Spurs 109, Knicks 95: The ‘Bockers Are Hot Garbage Who Can’t Even Play Against The Shell Of A Team And Should Be Forced To Disband Before They Hurt My Soul Again.

New York Knicks 95 FinalRecap | Box Score 109 San Antonio Spurs
Amar’e Stoudemire, PF 17 MIN | 4-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | -5AMAR’E STOUDEMIRE is an anagram of A STEADIER MORE UM.

How the mighty have fallen. A half-dozen years ago, Amar’e would have shredded a depleted San Antonio front court like a hot knife through gefilte fish. Now, he gets outplayed by the likes of Matt Bonner and Boris Diaw.

Each game the Knicks play is progressively more perplexing. Just when you think they can’t fall any lower, they get blown out by the shell of a Spurs team. The “Um…..” response to this team grows nightly, and so: A Steadier More Um.

Quincy Acy, SF 25 MIN | 3-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | +4QUINCY JYROME ACY is an anagram of A QUINCE CRY MY JOY.

For those of you who don’t know, the quince is the sole member of the genus Cydonia in the family Rosaceae (which also contains apples and pears, among other fruits). It is a small deciduous tree that bears a pome fruit, similar in appearance to a pear, and bright golden-yellow when mature. Throughout history the cooked fruit has been used as food, but the tree is also grown for its attractive pale pink blossom and other ornamental qualities. Or at least that’s what Wikipedia says.

Like at most funerals, you may present the hosts with flowers or gifts of fruit baskets, but all that’s going to do is make someone cry: A Quince Cry My Joy.

Jose Calderon, PG 25 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -13JOSE CALDERON is an anagram of CAJOLED SEÑOR.

Calderon is a man of Spanish decent (hence, “señor”). He has to be talked into being apart of this slow-motion train-wreck of a Knicks team through what in the end really amounts to bribery. Jose deserves better than to have his talents wasted on this terrible team: Cajoled Señor

Iman Shumpert, SG 30 MIN | 2-6 FG | 4-5 FT | 5 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 8 PTS | +1IMAN SHUMPERT is an anagram of MAN IRE THUMPS.

“Man” – A male human.
“Ire” – Anger. Plain and simple.
“Thumps” – To strike heavily with a blunt instrument.

I don’t even need to make a joke here. Man Ire Thumps.

Tim Hardaway Jr., SG 29 MIN | 9-18 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 23 PTS | -14TIM HARDAWAY JUNIOR is an anagram of A RAJAH DIMWIT URN YO.

It’s perfect. Explaining it would gild the lily. A Rajah Dimwit Urn Yo.

Travis Wear, SF 20 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | +5TRAVIS WEAR is an anagram of WAIVERS RAT.

Because on any other team (save for the Sixers), he’d be on the waiver wire. Waivers Rats.

Samuel Dalembert, C 15 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 2 PTS | -17SAMUEL DALEMBERT is an anagram of A BALLET DEEMS RUM.

Imagine what a ballet would look like if all the dancers were blackout drunk. That’s what it’s like to watch Samuel Dalembert try to make rotations against a San Antonio offense or boot a ball out of bounds because, you know, he can’t bend over. A Ballet Deems Rum.

Jason Smith, C 19 MIN | 5-10 FG | 4-4 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | -19JASON SMITH is an anagram of SHAM IN JOTS.

I’m not quite sure what that means, but it contains the word “sham.” Everything about this season has been a sham. And “jots” looks kind of like “jorts,” and the only thing that could salvage this season would be a Josh Harrellson signing. Sham In Jots.

Cole Aldrich, C 16 MIN | 4-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 10 PTS | +5COLE ALDRICH is an anagram of CHILLED ORCA.

Cole Aldrich is a beached whale on a basketball court. If only they’d Free our own personal Willy. See what I did there? Moving on… Chilled Orca.

Shane Larkin, PG 25 MIN | 2-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -10SHANE LARKIN is an anagram of KAHN LA RISEN.

The only way to clean up this team would be to dump a bunch of riff-raff on a team run by David Kahn. Regretfully, no team in the league is currently run by David Kahn, or if Phil Jackson is actually part of a race of 22nd century eugenics. Cap’n Kirk’s with me here. Yet. Kahn La Risen.

Pablo Prigioni, PG 20 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | -7PABLO PRIGIONI is an anagram of BIPOLAR PIG ION.

Through all of the despair, Pablo is the one guy that makes me happy, even if he played like a ADD-addled child that someone mistakenly allowed to drink coffee tonight. Bipolar Pig Ion.

Carmelo Anthony, SF DNP SORE LEFT KNEE MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS | CARMELO ANTHONY is an anagram of ANARCHY LEMON TO.

Getting better…

J.R. Smith, SG DNP HEEL INJURY MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS | EARL JOSEPH SMITH is an anagram of ARMPITS HEEL JOSH.

Almost there….

Derek Fisher
DEREK FISHER is an anagram of DEFER HE IRKS.

That’s it. Oh yeah. Right there. You know what I like, baby.

Three Things We Saw

  1. HOT GARBAGE is an anagram of BAA THE GROG
  2. NEW YORK KNICKS is an anagram of ROCKY NEW KINKS
  3. SELF IMMOLATION is an anagram of LEAF LIMITS MONO

Pistons 98, Knicks 95; Knicks Lose To Winless Team – Retroactively Forfeit All Previous Wins, 1973, 1970 NBA Titles

With their win tonight, the Pistons pick up their first victory of the season, leaving just the Sixers and Lakers as the only winless teams, so that’s a big feather in the Knicks’ cap.

With their loss, the Knicks sit at 2-3 and have lost two consecutive games. If that trend continues for the rest of the season, they will finish at 2-80, which will be the worst record in NBA history (assuming the Sixers and Lakers eventually win three games).

Here’s what happened:

New York Knicks 95 FinalRecap | Box Score 98 Detroit Pistons
Carmelo Anthony, SF 39 MIN | 5-21 FG | 3-4 FT | 6 REB | 8 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | -3Rough night for Melo. His 5-for-21 from the floor only saw the blow softened by Josh Smith’s 2-for-17. It was not exactly a night of shot-making. Carmelo went without scoring from the floor in the first half for the first time since 2012, and you can’t really even give him much credit for “defending” Josh Smith. The best thing you can say about Melo was that his defense was poor enough to encourage Smith to keep shooting, which I suppose in theory would benefit New York in the long run.

Samuel Dalembert, C 15 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -8Dude needs to stop shooting, yo.

Jason Smith, C 26 MIN | 7-11 FG | 3-3 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 17 PTS | -8This is one magnificent son of a bitch. He was by far the best J. Smith on the floor, and while he’s not a rookie, and thus can’t match Wes Unseld’s feat of winning Rookie of The Year and NBA MVP in the same season, at least he’s proving himself to definitively be New York’s best two-way big man and will almost certainly make Andrea Bargnani irrelevant. Although, these *are* the Knicks, so…

Shane Larkin, PG 32 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 4 PTS | +5It was too bad to see how bummed Larkin was after the late turnover that put the game out of reach. It was a bad ending to what was otherwise a half-decent game – he played more minutes in the second half following Prigioni’s injury than they were probably expecting him to and he didn’t exactly crap the bed. The loss wasn’t Larkin’s fault, it was the whole “falling behind by 18 thanks to getting out-rebounded by 12 despite playing big the whole game” thing.

Iman Shumpert, SG 36 MIN | 5-13 FG | 1-2 FT | 6 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 15 PTS | +3He played a few spot minutes at point guard and didn’t suck, and his shot looks a lot better than it ever has. So at least he’s got that going for him? Uncharacteristically poor defense tonight – he lost Kentavious Caldwell-Pope a few times early for open threes.

Amar’e Stoudemire, PF 22 MIN | 7-13 FG | 1-1 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | +8Not a terrible game from Amar’e, but his as-usual piss-poor defense and rebounding cropped up at the worst possible time – needing a stop late, he got isolated against Greg Monroe, and Monroe made him look silly with an up-and-under that pushed the Detroit lead to seven with just over a minute remaining. If the Knicks get a stop there it might be a different result.

Cleanthony Early, SF 6 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | +3He played well late. #NailedIt

Quincy Acy, SF 14 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 0 PTS | -6I don’t have much to say about his game tonight, but his after-practice shooting contests with Samuel Dalembert must take forever.

Travis Wear, SF 5 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -3He played basketball.

Cole Aldrich, C 11 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 3 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | +1He also played basketball.

Pablo Prigioni, PG 6 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -6I am going to hunt D.J. Augustin down and make him pay for what he did to my Pablo. If Prigioni misses a day of practice Augustin should be suspended for the year and face criminal charges.

Tim Hardaway Jr., SG 27 MIN | 8-15 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 20 PTS | +3His shooting stroke is on point but things like “dribbing,” “passing,” “rebounding,” and “playing defense” largely remain foreign concepts. It wasn’t exactly a shock that he was gunning in a game where his father is the assistant coach and I can only imagine a large contingent of family and/or friends were in attendance. But he got results, so you can’t exactly kill him for it.

Derek Fisher
Fisher has looked like a competent coach over the first two weeks of the season, which, after last season, is roughly a 7000 percent improvement over the previous head coach. He made the most of a bad situation – Carmelo wasn’t making shots and Prigioni’s injury threw an already-thin backcourt (sans Earl) into a bit of havoc, but they were still able to make a game of it in the second half. It would have been nice to see the Knicks play small a little bit more, considering that despite playing big they were getting killed on the boards anyways (although there’s something to be said for the fact that the perimeter depth wouldn’t allow for it, given the aforementioned injury to Pablo and suspension to J.R.) and they were having trouble defending the three point line. But still, not terrible.

Three Things We Saw

  1. This
  2. Tonight’s game was way too last year-ish. Inexplicably stagnant offense early, inexcusably terrible defense against a far-too-predictable offense, a furious rally late, only to come up short thanks to a handful of classic blunders.
  3. It bears repeating – Josh Smith was 2-for-17 from the floor and the Knicks still managed to lose.

The Knicks and The Lakers and Phil Jackson and Terrible Basketball and Wood Finish and Holy Crap This Team Is The Worst

On Tuesday afternoon, I started bouncing ideas around for a post about the whole symmetry of Phil Jackson taking over the Knicks and then the Knicks and Lakers playing on national TV at a time when the Lakers seem to be aggressively tanking while the Knicks ride a semi-hot streak trying to grab a playoff spot that once seemed like a complete pipe dream.

I figured I’d make some parallel between the NBA’s two signature franchises moving in opposite directions – the Lakers experiencing their worst season since the mid-70s, and possibly the worst season since they’ve been in Los Angeles, while the Knicks surge following a dreadful start to the season and strut around after signing Famous Phil away from the West Coast. It would have been a largely disingenuous argument, considering the Knicks are most certainly not “a team on the rise”; They’re an unmitigated disaster that only by the sheer grace of Christ himself are still (technically, mathematically) alive in playoff contention. But it was narrative, and you can usually get away with that sort of thing.

But then, you know, the game happened.

In case you didn’t watch, the Knicks lost because they suck at basketball and they wanted to remind everyone of this after throwing a few people off the scent with that eight-game winning streak. Their loss Sunday against the Cavs went under the radar as so many people were watching the college tournament, so they got savvy and waited until last night to do their whole “No, in case you forgot, we REALLY suck” routine.

In the second quarter, they surrendered 51 points. That’s not a typo. Their defensive efficiency in the quarter was a strapping 204, which means their defense would have performed better if they had issued monogrammed invitations for the Lakers to simply walk down the lane and dunk the ball on each and every possession. You might think that sounds hyperbolic and stupid, but it (regrettably) is not. It was around this time that I decided to start drinking. Unfortunately, I did not have any whiskey in the house, because I apparently used it all over the weekend to make the dogs barking in my head shut up (this is how my roommate claims I explained it to him). So I went rooting around in my basement and I came up with a few cans of Wood Finish. I assume you’ve never drank Wood Finish, so if you’re curious, here are my thoughts:

Natural 209:

This is a pretty standard finish. It has a slight burn at the beginning but it subsides quickly. No one flavor stands out, but has hints of oak, hickory, and maple. If you’ve never drank finish before, this is a good one to start with – it’s very good for amateur palettes. 7/10

Red Oak 215:

As the title would indicate, this has a strong oak flavor, complemented by a hint of Concord Grape and and even softer hint of cocoa. It will give you a bit of a headache if you drink it too quickly – this is a finish you want to savor. Good with lamb or pork. 8/10

Puritan Pine 218:

This is one of the weaker flavors – I thought it was okay, but the name “Puritan” really seemed to be unnecessarily judging. All the flavors are very muted – offers a very vague, indiscriminate taste. 4/10

Gunstock 231:

Here’s a finish if you want to put some hair on your chest and feel like a real American. The flavors are strong and hit you almost immediately – perhaps even before the liquid touches your lips. The cacophony of flavors includes steel, lead, gunpowder, mesquite, bacon fat, and rattlesnake venom. You shudder when you drink it but feel better for it. 9/10

Dark Walnut 2716:

A very heavy, nutty finish. The most prominent flavor is (obviously) walnut, but it also carries several Earthy flavors like soil and peat moss. It has a saltier taste at the beginning than most (from the nut flavors), but it ends with a sulfur taste (from the earth tones) which gives it a nice balance. 8/10

Golden Pecan 245:

Certainly one of the more impressive flavors – it’s very buttery with a strong honey finish, almost like a mead. Brown sugar and vanilla give it a robust sweetness. A classic “finish for people who don’t like drinking finish” flavor, but even a connoisseur would enjoy it. 9/10

Cherry Fruitwood 292:

The strong fruit flavors nearly overwhelm you right away – Cherry, multiple apple flavors (Golden Delicious and Granny Smith were two that I picked up right away), and pear with hints of raspberry, blueberry, and cranberry. There’s even a hint of green olive, a nice salty flavor to offset some of the sweetness. 9/10

Sedona Red 222:

One of the Earthier finishes, mostly sandstone and limestone, but they’re balanced with a strong blood orange citrus character. A generally smoky flavor. Apparently it complements Mexican food well, but I’ve never tried it. 6/10

Brazilian Rosewood 213:

A very interesting finish in that it carries a very strong aroma, but most of the flavors are muted. An experienced finish drinker can pick out coffee, açaí, mango, guava, okra, cilantro, and cocoa, among others. The muted flavors can be a bit off-putting at first if the fragrance has you expecting a full-body finish, but if you know what you’re getting it’s really quite lovely. 9/10

Colonial Maple 223:

This was clearly the class of the lot – particularly the 2007 Vintage. A strong maple flavor slowly descends to a lovely combination of venison and tobacco before rounding out with a hint of Earl Grey tea, lemon, and saltpetre. It’s a rugged, sinewy finish that you can really feel transition from one flavor to another, as opposed to simply all blending together. Great for amateurs and connoisseurs alike. 10/10

Pistons 96, Knicks 85 – Everyone Gets F’s

Everyone gets an F tonight because I was forced to watch this terrible game instead of LeBron dropping 61 points on Charlotte. Plus, they really deserve it given how they played. But still, even if they had ended up winning, they all get F’s.

I’m not here to make friends.

New York Knicks 85 Final
Recap | Box Score
96 Detroit Pistons
Amar’e Stoudemire, PF 32 MIN | 9-11 FG | 4-4 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 22 PTS | -5

I don’t care if this might have been his best game of the season. He sucks because he plays for the Knicks, and the Knicks suck because he plays for them, and the circle is complete.

Carmelo Anthony, SF 41 MIN | 11-21 FG | 2-4 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 6 TO | 28 PTS | -17

Carmelo was 11-21, and Stoudemire was 9-11. For all you liberal arts majors out there, that’s a combined 20-32, which is 62.5%. As a team, the Knicks were 32-83, which is 38.6%. So that means players not named Carmelo or Amar’e combined to shoot 12-51, which is 23.5%. Naturally, Carmelo and Amar’e combined for two assists and six turnovers. In fact, Carmelo had both assists and all six turnovers. I’m not sure Amar’e passed the ball once.

Keep in mind, this is the same Detroit team that is 22nd in defensive efficiency and has given up 118. 120, 104, 113, 107, 116, and 108 points in their last seven games. The Knicks managed 85.

Tyson Chandler, C 42 MIN | 3-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 18 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | -12

The Knicks were up by 14 points with two minutes remaining in the first quarter. Over the next 35 minutes (until the three-minute mark of the fourth quarter), they were outscored by 31 points.

I attended the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference over the weekend, and while I’m not a statistics major, I feel like being outscored by 31 points in less than three quarters isn’t an optimal result. I’ll bring it up at the conference next year and see what people say.

Raymond Felton, PG 32 MIN | 1-9 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 4 PTS | -5

The Knicks are so bad and so impossible to watch that I actually nodded off for a minute or two towards the end of the first half. I’ve had a pretty long day and got very little sleep over the weekend. On Wednesday night I hung out with Jordan White and Seerat Sohi from Hardwood Paroxysm. We had a pretty low-key night, but I didn’t get home until late. Thursday was spent playing pickup basketball with some TrueHoop people, followed by Jim Cavan and I going to Chipotle. Chipotle is pretty great, except that they couldn’t wrap my burrito properly and had to double-wrap it. That means two tortillas. That’s a lot of carbs.

Speaking of a lot of carbs, Ray Felton is really fat and not very good at basketball.

J.R. Smith, SG 31 MIN | 5-17 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | 0

On Thursday night, all the TrueHoop bloggers met up for dinner at a place near MIT. It’s always nice to see everyone, especially when you haven’t seen most of the people since last year’s conference. After dinner a few people trekked over to The Fours, a bar near the TD Garden, for late-night drinks and schmoozing with big-wigs. One of the people I talked to wrote a research paper about “The Hot Hand,” which mentions J.R. Smith.

J.R. Smith was not hot. He started 0-10. He finished 5-7, but who cares? The game was already lost at that point. He missed his first 10 shots.

Jeremy Tyler, PF 8 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +2

I actually don’t remember Jeremy Tyler playing in this game. It might have been during the part where I was asleep, or during the part where I was looking for GIFs to commemorate such a terrible performance from the Knicks. Maybe something like this one.

Pablo Prigioni, PG 16 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 2 PTS | -9

Anyway, I didn’t sleep much Thursday night, because I was out late at The Fours, and the registration on Friday morning started at 7:30. So I was running on fumes for most of Friday. The energy of the conference picked me up a little bit, but not to the point that I wasn’t constantly complaining about how tired I was. Did I solve this problem by going home early on Friday night and resting up? Of course not. Pretty much everybody (by everybody, I mean fellow TrueHoop bloggers) went over to Dillon’s (a bar across the street from the Convention Center) for dinner and drinks. We watched the Knicks game (or, more accurately, watched Bob Silverman watch the Knicks game). The Knicks lost.

Iman Shumpert, SG 16 MIN | 2-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | -10

Saturday was rough. Everyone was struggling through various hangovers and sleep deprivation. Some people were savvy enough to head back to their hotel (at least those who were staying in the hotel connected to the Convention Center) for quick cat-naps. I wasn’t staying in that hotel, because I live in Boston, but not close enough to go home to take a nap. So I tried to take a nap in the media room, but the chairs weren’t comfortable enough. Almost as uncomfortable as watching Iman Shumpert play tonight.

Tim Hardaway Jr., SG 22 MIN | 0-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 0 PTS | -5

Saturday night was a lot of fun. Many of us ended up at a place called Champion’s, inside the Marriott hotel. We had a large room in the back with a large table like one a shadow council would assemble around. Steve McPherson remarked that he wanted to pull the table apart and have a giant globe pop out. We tried it. It didn’t work.

There were several round of good-byes as people departed early, needing to be up for early flights the next morning. I, not having a flight, was able to stay late into the night all the way until last call with a few friends. But I woke up early the next morning and couldn’t get back to sleep. All told I had slept less than 20 hours in the previous four days. I’m still recovering. So that’s why I nodded off during the 2nd quarter.

Oh, by the way, Hardaway was terrible.

Mike Woodson

In addition to falling asleep, I also spent parts of the second half answering e-mails, sending text messages to friends that are coming into the city this weekend for my birthday (I’m turning 25 on Friday), and other things of that nature. I was able to do these things because Knicks games are pre-scripted. The events change, but the story never does.

Four Things We Saw

  1. In the first quarter, the Pistons should have had three uncontested dunks, but ended up with zero because their bigs (twice Drummond, once Monroe) couldn’t catch the ball. There was one instance where Josh Smith ran a pick-and-roll with Drummond, and both Knick defenders ran to Smith. You know, because he’s such a threat to knock down contested 19-foot jump shots. Smith darted a pass to Drummond who would have dunked it (seriously, there wasn’t anyone within five feet of him), but he couldn’t handle the pass and it went out of bounds. This is the only reason the Knicks ever had a lead in the first place. Because Detroit’s bigs couldn’t catch the ball.
  2. The Knicks’ backcourt was unfathomably bad. They (Felton, Smith, Hardaway, and Shumpert) opened the game 1-20 from the floor and played defense as inspired as a seventh-grade JV team where the coach isn’t allowed to make any cuts because the rich suburban parents are worried about their kids’ self-esteem.

    They finished the game 8-39 from the floor and played defense as inspired as a seventh-grade JV team where the coach isn’t allowed to make any cuts because the rich suburban parents are worried about their kids’ self-esteem.

  3. I spent most of the third quarter swiping on Tinder. It’s kind of a dating/hook-up app (you can use it for either, at this time I don’t feel a need to share which of those I use it for) where you “swipe” a person’s picture to the right if you like it and the left if you don’t. You only get matched with someone if you both swipe each other to the right, so there’s a blind double-opt-in element to it. It’s becoming more and more popular, so there are a lot of people to swipe through. It’s very addictive and mildly therapeutic (your mind often goes blank as you swipe over and over again). And on top of that, it’s a fun and easy way to meet new people, a real problem for people in their mid-20s who no longer have the structured social webs of college to help them out.
  4. The Knicks suck.

Trail Blazers 94, Knicks 90: #FunFacts

Portland Trail Blazers 94 Final
Recap | Box Score
90 New York Knicks
Carmelo Anthony, SF 40 MIN | 11-28 FG | 3-3 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 26 PTS | -13

Fact: The human race put men on the moon before they had the idea to put wheels on suitcases.

This fact is both a testament to man’s ingenuity (the MOON!) and man’s stupidity (seriously, how did they not think to put wheels on suitcases?), and represents the type of game Carmelo Anthony had tonight. He started the game spectacularly, with 14 points in the first quarter and finished the first half with 7-12 shooting from the floor. However, he was just 4-16 in the second half, including 0-4 in the fourth quarter in a game where points came at an absolute premium. He also finished with zero assists and only seemed to be engaged on defense when he was challenged with guarding LaMarcus Aldridge in the post. When he plays at power forward, as he did for most of his minutes tonight, he needs to be more judicious in his shot selection, focusing more on catch-and-shoot opportunities, rather than clearing out and trying to isolate. We’re past the point where teams walk themselves into mis-matches by guarding Carmelo with their own power forwards, and Carmelo needs to be aware of that.

Tyson Chandler, C 31 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -6

Fact:Charlie Chaplin once entered a Charlie Chaplin look-alike contest and finished second.

In this case, the fact that he was Charlie Chaplin went to waste, just as Tyson Chandler’s exemplary performance went to waste this evening. He scored just two points and didn’t particularly stand out on the backboards (nine rebounds), but he absolutely swallowed up LaMarcus Aldridge for most of the game. Aldridge finished with just 15 points on 17 shots and spent most of the contest forced into turnaround, fallaway jump shots that had little more than a prayer of falling through the net. In all, the normally pinpoint Portland offense shot just 38 percent from the floor, in large part due to Chandler’s presence in the middle of the floor, contesting Aldridge’s looks at the basket and otherwise keeping Portland’s ball-handlers out of the paint.

Raymond Felton, PG 23 MIN | 2-6 FG | 3-6 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | -10

In 1919, a large tank of molasses exploded in Boston. The resulting wave of molasses traveled through the streets at 35 miles per hour. 21 people were killed and 150 more were injured.

Which of course brings us to Raymond Felton, because he is fat and his play has nearly killed 21 Knicks fans over the course of the season.

Pablo Prigioni, PG 31 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 7 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +4

Fact:Cleopatra lived closer in time to the present day than to the construction of the Great Pyramids of Giza.

This inexplicable relation of age is dedicated to Pablo Prigioni, the elder statesmen on this Knicks squad, who had an overwhelmingly Prigioni-ish game. Five points, seven assists, seven rebounds, exquisite ball movement, harassing defense on Damian Lillard, and one clutch three.

Iman Shumpert, SG 24 MIN | 0-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -8

Fact: The phrase “for the birds” originates from farms in generations past, when horses would eat grain, but some would pass through their system undigested. After the undigested grain would evacuate their body as waste, oftentimes birds would come along and pick the grain out of the pile and use it as sustenance.

Hence, saying something is “for the birds” means it is literally horseshit. Iman Shumpert played like horseshit. He was 0-5 from the field and passed up a number of open shots because apparently scoring isn’t a big priority in a game where the team shoots 40 percent and musters just 90 points against a middling defensive team.

Jeremy Tyler, PF 11 MIN | 2-5 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +10

Fact: Several years ago, a study found that termites chew through wood at a rate twice as fast when death metal is audible nearby.

This hilariously awesome fact exemplifies Jeremy Tyler’s awesome game (and awesome name). He played just 11 minutes but found himself at the right place in the right time for a nice first-half dunk off a dish from J.R. Smith.

Amar’e Stoudemire, PF 22 MIN | 6-10 FG | 3-4 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | +2

Fact: The phrase “pulling out all the stops” comes from organ music. An organ functions as such so that when a key is pushed, the “stop” is removed from the pipe and the organ makes a sound. So to “pull out all the stops” means all the pipes are engaged at once, making as much noise as possible.

Amar’e pulled out all the stops tonight, a throwback game with jump shots, a few rebounds, and a rousing first-half dunk in traffic. His defense, as it often does, left a bit to be desired, but on offense he was divine, giving the Knicks a spark off the bench that kept them in the game while Carmelo sat in the first half.

Tim Hardaway Jr., SG 27 MIN | 5-13 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | +9

Fact: Pluto was discovered in 1930, but was stripped of its status as a planet in 2006, due to the fact that a year (one full revolution around the Sun) on Pluto takes roughly 250 years and so it never even celebrated its first solar birthday as a planet.

This oddly depressing fact sums up Hardaway’s night. He was clearly giving great effort but could never seem to put everything together. He nailed a nice three-pointer with about 50 seconds remaining to cut the lead to three, but his heroics were ultimately forgotten as the Blazers pulled away and the Knicks couldn’t make up the gap.

J.R. Smith, SG 31 MIN | 7-14 FG | 3-3 FT | 3 REB | 6 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 18 PTS | -8

Fact: If every star in the Milky Way galaxy had one trillion planets, and on each of those on trillion planets lived one trillion people, and each of those people had one trillion decks of cards, and were somehow able to shuffle each of those on trillion decks one trillion times per second, and had been doing so since the beginning of recorded human history on Earth, they would still wouldn’t be creating duplicate orders of those decks for another 15 billion years.

The number of ways you can order the 52 different cards in a deck is calculated to be 80,658,175,170,943,878,571,660,636,856,403,766, 975,289,505,440,883,277,824,000,000,000,000.

This mind-bending bit of calculator usage is our paradigm for the first half that J.R. Smith had tonight. Instead of pulling up for 19-foot jump shots that careen off the rim and nearly kill courtside patrons like he normally does, he attacked the Portland defense in the middle of the floor with pick-and-rolls, and dished out some spectacular look-away passes to Amar’e and Jeremy Tyler for finishes at the rim.

Beno Udrih, PG DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS |

Fact: Otters hold hands when they sleep so that they do not float away from each other.

This makes me happy. Much like I was happy that Beno Udrih did not play in tonight’s game. [Editor’s Fun Fact: Sea Otters sometimes sexually violate baby seals. Seriously.]

Mike Woodson

Fact: Every year, dozens of new trees will seed as a result of a single squirrel forgetting where it has hidden its nuts.

This optimistic fun fact regarding rebirth regards Woodson, who has done a much better job of late than he was doing back in December when I wrote this mean-spirited piece about him for Hickory-High. He has been doing so out of necessity, but he has turned more to small lineups with Carmelo Anthony at power forward, as well as dual point-guard lineups that don’t involve Beno Udrih. They didn’t win tonight, but they are planting the seeds (see what I did there?) for future success.

Five Things We Saw

  1. The Knicks couldn’t buy a three-point basket tonight. They finished 4-21 from deep on mostly good looks. Two of those makes came in the last two minutes on back-to-back possessions as the team cut Portland’s lead to three. Hardaway was 1-7 and Carmelo was 1-6. It’s not exactly uncharted territory, but when the team goes small (as they’ve been doing recently), they need to make threes in order to keep pace.
  2. The bench played particularly well, most notably in the second quarter when they had their best stretch of basketball of the game with Carmelo on the bench. Portland has a weak bench, and they needed to take advantage of that, and they did (at least in the first half). It wasn’t enough to take control of the game (and against good teams, it probably never will be), but it’s a reason to be optimistic for as long as Bargnani is out of the lineup.
  3. The Knicks committed just nine turnovers. Five belonged to J.R. Smith, which you can live with as long as he’s making smart decisions otherwise (which he clearly was in the first half). Carmelo had just one turnover, but that was mostly because he was shooting the ball as soon as he caught it. He’s a very creative passer when he wants to be, and he needs to use that skill-set more often. In this case, you’d be able to stomach higher turnovers if it means Carmelo was making more of an effort to create shots for others.
  4. All New York big men did a good job of stepping up on high screens involving Damian Lillard. Lillard is dynamite when he can step into an open three-point look off of a high screen, and he’s a surprisingly poor finisher around the basket. The way to defend him is top close that gap as much as possible off the screen and force him to either give up the ball or attack the basket and rotate along the baseline. The Knicks were able to do that (Chandler and Tyler especially) and Lillard was held to just 12 points on 4-12 shooting.
  5. We have better and more comprehensive maps of the surface of Mars than we do of the ocean floors of Earth. We did not see this in this game but it is another fun fact.

Knicks-Raptors Preview: ACCIDENTALLY GOOD VERSUS ACCIDENTALLY BAD

The New York Knickerbockers look to wash the bad taste of Christmas out of their mouth with a home-and-home against the Toronto Raptors this Friday and Saturday. The Raptors don’t seem particularly interested in winning games this year, but the joke’s on them because they’re winning games anyway – they’re 5-3 since trading Rudy Gay at the beginning of December.

To prepare for two games in such short proximity, I enlisted the help of Blake Murphy – resident Canadian, Editor at TheScore, and a contributor to Raptors Republic, our TrueHoop sister site. The two of us exchanged a few emails Monday and Thursday, discussing all things Raptors and Knicks.

Jeremy Conlin (jeremy_conlin): Well, let’s start off by wishing all of our fine readers a Merry Christmas – they have Christmas in Canada, right?

The Schedule Gods have given the Knicks and Raptors a rather interesting slate this year – a back-to-back home-and-home Friday and Saturday, and then the two teams won’t meet again until April, where they play twice in five days, including the last day of the season.

But for now, let’s focus on the two games this weekend, and this new-look Toronto team. Blake, is there anything drastically different about the team over the last eight games since Rudy Gay got shipped out?

Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC): We do have Christmas in Canada. Presently, Toronto is a giant sheet of ice, and rumor has it that Santa’s reindeer don’t have Blizzak hoofs, so it is in some peril.

In any case, we’ll all be treated to a late Christmas present in the form of Raptors/Knicks and Knicks/Raptors, #knickstape against #tanktape.

But the “tank” is failing spectacularly since the Rudy Gay trade, because the Raptors offense suddenly no longer looks like me playing NBA Live 2004 as the Cavaliers and just going ISO after ISO with Ricky Davis and Darius Miles. Here’s basically what you need to know: the Raptors team assist rate with Gay on the floor this year was 46.7%, with him on the bench or traded, it’s been 55.3%. The pieces just fit way better, even if the talent level is lower.

Now, let me ask you a Knicks question…LOL?

Conlin: That’s a strong question that I really have no answer to. All non-Knicks fans seem to be taking unbridled joy out of their failures, Knicks fans seem to be ready to jump of the Triborough Bridge, and I’m just sitting in the middle of my two groups of internet friends trying to get along with everyone. I’m telling you, it’s been weird.

The frustrating thing about this matchup from the Knicks end is that the Raptors aren’t even trying to win and yet here they are, less than a week removed from wins over Dallas and Oklahoma City, both on the road. The Raptors are an NBA team, and as such should be favored heavily over these Knicks, but I ask, what exactly have the Raptors figured out that the Knicks haven’t yet? How do teams just stumble into wins like this?

Murphy: The Raptors are really hard to figure out, man. Probably as hard as the Knicks, but in different ways. They don’t have great defenders (Amir Johnson and Kyle Lowry are probably the only guys you’d classify as above-average) but are roughly average on that end because they work hard (usually). They move the ball now but can’t hit threes, and as such they’re roughly average on offense, too. And that might be it…they are a very average team (even their point differential is essentially zero), average teams tend to play more close games, and close games leave a bit more up to randomness.

The reason the Raptors don’t get blown out, I would guess, is an incentive issue (“Issue” if you’re pro-tank). There are six players on this team with guaranteed contracts for next season and the coach is a lame duck; every single one of these guys wants to win, wants to get numbers, wants to show something. There’s also probably somewhat of a “house money” looseness and/or “we’ll show them” attitude given where expectations are and the constant questions about tanking.

That is all really rambly and all over the place. So I’ve basically become the Raptors.

Conlin: And what about going forward? On some level, yes, it seems like right now the team is “accidentally” winning, but at what point do you think the team shifts focus and decides they want to win on purpose?

Basically, I’m curious about the fate of two Raptors who might be following Rudy Gay with a one-way ticket back to the U.S. – DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry (the latter of which has been rumored to have drawn interest from these New York Knicks). Do you think the front office is totally committed to a full-scale tear-down and re-build? What are the odds that either of those guys finish the season still wearing Purple and Black?

Murphy: The odds of them wearing purple-and-black this year are roughly zero. Finishing as Raptors, however, is different. I’d say Lowry is gone no matter what if they can get any sort of future first for him. DeRozan is a tougher question because he has value beyond this year – he’s young, he’s become an almost-efficient scorer, he likes the city and works his ass off, and you can afford to have one overpaid wing now that you’ve gotten rid of the other. They “need” to trade him to totally bottom out but they don’t “need” to trade him in a macro rebuilding sense.

Basically, I think nobody is nailed down, but Masai Ujiri’s plan is fluid based on the market and he won’t deal just for the sake of dealing. I do believe that the plan is a tear-down (and this is what comes out from “sources” whenever anyone cites them), but I’m not of the belief that it’s “finish dead last or bust.” In fact, I have a theory that Ujiri is asset collecting (future firsts) to potentially make a Ricky Williams offer for a top pick, realizing it’s unlikely the team will get it on their own “merit.”

Conlin: Do the Raptors not have Purple alternates anymore? Shoot, I’m too far out of the jersey loop, I guess.

I like your idea about the Ricky Williams offer (what would be the NBA equivalent, Chris Webber?), but maybe we’re getting too far ahead of ourselves. What about THIS weekend? These teams have two games over the span of maybe 28 hours, what should we expect to see? Is there anything specifically the Raptors do that will give New York fits (other than, you know, play NBA-caliber basketball – the Knicks can’t seem to figure that one out)?

Murphy: No, not particularly. There’s nothing tough to scout about the offense or the defense. Dwane Casey has flat out told me “we don’t run a lot of plays” and it looks as such. They’re moving the ball more and doing a better job spreading the floor horizontally, and they’ll definitely take threes, but they run a pretty vanilla offense.

Defensively, it will be interesting to see what they do against Carmelo Anthony, and that will really be the key. The Raptors have the guard advantage, and Tyson Chandler’s defense is somewhat less important against a team that shoots a below-average numbers of shots in the restricted area (with lower-usage bigs, though that’s changing), so a lot of the ‘edge’ could come down to how much damage Anthony can do. Terrence Ross and DeRozan are both far too weak if Anthony goes on the block, and while he’s a good defender, I’d be hesitant having Johnson try to hang.

I’ll ask you the same tactical question, but I’m also curious if you trust the Knicks on a back-to-back and whether that’s been something they’ve struggled with this year?

Conlin: Well, the Toronto matchup presents a bit of a problem for the Knicks in that the Raptors will spend most of their time with two traditional bigs on the floor. This isn’t to say that the Knicks aren’t equipped to defend (or score against) such a lineup, but it presents a problem in as much as it will bait Mike Woodson into playing his traditional “big” lineups, which have been an absolute train wreck this season. If Rudy Gay were still in town and playing as a small-ball four occasionally, that might actually be to the Knicks’ advantage (even though that’s where Rudy is most effective) because New York’s small lineups are much more effective than Toronto’s. But as long as Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas are on the floor, and the Knicks are mirroring with Tyson Chandler and Andrea Bargnani/Amar’e Stoudemire, the Raptors should have the upper hand.

The back-to-back doesn’t seem much of an issue for the Knicks. They’re 3-3 on the second end of back-to-backs this year (3-3 on the front ends, too), which might actually be an upgrade over their 2-12 record on games not part of a back-to-back, but the sample size is obviously too small to say anything for sure. Luckily the team is traveling Friday night, which means there won’t be any issue with the team partying too late the night before (which has cropped up twice this season and became such an issue that Woodson kept the team in a hotel last Friday night before their game against Memphis Saturday afternoon).

One last question before we sign off – because it’s a home-and-home, on back-to-back nights, do we think the coaching staffs are invested and committed enough to making large-scale changes from one game to the next based on what happens Friday night? Or do we think because it’s the regular season with a short turnaround, the coaches will be content to put one gameplan in place and hope it works two days in a row?

Murphy: I would guess that they’ll roll with similar game plans, but that’s partly a function of Casey not being a coach that rolls out vastly different coverages game to game. On a similar note, contrary to your thought about the Raptors rolling two bigs – while they’re not less well-equipped to go with a small-ball four (they can run two point-guards), Casey has been far more reactive than proactive with his lineups. That is, if Woodson goes small, Casey will likely match rather than exploit the size advantage. This actually has the making of a hilarious coaching battle where two otherwise-decent coaches just wait for the other to make a move.

I’m Sorry, Knicks Fans – I Wish I Could Help

Back in July, when I joined the team here, I wrote a strange introduction about how exactly to write about the Knicks when you aren’t a Knicks fan. It’s a rather odd place to be in, simply because the Knicks’ blogosphere is so vastly different from that of every other team. To put it simply, there are just so many bloggers that are so passionate, and knowledgeable about the Knicks, it feels vaguely wrong to be voicing opinions that aren’t rooted in that same passion.

Put it this way: let’s say your friend has a kid. You know the kid pretty well (after all, it’s your friend’s kid), but not so well that you feel like you’re the same person, like you know all of their ins and outs (because, after all, it’s not YOUR kid). But because of what you do (let’s say you’re an after-school teacher, like me), you know a good amount about kids. And you like kids. The great kids, you love (because they’re great kids – they’re smart and surprisingly funny and charming and all that fun stuff). Even the crappy kids you find enjoyable, because you’re able to find the good in everything, even if it’s ironic and occasionally mean-spirited.

Now, your friend’s kid is a crappy kid. He is undisciplined, he has trouble with transitions, he often acts out, he often rebels against authority, and otherwise causes undue stress to your friend. And you can see that it causes undue stress to your friend – you can see it on their face, you can hear it in their voice when you talk on the phone, you can even see/hear it in the words that they type in text messages and e-mails about their kid.

And the kid has been this kind of problem child for so long that it’s really starting to beat some of the life out of your friend. It’s past the point where you can make jokes about it – all that will do is remind them of the problems and depress them. You can’t put on a happy face and pretend like there isn’t any problem – they’ll see right through that. And of course, you can’t just straight up say that your friend’s kid sucks. That’s just the worst thing you could say. You’re just afraid to say anything, out of fear that you might say the wrong thing. So you just sit there and smile and nod uncomfortably as the kid sucks the life out of your friend until there’s nothing left.

That’s what it’s like being a Knicks blogger and not a Knicks fan.

This Knicks season is only 24 games old but it already feels like its taken years off the lives of my friends, both here at KnickerBlogger and elsewhere on the information superhighway. Every game it seems like the Knicks lose in spectacular fashion, I sift through a half-dozen game recaps that are beautifully written and hauntingly depressing, each of them asserting that this is the lowest the Knicks can go. It can’t possibly get any worse than this.

And then it does.

In a normal situation, the Knicks being this inept would be top-shelf schadenfreude for me, the same way I take small sadistic pleasures when teams like the Nets, Lakers, Bulls, and other high-profile teams that I’m either indifferent towards or actively root against, lose.

But this is different. Now I have to watch this Knicks season in the eyes of people who I genuinely consider friends, who I mostly interact with through Twitter, but have actually met out in the real world with faces and voices. Their pain becomes my pain, which is weird because I don’t even LIKE the Knicks. For most of my life, my general feelings towards the Knicks can be summarized as “¯\_(?)_/¯.”

So now I’m caught in this awkward middle ground, where on one hand I kind of want the Knicks to keep losing, because it will provide fodder to write about – it’s just the more interesting story. But the more they lose, the more Jim, and Bob, and Kevin, and Mike fall into this spiral where I’m afraid they’ll end up on a ledge on New Year’s Eve after doing a ton of blow like Jenny Gump. And I don’t want that. Nobody wants that.

And in the meantime, I’m afraid to say anything. Watching YOUR team fall apart at the seams is a uniquely personal experience. One that I’ve never dealt with, because I don’t have a “team.” Part of me wants to back off to let Jim and Bob and Mike and Kevin and everyone else write their way through the pain for the sake of catharsis; I don’t want anything I do to get in the way of that.

So more than anything, this is just trying to be a big hug, but with words. I don’t know your pain. I could never know your pain, or even begin to understand it. But I can see it. I can feel it in my bones. And I’m sorry. I really am. This isn’t fun for me in the slightest.

I’m not here to say that everything is going to work out. In all likelihood, things will get worse before they get better. But the next time something (anything) good happens, know that the first round is on me. You guys deserve it. You deserve better.