Quick Recap: Knicks vs. Orlando

To the hoop, y’all.

For years, I’ve been watching Knicks games begging the television to show me a New York Knick driving to the basket. Good things happen when you go to the basket. Any playground kid knows that going to the hole opens things up for your teammates, gets you high percentage shots, and leads to free throws. For some maddening reason, over the last handful of seasons the Knicks have settled for jump shots. Those jump shots have come from all over the court – from two, from three, from half court (I’m talking to you JR Smith). Sometimes the Knicks have been good at making jump shots, but more often they’ve been mediocre or worse. They’ve been near the bottom of free throws attempted in the league for what seems like an eternity…including this season. Tonight they took…

36 FREE THROWS

I wrote that in bold, using capital letters, but I would have used some sort of puffy, sparkly font if I could. The Knicks went to the rack, used cutters, stayed in motion, and shared the ball. They’re not going to turn the corner on a lot of teams, but ball movement and lots of motion will make good things happen. The offense hasn’t really been the biggest trouble during the recent stretch, however. It’s been the defense. Tonight we saw a combination of active, aggressive defense that resulted in easy baskets and transition. Part of the Knicks’ success on defense was Orlando’s sloppy, helter skelter play. I love the collection of talent on that team, like I love the talent on the Timberwolves, but neither of those clubs has a sense of how to play together. They play a bit like a bunch of strangers, and the Knicks effectively took them out of their comfort zone all night. It’s tough to adjust when you aren’t accustomed to playing together and, frankly, Scott Skiles’ rotations have always been maddeningly inconsistent and unpredictable. His tenure in Milwaukee was marked by players heading in and out of the rotation on a game-by-game basis. If these Magic are ever going to play well as a unit, he has to stick with a short rotation of guys. To that end, they traded Harris….we’ll see if it works.

Seven Knicks, including all five starters, scored in double figures. Melo only shot 7-22 and missed all of his threes, but continued his fantastic all around play with 11 rebounds and 6 assists. Porzingis carried the Knicks during the Magic’s effective run in the 3rd quarter, finishing with 18 points and a full load of hustle stats – 2 steals and 2 blocks. I get on Arron Afflalo’s lack of contribution A LOT, but I have to give him credit for showing up on the boards with 11, while chipping in 3 assists. Calderon carried over his more aggressive offensive game, which is when he’s at his best and actually looks like an NBA player. Robin Lopez couldn’t neutralize Vucevic, but he matched him, which is a win in anybody’s book.

A delightful all around experience. Hope you got to enjoy it friends.

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72 thoughts to “Quick Recap: Knicks vs. Orlando”

  1. These rotations are weird. Coming off a career night, O’Quinn gets 4 minutes. At least Sasha sat the whole game, but I feel like he’s just as likely to play 20 minutes next time as he is to play 0. You’d think after 60 games Ramis would have a better idea who sucks.

  2. Since no one was interested in last night’s game, let me pose a 3 way trade for the off season with the expanded cap:

    Knicks send Melo to Boston and receive Boston’s 2016 (#17 from Mavs) pick, Cameron Payne and OKC’s 2018 #1 pick

    OKC sends Cameron Payne and their 2018 #1 pick to the Knicks and receives Brooklyn’s 2016 pick from Boston.

    Boston sends Brooklyn’s 2016 pick to OKC and Mavs 2016 #1 (17th) to the Knicks and receive Carmelo

    Boston adds Melo to the 3rd best team in the east for picks. Immediately improved and Melo has a shot to win.

    OKC gets a very high lottery pick for Payne who gets 11 minutes a game behind Westbrook and a pick in 2018

    The Knicks dump Melo’s contract, open up mega cap space, solve their PG black hole and get a mid round pick in 2016 and an additional low (maybe) pick in 2018. This will probably make them worse in 2016, but they own their own 2017 pick, so it is all good and they can do an actual full rebuild.

    If they could somehow turn RoLo into Rodney Hood or WCS…. all the better….

  3. Was at the game, it was nice to see a win given this horrible stretch. I liked that the team looked energetic and really took it to the Magic. I also liked our effort vs. the Pacers. Maybe Rambis is holding guys more accountable than Fisher did.

  4. Says in the NYT that Rambis benched KOQ for a poor defensive play in first quarter.

    Win is better than a loss. But yeah…

  5. All I know is that Sasha Vujecic’s and Kevin Seraphin’s lame asses never left the bench. Why it took the collective coaching minds of Derek Fisher and Kurt Rambis 60 games to figure out that they both suck is beyond me.

  6. KOQ seems to have a propensity for doing dumb shit that makes coaches do dumb shit like not playing him even though he’s much better than Kevin Seraphin.

  7. “None of us in the organization are discouraged by anything that Jerian’s done,” Rambis said. “He’s been terrific for us. It’s just hard for him to break into that rotation.”

    Rambis said there’s been an “ongoing conversation” about sending Grant to the D-League to develop and gain experience, but the Knicks want Grant working with them as much as possible. “But if he could get some time down there, that would be great for him,” Rambis said

    #FireRambis

  8. “None of us in the organization are discouraged by anything that Jerian’s done,” Rambis said. “He’s been terrific for us. It’s just hard for him to break into that rotation.”

    Grant could take every single one of Sasha’s 511 minutes which would accelerate his progress and not worsen the team’s out come an iota……that would put him 7th in minutes on the team

  9. Why it took the collective coaching minds of Derek Fisher and Kurt Rambis 60 games to figure out that they both suck is beyond me.

    I’m going to take a guess at this.

    I don’t think they have any sort of model that weighs all the pluses and minuses and spits out an overall player rating. They operate with a kind of skill set checklist and intuition and they don’t weight things very well.

  10. I don’t think Boston makes that trade. Why trade 2 first round picks for Melo and his salary? Why not keep the picks and pay that $$ to Paul Milsap, or Whiteside, or Nick Batum, or even spread it over 2 players? those picks are valuable; Brooklyn’s pick will be top 5 and could be 1. Even if it’s 4 or 5, you could trade that and the other first round pick and try to trade up.

    No way you take Melo over the possibility of Milsap and Hield or Simmons.

  11. I can see why Phil likes Rambis so much. He has like a little league version of Phil’s “cab driver on a mountain” technique, where the boss makes typically private criticisms public, thinking he is pulling off some kind straight shooter yet master manipulator exacta. The only difference is that Phil’s perceived and actual power allows him to do it to almost anyone whereas Rambis knows to only pick on Jimmer and Porzingis and KOQ. It’s different than a guy like Brett Brown who maybe errs a little toward telling it like it is but at least doesn’t do so in the name of getting a black belt in rhetorical puppeteering. Lots of people want to be Charlie Munger in front of a mic but most just aren’t smart enough to pull it off, except maybe in the eyes of the general public, which may be the goal after all.

  12. I don’t think Boston makes that trade.

    They seemed to be interested by inquiring with Melo’s CAA peeps at the deadline. Milsap was just signed by Atlanta and is under contract next season. Heild is ranked 10th by draft express and the Brooklyn pick has a 11.9% chance of becoming #1

    Melo, with nothing taken off the team gives them a great chance of winning the conference next year.

  13. I don’t think Boston makes that trade. Why trade 2 first round picks for Melo and his salary? Why not keep the picks and pay that $$ to Paul Milsap, or Whiteside, or Nick Batum

    The team that pays Batum >20,000,000 per season with his declining ws/48, .105 last year and 0.077 this year is not allocating resources very well.

    As to Whiteside, if Miami isn’t interested in bringing him back as an UFA, then I’m guessing they know more about him than you or Boston does.

  14. As to Whiteside, if Miami isn’t interested in bringing him back as an UFA, then I’m guessing they know more about him than you or Boston does.

    Yeah just like the other 29 NBA teams who predicted that he’d be 4th in TRB/48 and have a 62% TS. Let’s not use the appeal to authority when it comes to the average NBA franchise’s decision makers.

  15. I’m not going to make the case for Batum being a max player, but there’s something wrong with any model that suggests he’s been below average this year.

  16. Bob: forget the names I mentioned as examples The choice is Melo and no pics vs whatever you can buy w/ the $$ you would have paid melo, plus whatever you can turn those pics into.

    You are talking about a team that set themselves up for the future with lots of pics, lots of flexibility, a no star player model, and a young coach. Now that young coach has exceeded expectations, the future is bright, and the current is way ahead of schedule. Are you going to give all of that up to add an aging superstar, when you specifically built a team that is not superstar reliant?

    and, for the record, I like melo, I think he gets a bad rap. And I don’t think that we will ever get equal value for him. I would trade him for these 2 pics in a second though.

  17. @20 I’m not sure Boston’s endgame is keeping all of their guys and adding draft picks. Houston and Daryl Morey invented the asset stockpiling strategy; after getting Harden, they still went after older stars like Melo and Bosh to pair with him. (It warms the cockles of my ink-black heart that they had to settle for Dwight Howard — I admit I’m still pettily bitter about the Lin poison pill deal.) Isaiah Thomas is a cool player and an offensive marvel but he’s not a team building cornerstone like Harden. I don’t see Boston keeping all their draft picks. By the time those draftees develop, it’s time to pay Avery Bradley/Tyler Zeller/Jared Sullinger/Marcus Smart/Kelly Olynyk.

    Denver’s no-star team post-Melo didn’t work out – bad luck with injuries and a stacked West, yes – but they couldn’t pay all their guys and keep that depth together. Now their legacy is getting torched by Steph Curry in the playoffs.

  18. THCJ,

    When Whiteside had 2 cups of coffee and out 2 yrs with a torn patellar tendon evaluations could be wrong with lol sample size.

    Now miami and everyone else has seen 18 months of his best and if miami doesn’t like him near the max I’m comfortable Pat R knows the value of established players

  19. if miami doesn’t like him near the max I’m comfortable Pat R knows the value of established players

    Miami doesn’t own bird rights on Whiteside, so it’s not just a simple “is he a max player” question.

  20. The point is that Whiteside gets to choose where he goes for a max contract. Without Bird Rights, they can’t go over the cap to sign him. If he does sign, Wade has to take $16M or they lose him. Wade may not be worth $16M, but he sure as hell wants his last multiyear to be max money. And he’ll probably get it, because ringz.

    Barring re-signs and options, here are the teams that will have cap space to offer Whiteside a $20M contract.

    LAL, PHI, BOS, DAL, WAS, POR, HOU, CHA, BRK, MEM, DET, MIA, ATL, TOR, UTA, DEN, NYK, IND, MIN, PHX, ORL, SAC, MIL, NOR, OKC

    That’s why the Heat probably won’t end up with him.

  21. Grant played well last night and I’m encouraged. If he can become a halfway decent point guard for us and we sign one or two more solid pieces we’ll be a handful. Plus KP’s continued growth of course.

  22. Listen. We have to stop considering “what this person” thinks over what we have as factual evidence. Hassan Whiteside is an excellent basketball player and he’s, what, 26? That is all the reason you need to give him a max contract. You pay him money to do what he does because it leads to wins, and there aren’t many human beings who can do what he does.

  23. so 25 guys have the $$ to offer a max deal. Means if you want Whiteside, you’re going to give him a max, or someone else is. Means some other dudes will get huge deals too that they maybe don’t deserve.

    So, how much will a max deal be this offseason, and how will it compare to Melo’s deal? Maybe next year, Melo’s deal isnt such a bad deal? I think of it in terms of who would I give the $$ to if I wasn’t paying Melo, and is that person better?

  24. @25

    Miami has 48m on the books for the next seanon so Pat R can max him out if he believes he is worth it. He knowd him better from all angles so I’m betting his opinion of whiteside will be better than anyone.

    @27

    There is more to it than being really good @ bb.

    You pay him on what you project his production the next 4 years

  25. Giving Wade a max deal seems crazy. He isn’t good anymore.

    Neither is Melo but at least Melo is posting career high rebounding and assist numbers. If you squint and imagine his shot falling then he’s a pretty good piece. Speaking of his shot, despite career lows in usage and shots his efficiency is also at a career low.

    He’s injured I guess.

  26. Miami doesn’t give Wade a max contract because they think he’s worth it (or at least I hope not). If they give him one it will be entirely for PR reasons and because he puts butts in seats, even if those butts belong to the worst fan base in the league.

  27. I hope Miami loses it’s mind and gives Wade a 5 year max contract that will eat into their cap space for years to come.

  28. I think I’ve found Jowles’ dream coach! When asked in his pre game interview what his defensive scheme was going to be against the Warriors tonight, Billy Donavan said: “try to force Mo Speights to shoot a lot of long 2 pointers”.

  29. That is actually hilarious…

    It’s really been my dream in life to hear a Knicks coach say something like that….

  30. Honestly, If I was Durant or Westbrook i’d probably leave after seeing OKC fail at finding a 2 guard after Harden. How are they stuck to deal with playing alongside Waiters and Roberson?

  31. Just unfair almost. What else could you do but what the Thunder did? Durant hit a three to put them up 4 with 14 seconds left and it didn’t matter.

  32. Kanter contract looking awesome right now. 18 minutes in an OT game with Durant fouled out and Kyle Singler playing 23.

  33. There are no words left to describe the brilliance of Stephen Curry, he’s doing things that we have never seen before. Completely mind boggling.

  34. Yeah….. It’s the “system” the makes GS great.

    It helps when you guy can make 12 for 16 from three and can a 33 foot leaner with .6 seconds to go in OT.

    Plus your great shooting 2 guard can guard Westbrook all over the court by himself at crunch time. Jesus, what a team.

  35. Draymond’s weird line — no player has ever had 11 reb 11 asst with 0 FG let alone the 14/14/0 he just pulled

  36. Durant is the only player in the NBA who can hang with Steph-once he fouled out it was goodnight. As awesome as Russ is he’s not the same when it’s him and the bum squad out there.

  37. Draymond’s weird line — no player has ever had 11 reb 11 asst with 0 FG let alone the 14/14/0 he just pulled

    HE’S NOT A ROBOT

  38. Durant is the only player in the NBA who can hang with Steph-once he fouled out it was goodnight. As awesome as Russ is he’s not the same when it’s him and the bum squad out there.

    Oh yeah, it’s amazing how different things are when either one of them has to play by themselves.

  39. Roberson should never be mentioned with Dion. He’s pretty good

    Roberson is not Dion bad but OKC had enough assets to build a better team around Durant and Westbrook. To be fair their record speaks for itself but how are you left with Roberson, Waiters, and Foye?

  40. the Knicks suck yet again but if I squeeze my eyes shut hard enough the last 9 mos of the nba can compress into 1. Deandre Jordan rapunzel slash emoji gate 2. Porzingis 3. This game

    And basketball is great again.

  41. 15 years from now, there will be “stretch centers” that routinely shoot 30 footers. And we’ll talk about how Steph Curry reinvented the game and our kids will be like “so, everybody shoots 30 footers like they are free throws. What was so great about that guy?” And, like the people that witnessed Wilt and Russell before us, we’ll just shake our heads.

  42. There is no way to compare the players of today to those from the past. The game itself has evolved, to say nothing about the influence of access, training, nutrition, medical advances, analytics, international influx, and marketing. Oscar is a bit of a joke in his defense of the old way of playing. He sounds stupid when he says that slowing down Steph is as simple as pushing the defense out or double-teaming him. He stupidly ignores the extreme impact of the 3-point shot on defenses. Back in the day, and even in the early days of the 3-pt shot, defenses would lay off guys from outside of 20 feet, almost daring them to shoot. Just watch any ’80s Celts-Lakers game, where nobody is either hanging out at the 3-pt line or defending out there except in certain situations.

    In Simmons’ very entertaining book, he points out how the Big O was not liked very much by his teammates, who he berated constantly. He has said a lot of stupid things since he retired, and really can’t be taken seriously like, say, a Jerry West.

  43. I think he has a point when it comes to Steph Curry though. You cannot guard him like he’s anyone else. What makes Stephen Curry so special is his range. The man can hit a shot from anywhere in the half court. Steph had about 10 feet of space when he hit that game winner, and that’s a shot nobody on planet Earth is surprised Steph Curry hit because he hits ridiculous three pointers all the time. That would have been good defense on every other basketball player on the planet, but you have to defend Steph differently. You cannot allow him to continue to take shots he can convert. He needs to change the way you think about defense when you play him or he will make 12 3s against your defense.

  44. Of course you can’t slow him down or just bully him. Steph handles the ball too well and the Warriors pass the ball so well that it’s such a difficult job to cover him, but you really have to make an effort to make him uncomfortable. If you give him room to take those unconventional shots, he will burn you.

  45. Why not just double team him at half court and make him give up the ball? I’m sure it’s been tried but why wouldn’t that work?

  46. If you give him room to take those unconventional shots, he will burn you.

    He will burn you either way. At end of regulation when GSW stole the ball, two Thunder defenders turned toward Curry, who was calling for the ball just past half court. Iggy is left wide open inside the 3 point line, which allows him to draw a foul on a final play that would have resulted in a ~25%ish three point chuck for the vast majority of historical teams. But for Curry it’s a 40% chuck and if you double him in Alaska you give up an even better shot to Iggy.

    I mean, Curry is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen in basketball but his 30-35 footer with 2.5 secs to go to break the OT tie is still something like a 40-45% (20% for everyone else) with not much benefit from being a 3. That is not such a bad shot to give up in that situation relative to alternatives, and if you chase him to half court the odds are high you will ultimately give up a shot at least that efficient.

    The only relief will come when Porzingis grows another foot in offseason and can double Curry while simultaneously staying with his man.

  47. massive, I think when 29 NBA coaches, including legendary ones like Pop, haven’t figured out a way to effectively defend Curry w/o someone else on the team going off, it’s pretty safe to assume that simply “getting up on him earlier” or “doubling him when he crosses half-court” is not the answer. Kerr is way past that, and if Big O can’t see that, he’s not really watching the games.

  48. One measly draft pick away, can you imagine if Curry was doing this shit in NYC? He’d be the biggest sports star this city has seen in ages, even bigger than Jeter and Eli when all is said and done.

    But we probably would have traded him anyway, and then this would hurt way more.

  49. I’ve always told people that if KD were 6’3? he’d be Steph Curry.

    On the other hand, if Steph were 6’10″…he’d likely be the most dominant athlete in any sport ever

  50. Why not just double team him at half court and make him give up the ball?

    Loyola tried that v Davidson. Davidson won 78-48. (Curry scored 0 points. He just stood in the corner with 2 guys on him and let his teammates play 4 on 3 the whole game.) After the game the Loyola coach said “I’m a history major. What are people going to remember? That we lost by 30, or that we held Steph Curry scoreless?”

    The idea that Curry went from a shooting specialist to a transcendent talent over-night is pretty far off. People were reinventing defenses to try to stop him way back when he was playing in the Southern Conference.

    http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/recap?gameId=283302166

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