Orlando 94 New York 89

Quick notes:

* When Curry had that “and 1” with 2:00 left he actually got emotional and let you a loud yell. While I like seeing an emotion out of Curry that isn’t that sulking/whiney look when he doesn’t get a foul call or any penetrator makes him look bad (was that Dooling or Nelson that made a layup running into his chest?), I’m not too happy with the timing of it. At the time I looked at my roommate and said something to the effect of: “You know what I hate about these Knicks? Everytime they make a shot with under 2 minutes to go in a close game, they act like they just clinched the 7th game of the Finals. It’s way to early in the game to celebrate, and hell it’s way too early in the season to celebrate. Watch they’re going to lose it.”

* I like seeing Collins on the floor more and more these days. But he needs to work on his three point shot in the summer league.

* It was great seeing the one guard lineup. At one point Frye was the small forward. Another time the shooting guard was either Jeffries or Balkman. When Isiah puts these big lineups on the floor they just shut down the middle. I hate to pick on him again, but Eddy Curry is just an awful interior defender. The Knicks look so much better big, because it covers his defensive deficiencies.

And jump all over me for this one, but why doesn’t Jerome James get play in the second half of the game if he does well in the first? While he shot two awful 15 foot mallards yesterday, he played pretty well. James had 6 points in 6 minutes. Sure he gets stupid fouls, but he at least seems interested in the defensive end. If he’s worth 6 minutes in the first half, then why not give him another 6 in the second? I’m not saying prime minutes. But maybe mid-late 3rd for a Curry breather. And before you criticize me for that thought, then answer this question: Why does Malik Rose play only 4 minutes in the first half, then almost 11 in the last quarter? Here is how I envision Rose: comes into the game, pulls the chair out on defense, throws that lob pass for Curry, comes out of the game for good. He’s not a good rebounder (anyone else throw something at the tv, when he let that rebound go between him & Steph?), and I’ve said in the past what a bad low post shooter he is (28% of his close shots get blocked!). I know Frye is shaky in high pressure situations, but I’d rather see him out there to close the game than Rose.

* I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the Knicks need to work on their last second plays. They were down by 3 with 20 seconds, and you have 2 options in that scenario. The first is to get a quick unguarded layup, then quickly foul. The second is to shoot a three. What do the Knicks do? Dribble the ball for half the shot clock looking for an opening, then have the layup blocked to clinch the loss. They looked like a playground team that had stepped on the court together for the first time.

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Mike Kurylo

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

21 thoughts to “Orlando 94 New York 89”

  1. You’re right on all counts.

    As for not playing James in the second half, I once saw an interview where he said that he stiffens up after playing (like he’s not already a stiff) and can’t enter a game again. Could be b.s.

  2. I spent most of last night buried under a mountain of student papers, so I missed the game.

    Some teams are teams of destiny. This team is a team of irony–or ironies. Your post brings two (of many) up to the top of my mind.

    Irony #1: You mention the big lineup. This is a roster that should be able to play a number of different types of lineups based on the opponent. When everyone is healthy NY should be able to throw as many different looks at an opponent as just about any team in the league. But, the difference between a roster that is “flexible” and one that is “mismatched” is basketball IQ. This team just isn’t smart enough to recognize an opponent’s weaknesses in real time and understand how to exploit them.

    Irony #2: Isiah’s philosophy on last second plays is he wants the shot-taker to have the ball in his hands. That’s legit if he recognizes that the FT line is the best option. You’re not going to hit a high percentage of closely guarded shots with the clock winding down. Unfortunately, Crawford and Marbury are a strategic mismatch, as each is as likely to settle for a contested jumper than force the official to make a call. The bitter irony is that the guy best suited to run Thomas’ isolations is Francis. He lives at the FT line and shoots a high percentage. But, Thomas can’t trust him because he requires a minimum 5 dribbles to shoot, and is as likely to turn the ball over as even get off a shot.

  3. Except for the awful free throw shooting I thought the Knicks played hard with what they had – 2/5ths of their starting lineup and their best bench player are missing – and they would have had the win if not for that awful non-call by the refs on goaltending. Even the announcers couldn’t hide their disgust and the refs will probably be quietly fined for it by the league office.

    That said: the ship be sinking.

  4. david

    Re #1 that drives me absolutely bat sheet crazy that the Knicks don’t use their depth and versatility to an advantage. Isiah seems to match what the other team puts out on the floor, not force the other team into a lineup that they might be comfortable with. How many teams can match a Curry-James-Frye frontline? The reason James had a point a minute was due to that lineup. Frye was looking to exploit matchups early as well. On the other end, Balkman & Jeffries at the 2/3 causes size mismatches on both ends of the floor.

    The only time Isiah tends to use a mismatch like this is in the other direction. He had Nate, Marbury, and Collins on the floor late in the game. Why go small with such a poor defensive front court where rebounding is your strength?

  5. maybe they just don’t want to clinch that playoff spot. I cant think of a reason why, It is hard to explain these loses.

  6. I am proud of you, KB. I wanted to blog about the game, but I was way too pissed off. Good work pulling it together.

    Also, am I nuts, or did the Knicks still have two time-outs left at the end of the game?

  7. I don’t understand why NBA teams use isolation for final shot plays. It is so ineffective. If the game is tied I would understand it because the one thing isolation does well is in preventing turnovers. But if you’re down you can’t worry about turning it over, you need to score. So you might as well set up a play with a lot of ball movement and passing so that you know you get the best possible shot. Rather than dribbling down to 5 seconds and then having the ball handler take a bad shot.

  8. The biggest problem with the Knicks over the past 7 games has been the elimination of the chemistry we had FINALLY been starting to build up because of injuries. For the first time in 7 years our chemistry level this season has not been depreciating.
    In a bizarre way the whole talent-level of our team has become larger then the sum of our individual parts, bizarre because in order to reconcile that statement in light of our undeniably large level of individual talent, you have to add in an additional element which takes into account the complete mis-match of talent which mitigates your final pure tally on the individual parts talent when you’re comparing it with the “whole”.
    So the loss of Q, David Lee and Jamal has had a substantially larger and likely fatal (playoffs) impact on the “whole” then the subtraction of those guys individually. Eddy Curry has been hurt the most, our tailor made gameplan revolving around him is extremely sensitive to the kinds of changes in chemistry we have seen with the loss of personnel we have had.
    I view this all as over-whelming evidence as to why we should not be hard on Isiah at all about the last 7 games. The man is not a god damn magician. Most of the analysis on this board for the last 7 games has been beyond hair-splitting.

    Lets try to keep this a little more simple ey?

  9. Not for nothing, T-Mart, but that’s the exact reason Dolan gave Isiah the extension. He essentially said, “If it weren’t for injuries, this would definitely be a playoff team, so I am not even going to pay attention to the rest of the year – Isiah has already shown me that he has built a playoff team.”

  10. Most were saying Jamal going down was THE end for the Knicks this season, including if I recall correctly a lot of people on this blog.

    So add David Lee, who by some accounts (Owen/Berri/not mine) is about the most productive team player in the league, and take Q-Rich off the table, the only reliable 3 point marksman/defender we have (though Steph has been amazing in this regard out of nowhere), and why should we be incensed at Isiah that they’re falling short? It’s not like they gave up against Orlando like they did in games last season – they were intensely in it in the last quarter, played defense, and almost won.

  11. The Knicks lost that game for three reasons: 1. horrendous free throw shooting; 2. bad no-call on D-Howard for goal tending; 3. Nate Robinson.

    If the Knicks could improve their free throw percentage as a team, they would likely have 5-10 more wins. I’m willing to concede that the goal tending was a close-call. But what business does Nate have going to the hole in the final seconds with a shot blocking beast like Howard in his way??? I couldn’t believe my friggin’ eyes.

  12. Shouldn’t you add: 4) up 3 triple team Hedu Turkgolu (?????) who throws to a wide open Jameer Nelson beyond the arc. Tie game. 5) Down 3. Screen. Go under screen. Open look. Down 6. Game over.

  13. TDM – I agree one hundred percent about the foul shooting. What was amazing about that game was that Marbury went 10-11 from the line, and we still shot 62%. Every other Knick missed, well Fast Eddy went 3-4 actually.

    Dan – I agree. You cant really blame Isaiah at this point. Teams are basically only as good as the players they have out on the court. I said at the time that Crawford going down arguably helped the Knicks. The same is certainly not true for Lee and Q, who are rated the best players on the Knicks this season by the WOW.

    Knickerblogger – Who can match a lineup of James – Frye – Curry? Umm…

    Eddy Curry Watch –

    I am sorry Jon, you were right, he did sleep with my sister.

    That was a classic Fast Eddie game. Once again his turnover and rebound totals were the same (4). He also failed to record a block, steal, or assist. It’s the fourteenth time that has happened this season. He now has a seven turnover lead on Iguodala for third place in the league.

    I know you guys dont exactly trust this Win Score business. But I still think its sort of interesting to compare Howard’s win score to Curry’s for this game. I understand its kind of an arbitrary formula, rebounds and steals worth the same as points, etc. But it shows off how important the auxiliary possession statistics can be. Curry scored 17 points, Howard just ten. And Howard committed 6 turnovers, two more than Curry. But he piled up the aux stats. He had four blocks, three steals, five assists, and no personal fouls. He also had 14 rebounds and went 5-7 from the field. That adds up to a huge difference in Win Score.

    Howard WS = 16.5
    Curry WS = 1.5

    Curry 17 pts + 4 rbd – .5x3pf – 4 to – 12 shots – .5 x 4 ft = 1.5

    Howard 10pts + 14rbd + .5 x 4 blks + .5 x 5 ast + 3 stl – 6 turnover – 7 shots – .5x4ft = 16.5

  14. Knicks fans are turning real soft if you aren’t mad as hell that you pay good money for your GM to spend $400 million dollars in 3 years…and you’re still 30-40!!! The east sucks! Everyone has injuries (see: Miami, Houston, Cav’s record without LeBron, etc.), so stop making excuses Isiah, you little wimp! Hit your free throws, play defense, and stop whining about calls!

  15. and “paying good money” assumes that we go to games, I’ve personally been to one in the last two seasons and those seats were free. I’ve been trying to score freebies for the last month or so, but when my friend told me I’d have to pay, I said ‘no thanks’. Dolan’s the one paying for these 30 win teams, not me (although time is money).

    and Miami and Houston both had one healthy superstar when the other went down, we have zero even when the whole team is healthy.

  16. RKade32 – i don’t think you’re 100% right, but I definetly see what you’re saying.

    jon abbey (and to a lesser extent T-Mart), I’ve been reading your posts for a while and you’re a pretty big moron…don’t be sad, it’s just who you are.

  17. Remarkable Craig, nothing proliferates ingeniousness like slapping a moron label onto other people in a completely foundationless and dopey fashion.

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