After each game this season, we’ll be taking a look at what the four factors have to say about the game– how the winner won and the loser lost. For an intro to the four factors, see A Layman’s Guide to Advanced NBA Statistics.
Knicks defeat Jazz, 113 – 109
Pace Eff eFG FT/FG OREB% TOr UTH 91.0 119.8 51.8% 24.7 46.2 15.4 NYK 124.2 57.6% 27.8 31.4 15.4
Probably the best win of the young season. The Knicks snapped their losing streak against a struggling Bulls team, but this win over the Western powerhouse Jazz certainly feels more like the turnaround game.
After a prolonged drought, the offense bounced back in a big way tonight. 124 points per 100 possessions is easily the best offensive performance of the season for the Knicks. Even more impressively, it came against a stingy Jazz team that had been 4th in the league in defensive efficiency coming into the night (allowing 102.4 pp100). The offense was clicking on all cylinders– a modest TO rate, superb showings at the line and on the offensive glass, and most impressively, a fantastic eFG near 60% after a long stretch of shooting efficiencies in the low 40s.
And all this was accomplished with an offensive no-show from Eddy Curry (8 points on 4-11 shooting). The lionshare of the credit goes to Zach Randolph, Jamal Crawford, and a resurgent Stephon Marbury. In a nutshell, the offense looks great when the guards are clicking. Getting them to click is the hard part, especially the ever-streaky Crawford. The Knick offense as a whole has been streaky this season, seemingly in step with the whims of Crawford’s game. If that pattern continues, it’s bad news for the Knicks over the long haul.
For all the credit going to the offense, the D was just about as bad, however. The Jazz’s rate of 119.8 points per 100 possessions tonight was the most efficient offensive performance against the Knicks this season, over 9 pp100 better than Utah’s season average. None of the 4 factors on D were good tonight. In particular, Utah just crushed the Knicks on the offensive glass, literally rebounding just under half of their misses. This marks another troubling trend in the early season– with the kind of rebounders the Knicks have, the one area they should do decently at on D is to protect the offensive boards.
Still, ultimately what it comes down to is that for this team, the offense must be very good in order for them to win. They got that offense tonight. Whether they can get it on a consistent basis will determine the fate of the season.
4 factor stats were acquired using the ESPN4Factors script by Cherokee of the ABPRmetrics board. Firefox users can use this script (after installing the Greasemonkey extension) to see 4 factor stats automatically displayed in all NBA boxscores on espn.com.