Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Quick Reaction: Knicks 85, Heat 93

Miami Heat 93 Final
Recap | Box Score
85 New York Knicks
Carmelo Anthony, SF 43 MIN | 14-27 FG | 12-15 FT | 9 REB | 5 AST | 42 PTS | -13

Melo was Iso-tastic today, hitting jumpers from all over the court and driving to the rim with both intensity and intelligence. Pouring in the most points any player has scored against the Heat this season was nice, but equally impressive was his smart play and ball movement . Melo also played some quality defense against LeBron, which made his late-game lapse in effort (with Knicks trailing 85-80, accepting he was screened and giving up open shot) the one sore spot in an otherwise otherworldly outing.

Landry Fields, G 23 MIN | 2-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 4 PTS | -15

This may have been the absolute low point to Landry’s season thus far. Taking shots with arcs equivalent to laser beams? Getting slaughtered by LeBron to put the ‘Bockers in a large first quarter hole? Getting blocked by Chris Bosh on a wide-open lay-up during a key fourth quarter possession? Landry, Landry, oh how we weep for thee.

Tyson Chandler, C 31 MIN | 4-5 FG | 1-4 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 9 PTS | -13

Tyson was ineffective tonight, but I’m going to attribute that to the wily scheming of Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. Spoelstra’s sets effectively manipulated Tyson into getting drawn away from the rim, which meant that every time a shot went up approximately half a Knick was there to try to grab the rebound. Expect other coaches with mobile bigs to utilize this strategy more against the Knicks super-small (D’Antoni-esque, even) lineups. You also have to be worried about his “knee collision” which cause him to noticeably limp for much of the second half.

Baron Davis, PG 26 MIN | 1-6 FG | 1-4 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 3 PTS | -13

Rule of thumb: If you are the cause of a million tweets reading “We miss you Jeremy :( :(” then you did not have a good game. Baron had one nifty fake-pass into dribble move into drawn-foul-on-layup, but managed to miss both the layup and one of his two foul shots (seriously?!?! 1-4 FT from a point guard?!?) to erase whatever positive might have come from his old-man trickery. While he found Tyson for a few nice buckets inside, he also turned the ball over in ever-increasingly-stupefying ways and missed a wide-open three. Bad Baron.

Iman Shumpert, G 38 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 5 AST | 3 PTS | -2

Steal the ball from Dwyane Wade once and don’t put points on the board? Steal the ball from Dwyane Wade again. While that particular sequence had all of Knicks nation standing on their feet roaring in approval, Mike Woodson’s curious decision to sub him out immediately following (again: huh?) and the Knicks late-game offense consisting of Carmelo and JR Smith meant that Iman had little impact on the final stages of the game. Two things for Iman to improve on that reared their heads once more: fighting through screens and getting buckets.

Mike Bibby, PG 5 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | +2

I almost got mad Bibby missed a wide-open three, but then I was struck by amazement that a superhuman like LeBron James and a dead human like Mike Bibby could ever occupy the same basketball court.

Jared Jeffries, PF 15 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | +7

Jared! You played fifteen minutes, just like Mike Woodson said you would, and let me ask you: could you turn that into twenty-five? You did all sorts of Jared things like drawing charges and hustling and taking a three pointer from forty feet out because JR Smith passed you the ball there with one second left on the shot clock. I love you Jared. Don’t ever change.

Steve Novak, SF 22 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | +4

Quiet night from Novak, but then you realize he still shot 40% from three, and the Knicks decision to abandon ball movement in the fourth quarter becomes even more frustrating. Highlight of the night may have been in the first half when it looked like Mr. Novak was driving for a lay-up (I swear the lane was open!) but he, perhaps wisely, passed out of it. Bold prediction: someday, Steve Novak will dunk in a game, and the universe will explode.

J.R. Smith, SG 36 MIN | 6-15 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 16 PTS | +3

J.R. demonstrated why Mike Woodson continues to place so much trust in him, playing (for the most part) competent, hard-nosed, aggressive basketball. Games like today, when Landry plays like a shell of his former self, remind you why J.R.’s presence on the team is so necessary. 44% from 3 is a wins-you-games kind of number, and though his isolation tendencies were frustrating as always, he clearly is up to the challenge of facing the Heat in a series. Is he up to this challenge because he believes he is honestly as good as Dwyane Wade and LeBron James? Well, that’s neither here nor there.

Four Things We Saw

  1. Recently the Knicks best moments have come from the JR-Shumpert-Carmelo-Novak-Chandler lineup. That same lineup is prone to slow the ball down and get stagnant (as they did today in the fourth quarter.) Coach Woodson needs to figure out how to avoid playing Baron Davis (at the very least, to avoid using him as a sacrificial lamb at the altar of LeBron.) He also needs to figure out how to keep the ball moving in late-game situations. These two needs are currently at odds.
  2. Will other teams be able to replicate the strategy of exploiting the Knicks’ lack of size by moving Tyson far away from the rim? Luckily the Celtics (Tuesday) send zero players after offensive boards, and, with the exception of the Bobcats and Byron Mullens*, the rest of the teams the Knicks play during the regular season (a quick reminder: NJ, CLE, ATL, LAC, CHA) lack jump-shooting bigs of Chris Bosh’s quality. However, playing Jeffries and Chandler together, if possible, should be looked into. *I think I’m kidding. I really hope that was a joke right there.
  3. The Knicks are now 3.5 games behind Orlando and 4 games behind Boston. Boston has chosen to give Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, AND Ray Allen tonight off vs the Bobcats. You’d think this could be good for the Knicks, but, again, the Bobcats. We will see. Could a 4-2 finish be enough to move the Knicks up the standings?
  4. The Knicks shot 60.9% from the free throw line. Imagine your high school basketball coach’s reaction if you shot 60% from the free throw line.

51 comments on “Quick Reaction: Knicks 85, Heat 93

  1. jon abbey

    “You also have to be worried about his “knee collision” which cause him to noticeably limp for much of the second half.”

    he said he’s fine, no MRI even.

  2. ABG

    “Luckily the Celtics (Tuesday) send zero players after offensive boards, and the rest of the teams the Knicks play during the regular season (a quick reminder: NJ, CLE, ATL, LAC, CHI)”

    I think you mean CHA, as in Charlotte. Not Chicago. A slight-to-moderate difference there.

  3. BigBlueAL

    Will be interesting to see if Amar’e plays on Wed. Sure would be nice to have a healthy Amar’e for the playoffs.

  4. ephus

    It felt like the turning point in the game was when Miami came back immediately after JR Smith’s dunk to make the score 79-75 with a quick 2 to make it 79-77. The Knicks were not able to get into their offense for the rest of the game. They also could not get consistent stops of Miami — with Lebron and Wade each make difficult contested shots.

  5. jon abbey

    ephus:
    It felt like the turning point in the game was when Miami came back immediately after JR Smith’s dunk to make the score 79-75 with a quick 2 to make it 79-77.The Knicks were not able to get into their offense for the rest of the game.They also could not get consistent stops of Miami — with Lebron and Wade each make difficult contested shots.

    six points for NY after this, in the last 8 minutes of the game, just pitiful. someone’s got to step up besides Melo and Smith, I thought Shumpie should have been looking for his shot more.

  6. Juany8

    Amar’e swings this game I think, Knicks are starting to have some serious size problems other teams can exploit and Amar’e would help a lot with that, even if he’s mediocre for a big man. He’d also be replacing Landry Fields, which I hope everyone can agree is a good thing at this point.

  7. JK47

    Landry needs to find a seat near Bill Walker on the bench and occupy that seat for the rest of the season.

    The box score doesn’t do justice to how bad he really is. I can’t stand watching him anymore. His game is nothing but a series of bricks, hot-potato passes and tentative drives. Opposing defenses pretend like he’s not even there.

  8. daveinmd

    Melo should be an A+ and Davis and Fields both should be Fs. They killed the Knicks. Fields really has no business being on the court at all right now.

  9. daJudge

    John, I thought your grading was fair. Thanks for the recap. Just watched the game on tape. Just a few observations. Like Jon said, Shump was tentative and we needed him to step up on offense. Also, he deflected so many shots on D that just didn’t go our way, but that’s how the ball bounces I guess. I said it earlier this year and it is worth repeating–free throws are killing us. No excuse for guards missing free throws. It really gets to me and it puts you in late game situations that require heroics rather than just working for a good shot. Huge, huge issue. Rebounding terrible tonight and too many turnovers. Overall though, I thought if someone stepped up other than Melo and maybe Smith, we would have won. While I would rather not play them in the first round, I do not fear the Heat any longer. I’m not going to pile on Fields, but he must be replaced-so I guess I am.

  10. Z-man

    Now that Boston is winning without even suiting up their big 3, and Orlando is winning and will have a 4-game lead with 6 to play, I think moving up is not gonna happen. I’m even worried about securing the 8 spot. Philly and Milwaukee both have very easy schedules and we have to play Boston, Atlanta and the Clips. If we lose the Boston game, things might get very tight, and they may just rest their team in a meaningless last game vs. Milwaukee if it helps eliminate us.

  11. d-mar

    Z-man:
    Now that Boston is winning without even suiting up their big 3, and Orlando is winning and will have a 4-game lead with 6 to play, I think moving up is not gonna happen.I’m even worried about securing the 8 spot. Philly and Milwaukee both have very easy schedules and we have to play Boston, Atlanta and the Clips. If we lose the Boston game, things might get very tight, and they may just rest their team in a meaningless last game vs. Milwaukee if it helps eliminate us.

    We’d have to go 5-1 and the Magic 1-5, which is highly unlikely. However, the Magic’s schedule is way tougher, and I don’t see them beating Boston, Utah, Denver or Memphis on the road. So there’s a slim chance.

  12. JLam

    I agree with Field’s assessment. He needs to step it up or else reduce his playing time
    I think the Celtics have the division locked up now. I still want the Knicks to move up and try to get 6th I think tieing the Magic can be possible though difficult.

  13. Nick C.

    Just finished watching on DVR. This team can hang with anyone. Have to hope Amare comes back and is up to speed come playoff time. On the off chance that this is meaningful to anyone else: Xristos anesti.

  14. JC Knickfan

    Tough watch game DVR when already heard the results.
    I know we not Chicago, but hoping we could out rebound them and get some 2nd chance points. I still like Melo at 3 since he one shooting and we 4/5 crash the boards.
    Knicks shot 60% FT, non-Melo Knicks shot 36%, and Miami Big 3 scored 63 and shot 50%. Given those stats you figure we got blown out, but Carmelo again was solid with 42 pt.

  15. ruruland

    Juany8:
    Amar’e swings this game I think, Knicks are starting to have some serious size problems other teams can exploit and Amar’e would help a lot with that, even if he’s mediocre for a big man. He’d also be replacing Landry Fields, which I hope everyone can agree is a good thing at this point.

    I agree. People continue to talk about Melo playing as a mismatch 4, but he hasn’t been guarded by 4s outside of Josh SMith (Atlanta’s best defender) and about a quarter against David West.

    This was a fantastic opportunity for Fields to take advantage of a cross-match against slower-footed 4s. The fact that he’s been so bad in these match-ups suggests he really has a lot of work to do to become a quality NBA player. Fields has the athleticism and footspeed to be a quality offensive player one day, it’s everything else that’s missing.

    Look, you’re not going to beat the Miami Heat with guys like Fields and Davis getting 25+ minutes (54 combined minutes for Fields, Bibby, and Davis). Right now those guys are the 3 worst players on the floor on a nightly basis.

    You’re especially not going to beat the Heat when Chandler plays poorly, not when Novak, Shump and JR combine to go 9-24

    What really bothers me right now is that Amar’e is planning to play on Wednesday and not Tuesday. If he can play Wednesday, he can play Tuesday.

    His rationale his worse. He doesn’t want to play a b2b? We don’t need him against NJ. It would be really maddening if the Knicks can’t beat the Celtics because Amar’e would rather not face the challenge of playing them in his first game back.

    For all the criticism Melo gets, much of it warranted pre-MDA, it’s time for Amar’e to step up.

    As for Melo, how many other guys in this league can outplay Lebron and Wade on a night when they’re both good?

    Dirk, Durant, Kobe?? Melo is going to need to do this all…

  16. Brian Cronin

    This really wasn’t that bad of a loss. The Heat are really good. The Knicks might not finish 7th (although I bet they will) but come on, there’s no way they’re falling out of the playoffs. They’re two games up on Milwaukee with the tie-breaker. The sixth seed is a bit of a pipe dream, but not impossible. With Amar’e returning, things are looking good overall. Well, I mean, they’re probably not making it out of the first round, but still, they’re going to at least make it a real test for whoever gets them in the first round.

  17. Jahredmen

    Maybe I’ve gotten too used to how awful Barron is, but I thought it wasn’t a bad game-FOR HIM. He seemed to put good energy on defense and did not make too many ridiculously weak and blind passes- FOR HIM. But what most puzzles me is that I don’t think Lin would have been an upgrade for this game. He can’t play at that pace and his defense is too inconsistent.

  18. Will the Thrill

    There is no way Lin would not have been an upgrade. I can’t see him doing much worse than 1-6 and 5 TO, with only 4 assists.

    Jahredmen: But what most puzzles me is that I don’t think Lin would have been an upgrade for this game.

  19. ruruland

    Will the Thrill:
    There is no way Lin would not have been an upgrade.I can’t see him doing much worse than 1-6 and 5 TO, with only 4 assists.

    When Lin faced the Heat, he had never faced that kind of heat/ball pressure before. The Heat have gone on the record saying they were playing the best defense of the season at that point. The Knicks were coming of a b2b, and the Heat were as geared up for that game as any they’ve played.

    Of course Lin is a huge upgrade over Davis. It’s not even an argument.

    The Knicks have one way to get good shots up right now. Lin changes that, and by changing it, he not only can get others involved through his penetration– creating rotations and help in the defense– but he gives the Heat another dimension to think about.

    Throw Amar’e into the mix and it’s very difficult to build a defense around a single focus, as the HEat did with Melo today, which was especially evident at the end of the game.

  20. JLam

    I miss Lin.
    Offensively Lin slows the pace but I dont think that`s such a bad thing. He gets everyone in rhythm and in synch.
    Defensively, I think he`s quick when he doesnt have the ball and can defend as well as Baron.

  21. johnlocke

    Glen Davis knee injury

    d-mar: We’d have to go 5-1 and the Magic 1-5, which is highly unlikely. However, the Magic’s schedule is way tougher, and I don’t see them beating Boston, Utah, Denver or Memphis on the road. So there’s a slim chance.

  22. ruruland

    johnlocke:
    Glen Davis knee injury

    http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/7817808/glen-davis-orlando-magic-sprains-right-knee-vs-cleveland-cavaliers

    It’s going to b very difficult to beat Philly tomorrow at home coming off a b2b without any big men.

    The Magic then have @ Boston @ Utah @ Denver (b2b) — all teams fighting for something, all teams with great home court advantages.

    What would you put the odds on that being a 4 game losing streak?

    3:2? 4:3?

    4 losses would give them 29. The Knicks right now have 29. The Magic finish up with Charlotte and @Memphis (on a b2b).

    Memphis is still fighting for the 4th seed, and they’re only two games up on the 7th/8th seed. There’s a very high likelihood that their final game will mean something.

    Taken independently, Orlando should lose each of those 5 games given their state. That would give them 30 losses, giving the Knicks a chance to lose one more game moving forward. The Knicks can beat Boston, @ Atlanta and LA Clippers, however, and NJ, Charlotte, and Cleveland should be gimmies.

  23. ruruland

    Of course, Philly needs to lose 1-2 games for the Knicks to jump them as well. Assuming they beat Orlando, they play Indiana twice and @Bucks, @New Jersey @Cleveland and @Detroit

  24. hoolahoop

    I think the knicks would be more effective if the scoring was more balance. Sure, Melo is a fearless scorer than can create his own shots when the team is struggling, but that’s not the most efficient offense they can run.
    For example, there were several plays that Melo, and others, drove to the hoop that brought the weak side defense of Miami to guard the rim – leaving a knicks man wide open for a corner three (on the weak side). Melo wasn’t making that pass.
    Melo played a good game, but the knicks lost. Other teams beat the Heat. The knicks have to figure it out.
    Too much scoring by one guy is a bad offensive strategy.

  25. hoolahoop

    cont’d:
    It’s not like the rest of the team is incapable of scoring. Each player needs to take shots in a good position and a clean look.

  26. hoolahoop

    I really don’t see the knicks getting the 6 seed. It’s possible, but I just don’t see the knicks winning out, even Orlando keeps losing. At this point, they will be lucky to secure the 8 seed to face Chicago. The 7 seed (facing Miami) is no prize.

  27. jon abbey

    hoolahoop:
    cont’d:
    It’s not like the rest of the team is incapable of scoring. Each player needs to take shots in a good position and a clean look.

    dunno which team you’ve been watching, who exactly do you think is capable of scoring more that hasn’t been getting chances?

  28. ruruland

    jon abbey: dunno which team you’ve been watching, who exactly do you think is capable of scoring more that hasn’t been getting chances?

    To me, Shump is the guy who needs to step up (10-15 pts 3-4 assists). Melo is not a drive and kick point guard, though he has the ability to do that at times (the kick to Shump for his three and some of the other misses from the Knicks).

    Obviously Lebron is a better drive kick and passer than Melo, but even he’d struggle to rack up assists with this bunch (Lebron has always played with great spacing, and shooting bigs)

    What Melo can’t do is penetrate for other players. He can’t make Shumpert take the ball to the basket. He can’t make the shots for Baron Davis off of double teams.

    Melo has been the focal point of very efficient offenses in the past that have lacked playmaking point guards — but they could shoot and space the floor, and help move the ball out of Melo double teams (Billups). Davis can’t shoot or playmake, but he can at least make the first pass out of sets.

    JR is going to help some. But as I said way before this stretch, Fields, Baron, Shumpert or Douglas/Bibby — two of those guys have to play well offensively with Amar’e and Lin out.

    Baron blew his load against the Wizards. Yes, Shump has his hands full defensively against Wade, but he needs to go out and try to score and get into the lane at times.

    How many times did we see Shump, Novak, Davis, Smith, everyone really, hold the ball out top and wait for Melo to come back and get it?

    You’ve got to help create offense. You can’t ask a guy to score 45 points efficiently and also create really easy shots for everyone else (Melo had 5 assits and again would have had 6-8 on a decent shooting team)

  29. jon abbey

    yep, I said the same thing above. maybe it had something to do with his ankle, but Shumpert was much more passive than he should be on offense.

  30. Robtachi

    Honestly, I’ll take a page from ruru’s book and say I don’t see why the Knicks can’t run the table from here on out. This season has just been like that for them, streaks of winning and losing. They really should take care of business at home against the Celtics who probably figure they have the division locked up and may not play Pierce/Garnett/Allen significant minutes if the Knicks can jump on them early (they’d be more worried about the Sixers catching them than the Knicks, anyway). The Nets, Cavs and Bobcats are gimmes, as we’ve established. They should not lose at home to the Clippers, though they’ve been very good lately. Chandler is the type of rim-protector who can completely silence Blake Griffin, but then again, that’s what I thought about Serge Ibaka… Still, home game, west coast opponent coming east. The toughest game to win, to me, is going down to Atlanta again. Atlanta might be glued to their #5 spot if they go 2-1 and Orlando starts tanking, but the Knicks lost there recently and would have to go back and steal one. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to see the Knicks going 5-1, which means Orlando would need to tank pretty hard at 1-5 (also possible with no Howard/Davis and CHA being their only favorable matchup). If the Knicks really start streaking and go 6-0, Orlando has to win three games, since the Knicks own the tiebreaker, to hold their spot above them, and I don’t know what game besides @ Charlotte they have a good chance of winning, shorthanded as they are.

    Difficult? Maybe. Very unlikely? Not so much.

  31. ruruland

    jon abbey:
    yep, I said the same thing above. maybe it had something to do with his ankle, but Shumpert was much more passive than he should be on offense.

    I just think it shows you how hard it is to be a two-way, 40 minute player. I don’t think Shump had the legs on offense to blow by his defender.

    As you mentioned, Melo was exhausted in that fourth quarter. I thought today, his defense was back to being really fantastic (outside of that face-guard offensive rebound he gave Battier and a coupe of other missed box-outs) I thought he covered Lebron and Bosh better than anybody else on the team (yes, he did give up that shot to Lebron when he went under the screen but he could barely move at that point)

    I think there were two opportunities for his teammates to step up and make something happen. When Melo was wearing down in both the third and fourth quarter. In the fourth, Shump had a nice breather — I would have liked to have seen him step up at that point.

    I have no idea what happened to JR’s drive game but he appears to have lost all confidence. As an aside, one thing no one talks about in regards to Melo’s athleticism is his first step quickness.. Not a lot of guys his size can blow by Lebron and Wade like he did today. JR and Shump don’t have that, but they are quick and explosive once they can get a shoulder by someone.

    If Amar’e is the guy we saw the last 10 games before the injury, the problem is solved. I’m looking forward to seeing both he and Melo play like they’re capable in big moments in the playoffs.

    I think against the Bulls and Pacers it will be enough. But it all depends on Amar’e. Knock on wood, but Melo is locked in right now — he might have a bad game here or there, but the 30+ on 570-600+ TS is here to stay, injuries notwithstanding.

  32. ruruland

    Just wanted to go through some of the better stretches of Melo’s career, and I think we might be embarking on one now (with a chance to be the best). Questions as to why they haven’t been sustained need much deeper analysis. But some catalysts are pretty recognizable on the surface.

    All of these can be easily verified with a spreadsheet.

    2007-2008 final 52 games: 27ppg, .612 TS, (only 35 three pointers made during that time) (399fta, 975 fga, 1408 pts)

    http://espn.go.com/nba/player/gamelog/_/id/1975/year/20/carmelo-anthony

    How did Melo’s 4 month tear start? He got called out by Charles Barkley at halftime of a game against the Houston Rockets. Kenny and Charles spent most of the night arguing about whether he was a star player. Melo only shot 13-32 that night, though he finished with 37 points and 16 rebounds and bucket after bucket in overtime against Ming and McGrady. He really got rolling after that.

    That .612 TS and basically his entire stat line is almost identical to Durant this year (his MVP year) Durant has sustained his TS through 60 games so far– Melo did it for 52.
    http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/d/duranke01.html

    TBC…

  33. BigBlueAL

    Brian Cronin:
    This really wasn’t that bad of a loss. The Heat are really good. The Knicks might not finish 7th (although I bet they will) but come on, there’s no way they’re falling out of the playoffs. They’re two games up on Milwaukee with the tie-breaker. The sixth seed is a bit of a pipe dream, but not impossible. With Amar’e returning, things are looking good overall. Well, I mean, they’re probably not making it out of the first round, but still, they’re going to at least make it a real test for whoever gets them in the first round.

    Just to be technical, the Knicks do not have the conference tie-breaker clinched and can still lose that tie-breaker. If the Knicks and Bucks finish tied and one of the remaining Knick losses is not vs the Clippers the Bucks will finish with a better conference record.

    If one of the losses is vs the Clippers then they will finish with the same conference record and the next tie-breaker the Knicks I believe have clinched already which is record vs the other East playoff teams (Knicks have 9 wins compared to Bucks 5 and from what I can tell they cant win more than 8).

    But yeah Im 98% sure the Knicks will finish ahead of the Bucks so it really should be a moot point.

  34. Brian Cronin

    You’re not that confident about them making the playoffs? I think it would be a shocker if they didn’t make the playoffs at this point. Or are you referring to the sixth seed talk? That, I agree, is unlikely (although Tuesday’s game will make it a whole lot clearer how likely it is).

  35. ruruland

    Melo: 579 TS (2584pts 1876fga 809fta) in 90 games between late November of 2005 to December of 2006:
    http://espn.go.com/nba/player/gamelog/_/id/1975/year/2006/carmelo-anthony
    Seems like arbitrary end points. They aren’t. This phase ends with the brawl suspension. When Melo comes back from the 15 game leave, Allen Iverson is on the team, Andre Miller is not – huge difference (and Melo’s numbers go down until the final 4 months of ’08 with Iverson). After a really rough sophomore year, Melo began to develop into a true star—the post-up game, the isolation etc al. Everything about his game was coming together, and he had a point guard in Andre Miller who knew how to find him (57-64% of his makes were assisted, for those who don’t think Melo can score off the ball: http://www.82games.com/0506/05DEN12A.HTM
    Between 41-49 percent of Melo’s baskets were assisted during the Billups years. I’m hoping Melo can get back up to the mid 50s with Lin – there’s a very strong correlation between efficiency and assisted basket percentage. Guys like Dirk and Durant are typically in the 50s and 60s. All of the specialist shooters with 600+ TS are well above that.
    More balance between play initiations improves the efficiency of everyone – especially Melo.

  36. ruruland

    I forget to add that during that 90 game stretch Melo averaged a staggering 28.7 points per game. If Melo was a team unto himself, the 579 TS would have led the league during that stretch by a fair amount. Considering his usage that’s a number any great/elite offense could build around — unfortunately those were really poor Denver teams offensively, among the worst 3p shooting teams in basketball, nary a post-up threat outside of Melo — and a horrible 2pt jump shooting team.

  37. jon abbey

    Brian Cronin:
    You’re not that confident about them making the playoffs? I think it would be a shocker if they didn’t make the playoffs at this point. Or are you referring to the sixth seed talk? That, I agree, is unlikely (although Tuesday’s game will make it a whole lot clearer how likely it is).

    I was referring to being 98 percent confident they’d make the playoffs. I’d say I’m closer to 70 or 80 percent.

  38. Brian Cronin

    I was referring to being 98 percent confident they’d make the playoffs. I’d say I’m closer to 70 or 80 percent.

    Gotcha.

    Yeah, I guess 98% is basically a certainty, so sure, I’ll go lower than that, as well.

    I’d go higher than 80%, though. I think it is pretty close to certain that they’ll make it.

  39. Spree8nyk8

    I’m kind of at a loss to understand how Landry Fields is still playing let alone starting. I mean I know he isn’t single handedly killing the Knicks in this loss, but it sure as hell felt like it. I cringe more when he shoots than I used to when Jared would. I mean it’s not just that he’s missing shots, it’s that it just seems like everytime he misses a layup or a 3pt attempt that it ends up being an instant layup on the other side. Idk if there is a rotation problem or something but I’m just failing to find anything that he’s doing really well consistently. I don’t understand why they haven’t inserted Smith into the starting lineup. And if STAT comes back on wednesday and Landry replaces Shump at the 2 I’m gonna lose my mind. I’m just certain that cutting Landry to minimal time greatly helps this team. Honestly I’d like to see STAT and Landry go to the second unit when he returns, plug Smith into the 3 and leave it at that. Stat would beast in the second unit, wouldn’t affect melo’s spacing. And if they are playing well together they can always play the fourth together. The only thing I can really guess is that Woodson must think that if he starts Smith over Fields that the second unit loses all of it’s punch.

  40. Spree8nyk8

    jon abbey: I was referring to being 98 percent confident they’d make the playoffs. I’d say I’m closer to 70 or 80 percent.

    Milwaukee has to run the table just to have a chance. I’m 99% on them making the playoffs and 70 to 80 that they finish 7th. I’d rather see them 8th or 6th honestly. I think we could match well with Miami once we were full strength and maybe had some playoff confidence going, but I hate Miami as a first round matchup.

  41. Brian Cronin

    The playoff picture in the West continues to be nuts. Memphis lost to New Orleans (is it just me or has New Orleans won against some random ass teams this year? Like they lose to bad teams but then occasionally beat teams much better than them) and Denver beat Houston. So you have a situation like this:

    5. Memphis
    6. Dallas 1 and a 1/2 games back of Memphis
    7. Denver 2 games back of Memphis
    8. Houston 3 games back of Memphis
    9. Phoenix 4 games back of Memphis/1 game out of the playoffs
    10. Utah 4 and a 1/2 games back of Memphis/1 and a 1/2 games out of the playoffs

    That is a crazy playoff picture.

  42. johnno

    I think that all of the Baron Davis criticism is a little unfair. I agree that he hasn’t been playing well, but he is really not nearly 100% physically. At one point in the game yesterday, I think that it was Van Gundy who said that Davis told him that his back is so sore he can’t even dunk a basketball right now. A point guard playing with that little in the way of explosiveness is really at a big disadvantage. And I think that a lot of his “bad decisions” are a result of physical limitations — a great pass turns into a turnover if you are a tenth of a second late in delivering it. A guy playing at 70% physically will be late a lot.

  43. gjknick

    Spree8nyk8: I’m kind of at a loss to understand how Landry Fields is still playing let alone starting. I mean I know he isn’t single handedly killing the Knicks in this loss, but it sure as hell felt like it. I cringe more when he shoots than I used to when Jared would. I mean it’s not just that he’s missing shots, it’s that it just seems like everytime he misses a layup or a 3pt attempt that it ends up being an instant layup on the other side. Idk if there is a rotation problem or something but I’m just failing to find anything that he’s doing really well consistently. I don’t understand why they haven’t inserted Smith into the starting lineup. And if STAT comes back on wednesday and Landry replaces Shump at the 2 I’m gonna lose my mind. I’m just certain that cutting Landry to minimal time greatly helps this team. Honestly I’d like to see STAT and Landry go to the second unit when he returns, plug Smith into the 3 and leave it at that. Stat would beast in the second unit, wouldn’t affect melo’s spacing. And if they are playing well together they can always play the fourth together. The only thing I can really guess is that Woodson must think that if he starts Smith over Fields that the second unit loses all of it’s punch.

    Preach it brother!

  44. The Infamous Cdiggy

    Spree8nyk8:
    I’m kind of at a loss to understand how Landry Fields is still playing let alone starting.I mean I know he isn’t single handedly killing the Knicks in this loss, but it sure as hell felt like it.I cringe more when he shoots than I used to when Jared would….I don’t understand why they haven’t inserted Smith into the starting lineup.And if STAT comes back on wednesday and Landry replaces Shump at the 2 I’m gonna lose my mind.I’m just certain that cutting Landry to minimal time greatly helps this team.Honestly I’d like to see STAT and Landry go to the second unit when he returns, plug Smith into the 3 and leave it at that.Stat would beast in the second unit, wouldn’t affect melo’s spacing.And if they are playing well together they can always play the fourth together.The only thing I can really guess is that Woodson must think that if he starts Smith over Fields that the second unit loses all of it’s punch.

    You answered your own question obviously about Smith, but when it comes to Fields, you’re preaching to the choir here. His skill level + broken J leads him to be severely over-matched especially when you have the level of talent in the the starters that were on the floor yesterday for both teams. As I’ve said before, when this team is at full strength, he should be sharing backup minutes behind Melo.

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