Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Monday, October 20, 2014

“The Miserable Have No Other Medicine But Only Hope” — William Shakespeare: Spurs 118, Knicks 115

New York Knicks 105 Final
Recap | Box Score
118 San Antonio Spurs
Carmelo Anthony, SF 38 MIN | 12-24 FG | 0-1 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 27 PTS | -11

You know the old Mark Twain axiom: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”? (It was actually Benjamin Disraeli’s line, but he’s like my third favorite British Prime Minister. William Pitt the Elder, mofos!) Well, now there are four kinds – Lies, damned Lies, Statistics and Carmelo Anthony’s boxscore from tonight’s game. If an alien came to our fair planet and perused the local paper to see how the ‘Bockers were doing, it might appear to said alien that Melo played well. He did not. The abominable ISO-ball that was the Knicks’ modus opperandi and we so loathed pre-Lin returned with a soul-crushing, enervating vengeance. I screamed at one point: THOSE CUTTERS THAT ARE WIDE OPEN. YOU CAN THROW THEM THE BALL. YOU’LL GET IT BACK LATER, I SUPER-PROMISE.

I was really pulling for Melo to have a good game tonight, but alas, he’s so close to following the pariah path that A-Rod has so bravely blazed, it ain’t even funny. Ugh

Amare Stoudemire, PF 38 MIN | 6-12 FG | 6-7 FT | 11 REB | 1 AST | 18 PTS | -21

Not to sound like a broken record, but if you’d rather not read something very similar to the above, stop now. Some strong moves and a solid enough line, but the defense…I think he’s getting worse, if that’s even possible.

Josh Harrellson, F 22 MIN | 4-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 8 PTS | +8

I really hope Josh unleashed one of his patented combination boar jerky/Ale-8 silent but deadly burners, because he didn’t do much else to affect the evening’s outcome . I suppose there were one or two moments of vaguely competent post defense and boarding, but sniffing it out would be like trying to pinpoint the specific odor of his flatulence in a sea of rotting pickled eggs and decomposing Sasquatch dung.

Jeremy Lin, PG 30 MIN | 7-15 FG | 4-5 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 20 PTS | -12

Christ, I’m getting as repetitive as a Meisner exercise…

ME: Lin’s stat line is better than he played

YOU; Lin’s stat line is better than he played?

ME: Yes, the stat line is better than he played.

YOU: Okay. Yes, the stat line is better than he played.

ME: That’s what I said, the stat line is better than he played!

YOU: Why are you getting mad?

ME: Why am I getting mad!

And…scene!

Some poubelle-time threes improved his final line, but Jeremy Lin (or at least the player that began this evidently short-lived fad called Linsanity) was nowhere to be found as the game started to get away from the Knicks, which by any rational assessment was two minutes before tip-off when that cos-play/Furry-con reject of a mascot the Spurs employ started gallivanting around the court. He’s picking up his dribble and having trouble finding a balance between creating his own shot and getting others involved. Mr. Harvard looks like he’s thinking out there, and while that’s a solid game plan for acing an Organic Chemistry test, on the court it’s like mixing potassium permanganate with glycerol in an exothermic reaction. Bad. Explosively bad.

Iman Shumpert, G 29 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 2 PTS | -7

TONY: J’ai entendu qu’il y est un grand défenseur. Son nom est Shump

ROBERT: Oui. C’est vraie

TONY: Ah ouais? Je vais baiser sa mère dans le cul!

Loosely translated, it means Tony Parker sorely disabused young Mr. Shumpert (and all of us) of the notion that he’s already an ELITE ™ on-ball defender. In time, sure, but tonight? Ow.

Baron Davis, PG 22 MIN | 0-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 8 AST | 0 PTS | +3

I have a theory. When they renovated MSG, they discovered a Native American Burial Ground. Like a seriously sacred, Poltergeist-level burial ground where they disposed of all the victims in Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee. Dolan was brought in but the Knicks Grand Poobah said, “Eff ‘em. Put a Shake Shack on top of that shiznitt!” I have this theory because bad things keep happening to every sentient being that dares to play PG for the Knicks this season: Bibby, Toney, Shump, and even Lin. Something evil is killing them. And it’s hungry for more…

Steve Novak, SF 17 MIN | 1-3 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | -10

Not much from dear, cuddly, deadly Mr. White tonight. Save for those delicious moments when he was guarding Matt Bonner and vice versa. For a few, fleeting moments, a grin curled around my lips as a series of race-based puns crawled out of the turgid, awful basketball-benumbed nether-regions of my cerebellum…

1. BLINDED BY THE WHITE.

2. WHITE LINES…VISION DREAMS OF PASSION…BLOWING THROUGH MY MIND…AND ALL THE WHILE I DREAM OF YOU

3. WHITE ON WHITE CRIME

4. AND THIS PAINTING

J.R. Smith, SG 22 MIN | 6-12 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 18 PTS | -9

J.R. Smith’s long range game appears to be back. So that’s something. Right? Anyone here? Hello? I’d like to leave now. I’m scared and alone. Mommy? Hello?

Landry Fields, G 21 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 8 PTS | -6

His tuchus newly peppered with bench-born splinters, Landry moved well without the ball and actually hit a couple of outside shots for the first time since the Millard Fillmore administration. So there’s that.

Tyson Chandler, C DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | PTS |

No, I didn’t fall off the wagon. I realize Tyson was out, but I think Tyson Chandler (and Jared Jeffries) both earned a few MVP votes tonight. Someone send them to Germany for that undifferentiated tissue or whatever that Kobe and Dirk slather on their rusty joints, ASAP. He’s their most irreplaceable player. Period.

Five Things We Saw

  1. A sight-deprived, slightly mentally disabled child with rampant ADD who spent the entire game banging two pots together could properly assess what went wrong tonight. The Knicks SUCKED on D. They defended in a manner resembling a skinny jean-wearing, clinically disaffected, painfully detailed scruffy hair and wan beard, louche hipster, an American Spirit dangling from their churlish lips, can of PBR in their hand, shrugging with self-obsessed ennui and muttering, “Whatever” as every single Spur (but especially Tony Parker) trotted to the rim with impunity. And close out on a shooter or dive for a loose ball? “Hustle ain’t cool, dude. Pfft. I’m going to Union Pool.””Please, that place is soooo 2004.” “Totally played out.” Wait. Where was I? I got lost in a cloud of oh-so-trendy anhedonia there for a sec. It’s very addictive! Oh yeah. BOO. BAD. AWFUL EFFORT.
  2. T.J. Ford’s fall looked nasty. Early word is he’s okay, thank [insert deity]. Funny story, when I was in Clown Grad School in Paris. Take a moment to mock me. I did in fact have a graduate degree in clowning. M.A. Clown. It’s true. IT’S A LOT COOLER THAN IT SOUNDS. So I was in an acrobatics class and we were working on a standing back handspring and two of my fellow students (both female) were spotting me. Anyhoo, I was about to jump backwards when something amusing happened in the other corner of the studio and, like a bad Three’s Company bit, both my spotters dropped their hands to look at it. I was already in mid-jump, alas, and so I cam crashing down on the back of my neck. For a second there, I had no idea where I was or what happened but the teacher came over and said, “Robert! No, no, no. You are far too fat for these small delicate women.” (For all their Liberte, Egalite shizznit, the French attitude towards the sexes is remarkably un-progressive). So there I was, stunned, in some serious pain, and a Frenchman is calling me fat. Funny! That’s what I thought of when Ford tumbled to the floor. I’m glad he’s okay. And I’m even more pleased that Tony Parker didn’t run over and call him fatty, fat-fat.
  3. One other moment of jejune absurdity came when F. Murray Abraham…um, I mean Popovich lost his bits with the Spurs up 24 at the beginning of the 4th. For those who missed out on the MSG broadcast, Clyde Frazier, that notable wordsmith/sporting historian proclaimed, “When I was playing, when a guy got ejected like that it was because he had a hot date. He’s a married man. Where’s he going?” Heh. Good times. While we’re here, I’d really like to sit Clyde down and explain that a “Vacillating pace,” doesn’t mean what he thinks it does. Vacillating would indicate extreme changes in tempo. Clyde thinks it means, “Going back and forth very quickly.” He’s literally thinking of an old oscilloscope or something. Just bugs me. But to finish up with Coach Moon Crater Face, I can GUARANTEE that you’ll be reading many, many articles or tweets from the wags about “That’s how a REAL coach reacts. Not like that female reproductive organ, D’ANPHONY. AMIRITE?” Don’t be that guy, Team KB. You’re better than that. This past week has sucked enough hirsute male reproductive organs already. Don’t make it worse by getting drawn into that false, pointless meme.
  4. d mention the fact that once again, every questionable call seemed to go against the Knicks, but that’d be like talking about the Hindenburg crash and complaining that the in-flight snacks were awful.
  5. I have another theory. You wanna hear it? Kay. I mean anything is preferable to reading more about tonight’s execrable effort. Hope is the last refuse of the powerless. Yeah, Shakespeare said it first (See above title. His version’s better) but who remembers Measure for Measure anyway? What I do remember is the good ol’ days. Last month. Last year. Last lifetime. When the Knicks were fun to watch and dreams of playoff relevancy danced in our heads like so much St. Elmo’s Fire. Well, that dream’s pulled a serious Keyser Soze and vanished. This team gave us hope. And the fact that said hope feels like it never was there to begin with makes these recent games feel even more like an undeserved sucker punch to the gut. It hurts. I hurt. I’d say, “It’ll get better. They need time to gel. Rome wasn’t built in a day.” or some other pablum, but maybe hope is the last thing we need.

42 comments on ““The Miserable Have No Other Medicine But Only Hope” — William Shakespeare: Spurs 118, Knicks 115

  1. Will the Thrill

    Well, even though I think most of us (including me) wanted Shumpert to start, maybe he is just better suited to come off the bench.

  2. nicos

    I think Shumpert started as much to keep Lin from having to guard Parker as anything Fields has or hasn’t done lately. Obviously didn’t work.

  3. ruruland

    Thought I’d real off the opponent pg production the last few games

    Parker: 32, 6assists, 12/19 shooting

    Roddy B and Kidd (splitting duty): 33 pts, 7 assists, 10-20 shooting

    Rondo: 18,17,20

    Irving: 22,7, 8/18

    Teague: 18 pts, 7/12

    Williams: 38,6, 10/22

  4. Brian Cronin

    I think Shumpert started as much to keep Lin from having to guard Parker as anything Fields has or hasn’t done lately. Obviously didn’t work.

    I was thinking that way, as well, but then I thought, “I dunno, Shump has played really well and Fields has not” so I could not tell if it it was a specific start for just this game (D’Antoni has always seemed to have conniptions about the Spurs, I guess since he played them so much in Phoenix) or just a general decision to start one over the other. I guess the next game will be the key.

  5. Jake S.

    Brian Cronin: I was thinking that way, as well, but then I thought, “I dunno, Shump has played really well and Fields has not” so I could not tell if it it was a specific start for just this game (D’Antoni has always seemed to have conniptions about the Spurs, I guess since he played them so much in Phoenix) or just a general decision to start one over the other. I guess the next game will be the key.

    How about we just start JR Smith and call it even?

  6. Brian Cronin

    Also, I get that Melo and STAT are the highest paid players, but really, when the entire team took a proverbial dump on the court outside of Smith and I guess Fields, JORTS and Novak (if only because San Antonio knew Novak so well that they made a point of basically saying, “Yeah, don’t even bother trying to beat us with Novak – it won’t work”), I don’t see the point in singling out Melo or STAT for criticism (not saying you, of course, Robert, as you didn’t do that). The team sucked and it was mostly on the defensive end. And it was a collective effort.

    Was Anthony the best Knick tonight? No, that would be Smith, but Anthony was closer to the top than, say, Shump, Davis, STAT and Lin. But that is like saying he was the most charismatic Kardashian sister (that’s my go-to phrase now, as “tallest dwarf” seems offensive). He doesn’t deserve any positive singling out, but nor does he deserve negative singling out.

  7. Jake S.

    Brian Cronin:
    Also, I get that Melo and STAT are the highest paid players, but really, when the entire team took a proverbial dump on the court outside of Smith and I guess Fields, JORTS and Novak (if only because San Antonio knew Novak so well that they made a point of basically saying, “Yeah, don’t even bother trying to beat us with Novak – it won’t work”), I don’t see the point in singling out Melo or STAT for criticism (not saying you, of course, Robert, as you didn’t do that). The team sucked and it was mostly on the defensive end. And it was a collective effort.

    Was Anthony the best Knick tonight? No, that would be Smith, but Anthony was closer to the top than, say, Shump, Davis, STAT and Lin. But that is like saying he was the most charismatic Kardashian sister (that’s my go-to phrase now, as “tallest dwarf” seems offensive). He doesn’t deserve any positive singling out, but nor does he deserve negative singling out.

    It just feels like neither Melo nor STAT EVER seem to pick the team up when they’re not playing well. Can you think of a game this season where either has just willed the Knicks to victory? That’s why guys are paid max money.

  8. airchibundo507

    Amare with a higher grade than Melo? He was a revolving door. Even Spurs’ commentators were chastising him, breaking down his godawful pick and roll defense in slow motion.

  9. Brian Cronin

    It just feels like neither Melo nor STAT EVER seem to pick the team up when they’re not playing well. Can you think of a game this season where either has just willed the Knicks to victory? That’s why guys are paid max money.

    They’re both having very disappointing seasons, agreed, but the money is a bit of a sunk cost at this point, ya know? We can’t judge them by their salaries any more than we can go through the game and say, “Yeah, Lin had a bad game, but he’s making rookie money, so it was okay” or “Baron Davis just missed 66 straight three pointers, but he’s making the vet minimum, so it’s cool.”

  10. Jake S.

    Brian Cronin: They’re both having very disappointing seasons, agreed, but the money is a bit of a sunk cost at this point, ya know? We can’t judge them by their salaries any more than we can go through the game and say, “Yeah, Lin had a bad game, but he’s making rookie money, so it was okay” or “Baron Davis just missed 66 straight three pointers, but he’s making the vet minimum, so it’s cool.”

    Max money is just coding for “the guy” (or guys as the case may be). Neither seem up to the challenge right now.

    I used to piss and moan about Ewing and his limitations. What an ungrateful little spud I was.

  11. Brian Cronin

    Max money is just coding for “the guy” (or guys as the case may be). Neither seem up to the challenge right now.

    I used to piss and moan about Ewing and his limitations. What an ungrateful little spud I was.

    Oh yeah, neither Melo nor STAT are in Ewing’s class. Ewing was a true superstar, on both ends of the court. Looking back, I’m proud that I never did turn on the big guy. I remember defending him a lot during the 1999 season. I remember his underrated great play in Game 5 of the Heat series that year and it still kills me that he almost had one of the most miraculous game-tying shots in NBA history at the end of Game 2 in Indiana (and instead missed a makeable shot and blew his ankle out in the process).

  12. Brian Cronin

    Chandler is the closest the Knicks have had to Ewing since Marcus Camby (neither are as good as Ewing, but at least they’re in the general vicinity).

  13. Ben R

    I think Amare was the biggest culprit of the entire game. All the opposing team has to do is set a pick with Amare’s man on whoever is guarding the PG (Lin, Shumpert, Smith it barely matters)and that player gets an uncontested lane to the rim. Amare doesn’t hedge at all, he just sort of stands there as Parker, Irving, Rondo blow right by him.

    With Tyson at least there is defense at the rim but Amare is so bad defensively right now I really don’t know how we can fix it.

  14. Gomzd

    That im comparing in my mind the addition of Carmelo and Amare in NY to the addition of Gordon and Villanueva in Detroit means I’m crazy right…. RIGHT?!

  15. Brian Cronin

    I don’t see the comparison really, except perhaps a general “they don’t seem to be fitting in together” sense. Even there, Villanueva and Gordon don’t seem to have problems playing together, they are just plain ol’ not that good. While I don’t think Melo and Amar’e work well together, Melo at least played really well on his own accord last season and the first week or so of this season. And STAT played at an All-Star level before Melo got here. So I don’t think they are comparable to Gordon and VIllanueva on Detroit.

  16. JK47

    I’m a Met fan. I remember when the Mets got Roberto Alomar. By consensus Alomar was one of the finest players in baseball. He had rattled off a long series of excellent seasons for Toronto and Baltimore and I was giddy at the prospect of Roberto Alomar as a Met.

    Then the season started, and Alomar slumped. April rolled by, then May, and the guy did very little besides hit weak grounders and popups. “He’ll come around,” I thought. Then June went by, then July, still no production. By August I started to despise Roberto Alomar. When he would come to the plate I just knew a 4-3 groundout was coming.

    I’m starting to get to that point with Carmelo. I’m
    at the point where I feel like a fool for believing that he’s going to do anything besides miss a whole lot of field goal attempts every night. Maybe there is a huge redemption story around the corner, but I’m starting to get the feeling that Melo is pulling a Roberto Alomar on me.

  17. Brian Cronin

    While I was not an advocate for the Melo trade (I was part of the “It’s only a good trade if it assures that Chris Paul joins the Knicks later on” contingent), I dunno if the Alomar deal is a good comparison. Alomar was, indeed, coming off a great season, but he was also 33 years old at a position where players rarely age well (and his 2000 season was not nearly as good as his 2001 season). In addition, he didn’t want to come to New York. So there were a lot more warning signs with the Alomar deal. With the Melo deal, the most adamant fans didn’t think it would work out this poorly. They thought he’d “only” repeat his Denver numbers, not have the worst year of his career!

    However, that’s just from a statistical analysis. From a personality perspective, I think it is a pretty fair comp, especially with how Alomar grew to hate the New York media as he was a sensitive fellow, something Melo seems to be dealing with now.

  18. Z-man

    So we lost 3 games in a row to three of the most savvy veteran teams in the league with three of the most savvy PGs in the league. We should have gotten the Boston win, but other than that, it turned out as expected. Lin is a fun player but essentially a rookie with many flaws. Glad he entertained us with that incredible run, but its looking more and more like he is what we have seen since the Miami (or even Nets) game more than what he was before that.

    The next 2 games will be very telling.

  19. Nick C.

    I hate to say this but I will. These last few games had the stench of the Isaiah era games. I really thought those days of getting repeatedly way behind, making little runs when the shots fall and the other team rests its starters, giving up uncontested points in the paint or from behind the arc take your pick, while having an offense that looks very random were long gone.

  20. ruruland

    People are going to rolls their eyes when they read this, but on second look of last night game’s, I’m going to stand by my belief that it will turn around in a major way.

    Look, I get the no patience thing, and I actually think it has a pretty detrimental effect on the team, which leads me to what I see..

    I see a team that is trying to figure itself out against top competition with the burden of expectations that not many other teams have — certainly not teams that understand the perceived underachieving. I see a team that’s playing tight. Guys not exactly sure where the other is going and how to react to it. I then see frustration, and that frustrated energy leading to erratic decisions and rushed movements at the incorrect time.

    Guys forcing penetration, some guys passing up shots they shouldn’t, some guys trying to over-compensate with shot-creation (and that goes for Melo, Baron, Lin, Amar’e, Smith and Shumpert). I see guys playing selfishly on defense more than offense, actually, guys trying to avoid being “the problem.”

    The Spurs last night had an offensive rating of 118.

    That team put up a 127 offensive rating against a healthy CLippers team at home, a 128 point rating on a healthy Nuggets team at home, a 114 offensive rating against the vaunted OKC defense at home, a 112 rating against a healthy Hawks team at home.

    Guess what, the Spurs have played the least amount of home games in the NBA, and they have the 6th best offense playing most of the season without Manu Ginobli.

    The Knicks lost to a finely-tuned, and rested offense, without their two best defenders on a b2b. They played a really good team (in terms of talent and diversity of offense), playing with confidence, playing with trust and timing built over years, allowing them to take advantage of every single mistake the Knicks were making, attacking its weaknesses without mercy.

  21. ruruland

    I think what Knicks fans want is the team to play with desperation. Let me tell you something, right now, the environment isn’t conducive to that. Not the positive kind of desperation. Though it will be.

    This is the early part of trust-building phase, the cohesion phase. Unfortunately, when you’re fighting for a playoff spot and trying to live up to the perception of your talent in this market, it’s not exactly a ripe environment for that.

    The difference between the teams isn’t talent, and guess what, it’s not necessarily effort, either.

    We can talk about the structural flaws all day long.

    Teams like the Spurs, with their synergy on both ends of the floor, can properly utilize their effort on a situation-by-situation basis. It’s energy directed with the proper timing.

    This team needs reps. Reps build confidence, belief, it’s the snowball at the top of the hill. Right now the Knicks are in a snow-fight trying to make a snowball that can go down the hill — distracted. Their first order of business is winning games, but unfortunately, that doesn’t go hand in hand with team-building, not directly.

    So much of basketball is about instinctually reacting to movements and situations without thinking. The Knicks are doing a lot of thinking, not reacting with the speed that teams like Dallas, Boston and San Antonio, and as a result are more disjointed.

    This isn’t baseball. You can’t just throw a bunch of talented guys together and out-talent teams, not the good ones.

    It might be a slow process. But when healthy, all the requisite elements are there–the kind of complementary pieces that can both cover up each others weaknesses and bolster its strengths.

    It might be a long process, but you just need to get a couple of stops, some shots to go one night, and you can start to develop it, even with this frenzy schedule. Boston might have been one of those hump games, maybe the Bucks or Sixers will work.

  22. Frank

    Pretty painful game to watch. I think we are being a little hard on Shumpert with the D based on his defense. I literally just watched every single PNR possession that Parker ran, and they absolutely abused the Knicks by involving Amare in that play (shocker). As we’ve learned so well by what teams are doing to Lin, there are a few ways to defend the PNR – here’s that great Grantland article again:

    http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-triangle/post/_/id/18108/how-to-guard-jeremy-lin

    So what did Amare do? If he did a soft show, he didn’t come up far enough to force Parker to give up the ball, and didn’t position himself well enough to cut off the drive. Parker literally just drove around Amare 3 times for layups. We didn’t hedge particularly well. We didn’t hard show a single time. And we didn’t trap a single time that I could see.

    PNR defense is so much about team defense and not about individual defense. It’s not surprising that Harrellson was a +8 while Amare was a -21. Harrellson did a much better job showing and hedging on the PNR and making Parker give up the ball.

    Amare’s defense is just…awful. It seriously looks like he can only concentrate on one thing at a time, so any team that has a quick PG can just involve him in the PNR and just decimate our defense, especially if Chandler is not behind him to rescue him. Offensively he looks a little better but I don’t think I’ve ever seen him play a worse defensive game.

    I wonder if this is why we switch so many of the PNRs – maybe the coaching staff has no confidence that rotations will actually happen.

    Oh well, at least it looks like Melo and JR got off the schneid a little on offense. Even though they were empty points, they probably are still useful for confidence going forward. Anyone hear anything about when Jefferies might come back? TC hopefully will come back Friday?

  23. ruruland

    Woodson switched for a long time in Atlanta, and it’s a team-wide thing, which gives me the impression that it’s more philosophical and not necessarily strategic or tactical based on personnel.

    I think your analysis is spot on and I had the same interpretation. To me, given the inability to hedge and recover when Amar’e is involved, I’d like to see more outright double teams or blitzing of the ballhandler, helping off of the worst shooter, when the second big rotates to the roll man.

    You just have to get the ball out of the point guards hands at this point because we’re looking at a layup line.

    Amar’e is fast enough to do that, when he doesn’t have to worry about a recovery. Just has to stay really wide and allow the big to slip the screen.

  24. knicksfan6

    You giving Amare’s C- is unbelievable, the man played THE WORST DEFENSE I HAVE EVER WITNESSED FROM AN NBA PLAYER, Amare deserves nothing less than an F-.

  25. Frank O.

    Couple observations:
    perimeter defense begins at the core of the defense.
    say it again.
    Shump’s perimeter defense is so impressive often because whoever the guard is that he’s opposing, he’s looking over Shump’s shoulder at an imposing, athletic, tireless defender in 7’1 Tyson Chandler.
    And if not Chandler, you must at least be concerned that some size 15 with “Jeffries” perma-inked on them will plant in front of you should you get past Shump.
    But with neither there, strike up the Spanish guitars, because what’s left is a 6’10 matador with lead in his feet of late.
    Perimeter defense begins at the core of the defense…

    But as I think the criticism of Fields is ridiculous, given his overall play – not just the two games prior to this – I think people suddenly ready to pull the plug on Shump also is silly. I still think Fields is a better, more complete player right now, and is perfectly disposed on a team where the ball is dominated by three guys, the point, and our dear PF and SF. Shump’s offense is just pretty bad.
    But again, damn, people, give the dude a shot. So fickle.

    By the way, misery really does make fantastic writing. Robert, you were at your idiosyncratic best in this one. You had my wife laugh and marveling, and your clown allusions were so out of no where, my wife demanded I send the URL to her work e-mail so that she could share it with her coworkers.

    But I’m calling you back from the edge of the ledge. Clearly this team is still trying to fit the pieces together. Lin and Melo haven’t figured out how to work together. You can’t win losing two pillars of your very good defense. Amare actually is looking more like himself. He’s lost 10 pounds, in 10 days, which will A) initially make you more springy, but b) will sap your energy a bit after the initial impact of the weight loss wears off. He’ll still have nights where he’s not 100 percent, but in a week, he’ll settle into his new weight.

  26. sisterray

    How could you dismiss Harrellson’s defense and give him a C? You need to rewatch the game. Harrellson did a terrific job on his man, and he did a terrific job helping out whenever a Spur penetrated. Every time he came in, the interior d tightened up; every time he went to the bench, it turned to swiss cheese.

    I spent much of the game shouting “Put Harrellson back in!” Alas, we instead saw a lot of Amar’e at center, with predictable results on the defensive end.

  27. johnlocke

    Interesting. On-ball defending by Lin and Davis hasn’t been great…but a lot of those games we were getting burned on screens and players not helping / doubling as needed. Why they heck don’t we double / trap good point guards – similar to what teams do against us?

    ruruland:
    Thought I’d real off the opponent pg production the last few games

    Parker: 32, 6assists, 12/19 shooting

    Roddy B and Kidd (splitting duty): 33 pts, 7 assists, 10-20 shooting

    Rondo: 18,17,20

    Irving: 22,7, 8/18

    Teague: 18 pts, 7/12

    Williams: 38,6, 10/22

  28. johnlocke

    Can you think of a time this season where both played well in the same game…or consecutive games where Amare or Carmelo played well…. they just take turns being awful

    Jake S.: It just feels like neither Melo nor STAT EVER seem to pick the team up when they’re not playing well. Can you think of a game this season where either has just willed the Knicks to victory? That’s why guys are paid max money.

  29. johnlocke

    +1

    Frank:
    Pretty painful game to watch.I think we are being a little hard on Shumpert with the D based on his defense.I literally just watched every single PNR possession that Parker ran, and they absolutely abused the Knicks by involving Amare in that play (shocker).As we’ve learned so well by what teams are doing to Lin, there are a few ways to defend the PNR – here’s that great Grantland article again:

    http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-triangle/post/_/id/18108/how-to-guard-jeremy-lin

    So what did Amare do? If he did a soft show, he didn’t come up far enough to force Parker to give up the ball, and didn’t position himself well enough to cut off the drive. Parker literally just drove around Amare 3 times for layups.We didn’t hedge particularly well. We didn’t hard show a single time.And we didn’t trap a single time that I could see.

    PNR defense is so much about team defense and not about individual defense. It’s not surprising that Harrellson was a +8 while Amare was a -21.Harrellson did a much better job showing and hedging on the PNR and making Parker give up the ball.

    Amare’s defense is just…awful.It seriously looks like he can only concentrate on one thing at a time, so any team that has a quick PG can just involve him in the PNR and just decimate our defense, especially if Chandler is not behind him to rescue him. Offensively he looks a little better but I don’t think I’ve ever seen him play a worse defensive game.

    I wonder if this is why we switch so many of the PNRs – maybe the coaching staff has no confidence that rotations will actually happen.

    Oh well, at least it looks like Melo and JR got off the schneid a little on offense. Even though they were empty points, they probably are still useful for confidence going forward…

  30. chrisk06811

    Remember the time we played back to back nights in Texas and Bernard scored 50 both nights?

  31. ruruland

    er:
    Amare a c- wow ok

    Yeah, I’m not sure how these are calibrated, probably not a big deal, but to say that Melo played as poorly as Amar’e or worse than Lin is pretty absurd.

    Also, Smitty probably deserves an A considering he was one of the guys making multiple effort plays and timely rotations. That was quite evident on the second viewing.

    Anyway, enjoyed the writing as always.

  32. villainx

    I thought the defense overall was a bit better in the second half, evidenced by the rally.

    Everyone including Lin looked like they were trying harder, at least they looked like they were kinda in front of the Spur players and kinda contested their shots. At the same time, the Spurs were kinda hot in the second half, especially from the outside.

  33. Bruno Almeida

    I’m sorry, we can all talk about how Amare no longer has his elite athleticism, and how he’s still recovering from “insert injury or family issue here”, but his awful defensive performances are because of EFFORT.

    he simply does not try hard enough, he never even tries to do it… be it because he’s afraid of going 100% on D and being tired on O or because he’s afraid of getting injured, it doesn’t really matter.

    even on his first year on the Knicks, he at least blocked some shots and was a passable weak side defender, but now? a complete joke.

    what irritates me more is that we’re essentially paying ‘Antawn Jamison without a 3pt shot’ 20 million for this year and the next 3…

  34. BKQuick1

    It was just an awful game on the defensive end. Listening to Amare’s quotes after the game, you wonder if he even realizes just how prutrid his own defensive efforts is.

    Besides the lack of defense, the Knicks are often outworked/out hustled. There where just way to many offensive rebounds given up to undersized players who just outwork the Knicks frontline. Melo only seemed to care about getting his “touches” and if Amare wasn’t shooting, he was lifeless. The unfortunate thing is that the rest of the team can’t help but follow there example. The starting five consistently puts the team in a hole. The second unit comes out, plays with energy and effort. That combined with Nova’s shooting, usually results in a comback of sorts. Reinsert starters and let the suckfest resume!

    I don’t pretend to know what motivates Amare and Melo but if they had even a reasonable basketball IQ and better coaching, they should be able to figure this out by now. I’d settle for those to guys giving max effort on the defensive end. Everyone front court players with a pulse has a career night against Amare and Melo only seems to care when matched up against LeBron or Kobe.

    I really hope that Lin pumping up 3 pointers is not a sign of things to come. He hasn’t had a strong performance in a while it seems. The numbers for the most part are okay but my eyes are telling me that he isn’t conducting the offense anymore except in brief stretches.

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