2015-2016 Game Thread: Knicks vs. Pistons

We’re 4 games into the 10-game stretch of death I referenced the last time I wrote a game recap, and it has gone about as badly as could be expected. I honestly thought the home game against Orlando was a winnable one, and though the Knicks played the Hawks well for about 20 minutes, they ended up getting landslided in the tradition of Fleetwood Mac in that game. They made a nice run in Boston to make it a sweat for the Celtics, but missed some open shots in the last few minutes that could have made it a winnable game. Honestly, the Knicks have looked mostly competitive against the difficult schedule, but haven’t been playing well enough in the last 6 minutes of games to get a win out of this tougher-than-a-single-mom stretch.

Things won’t be getting any easier after tonight’s home game against the Pistons, and the Knicks have to take advantage of a home game (though they are a paltry 7-8 at MSG thus far this season) against a beatable Pistons team. After roughly 30 games, the Eastern standings are the definition of a clusterfuck. It literally defies reality to look at it. Our opponent tonight, currently 10th in the East, is 2 GAMES out of the 2 seed. What? Seriously, go take a look at the standings. It doesn’t even look real.

Kristaps needs to be kept the hell away from Andre Drummond, I know that for sure. Zinger has actually played pretty well lately notwithstanding the Atlanta debacle, and Melo has really been rounding into form, but Afflalo is smack in the middle of the feared-but-expected regression towards the mean. Aaron is the type of player who loops in and out of confidence, but he tends to not know when he should stop. He has really hurt the team these past 4 games, posting a combined +/- of -27 and a TS% of .339 over the last four games. Compare that with his .705 TS% during the 4-game winning streak and you can see what has changed.

Yes, the bench was largely responsible for turning small leads for opponents into big leads before the starters came back, but the regression of Afflalo has had as much to do with the Knicks’ losing streak as anything else. The problem is that he will continue to take bad shots and ISO fadeaways even when he isn’t shooting well, and his misses effectively become turnovers. I suppose that could be argued of any miss, but when the offense stalls on a player who is not shooting well and is expected to be one of the top scoring threats, it really hurts spacing and the ability of the Knicks to run their offensive sets effectively. A potent Afflalo changes the game for the Knicks, and without him being a threat, teams can focus their efforts on Melo and Kristaps and make it harder on everyone.

Not to put all of this on Aaron. Nobody can shoot lately. Over the last four losses, the Knicks have shot 23-83 from 3. That’s 27.7%, folks. In the modern league, that kind of abysmal shooting isn’t going to help you beat anybody, much less the very good competition the Knicks have played lately. Shooting is the kind of thing that comes and goes for every team (except maybe the Warriors, who may have been sent by The Cosmos to ruin LeBron’s hopes and dreams of winning a title for Cleveland for some sort of Karmic slight I’m not aware of since I thought we had all gotten over The Decision), and I expect the Knicks to begin shooting better soon. But maybe not against Detroit, who is 7th in the league in opponent 3PT% at .331. However, I’ll bet you didn’t realize that the Knicks are currently ranked first in that category, a shade above the transcendent Warriors at .306. Part of that is their super-conservative defensive scheme which looks to keep shooters off the 3-point line, but the Knicks do a great job defending the 3, obviously.

Detroit is a good team, as is every team the Knicks have and will play during this stretch, but the Knicks have to win this game at home to salvage anything out of this 10-game stretch of schedule brutality. Every team goes through these stretches and it can make or break the season. The Knicks look right on the cusp–they either find a way to win 3 of these next 6 games, or they may slip too far out of the playoff picture to make a genuine run at it in the second half. Let’s hope our boys are ready to play (and make a damn 3 or two) tonight.

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Erik Judd

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

81 thoughts to “2015-2016 Game Thread: Knicks vs. Pistons”

  1. This is definitely one of the more theoretically winnable games. It sure would be nice to get a win.

  2. All I really want is for Porzingis to break out of his funk. I’d rather the Knicks lose, but Porzingis has a great game than the Knicks win but Porzingis has another blah game. Of course the ideal scenario is Knicks win and Porzingis looks like the superstar we all envisioned in November.

  3. When all is said and done, who do you think will have the better career, Andre Drummond or Ben Wallace?

  4. KP looking great. Hopefully Fisher won’t bench him.

    Spoiler alert!!

    Porzingis will not play 48 minutes tonight

  5. Lopez looks possessed tonight.

    You’re right about Jose shooting. I just wish he would do it more often.

  6. At least we’re close at the end of the quarter. We’re not good enough to overcome bad first quarters most times.

  7. At the end of one, Calderon leads the Knicks with 8 pts. (3/4), while Afflalo is scoreless (0/3). Lopez looked really good vs. Drummond.

  8. If you’d told me Drummond had two points and two rebounds after a quarter I’d have guessed the Knicks would have the lead

  9. I’ve said it before, but Calderon could be a very solid combo guard off the bench for a playoff team. Sure, he can’t defend, but he’s not the only Knick guard who struggles with that.

  10. I’ve said it before, but Calderon could be a very solid combo guard off the bench for a playoff team

    That spells deadline deal.

  11. Where’s Jowles? His precious Drummond (more like Bummond!) Is getting outrebounded by a d league combo guard

  12. O’Quinn is a true feast or famine guy, against the Celtics he was horrid, tonight he’s the man

  13. What’s that thing that Grant just did? Where he dribbled the basketball and moved toward the basket with good speed? He missed the shot, but I liked it nonetheless.

  14. Kahnzy, Grant has looked very good tonight except for his continued poor shooting. I think he’s still struggling with the speed and athleticism of the NBA. Hopefully the game will begin to slow down for him.

  15. Grant looked terrible out there. He needs time in Westchester.

    He just needs to develop that floater.

  16. Porzingis is a dreadful perimeter defender so far, even for a center. Perplexing because of his relative athleticism.

  17. He has the deer in the headlights look. A few games in the dleague would help him.

    Porzingis? Maybe.

  18. Porzingis? Maybe.

    Yeah, but you should also notice how Porzingis spaces this floor with his midrange game and sets great screens on Melo Assists and provides great help defense on pick-and-pop elbow jumpers. Of course, you won’t see that in his 51.1% TS, but obviously you doesn’t watch the games.

  19. I’ve come to the conclusion Robin Lopez can score with his hook shot but he should never handle the ball in an offensive set. He really can’t dish well and that’s a major flaw in the triangle. Right now he’s a big part of the problem.

  20. It’s nice when we resemble an actual NBA basketball team. It’s painfully inconsistent, but I’ll enjoy it when I can.

  21. Decisions by Phil that we all doubted on display:

    1. Resigning Lance

    2. Signing Williams

    3. Yes. Resigning Melo. He’s playing great all around games lately.

    4. Signing RoLo and O’quinn

  22. @68. I didn’t doubt all of those. Only #3. I’ll admit that I was hoping that Melo would be traded to Chicago, though.

  23. Anyone else get the feeling that Fisher isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, but will doggedly try to learn and effort his way out of things? Tonight, he kept a few guys in the game when hot, we played a ton of PNR, played Galloway as first guard off the bench, and didn’t play Seraphin and Vujacic.

    Also, a lot less big man at the top of the 3 on every play…

  24. reckon Phil txt Rambis and then he told Fisher to put Lance on Caldwell-Pope. Melo on PF and DW on SF. There are times when DW plays well, Fisher yanks him out, not this time.

  25. It seems pretty simple- The Knicks can compete with any team that can’t/won’t pressure their guards. The Pistons let the Knicks guards go pretty much wherever they wanted to and because of that the offense looked great.
    Also, very interesting to see Thomas at the two for extended minutes down the stretch- not something you can do against ball pressure but it’ll be interesting to see Fisher tries it again.

  26. It seems pretty simple- The Knicks can compete with any team that can’t/won’t pressure their guards. The Pistons let the Knicks guards go pretty much wherever they wanted to and because of that the offense looked great.

    Totally agree, although i think we made a much more concerted effort to get into the offense much earlier in this game.

    Overall it seemed like maybe the Pistons had a night off in NYC last night. Drummond in particular. Man, he must have gotten blocked 5 times.

    Meanwhile, something must be seriously wrong with Kyle Korber — 1 for his last 23 from 3 point range.

  27. The Pistons are better than us, but not by so much that we shouldn’t have a good chance to beat them at home. This was a nice win.

  28. DRed, I totally agree that the one guard lineup with Williams, Thomas, Melo and Lopez was dynamic and successful. I hope that we see a lot more of it.

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