2009 Game Thread/Preview Knicks vs. Suns

New York (16-24) hosts Phoenix (23-16).  Phoenix won the last meeting 111-103 in a game that featured a slow start from New York which the team could not overcome.  New York’s 43.8 eFG% that game was well below the team’s season average of 49.4%   Furthermore, Shaquille O’Neal had a bit of a break out game against New York scoring 23 points with 12 boards.  Of course against the New York front line Joakim Noah looks like Bill Walton (To the David Lee fan boys: That is not a slight against David Lee.  David Lee is awesome. Please stop sending me hate mail.)

New York Knicks-Offense 97 105.8 49.4 15.6 23.9 20.6
Rank 2 20 15 17 28 27
Phoenix Suns-Defense 93.4





Rank 9





New York Knicks-Defense 97 109.2 51.6 15.1 27.8 20
Rank 2 22 26 18 21 3
Phoenix Suns-Offense 93.4



17.3 25.5


Rank 9



28 20


Red indicates weaknesses New York should try to exploit.  Green indicates strengths the New York should protect against.

What to watch for: High percentage shots.  A few weeks ago I promised to dedicate at least one of the “what to watch fors” to defense.  I’ve changed my position after doing some research for New York’s mid season report (coming soon).  I found New York’s defense is actually pretty consistent (nearly always bad) from game to game.  The big gap between wins and losses is found in New York’s eFG%.  Details to come in the mid season report, but long story short:  New York wins when the shoot well from the floor.  New York could have an efficient offensive performance given Phoenix’s poor defensive efficiency (109.7, 26th), poor forced turnover rate (13.7, 29th), and poor offensive rebounding percentage (28%, 22nd).  Phoenix’s front line does not rotate well on defense, so the high pick and roll along with good ball movement should produce great results.  Lee andJJ should also look to secure offensive rebounds for second chance points.  Also, it would not hurt to shoot better than 5-37 (13.5%) on three pointers.

What to watch for 2: Nash vs. Duhon.  Duhon is still struggling with back pain so it will be interesting to see how well he keeps up with the ever mobile Steve Nash.  If Duhon can’t be effective against Nash, it will really expose New York’s lack of depth at the point position. 

What to watch for 3: Phoenix’s most efficient interior scorers Stoudamire (55.6 eFG%) and O’Neal (59.4 eFG%) are somewhat foul prone (3.2 and 4.1 fouls per 36 minutes respectively).  New York should try to get either of these players into foul trouble with drives to the lane.  With Stoudamire and O’Neal on the bench, New York’s interior defense becomes a bit easier.  Furthermore, Shaq still can’t defend the high pick and roll well.  New York should look to exploit this weakness.

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Thomas B.

@Don't bother; I don't tweet