Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Saturday Mornin’ Recap: Grizzlies 105, Knicks 95

New York Knicks 95 Final
Recap | Box Score
105 Memphis Grizzlies
Carmelo Anthony, SF 30 MIN | 7-14 FG | 5-5 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 20 PTS | +2

We’ll get to this more in the bullet points, but aside from facing Blake Griffin and/or Kevin Love down the road, going up against Zach Randolph and Marc “Don’t Call Me Pau” Gasol was/is the worst possible matchup for the Knicks’ ongoing experiment with self-minimization.

There were really only two potential outcomes to this mismatch: either Melo started cooking the world’s largest vat of unimaginably delicious, subtly layered, simmering-for-hours soup and Memphis was forced to shrinky-dink itself in response, or the two gentlemen wearing what one can only assume is size 48 or greater shorts pounded on our small power forward like twin human Norpro © meat-tenderizing hammer whilst Melo accrued a boatload of fouls, a tech, and steam poured out of his ears like a character in an old Tex Avery cartoon/he filled with an unquenchable rage and frustration at a patently unjust universe (which in Melo’s case, tends to manifest itself in the form of a wry grin).

Naturally, it was the latter. We’ll return to the putrid, game-changing, messy, clusterfuck-fest of a quarter in greater detail later, but for the most part, I thought Melo did yeoman work even though Son of Wood basically said, “There’s a 1000-pound Ursus Arctos Horribilis I’d like you to go toe-to-toe with for the next 48-odd minutes. I don’t have any weapons, but here’s a wheel of semi-soft cheese. See if you can distract it with that. I’ve a vat of Bactine at the ready when the unholy beast repeatedly rakes you across the face. Sure, the ointment’s gonna sting but, you know, infections and whatnot. Better safe than sorry!”

Since the whole team basically went all Chinua Achebe in response to the so-called refereeing, I won’t chastise Melo too sternly for that, but he was certainly one of the leaders of the hissy-fit crew. This recap’s going to be dotted with phrases like, “Yeah, that was bad but…” and Melo’s the prime example.

Ronnie Brewer, SF 21 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | -9

Brewer had some swell moments of long-limbed passing lane disruptivity (What? That’s not a word, Word Program? Screw you. It is now), did a reasonable job when matched up with Rudy Gay and converted a couple of nifty cuts to the rim, but for the most part, his effect on the final score was rather limited.

Tyson Chandler, C 28 MIN | 3-4 FG | 1-2 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 7 PTS | -9

Okay Tyson, this isn’t even remotely cute anymore. If the Knicks were to have any chance of surviving this grabby, yappy, mud-wrestling match of a ballgame, Chandler had to reverse the ‘Bockers early-season acute case of Crystallophobia and take one of the two Grizzly Beef Jerky Towers out of the game. Naturally, he did neither, finishing the first half with a grand total of 0 rebounds (That’s not a type-o. Zero. Nil. Nada. Zilch. Bupkis) and let whichever brute Melo wasn’t grappling with go bonkers. Mainly Z-Bo. Who is really good, but still. He was also sent to the pine with a fourth foul, a case of Turtle Wax and a home version of our game early in the third. Even though he started to come around late in the game, I’m beginning to worry (then again, worrying is more or less my default setting) that the knee is still bothering him and/or there’s another yet-unnamed malady that’s keeping our Tyson from being his usual, robotically-consistent, thousand-limbed, world-destroying self.

Jason Kidd, PG 29 MIN | 2-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 8 PTS | -8

Even if all his mates seemed to be infected with the rage virus, wily ol’ Jason Kidd managed to keep his head when all those around him were losing theirs. The pump-fake-to-sucker-a-defender-into-a-silly-foul-beyond-the-three-point-line was giggle inducing. And the outlet pass to a cherry-picking Melo in the fourth was pretty as all get out. It’s a team-wide trend, but for Kidd in particular, his rotations on defense and ability to close out on three-point shooters are often lacking in the first half only to improve dramatically by the final stanza. I’m sure there’s an “It takes longer to get going as you get older/they need some hoops Prilosec” joke to be made, but I too am getting on in years too, so eff it. Make your own damn jokes. Do I have to do everything around here? Goddamn lazy, spoiled. no-good, rotten kids today…

Raymond Felton, PG 36 MIN | 8-16 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 18 PTS | -21

There’s an interesting little conundrum that the team has faced the last three games. Opponents have realized that one way to combat the Knicks’ multiple pick offense (especially when it originates with a high pick and roll) is to allow Ray-Ray all the freedom to operate that his lipid-clogged heart desires, assuming that his uber-confidence won’t prevent him from jacking up 16-20 odd shots. Felton came into this game shooting below 50% in the painted area but tonight, he managed to bank all four of his floaters/runners/layups and was routinely able to navigate past a solid perimeter defender in Mike Conley. That’s a good thing, but given his history, probably isn’t sustainable. Long term, I don’t think we want ISO Fatso (Sorry Jim, I done stole your zinger) to be the New Yorkers’ 2nd/3rd option. And for all the gifts he’s bestowed on the offensive end, any point guard worth his salt has been able to do equal damage when hoisting Raymond with his own pick and roll petard, especially since the guy (Tyson, your ears should be burning) who were oh-so-used to eradicating errors like these just hasn’t been up to snuff. Parker and Conley are both really effective slashers, but then again, it’s hard to find a team in the Association that doesn’t have a plus floor general these days. Do better from now on, ‘kay Ray?

Kurt Thomas, PF 9 MIN | 1-3 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 3 PTS | -3

I was wondering when Crazy Eyes was gonna spin. Granted, he’d have remained firmly glued to his rocking chair were it not for the opulent bouquet of fouls n’ techs that Ed Malloy was flinging around like an acid-drenched, deranged flower child/hippie, but Kurt got the hamster in a wheel that powers his sturdy frame up and running and gave the Knicks some solid minutes, especially when matched up with Z-Bo. Of course, if we continue to see yeoman efforts from…

Rasheed Wallace, PF 24 MIN | 6-10 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 13 PTS | -15

…’Sheed, Kurt’s appearances may be limited to blowouts. Oh hi Sheed! It’s really comforting to see that absolutely nothing has changed since you were plying your trade in Portland, Detroit and other metropolitan ports of call. As was maddeningly the case when Unca Sheed was in his prime, he’s a bajillion times more effective when he’s unveiling his hoarder-sized collection of low-post moves than when he’s flinging up three pointers like the ball was slathered with a thick layer of an extremely contagious strain of the Ebola Virus. Hs grab bag of feints, duck-unders and step backs aren’t nearly as fluid as they were in days of yore — like a flipping through a flip book with a page or two that’s out of alignment — but in the second quarter of tonight’s tilt, he was clearly the Knicks’ most effective offensive weapon. Well played, Mayans. And of course, he lost his technical foul virginity due to his infamous, glorious, bug-eyed, hopping, pearl-clutching, self-righteous indignation. Naturally the Grizz gorted the freebie because…(wait for it)…BALL DON’T LIE. Oh that felt good. Been wayyyyy too long. Anybody got a smoke? I’m sleepy. G’night dear. Love you [kiss].

Steve Novak, SF 18 MIN | 1-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 5 PTS | +6

Steve’s rushing his shot. Steve needs to go back to last year’s form, even if it means the defender closing out gets a half-step closer. This is not good. I do not like this one jot. No Sirree, Bob.

Chris Copeland, SF 1 MIN | 0-2 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 1 PTS | +4

Hi Chris!

Pablo Prigioni, PG 7 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 2 PTS | +7

So evidently the whole, “Prig rolls with the second unit and no matter how well he’s playing, doesn’t suit up after halftime” thing has been hard-wired into Woody’s rotation, for better or worse. Fun Fact: If you weren’t watching the ESPN broadcast, you missed Breen once again referring to Prig/his defense as an “irritant”. I’m beginning to wonder if there’s something more here. Like Prig is stealing snacks from the Media table or hiding Breen’s stat sheets or some other bit of practical joke-type tricker or for whatever reason, Breen just doesn’t plumb like the guy.

James White, SG 1 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 3 PTS | +4

Hi James!

J.R. Smith, SG 34 MIN | 4-10 FG | 1-2 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 9 PTS | -8

Though his final line doesn’t look particularly awful, last night was without a doubt J.R.’s worst outing of the brief season. Even if you disregard the skirmish that nearly got him tossed in the second quarter, his shot selection was subpar and his ability to contain the opposing team’s best wing was lacking. Speaking of the tussle, here’s what Earl said after the game: “”I dunno what he couldve been mad at. Some small guys got little man complex. Maybe he’s gotta work that out.” He also tweeted this. Oh good. I’m glad his candor/lack of awareness is still up to early-season form. C’mon, J.R. The Grizz are, in fact, legitimately tough. And you clocked him first, even if it was inadvertent. Just fess up. We’ll still think you’re cool (and a legit tough guy).

Five Things We Saw

  1. Let me get this out of the way so we can discuss more pertinent elements of last night’s action. Ready?

    BY ALL THAT IS HOLY AND GOOD, WHAT THE FRACK WAS UP WITH THE REFS TONIGHT? WHO THE HELL WAS WORKING THE GAME ANYWAY, FRANK DREBIN? I MEAN, COME ON! I HALF-EXPECTED TO SEE THE QUEEN OF ENGLAND SITTING COURTSIDE AND REGGIE JACKSON IN A STUPOR TRY TO ASSASSINATE HER WHILST UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF A POST-HYPNOTIC SUGGESTION. WE WUZ ROBBBBBBBBBBBBEDDDDDDD!

    Whew! I feel much better. Thanks you guys. Now, Here’s the thing. This was an incredibly physical game and in the first half, the refs did an absolutely execrable job of nipping it in the bud, leading to the near-ejection of Smith and whomever the heck it was he was tusslin’ with. As is always the case, like all bad officials do, they suddenly reversed course in the third quarter as if to somehow “make up” for the thuggery that they’d let go unpunished for the first 24 minutes and/or to stop the rampant kvetching that both teams were equally guilty of engaging in, starting tweeting away at each and every single ticky-tack transgression. Here’s the thing. This was an incredibly physical, hard fought, playoff-intense game and in the first half, the refs did an absolutely execrable job of nipping the hand-to-hand combat in the bud, leading to the near-ejection of Smith and whomever the heck it was he was tusslin’ with. As is always the case, like all bad officials do, they suddenly reversed course in the third quarter as if to somehow “make up” for the thuggery that they’d let go unpunished for the first 24 minutes and/or to stop the rampant kvetching that both teams were equally guilty of engaging in, starting tweeting away at each and every single ticky-tack transgression and doling out techs like Oprah Winfrey does cars. The Knicks certainly got hosed on a few calls but that’s going to happen. They abso-smurfl-ly cannot allow themselves to completely unravel the way they did. It’s not so much the technical fouls (heck, a tech CAN be a good thing from time to time. Once they’ve whistled you, the refs WILL make up for it at the other end), it’s that the offense skidded to a complete and total halt and the defense came completely unglued. That’s why a single-digit deficit ballooned to 21 in a matter of minutes, not the stoopid refs.

    Now, in the twelve-step plan towards becoming a champeenship team, a big one is learning how to maintain composure and not go all to pot when one is getting royally boned by the arbiters. It’s gonna happen again (cough, Boston, cough, cough, Miami, cough). For now, let’s write this off as a “teachable moment”, as the POTUS is wont to say.

  2. So, we’re not going 82-0. Boo. I guess that was too much to ask for. As a paean to the great Hubie Brown (even though, as he ages, he’s approaching a weird, genderless place where he looks like a cross between Quentin Crisp, a pterodactyl, and Julius Caesar [h/t to our own Kevin McElroy for the Caesar/pterodactyl elements of that friendly jibe]) and his call of last night’s action, this bullet point will be delivered in the 2nd person in one insanely long run-on sentence. David Foster Wallace once managed to construct a 34-line sentence in one of his novels that is, in fact, grammatically correct. I don’t think I’m up to his lofty standards as a writer yet, but I’m gunnin’ for that No. 1 spot, so here goes…

    Okay, you’re the New York Knickerbockers and you’re facing a really tough matchup in the Memphis Grizzles who are as physically a team as you’ll find and you’re on the 2nd night of a back-to-back and the third game in four nights on the road so getting a win would have required everything going right, and you didn’t convert your three point attempts that you had during your six game winning streak and you turned the ball over a season-high 13 times in only 86 possessions which is to be expected because the Memphis Grizzlies are OUTSTANDING at forcing turnovers and converting that into easy fast break points at the other end, extending a lead that is very hard to come back against because, again, they dictate the tempo of the ball game to their advantage and make you take the shots that they want you to take instead of the shots that you want to take like you did against the San Antonio Spurs when you also fell behind by getting away from the things that you do well like finding the open man beyond the three point arc, hitting those shots at an incredible rate instead of a season low 23.6% like you did tonight, rotating and moving without the ball and being patient in the half court sets and at least being competitive on the offensive and defensive glass instead of allowing Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, both of whom are dominant rebounders in this league, to impose their will and get multiple second shot opportunities which really was the difference between winning and losing to the Memphis Grizzlies, who are definitely a contender for the Western Conference Crown.

    Thank you, thank you. You’re too kind.

  3. I know that folks may be getting a little fidgety regarding Melo at the four, but I wouldn’t panic after one game. Nor do I think it would have made a difference if he’d covered Randolph instead of Gasol — both of them went all DefCon 1 no matter which Knicks was covering them anyway. I mean, outside of the Memphis Beef Bros., Kevin Love, Blake Griffin and the other Gasol are really they only power forwards who pose any kind of threat and all of the above trio fortunately situate their place of employment on the west coast of the United States. That said. i do fret about the physical toll it may be taking, but I think (assuming that Melo continues the practice of driving the lane whenever possible) that’s kind of inevitable, regardless of whether he’s at small forward or not. Worst-case scenario, STAT comes back hale and hearty in a month and Melo shifts position. But for now, it’d be a colossal mistake not to continue our small ball revo/evolution.
  4. It’s hard to be chipper about a loss (though any ‘Bocker-backer who wouldn’t be tickled at the thought of being 6-1 at this point before the season started really needs to look into buying Zoloft in bulk quantities), but I was really impressed with the way they put their heads down and managed to whittle the lead to eight with five minutes remaining. Last year’s (or any other year’s really) Knicks would undoubtedly have folded the tent, letting an oh-so-familiar crappy third quarter (played under the cloud of doom that Robert Randolph and the family band always portends) totally discombobulate them to the point where they were down by 30 at the absolute minimum. They didn’t. As was the case in San Antone, they showed grit and determination and every other sportswriting cliché for rugged persistence and put themselves in position to steal a win. This pleases me and whether or not you’ve been prescribed and are imbibing any number of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in massive doses, should please you as well.
  5. Matt Moore over at CBS says it better and goes into greater detail here, but he and I are in 126.37% agreement: in a nutshell. the Knicks lost this game because they forgot themselves and tried to outbrawl the Brawlin’, Battlin’ Grizz. We won six in a row by out-executing other teams, by outsmarting them, not by mashing them into a pulp in until they tapped out like some glorified MMA grand guignol spectacle masquerading as a basketball game. Our cultural progenitors are the San Antonio Spurs over the last 16 years, not the Rileyball 90′s Knicks. Smart, cool, calm, collected — those are the words that should be scrawled all over team’s DNA. Hopefully, they’ll return to said state of grace versus the Nap City people by Sunday at noon. Oddly enough, I’m confident they will. Besides, yesterday was “Everybody blog about the Knicks Day” which was nice and all, but maybe after a loss they can leave this team alone to grow without the everyone poking and prodding at it. The rave reviews were swell, but after the umpteenth article, I kinda wanted to scream at everyone, “Git offa our lawn! It’s nice for the first time since Linsanity and now y’all are stepping all over it and tracking dirt into the house and messing it up!” But that’s obviously a good gripe to have. Onward and upward!

40 comments on “Saturday Mornin’ Recap: Grizzlies 105, Knicks 95

  1. jon abbey

    everyone needs to stop making fat jokes about Felton, all they do at this point is make it seem like you’re not actually paying attention to the current version.

  2. briand

    When Memphis had Gasol/Randolph in, I would have liked to see the Felton/Kidd/Smith/Melo/Chandler lineup, with the guy Randolph was guarding coming off a million screens. At least make Randolph run around a little bit. Maybe they were doing this and I missed it, but there had to be a better way to exploit “Randolph guarding a perimeter player” than what the Knicks did.

  3. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    jon abbey:
    everyone needs to stop making fat jokes about Felton, all they do at this point is make it seem like you’re not actually paying attention to the current version.

    Can I make jokes about his .50 TS%?

  4. d-mar

    I know there’s been some second guessing about Woody’s matchups, but I don’t think there’s much you could have done about Randolph and Gasol (and the refs) last night, unless you wanted to take Melo off the floor and have Sheed and Thomas guard them. I think STAT would have been a big help last night, if not just to force Zach to work his ass off on defense.

    And Robert, I think C+ is way too harsh on Melo (harsh my Melo?), he worked his butt off guarding Gasol last night, got no respect from the striped ones and didn’t shoot the ball badly. A grade of B would be more appropriate IMO.

  5. jon abbey

    well, you could have started Wallace instead of Brewer and let Melo play Gay on both ends, although I don’t think there was too much reason to think going in that Wallace had a game like that in him at this point.

    I’m hoping that Chandler is just pacing himself a bit for the long haul, pretty underwhelmed with him so far.

  6. flossy

    This is a game in which having Amar’e Stoudemire would have made a huge difference. I knew this game was over from the first possession, when Carmelo Anthony was guarding Marc Gasol in the post–on purpose. I didn’t realize Amar’e has an 18-4 career record in his match-ups with Z-Bo, but considering Amar’e has pretty much always played for winning teams I guess it makes sense. Still, when foul trouble forces you to run out Rasheed Wallace/Kurt Thomas frontcourts against the Grizzlies and hope that Felton and JR Smith can chuck you back into the game, you might as well just pack it in.

  7. sisterray

    “Worst-case scenario, STAT comes back hale and hearty in a month and Melo shifts position.”

    Does anyone believe STAT would have done a BETTER job defending Gasol or Randolph last night?

    As far as the defense goes, I was less concerned about Melo than disappointed in Chandler. Gasol and Randolph are good players, but last year’s DPOY should be able to keep at least one of them hamstrung for the time he’s on the court. The Knicks can afford to have Melo somewhat outmatched on defense some of the time; they can’t afford to have Melo and Chandler both totally outmatched like that.

  8. max fisher-cohen

    The Knicks had two choices in terms of matchups: 1) Play without Brewer and Kidd, both of whom are not offensive weapons and therefore not able to abuse Randolph, or 2) matchup with the Grizzlies by playing 2 of Thomas/Camby/Sheed/Chandler.

    Weirdly, the only time we had two bigs on the floor was when Memphis went small. It worked out well for us — Rasheed went off on Gay — but I don’t get why Woodson otherwise refused to match Memphis’s size, especially once Melo was in foul trouble.

    It made sense in the 3rd/4th quarter, I guess, as we had to gamble with an all offense lineup in our comeback try, but early on, it was foolish and reminded me a little of D’Antoni’s stubbornness vis-a-vis small ball lineups. In Woodson’s case though I don’t think it WAS stubbornness. I just think he’s really bad at making in game adjustments, which is why his teams struggle so much in the playoffs.

  9. flossy

    sisterray: Does anyone believe STAT would have done a BETTER job defending Gasol or Randolph last night?

    Yes, I do. Amar’e is a competent one-on-one defender in the post, and at a minimum he’d have allowed Melo to guard Rudy Gay instead of Marc Gasol, against whom he had no prayer. Moreover, a Chandler/Amar’e/Melo trio is a considerably better rebounding frontcourt than Chandler/Melo/Ronnie Brewer.

    More importantly, Amar’e would have forced Z-Bo to work on defense instead of guarding (read: ignoring) Ronnie Brewer, and he’s have given the Knicks a legit scoring option to fall back in the second half when Melo picked up all those fouls, Rasheed Wallace was gassed and Felton and JR couldn’t get anything going.

  10. Jenny

    I don’t think that the refs lost the game for the Knicks last night, and I never complain about officiating, but I still can’t believe they upheld the flagrant foul on J.R after watching the replay. He clearly was going for the ball and just missed. Calls like that ruin their credibility unnecessarily. It’s particularly bothersome because I like that less fouls were being called this season league-wide. Less stoppage in the game, and I much prefer seeing a player put up 20 points because they actually scored the basketball rather than because they went to the line 15 times.

  11. Will the Thrill

    +1, I thought it was obvious from the beginning that Melo on Gasol wouldn’t work, and even if he could guard him (he couldn’t) he would still be racking up more fouls than he normally would by wrestling in the post. I think they would’ve been better off starting Sheed, Camby, or even Kurt in place of Brewer since Brewer wasn’t really needed this game (if Melo guards Gay, Brewer is left to guard…Toney Allen?). I really hope Woodson understands now that we simply can’t always go small, especially when the matchup doesn’t warrant that at all.

    jon abbey: well, you could have started Wallace instead of Brewer and let Melo play Gay on both ends,

  12. Z-man

    Again, I wouldn’t read too much into this game other than Memphis is very good. They could very well become the #1 seed out west. They have crushed the Heat, Thunder and Knicks so far. Amare and Shump should help when we see them again, but they are freaking tough.

  13. Will the Thrill

    I know they are very good and we probably would’ve lost either way, I just wish we had played them differently. But who knows, maybe playing Melo at SF would’ve just ended in a worse result.

    Z-man:
    Again, I wouldn’t read too much into this game other than Memphis is very good. They could very well become the #1 seed out west. They have crushed the Heat, Thunder and Knicks so far. Amare and Shump should help when we see them again, but they are freaking tough.

  14. PC

    Woodson can’t start Melo at the 4 against two pillars like Memphis has. Simple as that. They have to try and control the boards early in order to disrupt everything it is Memphis does offensively. Maybe Sheed needs to start to check Gasol and Chandler can check Z-bo. Tough matchup for the Knicks. Overall, not a terrible effort. Annoying how poorly they closed the second quarter.

  15. nicos

    flossy: Yes, I do.Amar’e is a competent one-on-one defender in the post, and at a minimum he’d have allowed Melo to guard Rudy Gay instead of Marc Gasol, against whom he had no prayer.Moreover, a Chandler/Amar’e/Melo trio is a considerably better rebounding frontcourt than Chandler/Melo/Ronnie Brewer.

    More importantly, Amar’e would have forced Z-Bo to work on defense instead of guarding (read: ignoring) Ronnie Brewer, and he’s have given the Knicks a legit scoring option to fall back in the second half when Melo picked up all those fouls, Rasheed Wallace was gassed and Felton and JR couldn’t get anything going.

    And would have kept Melo out of foul trouble (the Knicks were +2 with Melo on the court). Neither Randolph or Gasol can stay in front of a healthy Amar’e (his career TS% in head to head games with Randolph is .636) which means we might have seen more Speights- a very good thing. The most exciting thing about Rasheed’s resurrection is that he’s the ideal big to play with Amar’e- the second unit should thrive playing a D’A-esque four out scheme and Sheed covers up for a lot of Amar’e's defensive problems.

  16. gmoney_nz

    A big concern I have is where is Camby and why isn’t he getting minutes. Particularly when chandler is having a game like that

  17. jon abbey

    Will the Thrill:
    I really hope Woodson understands now that we simply can’t always go small, especially when the matchup doesn’t warrant that at all.

    I do think it makes sense to make the other team match up with you as long as you’re winning, Memphis and the Lakers are two of the few teams Melo at PF to start probably isn’t the way to go.

    honestly I’m still shocked we won in SA.

  18. Z-man

    Will the Thrill: I know they are very good and we probably would’ve lost either way, I just wish we had played them differently. But who knows, maybe playing Melo at SF would’ve just ended in a worse result.

    Honestly, I think the bigger issue was C and Marc Gasol. We had absolutely no answer for him in the second half, he opened things up for everyone else. DPOY Chandler looked very ineffective last night, and that was the rub. It was a close game otherwise, at least that’s the way I saw it.

  19. Will the Thrill

    Wasn’t Melo guarding Gasol? And Chandler was on Randolph? Chandler has not been his old self, but if we had Melo guarding Gay and Sheed on Gasol, one would think that Gasol would have had a tougher time in the post, and Melo wouldn’t have racked up nearly as many fouls (to the point where we had to bench him).

    Z-man: Honestly, I think the bigger issue was C and Marc Gasol. We had absolutely no answer for him in the second half, he opened things up for everyone else. DPOY Chandler looked very ineffective last night, and that was the rub. It was a close game otherwise, at least that’s the way I saw it.

  20. Z-man

    I thought they moved Melo to Gasol after both Chandler and Sheed were in foul trouble, then Melo got into foul trouble; in other words, Gasol was unguardable by any of our bigs.

    To be honest, I missed the whole first half :-)

  21. Z-man

    BTW, I agree that Melo vs. Randolph is not a great matchup for us, but don’t think that was the problem.

  22. Juany8

    jon abbey: I do think it makes sense to make the other team match up with you as long as you’re winning, Memphis and the Lakers are two of the few teams Melo at PF to start probably isn’t the way to go.

    honestly I’m still shocked we won in SA.

    That makes up for everything in Memphis. That’s just a bad matchup for this team, but beating San Antonio at home still shows this team is legit. Memphis had just come off of blowing out Miami and OKC, right now I think it’s fair to say that Memphis is just playing better than anybody. Still liked what I saw from the Knicks this week, my only concern right now is that Chandler is just not playing that well. That’s one of my biggest concerns going forward

  23. Will the Thrill

    Oh, well Melo actually started the game on Gasol (I don’t know why) and guarded him for mostly all of the time Randolph and Gasol were both in the game together.

    Z-man:
    I thought they moved Melo to Gasol after both Chandler and Sheed were in foul trouble, then Melo got into foul trouble; in other words, Gasol was unguardable by any of our bigs.

    To be honest, I missed the whole first half :-)

  24. daJudge

    Same with me Juany8. I haven’t seen much from Chandler so far and I penciled him in as a lock. This is very puzzling to me. I think he is hurt or dealing with something that is impacting his game. To me, this is the biggest issue I see so far and I do not think last night’s loss, aside from that issue, is of great concern. I do disagree with Bob a bit concerning the Knicks and their identity relative to the notion of physical toughness as opposed to mental discipline. I think they definitely need the straight up physical presence as well as the mental system approach. I think they got beat up and manhandled last night and I do not believe you can allow this to happen. I do not think we are or should be like San Antonio. Very different team, different coach, different philosophy, West Coast, etc…We should be the NEW YORK Knicks and we should not allow a team to impress their collective physical will upon us–ever. Hey, we have the bodies and I would love to see the attitude of the Riley Knicks combined perhaps with more nuanced skill set. It is not either or though—at least for my taste, you need both. So I don’t mind if we lose because we miss threes, shitty calls and other things we can’t control. I do have a problem with being out hustled and generally beat up.

  25. d-mar

    For what it’s worth, the Knicks are #1 in strength of schedule so far, at .655. , just ahead of Memphis at .653. Not sure how that is calculated, is it the current winning percentage of previous opponents? Anyway, a really good sign for this team, we’ve really only played one bad team so far (Orlando) and have only lost once.

  26. Juany8

    d-mar:
    For what it’s worth, the Knicks are #1 in strength of schedule so far, at .655. , just ahead of Memphis at .653. Not sure how that is calculated, is it the current winning percentage of previous opponents? Anyway, a really good sign for this team, we’ve really only played one bad team so far (Orlando) and have only lost once.

    Yea we had to lose eventually, losing to a team that just came off blowing out the 2 Finals teams from last year on a tough road back to back is pretty understandable. I do agree that the Knicks got outhustled a bit last night, and the whistle certainly hasn’t been very friendly the past few games, but Memphis is just playing fantastic basketball right now and I just have to believe there is something wrong with Camby and Chandler right now that will improve as the season goes on. The key is not to go on a losing streak, losing the occasional tough game to a contender (at least they’re playing like one currently) that has a matchup advantage on the Knicks is not too big a deal

  27. Juany8

    Watching the Nuggets-Spurs game. It’s really incredible how good the Knicks defense is compared to most teams. I don’t know how consistent the offense can be all season, but the defense is amazing to watch. The turnover differential is going to stick all season too I think, even yesterday against Memphis they only had 13 turnovers to Memphis’ 14. Starting to look funny that people thought teams like the Nuggets, Rockets, and Hawks might be better than the Knicks. Or that people predicted the defense would get worse for no reason. Imagine if Chandler ever starts to play like last year! Novak has been sucking too for that matter

  28. jon abbey

    Juany8:
    Watching the Nuggets-Spurs game. It’s really incredible how good the Knicks defense is compared to most teams. I don’t know how consistent the offense can be all season, but the defense is amazing to watch. The turnover differential is going to stick all season too I think, even yesterday against Memphis they only had 13 turnovers to Memphis’ 14. Starting to look funny that people thought teams like the Nuggets, Rockets, and Hawks might be better than the Knicks. Or that people predicted the defense would get worse for no reason. Imagine if Chandler ever starts to play like last year! Novak has been sucking too for that matter

    plus still no Shumpert, can’t wait to see him and Brewer together defensively.

  29. BigBlueAL

    Knicks have the #1 offense in both Hollinger and BBR rankings, #9 and #11 defenses. After the way they matched up with the Grizz last night I was about to say that this team is looking alot like a Mike D’Antoni team except for the fact they play at a snail’s pace (#28 and #26 in pace).

  30. JC Knickfan

    Juany8:
    Watching the Nuggets-Spurs game. It’s really incredible how good the Knicks defense is compared to most teams. I don’t know how consistent the offense can be all season, but the defense is amazing to watch. The turnover differential is going to stick all season too I think, even yesterday against Memphis they only had 13 turnovers to Memphis’ 14. Starting to look funny that people thought teams like the Nuggets, Rockets, and Hawks might be better than the Knicks. Or that people predicted the defense would get worse for no reason. Imagine if Chandler ever starts to play like last year! Novak has been sucking too for that matter

    On top that Melo and Felton are top 2 chuckers so far have posted 0.532 and 0.500 TS respectively. I just can’t fathom that posted 5 double digit win margin already in 7 games.

  31. Brian Cronin

    While I am sure a few of us were not shocked at the idea of the Knicks being so high in the Eastern Conference (currently tied with Miami for the best record in the East), would anyone have predicted the Bucks being just a half game behind the Knicks and Heat?

  32. jon abbey

    again, it’s still the equivalent of mid or late April in baseball, let’s see where they are in another 20 games. they were tough down the stretch last year, though.

  33. flossy

    Tyson Chandler has a .217 WP/48, .225 WS/48 and is only a point lower in PER (17.7 vs. 18.7) than last year.

    Statistically it would seem he’s having an excellent start to the season, but nobody who is watching the games could say with a straight face that he’s been as impactful as last year.

  34. Juany8

    flossy:
    Tyson Chandler has a .217 WP/48, .225 WS/48 and is only a point lower in PER (17.7 vs. 18.7) than last year.

    Statistically it would seem he’s having an excellent start to the season, but nobody who is watching the games could say with a straight face that he’s been as impactful as last year.

    Melo’s assists are at career low numbers, yet almost everyone who’s watched has seen that he’s been a more willing passer than ever before. Statistics are dumb without more context.

  35. ruruland

    flossy:
    Tyson Chandler has a .217 WP/48, .225 WS/48 and is only a point lower in PER (17.7 vs. 18.7) than last year.
    but nobody who is watching the games could say with a straight face that he’s been as impactful as last year.

    Yeah, Chandler is always going to look spectacular by advanced metrics.

    The three biggest problems with Chandler’s game so far:

    1) Over-helping in situations he shouldn’t help at all. Part of Chandler’s greatness is coming out to help on shooters around or outside the paint (in certain situations). He contests and distracts shots no other big man –including Dwight who is inferior in a few ways to Chandler defensively— even thinks about going after.

    The problem is that this year, Chandler is coming out against guys who are being well-defended and already forced into tough situations — creating much better opportunities behind him.

    Chandler’s actually been the most undisciplined defender on the team, the one — far and away– who’s broken the team defensive concepts the most.

    If Melo plays heroball on offense — sometimes spectacular, ofentimes inefficient— Chandler is playing heroball on defense.

    In football, it’s like a linebacker who consistently misses his gap assignment and flows to the ball. Sometimes this results in incredible plays, oftentimes it doesn’t. This is why Lavar Arrington, despite being perhaps the greatest athlete to ever play linebacker, never had a great NFL career.

    Now last year under MDA, so many players missed rotations and help,Chandler needed to overhelp because his teammates help was so poor.

    But that’s not the case this year, and Chandler has yet to adjust to his far more focused and discplined teammates.

    Part of the reason the Knicks are getting killed on the boards is because Chandler is out of the paint.

  36. ruruland

    Juany8: Melo’s assists are at career low numbers, yet almost everyone who’s watched has seen that he’s been a more willing passer than ever before. Statistics are dumb without more context.

    More than ever before is simply not true at all, but I understand the sentiment that it’s not representative of how his passing has helped the offense.

    Prior to coming to New York, the Nuggets offense over 2 1/2 years was largely built from Melo’s ability to draw 2-3 defenders, creating open shots, ball movement and penetration on the weakside.

    Sometimes Melo didn’t pass enough, but his 3 1/2 assists per game was definitely not representative of his passing contribution.

    I’ve always said that the second most important value to Melo’s high-usage offense is the ball movement and weakisde opportunities he creates for teammates.

  37. ruruland

    It’s not just rebounds Chandler’s giving up because of overhelp, but interior passes after the offensive player recognizes he’s out of position. This is killing the Knicks.

    2) pick and roll defense. Chandler is not quite Garnett, but I think his ability to hedge and trap/blitz on the pnr and recover is what seperates him from a guy like Howard (who is a very mediocre pnr defender, which doesn’t bode well when Steve Nash is your point guard in a great point guard conference). So far, Chandler’s pnr defense has been atrocious. He’s consistently getting beat at the point of attack, never mind slowing down the ball handler and rotating back to his man or shooters.

    Chandler is probably the best defender in the NBA when he plays the pnr like he’s capable of, but it requires a lot of energy, and frankly, the Knicks haven’t needed him to be great yet. But they will.

    3)boxing out. Chandler has never been a great inividual rebounder, but he’s always been able to keep his man from getting inside position so his teammates can do the job. But Chandler seems to be consistently yielding leverage to his opponent, which is resulting in the Knicks horrid defensive rebounding numbers.

    Chandler has put on a ton of muscle mass since he came into the league. The dude has massive legs. He doesn’t get beat because guys are stronger than him, he’s getting beat because he;s being outworked and giving up leverage.

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