Little late here, looks like the game is over already. But here is a game thread for comments. Tough week for our Knickerbockers….
The Bucks seem to have had our number of late, but I have a good feeling about this one, despite the fact that both Redd and Bogut seemed to have revived somewhat of late. Here are Thomas B’s thoughts from his Week in Advance….
n the two losses to the Bucks, the Knicks had eFG% of 44.4 and 38.3. That is well below the Knicks’ average eFG% of 50.4. The Knicks need to move the ball and get good shots against a team that is not especially strong on defense (106.3, 13th, 49.6 eFG%, 16th).
What to watch for: Get to the line. The Bucks defense gives up a ton of free throws (32.9, 30th). Playing defense with their hands, rather than their feet, as Clyde would say. Getting to the line will be helpful if the Knicks are having another poor shooting night against the Bucks. As an added bonus, the fouls will get you to the Buck’s thin bench quicker.
What to watch for 2: Hope that the Bucks coaching staff does not realize that Luke Ridnour is not as good as Sessions. Sessions plays really well against the Knicks. I’m not sure why Ridnour is starting over Sessions, but I’ll take whatever keeps Sessions on the bench.
What to watch for 3: Bogut. Big, good footwork, soft touch, and efficient (54.9 eFG%) are all adjectives you don’t want to read when describing an opposing center. This is particularly true for the Knicks who have huge problems stopping those sorts of players. New York has to keep Bogut from catching the ball deep. The Knicks don’t have the size to force Bogut out, but the Knicks can pressure the entry passes so the Bucks have a harder time getting Bogut the ball.
Always fun when the two New York area teams collide. The Nets are the surprise team so far in the NBA by most folks estimation, led by the stellar play of Devin Harris and the resurgence of Vince Carter. Should be an interesting matchup, although the Nets haven’t played since the 6th and the Knicks are going back-to-back.
Here are Thomas B’s thoughts from his Week in Advance.
Wednesday, December 10 @ New Jersey [First meeting of the teams this year.]
The Nets are a team of contrast. New Jersey is bad on defense, and their efficiency (111.3, 27th), and eFG% (51.3 %, 26th) are among the worst in the NBA. On the other hand, the Nets are strong on offense (110.2, 5th) and they take care of the ball (14.4 Turnovers, 2nd).
What to watch for: The Nets are over .500 due to the great play they are getting from Devin Harris. Harris leads all Eastern Conference PGs in PER (27.6), and scoring (24.5/36 min, 5th overall). He averages 0.8 3PM/36, which means he does most of his damage on the inside and at the free throw line (9.2 ftm/36). I have not seen him play this year, but those numbers indicate that Harris drives a lot. The Knicks need to give Harris room to take the jumper rather than let him get into his comfort zone of driving.
What to watch for 2: Defense. I have said this every week, but the Knicks need a strong defensive effort against teams that are efficient on offense. The Knicks’ defensive focus has to start with Harris. Duhon will need to play smart (stay out of foul trouble) as he may not have Nate to back him up.
Let me just crib from Thomas B. here….
After a very hot start, the Hawks have cooled a bit but they are still a dangerous match up for the Knicks because their offensive efficiency (109.1, 6th) and eFG% (50.8%, 7th) exploits the Knick defense.
What to watch for 1: Pace. For a team with so many athletic players the Hawks don’t really push the pace (90.1 possessions per game, 25th). It will be interesting to see what the Hawks do if the Knicks push the pace.
What to watch for 2: Inside the paint. The Hawks, like the Knicks, lack a true center. Solomon Jones is solid interior defender (2.7 blocks per 36 minutes) but he is quite foul prone (5.5 fouls per 36 minutes). Josh Smith blocks the same number of shots per 36, but is more of a weak side defender than face up. If Duhon and Robinson can get inside they can open up a few easy baskets for Lee and Harrington when Smith comes to help.
Lebron part deux. Eight days ago, his appearance in New York generated reams of publicity and some controversy, along with a very solid 26 point outing in only 30 minutes of action. I have a feeling that he will look to put up some big numbers tonight to keep the hometown fans happy.
Those Cleveland fans have a lot to be happy about these days. The Cavs are firmly in control of the Central division and are the second best team in basketball right now with a +11 efficiency differential. Although they play at only 23rd fastest pace in the league, they field the best offense in the NBA, a significant improvement over last year.
After last night’s game against the Trailblazers this will be a big test for the Knicks. It’s hard to expect much, but I think that at the very least we can count on them playing hard, one of the things which is making me proud to be a Knicks fan again.