Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Rockets 109, Knicks 106

Houston Rockets 109 Final
Recap | Box Score
106 New York Knicks
Andrea Bargnani, PF

33 MIN | 9-12 FG | 3-4 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 24 PTS | +7

[Afraid to say anything that might jinx it]

Carmelo Anthony, SF

44 MIN | 17-30 FG | 9-11 FT | 10 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 45 PTS | +7

Brilliant. Totally and completely brilliant. One horrible decision (his off-ball foul on Howard after the 2 minute mark) detracts little from the fact that he took the Rockets on by himself and nearly won the damn thing. I still think it was a continuation and if it had been called that way and he completes the four-point play this is one of the most memorable regular season wins in ages. We’ll win a lot more than we lose when he plays this way.

Raymond Felton, PG

41 MIN | 3-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 7 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 5 TO | 8 PTS | +4

Bad. Lots of folks pointed out that this isn’t the first time he’s looked to be forcing things against Jeremy Lin since replacing The ‘Sanity here in New York and while I don’t claim to be inside Felton’s head, enough circumstantial evidence exists to support this suspicion. 41 minutes for him and 7 for Prigioni seems crazy but you’re probably sick of me banging that drum by now and we have 74 games to go so I’ll leave that there.

At times, Woodson used him on Parsons and the off-guard on Beverly/Lin. I liked that.

J.R. Smith, SG

39 MIN | 4-16 FG | 5-7 FT | 8 REB | 4 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 15 PTS | -1

Shooting numbers really surprise me because it didn’t seem like he was THAT cold. Filled up the stat sheet otherwise and was active on defense. I had him at 1 for 5 on long twos which is annoying but he got to the rim a bit to the tune of a 5/7 night at the line. Threes and layups, JR. We’re not hard to please.

Iman Shumpert, SG

30 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | +14

Blech. A startling +14 but generally pretty bad. Hassled Lin to force the shot clock violation that set up Melo’s un-game-tying non-three. Otherwise not a lot of memorable moments.

Kenyon Martin, PF

10 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -3

Mostly invisible. Whistled for a really soft flagrant and looked a tad cautious thereafter. A non-factor tonight.

Amar’e Stoudemire, PF

5 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -7

Only played 5 minutes tonight and still gave the TNT crew enough footage for a “Look at how poorly the Knicks are guarding the paint!” montage that featured him in the leading role. It’s bad.

Metta World Peace, SF

17 MIN | 1-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -19

Got beaten off the dribble a few times, his shot didn’t fall, and he didn’t help out much on the boards. Which in Ron’s case means there wasn’t much good to say about this one.

Pablo Prigioni, PG

7 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -7

I blinked and missed the whole time he was in the game.

Tim Hardaway Jr., SG

14 MIN | 2-3 FG | 3-3 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | -10

A generally solid performance highlighted by an absolutely gorgeous gliding transition finger roll after a takeoff just inside the free throw line. Aesthetics count when they’re that breathtaking.

Mike Woodson

Too much doubling in the interior. Too much Iso in the end (Melo’s stats were great but he actually missed 9 of his last 15 shots after they stopped coming in the flow of the offense). Where is Prigs? Did we really need 80 combined minutes of Felton and JR on a night when they went a combined 7 for 25?

That said, he almost beat one of the League’s better teams on night two of a back-to-back using black magic and duct tape so screw it, take a B-minus.

Two Things We Saw

  1. Things Andrea Bargnani can not do: stay in front of his man, move laterally, chase his man around the perimeter, establish rebounding position, judge the trajectory of a rebound, rebound, get rebounds, help consistently, close out shooters.

    Things Andrea Bargnani can do: stand his ground in the post, go straight up and contend shots out of the post.

    He will get murdered and embarrassed on a lot of nights but he stood up to Dwight Howard tonight. He didn’t flinch. And Dwight Howard had 7 points on 1-for-5 from the field.

    He can do this part. He did it tonight. It’s one more part of the increasingly complex portrait he’s painting of his Knick career.

  2. Really quick recap tonight, I know. Bunch of things going on. More next time, I promise.

53 comments on “Rockets 109, Knicks 106

  1. nicos

    Prigs committed 3 fouls in his four first half minutes and did nothing, and I mean nothing offensively. Of course, nothing is better than Felton’s crappy shooting and five turnovers so there’s that. Still, I’d be just as happy to see Murry cut into Felton’s minutes as Prigs right now.

    And again a Knickerblogger recapper can’t praise Bargnani without spending equal time criticizing his defense.

  2. yellowboy90

    I thought Bargs did a good job tonight trapping the PnR and getting back defensively most of the night.

  3. coyle022

    I would like to post a semi-hypothetical situation for a minute. Let’s say it’s game 7, ECF, Indiana Pacers at Miami Heat. Spurs have already clinched the conference. Indiana up by 3 with 5.5 seconds remaning. Birdman inbounds to Lebron James on the sideline and he quickly turns to get a shot up, but he is fouled as he begins his shot release. Miraculously, the shot goes in.

    In this situation, I think the refs will call the continuation foul and at the very least, call a shooting foul with 3 free throws. However, the same exact thing happens tonight, and it’s called a foul on the floor.

    Obviously, these are 2 different scenarios, with different players, arena’s, officials, coaches, owners. Who knows what could happen. But it just seems like the Knicks always end up on the short end of it.

  4. ruruland

    Melo finally says what has been so obvious for so long:
    Anthony, on foul disparity between he and Harden: “For me, you’ve gotta see blood to get a call.”

    Anthony, on fouls NYK gave Harden: “We didn’t give him calls. [Officials] gave him calls.”
    — Chris Herring

    Now, maybe Melo could learn to sell contact like Harden does, but I still don’t understand why Harden and Durant can bait the officials so consistently.

    Durant FTR : .53
    Percentage of shots at rim per game: 24.2
    Assisted percentage: 51.4

    Harden FTR: .6
    Percentage of shots at rim: 33.5
    Assisted percentage: 29.5

    Melo FTR: .35
    Percentage of shots at rim: 29.4
    Assisted percentage: 25.1

    Now, what happens when we factor in uncontested rim attempts in transition, how much more skewed would it get?

    A few people commented on the game thread how “amazing” Harden is. Really?

  5. ruruland

    “And again a Knickerblogger recapper can’t praise Bargnani without spending equal time criticizing his defense.”

    I really like Kevin’s contribution to this site, but as one of the cool kids he has to maintain a certain confirmation bias against Bargs.

    Bargs had one of the best individual post performances against Howard — ever . That might happen to Dwight against single coverage a couple times a season, if that.

    In fact, it was just the 15th time in Howard’s career he has shot 20 percent or lower, been held to 10 points or less in 30 minutes or more: http://bit.ly/189HQkF

    Howard has played 770 career games.

    There were no guards chopping down to help like we’ve seen with Chandler’s solid performances against Howard over the years.

    It was an INCREDIBLE defensive performance by Bargs. To not mention it and then talk about some of the weak things Bargs did on defense…

    We can talk about some of the things Bargs isn’t doing on defense (and getting back to the rim in transition is where he is killing the Knicks at times) but it’s been so overstated and overblown at this point.

    As Yellow mentioned, he is doing some other solid things besides GREAT post defense.

  6. ruruland

    Full quote from Melo on Harden and ft disparity:

    “We didn’t put him on the line,” said Anthony, who made 17 of 30 shots. “[The officials] put him on the line. Harden is a tough guy to guard, especially when they’re calling the game the way that they called it tonight

    “You look at that and you see the way that some guys get their calls. Me, I got to get cut. You’ve got to see blood for me to get a call down there,” Anthony later said. “So that’s where the frustration comes from.”

  7. massive

    1) Melo might get fined for those comments just because of the “Big Brother Is Watching You” mentality the NBA executives want to put onto the players. He’s 100% right, though.

    2) Bargnani is a better one on one defender in the post than Tyson Chandler. You put Bargs on Roy Hibbert and I bet he doesn’t look like Hakeem Olajuwon the way he did against Chandler. However, Chandler is far superior in help defense, rotation, spatial awareness, rebounding, and just about everything else you would want out of a defender at the pivot position. But post defense? Bargs is a lot better at holding his ground (probably because he’s 20 pounds heavier) and actually contesting shots. Maybe the Knicks didn’t just bring in Bargs to take Roy Hibbert out of the paint of defense?

    3) Melo can’t play 40 minutes on Saturday. Or in any game until January, honestly.

  8. Frank O.

    Still a work in progress. Melo and Bargs showed for this one, but Shump, Peace, Felton and much of the rest of the supporting staff did not show for a home game.

  9. Z-man

    Don’t know who was to blame for the dumb foul on Howard off the ball, but that is just unacceptable. Woodson, I guess, but Melo’s gotta know that even without coaching.

  10. Z-man

    Re: Bargnani, should I just cut and paste my comments from the last recap into this one? Given who he is and is not, what more could be fairly asked of the guy than what he gave us tonight?

  11. Frank

    Few thoughts:

    1) I won’t call Felton awful right now because I think he’s playing hurt, but he’s certainly playing awfully right now. He can’t shoot. He’s turning the ball over. He can’t keep anyone out of the lane. Let him sit and heal up (or at least play fewer minutes). Beno cannot be any worse than Felton is right now. #FreeBeno. or at least #FreeToure.

    2) Wonder if all the trade rumors and his suddenly missing 3 point shot are getting to Shump. Last night, especially in the first half, was the first time I saw really bad body language out of him. Like Mark Sanchez bad. And in the first half, it clearly carried over to the defensive side of the ball. He looked pretty damn good on D late in the 4th though. That’s the Shump we need.

    3) Agree with all the posters saying that it’s about time to stop with all the disclaimers about how well Bargnani is playing. Dude has a TS of 60.5 on a USG of 24.6. He’s not turning the ball over much at all since the first few games. He is 4.3 FT% points from being WELL into the 50/40/90 club (currently 51.6/44.4/85.7). He was by far the best center on the floor last night. He’s also our best frontcourt defender now, since all Kenyon Martin seems to be able to do at this point is give hard fouls. In the wettest of Bargnani-supporter wet dreams, we could not have imagined him playing this well. Now this is only 8 games and he could turn into a pumpkin next week, but we have to let this go. He’s not going to be Dirk on the offensive end AND Olajuwon on the defensive end. Let’s just take him for what it’s worth, and give him credit when it’s due without disclaimers.

    4) Go back and watch Woodson’s reaction after Melo’s dumb foul on DH. I get the distinct feeling that Woodson did not know the rule. He looked as surprised as anyone that the Rockets were getting FTs. I really hope that’s not the case.

    5) Woodson needs to find 12 minutes of rest of Melo per game.

  12. Frank

    And another thing that is sad for me to write — barring some major miracle, Amare is done. Like done done done. When Amare can’t finish in not-that-much-traffic and is getting viciously blocked by smaller guys, it’s over. Hate to agree with Charles Barkley, but what made Amare special was never his skills — it was his physical talent, and now he’s lost his talent. Sad.

  13. Hubert

    44 minutes for Melo. This is not going to end well.

    This is like the opposite of what the Brewers famously did with CC Sabbathia. We’re going to wear this guy out AND hitch our wagon to him for the next 5 years.

    Someone needs to apply some sanity to this situation ASAP.

  14. johnno

    Interesting that you say that Shumpert didn’t have many memorable moments. He had one really memorable moment that you neglect to mention that probably cost them the game — with a couple minutes left, he allowed Harden to shoot a WIDE OPEN 3 pointer and made virtually no effort to even bother sticking his hand in Harden’s face. Shumpert has a reputation as a great perimeter defender but, for most of this season, his defense has been mediocre at best and his offense has been pretty bad.
    I think that it’s fair to say that Bargnani played his best game of the year last night. Is it really necessary to spend half of the write-up talking about what he doesn’t do well? If Tyson Chandler had a game in which he scored 15 points on 7 shots, got 15 rebounds and played good defense, would you dedicate half of the write-up to pointing out that, even though he played a good game, Chandler has no low post moves, can’t shoot a jump shot, is a poor passer and an inconsistent free throw shooter? I doubt it. I know that admitting that Bargnani played a good game without emphasizing his weaknesses detracts from the “Bargnani is the worst player in the NBA narrative” but it’s getting pretty tiresome.

  15. cgreene

    Re Amare. I know it doesn’t help that much next year. But I truly wonder if the guy is going to sit on his $ for next season when he has an opt out. Seems to me like he’s the kind of person that would consider not doing that.

  16. Kevin McElroy Post author

    I don’t know how you could read what I said about Bargs and think I was saying anything but “Look, the guy has his limitations, but he was FANTASTIC tonight.” I just don’t know how that reads any other way, I don’t know how there’s any confirmation bias behind that. I did not like the move to trade for him, I still don’t, but he’s been great the last few games and tonight was easily his best performance yet. What else do you want from me?

  17. KnickfaninNJ

    I agree there was no need for the footnote at the bottom of the write up about what Bargnani can’t do. A similar footnote with different specifics could be written about almost all the players in the NBA. The comment was gratuitous. One other good thing that Bargnani did that wasn’t mentioned above was to actually draw Howard out of the post and create driving lanes for other Knicks. According to Steve Kerr, he also may have prevented the Rockets from playing Asik because of possible matchup problems.

    Looking at the box scores above and just watching the last two games suggests that moving Smith to starter has strengthened the starting team, but left the bench without enough scoring. This isn’t surprising. You can see it in the plus/minuses above. The starters won the plus/minus battle but the bench didn’t. It does seem to vindicate starting Smith, because the starters play more minutes than bench so it’s probably a net benefit. I don’t think there’s enough scoring talent on the bench to make it higher scoring. It’s probably better to make a defense first unit that shuts down the opposition. After Chandler comes back, the bench lineup could be Shumpert, Prigioni, MWP, Hardaway and maybe Aldrich or Martin. I think that group could hold most teams second units in check.

  18. Kevin McElroy Post author

    An addendum: I only really think these things are valuable in the context of expectations. Otherwise, you could just read the stats. The book on Bargs (established by him, over his career) is: streak scorer, bad rebounder, bad defender. When he has a good defensive game, a necessary part of the story is “Guy with bad defensive reputation has good defensive game” until he has SO MANY good defensive games that the reputation changes. I’m a pretty objective person and I’m not going to give credence to my preconceived notions any longer than they are justified. I promise. Tonight he was fantastic on defense, he totally locked up Dwight and I said so. Does that make him a “great defender” full stop? No. You know what it says? It says that:

    He can do this part. He did it tonight. It’s one more part of the increasingly complex portrait he’s painting of his Knick career.

    Which is why I wrote that. I’m not trying to be overly defensive and I rarely get confrontational about criticism in this space but please spare me the “ONCE AGAIN, A KNICKERBLOGGER RECAPPER BLAH BLAH BLAH CONFIRMATION BIAS” thing. Nobody’s here to hurt you. We’re all watching the same games. Let’s be friends.

  19. Frank

    I know that admitting that Bargnani played a good game without emphasizing his weaknesses detracts from the “Bargnani is the worst player in the NBA narrative” but it’s getting pretty tiresome.

    The other narrative here is the Pablo Prigioni can do no wrong, and that regardless of how pedestrian his statistics are, he played amazingly. Pablo doesn’t get an incomplete for last night – he gets an F. For a team like the Rockets whose main MO is to flop their way into a million free throws, you cannot pick up 3 fouls in seven minutes. He picked up a foul while Houston was in the bonus at halfcourt!! reaching in on Lin.

    he’s averaging 5.7 fouls per 36 after averaging 3.5 per 36 last year (which is still a lot). He really needs to clean it up.

  20. Kevin McElroy Post author

    @18: I’m not going to keep at this but that footnote was intended to respond to EXACTLY the line of thinking you guys are complaining about. As in, “yeah, look, he’s not perfect but did you see what he did to Howard tonight.” If it didn’t come across that way it’s a stylistic failure in the writing but please know that I have zero anti-Bargs agenda.

  21. d-mar

    Good point about Prigs, Frank, he really does commit some dumb fouls far from the basket.

    Also, on the subject of fouls, I’ve heard some refs say Melo doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt on fouls because he initiates the contact. Which is complete BS, watch Harden night after night – his go to move is to drive the lane, initiate contact with the defender, and then sell the call by flailing his arms and flinging the ball towards the basket.

  22. Kevin McElroy Post author

    I also don’t know if anybody follows me on twitter (@knickerbacker) but if you go there you’ll see that I was positively gleeful throughout the game because of what was going on with Bargs. No confirmation bias here.

  23. Kevin McElroy Post author

    I’m increasingly convinced that the reason Melo gets fewer calls is because he’s bulkier, stronger, and shoots so well through contact that it almost looks incidental to the refs. Durant is lankier and Harden is just smaller so they are more obviously affected by contact (even before embellishment).

  24. johnno

    An addendum: I only really think these things are valuable in the context of expectations. Otherwise, you could just read the stats. The book on Bargs (established by him, over his career) is: streak scorer, bad rebounder, bad defender. When he has a good defensive game, a necessary part of the story is “Guy with bad defensive reputation has good defensive game” until he has SO MANY good defensive games that the reputation changes.

    My point was that, when any other player on the Knicks plays a great game, no one spends half of the write-up talking about the his weaknesses as a player. When Bargnani plays a really good game, it is not necessary to constantly point out his weaknesses. Knicks fans are painfully aware of what they are. If he plays lousy, it’s fair to harp on the negatives, but it’s not fair to do so when he plays well.

  25. Brian Cronin

    Interesting point, Kevin. Shaq had a similar problem during his career. They called lots of fouls on him, of course, but there likely were a lot more that they didn’t call for that very reason. Shaq was so gigantic that it was often hard to really tell if a guy hit him.

  26. Kevin McElroy Post author

    @25: Fair. Also, though, this is his 8th game. And the 2nd or 3rd one I’ve recapped. I’m not still going to be doing this in a year. Although it’s worth pointing out that nobody loved Lee more than I did and I was still very critical of his D, I’m very critical of Amare’s D, and even on the night Melo had tonight I pointed out that we got a bit too iso-happy with him. I don’t think it’s QUITE as unique to Bargs as you’re saying but I would also admit that by virtue of him being the new guy, preconceived notions still weigh heavier on our minds than they will after we’ve watched him every night for a few months. I hope that’s understandable.

  27. DRed

    Given who he is and is not, what more could be fairly asked of the guy than what he gave us tonight?

    Six rebounds? Is that really too much to ask from a starting center?

  28. Zanzibar

    @16 cgreene No way Amare opts out and gives up $20m but maybe he considers a medical retirement. What if an orthopedic specialist determines that any additional effort by Amare to play would constitute a medically unacceptable risk to his long-term health? If the league signs off, the final year of his contract would be completely removed from the Knicks’ salary cap so long as he plays in fewer than 10 games this season. A long shot but maybe worth a try though not sure it helps that much (S&Ts, 5m mle vs 3m, BAE). A 20m+ expiring would be difficult to trade without taking back some junk. Interesting to consider both Amare and Nash could exit the NBA at the same time on a medical retirement.

  29. ephus

    As one of the people who has been urging others to keep an open mind on Bargnani, I thought that Kevin’s footnote was fair. He played incredible post defense on Howard. He also is not a strong off-the-ball rim protector or perimeter defender, and there were times that Houston took advantage of that. I do not see confirmation bias. When you combine that with his extremely efficient offense, you have a great night that merited an “A”.

    If Bargnani plays like this, when Chandler returns, I would like to see Bargnani and Chandler split most of the time at the 5. Let them start and finish the games together, so each stays at around 33 minutes.

  30. Brian Cronin

    If Bargnani plays like this, when Chandler returns, I would like to see Bargnani and Chandler split most of the time at the 5. Let them start and finish the games together, so each stays at around 33 minutes.

    Yeah, definitely agreed.

  31. Frank

    RE: Melo and contact. On that play last night in which Greg Smith got injured — Smith literally jumped sideways (arms straight up!!!) into Melo’s path and still Melo doesn’t get the call. If you put your hands straight up in the air, you could probably kick someone in the nuts and not get a foul called. It’s freaking ridiculous.

    btw this has completely gone undiscussed, but re: the officials, how was that “block” by Howard on JR late in the game not goaltending? The ball was 2 feet past its high point.

  32. Zanzibar

    What if Bargnani’s 3FG% is 37% and he becomes a consistently average rebounder for a center? Perhaps the best lineup to end would be Prigs/JR/Bargs/Melo/MWP in a 5-out configuration. Ball would be in Melo’s hands at end of game and he would have space to work inside against Indy/Nets/Chicago. Maybe that offsets help defense issues? If that lineup shows promise in regular season, we should trade TC/Felton to OKC for Adams/Jackson/Perkins. Adams too raw and TC would be great fit for Dirk-like Durant’s outside shooting and jamming back Westbrook misses off drives.

  33. MarcusRinaldi

    Few thoughts from last night..
    1. It’s sad seeing Amare in the current state that he’s in, but having said that, we can’t waste a roster spot on him next year.. If he’s not willing to throw in the towel and get a medical retirement, all Woody would have to do is play him 40 minutes a game in both of the games of a back to back and he’d be gone….. that’s a joke I’m not actually that mean..
    2. Melo is going to be injured or have a similar knee problem that he did last year with Woodson doesn’t buy himself a stopwatch and see how many minutes he’s playing Melo. Look at Kobe, sure it was a freak injury, but he was playing over 40 minutes a night for a few weeks leading up in to the achilles tear.. He needs to sit Melo for at least 12-15 minutes a game like someone mentioned earlier. Not sure if he’s worried about his job, or that this team simply can’t manage without Melo, but he’s the coach and needs to figure this out.
    3. Tim Hardaway Jr.!!! I’m shocked nobody is really mentioning how much better he’s looked the last two nights. I know he’s very very very streaky, but the last two nights he looked poised and confident, and it really excited me for his future. If he consistently starts hitting shots like the last two nights, it proves draft picks to have some worth
    4. Metta World “Ball-Stopper” Peace,.. Mr. Malace at the Palace has had some very good games for us, and some not so good. Regardless of his game play in each, he has demonstrated the same ball-stopping syndrome that Pipe and Melo have. I don’t know why he thinks that he can drive, shoot off balance jumpers, and do whatever he wants, but we need him to play within the flow. If he increases his vertical from 2 inches to 4 inches, then we can talk about getting a few more shots.. the man is a rock out there
    5. Bargs… <3

  34. Hubert

    FWIW, Kevin, I thought you did a fair job of trying to add something positive to the narrative. I read it as “you always hear what he’s bad at, e.g. …. , but here’s something people don’t talk bout him being good at, and he showed it tonight.” From reading the complaints, it would appear that people are just tired of hearing the narrative and want him to be judged absolutely on what he’s doing for us.

    I can see both sides of this but I think it’s a little harsh on Kevin. It was probably the most positive write-up of AB I’ve seen on KB so far.

    I wasn’t able to watch the game last night and I’m really curious about something: did Woodson let AB guard Howard straight up or were we sending an extra defender over frequently?

  35. Kevin McElroy Post author

    @36:

    Hubert,

    We actually doubled a lot but it worked very poorly. Howard did a great job passing out when he felt it coming and they got a number of clean looks off of our doubles. When we let Bargs handle him one on one, he shut him down and the rest of the team did a better job on the passing lanes. The good parts were all Bargs.

  36. Hubert

    Did the fact that Bargs was doing so well seem to influence Woodson as the game went on and limit the double teams in the 4Q?

  37. ephus

    @Zanzibar, You are correct that if Amar’e were to retire for medical reasons, he would come off of the salary cap at the start of next year if he plays fewer than 10 games this year (i.e. four more games). But taking away his $23 million salary for next year would not even get the Knicks below the Apron, let alone the luxury tax threshold or the salary cap. So the only change would be the massive savings in luxury tax for the Knicks next year (around $65 million). They still would not be able to use the full MLE, receive a player in a Sign & Trade or use the Bi-annual exception.

  38. domiknick

    I’m increasingly convinced that the reason Melo gets fewer calls is because he’s bulkier, stronger, and shoots so well through contact that it almost looks incidental to the refs. Durant is lankier and Harden is just smaller so they are more obviously affected by contact (even before embellishment).

    Kevin – I tweeted some very similar thoughts to Alan Hahn last night (my handle is @Damo_Says). I was responding to his tweet that said refs argue that Melo initiates the contact. I mean, seriously? Do Durant, Harden, Rose, Wade, etc. not “initiate” contact as well? They all seem to get a pretty friendly whistle when doing so. But I think you’re absolutely right about the size of Melo – although he and Durant are similar in height, due to Durant’s lankiness when he gets hit, he goes flailing, whereas when Melo gets hit, he can absorb it. Shouldn’t matter though to the refs (even though we see it does) – if you’re hit, you’re hit. Shouldn’t matter if you’re Muggsy Bogues or Eddy Curry.

  39. yellowboy90

    Does Melo need to take off the flap jacket because he really is not as big as he looks with it on. When I see him without the padding I’m always surprised. Now this is just a TV P.O.V. so he might look stout with or without the padding in person.

  40. domiknick

    Does Melo need to take off the flap jacket because he really is not as big as he looks with it on. When I see him without the padding I’m always surprised. Now this is just a TV P.O.V. so he might look stout with or without the padding in person.

    \

    And why is he the only basketball player on the planet who needs to wear body armor on a regular basis? Durant is like 6’10”, 200 pounds, and he doesn’t wear any. Maybe it’s because Melo KNOWS he’s going to get hammered and not get calls. Sad face.

  41. JK47

    Bargnani’s problems on defense all come from his slow reaction time. He just has slow reflexes and does not think quickly, much like Tim Tebow in football. It’s the same reason he’s bad at rebounding– he’s slow to react to the bounce of the ball. When you watch him try to rebound you realize that most of the time the other guys contesting the rebound are in the air a half second before Bargs.

    I don’t think it’s really a question of effort, and actually I think in terms of effort Bargs is doing his best. He’s playing hard. The scouting reports on Bargs were all right on the money: lousy help defender, surprisingly competent one-on-one defender. Hopefully Woodson can eventually find a role for Bargs that accentuates his strengths and hides his obvious weaknesses.

  42. massive

    All we need to do with Bargs, when Tyson comes back, is put him on the team’s best post scorer/rebounder and tell him “keep him off the glass.” If he knows to box him out at all times, then he doesn’t have to rely on instincts he doesn’t have. Let Tyson Chandler play free safety, as he’s much better as a roamer and rebounder in space than Bargs. If Bargs can’t rebound, then use his strengths to make the other team’s best rebounder worse.

    Bargs can be a really valuable player if we use him correctly.

  43. Hubert

    massive November 15, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    All we need to do with Bargs, when Tyson comes back, is put him on the team’s best post scorer/rebounder and tell him “keep him off the glass.”

    But all they need to do is use the guy we put him on to set a pick.

  44. nicos

    Kevin McElroy
    Post author
    November 15, 2013 at 9:20 am
    An addendum: I only really think these things are valuable in the context of expectations. Otherwise, you could just read the stats. The book on Bargs (established by him, over his career) is: streak scorer, bad rebounder, bad defender. When he has a good defensive game, a necessary part of the story is “Guy with bad defensive reputation has good defensive game” until he has SO MANY good defensive games that the reputation changes. I’m a pretty objective person and I’m not going to give credence to my preconceived notions any longer than they are justified. I promise. Tonight he was fantastic on defense, he totally locked up Dwight and I said so. Does that make him a “great defender” full stop? No. You know what it says? It says that:

    He can do this part. He did it tonight. It’s one more part of the increasingly complex portrait he’s painting of his Knick career.

    Which is why I wrote that. I’m not trying to be overly defensive and I rarely get confrontational about criticism in this space but please spare me the “ONCE AGAIN, A KNICKERBLOGGER RECAPPER BLAH BLAH BLAH CONFIRMATION BIAS” thing. Nobody’s here to hurt you. We’re all watching the same games. Let’s be friends.

    Sorry, I should have been more specific because I know your intention was genuinely to praise him. As you said in another comment above it was just a stylistic thing- I felt like just saying something like “in spite of his well documented defensive struggles, here’s what he CAN do… rather prefacing that praise with a laundry list of all of his flaws would have been more appropriate on a night when he basically shut down one of the best centers in the league. That said, I understand that the recaps are written quickly (and often late at night) and given that the praise was genuine and the criticism wasn’t exactly unfounded my remark seems a little petty in hindsight- sorry for that.

  45. Jim Cavan

    “I really like Kevin’s contribution to this site, but as one of the cool kids he has to maintain a certain confirmation bias against Bargs.”

    Huh?

  46. nicos

    Also on Melo- while I agree he generally gets a poor whistle, he does use his off arm to create space a lot so he could get called for more offensive fouls than he does- It is a little like Shaq in that I think rather than blowing the whistle one way or the other on every play, the refs just let everything go. That said, when you have guys jumping sideways into his path as happened last night (and Milsap did the same thing on a drive in the Atlanta game) there’s no way an official can’t blow the whistle- especially if you’re going to call a foul every time Harden sticks his shoulder into a retreating defender and then flails backwards.

  47. DRed

    “I really like Kevin’s contribution to this site, but as one of the cool kids he has to maintain a certain confirmation bias against Bargs.”

    If disliking Bargnani (as a basketball player) makes you cool, consider me Miles Davis.

  48. ephus

    Last night’s game is why I kept writing that the Bargnani trade cannot be evaluated until at least the All Star Game.

    Two of the three players that the Knicks gave up (Camby and QRich) are extremely unlikely to ever play another minute. Novak is a gifted one-skill guy who could not utilize that skill when facing playoff-intensity defenses because he could not do anything to keep teams from closing out hard.

    The 2016 first round draft pick is subject to Denver’s flip-flop right, so it is likely to be 12 – 20th pick.

    If Bargnani continues to perform like he did last night, he gives the Knicks a better chance to win this year than keeping that bag of assets. I do not think that the Knicks could have gotten Gortat or Okafor using the package that brought Bargnani. Even if they could, Bargnani brings more offense than Okafor. Bargnani is also a better offensive fit with ‘Melo than Gortat and may be a wash with Gortat on defense.

    I also think we have not yet seen peak Bargnani because he is still recovering his stamina from his pneumonia over the summer (spent a month in bed).

    I guess I am not one of the cool kids.

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