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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Raptors 100, Knicks 91

Welp, that was less fun. The Knicks’ preseason-long goals of an undefeated preseason were shattered like so many preseason plates, not unlike that episode during the final season of Three’s Company when Larry Dallas’ (née Dalliapoulos) Greek extended family dined to their Hellenic hearts’ content (as the Greeks are wont to do) in Jack Tripper’s newly-opened boîte, Jack’s bistro…

Threes Company – Larry’s Greek Family from Ari Kalos on Vimeo.

I assume Woodson’s pregame speeches are not entirely dissimilar to Mr. Firley’s. In any case, like the above clip, all seemed full of joyous men dancing with other men and homophobic/sexist jokes about fat chix, mang, and playing of the Bouzouki, Udrih attempting Ritter’s finest pratfalls, an Melo cooking up some savory soup, until the final minutes of the fourth, when a snaggle-toothed, Imam-bearded Reggie Evans impersonator (if Reggie Evans could hit from the top of the key) absolutely smashed every single dish he could get his mitts on in a giddily rapturous frenzy, sending the ‘Bockers to defeat and wholly decimating Jack’s profit margin. THANKS OBAMA!!!1!

Sounds exciting, don’t it? Well, in truth, it was a tepid, listless preseason game and not nearly as much ribald fun as the above might lead you to believe. In the name of full disclosure, I missed the first quarter because I switched to the metric clock this week. These ten-hour days are darned confusing (but the 100-hour week really lends itself to productivity). So, if there are any nuggets of wisdom that could be culled from the 22-all deadlock, please feel free to add them in the comments section. I can share.

Feel free to reboot your PreseasonWillNotOverreact App. Up and running now? Swell.

The Knicks put out some prettily effective offensive sets in the 2nd, much of which came via utilizing Carmelo in a variety of ways out of pick and rolls/pick and roll action. Whether he was the primary ball handler or the screener, they were able to locate him for uncontested looks or free up Chandler’s dives or wide open shooter on the weakside. Then again, ven when he was ISO’ing, say when confronting former friends-of-the-program Landry Fields (more on this in a tad) or Steve Novak (<3 u Steve), he was tossing peas into the Caspian Sea and grinning like the proverbial Cheshire Cat sittin’ in the lesser-known proverbial catbird seat. A side note: Melo does NOT like Landry Fields. Feel free to speculate as to why, but you could see Anthony take particular sadistic glee in making him look stupid. Alas, the ‘Bocker defense (for lack of a better term) was downright putrid, save for Prigioni’s pilfering; and that includes Iman Shumpert. Seriously though, you’d think some shrewd coach would say, “Watch out for the tanned Modigliani paintin on inbounds,” or something.

DeMar DeRozan was nigh-unguardable, and they continued to miss rotations, allow any guard faster than a rhino to beat them off the dribble and double team haphazardly. Though all of this flailing and overpursuing did lead to 23 Toronto turnovers, it also resulted in many an open cuts down the lane, wide open trey, and sloppy, reaching-to-grab-a-gent-for-no-particular-reason-type fouls galore (even if some of the calls were a tad questionable. We should probably all practice hollering, “DARE I SAY IT, BUT THESE REFEREES SUCKLE DONKEY TESTES.” It’s the preseason for all our Knick-ly sense of victimhood at the hands of/perpetual outrage towards the arbiters too, dontcha know.)

Down the stretch in the 3rd quarter, a defensive-minded unit featuring Shump n’ Metta put the clamps on the Dinosaurs, forcing turnovers and leading to fast break hoops galore. Would this were a regular season tilt, and they’d returned the starting five to the floor, they probably would’ve prevailed. But as ten-point 4th quarter bulge was in the process of being whittled away, Toure’ Murry made his NBA debut, banked home a nifty up and under lay in, followed hard upon with a steal on the baseline and feed to a streaking Timmy Jr. for the flush. All seemed right in the known universe until…until…IT arrived.

Quincy Acy, the Demi-god, the Devourer of Worlds, the Great Colossus just plain went HAM. Here are my notes, presented without edits. They really do convey the totality of what shall henceforth be known far and wide as The Quincy Acy Game:

Quicky acy dunk,

Quincy Acy long three

Quicky acy interior D

Quicky Acy block,

Quicny acy steal off an out of control Udrih.

Quicny ACYYYYYY HuSTle offensive rebound, gets fouled.

Quincy Acy destroys Beno driving to the hoop w/13 seconds left. Because he’s Quicny Acy, that’s why.

Plus, he really does look like a slightly sub-par clone of Reggie Evans. This tweet put it best, methinks.

And so they lost. Poop. A few more thoughts on some of tonight’s participants:

Andrea Bargnani: Evidently, our neighbors to the north—the nicest, politest people (‘cept for the ones playing hockey) in the world—just do not like the cut of Andrea’s jib, unleashing a Vertsbergerian torrent of boos whenever he touched the rock. I was stuck watching the feed from Toronto, and even the announcers wanted MOAR HATE, bemoaning the lack of blood-curdling screams and dolls in your likeness that were hung in effigy. So as my offering to the great God Objectivity, there were some good things from our Italo-Canadian import and some that are going to be season long nails on our collective chalkboard. Melo was heard in the funny papers exhorting Bargs to lay off his eerily effective pump fake, mainly because open shots don’t need to be crafted out of some slo-mo, Butoh Dance moves.

On more than one occasion, Andrea got the ball at the top of the key, caught it, then waited, the mondered, then pondered waiting, giving the defender time to get in his grill, before rotating the ball out/passing back to the wing/or attempting the aforementioned jukes n’ jives. I never thought I’d be saying this, but shoot it Bargs! Confidence breeds success! For all his gifts, he’s just not instinctive. The same problem is manifest on defense. Though it can look like he doesn’t give a crap, I just think his reaction time is a tick or two short. That said, he hit a couple of nice runners and put forth more effort on the glass, even if said effort seemed to be composed of running into the fray and sending both ‘mates and opponents sprawling.

Metta World Peace: As was the case on Wednesday, the day dedicated to Wigge, wife of Odin, Peace seems to think he’s got a Melo-ian green light, especially when pared with the ostensible 2nd unit. This, to date, has not proved to be a good thing. We finally got to see his scrambling, scrappy defense in the stretch at the end of the third, but even more so than Bargs, I would consider myself a happy, well-adjusted human being if he would dispense entirely with his bullheaded, lift-free forays to the rim and off-balance, “low-post” rainbow jumpers. Corner threes and wide open spot up J’s for you, Metta. C’est tout. Learn it. Live it.

Beno Udrih: Beno’s defense. It is…what’s the word I’m looking for…not good. He racked up four fouls in his first five minutes of action and generally plays like an over-caffeinated/sugared child, often tumbling to the floor at surprising and peculiar moments. It’s odd, because at other times, he can appear fairly crafty and heady, but then he just loses all sense of coordination, often all in the same play; like the moment in the 3rd when he beat his man off the dribble, tripped over an imaginary line, lost the ball, grabbed it again and somehow fed Bargs for an easy layup.

Josh Powell: Josh Powell likes to foul. I’m a poet, and I’m unaware of the fact that I’m composing poetry. He’s undersized, even for the PF slot, but he’s quite the whirling dervish of energy. Occasionaly, that’s a good thing, as when he saved Timmy from an evening of chums sending him links to the ESPN clip of Landry Fields (!) shredding his ankles (!!) with a crossover dribble (system error) with a nice recovery and block.

But mostly, all of his grabbing and flinging himself about just led to led to hacks.

Tim Hardaway Jr.: Another night of silky-smooth jumpers, but you can see that he has a bad tendency to not stay balanced and lean to the side on his jumpers off the dribble, which makes him less accurate. Boffo dunk, though, even if Tim the Elder wasn’t around to poke the gentleman sitting next to him in the ribs as to indicate, “That’s my son!”

And that’ll do it. There were some nice signs and some disturbing (Yes, preseason caveats, but worrying/fretting’s practically an Olympic sport ‘round these parts) trends: the still-atrocious point-guard defense, inability to avoid dumb fouls and the bizarro ‘strategy’ of seeming to encourage corner bombs being three big ones. On the plus side, they did do a much better job on the glass, actually netted a few fast break points, and the veterans all seem healthy and ready to roll. If tonight’s game gave you a case of the sadz, fear not. They’ll be playing in Lord Jimeson “Irish Jim” O’CavanFitz’s stomping grounds/the one place on earth Clyde Frazier has never trod with his alligator shoed-feet tomorrow night. And even if as rumored Felt and Melo are planning to skip the proceedings, our brave, noble cub reporter shall attend in person to give y’all the skinny and the inside dope.

Go Knicks!

22 comments on “Raptors 100, Knicks 91

  1. Donnie Walsh

    Dude, Silverman, relax, You’ve already made the squad. Phone it in from here on out. Don’t leave it all on the court in preseason. Save it for the meaningful games!

    Seriously, Three’s Company references, Nordic myth, and the sublime “Vertsbergian torrent of boos”… You have no rust to shake off. You’re cleared for the regular season. (try not to be hurt for the playoffs).

  2. Brian Cronin

    I just can’t take anything that happens in the preseason seriously. Good or bad. It’s basically an extended version of scrimmages. There just doesn’t seem to be any real connection between how teams perform in the preseason and how they perform when the games actually matter so I really can’t take anything to mind until the regular season games start.

  3. pablopilot

    “DARE I SAY IT, BUT THESE REFEREES SUCKLE DONKEY TESTES.”

    Hahahahahahaha! That’s funny.

    Bargnani not an instinctive player, even in preseason… not funny…

  4. Z-man

    Bargnani’s reactions remind me of Amare. He seems to be capable of boxing out well, but on two occasions he got the board but didn’t secure it properly and got stripped. He drifts and floats a bit as well.

  5. johnno

    Anyone have any suggestions about where I can go to read an objective analysis of Bargnani? It has become painfully obvious that Knickerblogger is not that place, since every article posted here seems to be written from the “watching him is like fingernails on a blackboard” perspective. Even the “compliments” are thinly veiled insults — I watched the game last night and disagree with a lot of what is said in this article about him. Overall, I thought that he played pretty well. By the way, the “few” fastbreak points that the Knicks scored last night was 20.

  6. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    It’s hard to be objective about Bargnani except to say that he is objectively the worst frontcourt player in the NBA.

    I really hope that all of us Knickerbloggers are ready for lots of 6-17 “confidence-building” shooting from Metta World Peace, and lots of 10 pts on 9 FGA from Bargnani, as if that’s supposed to make winning basketball.

    I foresee a trainwreck, my friends. Luckily we have Bob and Jim to guide us through the pain. And no jon abbey.

    It’s almost November!

  7. Robert Silverman Post author

    johnno:
    Anyone have any suggestions about where I can go to read an objective analysis of Bargnani?It has become painfully obvious that Knickerblogger is not that place, since every article posted here seems to be written from the “watching him is like fingernails on a blackboard” perspective.Even the “compliments” are thinly veiled insults — I watched the game last night and disagree with a lot of what is said in this article about him.Overall, I thought that he played pretty well.By the way, the “few” fastbreak points that the Knicks scored last night was 20.

    I think “a mixed bag” is a pretty fair way to describe Bargs’ outing. What, specifically, do you disagree with?

  8. Z-man

    The Honorable Cock Jowles:
    It’s hard to be objective about Bargnani except to say that he is objectively the worst frontcourt player in the NBA.

    I really hope that all of us Knickerbloggers are ready for lots of 6-17 “confidence-building” shooting from Metta World Peace, and lots of 10 pts on 9 FGA from Bargnani, as if that’s supposed to make winning basketball.

    I foresee a trainwreck, my friends. Luckily we have Bob and Jim to guide us through the pain. And no jon abbey.

    It’s almost November!

    I see that Bank Hyperbole is open for business!

    If Bargnani only takes 9 FGA, and scores 10 points on them, why is that a terrible thing? And in the previous game he had 12 points on 8 attempts. That’s averaging 11 points on 8.5 attempts. Oh, and he hasn’t hit a single 3 yet.

    To me, this means that for now he is moving the ball rather than jacking up shot after shot. I’ll start worrying when he starts scoring 20 points on 18 FGAs.

    Also, isn’t the real reason that the season will be a train wreck that Chandler might start shooting open 12-footers? That’s bound to knock his TS% down 100 points or so.

  9. Z-man

    Robert Silverman: I think “a mixed bag” is a pretty fair way to describe Bargs’ outing. What, specifically, do you disagree with?

    That in and of itself is a fair assessment. And considering he was playing in a pretty hostile environment (think back to Felton’s return to Portland) I think a mixed bag was OK. BTW, I was impressed with Toronto, especially DeRozan, Valuncinias and Quincy Acy (whose name reminds me of other recent NBA Quincy’s and Acies.) They might not be a doormat.

  10. Robert Silverman Post author

    Z-man: That in and of itself is a fair assessment. And considering he was playing in a pretty hostile environment (think back to Felton’s return to Portland) I think a mixed bag was OK. BTW, I was impressed with Toronto, especially DeRozan, Valuncinias and Quincy Acy (whose name reminds me of other recent NBA Quincy’s and Acies.) They might not be a doormat.

    That’s fair.

  11. DRed

    Bargnani was 4-9 from the field, 0-2 from 3, 2-2 from the line, had 3 defensive boards, one offensive rebound, no steals, no blocks, no turnovers, 2 fouls and was a -7 in +/-. What’s good about any of that, aside from the no turnovers? That’s mediocre on offense, mediocre on the boards, and he didn’t do anything else. Not a terrible night by any means, but it’s certainly not good.

  12. massive

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/12/sports/basketball/completely-ready-or-not-steve-mills-takes-charge-of-knicks.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2&smid=tw-share&amp;

    Why is this not linked in the morning news? It’s a great read. Most importantly is that Steve Mills plans to use advanced statistics in his analysis, citing SportsVu as a tool he plans to use and influences from Dean Oliver.

    But no, let’s get all worked up over Andrea Bargnani’s 2nd pre season game.

    Shump had 9 boards last night. He’s looking like a really good Jason Kidd replacement right now.

  13. KnickfaninNJ

    Z-man: That in and of itself is a fair assessment. And considering he was playing in a pretty hostile environment (think back to Felton’s return to Portland) I think a mixed bag was OK. BTW, I was impressed with Toronto, especially DeRozan, Valuncinias and Quincy Acy (whose name reminds me of other recent NBA Quincy’s and Acies.) They might not be a doormat.

    I agree. In fact, watching the game I was thinking the East may not be as bad compared to West as it was in the past few years. Detroit and Washington are also likely to be reasonably good and who knows how Cleveland will be. All the analysts seem to think the Knicks are the fifth best team in the East and they seem to be younger and deeper than last year when the won 54 games. If the fifth best team in the East wins 55 games or so it’s hard to say the East is weak

  14. Donnie Walsh

    johnno:
    Anyone have any suggestions about where I can go to read an objective analysis of Bargnani?It has become painfully obvious that Knickerblogger is not that place.

    Well, you can probably follow ruruland on twitter for starters (you may get some objective analysis on Carmelo Anthony at that source too).

    Or you can do as most folks with Internet access do and google it… But be warned that you may not like what you find. (Hint, the Raptors bloggers that watched Bargnani day in and day out for his entire career aren’t exactly going to miss him)

  15. Robert Silverman Post author

    Brief programming note: We’ve got a great Kevin McElroy piece coming Monday AM on why Bargs seems to be such a polarizing figure for Knicks fans. Think y’all will really enjoy it.

  16. KnickfaninNJ

    DRed: Bargnani was 4-9 from the field, 0-2 from 3, 2-2 from the line, had 3 defensive boards, one offensive rebound, no steals, no blocks, no turnovers, 2 fouls and was a -7 in +/-. What’s good about any of that, aside from the no turnovers? That’s mediocre on offense, mediocre on the boards, and he didn’t do anything else. Not a terrible night by any means, but it’s certainly not good.

    I would agree he didn’t look impressive last night. On the other hand, it was still more than we would have gotten out of Novak and Camby combined, and the fact that he was on the floor might have contributed to some of the open looks Melo got, which seemed more than usual to me.

    I am looking forward to the piece coming on Monday

  17. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Robert Silverman:
    Brief programming note: We’ve got a great Kevin McElroy piece coming Monday AM on why Bargs seems to be such a polarizing figure for Knicks fans. Think y’all will really enjoy it.

    Does it mention THCJ at all? Let’s all remember that he was among those who claimed that Bargnani could end up making the Knicks an #8 seed.

  18. Z-man

    DRed:
    Bargnani was 4-9 from the field, 0-2 from 3, 2-2 from the line, had 3 defensive boards, one offensive rebound, no steals, no blocks, no turnovers, 2 fouls and was a -7 in +/-.What’s good about any of that, aside from the no turnovers?That’s mediocre on offense, mediocre on the boards, and he didn’t do anything else.Not a terrible night by any means, but it’s certainly not good.

    Well, for most players it would be mediocre, but for the worst frontcourt player in the league (per THCJ et. al.), it’s a career game.

  19. DRed

    Z-man: Well, for most players it would be mediocre, but for the worst frontcourt player in the league (per THCJ et. al.), it’s a career game.

    I really don’t like Bargs as a player, but he’s not that bad (he was last year, but I realize he was hurt). But that’s because players who are worse then him don’t play much or wind up in the D-league. Among guys who play, say, 28+ minutes a night he’s certainly one of the worst. Hopefully the Knicks offense can help him hit some career highs in efficiency and he’ll wind up being a mediocre 15 minute a night guy for us who has some limited tactical use. Which isn’t a killer. I’m not holding my breath, and he’ll be way overpaid even if he does, but fuck Jimmy Dolan anyhow.

  20. ruruland

    DRed: I really don’t like Bargs as a player, but he’s not that bad (he was last year, but I realize he was hurt).But that’s because players who are worse then him don’t play much or wind up in the D-league.Among guys who play, say, 28+ minutes a night he’s certainly one of the worst.Hopefully the Knicks offense can help him hit some career highs in efficiency and he’ll wind up being a mediocre 15 minute a night guy for us who has some limited tactical use.Which isn’t a killer.I’m not holding my breath, and he’ll be way overpaid even if he does, but fuck Jimmy Dolan anyhow.

    What will you do if he posts a WS/140 of 130 or above?

  21. johnno

    Robert Silverman: I think “a mixed bag” is a pretty fair way to describe Bargs’ outing. What, specifically, do you disagree with?

    Your review accentuated the negative while grudgingly acknowledging the positive — for example, you point out that he held the ball too long on one or two occasions, but fail to mention that he moved the ball nicely on a number of occasions and made a number of decisive moves with the ball. You say that there were some positives but also “nails on the blackboard” negatives. You say that he made more effort on the boards but that it consisted of knocking his teammates over. Bottom line, someone who read your post would think that he played poorly overall which, in my opinion, isn’t accurate. Now, if you were talking about last night, I would agree wholeheartedly, he (and most everyone else) was bad (although I thought that, except for a couple blatant lapses, his defensive rotations were ok).

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