Not-So-Quick Recap: Knicks 84, Cavaliers 90

Sorry for the lack of a game thread tonight, folks. I had left my apartment around 5:00 PM, and I thought that was too early to presume no one else was handling the game thread. In the future, I’ll just schedule a game thread before I go to go up about a half hour before the game and if someone else wants to do a more in-depth one, they can just replace mine before it posts (and as I said in the comments, I checked on my phone during intermission at a musical and I saw the Knicks were up so I didn’t want to jinx them by starting a game thread then. I see that that did not matter in the end).

Now that I’ve watched the replay of the game, it was an interesting game. Probably the biggest thing I will take from the game is the same thing that I was going to say before the game, which is that the Knicks are now at a point where they can hang with pretty much any team. They’re not really good enough to win a lot, but they’re hanging in there and hanging in there is a sign of a team who is good enough to be around the fringes of the playoffs (the 2013-14 team that won 37 games was a perfect example of that sort of fringe team who could hang with good teams – just not typically win the games in the end) and that is A. a lot more fun to watch than a team that has no chance against any half-decent team but more importantly, B. it is great experience for Zinger, who is really the main reason to watch this team this year, to see how far he can go and to continue to be impressed by how far he has already come in his short NBA career (think about it, the dude is specifically reversing what he did in Europe! Who does that? Who takes his weaknesses as a pre-NBA player and makes them his strengths as an NBA player in year one?! That’s ludicrous! That’s outstanding!).

I’ve said before that Lance Thomas is sort of oddly the bellwether of this team, in that if he has a good game, the Knicks can beat good teams. When he doesn’t, like tonight, well, the Knicks just don’t have enough guys. You can credit the Cavaliers defense in the fourth quarter, and there is something to be said for that, but the fourth quarter offensive collapse seemed to be more about poor execution by the Knicks than great defense by the Cavaliers. Lebron James scored 12 points in the fourth. That’s impressive. But it’s more impressive when you know that the entire Knicks team scored…12 points in the fourth. Dang.

Carmelo Anthony was electric through three quarters, probably playing his best game of the season, but for whatever reason, it wasn’t working in the fourth (again, Lebron’s strong defense was a help). Zinger had a decent game, as did Arron Afflalo.

Langston Galloway sadly had perhaps his worst game of the season. 3-9 from the field and some weak defense.

I never quite got the Kevin Seraphim signing and now it looks like the Knicks are even shrugging their shoulders with him. “Eh, we gave him a shot and now he’s done.”

The Knicks get the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday and Anthony Davis continues to be day-to-day with a sore hip. The Pelicans are playing so poorly that the game should be a winnable one whether he plays or not. They host Charlotte on Tuesday in the hopes of getting revenge on them before embarking on a really tough stretch of games for the rest of November (two games against Houston, two against Miami and one against OKC, sandwiched around one against the surprisingly not that bad Orlando Magic – heck, right now, Orlando is outperforming Houston). So it’d be nice to get to .500 before that stretch of games to close out the month.

52 replies on “Not-So-Quick Recap: Knicks 84, Cavaliers 90”

Knicks have something like 26 points in the last two fourth quarters combined.

Watch film fisher and fix it please.

Run melo/zinger pnr for 10 mins straight

A true championship contender grinded their way to victory against a spunky knicks team thats still learning how to play together at the end of games. Finding this end of game formula may take a little more than 10 games, it seems. Nothing to worry too much about until we start losing these type of games to Philadelphia or some other crappy team.

It’s good to see Galloway get some time with the 1st unit, but I want Fish to start giving Porzingis time with the second unit. Throw him out there where he can be the focal point of an offense and let him work on his moves there. He gave Kevin Love a great move last night, and that’s the sort of stuff that will eventually make him unguardable. The one thing about Porzingis’ style is that his game (post moves and mid range shooting) leads me to think he’ll be more volume than efficient on that end unless he’s a generational offensive talent. Still I’d like to see him get some looks against opposing 2nd units. He’s so low on the pecking order in the first unit that it looks like he rushes his shot instead of being patient with it.

All I know is that Kevin Love is not much better than David Lee these days. Cleveland will not win a ring with this guy looking and playing weirdly small.

Amazing that Porzingis is shooting pretty poorly overall, but somehow it looks like he is playing great for a rookie.

One dunk per game keeps the critics away…

Hopefully last night was a sign that Melo is getting his legs back under him. Hopefully Afflalo will follow suit shortly. Afflalo to me is akin to what Cespedes was for the Mets. Not a dominant player, but his presence locks guys into roles/spots in the rotation that they are most effective in, in principle only because Cespedes is much better at his sport than Afflalo is at his. Once he has his legs and is consistently scoring 15 a game (something he’s more than capable of doing), I think the 4th quarter offense will be better. Good enough to pull out games like last night. It’s a struggle to remember that 3 big pieces of the offense still working their way back into rhythm. I think the team is gonna be fine on offense once Calderon, Afflalo, and Melo are comfortable again on the court. As I said last night, I don’t really agree with taking Vuj completely out of the rotation, and nor do I like Amundson cutting into Oaq’s minutes. I don’t know what’s going on with the latter of the 2. As a matter of fact, when Seraphin returned he also cut into Oaq’s minutes. Is Fish still experimenting? If so, he should already know that until Seraphin proves otherwise in practice, Oaq’s best role is backup C/PF. When he was getting 20 mpg in that role, the team played better.

I meant to say that Oaq’s best role is that of the primary backup C/PF. He and Williams make a nice C/PF tandem on that 2nd unit.

Was at the game last night. Observations:
LeBron James is pretty good.
Mo Williams becomes Chris Paul when he plays us (Delly was killing it for a while too…our issues with bench-level PGs have carried over from last year. What’s next, Jarrett Jack going for 40? Andre Miller for 30?)

I was pissed that Fisher played KP so few minutes in the 2nd half, despite him not being in foul trouble. He should be given as many opportunities to close out close games as possible. I see no purpose in having Lou in the game and KP on the bench in crunch time.

We obviously depend very heavily on Galloway hitting his shot. If that’s not happening, there doesn’t seem to be anyone to pick up that slack.

Weirdly, I wasn’t that upset with the loss. At the end of the day, the game came down to Melo vs. LeBron. We’re losing that battle most of the time.

Re: Love — I said last night that I think that he’s the most overrated player in the league. Here’s what I think has happened — he came into the league as strong as an ox and was able to push people around with his lower body. He’s since lost about 40 pounds and he’s nowhere near as strong as he once was, but he’s not the slightest bit quicker, more agile or more athletic. His mentality has also changed. When he came into the league, he said that modeled his game after Wes Unseld — and he had the body to pull it off. This off-season he said that he wanted to play small forward because he lost more weight, but his game doesn’t fit that role.

Totes, I agree that Melo is looking very spry and close to fully recovered from his knee surgery. If Fisher really wanted to do everything possible to win that game, he would have played Melo 42 minutes, like Woodson surely would have. By limiting him to 36 min, he’s thinking long term.

Love’s been playing quite well this season. The Cavs are 8-1, and he’s been a significant part of that, and he had 6 offensive rebounds last night, which is good for a guy who is weak and slow. I’m not sure the Cavs will ever use him the way Minny did on offense, but he’s been playing a lot better this season than he did last year.

Mudiay continues to post bizarre numbers, last night:

1-10, 2 points, 11 assists, 2 blocks, 2 steals, 9 turnovers

Hard to figure what this guy will become, I do know that his shooting has always been a concern (didn’t he shoot like 60% FT in China?) and that is obviously something that needs to improve, a lot.

Marcus Smart in Boston has the same issue, his TS% last year was an abysmal 49%, and this year it’s 45%. This is the guy that’s supposed to be major trade bait for Ainge, if I’m another GM, I ain’t biting.

@10

Good points. I don’t know what’s going on in Cleveland and don’t watch enough of their games to have a clear idea, but it seems to me Love, for whatever the reason, does not make them much better. He seems awfully small for a power forward.

I don’t see last night’s Cleveland competing against the best western teams. But then again, they are missing their second best player and still have one of the best records in the NBA, so maybe everything is ok after all.

Somebody posted earlier that some teams (like the Spurs) usually take the first 10-12 games to see what they have before tightening rotations.

I hope that is the case here. I think that Thomas and Amundson have shown that they belong. They are solid rotation players — good glue guys/defenders. However, I really don’t want to see either of them in 4th quarter crunch time any more at the expense of Porzingis. His length and quickness for his size makes him valuable late in games. Oh, he’s a good free throw shooter, too. He’s not just the FUTURE of this time; he’s a key part of the PRESENT. I’ll bet that teams are happy to see him on the bench when they have the ball late in the 4th quarter.

If Fisher really likes Thomas so much on D in very late game where he can switch O for D, then swap him out for Melo! Yes. A front line of Lopez, Zinger, and Thomas would seem to be the best D that the Knicks could put out there. Then, on O, sub back in Melo; if that bruises his ego, then so be it. Thomas looks quicker to me on D than him.

Right now, I’m not seeing ANY of the Knicks guards as above average defensively, including Galloway. That’s gonna be a problem all season long, and it is not just Calderon (who has actually looked better in the last 2 games). None of them can stop guys from getting to the paint, seemingly at will. Galloway is the best we’ve got, so he and Afflalo should be in in crunch time.

I don’t think Fisher is a good coach (no real evidence of that), but we can’t really say he is a bad one, either, because he does not have much talent to work with. I think he deserves the benefit of the doubt for now, among other things because the team is playing very decent basketball, perhaps even a bit better than most people (including me) anticipated before the season.

Amundson, Thomas, Derrick Williams, Vujacevic, Seraphin, Calderon, Early, etc., are not exactly good players, you know?

I don’t think our guard defense is as terrible as people here believe. We’ve played 6 games against top 10 (so far) offenses, and two against the 11th (the Bucks). The only bad offenses we’ve gone up against are Washington and the Lakers. Opposing guards are shooting 42.6% from the field (8th best) and 31.3% from 3 (5th best) on relatively few attempts (10th best on a rate basis this year, up from 18th last season). Yes, it’s still early, but that is a massive improvement over last year and it’s come against pretty good teams.

DRed, I hope you are right. But, guard D is not just about the opponents’ FG%. The issue is letting the opponents penetrate and sometimes dish, thus creating good looks for others and forcing Knicks big men to pick them up, possibly leaving other guys open.

I don’t have any stats handy at the moment, but aren’t the Knicks getting killed in points in the paint? At least part of that is, IMHO, guard penetration. Also, penetrating guards might be picking up fouls on the Knicks, thus getting easy points via free throws.

The Knicks have been very good at eFG% all year– they’re fifth in the NBA in defensive eFG% and terrible in the other defensive metrics. Well, defensive rebounding has been improving a bit but it’s still below average.

I’m guessing that their length is helping a lot in terms of keeping opponent eFG% low. The Knicks run some really long lineups out there and that is definitely by design. They’re holding opponents to a .310 shooting percentage from 3PT, which is really an excellent number, 4th best in the league. It appears that the Knicks are no longer one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA.

@19 I was at the game, and you really get a good perspective on the Knicks team defense when you can see the whole court. They are definitely doing a good job rotating and closing out on shooters. And you’re right about interior defense, between RoLo, Zinger and occasionally Thomas and Amundsen (who had a monster block last night) they are challenging everything going to the basket.

The shots Cleveland made at the end were all tough and contested, so really no defensive breakdowns or anything. We lost because our offense went to shit.

Oh, and JR still sucks, after he made those first two 3 pointers, I was yelling for him to keep shooting, and he graciously obliged (3-10 overall)

I don’t think Fisher wanted to use KP so much during the end of games, because maybe he wants to minimize the pressure on the kid…I mean he is 10 games into his nba career. It is still early…though if he isn’t playing meaningful 4th quarter minutes by the end of the year, then I’d be worried about his development.

@12 — I’m not sure why you think that Love is playing “quite well” this season. He’s rebounding well, but the rest of his numbers are pretty bad (including a FG% below 40 and 30% from 3, a TS% of .510 and few assists, steals or blocks). Yes, his team is 8-1, but that might have something to do with the muscular guy with the porn star mustache and receding hairline. I’ve seen him play twice this year and he just doesn’t look that good to me.

5-5 and a win against CLE would have left me delirious. 4-6 and two losses in a row and I’m officially worried about one of those ten game losing streaks we’ve grown accustomed to. Nice to see us competitive in games as Brian said. Last year this game is over half way through the 1st quarter. Staps looks like Abdul-Jabbar at times (not saying just saying).

I think Fisher is doing a good job of holding guys accountable. When Calderon fouled Lowery on the 3 pt shot the other night he got the hook immediately, for example.

CNB, your take strikes me as overly negative. Staps looks like the real deal. It’s more than one dunk a game. How about the prolific rebounding, for example? Also, it’s a bit of an oversimplification to call “Amundson, Thomas, Derrick Williams, Vujacevic, Seraphin, Calderon, Early, etc.” “not exactly good players.” We’ve seen a lot of positives from that group and no one is expecting an all star nod for any of them.

Overall, I’m constantly expecting it all to turn to doody, but there’s no evidence of that quite yet.

I’m guessing that their length is helping a lot in terms of keeping opponent eFG% low. The Knicks run some really long lineups out there and that is definitely by design. They’re holding opponents to a .310 shooting percentage from 3PT, which is really an excellent number, 4th best in the league. It appears that the Knicks are no longer one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA.

Absolutely. Here’s the reason, likely:

MP 2014-15

1) Shane Larkin, 1865
2) Jason Smith, 1785
3) Tim Hardaway, 1681
6) Quincy Acy, 1287
9) Cole Aldrich, 976
10) Amar’e “El Matador” Stoudemire, 865
12) Prigioni, 795
13) The worst player in the NBA, whom the Knicks gave up THREE draft picks for, 785
14) Travis Wear, 672
16) Iman Shumpert, 625
17) J.R. Smith, 619
18) Dalembert, 544
19) Shved, 423
20) Ricky Fucking Ledo, 233

That is some enormous turnover, year to year. Compare to the Warriors and Cavs, who are basically the same teams.

Playing Gallo at the point isn’t going to work against good defensive teams. While he never turns the ball over which is great, he really can’t create shots for anyone- including himself. And between the beard and having the Knicks switching on most of the screens in the fourth last night Fisher really might be turning into Woodson.

The. Cavs have two Lou Amoundsons who have actual bball skills in Thompson and Delly. Those guys have that dog in them, they have hurt us in both games

CNB, your take strikes me as overly negative. Staps looks like the real deal. It’s more than one dunk a game. How about the prolific rebounding, for example?

I’m very optimistic about Porzingis. If you read carefully, what I wrote, I’m actually praising him, because he is producing in other areas to the point his shooting woes are overlooked.

Also, it’s a bit of an oversimplification to call “Amundson, Thomas, Derrick Williams, Vujacevic, Seraphin, Calderon, Early, etc.” “not exactly good players.” We’ve seen a lot of positives from that group and no one is expecting an all star nod for any of them.

I don’t know what “oversimplification” actually means here. To me, they are all mediocre/poor players and the point I was making is that Fisher can’t be judged like he is coaching a good roster.

Once gain, I’m not defending Fisher – he might be a bad coach, after all. I’m just saying we can’t know because the roster is pretty bad, but team is actually playing better than most people expected.

the roster is pretty bad

So, Fisher might be good, but we don’t know, OK. But I’m not sure this is exactly true. Not GSW but there’s upside and your list only has one starter, three subs, and three guys who are dnpcd most nights.

Amazing that Porzingis is shooting pretty poorly overall, but somehow it looks like he is playing great for a rookie. One dunk per game keeps the critics away…

On second reading, this still doesn’t seem like it acknowledges the kids strengths. As to the shooting, the stroke is clearly there. He may have had some <.500 shooting performances but to describe "overall poor shooting" after 10 games? I mean, yes, he's missed more than he's made but he more than "looks like" he's playing great, and that includes shooting. He's shown that he can score in myriad ways and has made beautiful plays, including the almost winner against CHA.

Just on his performance alone (taking age and experience out of it), it is fair to say that Zinger isn’t having some amazing season so far through 10 games, but it’s more that he is ahead of the game on where he logically would have been at this point in his career. So yes, he is not yet at the mature level his game will hopefully get to (while, say, WCS and Towns already pretty much look like the players that they are going to be for the rest of their respective careers), but he’s well ahead of a standard, non-Towns learning curve for a guy his age. For instance, he has taken to the league better than Okafor so far, and I’m not worried about Okafor at all. Again, these guys are super young. So Zinger having a decent season now is amazing, especially when it is coming so much from making his interior play (his biggest weakness coming into the league) his biggest strength. That bodes extremely well for him.

Interesting comment on Love. I haven’t been that impressed with him lately either. But that’s just a few games I have seen this year and his numbers are ok. He’s an interesting one to throw out for a usage/efficiency debate. His numbers should have skyrocketed next to Lebron. But hasn’t been the case yet….

I am ok with the is team. Melo actually has blended into the woodwork so far for me, which is fantastic, and has allowed unbridled enjoyment of Porzingis and Galloway. This is a watchable team and that is enough for me…..

Simmons was snickering about how dumb Sacto was to pick WCS on one of his recent pods. I think of Bill as an amanuensis for the smarter bit of conventional basketball wisdom, so it seems people still haven’t figured out that having a huge, athletic man rebounding, playing good defense and dunking the fuck out of the ball is a good thing.

Love in his Minny prime scored efficiently because he generated lots of shots. That might never happen on the Cavs. Last year he was just the giant shump in the corner. They seem to be using him more intelligently this season, but thus far he’s not hitting his 3s.

For instance, he has taken to the league better than Okafor so far, and I’m not worried about Okafor at all.

Agree with just about everything else you said, but I actually am worried about Okafor (or at least would be if I was a Sixers fan). If he’s not going to rebound or defend all that well, and those were both issues in college that have largely continued during his brief time in the NBA, he’s going to have score like Kevin freakin’ Durant to be a very valuable player. Maybe he can do that, and maybe his rebounding and/or defense can improve, but I think there are legitimate causes for concern. As of right now, I’m definitely happy we wound up with Porzingis over him.

Yeah, Love looks really bad. Especially THE HAIR! God what a cheese-mo. As to the player, I bet GSW is pretty glad they didn’t trade Klay Thompson for him.

I think that you just hit on why I’m so down on Love — that mustache-hair-headband combination is so bad that it overshadows anything good that he does on the court.

We seem to be in an especially bad era for NBA hair. Like Lin the other day. What the hell is that dude doing with his hair? Love’s weird mustache, though, is part of a thing the Cavs are doing for Movember, so at least it (and Lebron’s weird ‘stache) has a purpose.

Jahlil Okafor would be a monster on the Knicks if he were here. Playing him at the 4 between Melo and Lopez? I think he’s average 18 and 8 in a Knicks jersey. In Philly I think they need him to both lead the team in scoring and rebounding. Just think if Philly drafted Porzingis and had to rely on his current efficiency at a 27% usage rate. It’ll take Okafor some time, but he’ll be a beast in Philly. I thought before the draft that his ceiling was a HOF power forward but only an All Star level performer at the 5. Watching he and Porzingis battle it out in the Atlantic division will be fun (until Okafor joins the money team and signs with the Knicks).

Brooklyn collapsing in OT the way only Brooklyn could. My god that team is bad.

Which team is more fun to see lose? The Nets or the Lakers?

Jahlil Okafor would be a monster on the Knicks if he were here. Playing him at the 4 between Melo and Lopez? I think he’s average 18 and 8 in a Knicks jersey. In Philly I think they need him to both lead the team in scoring and rebounding. Just think if Philly drafted Porzingis and had to rely on his current efficiency at a 27% usage rate. It’ll take Okafor some time, but he’ll be a beast in Philly. I thought before the draft that his ceiling was a HOF power forward but only an All Star level performer at the 5. Watching he and Porzingis battle it out in the Atlantic division will be fun (until Okafor joins the money team and signs with the Knicks).

Agreed all around. For a 19 year old (he turns 20 in a month) to put up the line Okafor did tonight against a very good Spurs team (21 points on 9-17 shooting, 12 boards, 2 blocks, 2 assists and 2 turnovers) is very impressive (even with Leonard out). These guys (Okafor, Russell, Zinger, Mudiay, Winslow and Johnson) are all super young. They definitely still have to grow as players, but they’re already at really good starting points (Zinger just more so than the others, as obviously Mudiay and Russell have struggled the most of this “young bunch”). What an amazing draft this was! By the way, it also makes Towns look all the more impressive, since he’s the same age as these guys and yet he already looks like he’s been in the league for years (WCS does, too, but WCS has two plus years on these guys, so it is less impressive)!!

Which team is more fun to see lose? The Nets or the Lakers?

What I find fun is that Celtics fans must be going nuts over the fact that Nets are terrible and yet they’re probably better than two other teams in the NBA right now!!

The only thing that takes the fun out of the Nets’ losing is that it helps the Celtics. We are all apoplectic over the Knicks’ not having their first round pick this year. Could you imagine how Nets fans must feel looking at their draft prospects the next three years — on top of how they must feel every time they watch Lillard play?

Love usage/efficiency paradox is pretty simply caused by him being much further away from the rim most of the time. He was NOT a stretch 4 in Minny.

I’m not sure there’s definitive data to support it, but the fact that every game he plays in is competitive seems like it has something to do with it, too.

Remember that epic duel that Kevin Love and Blake Griffen a few years back in LA?

Also, any word on Anthony Davis today?

Love’s average shot distance has increased every single year he’s been in the league. In his first three years, the average distance from the basket was 7.1,9.5 and 10.4 feet, respectively. The last three years, it’s been 14.3, 14.8 and 16.5, respectively. I think that the Wes Unseld version of Love was much better than the Channing Frye version. What’s really weird is that, unlike most guys who come into the league a little chubby and then start working out harder, he has lost weight but added absolutely zero muscle tone or mass. He just looks like a skinny guy now.

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