Good News and Bad News

KnickerBlogger fans. I have good news and bad news.

First the bad news. There will be no entries for KnickerBlogger until Monday March 21st, due to KnickerBlogger and Mrs. KnickerBlogger going away on vacation. There is a small chance I will post something while away, but it’s doubtful. Even though I won’t be going to one, I might as well be on a deserted island as far as internet service goes.

Now the good news. Come Monday I will have an interview with Dean Oliver. Yes the Dean Oliver. So if you haven’t already, you should run out and buy his book Basketball on Paper (or order online while sitting in front of your computer). If you won’t take my word on it, you can read the review by Kevin Pelton, who called it “revolutionary.”

Dean’s writing is colorful, entertaining, and intelligent. He is a master in two areas that seperates him from the rest of the basketball writers out there. First Dean understands what goes on during a game. Second is his ability to think clearly in relation to statistical methods. It’s his ability to combine these two talents that puts Dean in the same class as Bill James. Some of the title chapters alone should pique curiosity:

  • The Significance Of Derek Coleman’s Insignificance
  • Reserve Your Playoff Tickets Now! We Won Three In A Row!
  • The Effect Of Bad Referees and Other Short Stories
  • Should I Firebomb Billy Donovan’s House?

The books is filled with fascinating things like: the best (and worst) offensive and defensive teams of all time, how good were some of the league’s best players (Bird, Magic, Jordan, Ewing, Shaq, Iverson, Stockton, Malone, and more!), and the interesting plight of the 2002 Raptors (they did loose 13 games in a row, then won 9 to get a playoff berth). Knick fans will be satisfied getting this book & learning exactly how good defensively those Ewing/Oakley/Riley teams were.

Here’s some suggested readings for the week:
Monday: The Corner Triangle – This is a Bucks blog, and since the Knicks play the Bucks on Sunday, there should be something about the Knicks on there.
Tuesday: Page 23 – If Dean Oliver is the Bill James of basketball, then Pelton might be Rob Neyer. His articles are sharp, and he’s been posting an article every few days recently, so something new should be up. If not, check out his archives, on of my recent favorites is Do Point Guards Develop Differently?
Wednesday: Knicks Clicks – The Knicks play the Wiz on Tuesday, so as always Mr. Avallone should have some great stuff.
Thursday: GroupHug – Like Penthouse letters, where you’ll wonder how many are true. Go make a confession!
Friday: Aaron’s Baseball Blog – The best sports blog out there. On Friday’s he’ll have a wrap up of the week’s blogs, and you’ll have plenty of great material to read.
Saturday: RaptorBlog.com and Bulls Blog – These two teams play each other on Friday, so you can read both for a full report on the game.

Two Feet Off The Ground

And when my friend and I were
done we went to rest upon the
sun ’cause life takes from us
the things, we love and robs us
of the special ones and puts
them where where we can’t climb
and we only miss them all the time

— “Life Is Shit”
Dead Milkmen

The Knicks head into Philly Friday night to face the Sixers. Although the Sixers are only a game and a half away from a playoff spot, they’re more likely to vie for a lottery spot than a playoff spot. Their second leading scorer, Glenn Robinson will need surgery on his elbow, and will likely miss the rest of the season. The Sixers could potentially face the Knicks without their two leading scorers, as leading scorer Allen Iverson has missed his team’s last two games with a sore right knee. There is no word on whether or not Iverson has practiced this week either.

Despite not having Iverson or Robinson, Philly has won its’ last three games. Two were against the league patsy Chicago, but the other was against a pretty good team in Milwaukee. Looking at the box score, it’s easy to see why the Bucks fell to the Sixers on Monday. First is that little used Zendon Hamilton and Greg Buckner dropped 39 points on them, 32 more than their season average. Second is the huge 14-4 advantage Philly had on the offensive boards. Finally Keith Van Horn played only 20 minutes for Milwaukee, before fouling out.

I wanted to see why the Sixers beat the Bulls twice. Looking at the stat sheet, the Sixers just shot at a better percentage each game. Most of the stats were the same. Yes they did have more defensive rebounds, but that’s because they had more attempts due to Chicago’s extra misses. (In other words each Bull miss=Philly defensive rebound). In one game Philly had almost twice as many turnovers, but Chicago shot itself out of the game with less than a 38% field goal percentage (40% AFG% for those that are curious).

Iverson has missed 20 games so far this year, and the Sixers are 8-12 without the Answer. No one person has taken up all of the scoring slack for Philadelphia during their latest injury-filled win streak. Kenny Thomas has done well, but they’ve also seen good performances from Hamilton, Buckner, Salmons, Snow, McKie, and even Kyle Korver. So even if Iverson doesn’t show up, the Knicks will have to be careful, since Philadelphia seems to be able to get points from a number of different people. The last time these two teams met, Tim Thomas and Nazr Mohammed combined for 27 rebounds. A repeat performance would be welcomed by one blogger, since I picked up Nazr for my fantasy squad.

Side Note: With the Knicks in Philadelphia, my thoughts go out to the friends and family of Dave Blood. Dave was the bassist for the iconoclastic Pennsylvania band the Dead Milkmen. Some of the happiest times of my life were spent playing his bass lines. Rest in peace, Dave.

Defensive Specialist

Now what could make him think that way?
What could make him act that way?

— “Right Wing Pigeon”
Dead Milkmen

I just stumbled across this article, by Doc Rivers.

I have to tell you, when I signed on to ABC and they gave me the schedule, and I looked at this game — New York-Cleveland — and I thought, “Whoa my goodness, why are we doing this game?”
Obviously, ABC knew more than us because this will turn out to be a terrific game.

I’m not upset at this, because:
A. It’s his job to say these things as an announcer.
B. No one could have predicted that the Cavs would be up by 23 points at one point.
C. I would have said the same thing beforehand as well.

It’s this gem that has me all warm inside:

The Tim Thomas vs. LeBron James matchup will be interesting as well. I’m not sure Tim Thomas will get the assignment, but it’s my guess he will. Tim Thomas is long and athletic and with the Bucks, he was their defensive specialist — if they had a defensive specialist.

Now I thought Doc was a good coach, despite what happened to him at the beginning of this year. You can argue that Doc Rivers didn’t mean to say that Thomas was a defensive specialist. You can argue that he didn’t mean to imply that Thomas was the Bucks best defensive player. You can argue that he didn’t mean to say that because he is “long and athletic”, Tim Thomas is a good defensive player.

Umm, so what is Doc Rivers trying to say with that sentence?