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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Quick Reaction: Bobcats 118, Knicks 110

Charlotte Bobcats 118 Final
Recap | Box Score
110 New York Knicks
Carmelo Anthony, SF 12-24 FG | 6-6 FT | 6 REB | 5 AST | 32 PTS | -3

Melo forced the issue early, late, and often, although once again the argument can be made that no other real offensive option really existed. Anthony’s foul woes threw team rotations out of sync, and his torrid fourth quarter (20 points — no joke) was once again for naught.

Amare Stoudemire, PF 10-19 FG | 4-5 FT | 12 REB | 0 AST | 25 PTS | -2

In his first game back from an ankle injury, Stoudemire’s former teammate, Boris Diaw, had him for lunch. That’s not funny.

Tyson Chandler, C 4-4 FG | 3-5 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 11 PTS | -9

After three alley-oop dunks in the first three minutes, it looked as though Chandler would run over the undersized, undermanned Charlotte front court. A mere six rebounds and one Byron Mullens career performance later, it’s Tyson who’s sporting the tire tracks.

Toney Douglas, PG 6-17 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 5 AST | 13 PTS | -6

What won’t appear in the stat line: The terrible, run-killing fouls, ill-conceived passes, and inability to contain one of the worst three starting point guards in the NBA.

Landry Fields, G 2-5 FG | 0-2 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 5 PTS | -21

*Tear.

Renaldo Balkman, PF 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 PTS | -4

Mike D’Antoni is famous — nee infamous — for preemptively and often unjustly shooing certain players into the D’Oghouse. For as much as we’d love to see Balkman get more burn, tonight left us wondering whether “too much burn” might actually be part of the problem.

Bill Walker, SG 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 6 PTS | +5

Though he canned a couple of timely threes, Walker was a liability on both defense and the glass.

Iman Shumpert, G 6-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 18 PTS | +1

Yeah, he hit some shots. Yeah, he looked very good for having just come off a semi-serious knee tweak expected to keep him out as long as eight weeks. But by far the most poignant takeaway from Shumpert’s impressive Garden return? Whether it was refusing to switch on screens — in one instance coming away with a steel — or yelling at his elders on the defensive end, you can tell the kid truly cares.

Josh Harrellson, F 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -1

Judging by the dearth of playing time, I’m guessing D’Antoni caught Jorts firing an air rifle at subway rats during shootaround.

Five Things We Saw

  1. Boris Diaw: His 27 points on 12-15 shooting (including 3-3 from deep) turned what was supposed to be an Amar’e Stoudemire coming back party into a a 2005 Phoenix Suns practice highlight reel.
  2. Gerald Henderson: He netted 24 on an equally absurd 10-13 shooting, including no less than three buckets down the stretch that squelched the Knicks’ feeble attempts at a late-game run. A career game, pure and simple.
  3. For the second consecutive game, the Knicks dug themselves in far too deep of a hole early, only turning to defense when the game — and the anxious crowd, resigned as they were to the boo bird’s song — were far out of reach. Lack of communication, an over-reliance on screen switches, and poor perimeter closeouts continue to be the hallmark of what was supposed to be a new-found defensive emphasis.
  4. Charlotte’s boob tube duo is really, really obnoxious.
  5. If you told a serious Knick fan in July that their 2012 season would hinge on a healthy, in-shape, engaged Baron Davis, well, you might’ve been stabbed. As it turns out, BD’s Garden debut can’t come soon enough, as the Knicks continued their newfangled fetish for offensive anemia with another round of errant lobs, contested mid-range jumpers (you know who you are) and panic-laden drives.

36 comments on “Quick Reaction: Bobcats 118, Knicks 110

  1. Robert Silverman (@BobSaietta)

    O horror, horror, horror! Tongue nor heart cannot conceive nor name thee!

    It’s Shakespearean-level poopitude ’round these parts, that’s fer shure.

    (And no, Shakespeare never wrote, “poopitude.” But he shoulda!

  2. tenebrous

    Knicks didn’t win but here r my scores:
    Stat C – he rebounded more this game than before
    Melo B – he grinded his teeth and tried
    Chan F – he needs to clam down
    Shump F – ball hog ball hog ( did I say ball hog )
    Walker C – he’s better on D but at least he shot some 3s
    Fields B – he played better than Monday
    Duggy B-2 =D – way too undecided play

  3. Jim Cavan (@JPCavan) Post author

    tenebrous:
    Knicks didn’t win but here r my scores:
    Stat C – he rebounded more this game than before
    Melo B – he grinded his teeth and tried
    Chan F – he needs to clam down
    Shump F – ball hog ball hog ( did I say ball hog )
    Walker C – he’s better on D but at least he shot some 3s
    Fields B – he played better than Monday
    Duggy B-2 =D – way too undecided play

    I like my grades better.

  4. d-mar

    I’m gonna go against the tide here and predict that Amare will be fine. He’s missing shots right now that were money last year, and is just way out of sync. Yes, his defense sucks, but it sucked last year when he was in the conversation for MVP halfway through the season. I’ll hang my hat on game 1 vs. Boston last year, where he absolutely destroyed KG. We will see that Amare again once D’Antoni figures out the offense and Amare gets his legs under him.

  5. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    I lean towards Frank’s take, as well. I liked a lot of what I saw tonight. Sure, they can (and should) improve a lot of places, but they looked better tonight than they did Monday. D’Antoni needed 10 games last year. Maybe he needs 10 this year, too. And then they can add Baron Davis.

  6. Jake S.

    Brian, forgive me, but you’re out of your mind. They looked absolutely HORRIBLE tonight. They couldn’t stop anyone and half the time it looked like they weren’t running plays on offense.

    i just got back from the game and I cannot describe how miserable the Garden felt. The boos for Douglas were deafening and you could hear faint chants of fire D’Antoni throughout the night. I do think they’ll get better, but I have serious concerns about the foundation of this team. Neither Stat nor Melo seem to have the slightest inclination to play defense. When those are your two best players, you have a problem.

  7. BigBlueAL

    Im done with having expectations for this team. It makes the games much harder to watch lol.

    Last season we suffered thru 3 different 6 game losing streaks but still managed to finish over .500 and with the 6th seed. Right now with the way this season is playing out so far (not just with the Knicks but in the entire NBA, some crazy scores and performances) I just wanna make the playoffs period and take our chances then. I dont care who plays well and whose fault it is when they win or lose, just gonna try to enjoy watching this team and hope for the best.

  8. bkgiants

    No people lets stop making excuses for this team no longer. They were turrrrible “Charles Barkley” and they have no heart. We Knick basketball and it hasn’t been played since the last trip to the finals and we all know it.

  9. Shad0wF0x

    It’s so hard to like Amar’e now when I repeat that Boris Diaw spin move over and over in my head.

  10. bkgiants

    Amar’e doesn’t even try to guard anyone. He is done, who we gonna beat with defense like we’ve been seeing…

    Shad0wF0x:
    It’s so hard to like Amar’e now when I repeat that Boris Diaw spin move over and over in my head.

  11. domiknick

    What I hate about games like this (and there are an awful lot of them) is the inevitable D’antoni postgame reaction/Q&A. Namely, his ho-hum “well they got hot and made shots, ours weren’t falling…” or something along those lines – he says it as if that’s all there was to the game. As if, there was nothing we could do to prevent them from getting hot and making shots. As if, it was just their lucky night, and we happened to get caught in the path of it. No accountability. When the reality is, we often run into teams who “get hot and make shots”…and he can’t put 2 and 2 together? And that’s just addressing the defense. For offense his excuse is always “well guys are still getting used to each other, and shots just weren’t falling.” I mean, for a coach who is supposed to be an offensive genius, who players enjoy playing for so much because the offense is easy, fluid, and open, why does it seem like there is such difficulty running it? I mean he’s not exactly running the triangle, which is known as one of the more difficult offense’s to run. I’m pretty sure all these guys have been using some form of the pick’n'roll since they were playing 2on2 in their driveways, and yet the excuse is constantly “they need time to gel” etc, etc.

  12. Z

    Damn, Domiknick, I don’t know who you are or where you came from, but I like everything you just said.

  13. Robert Silverman (@BobSaietta)

    Dominick, I agree, but I don’t think you can take what MD’A says at a presser to be 1) what he actually thinks and 2) what tells the team. Dolan et al. run the tightest press ships in the league. The last time a coach was ripping his team to the media here, he didn’t last very long. Granted, he who shall not be named did an awful job, but mouthing off about players severely hastened his exit.

    It’s like watching a commercial and assuming, “Gee. I guess 4 out of five dentists DO prefer Crest toothpaste.” Unfortunately, we have no idea what MD’A thinks the problems are or what he’s telling the team their problem is (it’d be nice to know). I get that’s it’s frustrating to watch an advertisement when you want the news, but that’s all the post-game is.

  14. Jake S.

    Robert Silverman (@BobSaietta):
    Dominick, I agree, but I don’t think you can take what MD’A says at a presser to be 1) what he actually thinks and 2) what tells the team. Dolan et al. run the tightest press ships in the league. The last time a coach was ripping his team to the media here, he didn’t last very long. Granted, he who shall not be named did an awful job, but mouthing off about players severely hastened his exit.

    It’s like watching a commercial and assuming, “Gee. I guess 4 out of five dentists DO prefer Crest toothpaste.” Unfortunately, we have no idea what MD’A thinks the problems are or what he’s telling the team their problem is (it’d be nice to know). I get that’s it’s frustrating to watch an advertisement when you want the news, but that’s all the post-game is.

    In my best Phil Hartmann/Ed McMahon voice–”you are correct, sir.”

  15. domiknick

    Z:
    Damn, Domiknick, I don’t know who you are or where you came from, but I like everything you just said.

    LOL. Thanks, Z.

    Another thing I picked up from the game: Shumpert just looks like a ballplayer (I realize that statement isn’t exactly going out on a limb, particularly from the reaction by the crowd). But what I mean is, things just look natural for him. In only his second game, it doesn’t look like he’s out there thinking about everything he’s doing (in a good way), rather, he’s just acting and reacting and making basketball plays. He’s, dare I say, the anti-Toney Douglas. Just kidding. He’s not perfect, but after 1 1/2 games he looks very comfortable (so far) – let’s hope it continues. He actually reminds me a lot of how Fields looked at the beginning of last year, whereas Fields this year looks like, well…he looks like a 2nd round pick. :(

  16. nicos

    D’A was about as demonstrative on the bench as I’ve ever seen him so I doubt his locker room demeanor matched his press conference demeanor.
    Really liked how down Shumpert seemed after the loss- easy for a young guy to let personal success trump team success, especially in what amounted to his first good game as a pro.

  17. Ben R

    I don’t know how much solace we can take from our improved offense. Going into that game Charlotte was the worst defensive team in the league.

    Everyone played bad defense but a lot of our defensive problems at the 1 and 2 are due to the fact that our bigs never hedge on the screens so our guards are always a couple steps behind. Many times I saw Douglas go over the screen on defense and Augustine had a clear path into the lane. Don’t get me wrong TD is over aggressive and Landry is a step slow of every curl but our bigs aren’t helping at all.

    Melo has some defensive skill but he gives up on plays too much, he gives what Reggie Miller calls fake hustle. He goes around a screen and sort of puts his hands up but doesn’t defend with gusto. Amare on the other hand is a terrible defender AND gives up on plays. For all of Landry’s and TD’s faults at least they look like they care. Melo is lazy and Amare is useless.

    I think Melo can improve and we can hide him a bit. Amare I really don’t think so. Also we tried to run a couple of pnr’s with Amare and at least twice I saw him pop out rather than dive. I think he wants 18 foot jumpers.

    We need to move Amare now. The Kings are having trouble with Cousins maybe they’ll trade him and someone like Thompson for Amare. I know Cousins isn’t great but he has shown flashes and is 21 with a really high ceiling. What ever we do I would prefer Balkman or Jorts at this point. We need to punish lazy defense.

  18. SJK

    @21, calling to deal Amar’e right now seems like a knee-jerk reaction. He’s not played exceedingly well in the four games he’s played in this year, but you have to look at his career as a whole and assume that he will go back to his old form. It doesn’t seem like he’s physically changed, he’s just taking worse shots. 4 games is too small of a sample size to decide to immediately trade him. I do agree that his defense is terrible but I just don’t see us getting any good value on a trade for him. Cousins and Thompson? It’s not like those guys are defensive stoppers either. We won’t know exactly what this team will be until 20-25 games into the season. That said, the future looks bleak right now.

  19. nicos

    @22 Carmelo and Amar’e certainly don’t help but that doesn’t excuse Fields and Douglas- the lines Fields takes to get around screens are awful- when you trail your man by three feet no amount of hedging by the big is going to help- he has to outright switch. And Douglas has given up a ton of penetration just off of the dribble- no screen needed, not to mention committing a host of stupid fouls. Shumpert didn’t seem to have too much trouble sticking his man- Fields and Douglas have to do better. If you can’t guard the point of attack- and obviously Amar’e utter cluelessness in any screen situation is just as much to blame as the guards here- you’re not going to be a good defensive team no matter who’s on the back line. Jeffries will actually help when he gets back as nobody on the team, Chandler included, is as effective at hedging and still getting back to his man.

  20. Ben R

    SJK: calling to deal Amar’e right now seems like a knee-jerk reaction.

    I’ve actually been calling for it since a couple of weeks after the Melo trade. He is absolutely useless on defense which is somewhat forgivable, well not forgivable but tolerated, when he is the engine that drives the offense like in Pheonix or when we were rolling pre-trade but now with him being a second sometimes third option on offense he gives up way too much defensively to offset what he can provide offensively. We don’t need his offense as much as we could use defense from the 4 spot.

    He needs to be scoring 20+ points on 60%TS% while opening up the offense for everyone else to make up for him being one of the worst defensive players in the league. He is truly a bad defender and worst of all he compounds his mental laspes on defense with poor effort, unforgivable.

  21. Matt Smith

    Why are we still calling MDA an offensive genius again? I posted this before: he ran one style of offense very, very well. That offense requires: 1) a PG that excels at both passing and shooting off the dribble 2) a very athletic big man who can beat their man off the p and r switch and 3) a myriad of 3 point shooters that can spread the floor. We have MAYBE one of those pieces (2) and he’s a lot less athletic and explosive than he used to be. After that, MDA hasn’t proven anything, other than his inability to coach defense.

    I’ve always been someone who thinks that a coach needs at least a season to see how his team can adapt to his style, but he’s proven he can’t coach D (something we need) and can only coach one type of offense (something we can’t effectively run).

  22. iserp

    I am the only one who thinks that the team just needs time to play together, and everything will come with time. I don’t think we need and overhaul every year and we have to trade Amare because of a bad night after he came from an injury. We have to make the team from this point adding players, and stop the craziness.

    Offense and Defense will look better as the year progresses. We are going to be a playoff team, no doubt, and will have a nice run towards the end of the season, when everyone is used to play with others, perhaps Baron Davis is healthy (and perhaps another guy suffers an injury, you have to think about that), and we use the 2.5 million exception to bring some bench help.

  23. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    I think that’s a fair position. I mean, don’t get me wrong, they do not look good at all, but I agree that it makes more sense to give D’Antoni more time to get everything together.

  24. Frank

    @27 and @28 – it might be instructive for Mike or one of the other moderators to repost some of the hysterical posts from early last year when we started 3-8, then to repost some of them from after we won 13 out of 14. It’s a shorter than usual but still long season. We’ve played 6 games.

    I’ll stick with my thoughts from last night- that Shump looks great, Amare is a sieve, and that Charlotte had a ridiculous out of this world shooting exhibition last night, like when we completely shot the lights out last year against Chicago and blew them out in their own building (we shot 16-24 from 3 point range). Seriously, Charlotte had an eFG of 95% on 3 pointers yesterday, and shot nearly double their previous shooting percentage on 10-15 and 16-23 foot jumpers. And this is a BAD shooting team.

    Re: Amare – I’d give him a C, mostly because he did have 8 shots at the rim (and hit 7), and rebounded the ball with much more aggressiveness yesterday. I think offense-wise and rebounding wise he was probably a B-B+, but defensively was D-F range, so I’ll give him a C.

    I still don’t understand why we seem unable to get the ball to Amare on the roll. There were a few times where it seemed like Amare gave up on the play too early, and also a few times where the ballhandler just didn’t throw it to him. I have to assume some of this is just lack of practice time.

  25. Mulligan

    Agreed. Maybe this is putting too positive of a spin on it, but watching the game last night it seemed clear to me that guys are over-thinking things and that’s why it isn’t working. They need to get their pnr timing and defensive rotations in their bones (and maybe play more zone) and things will quickly improve. Could look ugly for a few more games though…

  26. taggart4800

    Amare will be fine, as will the our Knicks. I don’t think there is any major concern. I get frustrated that it takes a precocious rookie to ‘Put a body on a man’ to disrupt the Bobcats rhythm but even that with time will change.
    As far as amare’s health though…. I am by no means am a medical expert but I not like the look of his lateral movement. A couple of times it caught my eye that he looked slow not because of willing but a complete lack of explosion. He looked like he was moving very tentatively when putting lateral pressure on his knees. Vertically he still looked aggressive, but I seem to think his troubles are worse than we are being told.

  27. misterma

    He’s only played two games but… I’m falling deeply in love with Iman Shumpert.

    Also, while the offense looks ugly, I’m really disappointed in the defense thus far, especially when Melo and Amare talked about it all summer.

  28. New Guy

    How much time does a team need together before they can start doing basic things like box out and run at open shooters?

    The people clamoring for time are missing something: it’s the simple, basic stuff that’s being neglected. Things that don’t need weeks of practice together.

    Do we really need extra practice together to start boxing out? To give effort? I was at the game last night and I saw a Bobcat player (can’t recall who) catch a pass on one side of the court with literally no Knick in that entire side. One side of the court was completely empty. Every Knick stood still and watched him take two full seconds to set his feet and relax before draining a three without a single defender ON HIS SIDE OF THE COURT!

    How does more time together fix that?

  29. RastaPappa

    New Guy:
    Every Knick stood still and watched him take two full seconds to set his feet and relax before draining a three without a single defender ON HIS SIDE OF THE COURT!

    How does more time together fix that?

    Maybe 5 or 15 seconds if the couch says so. We have too much talet and big egoes in this team for Mike! Can he really handle all these names like Chandler, Stat and Melo? You need the balls to say to Melo or Stat, STFU and start to play. Or maybe he has said and the result is this ;o)

  30. drewbreez

    @32 In an ESPN interview this summer, Amar’e spoke about defense needing to improve, while dropping a conspicuous hint about the entire philosophy needing revisions. That was a muffled D’Antoni shot. Melo did a similar thing in an ESPN First Take interview (before then hawking an energy drink or some such). I inferred a possible between-the-lines scenario wherein neither star wanted to ever accept personal accountability for his Liliputian defensive efforts, and now see fit to conspire for his ouster. Mr. Pringles is no phenom, no iconoclast, maybe an ideologue. Worrisome though is if the Knicks supplant him with a smaller personality, the constellation of Amare/Melo/Chandler may explode into a supernova of EPIC FAILURE.

  31. xduckshoex

    Amare took similar shots after D’Antoni left Phoenix; ironically enough, the Suns defense ranked between 13th and 17th during D’Antoni’s tenure(the highest ranking being the year Amare missed the whole season) and dropped significantly as soon as D’Antoni left town. There were other variables in there as well, but there is evidence suggesting that Amare is more of a problem than D’Antoni is.

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