive design creates for him well enough to warrant focused attention. The league isn’t just gonna let him drift to the weakside for wide open looks anymore. It certainly *appears* that more of his 3p shots are contested this year. And, with Felton, Mozgov, Turiaf, and Randolph on the floor teams can stay with Gallo and still clog up driving lanes for STAT.

    To his credit Gallo is putting the ball on the floor and getting to the line. That must become a more permanent feature of his game. I like the increasing FTAs and boards. I want to see improved ability to convert dribble drives and run the floor for easy baskets.

  26. Ted Nelson

    David Crockett: Anyone else think it’s time to cut bait on RMjr? He seems to be this year’s Roberson.

    The question is who you replace him with. If there’s a better player out there, why not? I’m not sure if there’s a guy of Mason’s (theoretical) value sitting out there or not. Could look at a Dampier or someone with Timo and AR’s struggles (not sure if Dampier wants to sign with a 3-8 team… but he could actually play here if he’s on his game). I don’t know that Mason needs to be getting into games, and if Douglas gets it together Mason might not be playing in games at all. If the Knicks want to replace Mason, they have an option in-house in Rautins. If there’s a guard out there better than both Mason and Rautins… Knicks should probably get on it.

    Luther Head would probably be a marginal improvement over Mason (long-term, obviously been better this season), but I sort of doubt he’d really help that much. He’s got a pretty similar game. Mason’s career ast% is only 12.4%… so I expected him to run the offense like I did Wilson Chandler. Head is only at 16% on his career, though. Maybe he’s improve, I haven’t watched Sacto at all this season. Is it really worth a future pick to get him over Mason, though? I don’t know.

    Nice thing about Mason is that he theoretically has a definite plus skill (3P shooting), plays hard, and will fit into the team concept. Free agents like Alston, Tinsley, Flip Murray, Rashard McCants bring all-around replacement level play, but not necessarily any stand-out skill and some have attitude questions. Other guys like Larry Hughes just have a lot of glaring weaknesses.

    Compared to Roberson, Mason is supposed to be a veteran leader. The Knicks might have been able to find better 5th bigs than Herb Williams towards the end of his career, but he served as sort of a player-coach. Same thing with some other end-of-the-bench guys around the league. I don’t know if Mason is at all valuable in that role or how valuable, but it’s a possibility. When you look back at great/very good teams, they usually tend to have future coaches and execs on their rosters… Maybe it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy (they get hired later because of past success), but but maybe having smart, hard-working guys on roster (even the end of the bench) helps.

  27. Ted Nelson

    David Crockett: It certainly *appears* that more of his 3p shots are contested this year.

    I don’t know what the % is, but he’s missed a whole lot of wide-open ones this season… Again, 5 more makes and he’s at 39%…

    David Crockett: And, with Felton, Mozgov, Turiaf, and Randolph on the floor teams can stay with Gallo and still clog up driving lanes for STAT.

    In fairness, this sentence works as well or better: And, with Duhon, Hughes, Jefferies, and Hill/Barron/Bender/T-Mac/House/Darko on the floor teams can stay with Gallo and still clog up driving lanes for LEE…

    David Crockett: I want to see improved ability to convert dribble drives and run the floor for easy baskets.  

    I don’t think the converting is a problem: http://www.82games.com/1011/10NYK9.HTM Getting in there more, could definitely improve. If his shot’s falling he’s a good enough jump shooter that he doesn’t really have to, though.

  28. TDM

    latke: “The Denver commentator compared Fields to Josh Childress, which to me might be the best comparison i’ve heard so far. They’re both highly efficient and athletic guards who rarely force shots. They both also rebound very well for their position and are decent low volume 3pt shooters.”

    I think he is somewhere between Childress and Q Rich. Looking at their respective first year stats, Landry (in limited sampling) is a much more efficient player. Also, at the same age (22), Landry appears to be a better rebounder. However, at 22, Q was in his 3rd season and Childress in his 2nd in the NBA. One distinction is that Childress takes very few 3pt shots. Landry shoots the 3 much more than Childress, but considerably less than Q.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&p1=fieldla01&y1=2011&p2=richaqu01&y2=2003&p3=childjo01&y3=2006

    Regardless, theres a lot to like about this kid.

  29. ess-dog

    Also, I can’t believe there are two teams BEHIND us in the atlantic and we’re only a game behind NJ…

  30. David Crockett

    Ted Nelson:
    The question is who you replace him with. If there’s a better player out there, why not? I’m not sure if there’s a guy of Mason’s (theoretical) value sitting out there or not.

    Can’t move him until sometime in December regardless. Short-term his minutes probably oughta go to Walker, who theoretically brings what Mason brings.

    I’m not suggesting it was dumb to take a shot on him. But some of the logic for signing him has vanished with Fields’ development and the fact that Douglas is at least as likely to regain his shooting touch as Mason. Even if he were playing better he’s something of a fifth wheel. As you note, Rautins may be a better in-house option anyway. There’s probably better value out there for that spot and Mason still has some theoretical value.

  31. jaylamerique

    ess-dog: Also, I can’t believe there are two teams BEHIND us in the atlantic and we’re only a game behind NJ…  

    the crazier thing is that we’re two games out of 8th seed.

  32. Caleb

    If we win two of the last few games we’re almost at .500. You can’t sweat one game here or there. (as a fan, that is).

    OT: Tony Parker’s wife is ditching him. Guess she didn’t like that extension in San Antone, or whatever it was he did to celebrate.

  33. totti

    I’m the one who wants to fire the coach and GM, now.
    But to be honest, i’ve seen some positive signs in vs nuggets game.
    The most important, they seemed to play as a team.This is the most important thing considering that the roster is so awful minded that you should call Einstein to find a balance.
    Think, of the final five on the court, three, fields gallo and will, are similar player, one is a big man, fantastic when given the ball in movement towards the basket but average in post up moves and at the elbow on one to one dribble, and as a cerise on the cake, the pg who is more of a sg in halfcourt sets. We pay all of this, in these cursed final stretches when the team lacks a true big man to anchor the situation, offensively and defensively wise. Thanks, DW for this unbalanced roster.
    So yesterday we have seen for the very first time fields gallo and will collaborate on offense. We also noted felton and stat paying more attention to their plays and limiting turnovers. All of a sudden will’s shots were balanced, gallo put some heart in his game which we were used to see last year and fields played as a veteran.
    The lack of a strong and nasty and productive big man is unacceptable, though and IMO that’s the main reason we don’t win close games. How can you think that a player not starting in russia, can be a solid nba center? At least and i say at least, it will take a lot of time.
    Anyway, i have to consider all these positive signs and i retire the proposal of firing dantoni.Let’s see if we can win one or two before coming back to mgm.

  34. Ted Nelson

    David Crockett: Can’t move him until sometime in December regardless.

    Could cut him and bring in a free agent… The way he’s played both last season and this season I can’t imagine there’s much of a trade market, but obviously I don’t know. Would probably take an injury situation for a team to be looking for a semi-proven veteran, and even then how much does that team trade to get Mason and his FG% of 8 over a Rafer Alston/Tinsley/Flip Murray/Rashad McCants or other free agent out of the D-League? Not worth even a conditional 2nd rounder to me…

    David Crockett: I’m not suggesting it was dumb to take a shot on him.

    I know. But given his likely trade value and the alternatives it might be wise to see if he comes around. It might not. I don’t know.

    David Crockett: Even if he were playing better he’s something of a fifth wheel.

    But as far as 5th (6th if/when Azu’s back) guards go, how much better can you hope for than Mason’s career. Obviously you can hope for infinitely more than he’s provided this season. Luther Head this season has provided a whole lot more in a similar type of role, for example. On their careers, though, Head is only slightly better. I’m open to the idea, but I don’t know how much better another 5th guard option would be and even if your 5th guard is good in his 10 mpg, how much does that help the team? Do you give up a pick for a guy whose ceiling is 5th guard?

    David Crockett: Rautins may be a better in-house option anyway.

    If he is, he should get his chance at some point.

  35. Mulligan

    Really curious about people’s take on the disconnect between the stats and the performance. A number of Knicks have decent PERS, Felton is having a great year by the numbers, our defensive ratings are about where we’d like them to be. It seems like the main thing that’s going wrong is we’re missing our 3′s. Is that really it? If so, that’s pretty encouraging, since that’s got to come back at some point.

  36. Ted Nelson

    totti: Thanks, DW for this unbalanced roster.

    I find that unfair and pretty baseless. This roster is actually pretty well balanced. There are guys at every spot. They’re solid defensively and their offense should be solid when their shots start to fall. I would urge some rationality and patience…

  37. Ted Nelson

    Mulligan: It seems like the main thing that’s going wrong is we’re missing our 3?s. Is that really it? If so, that’s pretty encouraging, since that’s got to come back at some point.  

    Yeah, Mulligan, I agree with this take. Check out the 4 factors on the Knickerblogger stats page if you haven’t (team offense/defense). Knicks are pretty middle of the pack in the 3 factors besides shooting (eFG%). It’s not listed there, but their FT% is also middle of the pack. The big problem overall is shots not falling. Granted, I don’t know how those numbers vary between wins and losses…

  38. Caleb

    In the big picture, the Knicks are 21st in offensive efficiency, 11th on the defensive side. They’re -2 points per 100 posessions – bad, but not awful – they’re playing a little bit better than the record.

    I agree with Ted, a lot of it is just the law of averages – they’re playing a strategy with high variability (lots of 3s) and lately have been missing.

    Also, it is a very young team. Not to mention just getting used to each other, and I definitely expect them to improve as the year goes on. There are some troubling issues – D’Antoni favoring system over players’ strengths, like we argued about yesterday – but I will be pretty surprised if they don’t reach respectability this season, if not better. The roster is 10 times better than last year and actually a pretty good mix of skills.

  39. Caleb

    To add…
    The Knicks are 12th in avoiding turnovers (nice job, Ray!) despite Stoudemire’s problems… they’re 21st in rebound rate… 21st in TS%.

    Here are the numbers that really jump out:
    - 2nd in 3-point attempts
    - 26th in 3-point percentage.

    I don’t think that will keep up. Based on career #s, they can put above-average shooters at 3 positions. I too would like to see more of Walker. I didn’t expect anything from Mason and that’s what we’ve gotten. I’d also like to see more Randolph, maybe a lot more, in place of Timo.

    #

    On defense, the Knicks are 6th at causing turnovers. if you adjust for pace, they’re closer to average, but that’s probably the biggest difference from last year.

    But it’s hard to see how they’ve stayed above average on D. They’re 26th in opponent FG% and also 26th in the number of FT attempts allowed. They’re 16th in opponent 3-point %.

  40. nicos

    Mike Kurylo: Some more notes:Goat of the game was Felton who turned the ball over out of bounds on the inbounds pass with the Knicks ability to tie and seconds left.

    Hard to Make Felton the goat- Fields’ pass was at least as much to blame on that play- and not only was the pass bad, even if Felton had come up with it, he’d have been standing right on the line with a player right on him and another right there to trap- doubtful the Knicks would have gotten a good shot on the possession even if he had come up with it. Compounded by the fact that he could have gotten the ball to Gallo at the top of the key which would have given the Knicks a lot more options at getting up a good shot than getting the ball to Felton in the corner. As for the rest of the game- the Knicks got great shots all night and Felton’s TS% was fine- on defense it’s not like the Knicks were getting killed by penetration- Harrington hurt them in iso’s (both Chandler & Gallo had trouble with him) and some guy named Forbes hit everything he put up. You can’t put this one on Felton. If I had to put it on anyone I’d pick Amar’e- those missed free throws really hurt and I thought he was pretty passive on defense in the second half.

  41. Owen

    Interesting take on the game via True Hoop if no one posted it…

    http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/21733/knicks-win-everything-but-basketball-game

    “They made more field goals. They made more 3-pointers. They had more rebounds. They had more assists. They had fewer turnovers. And they had more blocked shots.

    The Elias Sports Bureau told us that the last 266 times a team outperformed its opponent in all of those statistical categories, that team won the game.

    Except the Knicks didn’t win. They lost again, 120-118, their sixth straight defeat, this one starting a tough West Coast road trip.

    The last team to lose a game despite meeting all of the criteria listed above were the Cleveland Cavaliers, who lost to the Toronto Raptors, 95-87 on November 22, 2006, a game Cleveland lost despite those edges, and 30 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists, and four steals from LeBron James.”

  42. Ted Nelson

    nicos: Fields’ pass was at least as much to blame on that play- and not only was the pass bad

    He tried to catch it with one hand. He dropped it. You just can’t make a lazy one handed attempt, I believe his eyes were on the defender. It’s like a receiver who gets hit in the hands with a pass and is looking up-field so drops it. That’s not on the QB, it’s on the receiver. Maybe Fields had another man open, but since Gallo was 2-10 from 3 and is 30% on the season, maybe D’Antoni specifically told him to get it to Felton.

    nicos: doubtful the Knicks would have gotten a good shot on the possession even if he had come up with it.

    They would have gotten A shot, which is better than no shot…

  43. nicos

    Ted Nelson: He’s been playing well all season

    Really?? Going in to last night’s game his rebound % was exactly the same as last year- I’d say his effort on the glass has been pretty inconsistent. His assist rate was actually down from last year- and the worst on the team! And you can make the argument that if he’d just hit a couple more three pointers… but if he’d have gone 2-4 instead of 4-4 against Chicago and 3-9 instead of 4-9 against Washington then he’d be shooting 26% from three. The fact is he’s shot the three at about exactly the same rate as Chandler- poorly. I’d say his defensive effort has been inconsistent as well- other than taking a charge every now and then about the only time I’ve noticed him is when he’s been slow on a rotation or failed to get back on defense (which has happened too much)- he hasn’t been bad but he certainly hasn’t been much of a plus either. He’s done one thing well and that’s get to the line and convert once getting there and he’s done that very well. But I don’t think that’s nearly enough to say he’s been playing well. I thought last night he played about as well as he’s played all season (at least after an awful first quarter) despite the struggles shooting- really active on both ends of the floor. If he plays that way every night and the shots start falling (and you have to think they will eventually) then maybe he does make the big step forward everyone hoped he’d make this season.

  44. totti

    Ted Nelson says:
    November 17, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    totti: Thanks, DW for this unbalanced roster.

    I find that unfair and pretty baseless. This roster is actually pretty well balanced. There are guys at every spot. They’re solid defensively and their offense should be solid when their shots start to fall. I would urge some rationality and patience…

    Ted, none will be happier than me, if knicks were a winning team. At least i won’t stay up every night for nothing…….

    Who came first? The egg or the hen? Who’s to blame then? MD or DW?
    DW has got more than two years to fill 1 and 5 position and he failed miserably. Felton is more of an undersized combo guard, excellent on defense and transition, mediocre as “chef d’orchestre”.
    Mozgov is nothing of a starter nba center and Turiaf, very injury prone, is what he is. The choice of Stat worsen the situation because of his lack of interior presence in defense and offense. A garnett like PF would be more useful to the team.
    Another lack was the 2 position. We can only dream about a player like Terry. We have TD.
    In the sf section we have an abundance, though……
    We are not solid defensively, simply because we don’t own the paint.
    We did allow 120pt to nuggets. You know why we have so many blocks? Simply because legions of players come to our paint to attack the rim and because our bigs always try to block instead of defend, conceding fouls and ft.
    It is only correct to say that new players have defensive skills.
    As for shots disgrace, again DW made a brilliant job in not providing excellent shooters among new arrivals, apart from injured azubuike.

    At the end of the day it all depends from expectations:
    if yours are the ones of a nearly 35-40 team, which seem already a mirage, you are correct to say to stay patient
    if yours are the ones of a strong and well coached team that can be contender with another max, well, the reality is under your eyes.

  45. Caleb

    A 40-win team + a real star player = a 50+ win team.

    Given the Knicks’ cap flexibility, and the youth of the roster, I would say that winning 40 this year would make them a good bet to go deep in the playoffs in 2011-2012 or 2012-2013.

  46. Caleb

    @52 It’s generally considered difficult to sign a star center, especially when your team can only spend the mid-level exception, which has been the Knicks’ situation for seven years. Unless you think they should have given a max deal to Tyson Chandler instead of Amare. Mozgov on the cheap still looks good to me.

    Felton has his problems, but was there anyone better available? That’s a rhetorical question. And, his deal expires the summer CP3 and Williams go on the market.

    I have a hard time being critical of Walsh the past three years. No one’s perfect – wouldn’t you like a Mulligan on trading Jeffries to Sacramento a year and a half ago? (if that was really an option) But he’s done a great job, IMO.

  47. nicos

    Ted Nelson:
    It’s like a receiver who gets hit in the hands with a pass and is looking up-field so drops it. That’s not on the QB, it’s on the receiver.

    I’d say that pass was more like a fastball high and outside when the catcher was expecting a change up low and inside- Felton still needed to come up with it (and of course any shot is better than no shot) but that was not a good pass- poorly placed and too hard- so Fields has to get some of the blame though maybe less than Felton.

  48. Nick C.

    I don’t know if its funny or pathetic (on their part) but its liek two differennt teams readng the commentary here even from critics and over on the “land of the stupid” @ 1050 and FAN. Here even the worst critics have valid points based on what has gone on…there everyoneen is going on and on about the play no defense which is really the least of the teams issues. It was almost comically stupid this morning on 1050 with Rucco/Lundberg and they only add to the inasanity.

    I agree with the point Caleb or someone made that missing way way too many open 3s is the biggest culprit. Think about it there is no more Amare get the ball at the top of the key gripes from anyone. There are changes being made but when the play (and really all plays IMO) works as designed in that a “proven” shooter has a wide open shot and they consistently miss…well.

    On the last play, it seemed Fields rushed and Felton did not exactly have super hands but I’m not sure getting, running to throwing the ball in the corner is the ideal play…makes it easy to trap etc.

  49. ess-dog

    Nick C.: I don’t know if its funny or pathetic (on their part) but its liek two differennt teams readng the commentary here even from critics and over on the “land of the stupid” @ 1050 and FAN.Here even the worst critics have valid points based on what has gone on…there everyoneen is going on and on about the play no defense which is really the least of the teams issues.It was almost comically stupid this morning on 1050 with Rucco/Lundberg and they only add to the inasanity.I agree with the point Caleb or someone made that missing way way too many open 3s is the biggest culprit.Think about it there is no more Amare get the ball at the top of the key gripes from anyone.There are changes being made but when the play (and really all plays IMO) works as designed in that a “proven” shooter has a wide open shot and they consistently miss…well.On the last play, it seemed Fields rushed and Felton did not exactly have super hands but I’m not sure getting, running to throwing the ball in the corner is the ideal play…makes it easy to trap etc.  

    Michael Kay is ripping the Knicks right now. Killing Gallo, calling him a bust. Killing D’Antoni for the rotation, body language, letting his bad shooters loose, not adjusting to the bad shooting by reining it in, and not playing Randolph. Many of the points are hard to argue against.

  50. Ted Nelson

    “Who came first? The egg or the hen? Who’s to blame then? MD or DW?”

    This is why I mentioned patience. It’s still early in the season… They were 3-2 at one point and lost 6 since. They hit some shots and win some games and maybe they’re in business. They keep losing at we can start talking about who to fire. I like the roster, though. It’s not great, but it’s an improvement over the last 10 years and young.

    totti: A garnett like PF would be more useful to the team.

    Or ANY team… He’s a HOF player and one of the best players of the last 20 years… That’s like saying a Tim Duncan-like PF or LeBron-like SF or Hakeem-like C or CP3-like PG would help the team… Obviously.

    totti: We are not solid defensively, simply because we don’t own the paint.

    Yes, they are. I know English is not your first language, but there is a difference between “solid” and “amazing.” By “solid” I mean better than average. In terms of points allowed per possession, they are solid. Above average. If they “owned the paint” they would be a lot better than solid. It was not realistic to *expect* a contender in a couple of years. It could have happened, but it would have been a best case scenario.

    totti: We did allow 120pt to nuggets.

    Are you familiar with the concept of possessions?

    totti: if yours are the ones of a nearly 35-40 team, which seem already a mirage, you are correct to say to stay patient
    if yours are the ones of a strong and well coached team that can be contender with another max, well, the reality is under your eyes.  

    I don’t really understand what you’re saying, but everyone’s expectations going into this season were about 41 wins. .500. That, as Caleb says, is a team that could be a contender with one big acquisition or a few smaller ones.

    totti: Another lack was the 2 position. We can only dream about a player like Terry. We have TD.

    A. There’s that one rookie named Landry Fields who is playing about as well as any rookie in the entire NBA. Not a bad looking 2-man.
    B. I like TD. He’s struggled a bit early this season, but I think he can be every bit as good as Jason Terry. Jason Terry is not exactly Michael Jordan.
    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=1&p1=douglto01&y1=2010&p2=terryja01&y2=2000
    There’s a comparison of TD’s rookie year against Terry’s. TD was better as a rookie. Give him some time. Have some patience.

  51. Owen

    Yeah, just saw it, pretty amazing. How long has this blog been up? And Knicks management is finally coming around to the idea that a little quantitative analysis beyond points scored won’t kill you…

  52. ess-dog

    Mulligan: Whoa, has anyone linked to this Wall Street Journal piece about the Knicks’ use of advanced stats? How long have we been waiting for an article like this?http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704312504575618900811208026.html  

    Awesome. Great to hear D’Antoni say things like this:

    “A lot of people throw out stats without thinking about it and you get a bad rap,” Mr. D’Antoni said. “The teams in Phoenix were always pretty good defensively, but we would score 120 and give up 110, and they’d say ‘Oh, you beat them with your offense,’ But even 110 is pretty good defense because we had so many possessions.’

    I guess you have to at least put some faith in the guy.

  53. dubisaweapon

    Mulligan: Whoa, has anyone linked to this Wall Street Journal piece about the Knicks’ use of advanced stats? How long have we been waiting for an article like this?http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704312504575618900811208026.html  

    This was definitely a great read! I do have to give props to the Journal for regularly taking a more stats-oriented look at a variety of sports — though this is the first time I’ve seen them delve into the world of advanced stats in hoops.

  54. totti

    Ted,

    if you are right, if the roster is talented and balanced, if mike coaches well and gm is an illuminated builder of success,
    well, the knicks hopefully will win 10 out of next 15 games, just to recover 0,500 wins. , DW’ll put a trade by mid february to get melo or whoever to advance knicks to second round and prepare the ground for using the flexibility in summer in order to make the knicks contenders.

    if i’m right, if DW is only good at saving dolan’s money, if he does not get a clue in assembling a logical roster, if dantoni is simply a bad coach without nash,
    well, as you said, Ted, you can only start talking about who fire and who hire.

    As for my boy Gallo: if i had the chance to talk to him, i’d tell him to play at 110%, to play with heart and swagger, because they maybe can trade you, but they pay you millions. React and put bollocks on the court even if your coach buries you in the corner.

  55. Ted Nelson

    Mulligan: Whoa, has anyone linked to this Wall Street Journal piece about the Knicks’ use of advanced stats? How long have we been waiting for an article like this?http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704312504575618900811208026.html  

    Good stuff.

    totti: well, the knicks hopefully will win 10 out of next 15 games, just to recover 0,500 wins.

    That’s pretty ambitious… The goal is .500 for the season, not 1/4 of the way through it. 8 or even 7 of the next 15 and they’re inching towards .500.

    totti: DW’ll put a trade by mid february to get melo or whoever to advance knicks to second round and prepare the ground for using the flexibility in summer in order to make the knicks contenders.

    A. If he’s smart he would sign Melo in the summer rather than give up assets to get him. Or just not sign him at all.
    B. The flexibility and getting a Carmelo Anthony are mutually exclusive. Once you sign Melo, you have no flexibility. If the 2nd round is the best you’re getting with Melo, I’d keep the flexibility.

    totti: if i’m right, if DW is only good at saving dolan’s money, if he does not get a clue in assembling a logical roster

    How long have you been following the NBA? Do you realize how many contenders Donnie Walsh built for nearly 2 decades in Indiana? That he drafted Reggie Miller, Dale Davis, Antonio Davis… Traded for JO and Artest when they were young… It seems really ignorant to say that Donnie Walsh has no clue how to assemble a roster given his history in the NBA.

    totti: if dantoni is simply a bad coach without nash

    You’re Italian, right? You know he coached Treviso before coaching Nash… People over there might have some feel for what kind of a coach he is.
    The fact that he was Italy’s Coach of the Year multiple times, had all that success in Phoenix, and is an Assistant for Team USA probably at least means he’s not totally incompetent.

    Again, patience.

  56. BigBlueAL

    I must say Ted, I am somewhat surprised with your new found love and respect for D’Antoni lol :-)

  57. ess-dog

    I’m curious, if we were drafting today (yes, it’s depressing, I’m looking at Draft Express and it’s not even December yet) what need would we try to fill? I would think Center and PG are the weakest areas, but as of now, it looks like it will be a bad draft for centers and pg’s.
    Kemba Walker is the highest rated pg!

  58. totti

    totti: if i’m right, if DW is only good at saving dolan’s money, if he does not get a clue in assembling a logical roster

    How long have you been following the NBA? Do you realize how many contenders Donnie Walsh built for nearly 2 decades in Indiana? That he drafted Reggie Miller, Dale Davis, Antonio Davis… Traded for JO and Artest when they were young… It seems really ignorant to say that Donnie Walsh has no clue how to assemble a roster given his history in the NBA.

    Ted,
    I became adducted to the nba when gallo was drafted. Of course, the possibility of having nba league pass changed everything. Last year i saw all the knicks games except one: when gallo went one on one with melo in 3rd quarter, sigh…. So as long as i saw games, i’ve become a knicks supporter. I had many hopes, i was excited for the new season, i even went to paris to see them vs min. I even talked to DW, it’s true. You see, mike was my youthness idol as a player and gallo the best ever italian born player. Passion.Love.
    All the stuff that disabled your rationality and raise your expectations.
    No matter how smart was DW in indiana 20 years ago, i’d rather prefere him having been smart in new york since the beginning.

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