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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Recap: I Believe the Word I’m Looking for is ‘Oof’

Welp fellow Knickerbloggers,

I’ll admit it. I’m stuck somewhere between maintaining my perspective, one that values baby steps, and a ‘meet the new Knicks–same as the old Knicks’ cynicism. I watched the game in Columbia with friends and colleagues at a local eatery. One charming but frustrating thing about Columbia, South Cackalack is that it is truly a college sports town. At one point during the first half, the good people at the Wild Wing Cafe changed the big screen in our section from Knicks-Celtics to the LSU-Mississippi softball game, which was 7-0 at the time. Mind you, Boston’s lead was less than 10 when the TV changed to softball. My beloved Knicks, playing a home playoff game for the first time since I was a much younger and thinner man, were unceremoniously replaced on the big screen by a blowout softball game–and by SEC softball at that, when everyone knows that Pac10 softball is the only softball worth watching. The channel change squashed that last little bit of I-dare-not-speak-it hope. (“If Amare can–oh, he has no lift. Well then, maybe Melo–oh, he looks completely exhausted. I guess I’ll sit here, watch the game on this much smaller screen, eat my blah fish tacos, and like it.”)

And so it would be that Boston, a team that struggles to contain offenses that spaces the floor, found itself facing a club with no spacing, no point guard to create spacing, one hobbled superstar, and one would-be superstar who looked like he’d dropped his entire load in the previous game. Like the championship caliber hunters they are, the Cs quickly de-fanged our beloved Knicks and began leisurely picking at the bleeding carcass. (A quick aside on the Cs: one freaky-but-marvelous thing about Boston’s core is how healthy they have remained at playoff time every year. I’m not sure of the precise combo of good fortune and toughness but it is impressive.) The bartender, quickly recognizing the unfolding slaughter, wasted little time switching the Knicks off the big screen so as not to miss any of the ESPN lead-in to the (#2) South Carolina-Mississippi State baseball game following softball.

So, to recap. We pretty much stunk, but the Gamecocks were well on their way to a romp when the Knicks game ended. So there’s that. I have the boxscore up and my calculator out but I don’t have the heart to whip up an eFG or TS%. I said to a friend prior to the game that I thought we’d lose a close one on Friday, get a win on Sunday, then lose the next. I hope we get the one win, if for no other reason than spare us all the snark of stupid people who would only take note of the series if it is a sweep. Some of those people work for ESPN.

Some questions to contemplate this off-season:

1. Will D’Antoni be back? I think it’s silly to discuss firing him, and I’ve been fairly critical of the guy. Every NBA coach commits fire-worthy offenses. The question to ponder is, can NY find a self-evident upgrade–one who can work with the core–worth the inevitable transition costs that come with switching regimes?

2. Will Donnie Basketball be back? You would think the guy has done enough to have earned the right to try to put the finishing touches on this roster. Yet, Dolan is unpredictable as we know, and frankly Donnie’s health must be a concern regardless.

3. Whither Landry Fields? I get the concerns about where his shots come from with Melo on the floor, but he’s been missing open looks for some time now and his rebounding seems to have tailed off. I think it is a legitimate question when contemplating the upcoming draft, which if nothing else is chock-full-o’ swingmen. (I will say this on behalf of his defense in this series, I think he’s done the best job of running Ray Allen off shots. Making Ray miss is another matter entirely. Nevertheless, my possibly biased eye sees Ray sinking most of his jumpers over late rotating defenders or over Toney Douglas.)

4. Where can NY find some useful size? Thanks to Gian for talking us back in off the ledge re: Jared Jeffries. He’s a useful piece now that he’s not criminally overpaid. Nevertheless, he and Rony Turiaf are not enough. Finding a Tyson Chandler or a Robin Lopez is probably the biggest challenge for Donnie (or whomever) this off-season. Don’t expect much help from this draft either. Virtually all of the PF/Cs are either undersized or perimeter players.

78 comments on “Recap: I Believe the Word I’m Looking for is ‘Oof’

  1. Jim Cavan

    Wow, SEC softball? Really? I would have caused a scene. Nice writeup though.

    Really glad I decided to pull a rabid soccer fan and get up at 330 for the encore showing of this one. I was at an event all night and purposefully avoided communication with the outside world so I could view the game with virgin eyes. Virgin eyes that were immediately soiled with horrible basketball.

    That said, I refuse to lose hope. At this point we have to be thinking of every win as buying time for Stat and Billups to get healthy. If we can win Sunday, that’s another two days of rest for the both of them. I have to believe Boston won’t be shooting lights out like that again. If our bench can bring it the way they did last night and we get even a half decent performance from our starting five, I like our chances for an Easter Resurrection.

    One game at a time.

  2. Nick C.

    I think the coach will be back. I would be surprised if the contraian owner re-ups the GM. Landry, I don’t know what to say. He seems yo be trying to create more and maybe right now that is not his thing. As for the rebounding it is a mystery. Did he hit a wall or do systems matter? Size is their biggest issue or PG. At any rate the wet dreams of Chandler or Haywood or Jordan may be just that. Robin Lopez wasn’t starting anymore by the end of the season. I don’t know if he was hurt or just Brook Lopez sans any offensive ability?

  3. TDM

    Mike D has done the best he can with what he has been given. I’d give him a pass. Donnie, however, has designed a one-dimensional squad that cannot compete against other more balanced teams. He has done a lot of good, but his time is up.

    As far as finding a big, we don’t need a superstar. We need someone that can fill the paint and keep other teams from driving in the paint at will. I like DeAndre Jordan (Clips) and JaVale McGee (Wiz). However, one guy that is obtainable is Robin Lopez. David mentioned him above, but I think he meant Brooke Lopez since Robin was out of the rotation in PHX. I’d love to get Marc Gasol, but I think he will resign with the Griz. Kaman, if he can show that he will fully recover from the knee issues he had this year, is underappreciated – the guy is a threat on offense and defense. Never been a fan of Dalembert.

  4. ess-dog

    Nice wrap up. It would be nice if the Knicks could win one game in this series, but since we missed out on two should’ve-wins, I can understand losing grip at this point.

    Truth is, this is pretty much what we expected in summer league. If we pull out one win, it will more or less be my exact prediction for the season if you add 3 regular season wins, so it’s hard to be too upset.

    1. D’Antoni – I think he gets a pass this year b/c of getting his roster overturned midseason. That won’t happen next year, so that will be his make or break year. I think despite his quirks and flaws, he could still take us deep into the playoffs… and there’s really not a much better option out there, aside from maybe Adleman. Actually, Adelman would fit really well with this team, but I think they have to give D’Antoni one more year.

    2. Walsh has earned another year at least, aside from one horrible draft pick and a few end of bench gaffes. Generally, he’s done pretty well, especially with cap management. He got Dolan 2 stars and hasn’t wasted his cash and got us (finally) a winning record and the chance for Jimmy D to jack up ticket prices. If he wants to come back I think he will. Otherwise Warentkien would be very nice by me.

    3. Oh Landry. Tough call on this guy. Clearly he’s fatigued – he should be as a rook. And he was caught in the headlights this series. No doubt he’s still a good player with good hustle and great court smarts. But is the right player to start with Melo and Stat? Despite his slump, his three pt shooting and ft shooting are quite good: roughly .390 and .770. But can he defend well enough? Can he get his shot off? Has Melo rendered his rebounding useless? Hopefully worst case scenario is that someone else mans the 2 spot and Landry become a great, versatile sub. But I guess we’ll find out next year.

    4. Big men will be a problem. Jerome Jordan could be useful. If he could take Effries’ and/or Turiaf’s minutes…

  5. ess-dog

    …that would be great.

    The big question is, will the Stat at center experiment continue? I just don’t think it makes sense with Chauncey at point, because we just won’t be running as much. If we keep Chauncey, we’re a halfcourt team. And if that’s the case (you could argue) why keep D’Antoni? I think it will be tough finding a center that D’Antoni will play. We’re not getting one in the draft, and the pickins are slim out there. I think he would play Gasol, but that’s about it (and it’s highly unlikely that we can get him.)

    More likely we find an undersized center who can pass, defend, shoot the short J, and maybe bang a few people. Essentially Kurt Thomas redux.

  6. Doug

    Re: Landry

    Considering all the work he put in to achieve so much success in the SSOL system, it’s perfectly understandable that he would struggle when he had to play in an entirely different offensive system. It’s a marvel that he was a starter at all. To demand that he continue to maintain his production in an offense that he had to learn on the fly as a rookie and that required a different playing style from him is too much. You all saw it. His cutting and constant motion was great when everyone else was spreading the floor, but not in a slower iso setup.

    I’m not worried about Landry. This Boston series was the first time we have really seen him struggle and get frustrated, and I am confident he’ll add something big to his game this summer In fact, none of us expected him to shoot 39% from 3, but we watched him steadily improve during the season. Maybe he will add a quicker release on his threes. Maybe he will improve his drives to the rim. He’ll improve something.

    The second reason I am not worried about Landry is that this ugly iso offense we have is not meant to last. It was just the easiest way for Carmelo and Chauncey to fit in the team. Most Knicks had experience in an NBA halfcourt offense – everyone except Landry. Next season, I see a return to SSOL principles now that there will be an entire offseason to institute it and get Billups (most important) integrated in it. If Billups buys in, then we will get back the perpetual motion machine Landry and everyone will be happy. There will be sunshine and rainbows and unicorns.

  7. KnickfaninNJ

    Doug,

    this is very true. Also, the Boston defense is one of the best in the league. It’s hard to expect an offense that has so many changes in personnel due the deadline trade to operate wonderfully against Boston.

  8. bobneptune

    Michael Cline:
    How about trading up and grabbing Enes Kanter? I know Pipe dream

    just out of curiosity, how are they going to trade up? what assets do they have to trade after giving up gallo, felton. chandler, mosgov ,randolph (who, by the way averaged 11.5ppg. 5.7rpg 49.8%fg in 20.6mpg for mn), their 2014 #1, goldenstate’s 2012 #2 , golden state’s 2013 #2 AND GAVE DENVER THE RIGHT TO FLIP #1 PICKS IN 2016!!!!

    all this so melo could get “his money” and dolan could raise ticket prices.

    do you think renaldo balkman will get it done? maybe they can add andy rautins to sweeten the pot? lol!

  9. Michael Cline

    bobneptune: just out of curiosity, how are they going to trade up? what assets do they have to trade after giving up gallo, felton. chandler, mosgov ,randolph (who, by the way averaged 11.5ppg. 5.7rpg 49.8%fg in 20.6mpg for mn), their 2014 #1, goldenstate’s2012 #2 , golden state’s 2013 #2 AND GAVE DENVER THE RIGHT TO FLIP #1 PICKS IN 2016!!!!

    all this so melo could get “his money” and dolan could raise ticket prices.

    do you think renaldo balkman will get it done? maybe they can add andy rautins to sweeten the pot? lol!

    That’s why I said pipe dream

  10. Z

    bobneptune:

    do you think renaldo balkman will get it done? maybe they can add andy rautins to sweeten the pot? lol!

    Balkman’s pot is sweet enough, thank you.

  11. ess-dog

    I think the only way to get better is to rid ourselves of Chauncey’s contract. It’s the only way we can get more able bodies on this team. It would cost us about 4 mil in cap space to do that right? Leaving us roughly 9 mil to sign a center or some bench players.

    Then we’d be left with A’mare (17 mil), Melo (17.5 mil), Balkman (1.7 mil), TD (1.1 mil), Walker (850k), Rautins (600k), and Fields (450k.)
    Hopefully we’ll cut Rautins, leaving us with 6 players giving us 11 slots to fill. J.Jordan will likely come over as a 7th player. Then we have our draft pick which we could use on a guy like Jimmer, Faried or Biyombo or we could trade the pick for a guy like Sessions or even to the Nuggs for a guy like Ty Lawson. That’s 8 players. OK we’ll likely keep Rautins, so 9 players. Hopefully we can get a good big like Gasol or DeAndre Jordan for 9 mil, but I doubt it. We won’t want to offer them years anyway. We’ll probably resign one of Shawne/Jeffries/Shelden/Brown (Jeffries is the most likely in my opinion) for a pittance, so that’s 10 players. And hopefully the signing of another real big makes 11. Then 4 slots for undrafteds/cheap euros.
    My math is probably wacky but this is roughly how we could look w/o Chauncey next year.

  12. TDM

    IMO, there aren’t any bigs worthy of a first round pick in this year’s draft.

    Given the unrest in Sacto right now, I wonder if we could put together a package for DeMarcus Cousins (or maybe Jason Thompson). I would do backflips if we could get Cousins. A big enforcer that plays with a chip. Fields and Turiaf for Cousins?

  13. JK47

    #17 pick for Ty Lawson??? Fields and Turiaf for Cousins??? I mean, let’s get real. NBA teams aren’t going to be falling over themselves to give franchise-type players to NYK. Lawson and Cousins have ridiculous value relative to their contracts. Don’t expect to see those cats here anytime soon.

  14. TDM

    JK47 – I agree with you on Lawson, but there is a lot of turmoil in the Kings org right now with them trying to move south. Not to mention, Cousins has had several spats with the coaching staff. As well as some on court issues with losing his temper. Their star (Tyreke Evans) has also had issues with the coaching staff. They have had 5 coaches in the past 5 years and that trend will likely continue. A couple of coachable guys like Fields and Turiaf wouldn’t be such a bad thing for a team going through growing pains.

  15. ess-dog

    Oops, I meant to type Ray Felton not Ty Lawson, sorry. Got my tarheels mixed up. Felton for a #17 is a lot more realistic, and since he knows the offense…

  16. ess-dog

    Man, looking back at that 2009 draft, there aren’t many bigger busts than Jordan Hill. Thabeet of course. Maybe Terrence Williams or Earl Clark and James Johnson, but those guys were taken lower. Plus a lot of guys taken lower are really contributing now.

  17. flossy

    The Kings could do a LOT better than anything we could offer for Demarcus Cousins. He had a pretty terrible rookie year relative to his potential, and it was still by far the best rookie year of any big man outside of Griffin.

  18. BigBlueAL

    Like Brian has mentioned, if the Knicks goal is to make a splash in the 2012 off-season they have to re-sign Billups. Because if they dont then the additional cap space will have to spent on 1 yr deals if they want to be in position in 2012 to be able to do something and lets face it spending 11 mil or so this off-season on 1 yr deals aint gonna net anything.

    Keep Billups and hope that maybe they can trade for CP3 during the season like they did for Melo because his contract would be necessary for the trade. Plus even if they dont trade him he is still a very good PG who hopefully will be healthy and a big part in this team winning a few more games next season and having a better chance of playoff success.

    Unless the new CBA is drastically different, this team is not going to be much different next season. Hopefully a good draft pick and signing better veteran 1yr deal fits for this roster and of course a healthy Amar’e and Billups is what we can hope for next season. 2012 is still the year to make the final big splash to make this team a hopefully title contender.

  19. David Crockett

    I hadn’t seen the Suns since mid-season, so I really didn’t know that Sideshow Bob had fallen out of the rotation.

    I figure that NY is probably going to play 2 or 3 guys at the five. I doubt a guy like Gasol would sign in NY. I was trying to think of cheap bigs that could play SSOL. I like the DeAndre Jordan suggestion too. He’s up this year and the Clips may let him walk.

  20. ess-dog

    In theory I agree with you BBA but unless one of those guys pulls a Melo and will only be traded to nyc, I just don’t see us having the assets to get CP3, DWill or Howard. After the Melo trade, I just don’t see teams letting it go to free agency any more, since Denver did quite well.

    Again, all we have next year is Melo, Amare, Billups, TD, Fields, Walker, Balkman, Rautins, Jordan, 1st rounder and whoever will sign a one year contract. I just don’t think Billups, TD, Fields plus picks will get a CP3 deal done.

    But the specifics of trade demands make a big difference in terms of any pre-2012 free agency trades.

  21. ess-dog

    Which isn’t to say that with the right injury luck, good signings and good drafting that we can’t reach 50 wins next year. Won’t be easy but it’s in the realm of possibility. I just think that Billups’ risk of injury next year is at about 60 plus % they way he’s been going, but you never know…

  22. ess-dog

    Wow, just looked at the playoff statistics and even though it’s only been three games, the only players that have played better than average have been Melo, Shawne and Jeffries! TD has been about average and everyone else abysmal. I guess I’ve been too hard on Jeffries. His per for the 3 games has been 19.5 and his WS48 has been .140 – pretty much what Melo has done. And Shawne’s at 20.4 and .193 respectively, in less minutes.

    We should probably just sit Stat and Billups in game 4 and start TD and Shawne.

  23. latke

    Amare Stoudemire was -34 in only 32:49.
    Carmelo Anthony was -27.

    They aren’t going to win without passing the ball. Boston’s defense is geared 100% towards stopping players who try to be heroes.

  24. daJudge

    I stand corrected from my previous post. Like Big Blue Al and Brian stated, if keeping Billups gives us a shot at CP3, I would sign him. I serviceable Big, plus CP3 would completely change this team. A point guard with his skills would transform the somewhat potent offense into a really effective team that would be awesome to watch. I think a guy like Chris Paul would be able to assimilate Amare and Melo into a beautiful offense. With respect to the Four Questions:
    1. Coach will be back and while he often drives me nuts, I’m OK with it.
    2. DW will be back and while he has made mistakes, he’s at least promoted stability, class and competency to this team.
    3. Fields will be fine and develop into a very good NBA player.
    4. I’m not sure if there is a Big that is worth the value at this time.
    BTW, Happy holidays to all.

  25. BigBlueAL

    latke:
    Amare Stoudemire was -34 in only 32:49.
    Carmelo Anthony was -27.

    They aren’t going to win without passing the ball. Boston’s defense is geared 100% towards stopping players who try to be heroes.

    Melo had 6 asts again yesterday and “only” took 16 shots. I dont think he forced the action at all. He was a very willing passer last night for the most part from what I saw.

    Of course you then have Mitch Lawrence criticizing him for not taking 36 shots last night and for passing the ball too much.

  26. latke

    BBA, yes, neither of their usage rates were abnormally high, but they both still stop the ball, and that’s golden for boston’s D. The scrubs have to keep the ball moving in order to have a chance at getting a good shot.

  27. BigBlueAL

    latke:
    BBA, yes, neither of their usage rates were abnormally high, but they both still stop the ball, and that’s golden for boston’s D. The scrubs have to keep the ball moving in order to have a chance at getting a good shot.

    I hear ya.

  28. flossy

    BigBlueAL: Melo had 6 asts again yesterday and “only” took 16 shots.I dont think he forced the action at all.He was a very willing passer last night for the most part from what I saw.

    Of course you then have Mitch Lawrence criticizing him for not taking 36 shots last night and for passing the ball too much.

    Melo also had five turnovers and the offense looked awful with him “running” it. Having to pass to Jared Jeffries is probably part of the problem, but relying on Carmelo Anthony to run the offense period is just not a good idea. Annoying that we find ourselves with no other real options.

  29. BigBlueAL

    flossy: Melo also had five turnovers and the offense looked awful with him “running” it.Having to pass to Jared Jeffries is probably part of the problem, but relying on Carmelo Anthony to run the offense period is just not a good idea.Annoying that we find ourselves with no other real options.

    Oh I agree he played bad last night but I dont think it was a product of him ball hogging and not being willing to pass thats all.

    In Game 2 he was alot better at both scoring and passing the ball (I believe he had only 1 to). Difference was he wasnt having to dribble the ball up court and play PG like he was asked to do alot last night. He isnt LeBron obviously in that regard.

  30. latke

    if you’re not watching dallas/portland, you should turn it on. Portland down 4 after being down 23 earlier in the half.

  31. John Kenney

    Portland was down like 15 in the fourth quarter but their fans never quit. much louder than ours in the second half despite similar deficits. Also brandon roy’s 4 pt play just tied the game.

  32. Nick C.

    That was so cool that Brandon Roy came thru huge at the finish, after how the series started out for him.

  33. cgreene

    Re: Billups signing

    I think if you don’t sign him but rather turn his $ into say 2 decent young assets like Jordan and a good wing that that is a better formula for ultimately ending up w Paul/ Howard/DWill. More similar to what Knicks did this year. Point is that will give you more tradeable parts. Salaries will match no matter what. All the contracts don’t need to be expiring. TD, Fields, this year’s #1, someone we sign w Billups $ could end up being a nice haul for NO or Orl. Would be more similar to Denver deal which we all agree set a new bar.

  34. BigBlueAL

    flossy:
    Watching Z-Bo have his way with the Spurs is leaving kind of a bad taste in my mouth.

    Paying him 71 mil over the next 4 years will probably leave Memphis with a bad taste in their mouth as well.

  35. jon abbey

    John Kenney:
    Portland was down like 15 in the fourth quarter but their fans never quit. much louder than ours in the second half despite similar deficits. Also brandon roy’s 4 pt play just tied the game.

    that’s not really fair, their roster is like a thousand times better than ours without Amare/Billups.

  36. StevenU

    I had the honor of attending my first Knick playoff game since 1998 last night. There was so much to criticize and virtually nothing positive from a Knick perspective. Using only the “eye test” I was curious to see if the plus minus and other stats would compare to how things appeared. I am not a Dantoni fan -at all-but whether fairly or not, the injuries really make his mark an incomplete-they played over their heads in game 2 and the gap in both physical ability, and basketball intelligence was enormous and insurmountable; the Celtics look every bit like a genuine championship contender rounding into form in time as veteran teams do. I knew with the eye test that STAT had the worst plus minus and it was plain to see even in warm ups he was not well enough to play. Bostons D was ready for Melo and he played fine-he hustled hard,and he was not the problem-didn’t realize he was 4-16 till I got home. The only two players who actually played well were Shawne and Jeffries. As horrible as Jeffries is on offense his defense elevated the team siginifficantly. Shawne played a very good all around game. Turiaf was fine also and seemed like he could have played more.
    Douglas looked utterly lost and incapable of initiating the offense.
    The Knicks did not reverse the ball to exploit the Celts overloading the strong side on defense at all. The Celts opening run exposed the Knicks, and succeeded in sucking the energy out of the crowd.
    It was thoroughly depressing start to finish, and the Knicks were lucky to be down just 8 at the half.
    There’s always next year :-(

  37. StevenU

    I took a lot of heat for harping on the Felton for Billups inclusion in the Melo trade as well as saying that either Mosgov or AR needed to be retained. I think it was obvious to everyone not named Dolan that a deal could have been struck for less.
    Right now those pieces of the trade are looking like they will “doom” the Knicks to a 40-48 win team with no realistic chance to upgrade anytime soon (barring those pipe dream scenarios where CP3 or Howard pulls a Melo -and there is no indication whatsoever that they will.
    I know they would not actually get by Boston, but I really hoped they’d get one and maybe two wins-something to build on, now it rally is not mush better than being swept out in the 1st round in 2004.

  38. flossy

    BigBlueAL: Paying him 71 mil over the next 4 years will probably leave Memphis with a bad taste in their mouth as well.

    So true. What was Melphis thinking with that and the Gay contract? Z-Bo will be making almost Amar’e-level money by the time he’s 34. Then again, Amar’e making Amar’e-level money may not look so great in a few years either.

  39. d-mar

    I like Derrick Rose and respect his competitiveness and toughness, but right now he’s shooting 35% for the Indy series. And I believe he was around 40% during the regular season. Those numbers have to improve if he’s going to be considered a true superstar; you can’t have your PG missing 6 or 7 of every 10 shots he takes. Plus 24 assists for the series? Nothing to write home about.

    I also think the Bulls are really vulnerable moving forward if they have to rely on Rose going 1 against 5 at the end of every close game.

  40. BigBlueAL

    d-mar:
    I like Derrick Rose and respect his competitiveness and toughness, but right now he’s shooting 35% for the Indy series. And I believe he was around 40% during the regular season. Those numbers have to improve if he’s going to be considered a true superstar; you can’t have your PG missing 6 or 7 of every 10 shots he takes. Plus 24 assists for the series? Nothing to write home about.

    I also think the Bulls are really vulnerable moving forward if they have to rely on Rose going 1 against 5 at the end of every close game.

    I think Orlando has a really good chance of upsetting the Bulls but they may not even get by the freaking Hawks.

    Dont think the Bulls have much of a chance of beating either the Heat or Celtics in the Conf Finals.

  41. endyendy

    Just gonna think positive until the series is officially over. After the Red Sox overcame a 3-0 deficit in the ALCS to the Yankees I think it’s only fitting that the Knicks achieve some payback.

    Not likely, but fitting.

  42. John Kenney

    @jonabbey, I’m just saying, the crowd can’t impact the game if it doesnt try, and their fans definitely tried.

  43. KnickInSeattle

    Watching OKC, Denver.
    Close game midway through the 4th.
    Wilson Chandler not closing out on Ibaka, who’s killing them.

  44. Z

    Yeah, well Portland doesn’t have any other pro teams, so they have the time to paint their bodies red and black and drink themselves into delusions of comebacks. I mean, come on– Oregon didn’t even have a team in the women’s softball tournament, so what else did they have to do today besides will their team to victory?

  45. BigBlueAL

    Gallo only plays 19 mins tonight, scoring 6 pts on 1 for 6 FG shooting. Chandler only scores 3 pts in 21 mins on 1 for 4 FG shooting. Felton shoots horrible again, 3 for 9 FG. Both Gallo and Chandler had produced negative win shares thru the first 2 games and tonight didnt help their stats any.

  46. Z-man

    I did a lot of thinking about the series so far, and frankly, it has gone very much in line with reasonable expectations. Let’s look back. Boston seemed like they were in disarray, but in reality their big 4 were healthy and rested and probably regular-season bored like some multiple-deep foray playoff teams tend to get. They didn’t play their starters for more than a week coming into the playoffs, except for O’Neal, who needed some game time but was well rested anyway. So it is logical to expect that they would be a bit rusty to start the series and that our best opportunity would come early. We should have won game 1, but does anyone really think that if we did, game 2 would have been as close as it was? Let’s be real. Yeah, no Billups, no Amar’e, but even with them, we are a deeply flawed team that does not compare to the elite teams in the league, and the Celts are still one of those teams. Their big 4 has played together for 4 years, and they are all healthy and rested. O’Neal is not much of a drop-off from Perkins, and actually might be better in his limited role when healthy, as he seems to be right now. In Game 3, Allen and Pierce went off from, but is that surprising? The all-time leading 3-point shooter and a former 3-point contest winner?

    I still think that Game 1 was stolen from us by the refs, but ultimately, it would not have made any difference.

    At the end of the day, I’m glad that we are in the playoffs and look forward to seeing what happens during the off-season. Will TD, Fields, Shawne and Walker work on their games? Will we find another steal in the draft? Will a big-splash FA take a pay cut to join forces with Melo and Stat? Will Jerome Jordan make an impact? Will Walsh be back, and will he find another Mozgov and Shawne out there? Will Melo and Amar’e together for a whole training camp and season make a difference? Or will THJC’s dreary scenario play out?

    Go Knicks in game 4!

  47. daJudge

    Nice post Z-Man. Agree with pretty much everything. The questions you pose mostly provide a reason to be optimistic.

  48. Z-man

    The point that I left out is that there is absolutely no reason for any fan in attendance to boo the Knicks, as I heard happened on Friday. When a dreadfully undermanned team gets thoroughly outplayed by an elite team on top of its game, you tip your hat to them and take your medicine as a fan. This team should be cheered roundly for making games 1 and especially game 2 competitive, against any realistic expectations. Nobody would have beaten the Celts the way they shot Friday, nobody. Those shots are going to be there no matter how well we play, and if they make them, even at their normal rate, we ain’t winning. If it were so easy to stop, they wouldn’t be 2 minutes removed fro 2 NBA championships. Please, fans, no booing!

  49. Cal

    What Draft Picks do we have this year? Also I agree that we need to keep D’antoni at least until there is someone better out there. However we will never win a championship with D’antoni or the pieces we have right now. Would a trade involving Fields for a decent big man work? I hope we win today to make up for Friday’s embarrassment, nice blog by the way.

  50. d-mar

    BigBlueAL:
    Gallo only plays 19 mins tonight, scoring 6 pts on 1 for 6 FG shooting.Chandler only scores 3 pts in 21 mins on 1 for 4 FG shooting.Felton shoots horrible again, 3 for 9 FG.Both Gallo and Chandler had produced negative win shares thru the first 2 games and tonight didnt help their stats any.
    Not a good night for the Knuggets. It’s been said before, but most of the Nuggets success at the end of the regular season was due to the emergence of Afflalo and Lawson, as well as Martin being healthy and Nene playing at a high level. NOT because they gave up their selfish superstar and got back future All Stars.

  51. d-mar

    BigBlueAL: Not a good night for the Knuggets. It’s been said before, but most of the Nuggets success at the end of the regular season was due to the emergence of Afflalo and Lawson, as well as Martin being healthy and Nene playing at a high level. NOT because they gave up their selfish superstar and got back future All Stars.

    Sorry about post above….here’s corrected.

    Not a good night for the Knuggets. It’s been said before, but most of the Nuggets success at the end of the regular season was due to the emergence of Afflalo and Lawson, as well as Martin being healthy and Nene playing at a high level. NOT because they gave up their selfish superstar and got back future All Stars.

  52. Z-man

    To my knowledge, we have the #17 overall pick, so there’s an opportunity to get a rotation player, maybe even luck into a starter.

  53. iserp

    Looking to the future, we will have to see if the new CBA will allow us to for max contract in 2012 or not.

    Anyway, we need a long term solution at PG and C, and some promising SG that fits the system.

    If we don’t have enough cap space for CP3 or D-Will, we have to think what to do with Chauncey. Either we renounce him and make a run for a good big (the good option if the cap stays more or less the same but exceptions are reduced), or we trade Chauncey for a PG and use an exception for a C (if the salary cap is reduces but exceptions stay)

    In this last case, options for a PG would be:

    - Steve Nash: While hardly a long term solution, it is the best PG for SSOL
    - Tony Parker: If SA loses to memphis, they might blow up the roster
    - Jose Calderon: A great distributor who would balance the offense. Not really good at transition, and his defense is a big question mark. If we had some kind of stopper at C, he would be great.
    - Mo Williams: Not a great distributor, but if we are going to be an iso heavy offense, he is good at that.
    - Devin Harris: I think he would be the worst option, but he was an all-star and Utah might we willing to trade him.

    I don’t see what kind of offer would Cleveland accept for Ramon Sessions (Well Varejao + Sessions would save them lots of money and would be great for us, but wouldn’t other team offer them something more than cap relief?)

    At SG we might get Rudy Fernandez now that his stock seems really low, maybe Shawne Williams or Bill Walker does the deal.

    And at C… we could take a shot at Greg Oden, or at Samuel Dalembert.

    In the end, the team is going to be more balanced, with fewer weaknesses that are killing us now.

  54. Cal

    Thanks, and Draft Express has jimmer going 17th but I can see Utah taking him earlier. Do we take Tristan Thompson if he’s available? He wasn’t bad last year and had nearly 8 rebounds a game with a good wingspan.

  55. Cal

    Tony Parker would be great but I don’t see SA blowing up the roster for another year or two. We should keep Shawne Williams as he’s a decent bench guy. Wouldn’t a trade involving Fields be enough to get Varejao and Sessions and then take Rudy. Greg Oden is too much of a risk unless we were to get him on the cheap.

  56. Z-man

    I like the idea of making a run at Oden, bad knees and all. Dalembert is not very sexy, but definitely solves a glaring problem. Maybe Yao Ming takes the vet minimum to play here? If that foot holds up, he could be our Bill Walton circa Bird Celtics. NY Chinese population might intrigue him?

  57. Cal

    I prefer Yao to Oden if we had the choice, however Yao may not be back at all. Dalembert would be the safest choice that’s for sure. I would take any of them right now if it meant fixing are centre issues.

  58. Z-man

    The Yao thing ain’t happening, but it’s nice to dream of a front line of Amar’e, Melo and a servicable Yao…

  59. Cal

    Do you think Yao will ever be healthy again? It’s a shame how he hasn’t been healthy for so long now. He was a great centre a few years back.

  60. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Z-man:
    We should have won game 1, but does anyone really think that if we did, game 2 would have been as close as it was?

    This implies that Boston wasn’t playing at max intensity during Game 2, which means that they were, in a sense, coasting. Does anyone think that’s true of ANY playoff team, much less the Celtics, who appear to be one of the most intense teams in the league?

    Last year they were a few points shy of being the best in the league (Kobe, again: luckiest m.f. out) and Pierce actually improved this year. This is not a team that takes playoff games off.

  61. Z

    Recent #17 picks include: Jrue Holiday, Roy Hibbert, Extra E, Danny Granger, and Josh Smith. It’s kind of a “go-to” spot for quality players.

  62. KnickInSeattle

    @70, he was actually saying that Boston would have beat us more badly in game 2 if we’d won game 1.

  63. Z

    @62

    Billups for Nash and Frye/Gortat/Lopez works salary wise. Dumping Gortat or Frye would save Phoenix salary wise, but maybe not enough to entice them to give us Nash. Also, though Nash expires in 2012, Frye/Gortat would eat into our 2012 salary flexibility (although they can, presumably, be traded before that, after a year of “exploding” in D’Antoni’s offensive system).

    Also, as Ess Dog mentioned yesterday, Ray Felton may be the best PG available this off-season. Billups for Felton and Chris Anderson saves Denver a few $ going forward. Plus, they owe us!

  64. JK47

    I would love to bring Marcin Gortat in here; he was terrific for Phoenix after the trade and looks pretty similar on the stat sheet to the much-coveted Marc Gasol.

  65. Z-man

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: This implies that Boston wasn’t playing at max intensity during Game 2, which means that they were, in a sense, coasting. Does anyone think that’s true of ANY playoff team, much less the Celtics, who appear to be one of the most intense teams in the league?

    Last year they were a few points shy of being the best in the league (Kobe, again: luckiest m.f. out) and Pierce actually improved this year. This is not a team that takes playoff games off.

    No, not saying that they took a game off, but you can’t generate the same intensity for every game, the situation definitely matters. If you know that if you lose game 2 at home you are in an 0-2 hole, rather than if you lose you are 1-1, that definitlly makes a difference.

  66. Cal

    The celtics weren’t coasting in game 2 but if they had lost game 1 they would go to another level. It’s what the better teams do in the early rounds of the playoffs. The lakers did it after losing game 1 to the hornets.

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