2015-16 Game Thread: Knicks vs. Pacers

The season is mercifully coming to an end tonight, at least for the dreary Knicks. The contest between the Knicks and Pacers is only really meaningful for the Indiana side. The Pacers have two games remaining, including tonight, and sit in a tie with the Pistons in the standings. The Pacers own the tie-breaker with Detroit, so they occupy the 7th seed, but there’s still room for things to fall apart. Obviously, the 7th seed is the more attractive position because it results in a date with the Raptors versus the 8th seed’s inevitable meeting with Lebron’s Cavaliers. The Pacers play the Knicks and Milwaukee, while the Pistons play Miami and the Cavs, although the Cavs have announced that they’ll be resting all their key players in the season’s final game. You have to wonder if they’ll actually do that if the 7th and 8th seeds are still up in the air after tonight. You’d like to think they’d honor the 82 games by playing their regulars part of the time, but it doesn’t seem like that’s the case. Anyway, the Pacers ought to be able to sweep the remaining two games, which is where the sad Knickerbockers come into play.

There’s not much to say about tonight’s contest. The young guys will see more time and hopefully we’ll be treated to the emergence of Jerian Grant as a viable lead guard. That’s a nice story. Derrick Williams has been carrying water for the depleted Knicks for some weeks now, and that’s been fun. Carmelo Anthony, amidst persistent speculation about his presence in New York beyond tonight, is questionable to finish out the string. No matter how many times Melo has said he’s committed to New York, the idea that he may ask for a trade will not die. It’s understandable, but it has colored the season in a particularly cynical way throughout.

A lot of stories are dragging along behind the Knicks as the season comes to an end, like so many tin cans on the fender of an old car. Will Phil wiggle out of his contract to go to LA? Will Melo demand a trade? Will the Knicks do anything worthwhile in free agency? And, my personal favorite, will Kurt Rambis be the head coach, or will Phil Jackson look outside the Triangle community for a new leader.

I expect Phil Jackson to be here next year. I expect Carmelo Anthony to be here next year. I expect the Knicks will make solid, but unspectacular moves in free agency to shore up the guard position. I expect Kurt Rambis will be on the coaching staff, but the big question remains….will the Knicks look to a coach with a better profile to lead the way? I’m much in favor of Tom Thibodeau as a coach. I haven’t always felt that way, but I think the Knicks are in need of some toughness. None of the players on the current roster bring a level of toughness required to compete at a high level every night. There are no powerful leaders on the floor. Melo isn’t that sort of guy. Porzingis could be, but he’s still a kid. RoLo has some intensity, but lacks the profile to really be taken seriously in that regard. The Knicks may or may not be able to add a player with that level of toughness in the offseason, but they can add the toughest coach in the business. Thibodeau is sure to bring a very hard edge with him, which New York loves and desperately wants. The “zen” in Phil Jackson’s system requires controlled aggression and a simmering intensity that bridges “being in the flow” and “dominating an opponent.” The team personality must be tough and unified.

I don’t know any more than anyone else what’s going to happen. If anyone tells you they know what the Knicks are going to do, they’re hustling you. There’s going to be a lot of cynical speculation because that’s what the Knicks mediasphere is fueled by, but there’s just as much room for optimism as there is cynicism. Some things went very right this season. I won’t recount them here, but the Knicks made real progress in a number of areas, despite the disappointing collapse and odd firing of Derek Fisher.

For tonight, anyway, the way to watch the Knicks is to cheer on the potential to be Pacer spoilers. Watching some of the less publicized members of the team get some spin is fun, but beating the Pacers and thrusting them into a matchup with Cleveland would be sweet….as unlikely as it is.

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83 thoughts to “2015-16 Game Thread: Knicks vs. Pacers”

  1. Before the season, I predicted 38 wins and the 8th playoff spot. Even if the Knicks had gotten to 38 wins, it still would have been insufficient to land the last playoff spot.

    The first half of the season was promising. The second half of the season was 2014-15 redux.

  2. Hooray, this lame and boring season is just about over!

    Almost halfway through the Phil Jackson neither-fish-nor-fowl half-ass rebuild basketball purgatory era. 2017 draft is right around the corner! Another year of the MMM contract gone, only three more years left!

    Things are looking… Well, not exactly “up,” but, uh… I got nothin’.

  3. What do you guys think of Jeff Hornacek as a coach? He looked like an up and coming star for a time in Phoenix.

  4. Seth Partnow was tweeting out some info about what he’s calling grab and go buckets. He defines it as a player’s own FG makes or assists in SSOL following a player getting a defensive rebound. Langston Galloway was 16th in the NBA, and the Knicks were twice as likely to have a fast break bucket when Langston gets a D rebound. I think this highlights how it’s more the players than the system that are keeping us from having a more “modern” offense. The system doesn’t stop the Knicks from getting SSOL chances when Langston gets the ball, and I doubt he’s creating them in spite of the system because he’s such a dynamic player-its just the other guys are limited by their skill sets

  5. Yeah, the whole modern offense argument to me is extremely weak. It’s not the triangle’s fault we played Seraphin over O’Quinn, or that a 34 year old Jose Calderon isn’t the player he used to be, or that Melo stepped on that ref’s foot against Boston, or that our roster sucks. You can blame the triangle for Kurt Rambis, but it’s not a bad system. The players are just bad.

  6. how is there not a knickerblogger tradition of gamethreading all meaningless 82s as if they were the ECF finals? if this thread isn’t 200 comments minimum this season is a failure.

  7. How did we do last year?

    Careful research puts last year’s total at a pathetic 60. No wonder we lost the lottery.

    Any comments about the Mark Jackson rumors?

    Our GM is pretty self actualized. He would never hire Mark Jackson for the same reason he would never hire Phil Weber.

  8. I’ll try to keep it positive here on the last night of the season and say that the first half of this season was near the top of the funnest basketball we’ve had here in the past 15 years, maybe not as good as Linsanity, the best runs of that 54 win team, or the awesome Amare stretch, but pretty darn good. When this season went off the rails, it went off really hard, but there was some extremely fun parts of this season. That’s what I’ll try to take away from it at least for today. Tomorrow we can get back to agonizing about the future.

  9. #9/200. Any comments about the Mark Jackson rumors?

    Jackson’s people are saying that there is no truth to the rumors and the Knicks haven’t reached out according to what is floating around on Twitter.

    Disappointing end to the season, so hopefully we can close it out on a somewhat positive note (because beating the Pacers usually makes you feel slightly better). Weird season though. I guess ultimately the teams records is about where a lot of people thought it would finish. I think it would have been a lot less disappointing if the wins were a bit more evenly spread rather than great start followed by weeks of losses. Heck, old mate Fish might even still have his job if not for the long losing streaks.

    I guess the upside for next year is we are going into the offseason with a significantly better foundation than last year.

  10. Well, Mark Jackson thinks Steph Curry is “hurting basketball,” so I think he’s probably goink to be a serious candidate.

  11. Also, do the Knicks be dicks and give Langston a DNP to keep his qualifying offer at a minimum? Apparently he is 2 minutes away from having it tripled.

  12. Oh and on the Mark Jackson front I find it a little hard to believe that a guy as seemingly obsessed with team culture would hire a guy like Jackson (or Blatt for that matter) who was so reviled by so many of the people he worked with at his last job. It doesn’t seem like either of those guys would be in his wheelhouse.

  13. Also, do the Knicks be dicks and give Langston a DNP to keep his qualifying offer at a minimum? Apparently he is 2 minutes away from having it tripled.

    No they’ll play him, and it’s to their credit that he’s played a lot of minutes over the last 4 games. If he’d averaged 20-22 over the final 5 as he did the previous 5 he would have missed the 2K bogey.

  14. Seth Curry has to opt out of that contract, no? I’d offer him the Afflalo same contract we gave Afflalo and commit to him as my starter at point guard. I hope Phil Jackson thinks he’s “triangle appropriate” because that could be a potential steal. I don’t like how much Seth moves forward on his jumper and his release is nowhere near as quick as his brother’s, but Seth Curry has been a good basketball player at Duke, in the D League, and for the Kings. He deserves a shot to be on a team that wants him and will give him 20-30 minutes a night. I hope he comes to the Knicks and becomes a key player for us just so George Karl can feel like an ass.

  15. Seth Curry has to opt out of that contract, no?

    Guy has been incredible, though he plays D like Hubert Davis. The most interesting part about this offseason is how far down the ladders all this cap space falls. Hard to guess the $$ available for…Seth Curry, Tyler Johnson, Langston Galloway, Mo Harkless, Cole Olajuwons of the world

  16. just so George Karl can feel like an ass.

    George Karl can hardly be bothered to watch the Kings games at the moment, and he’s the damn coach! I doubt he tunes in to too many Knicks games next year from whatever beach he’s on.

  17. If you paid me 6.5 million dollars to do nothing next year I think I’d feel great all the time

  18. So the NBA is about to put ads on the jerseys.

    But when the lockout comes – “We have no money, guys! Seriously!”

  19. If you’re reading this Jimmy D I am available and would be at worst the second best GM you’ve hired in over a decade

  20. while everyone is fawning over a certain temporarily reformed dickhead in LA this week, the real basketball fans are watching what could well be the final NBA game for the white la bamba. we see you Lou!

  21. Guy has been incredible, though he plays D like Hubert Davis. The most interesting part about this offseason is how far down the ladders all this cap space falls. Hard to guess the $$ available for…Seth Curry, Tyler Johnson, Langston Galloway, Mo Harkless, Cole Olajuwons of the world

    My guess is that, as usual, the mid-level guys get overpaid like crazy, but the low level guys still end up signing super cheap contracts. There was a lot of money available last year and there were still plenty of good players who signed for $2 million or less.

  22. No Me7o tonight

    I’m honestly surprised by that. Did y’all see his weird comments about not having fan appreciation night on the last home game of the season anymore? Odd logic by him there.

  23. while everyone is fawning over a certain temporarily reformed dickhead in LA this week, the real basketball fans are watching what could well be the final NBA game for the white la bamba. we see you Lou!

    I dunno, continuity is important, so he might be re-signed.

  24. “Okay, Arron, we benched you so that you would be pissed and want to leave and you’re kind of a shitty player now, but dammit, continuity is so annoying, so would you return if we gave you a raise?”

  25. I really can’t believe that they didn’t at least try to get second round picks for Afflalo and D-Will.

  26. So Zach Lowe’s most recent podcast has Mindy Kaling as the interviewee and it was…not good. Lowe should really just stick to basketball people. Mindy Kaling is awesome and I’d love to meet her, but I listen to the Lowe Post for good basketball discussions…not to hear some backstage stories about The Office or The Mindy Project.

    Not that this really has any place in this thread, and I normally wouldn’t even bother to write this, but we’re certainly not going to hit 200 posts in this game thread by actually discussing this game.

  27. I can believe that the Knicks, like, contacted Mark Jackson. But I think more so that they could honestly say they looked into other options before coming to the eventual (not predestined, how dare you say predestined!) conclusion that Rambis was the man.

  28. “Thibs is good and all, but after we looked into everyone, Rambis really stood out as being the guy that we picked before we started interviewing people.”

  29. I love, by the way, that Jackson has soured expectations so badly that I would be pumped about them hiring, like, say, Kevin McHale.

  30. I can believe that the Knicks, like, contacted Mark Jackson. But I think more so that they could honestly say they looked into other options before coming to the eventual (not predestined, how dare you say predestined!) conclusion that Rambis was the man.

    I don’t believe it. The guy that broke that story is basically the basketball anti-Christ. He’s never right about anything….even by accident.

  31. So Zach Lowe’s most recent podcast has Mindy Kaling as the interviewee and it was…not good.

    Did you listen to the Lowe/Hinkie podcast just before the Hinkiefesto? I found it so odd that Hinkie chose to do that podcast on the literal precipice of his exodus after being so publicity-reticent for so long, and also odd that when Lowe subsequently did a post-mortem, he never mentioned how strange that choice was. I get that maybe Hinkie wanted to do a public defense/future job interview but it did.not.work.

    Knicks are winning.

  32. I don’t believe it. The guy that broke that story is basically the basketball anti-Christ. He’s never right about anything….even by accident.

    There is no way this happened. Mark Jackson is not a Phil kinda guy.

    Edit: And I don’t believe Phil is the type to interview people he’d never hire so he can say he did.

  33. I think all the coaching rumors about the Knicks amount to nothing. Even the ones about Rambis.

    Wow, Mets up 1-0.

  34. just speaking tactically, i think we waited a little too long to start shooting 72% from the field.

  35. I don’t believe it. The guy that broke that story is basically the basketball anti-Christ. He’s never right about anything….even by accident.

    Oh, I could easily believe it is BS, as well. Just saying that I could believe them contacting him. Jackson is getting a lot of pressure to give other coaches a shot, so it wouldn’t shock me to see him contact other coaches.

  36. Will Galloway be tendered at, what, $2.7m?

    yes, i think it is close to certain he gets the $2.7m qualifying offer.

  37. It took 82 games but we’ve finally figured out who to play except for Afflalo who still sucks

  38. Afflalo with the buzzer beater.

    I’m not excited at all about this Knicks’ roster.

  39. Did you listen to the Lowe/Hinkie podcast just before the Hinkiefesto? I found it so odd that Hinkie chose to do that podcast on the literal precipice of his exodus after being so publicity-reticent for so long, and also odd that when Lowe subsequently did a post-mortem, he never mentioned how strange that choice was. I get that maybe Hinkie wanted to do a public defense/future job interview but it did.not.work.

    Yeah, it was definitely strange. He basically spent the entire interview saying “I dunno.” Which, I actually liked. I appreciate when someone who’s expected to have all the answers is truthful about not actually having them. Though he did go off the rails at times with his hypotheticals.

  40. I thought Hinkie failed to explain that the plan wasn’t to suck for three years, it was to be willing to suck for three years.

    I wonder what Melo and KP talk about on the bench

  41. Hopefully about how awesome it would be for LeBron to play with Melo and how Kyrie Irving would elevate KPs game or something like that.

  42. This could be Lou’s last game in the NBA-we could all be witness

    post #26 says you are a derivative hack you hinkie lover

  43. It’s nice to see Grant give them an awesome game now. Give us something to look forward to next season.

  44. Those 4 turnovers are too many for 21 minutes of action, but I’m pleased with his performance for sure.

  45. quinn buckner knows what he’s going to say when he starts a sentence maybe 10-15% of the time.

  46. Tactically, we should go back to shooting 70% from the field and we’ll do better

    DRed for coach/GM 2017

  47. since i have you all here, let me say that if Pop keeps playing kevin martin into the playoffs someone should do a dna check

  48. Didn’t watch any of the game tonight cause there is a real good Yankees-Blue Jays game going on at the same time but wanted to say thanks as always to all my fellow Knickerblogger commenters for another fun season on this site. The team might be beyond annoying and frustrating to watch but this site and mainly the people who comment here make it alot easier to go thru a typical Knicks crappy season.

    Things will die down over the next couple of months here but certainly will be very interesting and lively come July. For now enjoy the NBA playoffs and the Yankees/Mets. Thanks again, love this site!!

  49. I’d be watching this game later on league pass just to see Grant play for nearly forty minutes.. I saw the box score

  50. Losing 50 games is better than losing 60 games.

    This is true, but man, while I know there’s no real difference between losing 50 games and losing 49 games, boy did I want them to somehow avoid losing 50. That just sounds so pathetic.

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