Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Trail Blazers 94, Knicks 90: #FunFacts

Portland Trail Blazers 94 Final
Recap | Box Score
90 New York Knicks
Carmelo Anthony, SF 40 MIN | 11-28 FG | 3-3 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 26 PTS | -13

Fact: The human race put men on the moon before they had the idea to put wheels on suitcases.

This fact is both a testament to man’s ingenuity (the MOON!) and man’s stupidity (seriously, how did they not think to put wheels on suitcases?), and represents the type of game Carmelo Anthony had tonight. He started the game spectacularly, with 14 points in the first quarter and finished the first half with 7-12 shooting from the floor. However, he was just 4-16 in the second half, including 0-4 in the fourth quarter in a game where points came at an absolute premium. He also finished with zero assists and only seemed to be engaged on defense when he was challenged with guarding LaMarcus Aldridge in the post. When he plays at power forward, as he did for most of his minutes tonight, he needs to be more judicious in his shot selection, focusing more on catch-and-shoot opportunities, rather than clearing out and trying to isolate. We’re past the point where teams walk themselves into mis-matches by guarding Carmelo with their own power forwards, and Carmelo needs to be aware of that.

Tyson Chandler, C 31 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -6

Fact:Charlie Chaplin once entered a Charlie Chaplin look-alike contest and finished second.

In this case, the fact that he was Charlie Chaplin went to waste, just as Tyson Chandler’s exemplary performance went to waste this evening. He scored just two points and didn’t particularly stand out on the backboards (nine rebounds), but he absolutely swallowed up LaMarcus Aldridge for most of the game. Aldridge finished with just 15 points on 17 shots and spent most of the contest forced into turnaround, fallaway jump shots that had little more than a prayer of falling through the net. In all, the normally pinpoint Portland offense shot just 38 percent from the floor, in large part due to Chandler’s presence in the middle of the floor, contesting Aldridge’s looks at the basket and otherwise keeping Portland’s ball-handlers out of the paint.

Raymond Felton, PG 23 MIN | 2-6 FG | 3-6 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | -10

In 1919, a large tank of molasses exploded in Boston. The resulting wave of molasses traveled through the streets at 35 miles per hour. 21 people were killed and 150 more were injured.

Which of course brings us to Raymond Felton, because he is fat and his play has nearly killed 21 Knicks fans over the course of the season.

Pablo Prigioni, PG 31 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 7 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +4

Fact:Cleopatra lived closer in time to the present day than to the construction of the Great Pyramids of Giza.

This inexplicable relation of age is dedicated to Pablo Prigioni, the elder statesmen on this Knicks squad, who had an overwhelmingly Prigioni-ish game. Five points, seven assists, seven rebounds, exquisite ball movement, harassing defense on Damian Lillard, and one clutch three.

Iman Shumpert, SG 24 MIN | 0-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -8

Fact: The phrase “for the birds” originates from farms in generations past, when horses would eat grain, but some would pass through their system undigested. After the undigested grain would evacuate their body as waste, oftentimes birds would come along and pick the grain out of the pile and use it as sustenance.

Hence, saying something is “for the birds” means it is literally horseshit. Iman Shumpert played like horseshit. He was 0-5 from the field and passed up a number of open shots because apparently scoring isn’t a big priority in a game where the team shoots 40 percent and musters just 90 points against a middling defensive team.

Jeremy Tyler, PF 11 MIN | 2-5 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +10

Fact: Several years ago, a study found that termites chew through wood at a rate twice as fast when death metal is audible nearby.

This hilariously awesome fact exemplifies Jeremy Tyler’s awesome game (and awesome name). He played just 11 minutes but found himself at the right place in the right time for a nice first-half dunk off a dish from J.R. Smith.

Amar’e Stoudemire, PF 22 MIN | 6-10 FG | 3-4 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | +2

Fact: The phrase “pulling out all the stops” comes from organ music. An organ functions as such so that when a key is pushed, the “stop” is removed from the pipe and the organ makes a sound. So to “pull out all the stops” means all the pipes are engaged at once, making as much noise as possible.

Amar’e pulled out all the stops tonight, a throwback game with jump shots, a few rebounds, and a rousing first-half dunk in traffic. His defense, as it often does, left a bit to be desired, but on offense he was divine, giving the Knicks a spark off the bench that kept them in the game while Carmelo sat in the first half.

Tim Hardaway Jr., SG 27 MIN | 5-13 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | +9

Fact: Pluto was discovered in 1930, but was stripped of its status as a planet in 2006, due to the fact that a year (one full revolution around the Sun) on Pluto takes roughly 250 years and so it never even celebrated its first solar birthday as a planet.

This oddly depressing fact sums up Hardaway’s night. He was clearly giving great effort but could never seem to put everything together. He nailed a nice three-pointer with about 50 seconds remaining to cut the lead to three, but his heroics were ultimately forgotten as the Blazers pulled away and the Knicks couldn’t make up the gap.

J.R. Smith, SG 31 MIN | 7-14 FG | 3-3 FT | 3 REB | 6 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 18 PTS | -8

Fact: If every star in the Milky Way galaxy had one trillion planets, and on each of those on trillion planets lived one trillion people, and each of those people had one trillion decks of cards, and were somehow able to shuffle each of those on trillion decks one trillion times per second, and had been doing so since the beginning of recorded human history on Earth, they would still wouldn’t be creating duplicate orders of those decks for another 15 billion years.

The number of ways you can order the 52 different cards in a deck is calculated to be 80,658,175,170,943,878,571,660,636,856,403,766, 975,289,505,440,883,277,824,000,000,000,000.

This mind-bending bit of calculator usage is our paradigm for the first half that J.R. Smith had tonight. Instead of pulling up for 19-foot jump shots that careen off the rim and nearly kill courtside patrons like he normally does, he attacked the Portland defense in the middle of the floor with pick-and-rolls, and dished out some spectacular look-away passes to Amar’e and Jeremy Tyler for finishes at the rim.

Beno Udrih, PG DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS |

Fact: Otters hold hands when they sleep so that they do not float away from each other.

This makes me happy. Much like I was happy that Beno Udrih did not play in tonight’s game. [Editor’s Fun Fact: Sea Otters sometimes sexually violate baby seals. Seriously.]

Mike Woodson

Fact: Every year, dozens of new trees will seed as a result of a single squirrel forgetting where it has hidden its nuts.

This optimistic fun fact regarding rebirth regards Woodson, who has done a much better job of late than he was doing back in December when I wrote this mean-spirited piece about him for Hickory-High. He has been doing so out of necessity, but he has turned more to small lineups with Carmelo Anthony at power forward, as well as dual point-guard lineups that don’t involve Beno Udrih. They didn’t win tonight, but they are planting the seeds (see what I did there?) for future success.

Five Things We Saw

  1. The Knicks couldn’t buy a three-point basket tonight. They finished 4-21 from deep on mostly good looks. Two of those makes came in the last two minutes on back-to-back possessions as the team cut Portland’s lead to three. Hardaway was 1-7 and Carmelo was 1-6. It’s not exactly uncharted territory, but when the team goes small (as they’ve been doing recently), they need to make threes in order to keep pace.
  2. The bench played particularly well, most notably in the second quarter when they had their best stretch of basketball of the game with Carmelo on the bench. Portland has a weak bench, and they needed to take advantage of that, and they did (at least in the first half). It wasn’t enough to take control of the game (and against good teams, it probably never will be), but it’s a reason to be optimistic for as long as Bargnani is out of the lineup.
  3. The Knicks committed just nine turnovers. Five belonged to J.R. Smith, which you can live with as long as he’s making smart decisions otherwise (which he clearly was in the first half). Carmelo had just one turnover, but that was mostly because he was shooting the ball as soon as he caught it. He’s a very creative passer when he wants to be, and he needs to use that skill-set more often. In this case, you’d be able to stomach higher turnovers if it means Carmelo was making more of an effort to create shots for others.
  4. All New York big men did a good job of stepping up on high screens involving Damian Lillard. Lillard is dynamite when he can step into an open three-point look off of a high screen, and he’s a surprisingly poor finisher around the basket. The way to defend him is top close that gap as much as possible off the screen and force him to either give up the ball or attack the basket and rotate along the baseline. The Knicks were able to do that (Chandler and Tyler especially) and Lillard was held to just 12 points on 4-12 shooting.
  5. We have better and more comprehensive maps of the surface of Mars than we do of the ocean floors of Earth. We did not see this in this game but it is another fun fact.

32 comments on “Trail Blazers 94, Knicks 90: #FunFacts

  1. Jack Bauer

    Nice write up, you learn something new every day. This team just seems to find a way to lose . And the season just continues to get flushed down the toilet.

  2. Brian Cronin

    Re-watching the game, the Blazers’ offensive plan for a long time in the fourth quarter was just idiotic and helped keep the Knicks in the game. They just fed Aldridge constantly and had him attempt long jumper after long jumper over Chandler. It was so dumb and inefficient and yet the game-clinching shot was one of those plays which makes it seem like it was a good idea. Annoying to see stupidity rewarded with a win.

  3. Brian Cronin

    I know it’s been said before, but really, isn’t it so ridiculous that the Knicks don’t even attempt to get good assistant coaches? They get assistant coaches only from losing teams. So weird.

  4. flossy

    I know it’s been said before, but really, isn’t it so ridiculous that the Knicks don’t even attempt to get good assistant coaches? They get assistant coaches only from losing teams. So weird.

    Buy low!

  5. Owen

    Great writeup, funny…..

    Got nothing left to say. So frustrated.

    They will, without a doubt, drub the Nuggets by 25 on Friday….

  6. thenamestsam

    I know it’s silly to obsess about the grades, but if that’s an A game for Tyson Chandler who’s supposedly our 2nd best player then it’s no freaking surprise that we suck. Aldridge took mostly the same shots that he normally takes and missed a bunch of them. Was Chandler’s defense good? On the ball, yes, although I think he’s getting a lot of credit for his opponent having an off shooting night. Off the ball, acceptable. But 2 points 9 rebounds and pretty good defense isn’t exactly game altering stuff.

    The 4 non-Melo starters played a combined 109 minutes and combined for 14 points on 20 shot attempts. The amount of pressure that puts on particularly Melo, but also the bench guys, to score is a pretty serious issue. If the Felton-Tyson PnR isn’t working on a given day (and there have been a LOT of those days this year) the starting unit has literally no plan on offense besides Iso-Melo.

    On a positive note it was nice to see them run a few screen based plays designed to get THJ some open looks, and it’s always great to see Stat jump in the rejuvenation machine. JR has been playing great. The Knicks should be burning down the phone lines trying to find a team that believes in this recent streak and wants to take him off their hands. Tyler looks like a player. Some potentially good things to be found here. Have to win Friday with @OKC on Sunday.

  7. lavor postell

    @thenamestsam

    I agree with everything you said. Chandler played good on ball defense yesterday, but until the fourth quarter yesterday his rotations were lacking in energy, efficacy and timeliness. Tyler at the minimum replicated TC’s performance in his minutes with STAT which I think is when we had our two best stretches of ball in that game in regaining the lead during the second and cutting the deficit to 1 in the fourth. If they can trade JR right now with how he’s playing for expiring deals that would be great.

  8. KJG

    One thing I think I noticed with Tyler, which I really liked, was his unwillingness to argue or whine with the refs and how it looked like he was trying to get other guys to NOT argue / whine as well… I could be remembering just an isolated stretch, but when we were getting called for a lot of ticky tacks, Tyler was getting involved trying to get whoever got called for the foul to back off and just get ready to play D… I dunno, I just like that a lot… not sure if anyone else noticed…

  9. KJG

    Frank O. – Truth… Woody had his rotations set, it looked like Stat was sorta getting gassed… Without the Stat lineups last night, the game may have gotten out of hand, maybe not. I would have loved to seem him maybe come out a bit earlier in the 4th and re-enter to end the game… if anything it puts another scorer out there, who isnt feast or famine from 3 or other ill-advised low % shots…

  10. DRed

    Worth a read

    Seems to give players on good teams too much credit, but it’s certainly an interesting application of the sports vu stuff.

  11. flossy

    The 4 non-Melo starters played a combined 109 minutes and combined for 14 points on 20 shot attempts.

    Christ almighty… I mean I knew it was bad, but good grief.

  12. thenamestsam

    Christ almighty… I mean I knew it was bad, but good grief.

    Seriously, Flossy. I didn’t really realize until I started adding it up. For someone with a bit of time on their hands it might be interesting to see an average of that number for the season. I don’t have any way of measuring whether what I’m about to say is a true statement but it sure seems like we give more minutes to guys who are complete non-entities offensively than just about any team in the league.

  13. flossy

    Steve Popper is suggesting that at least some people in the Knicks front office have reached the point of “fuck it, it’s Herb Williams time”

  14. johnno

    “The 4 non-Melo starters played a combined 109 minutes and combined for 14 points on 20 shot attempts.”
    No, no, no. This can’t possibly be correct. Once Bargnani got hurt and Woodson went back to the small ball starting lineup, all of the Knicks’ offensive problems were solved. I have no idea where you are getting these crazy numbers from…

  15. johnno

    To those of you who killed Woodson for suggesting that JR Smith would be given a chance to start and that Shumpert wouldn’t just be handed the starting job — over the last 12 games or so, JR has averaged something like 19 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists on 47% shooting. In his 3 year career, has Shumpert ever once had a stretch of even 5 games where he put up those numbers?

  16. JK47

    I don’t have any way of measuring whether what I’m about to say is a true statement but it sure seems like we give more minutes to guys who are complete non-entities offensively than just about any team in the league.

    The Knicks have two kinds of players: the “shoot it every time you touch it” players like Melo, Stat, JR and THJ and Bargs and then the “never shoot under any circumstances” guys like Pablo, Shump, Chandler and K-Mart. It’s an odd mix, that’s for sure.

    In retrospect it seems obvious to me that this team was crippled by the loss of Jason Kidd, who was really the only high-basketball-IQ player on the Knicks. He at least knew how to get the ball to the right spot on the floor. It sure seems like the Knicks get nowhere near as many easy baskets this year.

  17. swiftandabundant

    For the life of me I can’t see why we’re giving so many minutes to Felton and Shump. With Felton, I get it. Its not like we have any other PGs that are better. But at the very least we should be looking to give some burn to Beno and Murry more burn. We know Shump played his best games when Beno was playing. Why not move Shump to the bench and I don’t know…NOT PLAY HIM if he’s not playing well. I know he brings defense but GD that’s about all he brings and I think JR can also be a good defender when he wants to. Bad offense makes it hard to play good defense.

    If there was any way to send Felton, Shump and Beno out of town for a real upgrade at the PG position I would do it in a heart beat.

  18. DRed

    To those of you who killed Woodson for suggesting that JR Smith would be given a chance to start and that Shumpert wouldn’t just be handed the starting job — over the last 12 games or so, JR has averaged something like 19 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists on 47% shooting.

    Wasn’t that in the summer? You know, when JR was coming off knee surgery? And a weed suspension? And then he fucking sucked?

    I’m fine with starting JR over Shump, I guess. JR plays more anyhow, so I don’t think it makes a huge difference, but I doubt it would hurt either.

  19. DRed

    In retrospect it seems obvious to me that this team was crippled by the loss of Jason Kidd, who was really the only high-basketball-IQ player on the Knicks. He at least knew how to get the ball to the right spot on the floor. It sure seems like the Knicks get nowhere near as many easy baskets this year.

    We also replaced good shooters with less good shooters. But yeah, Jason Kidd was awesome.

    Shumpert is shooting a lot more unassisted jumpers this season. That seems to be the most significant change in his offensive game from last year to this year. My humble solution would be to get him more assisted shots.

  20. Brian Cronin

    Shumpert is shooting a lot more unassisted jumpers this season. That seems to be the most significant change in his offensive game from last year to this year. My humble solution would be to get him more assisted shots.

    “But how am I supposed to shoot then if I’m passing to him?” says every Knick player besides Prigs and Chandler.

  21. thenamestsam

    Shumpert is shooting a lot more unassisted jumpers this season. That seems to be the most significant change in his offensive game from last year to this year. My humble solution would be to get him more assisted shots.

    Shumpert’s shot selection is mystifying. I mean at times he looks so utterly lacking in confidence that even if you get him attempts that would be assisted, he completely passes them up – I mean he had 3 or 4 opportunities last night where he noticeably passed up reasonable attempts to shoot or attack a mismatch. But then every once in a while he’ll take the sort of attempt you expect only from the really overconfident guys when he brings the ball up over half court backs off his man and takes a pull up jumper with like 20 on the clock and with 0 passes in the possession. It’s hard to reconcile those shots with the guy who turns down the open spot up looks sometimes, for me at least. He just looks really lost out there.

  22. johnno

    “Wasn’t that in the summer? You know, when JR was coming off knee surgery? And a weed suspension? And then he fucking sucked?”
    Yes (except that the outcry was before JR sucked) and Woodson said, when he is healthy, he’ll be given a chance to start because he’s a big part of what we do, and a lot of people went berserk, which I never understood (since Good JR is a much much better player than Shumpert) and, since then, people have talked about that as an example of how Woodson has “jerked Shumpert around” and shattered his confidence, which I also never understood.
    “I mean he had 3 or 4 opportunities last night where he noticeably passed up reasonable attempts to shoot or attack a mismatch.”
    Am I the only one who remembers, in the playoffs, David West guarding Shumpert (if you call sagging off of him about 8 feet guarding him) at the three point line and Shumpert holding the ball looking terrified to shoot and frantically looking for someone to pass to, and am I the only one who was screaming at the TV “Shoot the damn ball Shumpert!”?

  23. thenamestsam

    Am I the only one who remembers, in the playoffs, David West guarding Shumpert (if you call sagging off of him about 8 feet guarding him) at the three point line and Shumpert holding the ball looking terrified to shoot and frantically looking for someone to pass to, and am I the only one who was screaming at the TV “Shoot the damn ball Shumpert!”?

    I think everything Shump did in the playoffs (and pretty much last season for that matter) got sort of drowned out by how great he was in that elimination game. That game led to the perception that he was pretty great for the whole series, when in 4 of the 5 previous games he shot 4 for 11, 3 for 10, 0 for 6, and 2 for 10 (3 for 17 from 3 in the first 5 games), partially while having mismatched defenders hid on him. Obviously I’m cherry picking by showing only the bad games, but it’s definitely the case that what struggles he did have got a little bit masked by that last game.

    People love Shump (myself included) and really put a lot of hope in him, and consequently since he came in the league, and doubly since the ACL, every blip in a positive direction has been treated as a trend, while the downward blips have been mostly ignored. Bottom line is the guy has made zero progress since his rookie year (except I guess as a rebounder) and while like 6 months ago everyone was trying to figure out whether he was going to be making $8M or $10M a year on his next contract he looks more like a guy on his way out of the league via a few years at the very end of somebody’s bench to me these days.

  24. nicos

    As I recall he hurt his knee in the 0-6 game and was clearly still hurting in the 2-10 game though I could be mis-remembering. I don’t think it was crazy to think Shumpert was really trending up at the end of last season- in his last 26 regular season games his TS% was .588 and he was really good in the Boston series. He had a couple of bad games in the Indiana series but a couple of good ones too. Of course, the fact of the matter is that he’s stunk this year (though his +/- is really good- second only to Melo). I do think his defense gets underrated- he had some bad stretches early in the year but he’s so much better than any of the other guards (Prigioni included- he’s been a total sieve this year no matter hard he may appear to be trying) that despite his awful offense he’s often been better than the alternatives. That said, I think THJ’s defense has improved a bit in recent games and I’d be happy to see him (or JR) supplant Shump in the starting line-up.

  25. thenamestsam

    I don’t think it was crazy to think Shumpert was really trending up at the end of last season- in his last 26 regular season games his TS% was .588 and he was really good in the Boston series. He had a couple of bad games in the Indiana series but a couple of good ones too.

    I’m not saying it’s crazy. I’ve been guilty of it as well. But what you’re pointing out is exactly what I’m talking about. Sometimes 26 games of good play is just 26 games of good play, but for 3 years people have been taking every positive sign and drawing a trend line through it that eventually arrives at borderline all-star Iman Shumpert. If he plays bad for a few months and then good for a few months then the bad months were because of the knee and we should look at the good months as his new level. If he plays bad for a few playoff games and good for a few playoff games then the bad ones get mostly swept under the rug and we hear about Game 6 for the whole summer. He plays awful for 30 games and two good games to start the year and people start to throw around words like “resurgence”. He constantly gets the Woodson excuse both in terms of how he’s utilized and how he’s treated.

    I’m just saying I feel like at some point we’re all just sticking our heads in the sand on this one. For 3 years now every good game people have gone “Here comes Iman! Look out now!”, but every period of play above his established level has been offset by a period below the level. I defy you to look at his numbers, or his video, or whatever your preferred method and tell me that he’s a significantly better player than he was as a rookie.

  26. iyasin

    The good defensive performances by Chandler on Aldrige and Prigioni on Lillard were overshadowed by an absolute lack of D on Batum who flew in for 3 uncontested dunks and finished with 18 points lol. That was the problem with this game (besides the offense) and its the problem in a lot of games. A lot of times the Knicks play great defense on a possession, but the opposing offense finds a weak link and exploits it. Its back-breaking to expend that much energy on a defensive sequence just to have your opponent get an easy look. Someone misses their assignment. Like against the Blazers, Chandler and Prigs played awesome D, but whoever was guarding Batum and Wes Mathews was leaving them wide open!! So the good defense gets negated and ends up in a momentum sucking vortex that has contributed to destroying what life (however little) this season had.

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