2015-16 Recap: Knicks 108, Pistons 96

Well, that makes three games in a row I’ve decided to write about that the Knicks have won, which makes me a happy writer. I think everyone else on the Knickerblogger.net staff can agree that it’s a lot more fun to write about (and for all of you who read our ramblings, to read about) a win than a loss. I’d pat myself on the back for being a good luck charm, but the truth is… Oh, what am I saying, humility isn’t one of my strong suits, I’m patting myself on the back profusely. We all know my decision to cover this game is the reason the Knicks won, right?

No. Wrong. The reason the Knicks won this game is elementary, my dear: they shot the ball well. In their previous four losses the Knicks had shot 23-83 from 3, as if the team were imitating what a 3-point contest between Kobe and LeBron might look like. Tonight, they got their collective Steph Curry (or maybe Omri Casspi after seeing that game last night) on, going 8-16 from 3. But not just that, the Knicks shot 54.4% from the floor as a team, and that is quite the turnaround from their previous four efforts. For all of our talk of advanced analytics, +/- and WAR and all the other stats we love around here, basketball is really a pretty simple game. Put the fucking ball in the basket more times than the other team and you win.

I would be remiss not to discuss Melo’s superb all-around game, which has become a thing of relative consistency lately, and D-Will’s 4th quarter explosion for 16 points. And if I don’t talk about Kristaps for a paragraph I assume a lynch mob will be organized and I’ll have to board the entrances to my home tomorrow, but honestly, nobody had a bad game. Even the much-maligned Fisher (who was thrown under the bus by team executives in a New York Post article early on Tuesday as being a bad X’s & O’s coach, as if the entire fanbase wasn’t painfully aware of that already) coached a little differently, as I saw many of you noticed in the comments of the game thread. It was honestly a very good effort from every player, and the result was a 12-point win over a good team. Was really refreshing to see the team so dialed in after the last four losses, none of which were not winnable, save the Atlanta game where the Knicks gave up faster than Sam Hinkie when he sees a chance to improve his team in the present.

Kristaps only put up 10 points on 6 shot attempts and collected a Jose Calderonesque 2 rebounds in only 19 minutes of playing time, as perhaps Fisher heeded my warning to keep the kid the hell away from Drummond. The Knicks instead opted to play most of the game small, giving Lopez the bulk of the minutes at center and playing Melo at the 4. That was obviously a matchup decision, and God Bless Him, it worked out for Fish. Not that I think he suddenly knows what he’s doing, but every now and again the little house wrecker (my condolences, Matt Barnes) stumbles into a good decision. I still would have liked to see Zinger get on the floor for more than 19 minutes, but he has definitely started looking more and more exhausted lately and it’s good to give him a bit of a break. His poor play has been exaggerated a bit by fans because of our wildly enhanced expectations of him given the first month of the season, evidenced by the fact that he recently had stat lines of 23/13 and 16/13 during the losing streak, which is solid for any player, let alone a rookie.

The Knicks don’t play again until National Hangover Day against the Bulls, a day that I’m always interested to see how much effort NBA players can muster. You can usually tell who needed to call an Uber to get home that night and who watched the ball drop on television as they toasted the New Year with a glass of milk. ‘Til then, Knicks fans, enjoy the win and have a safe and Happy New Year’s.

To steal loosely from one of my favorite movies, Dead Poets Society, it’s okay to let your New Years be about something simple, like a champagne toast at midnight, or those stupid hats drunk women force everyone to wear to enforce a festive feeling of community, or the New Year’s resolutions we all make until we’re old enough to know that it’s a useless exercise to try and sync a major life change with a cultural clamoring to do so simply because our modern calendar marks one day as the end of this year and another as the beginning of the next.

But just don’t let your New Year’s be ordinary.

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Erik Judd

I'm a lifelong basketball fan whose interests range from some things to other things.

12 thoughts to “2015-16 Recap: Knicks 108, Pistons 96”

  1. I really liked the one guard lineup with Williams, Thomas and Melo playing along with Lopez and either Calderon or Galloway that was utilized in the 4th quarter. This gave the team a bigger, tougher, more athletic look to it and we excelled.

  2. Well, as Brian Cronin said to start the game thread yesterday, it was a winnable game.

    I liked the fact that Fisher mixed it up with his lineups. I also saw a burst of energy from the team. I guess that’s the rub for me. We don’t see the consistent effort out of the players and I can’t understand that. They can beat anyone if they play hard. They just don’t always play hard – especially on defense.

    I must add that I love the way Lance Thomas is playing. He’s committed to winning. It makes sense that Fisher has him in the lineup so much. It was nice to hear SVG praise him for his improvement.

    The next 6 games are ultra tough. 1-5 would be an accomplishment.

  3. 1. Great recap.
    2. Derrick Williams keeps teasing us with visions of the guy who was drafted second. If he is the player we saw last night in the fourth quarter, the Knicks are one of the four best teams in the East.
    3. Porzingis’ Dream Shake made me very happy.
    4. The game against Chicago is winnable. If the Knicks finish 2015 16-18, they are still on pace for about 38 wins. I still think that will be enough for the 8 seed, but that faith is starting to waiver.
    5. When Carmelo Anthony fills the stat sheet, he is a top ten player.
    6. Give Fisher credit for coming up with a defensive scheme that kept Drummond at bay on the PnR, even with Jackson getting past Calderon easily at the top. Melo was very active on defense and deflected at least two lobs. Lopez was great.

  4. You can usually tell who needed to call an Uber to get home that night and who watched the ball drop on television as they toasted the New Year with a glass of milk. ‘Til then, Knicks fans, enjoy the win and have a safe and Happy New Year’s.

    It’s just absolutely eerie how well the posters here understand the modern NBA basketball player.

  5. @8 Haha well I’m a (relatively) young man myself and I’ve been involved in basketball culture quite a long time, and it used to be in the 90s and early 2000s a much bigger party culture than it is now, but certainly a ton of NBA players (and young athletes in general) embrace the “lifestyles of the rich & famous.”

    It literally destroyed dozens of promising careers of players who could have been multiple All-Stars back in those days, and today it is much less catastrophic, but you still have guys like Michael Beasley (or Derrick Williams, who may or may not be having a resurgence) and a host of other top-rated prospects who sunk a little too deep into the bottle to remain at the top of their craft.

  6. It literally destroyed dozens of promising careers of players who could have been multiple All-Stars back in those days, and today it is much less catastrophic, but you still have guys like Michael Beasley (or Derrick Williams, who may or may not be having a resurgence) and a host of other top-rated prospects who sunk a little too deep into the bottle to remain at the top of their craft.

    Right, that’s where it becomes not about Cleanthony necessarily but about what makes “the greats” great. I mean, did Kristaps wake up this morning around 8 and go shoot a basketball? I like to wake up early and go surfing if I don’t have to work, so maybe a guy doesn’t shoot on an off day (though I think Jordan probably did.) What someone does for fun is telling. It’s like Bill and Monica, you know? You’d like to think the leader of the free world isn’t thinking with his pecker. Of course, he did get a lot done as president (no pun intended.) So good hard working people (again no pun) can do bad things or dumb things and pay a price. Not judging but still you’re representing NYC (or USA), guys. Big responsibility. As fans, we want to see good priorities. We do pay the freight.

    Erik, I’d be interested to know more thoughts on players that maximize potential (or the inverse). The how, why when… thanks.

  7. Considering the topic for an article this weekend given the news this morning. Would be an interesting topic to research.

  8. Solid recaps. A few other notable things:

    1. Probably RoLo’s best game of the year. Even aside from the blocks. His boxing out of Drummond was textbook — Drummond was visibly less enthusiastic about going for Oboards by the 4th. RoLo always has been one to box out rather than chase the ball itself (not that the two are mutually exclusive), which is reflected in his low rebounding totals and his team/teammates higher reb%s with him on the floor, but it was even more noticeable yesterday.

    2. Re: putting the ball in the hoop: I read somewhere today that the knicks, I think, are 29th or 30th in efg% on “wide open” shots. Even tho our guards are generally trash, that number is going to come up a bit, inevitably. So hopefully we have a few more splashy games in us like this one.

    3. Props to fish for letting a hot shooting Jose and Langston rock together, rather than Afflalo and Langson — Fish might have seen a bit too much of that Iso-Arron lately, and wisely let Arron run with the other guys a bit more. For once, a nice bit of lineup management.

    4. You guys tell me if you’ve noticed this: when OQuinn catches in the FT line area, he most often will throw the shot fake up, hesitate, then pass it out, or hold it and then shoot a scared shot. I feel like whenever he is more decisive — (i.e. shoots from there when he’s open, which is OFTEN, or drives if someone is up on him) — it goes in more! Could be just selective recall on my part. But I feel like that is pretty much a metaphor for NYK’s [mis]handling the Triangle in general. Read and REACT, with minimal thinking — if you catch at the line and someone’s too close, drive. If you’re open, and it’s your shot, shoot. If a cutter is cutting, hit them.

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