Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Rappy New Year!: Despite Anthony’s 35, Raptors hand Knicks third loss of season

Whether the product of sheer West Coast jetlag, an injury-riddled roster, or a New Year’s Eve team peyote seance, New York’s deflating 90-85 loss to the Raptors Monday night wasn’t exactly the kind of start to 2012 we’d hoped for.

Despite cutting the Raptor lead to three at various points down the stretch, the Knicks were unable to dig themselves out of a 17-point halftime deficit — a woeful stretch in which they shot a Y League-like 28% from the field, including 5-19 from behind the arch.

Carmelo Anthony led all scorers with 35 points. On 31 shots. That’s it — that’s the joke.

Tyson Chandler netted his second consecutive double-double, chalking 11 points, 10 boards, and pawing away a number of loose balls down the stretch which failed to materialize into points at the opposite end. Chandler also logged 43 minutes — the most he’s played in a four-quarter game since 2008. Which, when you realize the Knicks needed all 44 of them, isn’t the best of signs.

Once more the ficklest of beasts, Toney Douglas finished with 22 points, four rebounds, four assists, and only one turnover. He also took 19 shots, got lost on a number of ball screens, and — judging by Mike D’Antoni’s sideline reaction — ran the wrong play out of a late timeout with the Knicks down three, resulting in a desperate Melo huck with a full 14 seconds left in regulation.

After a promising outing against the Kings on Saturday —  where he had his first professional double-double not purchased at In-’N-Out Burger (14 points and 10 ‘bounds) — Josh Harrellson’s two points, five boards, and pair of side-of-the-backboard heaves brought the rookie fan fave back down to Earth.

Still, the noobig (noob + big = noobig) made a number of admirable hustle plays, and took shots that seemed totally reasonable at the time… before they sprouted wings and flew away.

Meanwhile, Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozen paced the ‘Ptors with 21 each — both of them on 13 shots — as Toronto improved to 2-3 under new skipper Dwayne Casey.

The already heroin-thin ‘Bocker bench tallied just 10 points, with the four largely comatose contributors — Mike Bibby, Steve Novak, Bill Walker, and Jerome Jordan — netting an average +/- of -11.

Think that’s crazy? Landry Fields went 1-7 from the floor, grabbed three rebounds, committed at least two criminally inept crunch time fouls, and ended up with a +13. Numberz!

After a bounce-back Saturday outing against the Kings in which they connected on 10-28 three point attempts, the Knicks were stymied from distance, hitting just 10 of their 35 tries — many of them wild heel ricochets and heavy front-rim grazes.

Playing their second consecutive game sans a hobbled Amar’e Stoudemire, the ‘Bockers reverted time and again to a default Melo-on-five offensive scheme, with mixed results. On the one hand, Anthony really was the only reliable option in an offense still searching for a consistent rhythm, scoring 11 fourth quarter points to keep the Knicks within striking distance.

On the other hand, Anthony seemed at times preemptively reluctant to look beyond the linear plane of defender-and-basket, on more than one occasion driving recklessly into a collapsing defense and failing to find the open shooter.

In the wake of three losses in four games, the Knicks’ Christmas demon-shunning of the Celtics now seems as distant as a deckled fir’s unwrapped booty; their rotation’s depth a fading menorah’s meer shadow.

Luckily, help appears to be on the way: The extra night’s rest should be enough for Amar’e Stoudemire’s and his ailing ankle to give it the old college try on Wednesday. Or high school try. Whatever.

Iman Shumpert, meanwhile, surprised many Monday afternoon when word leaked that the much-heralded rookie — once expected to be out as long as six weeks – could be back in full battle garb as early as Wednesday.

Given the dearth of offensive firepower, neither can lace ‘em up soon enough.

Prior to the game, many a Knick fan were lamenting the ongoing Time Warner-MSG feud for depriving countless thousands the pleasure of enjoying their beloved hoopsters. But if the two sides somehow end up coming to terms before Wednesday’s date with the Bobcats, it’ll be those of us who were able to watch — indeed, had to watch — last night’s drawn-out dud that’ll seem the dumber.

142 comments on “Rappy New Year!: Despite Anthony’s 35, Raptors hand Knicks third loss of season

  1. JoMo

    Ha, got a completely unexpected laugh out of ” ‘Ptors.”

    I caught only the waning minutes of this game on chanfeed.com (WC blackout) after being disgusted by what I was seeing in the refreshing play-by-play on ESPN – a feature that I have to say, gives an excellent perspective on precisely how poor the team is playing at a given moment.

    That ‘Melo chuck with 14 seconds left was utterly baffling. I understand it was a broken play, but I mean, that much time at least affords you the ability to get the easy 2 after he breaks down DeRozen (?) on the perimeter.

    The play-by-play had me believing that Fields was responsible for a lot of the 4th qtr comeback with an array of assists, steals, etc. on top of a string of like 4 ‘Melo shots in a row. Is that accurate?

  2. Caleb

    DRed:
    Needs more Balkman

    Agree… I said nice things about Jorts yesterday, and I don’t take them back, but he’s still raw and playing him and Novak 40+ minutes a night while Balkman racks up DNPs, is coaching malpractice.

    IMO, along with everything else, they could let Balkman guard the opposing PG for 10-15 minutes a game. Not what you want in a perfect world, but we won’t have Bibby racking up these -18s in 15 minutes, which he’s done at least twice in 4 games.

    Big picture, I am worried about Amare. This ankle is probably just a passing thing, and I know it’s basically preseason, but it just reminds you: he has a max-level, uninsurable contract, he’s a guy who became a superstar on his athleticism and is now pushing 30, and if he can’t be a star on offense… then boy does this team suck.

  3. Caleb

    JoMo:
    Ha, got a completely unexpected laugh out of ” ‘Ptors.”

    I caught only the waning minutes of this game on chanfeed.com (WC blackout) after being disgusted by what I was seeing in the refreshing play-by-play on ESPN – a feature that I have to say, gives an excellent perspective on precisely how poor the team is playing at a given moment.

    That ‘Melo chuck with 14 seconds left was utterly baffling. I understand it was a broken play, but I mean, that much time at least affords you the ability to get the easy 2 after he breaks down DeRozen (?) on the perimeter.

    The play-by-play had me believing that Fields was responsible for a lot of the 4th qtr comeback with an array of assists, steals, etc. on top of a string of like 4 ‘Melo shots in a row. Is that accurate?

    It is… you can see it in the box, where Landry was +13 despite shooting 1 for 7.

    +/- for a single game is not too telling – too many things play into it – but for him last night it tells the truth. He had a good game.

  4. misterma

    “…their rotation’s depth a fading menorah’s meer shadow.”

    Some would call this florid writing. Not me.

    Keep it up Jim Cavan. This is as enjoyable as post-game summaries get, especially in defeat.

  5. d-mar

    Caleb: It is… you can see it in the box, where Landry was +13 despite shooting 1 for 7.

    +/- for a single game is not too telling – too many things play into it – but for him last night it tells the truth. He had a good game.

    I just don’t see Landry having a “good game”. He was 1-7, if he hits one or two open shots, maybe we win that game. A big part of the Knicks comeback (and his +/-) was the Raps missing open shots in the 3rd qtr. that they hit in the first half, Fields had nothing to do with that. I sat pretty close to the Knicks basket in the 2nd half, and focusing on Fields, he just looks uncertain and hesitant when he gets the ball. He’s part of the reason why Melo had to attempt so many shots; no one else showed a hint of aggressiveness on offense.

  6. Caleb

    @6 I dunno – he had 5 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks and a lot of very timely plays. I’m just saying it wasn’t random chance that he was +13 on a night where the Knicks lost by 5. He played well, aside from shooting. Not an A-game, but a solid B or B-… although I know Mike gave him a D.

    Obviously you’d like to see him make more shots, and he needs to do a lot better than 1/7 to keep up the value – he’s not going to average 2+ blocks and 2+ steals a game.

  7. Son of Tastycakes

    Watch D’Antoni closely as I’m sure most of you have. The guy is one pissed off passive-aggressive puppy. This is my take. He had the team he wanted before the trade last year. They were finally doing it his way and they had success. Dolan blew the whole thing up in pursuit of Melo. Mr. Pringles has never gotten over it, doesn’t have the talent he needs now to play his system, and as a lame duck coach he doesn’t give a sh*t anymore. It’s all on his face when he’s caught on camera.

  8. Caleb

    d-mar: He’s part of the reason why Melo had to attempt so many shots; no one else showed a hint of aggressiveness on offense.

    This is true but it’s a bigger structural problem with the team. Landry does a lot of things well but he doesn’t have a good handle and can’t create shots off the dribble. If he were more aggressive, he’d just have more turnovers. I don’t see the problem being with him; it’s that we have no one besides Carmelo and sort of Douglas, who can create a shot for themself or anyone else. Landry, Walker, Douglas… even Novak and Bibby… that’s a lot of guys who could rain down threes if we had someone breaking down the defense and kicking it out. Not to mention getting the ball to Amare and Chandler near the rim.

    In general I think people overrate how much players make other players better, but these Knicks are an *extreme* example of the opposite.

    Baron Davis and Shumpert could help, maybe a lot, but they’re both huge wildcards, for different reasons.

    In the meantime, you have to work with what you have and IMO it’s ludicrous to be running out Bibby and Novak, and giving big minutes to Harrelson.

  9. taggart4800

    This team really aren’t as bad as last night made out. Our depth worries me because they are going to be running on fumes before long, but overall we are missing some guys and it is early.
    I for one liked the attempts to get the alley-oops to Chandler. These games are essentially practice sessions and they have to be used to garner chemistry. If you can’t experiment against the Raptors in January when can you?
    I think its a shame Melo didn’t post up more, despite the sagging D. Would have given Chandler a greater chance of getting the board also.

  10. Frank

    @10 – Shumpert will help a lot just by virtue of the fact he’s not Bibby – and I mean that in all seriousness. If Bibby is not hitting open 3′s, he is utterly useless – actually worse than useless since he is well below average at everything else. Add to that Shumpert’s already-demonstrated defensive ability, and his return is huge for this team. Re: Baron, who knows what he will give us, but being able to return Toney to his proper role (off the bench off the ball) will be huge too.

    We have a team that has two scorers (Amare/Melo) and a bunch of role players – except right now with all the injuries the role players are being asked to do things outside their comfort zone. When the role players are playing their roles, we’ll be fine.

  11. ess-dog

    Good comments. One positive is that D’Antoni adjusted after the 1st quarter and defended Bargnani much better. We clearly need paint penetration on offense- whether by fast break or dribble in halfcourt. To state it simply, we need a fast guard that can handle the ball. I wish we’d traded for barea, maybe for fields and just went with TD as a 2. As for Fields, he looked good against the Raptor backups. He sucked against their starters. He looks more and more like a backup each game.

  12. knickterp

    Shumpert, if competent and healthy, will soon take Fields’ spot. Landry has no above-average skill: his shooting, defending, and penetrating are all mediocre, and his teammates and opponents know this. He’s been tried repeatedly as the open man in the corner shooting 3s to no effect, he can’t hit any open jumper, and his drives are slooooow (there was a play last night where he drove, pushed off, was whistled for the offensive foul, and STILL got the shot blocked at the rim by a Raptor).
    And, of course, his late foul on Bargnani was unforgivable.

  13. hoolahoop

    Fields is a high IQ, off the ball player. The iso offense is particularly bad for a player like him. The more things that are happening simultaneously, the easier it is for him to find seams to contribute. He’s a mental player.

    Shumpert as the missing piece? He’s a rookie that played one regular season game.

  14. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    In the game before last, on the Knicks’ 3rd or 4th possession, Fields penetrated and drove baseline, kicking it out to Carmelo for an open 3.

    He was essentially doing the thing that he’s purported to be unable to do. That’s the sort of thing that “warrants” paying Carmelo Anthony being paid what he is.

    Fields has sucked, to be sure, but let’s not pretend that he has no ball skills at all. He didn’t suddenly forget how to play during the offseason. He’ll bounce back.

    In other news, Ty Lawson has a .268 WS48, 26.0 PER, and .638 TS% in 200 minutes this season.

    DeJuan Blair has .193 WS48, 21.9 PER, and .562 TS%.

  15. Ben R

    For where I sat I thought Fields did okay as well. It would be nice if his shot fell but he had a poor shooting game, good to see him do well in other aspects, the 5 assists are really promising. Overall I think he is playing better this year than the end of last year and is improving every game. His three point shot isn’t falling and his role in the offense has taken away a lot of his rebound opportunities but overall he is playing okay and should keep getting better. His assists, steals, blocks, 2pt shooting% and shot attempts are all up this year. The two things that are suffering are rebounding (though that is improving 8 last two games 6 through first 3) and 3pt shooting, which one would think will return.

    As for Jorts, his defense has me convinced but 1-3 3 pointers a game and 25 minutes is quite enough, no reason to throw up a shot everytime you touch the ball outside. Bibby is beyond bad, he has me pining for the halcyon days of Roger Mason Jr and Larry Hughes. Novak is a huge negative at every thing except shooting the open 3 which our offense doesn’t really provide him so he is completely useless. There is no reason Balkman isn’t playing 30 minutes a game with all the injuries.

  16. xduckshoex

    I agree with hoolahoop’s assessment of Fields; it’s not that he’s a bad player, it’s that this offense is now a bad fit for him. Put him in San Antonio or Boston or Phoenix(or in NY, pre-Melo trade) and he will thrive.

  17. D.

    seriously melo cannot win with you guys, he shoots you guys say he shoots too much, he passes and guys miss and now you guys say he is noy doing enough. what more can the man do? u hate his iso sets but love em when you win, but when he misses then he’s a problem. how about Kobe, dude was 6-28 in the last game and dont give me any torn ligament crap, kobe has always been that way and still won 5 rings, heck go look at the 10 finals game 7, when the lakers won. shut the hell up all you Melo haters, let the man be, he’s best thing u’ve got since Ewing.

  18. d-mar

    For those who complain that Melo is a ball stopper and doesn’t drive and kick enough, he had 4 assists last night and probably should have had 3 or 4 more if his targets had finished. Meanwhile, Durant had 0 assists last night vs. Dallas, but scored 27 points. Is that why OKC lost?

  19. hoolahoop

    Kobe will go down in history in a class compared to Michael Jordan, not Carmelo Anthony.
    On the scoring side of the ledger, Melo is one of the best in the NBA. I prefer W’s.

    D.:
    seriously melo cannot win with you guys, he shoots you guys say he shoots too much, he passes and guys miss and now you guys say he is noy doing enough. what more can the man do? u hate his iso sets but love em when you win, but when he misses then he’s a problem. how about Kobe, dude was 6-28 in the last game and dont give me any torn ligament crap, kobe has always been that way and still won 5 rings, heck go look at the 10 finals game 7, when the lakers won. shut the hell up all you Melo haters, let the man be, he’s best thing u’ve got since Ewing.

  20. Gamecockerbocker

    Seriously though… Do we run plays? Most of the time down the court it’s either one high pick and roll that is poorly set, a quick three or Melo being Melo… Even with Melo playing ISO ball, can’t the other four players on the court set screens for each other, cut to the basket, or at least move around a little bit?

  21. Gamecockerbocker

    d-mar:
    For those who complain that Melo is a ball stopper and doesn’t drive and kick enough, he had 4 assists last night and probably should have had 3 or 4 more if his targets had finished. Meanwhile, Durant had 0 assists last night vs. Dallas, but scored 27 points. Is that why OKC lost?

    3 or 4 more if they hit shots plus about three more on top if that if players would take open shots when he gives them the ball.

  22. sisterray

    Son of Tastycakes:
    Watch D’Antoni closely as I’m sure most of you have. The guy is one pissed off passive-aggressive puppy. This is my take. He had the team he wanted before the trade last year. They were finally doing it his way and they had success. Dolan blew the whole thing up in pursuit of Melo. Mr. Pringles has never gotten over it, doesn’t have the talent he needs now to play his system, and as a lame duck coach he doesn’t give a sh*t anymore. It’s all on his face when he’s caught on camera.

    Really? I don’t see D’Antoni as disgruntled or apathetic. On camera, he seems perennially shocked that things aren’t going according to “plan” and, recently, even scared that he’s lost control and will soon lose his job.

    You are right that the trade must have a lot to do with D’Antoni’s demeanor. But I think he’s just oblivious to the fact that he can’t run plays designed for Steve Nash when TD is his starting PG, and his stubbornness is keeping him from revising the plan to yield real plays for Melo to run (which really shouldn’t be too hard to do).

    It’s that clash between proud faith in his own ideology and the recalcitrance of reality that we’re seeing play out on his face.

  23. Frank O.

    Last night I watched the game downstairs and my wife watched upstairs. I’ll get to her later.
    For those who say this loss wasn’t on Melo, I can only say he took 31 of the Knicks 78 shots. He missed 18 of them.
    Nine of his misses came in the paint, the majority of which at least four of five Toronto players had collapsed on him, leaving at least four Knicks uncovered.
    Yet, he had only four assists.
    IMHO the turning point in the game came in the third quarter, where Anthony destroyed the Knicks chances of closing the gap.
    They were down 57-42, at the 7:11 point.
    Melo drove and, to my surprise, dished to TD on the 3 pt arc. He drained it.
    It was 57-45 and I remember thinking with the entire team collapsing on him in the paint, Melo could do that all night. He draws so much attention.
    At 6:30, TD buried another 3 and seemed hot. It was 57-48.
    Then TD drew a foul and buried a free throw and he fed Fields for a layup and suddenly it was 57-51.
    After a deuce by Butler, Carmelo drove again and again found TD on the arc. He buried another 3 and it was 59-54. TD was on fire and Carmelo was creating.
    But he couldn’t help himself. He took a ridiculous 18-footer and missed. Jorts got fouled and buried two, then Melo drove one on five and missed again. Suddenly the team was out of sync again, standing around as Melo dominated the ball. Whatever TD felt was gone. Two minutes and twenty seconds passed before TD took another shot. It was a miss, and it felt forced.
    Then Bill Walker and Bibby let their ineptitude ruin the last two minutes of the quarter.
    Now Julie is no basketball expert, but she gets the game. This morning, without prompting from me, she launched into a diatribe on this very sequence. “It was like he just couldn’t stand seeing other guys make baskets,” she said.
    I agree. He needs to trust his teammates. He hasn’t bought D’Antoni’s system. Guys shoot poorly out of the flow. It will kill them, unless he shares the ball. Last night was on him.

  24. xduckshoex

    D.:
    seriously melo cannot win with you guys, he shoots you guys say he shoots too much, he passes and guys miss and now you guys say he is noy doing enough. what more can the man do? u hate his iso sets but love em when you win, but when he misses then he’s a problem. how about Kobe, dude was 6-28 in the last game and dont give me any torn ligament crap, kobe has always been that way and still won 5 rings, heck go look at the 10 finals game 7, when the lakers won. shut the hell up all you Melo haters, let the man be, he’s best thing u’ve got since Ewing.

    So all Melo needs is to play with Shaq in his prime or with the best frontcourt in the NBA and he can succeed like Kobe?

    Well you’ve got me convinced, that means he’s awesome.

  25. Frank O.

    Fields plays well when the ball moves. Instinctively he moves well without the ball and follows the flow of the game. But when the ball stops, he’s out of sync. He doesn’t know what to do, and it’s not just his problem. When Melo or Amare play isolation ball, the other guys don’t know what to do, and ISO is not the Knicks game. D’Antoni’s offense is predicated on ball movement, and they all know it.
    If you know how the team is supposed to play, but you have guys who aren’t doing it, the team is out of sync, and guys like Fields, who play away from the ball and feed off flow, get screwed up.
    I believe this is why Fields is struggling offensively. We have seen moments this season when he looked like himself, and, shock of shocks, it was when the ball was moving freely.
    Right now, because the Knicks are all screwed up, Melo isn’t trusting his teammates, and Amare is doing the same. They are not playing as a team, which we should all expect.
    You can’t point to Fields, or TD and say it’s them. They aren’t the folks dominating the ball.
    How about our center? He was three of four, all in the paint, and seemed unstoppable. And yet he got only four touches? D’Antoni’s offense is designed to maximize finishers like Chandler.
    No. This is a Melo and Amare problem. Both guys are trying to do it alone, and, frankly, they can’t. They could if they got their points in the flow of the game, rather than ISOs. Ball movement overwhelms doubles. They can’t keep up.
    The Knicks best players need to figure out how to play with their teammates. When Melo and Amare do, they are going to win a lot of games. But until then, we will see a lot of games like last night.

  26. xduckshoex

    Frank O.:
    Fields plays well when the ball moves. Instinctively he moves well without the ball and follows the flow of the game. But when the ball stops, he’s out of sync. He doesn’t know what to do, and it’s not just his problem. When Melo or Amare play isolation ball, the other guys don’t know what to do, and ISO is not the Knicks game. D’Antoni’s offense is predicated on ball movement, and they all know it.
    If you know how the team is supposed to play, but you have guys who aren’t doing it, the team is out of sync, and guys like Fields, who play away from the ball and feed off flow, get screwed up.
    I believe this is why Fields is struggling offensively. We have seen moments this season when he looked like himself, and, shock of shocks, it was when the ball was moving freely.
    Right now, because the Knicks are all screwed up, Melo isn’t trusting his teammates, and Amare is doing the same. They are not playing as a team, which we should all expect.
    You can’t point to Fields, or TD and say it’s them. They aren’t the folks dominating the ball.
    How about our center? He was three of four, all in the paint, and seemed unstoppable. And yet he got only four touches? D’Antoni’s offense is designed to maximize finishers like Chandler.
    No. This is a Melo and Amare problem. Both guys are trying to do it alone, and, frankly, they can’t. They could if they got their points in the flow of the game, rather than ISOs. Ball movement overwhelms doubles. They can’t keep up.
    The Knicks best players need to figure out how to play with their teammates. When Melo and Amare do, they are going to win a lot of games. But until then, we will see a lot of games like last night.

    Just quoting this because I feel like you hit the nail on the head.

  27. Frank O.

    Chandler in his post game interview said “the ball dictates who shoots,” and I can’t think of a better and cleared indictment of Melo and Amare right now.
    The newest guy on the team seems to understand D’Antoni’s offense, and two guys who have played under his system longer, don’t seem to get it.
    “The ball dictates who shoots…”
    I think Tyson Chandler is a god’s send.

  28. Ben R

    Frank O – Perfectly said. In a good offense there is not a preference who takes the shot just that the shot is good. It doesn’t matter if it is your rookie 4 or your superstar 3. A good shot is a good shot and a bad shot is a bad shot.

    We need to move the ball, have patience, and trust that our best shooters and scorers will get their shots. I would rather have Fields and Walker and Novak brick open shots than see Melo go 1on5. We need to play the right way regardless of injuries and slumps. It seems that as soon as we struggle even a little bit our ball movement stops and it becomes terrible ugly basketball.

    If you watch good offenses they go through slumps, they have a couple turnovers in a row but they keep trusting the offense and they eventually get back on track. We miss a couple open shots or get a couple bad turnovers and it’s like a switch goes off and we stop moving the ball.

  29. Frank O.

    Chandler also noted that in the second half, when their defensive intensity picked up their offense started to click.
    Stops throw the other team out of sync.

  30. knickterp

    Landry Fields is a 2 guard who misses wide open shots (often provided in the flow of a ball-moving offense) and who can’t guard the other team’s 2 guard.
    I agree, when everything is going great and he’s not relied on to do anything on his own (which, apparently, the Landry proponents on this board only expect of him), he makes some nice layups. He also plays “good” when shooting 1-7 in a game where he knows his team is desperate for offense.
    On the other hand, why can’t the stiff Melo go 10-15, with 12 assists and 7 boards? Why can’t he only shoot when he knows he’ll make it?

  31. ess-dog

    xduckshoex: Just quoting this because I feel like you hit the nail on the head.

    I agree with Frank O that Melo lost the game for us during that 8-0 Raptor run in the 3rd when he was laying bricks against double-teams. It especially sucked because TD finally had a hot hand.
    See, that was when it would’ve been nice to see the p’n'r with TD and Melo or TD and Chandler. But also, that “Novak crew” that got so much time in the 2nd half was ludicrous. Hopefully with Amare, Jeffries and Shump back, Novak gets banished.

  32. xduckshoex

    knickterp:
    Landry Fields is a 2 guard who misses wide open shots (often provided in the flow of a ball-moving offense) and who can’t guard the other team’s 2 guard.
    I agree, when everything is going great and he’s not relied on to do anything on his own (which, apparently, the Landry proponents on this board only expect of him), he makes some nice layups.He also plays “good” when shooting 1-7 in a game where he knows his team is desperate for offense.
    On the other hand, why can’t the stiff Melo go 10-15, with 12 assists and 7 boards?Why can’t he only shoot when he knows he’ll make it?

    This post is funny to me because I don’t think I’ve seen anyone miss the mark so many times in such a short post.

  33. Frank O.

    xduckshoex: This post is funny to me because I don’t think I’ve seen anyone miss the mark so many times in such a short post.

    Especially when you consider what Melo makes v Landry. It’s even more hilarious in that context.

  34. Ben R

    I don’t think Melo is a selfish player I just think he lacks perspective and patience. He makes two major mistakes that destroy flow.

    The first is whenever the team struggles he takes it upon himself to “right the ship” this means he goes 1on1 and tries to score. He often does score because he is really really talented but in doing so he destroys movement and flow that takes a long time to get back.

    The other mistake happens even when the offense is running well, it is when he hasn’t shot in a couple possessions, he feels he needs to shoot because if he doesn’t he is letting his team down, again I don’t think it’s selfish I think he truly believes that if he’s not shooting regularly he is failing his teammates.

    These two things put undue pressure on everyone because they know that if they miss a couple shots Melo is going to “take over”. I don’t think it is a coincidence that since Melo came to NY both Fields and Walker hesitate before they shoot. Everyone feels they need to make a play rather than just relax and trust each other and the offense.

  35. hoolahoop

    Ball movement and player motion open things up. As soon as the ball moves, all defensive angles on the court change Move the ball again, again the defensive angles change. You get the defense off balance and find an open player moving to the basket or for a three pointer. This is how the Europeans beat our NBA superstars in the olympics.
    Ironically, this would help Melo as much as anyone.

    The offensive would look cohesive. It’s beautiful to watch a well orchestrated offense. That’s why we tune in to watch good teams and go out to rake the lawn when bad teams play. It’s not the star power that’s exciting. It’s the dance.

  36. Ben R

    Clyde put it well, every Knick shot seems like it takes tremendous effort. Nothing is easy for this Knicks team. Ball movement makes basketball a much easier game.

  37. D.

    interesting, so you are saying having a player who.can create his own shot at anytime affects the ability of his teammates to perform, so is the problem the system or the player. Denver did pretty good with Melo for 7 years and other players on that team had great numbers. I think D’antoni is just stubburn, he has to find a balanced attack prediated on say 70% ball movement and 30% isos and those talking about that stretch when Melo lost the game for us, its baffles me how you sight only that instance, how about the 1st quarter when his passes turned into bricks and fastbreak points for the raptors and the deficit or the 2nd quater when Bill Walker played hot potato with the ball. Are u kidding me, melo lost the game?? the whole team needs some confidence

    Ben R:
    I don’t think Melo is a selfish player I just think he lacks perspective and patience. He makes two major mistakes that destroy flow.

    The first is whenever the team struggles he takes it upon himself to “right the ship” this means he goes 1on1 and tries to score. He often does score because he is really really talented but in doing so he destroys movement and flow that takes a long time to get back.

    The other mistake happens even when the offense is running well, it is when he hasn’t shot in a couple possessions, he feels he needs to shoot because if he doesn’t he is letting his team down, again I don’t think it’s selfish I think he truly believes that if he’s not shooting regularly he is failing his teammates.

    These two things put undue pressure on everyone because they know that if they miss a couple shots Melo is going to “take over”. I don’t think it is a coincidence that since Melo came to NY both Fields and Walker hesitate before they shoot. Everyone feels they need to make a play rather than just relax and trust each other and the offense.

  38. d-mar

    I’ll say it again, Kevin Durant had 0 assists and 27 pts. last night. Is he responsible for the loss to the Mavs? I do believe they run iso plays for him on occasion, but maybe I’m mistaken.

    I feel like there’s some misplaced nostalgia on this board for the Knicks of the late 60′s, early 70′s, where the ball always moved and most shots were open looks. Well, welcome to 2012, the defenses are way better, and a lot of the scoring (whether you like watching it or not) is done in one-on-one clear out plays, especially in 4th quarters and in the playoffs. Sure, Dallas played well as a team last year, but where would they have been vs. Miami without Dirk making ridiculous fallaways after dribbling the shot clock down to zero?

    Stop blaming everything on Melo, he is not the problem.

  39. D.

    what he said.

    d-mar:
    I’ll say it again, Kevin Durant had 0 assists and 27 pts. last night. Is he responsible for the loss to the Mavs? I do believe they run iso plays for him on occasion, but maybe I’m mistaken.

    I feel like there’s some misplaced nostalgia on this board for the Knicks of the late 60?s, early 70?s, where the ball always moved and most shots were open looks. Well, welcome to 2012, the defenses are way better, and a lot of the scoring (whether you like watching it or not) is done in one-on-one clear out plays, especially in 4th quarters and in the playoffs. Sure, Dallas played well as a team last year, but where would they have been vs. Miami without Dirk making ridiculous fallaways after dribbling the shot clock down to zero?

    Stop blaming everything on Melo, he is not the problem.

  40. knickterp

    Some Knicks fans here live in some sort of alternate reality:

    Melo is the ultimate loser; his teams in college and pro have never met any level of success.
    “Ball Movement” is the key to everything; only your team knows this.
    Dirk/Wade/Pierce/Kobe NEVER take wild shots and stop the ball; they only pass when doubled.
    Every Fields/Walker/Jorts brick is Melo’s fault, for fear he’ll get mad if they miss.
    The 3s and various other shots Melo hits don’t count (see last night’s 1st quarter, when only Melo showed up for the game on time).
    Last year’s Knicks pre-Melo were locked in to the #1 seed and the world was looking forward to the Fields/Wade and Gallo/LBJ matchups in the Eastern Conference Finals.
    Until Melo ruined everything.

  41. Frank O.

    D.:
    what he said.

    Disagree.
    31 shots. Many with multiple defenders draped on him.
    He’s a great player. He just needs to play within the system.

  42. Nick C.

    If people didn’t start out with the “Melo is great the teammates clanged it up on him” there propably would be so many people presenting a diffferent opinion. He did go 13-31 so he does have some culpability whether or not Jorts hit the side of the backboard or not.

  43. Caleb

    For what it’s worth, through 5 games Melo has a career high TS% of 59.1, a career-high assist rate of 12.3 and is just off his career-high rebound rate, at 11.7. His usage rate, 29.9, is almost identical to his career. His TOs haven’t budged. In short, he’s having a great year.

    I mean we know he doesn’t play a lot of D, but he’s a great offensive player and the Knicks are losing because the rest of the team has been awful. That’s also an indictment of how the team was built – without much margin for error.

    But hey, it’s only 5 games.

  44. Frank O.

    knickterp:
    Some Knicks fans here live in some sort of alternate reality:

    Melo is the ultimate loser; his teams in college and pro have never met any level of success.
    “Ball Movement” is the key to everything; only your team knows this.
    Dirk/Wade/Pierce/Kobe NEVER take wild shots and stop the ball; they only pass when doubled.
    Every Fields/Walker/Jorts brick is Melo’s fault, for fear he’ll get mad if they miss.
    The 3s and various other shots Melo hits don’t count (see last night’s 1st quarter, when only Melo showed up for the game on time).
    Last year’s Knicks pre-Melo were locked in to the #1 seed and the world was looking forward to the Fields/Wade and Gallo/LBJ matchups in the Eastern Conference Finals.
    Until Melo ruined everything.

    All straw men. Virtually every player in the NBA comes from winning programs. His teams rarely went far in the playoffs. On the Heat, clearly Lebron has taken fewer shots and facilitated more within a team concept.
    Melo makes shots. No one suggested otherwise. But when your best player takes 31 shots shooting 41 percent from the field, you lose.
    Basketball is a team sport. Even Melo would tell you that.

  45. jon abbey

    Landry Fields is not a starter on a title contender, he might not even be a top 9 rotation guy. the sooner Shump and Baron are our starting backcourt, the sooner we can see what this team can actually do.

  46. stratomatic

    This team has some problems right now. The system the coach wants to run is very dependent on a quality play maker to run the P&R (usually a PG that can knock down 3s) and a lot of space. Right now the team has neither. Several players are not shooting well from outside, both Amare and Chandler do their best scoring inside, and several other players don’t have reliable outside shots. So everyone is standing around, Amare is shooting jumpers when he’s in, and Melo is being forced to carry the load.

    I happen to like D’Antoni, but this is not a D’Antoni team. It’s like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

  47. Phil Brank - Alien Extraordinaire

    knickterp: Some Knicks fans here live in some sort of alternate reality:Melo is the ultimate loser; his teams in college and pro have never met any level of success.“Ball Movement” is the key to everything; only your team knows this.Dirk/Wade/Pierce/Kobe NEVER take wild shots and stop the ball; they only pass when doubled.Every Fields/Walker/Jorts brick is Melo’s fault, for fear he’ll get mad if they miss.The 3s and various other shots Melo hits don’t count (see last night’s 1st quarter, when only Melo showed up for the game on time).Last year’s Knicks pre-Melo were locked in to the #1 seed and the world was looking forward to the Fields/Wade and Gallo/LBJ matchups in the Eastern Conference Finals.Until Melo ruined everything.

    I think you might be in the alternate reality here.

    Didn’t Melo win the national championship with Syracuse? Dirk, Wade, Pierce, Kobe never take bad shots? WHAT!?!?

    Also, Melo keeps passing out to those open shots. If he were getting upset at every miss, every one of his shots would be ISO, and that is not the case.

    Not sure if you’re a troll or not, but i disagree with pretty much everything you said.

  48. Caleb

    p.s. his TS% for last night was 50.7 – not good but not Kobe-esque :)
    Through 4 games, he was over 60.

    There are sort of two lines of argument going on – one, how good is Melo, really? Two, did the Knicks do the right thing in gutting their team at the last trade deadline.

    You can think he’s really good, and still call it a bad trade. Me, I’m on the fence. From the standpoint of a fan analyzing the roster and making fantasy trades, it was a mistake… just like giving Stoudemire a max deal was a mistake. But in the actual NBA, it’s harder to say. Without Stoudemire, the Knicks probably wouldn’t have been in play for Anthony or Deron Williams. Without the 2 of them, Tyson Chandler probably would have landed in Sacramento.

    If you agree with that, then trading for Melo was a good deal – even if the talent swap was even. (which it was – the Knicks with Gallo, Chandler, Felton, etc. were on track to win a grand total of *one* less game than the Knicks with Anthony AND Billups).

    On a more totally subjective side, the Knicks with Anthony are not nearly as fun to watch – they play slower and messier. But that doesn’t mean they’re worse.

  49. knickterp

    Re: 53, Phil, note the use of a “:” I described the alternate reality they’re living in. I’d venture a guess that we agree.

    And am I the only person who saw the Knicks collapse last night at the beginning of the second quarter when Melo was out of the game? Why wasn’t the ball moving? Why did Coach rush him back in when the deficit was growing?

  50. Phil Brank - Alien Extraordinaire

    knickterp: Re: 53, Phil, note the use of a “:” I described the alternate reality they’re living in. I’d venture a guess that we agree.And am I the only person who saw the Knicks collapse last night at the beginning of the second quarter when Melo was out of the game? Why wasn’t the ball moving? Why did Coach rush him back in when the deficit was growing?

    Ha! I see it now, sorry!

  51. xduckshoex

    @43 – that’s not what he was saying at all. Nobody has even implied that having a player who can create his own shit is a problem, we’ve been saying that someone who abandons the offense to do so is a problem. There’s a HUGE difference there.

    And having 30% iso’s would be a disaster. I have no idea why anybody would think that having the team standing around while the defense keys on one of their teammates on 3 out of every 10 possessions would be a good thing. It’s not a strategy that has ever worked at the professional level so why should D’Antoni even consider the possibility?

    But I do agree that the team needs some confidence. Now answer me this: if your supposed leader decides to exclude you and your teammates from the offense so that he can go one on four what is that going to do to your confidence?

  52. Shad0wF0x

    @25

    I stopped watching at the half since it was frustrating/boring to watch and the stream I was looking at was just horrid to look at. That stretch when TD was feeling it should have been exploited until he started to miss. From what I’ve read in your post, I will blame Melo for not giving it to the hot player. This is pretty basic even in the playgrounds. If one guy is shooting particularly well, setup plays to give him open shots. If he started to miss, think of something else.

    The main difference between the Knicks vs. Chicago (2011) and the 76ers (2001) was that there was a defense to fall back on. Even if the offense struggled, at the very least the gap wouldn’t grow so much. Don’t tell me Derrick Rose last year charging into the paint is really any different than Melo doing it. The same outside passes to eventually misses were made (Bogans, Brewer, whoever else was the 2 guard). The offense wasn’t that good but the defense was spectacular. It’s agonizing that the current Knicks seem to get worse on defense when the offense isn’t working. I can’t tell if the defense was just that bad and the offense covered it up or if it actually just gets worse.

  53. Frank O.

    Caleb:
    For what it’s worth, through 5 games Melo has a career high TS% of 59.1, a career-high assist rate of 12.3 and is just off his career-high rebound rate, at 11.7. His usage rate, 29.9, is almost identical to his career. His TOs haven’t budged. In short, he’s having a great year.

    I mean we know he doesn’t play a lot of D, but he’s a great offensive player and the Knicks are losing because the rest of the team has been awful. That’s also an indictment of how the team was built – without much margin for error.

    But hey, it’s only 5 games.

    The first few games the Knicks were losing because Amare was putrid in the ISO set.
    My comments are pretty specifically focused on the lack of ball movement and how that stagnates the offense.
    In their loses, the Knicks scored 85, 82 and 78.
    To me, those are shocking totals for a team that has Melo, Amare and Chandler.
    Again, I think the team is better when the ball moves.

  54. D.

    So folks the funny thing is that we have now played 5 games which is good sample of a 66 game season, of course we are missing some of our key pieces but for the most part, i think everyone will agree we are what we are. A team with an offense reliant on the execution of pnr ball movement with a heavy dose of iso sets and a sub par defense that tends to have some amazing flashes during the course of a game. Now I know everyone here has some alegiance to bashing one player or supporting the other but I think from a team stand point this team really needs to learn how to execute. The broken play that we saw at the end of the game wasnt the first, it was the last. It happened all game, guys didnt know when to shoot, when to pass and when to drive. It even happened on defense, switching late or not switching, late contests and all that. Our coach has to pay attention to detail and he needs to be fired if this continues. Also somebody suggested that since the Knicks are able to garner some momentum to get some kind of lead in the first two quarters in all their 5 so far, why isn’t the coach running more ISO sets when we have the lead, get the guys to rest on offense so we can have more energy on defense instead of doing the ball movement thing which takes energy off defense. I know it’s not that simple but I’m just mad at how our coach pays no attention to detail. It almost feels like we’re playing pick up basketball. Plus use melo in post isos on the elbow n stuff where he is effective not on the damn 3 point line. I remeMber a couple of years ago when Gorge Karl was asked how he was able to nurture the offensive powers of Melody, he said this: “I told Melo if he gave me 10 post ups and 10 drives, he could have 10 jumpshots ” ergo the man with over a 1000 wins and half of them with Melo. OUR COACH NEEDS TO BE FIRED!

  55. xduckshoex

    d-mar:
    I’ll say it again, Kevin Durant had 0 assists and 27 pts. last night. Is he responsible for the loss to the Mavs? I do believe they run iso plays for him on occasion, but maybe I’m mistaken.

    I feel like there’s some misplaced nostalgia on this board for the Knicks of the late 60?s, early 70?s, where the ball always moved and most shots were open looks. Well, welcome to 2012, the defenses are way better, and a lot of the scoring (whether you like watching it or not) is done in one-on-one clear out plays, especially in 4th quarters and in the playoffs. Sure, Dallas played well as a team last year, but where would they have been vs. Miami without Dirk making ridiculous fallaways after dribbling the shot clock down to zero?

    Stop blaming everything on Melo, he is not the problem.

    Who has blamed everything on Melo? I don’t think anybody has said that he is THE problem because I don’t think any reasonable person believes that the Knicks have only one problem, but the way he played last night is A problem.

  56. xduckshoex

    @60 – I don’t understand why you’re blaming the coach for the players not knowing what they should be doing and when. This has never been an issue for a D’Antoni coached team before and it wasn’t an issue for guys like Walker and Fields before the Melo trade.

    For the most part these guys know what to do when the offense is actually run; the problem is that they don’t know what to do when the offense is abandoned.

  57. Caleb

    @59 I don’t disagree but IMO our guard play, roster makeup and possibly coaching are the big issues. Melo might not be a point forward, but he is a decent and willing passer. The rest of the rotation is standstill 3-point specialists, and Chandler who can only live off putbacks and lobs.

    Of course if he applied any pressure on defense – like by playing Balkman, and everyone else giving a little effort – the Knicks would get some easy baskets and it wouldn’t look so ugly.

  58. Frank O.

    Caleb:
    p.s. his TS% for last night was 50.7 – not good but not Kobe-esque :)
    Through 4 games, he was over 60.

    There are sort of two lines of argument going on – one, how good is Melo, really? Two, did the Knicks do the right thing in gutting their team at the last trade deadline.

    You can think he’s really good, and still call it a bad trade. Me, I’m on the fence. From the standpoint of a fan analyzing the roster and making fantasy trades, it was a mistake… just like giving Stoudemire a max deal was a mistake. But in the actual NBA, it’s harder to say. Without Stoudemire, the Knicks probably wouldn’t have been in play for Anthony or Deron Williams. Without the 2 of them, Tyson Chandler probably would have landed in Sacramento.

    If you agree with that, then trading for Melo was a good deal – even if the talent swap was even. (which it was – the Knicks with Gallo, Chandler, Felton, etc. were on track to win a grand total of *one* less game than the Knicks with Anthony AND Billups).

    On a more totally subjective side, the Knicks with Anthony are not nearly as fun to watch – they play slower and messier. But that doesn’t mean they’re worse.

    This is why I like you, Caleb. ;)
    I too am on the fence, although mulling a moot point is not time well spent. he’s here. He’s very good. He needs to be maximized.
    I would posit that he’s trying to do too much. If there is a hot hand on the court, the ball should find the hot hand.
    The NBA is rife with great athletes. He cannot succeed going one on four. the Knicks can’t either.
    But he could cause ungodly trouble for other teams when he penetrates and dishes. There re just not many guys who can wreak havoc like that at 6’8. I believe he could average 25 and eight assists if he wanted to. And his passing would create great shots for himself.
    It’s a mental thing.

  59. Frank O.

    Caleb:
    @59 I don’t disagree but IMO our guard play, roster makeup and possibly coaching are the big issues. Melo might not be a point forward, but he is a decent and willing passer. The rest of the rotation is standstill 3-point specialists, and Chandler who can only live off putbacks and lobs.

    Of course if he applied any pressure on defense – like by playing Balkman, and everyone else giving a little effort – the Knicks would get some easy baskets and it wouldn’t look so ugly.

    The Balkman issue is beyond confusing. There must be something about his game that D’Antoni doesn’t like. Maybe he practices for shit…I am mystified and almost no one in the press questions it, so he just fades out and is forgotten. It could be that Balkman freelances too much offensively and defensively and he’s not good enough to freelance.
    It is utterly mystifying.
    I think our guard play hurts us, but I also believe Melo could solve that issue. I think if the ball moves more the Knicks are better than the sum of their parts.

  60. xduckshoex

    @64 – It really is a mental thing with Melo, and I understand that he has played a certain way for his whole life and it’s tough to break old habits.

    I think that D’Antoni needs to sit Melo down in front of some film of him getting easy bucket after easy bucket for himself and his teammates on the pick and roll and make him watch it on repeat for hours. He’s able to do it, he just doesn’t; I’m hoping it’s just out of habit and not out of stubbornness. I’m hoping that if someone finds a way to clearly demonstrate to him how much better it makes his team and how much better that makes him as an individual he will make a concerted effort to run that pick and roll until somebody demonstrates that they can stop it consistently(and I honestly don’t think that will happen)

  61. xduckshoex

    I honestly don’t think someone will be able to stop that pick and roll consistently, that is. I do have hope that Melo will come around and run it a lot.

  62. iserp

    I find funny that you value that Landry Fields had a bad game just based on that his shots didn’t go in. He made good shots, that they went in or out is a matter of statistics, but he did a good game, although i would have asked him to take more responsibility when so many other players were out of the game.

    If Fields shoots from his own court at the beginning of the 1st quarter, that is a bad play even if the shot goes in. That the shots go in or out doesn’t make your play better or worse, perhaps lucky or unlucky.

  63. Frank O.

    I don’t agree that coaching is the issue.
    Name a time that D’Antoni has had a consistent roster with enough practice time to bring things together.
    It’s been virtually never.
    The guy has been coaching on the fly since arriving, and he won 42 games last year with a patchwork.
    His players aren’t fully familiar with each other. That not only kills offensive flow, it destroys defense.
    We can disagree with some of his play calls and player choices, but i honestly believe he’s done an amazing job under the circumstances. He’s teaching every day.

  64. Frank O.

    iserp:
    I find funny that you value that Landry Fields had a bad game just based on that his shots didn’t go in. He made good shots, that they went in or out is a matter of statistics, but he did a good game, although i would have asked him to take more responsibility when so many other players were out of the game.

    If Fields shoots from his own court at the beginning of the 1st quarter, that is a bad play even if the shot goes in. That the shots go in or out doesn’t make your play better or worse, perhaps lucky or unlucky.

    This note makes me feels as if I’m reading it stoned…;) missing words or something…

  65. Gamecockerbocker

    Melo is not the problem… and he didn’t lose the game last night. He would have had a triple double last night if Landry Fields and Jorts could make an open shot.

    Also, if we’re talking about shot selection… Why isn’t anyone bringing up TD’s horrid shooting night from 3point range??? 4-11??? I swear I counted at least three times when he just dribbled up the court and took a three without setting up any kind of offense at all.

    This loss and this early season isn’t one player’s problem (even though Melo basically won us the Boston game)… Our starting back court wouldn’t start on most NBA teams, our depth is so bad that Jorts actually had to start a game and Mike Bibby and Novak are playing significant minutes, and as many have put it already, our coach apparently thinks this team can run his offense from Phoenix… Steve Nash ain’t walkin through that door any time soon.

  66. xduckshoex

    For the season to date, Melo is scoring 1.36 points per possession as a pick and roll ball-handler(14 plays) and 1.42 points per possession as a spot up shooter(21 plays). Those are shots that he gets within the offense, he either gets set up off of ball movement or initiates the offense by running the pick and roll himself. Those are amazing numbers.

    The problem? He scores 1.02 points per possession on isolations, and he has run 43 of those to date. That’s almost 36% of his total possessions.

    I know sample size is an issue there, but if you look back over the last 3 seasons his efficiency in isolation is always lower than his overall efficiency which means he would be more effective if he stopped doing it so damn often.

  67. xduckshoex

    @73 – “and as many have put it already, our coach apparently thinks this team can run his offense from Phoenix… Steve Nash ain’t walkin through that door any time soon.”

    Really? I’d really like you to expand on that because I don’t really see a lot of similarities between what the Knicks fun now and what D’Antoni ran in Phoenix even when they do decide to run the offense. The Knicks don’t push the ball nearly as hard as those Suns did(13th in pace) and the offense seems based more on getting Melo and Amare touches in their comfort zones than it is on driving and kicking to whoever is open.

  68. stratomatic

    One of the reasons Melo has a few extra assists this year is that they are running the offense through him more often. The problem is he will also get a few more turnovers. It’s not like he has ever had a good enough assist to turnover ratio to trust him as a primary play maker.

    I’ve never been a Melo fan. I’m trying my best to set aside the past and focus on his play now. I’m rooting for him to become the kind of player I can like and root for. It’s just not happening for me.

    I’m generally attracted to high basketball IQ decision making.

    I don’t put him in that category. I put him in the category of players that is talented enough to make up for a lot of dumb decisions and mistakes. When he and Amare are playing together I sometimes want to change the channel because I can’t take all the stupidity.

    Above that, I sometimes find his attitude and demeanor unappealing. When he smiles after doing something idiotic I want to strangle him.

    For me, this is a nightmare. I love the Knicks and love the fact that they are going to be a lot better. I just wish we had a core of players I could root for like early last year. I like Chandler, Fields, Balkman, and TD. JORTs is growing on me. But that’s some slim pickings, especially now that Fields is playing at a much lower level.

  69. D.

    oh really now? And check the posts after every game, everyone seems to be critical of his tactics not just me. Some say less Bibby, some say more Balkman and a broken play when the game is on the line, are u kidding me. Yeah yeah he’s never had a stable roster but come on, let’s see some attention to detail. Same old story from last year, melody failed to chase delonte west to foul him and we lose the game that way. He is not the only one with a different line up, the Miami heat had the same woes and made the finals, of course it’s a cruel comparison but the mistakes are starting to pile up. And I can also make a case that D’antoni would not have made the finals with the Heat’s big 3.

    Frank O.:
    I don’t agree that coaching is the issue.
    Name a time that D’Antoni has had a consistent roster with enough practice time to bring things together.
    It’s been virtually never.
    The guy has been coaching on the fly since arriving, and he won 42 games last year with a patchwork.
    His players aren’t fully familiar with each other. That not only kills offensive flow, it destroys defense.
    We can disagree with some of his play calls and player choices, but i honestly believe he’s done an amazing job under the circumstances. He’s teaching every day.

  70. stratomatic

    Frank O.:
    I don’t agree that coaching is the issue.

    Coaching is not the issue, but IMO the current roster is not a good match for the coach.

    Until the Melo trade, the team was being built with players that were a good match for the D’Antoni’s system. That was thrown out the window with the Melo trade and further thrown out the window with the addition of Chandler. They may be terrific players, but this is not a D’Antoni squad.

    I sincerely believe he was against the Melo trade (but played the part of good soldier) and would have loved to leave NY with Walsh after that went down, but he had too much money left on his contract to walk away. I’d also be willing to bet when he’s talking to his wife at night they are already talking about his frustration and which cities they could be happy living in next.

    I really like the guy, but I’m actually hoping he leaves next year because he deserves a chance to coach the type of players he likes in a style he likes if he’s going to take all the heat for poor play.

    Personally, I think the only way he comes back next year is if Nash demonstrates he has something left in the tank and wants to join him for one last run in NY. Otherwise he’ll be gone and Nash won’t come to NY.

  71. Robert Silverman (@BobSaietta)

    Gamecockerbocker:

    Also, if we’re talking about shot selection… Why isn’t anyone bringing up TD’s horrid shooting night from 3point range??? 4-11??? I swear I counted at least three times when he just dribbled up the court and took a three without setting up any kind of offense at all.

    Chauncey Billups this young Padawan taught well he has!

  72. nicos

    I said this in the last thread but I’ll say it again here- part of the problem with the ball movement lies with the guys on the perimeter. One thing Melo is good at is throwing skip passes out to the perimeter out of the double team- the problem is that he threw them to Jorts who either bricked the shot or took a dribble before making the next pass giving the defense time to get back into position.
    The same goes for Fields, who won’t shoot threes unless he’s wiiide open (and still struggling) and when he doesn’t shoot, rather than getting the ball out of his hands quickly, he pumps fakes, takes a couple of dribbles and then either drives or looks to pass but again, by then the defense has reset and the advantage of moving the ball out of the double team has been lost. His assist numbers have gone up (along with his turnovers) but he’s not a guy who makes quick decisions with the ball. I’m hoping his hesitancy is linked to his struggles from three and once he starts knocking down those shots he’ll speed up.
    And while Douglas has been a bit better at running initial sets the last couple of games, he rarely if ever tries to reset the offense if the ball is kicked back out to him on the perimeter. He’s not looking to get Chandler back involved in P & R, he’s either taking the shot or just dumping it back down to Melo and clearing out. And, like Fields, he’s not a guy who ever makes quick decisions with the ball.
    Melo or no Melo, this team is never going to move the ball like the ’70 Knicks or Sacto in their prime.

  73. Robert Silverman (@BobSaietta)

    Shump playing tonight seems like he’s being rushed back into the lineup. Unless he’s secretly Wolverine – which I’m not entirely ready to discount

  74. Zach Horst

    Tyson Chandler has the second highest TS% in the league, at almost 80%. How come is he getting only 3 or 4 shots a game?!?! He is over 7 foot and a gifted athlete. For heck’s sake, we gave the ball to Turiaf more on offense!

  75. stratomatic

    Zach Horst:
    Tyson Chandler has the second highest TS% in the league, at almost 80%. How come is he getting only 3 or 4 shots a game?!?! He is over 7 foot and a gifted athlete. For heck’s sake, we gave the ball to Turiaf more on offense!

    Turiaf has more of a mid range game and is also a pretty good play maker for a big. So they gave him the ball on the outside more often. Chandler is a finisher around the rim and everyone knows it. So you need to run the P&R effectively or find an occasional lob for him, but you need a good P&R PG for that.

  76. EB

    To all those saying that Melo had a bad game because he was 13-31 consider that the rest of the team was 15-47. Also Melo’s missed free throws had about as much to do with his poor ts% as his bad attempts.

    The game was not lost in the third quarter where we outscored the raptors by 8 but in the second quarter when we were outscored by 18. We outscored the raptors in every quarter we didn’t have bibby novak walker and jordan out there at the same time. Our lack of depth shows through in that quarter and is why we lost.

  77. Zach Horst

    stratomatic: Turiaf has more of a mid range game and is also a pretty good play maker for a big. So they gave him the ball on the outside more often. Chandler is a finisher around the rim and everyone knows it. So you need to run the P&R effectively or find an occasional lob for him, but you need a good P&R PG for that.

    True, yet I still think Chandler should get more opportunities. He has been knocking down most of his FT’s. And I feel a lot more confident with Chandler attacking the rim from 5 feet away than Bill Walker or Toney Douglas throwing up 3′s from 35 feet.

  78. D.

    So D’antoni is a system kinda coach that’s what you are telling me. So if he only needs the likes of stat and Nash to be successful not talent like melo. That’s why I’m on the fire the coach bandwagon. He only wants to implement his system, get him outta here and get me some Zen or someone who can coach talent not only a system. you gotta work with the tools you are given man.

    stratomatic: Coaching is not the issue, but IMO the current roster is not a good match for the coach.

    Until the Melo trade, the team was being built with players that were a good match for the D’Antoni’s system. That was thrown out the window with the Melo trade and further thrown out the window with the addition of Chandler.They may be terrific players, but this is not a D’Antoni squad.

    I sincerely believe he was against the Melo trade (but played the part of good soldier) and would have loved to leave NY with Walsh after that went down, but he had too much money left on his contract to walk away.I’d also be willing to bet when he’s talking to his wife at night they are already talking about his frustration and which cities they could be happy living in next.

    I really like the guy, but I’m actually hoping he leaves next year because he deserves a chance to coach the type of players he likes in a style he likes if he’s going to take all the heat for poor play.

    Personally, I think the only way he comes back next year is if Nash demonstrates he has something left in the tank and wants to join him for one last run in NY. Otherwise he’ll be gone and Nash won’tcome to NY.

  79. Zach Horst

    Even if he just touches the ball, backs down someone for 2 seconds, and then kicks it out, it makes the defense adjust somewhat. He gets almost no touches.

  80. stratomatic

    Robert Silverman (@BobSaietta): Chauncey Billups this young Padawan taught well he has!

    I don’t think D’Antoni has a problem with players taking a quick 3 as long as they are wide open and reasonably efficient. That’s one of the points behind SSOL. Players tend to be MORE efficient early in the shot clock because the defenses aren’t set and you get more open looks. Of course that works a lot better when Billups or Nash is knocking down 40% overall and even more when wide open than it does when some players do it.

  81. Zach Horst

    Still, we started 3-8 last year. I am reserving most of my judgment until 20-25 games into the season. Last night was the only bad loss I feel we have suffered so far. Losing to solid West Coast team’s while on a trip is one thing, but losing to a bottom-dweller in the East in your own home is inexcusable. Wednesday is another one of these games – really, really should win.

  82. stratomatic

    D.:
    So D’antoni is a system kinda coach that’s what you are telling me.So if he only needs the likes of stat and Nash to be successful not talent like melo.That’s why I’m on the fire the coach bandwagon. He only wants to implement his system,get him outta here and get me some Zen or someone who can coach talent not only a system. you gotta work with the tools you are given man.

    Virtually every great coach in the league has some input into which players are on the team.

    Some players don’t fit San Antonio’s system (Popovich) , Utah’s system (when Sloan was there), Jackson’s Triangle etc…

    You can’t get all tailor made players, but you have to try to make them fit the system and each other. IMO D’Antoni system needs a very good play maker (usually a PG).

    I think when you hire a coach, you have to try to give him the tools he needs to be successful and he has to try to make due with what he has.

    IMO, since the Melo deal, the Knicks have been moving away from D’Antoni’s style, but he’s still here. I think one way or the other he’s going to leave after this year because he’s not going to be happy coaching some of these nits and if he’s not very successful, the media is going to blame him and he’ll get fired.

  83. Frank O.

    D.:
    oh really now?And check the posts after every game,everyone seems to be critical of his tactics not just me.Some say less Bibby, some say more Balkman and a broken play when the game is on the line,are u kidding me. Yeah yeah he’s never had a stable roster but come on, let’s see some attention to detail. Same old story from last year,melody failed to chase delonte west to foul him and we lose the game that way. He is not the only one with a different line up,the Miami heat had the same woes and made the finals,of course it’s a cruel comparison but the mistakes are starting to pile up.And I can also make a case that D’antoni would not have made the finals with the Heat’s big 3.

    Miami is not a good comparison. They had one change. This guy has had his roster ripped apart a few times in the past four years. I won’t belabor the point, having gone through this in the past.
    but Miami went through one switch, and have two of the top three players on the planet on that roster, and that team still didn’t come together until a few dozen games.

  84. Frank

    I think we all need to back away from the ledge and realize that this team WILL be a lot better when it counts – ie. in the playoffs. It’d be nice to get home court advantage in the 1st round of the playoffs, but I don’t think anyone really think we’re going to get the #1 or #2 seed, so really it’s a matter of avoiding #7 or #8 so we can stay away from CHI or MIA in the 1st round.

    They had 2 weeks of training camp – so for teams that have a lot of new players (ie. our team), the first few weeks of the season are going to be an extended preseason. Is it any surprise that the best teams in the league right now are the ones that had very little turnover (OKC, MIA)?

    This guy Moke Hamilton is going nuts on twitter saying that D’Antoni has to change his system blah blah blah. Totally disagree with him. IMO this team will be fine on talent alone for the next month (ie. we will not fall into a hole we can’t get out of). Then Baron Davis is coming back and we can start running something that resembles what D’Antoni actually wants to do. I think D’Antoni needs to stay the course and run the system that he thinks will work the best when this team is full strength. This team needs reps in practice and in games running the real offense, not some makeshift MacGyver offense that we’ll dump immediately.

    Meanwhile, freaking Bill Walker has to SHOOT THE BALL when he is wide open from 3. If I see him upfake and throw the ball back to Melo with 0.5 sec left on the shot clock again, I’m going to throw my remote at the TV. He’s a career 40% 3 point shooter – SHOOT IT.

  85. Frank O.

    Robert Silverman (@BobSaietta):
    Shump playing tonight seems like he’s being rushed back into the lineup. Unless he’s secretly Wolverine – which I’m not entirely ready to discount

    you mean tomorrow night. no game tonight. Hahn said Shump might play and also Amare might…

  86. Frank O.

    Frank:
    I think we all need to back away from the ledge and realize that this team WILL be a lot better when it counts – ie. in the playoffs.It’d be nice to get home court advantage in the 1st round of the playoffs, but I don’t think anyone really think we’re going to get the #1 or #2 seed, so really it’s a matter of avoiding #7 or #8 so we can stay away from CHI or MIA in the 1st round.

    They had 2 weeks of training camp – so for teams that have a lot of new players (ie. our team), the first few weeks of the season are going to be an extended preseason. Is it any surprise that the best teams in the league right now are the ones that had very little turnover (OKC, MIA)?

    This guy Moke Hamilton is going nuts on twitter saying that D’Antoni has to change his system blah blah blah.Totally disagree with him. IMO this team will be fine on talent alone for the next month (ie. we will not fall into a hole we can’t get out of).Then Baron Davis is coming back and we can start running something that resembles what D’Antoni actually wants to do.I think D’Antoni needs to stay the course and run the system that he thinks will work the best when this team is full strength.This team needs reps in practice and in games running the real offense,not some makeshift MacGyver offense that we’ll dump immediately.

    Meanwhile, freaking Bill Walker has to SHOOT THE BALL when he is wide open from 3.If I see him upfake and throw the ball back to Melo with 0.5 sec left on the shot clock again, I’m going to throw my remote at the TV.He’s a career 40% 3 point shooter – SHOOT IT.

    Pretty much everyone went nuts when Bill passed that ball. But bill has never been a high IQ player…

  87. Robert Silverman (@BobSaietta)

    D.:
    So D’antoni is a system kinda coach that’s what you are telling me.So if he only needs the likes of stat and Nash to be successful not talent like melo.That’s why I’m on the fire the coach bandwagon. He only wants to implement his system,get him outta here and get me some Zen or someone who can coach talent not only a system. you gotta work with the tools you are given man.

    Actually, Phil Jackson’s only ever coached the Triangle in the pros. Not sure he’s a “Build a system to suit the talent at hand” coach either. Then again, he’s Phil effing Jackson.

  88. sisterray

    xduckshoex: I can’t believe that is what passes for analysis these days.

    Try watching political analysis on one of the 24-hr news channels sometime…

  89. chrisk06811

    knickterp: Shumpert, if competent and healthy, will soon take Fields’ spot. Landry has no above-average skill: his shooting, defending, and penetrating are all mediocre, and his teammates and opponents know this.

    My ex-wife said my penetrating was mediocre.

  90. JK47

    Here are our top six guys in FGA, and their respective TS%:

    1. Carmelo Anthony .591
    2. Toney Douglas .442
    3. Landry Fields .506
    4. Amar’e Stoudemire .512
    5. Bill Walker .594
    6. Josh Harrellson .400

    Toney D, Landry and Stat are all better than that. I don’t care what system you’re running or who is stopping the ball, there is no way those three key players continue to be so inept on offense.

  91. Frank

    A promising sign — offense is the problem, not defense. If there’s something D’Antoni has shown he can do, it’s coach offense. The defense is at least as good as we need it to be to be an elite team – middle of the pack. We are giving up (in 4 game sample) 6 points/100 poss less than last year, and we’ve held the last 4 opponents to <100 points. I think we will be fine.

  92. hoolahoop

    Try typing your comments in another program on your computer, and copy and paste it to the Reply box here.

    jaylamerique:
    My comments are not posting. is that happening to anyone else

  93. Ben R

    I love how any criticism of Melo is jumped upon. He is our best player, he was brought here to make us championship contenders, and we have only gotten worse since he arrived. I’m not saying it is completely his fault but the buck stops with the stars not the role players. TD and Landry are role players, they were part of a pretty solid Knicks team last year before Melo got here yet they are the reason we are losing now.

    I don’t care how many bricks our shooters throw up from the outside you have to keep running the offense rather than scrap it and do what ever you want. I understand Melo getting frustrated but that does not excuse failing to run the offense. In the long run a good shot that misses is better than a bad shot that goes in.

  94. xduckshoex

    Frank:
    A promising sign — offense is the problem, not defense. If there’s something D’Antoni has shown he can do, it’s coach offense.The defense is at least as good as we need it to be to be an elite team – middle of the pack.We are giving up (in 4 game sample) 6 points/100 poss less than last year, and we’ve held the last 4 opponents to <100 points.I think we will be fine.

    The Knicks are currently 17th in the NBA in defensive efficiency, if they keep that up it’s their best finish in that category since 2004. If they get into the top 15 it’s their best finish since 2001.

  95. cgreene

    Ben R:
    TD and Landry are role players, they were part of a pretty solid Knicks team last year before Melo got here yet they are the reason we are losing now.

    I generally agree that the buck stops w the stars and their are plenty of question marks about weather Melo is a championship level star. Where I disagree is that TD and Landry are championship level role players. I would argue that they most certainly are not championship level starters.

  96. Ben R

    cgreene: I generally agree that the buck stops w the stars and their are plenty of question marks about weather Melo is a championship level star.Where I disagree is that TD and Landry are championship level role players.I would argue that they most certainly are not championship level starters.

    I think if one of them is starting you can have a championship level team, both is probably a bit of a stretch but I think we should be better than terrible on offense regardless. If Melo truly is a gut your team to get, pay max money to player, he alone should make us passable on offense especially considering he plays suspect defense.

  97. hoolahoop

    And it’s not only the role players. Since Melo arrived Amare is lost on offense. He was having an almost MVP season pre-Melo. He’s a tough competitor and trying to fit in, but he rarely gets the ball in his powerhouse – moving without the ball to the basket, or pnr’s.
    And I really don’t see how any point guard could change what’s going on unless Melo changes his game, or gives up control of the ball.

  98. BigBlueAL

    Interesting article today on the TrueHoop blog about Kobe and Mike Brown and his 6 for 28 game the other day. Love the final paragraph in the article:

    That’s not to say they came out of the session with Bryant eager to pass to efficient scorers like Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. Bryant made clear his shot selection has never been up for discussion, telling reporters: “If you’re asking me if I’m going to shoot less the answer is no. It starts with me. I do what I do. We play off of that and that’s not going to change.”

  99. daJudge

    It’s certainly fair to criticize Melo. Hell, LeBron has been roundly critiqued. To me though, both based on the often cited stats of late and the eye test, Melo’s the best player on this team. As stated, that doesn’t insulate him from criticism. However, some of the criticism is not well-taken, IMO. For example, folks talk about him learning to trust his teammates and moving the ball more. Some of you are the same folks who very much trust stats and, if you do, you might not want him passing the ball to teammates who brick and brick often, statistically and miserably. A great example was his ill-conceived dish to JJ last year. I’m not saying that Melo would not benefit, as would the team, by more intelligent ball movement, but certainly not simply for the sake of ball movement. This is not like the early 70′s where Clyde would strive to “hit the open man”. Sure, it makes sense when you’re passing to Bill Bradley, Dave Deb, Willis, Dick Barnett, Stallworth, etc…, you know, other guys like Cazzie and Earl Monroe. Great strategy. Ball movement is very beautiful to watch, but when you have a mediocre back up band, with a poor rhythm section, gotta bust a solo.

  100. d-mar

    Ben R: I think if one of them is starting you can have a championship level team, both is probably a bit of a stretch but I think we should be better than terrible on offense regardless. If Melo truly is a gut your team to get, pay max money to player, he alone should make us passable on offense especially considering he plays suspect defense.

    Show me the evidence that since Melo became a Knick he has played “suspect defense”.

  101. xduckshoex

    d-mar: Show me the evidence that since Melo became a Knick he has played “suspect defense”.

    Well the Knicks defensive efficiency did drop a full point per 100 possessions immediately after the trade.

    But what kind of evidence do you want? Do you have any evidence that he hasn’t?

  102. knickterp

    Per Twitter, Howard Beck quoted D’Antoni as saying “Bargnani was standing right at the rim. And Melo was kicking it out to wide open shooters.”

    Does anyone really believe the Knicks are not getting a good share of quality shots? I see open jumper after open jumper (not just 3s, but midrange shots as well). Often facilitated by that ball-hogger Melo. Shots that need to made with some consistency by NBA-quality players. Sure, isolations are run and some shots are forced, but we are struggling b/c Amar’e couldn’t hit anything when playing and Novak, Jorts, Fields, Douglas can’t hit anything now.

    We’re not going to get uncontested layups after six passes every time down court; is that the expectation? At some point a Knick is going to need to make shots consistently or beat his man on the drive. Only Melo can do that right now.

  103. D.

    So in other words there is no evidence to disprove or approve this notion. I always knew it was a stupid rumour started by Karl.

    xduckshoex: Well the Knicks defensive efficiency did drop a full point per 100 possessions immediately after the trade.

    But what kind of evidence do you want?Do you have any evidence that he hasn’t?

  104. ess-dog

    It’s true we did get some good looks, especially in the 1st half. They just weren’t falling. But we do need to get in the paint more. I liken it to having a good run/pass balance in football. You don’t want the defense to start cheating. Amare will help with that and Baron as well IMO. He will get Chandler and Stat the ball in the paint, I guarantee it. I just hope he hits threes so D’s don’t play off him.

  105. hoolahoop

    Those years in Denver with Iverson teamed with Melo must have been interesting. How do you split a basketball in half?

  106. Caleb

    “suspect” is a nice way to put it.

    @117 When Anthony got traded, the Nuggets defensive efficiency (points allowed per possession) got better, and the Knicks’ got worse.

    fwiw, last year the Knicks allowed almost 4 points more per 100 possessions, when Anthony was on the court.
    http://www.82games.com/1011/10NYK14.HTM (scroll towards the bottom).

    And of course there’s the eye test, where he spends most defensive possessions failing to make rotations.

    It’s true – I’ve seen him play good D on star opponents like LeBron and Kobe. But mostly I think he saves his energy for the other end of the court.

  107. Ben R

    My problem with Melo in the Toronto game isn’t when he was kicking it out to shooters it was when he stopped kicking it out because our shooters were shooting poorly. You can’t abandon the offense. It you kick it out to an open 3pt shooter and they miss, you keep kicking it out till they make it. We have good 3pt shooters, Fields – 37.9%, TD – 37.5%, Walker – 40.2%, Novak – 41.8%. They are shooting poorly right now but they have shown over their careers they can make 3 pointers especially open ones. We need to keep running the offense; pnr, 3pt kick outs and drives to the rim even if we are shooting poorly or have a couple bad passes. At no point is it okay to run 4-5 iso sets in a row.

  108. daJudge

    ess-I agree we need to dump the ball into the paint more , no doubt. I also agree that BD will recognize this and has the point guard skills to execute the plan, if healthy. I like TD a lot, but his passing/vision/point skills aren’t the best. In fact, they are his weaknesses. So what do y’all expect? We need to give Coach and the players a little more time to get rolling on the power game. I am not a huge fan of this coach for certain reasons, but I do not think he is myopically wedded to a system and I am not ready to lay blame at his feet. I do not think that is fair. He just doesn’t have a 1 to execute any real coherent offense and this is admittedly not his preferred system. Melo is a true 3, not a freaking point forward, whatever that is. I also think that Amare must embrace the PF role. He was understandably reluctant (but willing) to be an undersized center, despite the match up benefits that accrued at times. He can’t be the 3 on this team, IMO. We seem to be always trying to fit square pegs in round holes, if you know what I mean. Can’t we play our guys at their position? Rant over.

  109. jon abbey

    the Bulls are losing 38-26 to Atlanta.

    AT HALFTIME, AT HOME.

    why anyone is buying tickets to NBA games at this point is beyond me. March, that I can see.

  110. Shad0wF0x

    Yes Bulls fans should start panicking and complain about Rose not making his teammates better. /s

    It’s going to be interesting how Nate and Jackson get along.

  111. ruruland

    Anybody blaming Melo for last night’s offensive problems is in some kind of reality distortion field. Melo’s passing and decision-making has been very good this year. The idea that he should have continued to pass to guys who had established themselves as cold goes against all of the reasons you want Melo in the first place. Your revisionist memories of the pre-Melo Knicks serve as the primary bias today — you just don’t like Melo, regardless of how great he plays.

  112. ruruland

    And btw, he’s always had a higher assist and passer rating than Durant, who is 6-19 for 16 pts and 1 assist after his 0 assist performance last night

  113. ess-dog

    jon abbey:
    the Bulls are losing 38-26 to Atlanta.

    AT HALFTIME, AT HOME.

    why anyone is buying tickets to NBA games at this point is beyond me. March, that I can see.

    I think people are sleeping on the Hawks. Teague has a .228 WS48 so far this year. He could finally be the pg they’ve been waiting for. We might really be looking at a 7 or 8 seed this year. Some of these “non superstar” teams are so deep.

    Lee and Nate reunited. And it feels so good!

  114. hoolahoop

    Shad0wF0x:
    It’s going to be interesting how Nate and Jackson get along.

    This is the new and improved Nate:
    His quote: “One team’s trash is another team’s treasure. With whatever team that I land on they know they’re going to get everything out of me. I’m going to come to practice early — first one there, last one to leave. I work hard every day, practice every day and play hard in games whether it’s one minute, 10 minutes, 30 minutes or 40 minutes. … I’m going to always cheer for my teammates, as everybody sees all the time. I’ll be the first guy off the bench, congratulating my guys or picking them up off the floor — doing everything a player is supposed to do.”

  115. xduckshoex

    ruruland:
    And btw, he’s always had a higher assist and passer rating than Durant, who is 6-19 for 16 pts and 1 assist after his 0 assist performance last night

    I don’t know why this comparison keeps coming up. Durant does not initiate the offense for his team, he comes off screens in catch and shoot or catch an attack scenarios more than anything. You might as well be saying “oranges are more citrusy than apples!”.

  116. xduckshoex

    ruruland:
    Anybody blaming Melo for last night’s offensive problems is in some kind of reality distortion field. Melo’s passing and decision-making has been very good this year. The idea that he should have continued to pass to guys who had established themselves as cold goes against all of the reasons you want Melo in the first place. Your revisionist memories of the pre-Melo Knicks serve as the primary bias today — you just don’t like Melo, regardless of how great he plays.

    Well if you have cold teammates, for the good of the team you should stop giving them the ball so that they can’t warm up and then the defense can safely ignore them. That’s just smart basketball, folks.

  117. hoolahoop

    sidenote:
    Portland (4-1) beats OKC to move into first place. Four of the nine guys on that team are former knicks (felton, j. crawford, camby and k. thomas)

  118. Caleb

    @128 he has the same assist rate as Durant this year.. both above average, by a bit.

    @129 Yeah, for whatever reason, the Hawks look awesome – better than anyone in the league, so far. Not that I expect them to dominate in May, but you have to wonder – with the schedule so front-loaded, could they jump out front and end up with that #3 seed, or even #2?

  119. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    I was going to post about Portland, as well. They fascinate me because they probably have the oddest starting lineup in the league, in that not a single one of their starters is what you would typically term a “below average player.” They have one star player (Aldridge) surrounded by four good supporting players and no problem. If you look around the league, it’s rare to have a team be that solid in the starting lineup. There’s usually oen player that makes you say, “Yeah, that’s their weakness.” Portland doesn’t have that guy and they have decent to good players off of the bench (Batum, Crawford, Thomas, Smith).

    What I suspect, though, is that their short rotation will eventually hurt them. You can’t rely that much on your starters, not in a shortened season like this. And especially when your center platoon is a combined 200 years old.

    As for Atlanta, the wild card for them was always going to be Teague. If he really made “the leap,” like he looked like he was ready to do in the Playoffs, then they were going to be a good team. However, even more importantly, it seems like in this shortened season, veteran teams have done better than teams still figuring things out (which makes logical sense, of course, as the lack of training camp would hurt teams that haven’t practiced together more than teams that have). I think that that was something that lots of folks (myself included) discounted. However, look at Atlanta and Orlando – both teams that people slept on, but both teams that were bringing back their entire starting lineups from last season.

  120. ruruland

    xduckshoex: I don’t know why this comparison keeps coming up. Durant does not initiate the offense for his team, he comes off screens in catch and shoot or catch an attack scenarios more than anything. You might as well be saying “oranges are more citrusy than apples!”.

    Melo never initiated the offense in Denver yet he averaged higher assist numbers and assist percentage every year Durant’s been in the league. They are both high-usage small-fowards with, granted, different skill-sets (with Melo being the better passer). However, this notion that Melo does not pass enough, given his traditional role in the offense, is far fetched when compared to 3s and iso 4s who do the same thing…

  121. ruruland

    xduckshoex: Well if you have cold teammates, for the good of the team you should stop giving them the ball so that they can’t warm up and then the defense can safely ignore them. That’s just smart basketball, folks.

    This is silly. Melo did all that he could to keep his team in the game. Sometimes it means taking tougher shots when guys are either hesitating to take open shots, or consistently missing them. You’d like Melo to defer most of the game, regardless of the score or size of deficit, so that he can eventually take the most efficient shots… that is, under the assumption the defense eventually respects floor spacing…..

    Guess what? If Melo was wired that way he wouldn’t be the great player he is, certainly not the great scorer or clutch “difficult” shot-maker.

    But much more importantly…
    Melo could have easily had a triple double last night if guys were making open shots at a respectable rate. If his teammates shoot just a mediocre percentage on those looks, who knows what his scoring efficiency and final line looks like— certainly it would have been a win, given the defensive perofrmance.

    Melo is in a no-win situation with most Knicks fans. It blows my mind that he is getting the brunt of the criticism in a game where he was clearly the best player on the floor, and clearly making the decisions a super star should make….do his best to make his teammates better and facilitate the offense and try to lead a comeback when everyone else is struggling.

    You think any other great player who is a great scorer does something different?

  122. Frank

    @ruruland – not sure how long you have been following this board, but there is a population of posters here that cannot be made happy by anything. If someone has a triple double, they wonder why he had 3 turnovers. If he scores 38 points and hits the game winner but happens to have a TS of 52 for the game, they call him a chucker.

    I get the idea that as a/the leader of the team, the buck stops with Melo. Fine, sure good. But when the rest of the team shoots a combined 53/157 in the 3 losses, whose fault is it really? And at what point do you stop blaming Melo for passing it to guys who – let’s face it – wouldn’t be playing at all on most good teams in the league?

    Whatever – it’s all moot at this point. Amare and Shumpert are probably back tonight, and BD will be back within a few weeks hopefully. We’ll have less of Bibby playing 15-20 min and bricking every open shot, less Bill Walker and his fear of shooting and stupid fouls/turnovers. Of course, we’ll have more Amare looking around as his man gets the offensive rebound and putback!

  123. Nick C.

    Frank look back at the first comments. Everything was about the game and maybe a bit of puzzlement about Fields’ +/- then a rant abotu Carmelo getting a raw deal pretty much unbidden and out of nowhere. Eeven THCJ for crying out loud didn’t go off on Melo before that. Honestly some of the mentality is vaguely reminiscent of the early days here with all the “they are so much more athletic” “they sucjed under Layden” and such comments.

  124. xduckshoex

    @139 – It’s funny that you dismiss what I said as “silly” when I reiterated exactly what you said.

    And there is a huge gap between “deferring” and “running the offense” so I don’t know how you got “you would like Melo to defer most of the game” out of my belief that running the offense you’re supposed to run is ultimately the best thing for the team.

    This is what is nutty about the fervent defense of Melo right now: people are making up criticisms to deflect. Somebody says that Melo could have shared the ball more, and the response is “HOW CAN YOU BLAME HIM FOR THE LOSS HE SCORED SO MANY POINTS!!” Nobody blamed him for the loss, and because they’re taking things to such extremes it causes them to say some silly things.

    The Melo defense team here needs to take a step back and calm down a bit.

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