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Saturday, November 29, 2014

SuperSubs (aka Knicks 101 Hornets 97)

The Supersubs were at it again. Tonight’s was even more impressive win than yesterday’s for a myriad of reasons. First tonight’s game was on the road. Instead of trouncing the weak Wizards, they beat the playoff-bound Hornets. Finally, instead of facing the other team’s reserves, the Hornets had their starters out there down the stretch.

This time Moochie Norris outplayed Frank Williams. Williams had only 4 points, but had 5 assists and 0 turnovers. Meanwhile Norris enjoyed a 21 point night, on 9-18 shooting (56% eFG). The two teamed up for a crucial play near the end of the game. Williams had the ball beyond the arc, and kept his dribble looking for an open man. Norris used a pick along the baseline, and Williams hit him with a perfect pass under the hoop. Moochie just had to lay it up for an easy two.

It was Michael Sweetney’s night again. He shot 7-9, and had 9 boards (4 on the offensive end) in 28 minutes. So if you’re keeping track at home (like apparently I am) he’s shot 59% in the 9 games that he’s played 20 minutes or more. His rebounding per 48 minutes is an excellent 15.3 REB/48, with 6.8 of those coming on the offensive half.

Earlier in the year in my report on him at Raptorblog.com I wrote:

Sweetney is undersized vertically, but a bit wide in the midsection with a long wing span. He’s a bit timid, and gets lost on the defensive end. He’s every bit the wide-eyed rookie, but with Wilkens slowly giving him minutes he’s looking more and more comfortable on the court. Due to his lack of minutes, there isn’t much to say about him other than he can rebound, and he makes a great looking inside shot every few weeks or so.

Well he’s no longer the “wide-eyed rookie” nor “timid” anymore. It seems he’s got the defensive rotations down pat, as I don’t see him making those mistakes anymore. He may be undersized, but his arm span makes up for it. A few times over the last few games I’ve seen him out-rebound guys taller than him. It wasn’t by jumping ability, but his long reach that enabled him to get the ball.

His positioning and awareness also helps in this area. A perfect example of this was against the Wizards. Washington put up an outside shot, and Mutombo was standing right next to Sweetney on the left side of the hoop. Sweetney knew that no one was on the other side of the hoop, so he pushed Deke over with his arm to cover that side of the hoop, while Sweetney was still boxing out his own man. Deke got the rebound, due to the rookie’s effort.

The Knicks have one game left against Cleveland, and I would imagine we’ll see a lot more of the SuperSubs in that one as well.

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