Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

THE PRODIGIOUS-AND-AUSPICIOUS-KNICKS-CELTICS-RIVALRY-RENEWED-PREVIEW-EXTRAVAGANZA-BASH-FEST-2011!!!…SMASH!

By Thomas B. and Jim Cavan

 

PART I
What We Know: A look at the Knicks-Celtics regular season series

 

The best way to understand how Boston swept the season series is to look at the advanced stats from the games.  Is there reason to think New York can avoid a post season sweep as well? Let’s take a look at the four factors from the regular season games and then see if there is reason for optimism. I’ve included the stats from the season finale but I won’t spend much time on the stats from that game because neither team gave significant minutes to their starting five.

If you understand the four factors, then you know that scoring efficiency—measured by effective field goal percentage (eFG)—is the stat most closely aligned with winning any single game, so that is as good a place as any to start.

While Boston had the edge in eFG% in two of the first three games, the advantage was not substantial.  Boston won the eFG% battle, by margins of 0.023 and 0.022 in the first two meetings.  That is the same margin that the top team in terms of eFG% (Denver 52.6) enjoys over the 9th best team (Houston 50.3).   One encouraging sign for New York is that despite their noted defensive woes (51.1 Defensive eFG%, 20th in NBA), New York held Boston below their average eFG% (51.9, 6th) in two of the first three games.  New York managed to put up good shooting numbers from the floor against Boston’s league leading defense (46.9 Defensive eFG%).  Overall, eFG% is not the big obstacle for the Knicks.  The more pressing matter is rebounding.

Boston out-rebounded New York in each of their regular season meetings and enjoyed an overall substantial rebounding margin over New York (+16, +4, +10, +3). Whether it Boston’s overall rebounding dominance—plus ten in the 96-86 come from behind win, or New York’s inability to secure key defensive rebounds—Boston turned five offensive boards into eight points over the last 5:22 of their 118-116 win, rebounding has been the biggest problem for New York.  Unfortunately, rebounding is the problem the Knicks are least likely to be able to fix.

One possible way to address this would be to give Shelden Williams more minutes. Williams’ rebounding rate since coming to New York (14.4) leads the team. If he can get on the court and stay out of foul trouble (6.2 fouls per 36), he might make the difference in a close game.  Whatever the strategy is, improved rebounding particularly on the defensive end will reduce second chance scoring opportunities.

With the notable exception of rebounding, New York has matched up pretty well against Boston statistically speaking.  New York has done a good job protecting the ball, and New York hasn’t allowed Boston to control the pace of the games.  Despite the season sweep, Boston has not dominated the entirety of any one meeting with New York.  If New York can improve its rebounding and defense while remaining efficient on offense, the team has a solid chance to make this a compelling series.

 

PART II
What We Hope: Breaking down the
match ups, and a prediction

 

POINT GUARD – CHAUNCEY BILLUPS VS. RAJON RONDO:

If the absence of Kendrick Perkins remains Boston’s biggest question mark entering the postseason, a close second would have to be which Rajon Rondo laces up the Chucks. Will it be the Rondo who averaged nearly 16 points, nine assists and two steals a game while netting a serviceable (for him, anyway) eFG% of 48% during the 2010 Playoffs – a pace that carried over into a truly torrid start to the ’10-’11 campaign? Or the one whose scoring, assists and overall efficiency have all plummeted steadily since the New Year? While Rondo’s value to his team goes well beyond the stat sheet, it’s hard to deny that the Perkins trade has affected him more than any other player. The Celtics may very well survive the first round sans top-form Rondo, but it’s doubtful they would get any further in a much-improved Eastern Conference.

Chauncey Billups will have a huge task ahead of him trying to keep Rondo out of the paint – something he’s had trouble doing against quicker guards since coming to the Knicks. But Billups can give Rondo fits of his own, backing him down, keeping him honest on the perimeter and making him commit to risky close-outs on kick-out threes. Unlike Rondo, Billups ended the regular season heading in the right direction, averaging 20.3 points and 5.3 assists with an encouraging TS% of 59% during the team’s recent seven game win streak. Oh, and he’s played in six conference finals and two NBA Finals.

A big key to this dynamic will be how much floor time Toney Douglas sees. With Landry Fields looking a step slower with every game, this could be a prime opportunity for TD to take a few forward. He’s shown the ability to stay with Rondo, and Chauncey might welcome the opportunity to flag Allen on a few possessions rather than chase Boston’s nimble number 9.

Edge: KNICKS

 

SHOOTING GUARD – LANDRY FIELDS VS. RAY ALLEN

At 35 years old, Ray Allen has quietly had one of the most efficient and effective late-career campaigns in recent memory. In a season highlighted by his breaking Reggie Miller’s all time three point shooting record, Allen managed to put up a stat line that exceeded Miller’s 2000-2001 numbers (when he was 35) for FG% (49% to 44% for Miller); 3P% (44% to 37%); and TS% (62% vs. 57%). And for a guy who boasted a much stronger supporting cast than Miller’s 2000 Pacers squad, Ray wasn’t that far behind in points (16.5 vs. 18.9), rebounds (3.2 vs. 3.4), or assists (2.7 vs. 3.2).

To say that Fields has his hands full would be an understatement. Having run headlong into the rookie wall, there will be no rest for our weary Landry in this series. Boston is sure to send Allen around countless screens and punishing picks, where the veteran sniper needs not a hair’s worth of space to get off a good look. Fortunately for Fields, his perpetual motion tendencies could help keep Allen on his heels just enough to slow him down on the offensive end. Assuming, of course, that our precocious neophyte can tap into fumes that probably seem pretty thin right about now.

Edge: CELTICS

 

SMALL FORWARD – CARMELO ANTHONY vs. PAUL PIERCE:

If Paul Pierce is Carmelo Anthony’s ceiling – something suggested by many on the KB board– this would be a pretty good place for Melo to start that ascent.

Pierce once again turned in a solid and efficient regular season campaign, topping last season’s tallies in points (18.9 to 18.3), rebounds (5.4 to 4.4), assists (1.2 to 1.0), FG% (49.7% to 47.2%), TS% (62% to 60%), and USG (24 to 23.8). Like Allen, Pierce seems to be riding high into his career’s twilight. And while Melo has done a decent job against Pierce in their two meetings this season (one with Denver and the other in the orange and blue), he’ll have to ratchet up the D a few notches in this series – particularly in front of an MSG crowd Pierce has made a living off of torturing.

Trade naysayers may one day be vindicated, but no one can deny the promising trends of Melo’s Big Apple performance thus far. Since his prodigal return, Anthony has improved in nearly every category this season, including points (26.3 to 25.2 before the trade), 3P% (42% to 33%), TS% (57% to 54%) and WS/48 (.157 to .127). For the Knicks to advance, they’ll need Anthony to be as efficient on the offensive end as he is committed on the defensive end. But you have to think Melo understands the gravity of the moment as well as anyone, which is why we expect a monster series from #7.

Edge: KNICKS

 

POWER FORWARD – AMARE STOUDEMIRE vs. KEVIN GARNETT:

If there was one moment that epitomized this mini-rivalry, it came in the two’s last meeting at MSG, when Garnett outhustled Stat to a mid-court jump ball near the beginning of the C’s late surge. That’s not to say that Amare Stoudemire is lacking in intensity – far from it. But you’re dealing with a beast of a different order in Kevin Garnett, a man whose tunnel-visioned intensity is as alienating to the rest of the league as it is necessary to Boston’s winning ways.

Like Pierce, Garnett has shown improvements in a variety of categories over last year, including points (14.9 to 14.3), rebounds (8.9 to 7.3), eFG% (53% to 53%), and WS/48 (.194 to .171). While you could argue that Garnett hadn’t fully recovered from his late 2009 surgery until late last year, this year’s solid campaign only proved he’ll most likely be around for a few more.

Contrastingly, after an MVP flash out of the gate, Stat has slowed down of late, with his points, eFG%, and TS% each declining month by month since January. He even looked a little rusty during his brief cameo Wednesday night (thanks to a mild ankle sprain sustained in the team’s win over Philly a week previous), although the real goal was little more than two break a heavy sweat.

It’ll l be interesting to see if the Celtics feature KG early in the offense, in an attempt to get Stat into foul trouble. Don’t be surprised if D’Antoni nips this by starting Jeffries, Williams or even Turiaf on Garnett, and letting Stoudemire handle Kristic or Jermaine O’Neal. If Shaq suits up, however, all bets are off. In this scenario, Stat would most likely be forced to guard KG, in which case his defensive awareness will have to be as active as it is focused – something he know he’ll be getting in spades at the other end of the floor.

Edge: PUSH

 

CENTER – NENAD KRISTIC / JERMAINE O’NEAL / SHAQUILLE O’NEAL vs. RONNY TURIAF / SHELDEN WILLIAMS / JARED JEFFRIES / AMARE STOUDEMIRE / SHAWNE WILLIAMS

Call this the battle of the platoons. With the status of Shelden Williams (ankle), and Shaquille O’Neal (leg) still uncertain, both teams could be without a key rotation post player for part – if not all – of the series. While trading Kendrick Perkins resulted in a very serious low-post void, Nenad Kristic is a center who actually matches up well with the Knicks on paper, being able to hit the 15-18 footer with relative accuracy while masking a serviceable post game and offensive rebounding prowess that could give the Knicks fits inside.

Obviously, the elephant in the room (that is, the extremely large human being) is Shaquille O’Neal. If he can give Doc Rivers 20 minutes a game – if only to grab boards and clog up the paint – it could force the Knicks to rely even more heavily on their perimeter game. The other option is to roll the dice with a smaller lineup, letting Shaq get his touches down low against a Jeffries or even Stat. That would allow the Knicks to at least make the big fella work to get back in transition, thereby reducing his minutes. One can only hope.

Edge: CELTICS

 

BENCH:

If last Wednesday’s “JV” game proved anything, it’s that the Celtics boast an effective and well-balanced supporting cast – which may eventually include the dangerously pesky Delonte West. True, the Knicks certainly don’t lack punch and pizzazz; TD, Bill Walker and Extra E are all capable of spreading the floor and making big runs even with Melo and / or Stat on the pine. But the Celtic roll players – keyed by an ever-improving Glen Davis, a theoretically healthy West, and newly acquired Swiss army knife Jeff Green – is arguably more balanced, particularly on the defensive end and on the boards. Plus, Green provides a capable defender to throw at Anthony during stretches when Melo’s on the court sans Pierce. Don’t be surprised if a big game from either supporting cast ends up tipping the scales in one of the first few games.

Edge: CELTICS

 

COACHING: MIKE D’ANTONI vs. DOC RIVERS

Both played point guard. And that’s pretty much where the similarities end between these two equally well-respected but very different coaches. While Glenn “Doc” Rivers gritted out a serviceable NBA career (which included a two year stint with the Knicks from ’92 to ‘94), Mike D’Antoni, cut his teeth in the Italian League. Like the teams he played for, Doc’s philosophy has always been defense first, and patient, disciplined half-court offensive sets second. Mike D’Antoni’s mid-decade Suns teams, meanwhile, made Don Nelson look like Larry Brown. One has no problem calling out his players by name, in the media, or at very high volume during games; the other has drawn criticism for his decided lack of communicative savvy and unwillingness to tread on egos.

Much will depend on which is better able to exert their will and style on the other over longer stretches. The Knicks have shown at various points during the season series that they can get the Celtics into a track meet. But for the most part Rivers has been able to reign in his steeds, either with key stretches of lock-down defense, or with deft timeouts (one of Doc’s underrated skills).

If there’s one thing that the Knicks learned during their last meeting on March 21st — when they led by as many as 14 in the second half —  it’s that no lead is safe against a team as savvy, poised, and battle-tested as these Boston Celtics.

Edge: CELTICS

 

The Prediction: KNICKS IN 6

They have the titles. They have the experience. They have the tradition. They have the home court.They have Vegas. They have Simmons. They have the defense. They have the depth. They have our number.

But we got the swag.

 

59 comments on “THE PRODIGIOUS-AND-AUSPICIOUS-KNICKS-CELTICS-RIVALRY-RENEWED-PREVIEW-EXTRAVAGANZA-BASH-FEST-2011!!!…SMASH!

  1. TheRant

    I don’t care who wins as long as we can have a Tea Party and throw Dolan into the hahbah.

  2. GHenman

    Knicks in six. Celtics beginning to show thier age. If the Celts had STAT, they’d be calling him ” the kid”.

  3. taggart4800

    http://mobile.newsday.com/inf/infomo;JSESSIONID=FA8EC3D4E152E509B78B.3089?site=newsday&view=sports_blogs_item&feed:a=newsday_5min&feed:c=sports_blogs&feed:i=1.2820819&nopaging=1

    Say what you will about the trade but as evidenced by Amare at the end of this article, this team will always believe it has a punchers chance of winning it all this year. They can play with the underdog chip on their shoulder and without the pressure of expectation. I am not for a second saying that we are going all the way but now the dust has settled even those who knocked the trade must surely concede that this team is more playoff capable than the one we had pre trade.

    Knicks in 6
    Then to win their next series (Heat or Philly)
    Burn out in the conference finals

    Don’t care if I am a ridiculous optimist because I am so unbelievably ready for Sunday!

  4. rohank

    Knicks in 7. Closing it out on the road bc of the return of Mr. Big Shot, who has a huge game (a la Mo Cheeks 1990).

    (See comment 10 on previous thread for more details)

  5. taggart4800

    I have been thinking about the series and to me there is rarely a game 1 with as much significance as Sunday’s match-up.
    The rationale is as follows:-
    The Celtics for the first time with their current team are heading into the playoffs with a modicum of doubt in their mind, whether instilled by the media or their own decline in form.
    If the Knicks can clinch the first game of the series it will cement that doubt.
    Each time the Knicks make a run in the fourth quarter it will strain the mental toughness of the Celtics.
    Our big 3 do not need a boost of confidence but a mental edge in game 1 would improve the confidence of players such as Fields and Douglas.

    Conversely if the Celtics dominate us in Game 1 I think it will erase any of their own confidence issues and compound ours to the point where it will be extremely tough for us to pull out the series victory.

    Entirely supposition but its fun to think about a playoff game!

  6. Z-man

    I worry that the series hinges on the play of Shawne and TD. They are playoff rookies and might get starry-eyed. If they can come up big, we can win; if not, I don’t see how we can. There is probably an over/under on 3′s between these 2 that would indicate a probable W or L.

  7. daJudge

    Thomas B. and Jim–Thanks for the very cool morning read. Loved it. I’m really getting fired up. I’m also with Taggert regarding the “modicum of doubt” concept. The other side of that doubt extends to Fields, Extra E and TD. As Fields is our starting 2 guard, I believe his performance will be huge. The Knicks also now have some scrappy players who can make a difference when the shots are not going down. Believe it or not, I think Anthony Carter (if he plays) will make a difference in this series. Pesky, annoying, old and devious, like those Celtics. One last thing—my old hatred for the Celtics is reemerging. Feels so good.

  8. d-mar

    As Tom Petty says: “The waiting is the hardest part” Did the NBA really have to make us the very last game of the weekend?

    Great preview Jim, but I don’t buy that we have the edge at PG, unless Rondo is truly playing hurt.

    Agree with @7, game 1 is absolutely huge. If we win, it’s a 6 or 7 game series. If we lose like we did at MSG with the Celtics asserting their will at the end and running away with it, that’s a very bad sign and this could be a short series. And also agree with Z-man that Extra E and Toney need to come up big (or at least hit open shots) for us to have a chance.

  9. gbaked

    I read all the Knick Blogs out there. Since the trade, this one has probably been the most pessimistic (not really the right word, but the best I can think of right now) about the team. All the others said MELO MELO MELO FUN! and here looked at it objectively.

    Now the playoffs are here, and all those other blogs are all picking the C’s to win it, but here it seems everyone is saying the Knicks will take it.

    Awesomeness.

    (Great article btw)

  10. ess-dog

    Three point shooting could be huge for us, especially Shawne. It’s the only way we can get back into games sometimes. Melo, TD, Billups, Walker, Fields and Shawne can all launch from deep but Shawne will spread the floor if he can get into the corner as a pf. That would be huge.

    Of course, we also have to defend the 3, especially against Allen and Pierce. It pains me, but I think we’ll see a lot of Jeffrightened out there with D’Antoni trying to create match up problems. As long as Shaq is ineffective, we could be relatively ok in the post.

    But I think we do have a chance if we can just score consistently and even an average efficiency (45%, 33% from three), that’s how potent our offense can be at times. The Knicks and Celts are so close in eFG that if we can dictate the pace most of the time, I think we can win.

    Let’s go Knicks!

  11. Z-man

    I’m not worried about game 1, but think we need to win one of first two. There will be a “war of attrition” aspect to this series, so game 1 might not matter as much as not being down 3-1 after 4 games, which I think, objectively and unfortunately, is the most likely scenario. We are almost certain to lose one at home in games 3 and 4, so my hope is that we somehow manage to be 2-2 going back to Boston.

    It becomes more and more clear to me that this is the Celt’s last hoorah, KG and Allen are just not going to play at this level next year. The O’Neal’s are done and Pierce is aging. The regular season will not go well for them next year without major changes.

  12. Z-man

    I think we’ll see today whether we were better off with the Celts or Miami as opponents. I wanted no part of the Heat in the first round, and am expecting Miami to just blow the doors off of Philly.

  13. ess-dog

    Z-man:
    I think we’ll see today whether we were better off with the Celts or Miami as opponents.I wanted no part of the Heat in the first round, and am expecting Miami to just blow the doors off of Philly.

    I still feel like the Heat would be the better match up, mostly because of Rondo and KG vs. Bosh. Melo has a great record against LBJ and most importantly, the games in Miami would be almost like home games.

  14. Frank

    Great writeup guys!

    My heart says Knicks in 6 and my brain says Celts in 6. I’m going to go with my heart- NYK in 6 and an epic matchup in round 2 vs the Heatles.

    For some reason I’m feeling like Bill Walker will have something to say about this series, whether guarding Pierce or outplaying Jeff Green as the backup 3. Dude can hit the big 3s and has shown an interest in tough D and defensive rebounding lately.

    That said- if TD and Shawne can shoot 40+% from 3 this series we will win. Our team changes completely when at least one of those guys is hot.

  15. ess-dog

    Frank:

    For some reason I’m feeling like Bill Walker will have something to say about this series

    You know he wants to go out there and burn his old team so badly. I hope he gets his shot.

  16. Frank

    ess-dog:
    Man if this is true:

    http://basketball.realgm.com/wiretap/213114/Howard_Trade_Possible_This_Offseason

    The Nets could be a really strong team.That would suck.

    Typical stupid Bucher comment. What would the trade be, exactly? Brook Lopez and who for Howard, bearing in mind that Lopez needs a contract after next season too? Travis “worst contract ever” Outlaw? That NJ team sucks and they don’t even have many draft picks left to give. And who would the Lakers trade? Their whole team is 30+ and their draft picks all suck.

  17. Mike Kurylo

    gbaked:
    I read all the Knick Blogs out there. Since the trade, this one has probably been the most pessimistic (not really the right word, but the best I can think of right now) about the team. All the others said MELO MELO MELO FUN! and here looked at it objectively.

    I think the word you are looking for is ‘realistic’.

  18. TheRant

    Watching the Bulls Pacers game (with the Pacers really bringing it to the Bulls!).

    Just wanted to say how nice it is to see Kurt Thomas still delivering quality minutes. Dude must be as old as I am.

    I love ol’ bug eyes.

  19. ess-dog

    Wow, go Indy! Collison sticking it to Mr. “MVP” (question: who’s worse? Bulls fans or Celtics fans?)

  20. d-mar

    Wow, Indy up by 10. It’s very early, but if Chicago loses this game, the overloaded Bulls bandwagon will lose a lot of passengers.

    Maybe the starters are tired from all those minutes in the last few “critical” regular season games to get best record.

  21. latke

    ess-dog:
    Wow, go Indy!Collison sticking it to Mr. “MVP” (question: who’s worse?Bulls fans or Celtics fans?)

    Bulls fans by a mile. Why? like 98% of them collectively forgot the bulls for the last twelve years (and the bulls have been decent the last 4 or 5!), and are now coming back, and talking to them is like they are just picking up where they left off w/ Jordan, so cocky and overconfident about the Bulls’ odds.

    Add that to the media’s dreamy eyes towards Rose, and of all the other series’, Indy beating Chicago would make me the happiest.

  22. Shad0wF0x

    The moment I heard Jon Barry commentating on the Pacers at Bulls, I muted. Cannot stand that man.

  23. d-mar

    Shad0wF0x:
    The moment I heard Jon Barry commentating on the Pacers at Bulls, I muted. Cannot stand that man.

    He and Barkley are Pres. and VP of the Knick haters club.

  24. latke

    Indiana is essentially ignoring keith bogans. Bogans’ and Rose’s men are both guarding Rose. Causing lots of problems for the bulls’ offense — 13 turnovers, on 40% FGs. They may really come to regret not making that trade for Courtney Lee.

  25. ess-dog

    Rose has shot 16 free throws through three? I could be MVP with that kind of royal treatment.

  26. Frank O.

    It is fascinating that this blog has been decidedly negative about the series, but has suddenly become hopeful.
    I felt odd for a time there because I felt almost as if I was the only one here who thought the Knicks stood a chance.
    I’ve laid out my reason several times and virtually no one has commented, which led me to believe that perhaps you all thought I was nuts.
    We’re very excited at home about this series. It’s going to be very physical and I think the Knicks’ young legs will do them good.
    Again, I think we know what we are going to get from key positions. What we don’t know is how TD and Big Baby, Kristic and Jeffries, West and Williams, and Walker and Green will influence this series.
    But my heart of hearts says the Knicks are coming together at the right time.

  27. Z-man

    Hansbrough is proving that his performances vs. us in their home-and-home sweep was no fluke. Big balls!

  28. Z-man

    Derrick Rose is underrated on this site, IMO. We may have to come up with another stat for him.

  29. ess-dog

    Yeah he just took over there when he needed to, bastard. I guess I shouldn’t get excited about Philly being up 17-8?

  30. latke

    Man, Indiana was up 10 with 3:38 left. They would be down by less right now if they had only held the ball for 24 second violation every possession since then. Oh well… hard to imagine the Pacers putting together another game like this, so I’ll probably have to wait another round to see chicago choke.

  31. Mike Kurylo

    Z-man:
    Derrick Rose is underrated on this site, IMO.We may have to come up with another stat for him.

    Rosey – Scale from 1-5 on player’s ability to have mainstream fans overlook their flaws and only see the positives.

    Derrick Rose is at about a 5.0 Rosey, but let’s see what happens if his team doesn’t make the conference finals this year.

    Renaldo Balkman has a 0.0 Rosey; all people see are his flaws.

  32. Shad0wF0x

    I still believe that Rose is basically Stephon Marbury at the height of his career. That’s not a bad thing at all. He’s bigger, faster, taller and without the crazy.

    The thing that’s annoying is that the media, friends and everyone hypes him up like he’s God. It’s not really his fault.

  33. rohank

    And the Indiana Chokers fall at the end. Great game to watch as a basketball enthusiast though.

    Meanwhile, the Heat have started out with very lazy defense against the Sixers. 2 sad things about Miami and its fans:

    1) They’re all wearing white, and the seats are white too, so it looks packed, but if you look carefully, it’s very empty.
    2) Most of the time, all I can hear is the jumbotron

  34. ess-dog

    So far, Bibby has take twice as many shots a Wade and James combined – good game plan, Heat.

  35. BigBlueAL

    I have to say for the people who think the Celtics have a “modicum of doubt in their mind” I think you are seriously fooling yourself.

    Im pretty sure that the Celtics probably figure this will be an easy 5 game series for them. One of their greatest strengths is probably their huge arrogance. They know they have to defend and will probably struggle to defend at times but Im pretty sure they feel that they can score at will and defend when it matters.

    If the Knicks win this series its not gonna be because the Celtics have come into this series with a lack of confidence.

  36. outoftowner

    Shad0wF0x:
    I still believe that Rose is basically Stephon Marbury at the height of his career. That’s not a bad thing at all. He’s bigger, faster, taller and without the crazy.

    The thing that’s annoying is that the media, friends and everyone hypes him up like he’s God. It’s not really his fault.

    I used to think that too, before Rose took it to a new level this year. Marbury’s best year was ’04-’05, and that’s really the only year of his you could put up against what Rose is doing this year, at age 22.

    Rose is definitely of the genre of freak-athlete scoring point guards, like Steve Francis, Stephon Marbury, and Baron Davis. Unlike those other guys though Rose seems to actually be a serious dude who cares about developing his game and winning. I’d say Rose has the least natural talent out of that group but he’s already reached a higher level than any of them.

    The stathead argument against Derrick Rose is a little overstated, I think. His adj. +/- is 11.7 this year. WS/48 of .208. TS% of .550 isn’t great, but good AST%, TOV%, and all of that on a huge USG% with defenses collapsing on him since the Bulls are a mediocre team offensively. I agree he shouldn’t be the MVP but he’s probably in the top 10 overall. Giving the MVP to a top 10 player on the league’s best team isn’t that unusual.

  37. Shad0wF0x

    @47

    Yeah I forgot to add work ethic to the list. I think it might be fair to compare this years Bulls to the 76ers of 2001. You have a mediocre offensive team that played very well defensively from what I remember. Iverson and Rose play the role of that slasher/scorer/pg.

    I don’t know if it’s just the lead, but the Heat fans appear to be the most unenthusiastic people I’ve seen in awhile.

  38. TDM

    It’s one thing to say we think Billups will outplay Rondo, but to say the Knicks have the edge at pg may be a bit too optimistic. I don’t think any other sports prognosticator that has given NY the edge at the point. That said, I hope everyone else is wrong and Jim and Thomas B. are right.

    Just heard, Shaq ruled out indefinitely. How does that affect the analysis at the 5?

    http://www.csnne.com/04/16/11/Shaq-out-indefinitely/mobile_landing.html?blockID=505329&feedID=3945

  39. TheRant

    TDM: It’s one thing to say we think Billups will outplay Rondo, but to say the Knicks have the edge at pg may be a bit too optimistic.

    I think Rondo is a quality point, but something tells me that this is the end of Billups career and he really has something to prove. I think he will try and show that the Knicks have a big three, not a big two.

    That being said, we have no bench and I expect us to falter, unless their big three falter as well. I’m hoping aging takes its toll.

    Also, have I mentioned that I hope Dolan dies a painful death? I thought so.

  40. Frank

    latke:
    Man, Indiana was up 10 with 3:38 left. They would be down by less right now if they had only held the ball for 24 second violation every possession since then.

    That is actually a very interesting strategy.
    In 3:38 there are 218 seconds.
    Figure 10 points is at the very least 4 possessions needed by Chicago to take the lead or tie.
    If Indiana just took a shot with 1-2 seconds on the shot clock, their 4 possessions would take 4×22 seconds = ~90 seconds. If they even hit one of those 4 shots then it is a 5 possession game, and then Indiana’s 5 possessions = 112 seconds. That leaves Chicago only 106 seconds to score EVERY time in order to tie/win the game.

    Now Indiana doesn’t really have a great isolation scorer – Granger is ok but not elite in that sense.

    But – if we are up 10 with 3:30 left, I’d put the ball in Melo’s hands every time and tell him to waste all of the 24sec clock before putting up the shot.

  41. Shad0wF0x

    Frank: But – if we are up 10 with 3:30 left, I’d put the ball in Melo’s hands every time and tell him to waste all of the 24sec clock before putting up the shot.

    I think D’Antoni really needs to manage the clock correctly in the 4th quarter. Earlier in the game, I would encourage the Knicks to get as close as to SSOL as possible and make it a run and gun game. Within 5 minutes, it depends on what the situation is. If the Knicks have a fairly decent lead (8-10 pts), depending on how much time is left, I would do the let Melo shoot at 1-2 seconds remaining on the shot clock.

  42. d-mar

    Atlanta up by 15 in the 3rd quarter. Howard 11-17 with 32 pts, rest of team 7-32. If the Magic go quietly in these playoffs, I don’t see any way Dwight stays in Orlando with the lack of support he gets.

  43. TheRant

    d-mar: If the Magic go quietly in these playoffs, I don’t see any way Dwight stays in Orlando with the lack of support he gets.

    And this is where I’m really going to cry about the Melo trade. I think Melo is going to give us some joyful moments during this playoff run. But not $17M per year worth of joy. Does *anyone* out there see *any* way to make a run at Dwight Howard or Chris Paul if they come on the market?

    Nobody would take Chauncey for CP3, would they? Are we allowed to add 100,000 shares of Cablevision or something? Salaries have to match and we have no draft picks, right?

  44. KnickFanInCelticLand

    Hi all,

    I don’t post often but always read and appreciate the great stuff here from ALL the contributors. A cyber high five to all fellow knick fans for the accomplishments so far this year. How many here last summer REALLY thought we would be sixth seed after our recent past playoff drought?!?

    Therefore, I propose a toast over a high quality all malt beer (one worthy of Mike Kurylo’s approval):

    May the road rise up and meet our lofty eFG!

    May the wind be at our rebounding backs!

    May we steal the luck the Irish and have the defensive tenacity to keep it!

    And may the knicks continue to beat pre-season expectations and force the knick haters in the media to eat crow while I sip this fine beer!

  45. Z-man

    Mike Kurylo: Rosey – Scale from 1-5 onplayer’s ability to have mainstream fans overlook their flaws and only see the positives.

    Derrick Rose is at about a 5.0 Rosey, but let’s see what happens if his team doesn’t make the conference finals this year.

    Renaldo Balkman has a 0.0 Rosey; all people see are his flaws.

    Creative and droll. Seriously, though, I think it is more about how much the flaws that you see actually matter, or impact on the success or failure of the team. Rose is not a great shooter yet, but if you look at his shooting stats in his team’s 62 wins, they are pretty impressive, especially the .355 from 3. So that he still somewhat inconsistent at age 22 is expected. He is clearly a dominant player, though, and yesterday’s game was an indication of how dominant he can be. Is he the league definitive MVP? Maybe not, but why is it so offensive to have him in the discussion?

    Conversely, if the Bulls do make the conference finals but he shoots at a TS% of .490, is his MVP status validated? If they don’t and he plays to a PER of 40 and a WS48 of .400 is he an overrated flash-in-the-pan?

Comments are closed.