2015-16 Recap: Knicks 94, Nuggets 110

I’d like to think that we can all agree on what the two biggest problems with this team are, as the season sputters like a 2 year-old hampster towards its eventual and merciful end. The talent at guard is nearly nonexistent, and the coaching has been about as effective as Don Draper is at being monogamous. The kids could use more run and a better coach, but still, I just don’t see Gallo or Grant as a viable NBA starter even with good coaching. The other players around the league at those positions are too damn good, specifically at point guard, where the Knicks get Dextered every game.

Good coaching would do wonders, though. Fisher wasn’t doing a terrible job. He wasn’t doing a particularly good job, but he wasn’t a complete disaster, especially considering the roster he was given, and he was fired at the end of a stretch of extremely difficult games against some of the league’s best teams. The entire coaching thing still perplexes me, and I wish I knew the real story. I admire the players for being so professional about the coaching change. It makes me think there was some rather large issues between the players and coach, because nobody seems to have taken it all that hard. Nobody has said anything particularly meaningful to the media one way or the other about that decision, and that decision was basically a public admittance that the season was over and they would blow this thing up and rebuild with free agency in the summer, in both coaching positions and roster.

Phil seems to go after people he’s comfortable with, and Fish and Rambis are old pals of his and part of “the team.” It’s why Vujacic was put on the bench instead of a more viable, younger guard with upside—he’s part of the Lakers club. I hope Phil will either come downstairs himself and coach, which I still think is a distinct possibility for next year, or that he will hire someone outside of his comfort zone like a Tom Thibodeau or *gasp* David Blatt. There are quite a few viable options out there for the next coach of the Knicks, but the Phil Jackson Circle of Assistants need not apply for the job.

I would talk more about the game, but come on. This team deserved to lose, they played with about a third of the intensity of an international friendly in soccer. They mailed in the game, so I’m mailing in writing about it, because I’ve churned out thousands of words over the last couple of weeks talking about inept and unenthusiastic Knicks performances that left us all with a bad taste in our mouths. It would be one thing if they were giving max effort, or if they were giving the young guys all a good chunk of minutes together for the sake of development, or if we were seeing improvement in some of the concepts (whatever those are right now, if they exist at all) of the defense and offense. But none of those things are happening. Melo is being played 40+ minutes a night in losing efforts, Afflalo is chucking fadeaways like a kid imitating MJ in 1996, and Zingis Khan is being put in and pulled out more erratically than…well, I’ll let you choose how to finish that joke.

The effort tonight was embarrassing for most stretches of the game. Denver was guilty of it as well, even though they won by 16. Both teams seemed to have agreed to turn the game into a scrimmage where only light jogging was allowed. It was like watching an over-50 league game at the Y, except people were being paid tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to yawn their way through a professional basketball game in front of a half-empty arena full of people staring at their phones.

I’m a night owl, and this West Coast trip suits me perfectly. One of the things I’ve always loved about basketball is how it’s usually on until 1 or 130 in the morning, sometimes later. I’m gonna be awake anyways, there might as well be basketball to watch. Or so my logic goes. But I have a feeling watching this next set of games isn’t going to be any less painful than watching tonight’s game was.

Here’s to hoping I’m wrong and it’s worth staying up late to see what happens out West.

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Erik Judd

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

32 thoughts to “2015-16 Recap: Knicks 94, Nuggets 110”

  1. Jerian got 7 rebounds in 20 minutes which is impressive for someone who was such a shitty rebounder in college.

    Galloway +1, so fuck all you haters that’s mathematic

  2. Not that we needed any more combination that Rambis is a total zero as a coach, but watching the Knicks completely mail this one in 10 games into his tenure was a pretty brutal reminder on that front. As Erik said, Fish was no great shakes, and their reaction to his firing certainly hasn’t given the impression that the team loved him dearly, but they really did seem to always play hard for him. Last night was a worse effort than just about any I remember from Fish’s tenure, and we’re still supposed to be in the new coach bounce phase.

    Also as a non-night owl myself I have to say that the Knicks sucking hard enough on west coast trips to allow for a lot of early TV shut-offs (last night I half watched the third quarter and turned it off before the fourth) is a treasured tradition.

  3. The Knicks defensive effort was so putrid last night, that there were several instances where Nuggets players would almost blow layups because they couldn’t believe how open they were.

    Grant’s performance was encouraging, getting to the line 6 times in 22 minutes and grabbing 7 rebounds. Please play this kid 30+ minutes and let’s see what we’ve got, there is absolutely no downside to doing that.

  4. Silver lining for us sucking so much is that we are guaranteed no Rambis next year.

  5. @4 yes the lane was open because Rambis thought it wise to keep a front court with no rim protection.

    The reason Melo ended up with 3 blocks last night is because he was often the last line of defense.

    The idiot refused to play Lopez or Porzingis to stop the constant rim forays

  6. Definitely no Rambis next year! I think that Phil is too much old to coach full time.
    Wouldn’t it have been nice to have had a healthy Wroten out there last night? Someone who wouldn’t have been overrun by the Nuggets and would have competed and caused them angst on their defensive end? I actually think that Wroten and Grant could turn into a pretty good backcourt tandem going forward with the one obvious caveat of an improvement in shooting.

  7. So Jackson puts together a team he thinks will be just barely competitive for the playoffs because he felt that the Knicks needed to be decent so that the top free agents would want to come here in the 2015 offseason, and it failed horribly. However, through that failure, the Knicks got Porzingis, which is awesome.

    So then Jackson put together another team that he thought would be just barely competitive for the playoffs because he felt that the Knicks needed to be decent so that the top free agents would want to come here in the 2016 offseason, and it, too, has failed horribly. And with no draft pick, there isn’t even a Porzingis reward for the losing.

    So what does he plan to do next? Try a different approach and actually properly rebuild the team for long term success, or sign a bunch of free agents in the pursuit of being just barely competitive for the playoffs so that the top free agents will want to come here in the 2017 offseason?

    As George Santayana once said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

  8. Is there a precedent for an interim coach getting fired after the gm expressly said he was going to finish out the season?

    Because Rambis would be a great precedent candidate

  9. Well, we’ve had ex-Lakers Fisher and Rambis fail miserably as coaches, how about Metta World Peace next?

    Oh wait, he’s still playing, damn…

  10. Phil has to fire Rambis. Melo played 39 minutes last night. THIRTY. NINE. MINUTES.

    Rambis is not protecting our investments, he’s not developing our young guys, and he’s losing. He cannot be allowed to continue his reign of terror.

  11. I feel really terrible for Dion Waiters right now, but also really terrible for objective basketball analysis because from here on out, Dion Waiters is going to be that guy who didn’t reach his potential as a basketball player because of personal circumstances.

    Why can’t the narrative stay in favor of “he just sucks?”

  12. To continue the OJ analogy, I feel like Rambis is driving that white Bronco and I have no idea what the hell he’s doing or where he’s going. It’s time for an uplifting quote:

    Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious by this son of York. Shakespeare Richard III
    Now is the Winter (Tex) of our discontent made glorious by this son of Latvia. Zanzibar KB.net

  13. Got great seats for $15 and went and saw this drubbing. FWIW, here’s what I saw:
    -Grant played hard and tried to get to the hole
    -On one play, O’Quinn got down the court first for an easy layup
    Those are the only positives. Other takeaways:
    -Jokic is for real and seemed to enjoy pushing KP around. KP settled for jumpers.
    -Kenneth Farried put more energy into an offensive rebound / putback with 7 seconds left than our entire team did all night.
    -My wife did not know who Walt Frazier was.
    -They still hate Melo in Denver. So, he is disliked at both altitude and sea level.
    -Calderon didn’t do a horrible job staying with Mudiay, or at least did the best that can be expected when a guy with a bald spot tries to stick with a teenager. I got the impression Mudiay wasn’t really trying.
    -Empty crowd was probably 1/2 Knicks fans. Coolest local jersey was an old school Alex English.

  14. FWIW, Jerian Grant has been playing and shooting better recently. If his 3p% wasn’t so atrocious on the year he’d actually be having a decent rookie year. He’s shooting .180 from 3, but shot .345 in college on 519 attempts. So I wouldn’t give up on him yet.

  15. I miss Scott Layden…and Isaiah…and Larry Brown…and Shandon Anderson…and Howard Eisley… :(

  16. What happened to those cool KP putback dunks?
    It seems like he doesn’t even attempt the offensive board anymore.
    Could it be that Rambis asks them to run back on Defense thus eliminating this aspect of his game?

  17. I saw Kristaps try for putbacks a few times last game. He ended up horribly out of position on defense, Kenneth Farieed didn’t always take advantage though. But KP was still trying.

  18. I feel like overall the count is down… Must be teams having tape and boxing out.

  19. It was a loss to Denver that got Fisher canned. Losses to Denver make Bargnani trade even worse. Losses to Denver make Dolan look bad. Losses to Denver make Dolan mad.

    Please welcome Interim Head Coach Jim Cleamons.

  20. Well this season has turned into a train wreck in a hurry. Toronto is so happy about that, uggh. Andrea, the gift that keeps on giving. No to any of the triangular coaches, except maybe Luke Walton, who we will probably look like we’re about to get before he bolts for the Lakers. I say get some better players and hire Thibs.

  21. @Brian

    Totally agree. And I chose ot read the Wroten contract as a positive sign that Jackson is willing to change. The problem is with 2 seasons down the drain and Dolan starting to throw his girth around already, and Melo talking about recruiting Rajon Rondo, I don’t think Phil Jackson has the clout anymore to go back and do a true rebuild. Melo has always had Dolan’s ear like all the Knicks’ second rate stars have had until the press has informed Dolan that they’re not stars anymore.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this summer Jackson just chooses to leave the Knicks and Mills resumes his post as Dolan’s shill.

    Anyway, it’s going to be an interesting summer, because it really feels like something has to give. Either Jackson wins Dolan’s ear, alienating Melo, or Melo wins Dolan’s ear, and Jackson either becomes a simple figurehead or moves on.

  22. Woj had some shit on twitter earlier about Melo outlasting Phil but I couldn’t bring myself to listen to it

  23. Melo will be with the Knicks longer than Jackson? Melo will be on the Knicks past the heat death of the universe.

  24. Melo will be with the Knicks longer than Jackson? Melo will be on the Knicks past the heat death of the universe.

    This must mean that Knicks will be the NBA’s final and infinite champion. Optimistic even in the apocalypse, how very Brian Cronin of you. It also explains that what once seemed like a walking Trumpian vanity plate has all along been a deep and tantalizing message about the ultimate superposition of NBA basketball in the cosmos.

    Stay Me7o!

  25. “Okay, so, we’re going to go to bed now. You…uhmm…I guess you can let yourself out whenever you feel like it. G’night!”

  26. And all his friends tell him, “Why aren’t you hanging out with other people? There’s all these people out there who want to be your friend, why are you continuing with this unhealthy relationship?” And he even says, “I don’t know why this isn’t working. It makes me so sad that it isn’t working. But I just can’t give up on it. I am going to make it work somehow, even if I have to ruin everyone’s life involved.”

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