Tonight’s 4 Factors (@ BOS, 11/29/07)

After each game this season, we’ll be taking a look at what the four factors have to say about the game– how the winner won and the loser lost. For an intro to the four factors, see A Layman’s Guide to Advanced NBA Statistics.

Knicks lose to Celtics, 59 – 104

	Pace	Eff	eFG	FT/FG	OREB%	TOr
NYK	88.0	67.0	31.6%	14.5	14.9	17.0
BOS		118.2	54.4%	22.8	28.2	10.2

So the Knicks follow up the season’s best win with one of the worst losses in franchise history. Par for the course with this squad. Speaking honestly, a blowout heading into the game was probable– we’re talking about a matchup between a monster on both ends (Celtics 7th in offensive efficiency and 1st in defensive efficiency) and a team with substantial weaknesses on both ends (Knicks 25th in offense and 26th in defense).

The Knicks’ only hope to be competitive is through their inconsistent offense, and so a road game against the NBA’s top defense makes for a pretty hopeless situation. But the sheer magnitude of it was just too much. Coming out of this game, there will likely be a lot of renewed talk about how poorly the roster is constructed. But increasingly it seems like the more pressing problem is that the team is simply not coached very well. The better defenses in the NBA will take away your first option, necessitating adjustments and countermoves. But whenever a defense strikes upon a good strategy to thwart the Knicks’ attack, it seems as if Isiah has no other tricks in his pocket and the game is essentially already lost.


4 factor stats were acquired using the ESPN4Factors script by Cherokee of the ABPRmetrics board. Firefox users can use this script (after installing the Greasemonkey extension) to see 4 factor stats automatically displayed in all NBA boxscores on espn.com.

Tonight’s 4 Factors (vs UTH, 11/26/07)

After each game this season, we’ll be taking a look at what the four factors have to say about the game– how the winner won and the loser lost. For an intro to the four factors, see A Layman’s Guide to Advanced NBA Statistics.

Knicks defeat Jazz, 113 – 109

	Pace	Eff	eFG	FT/FG	OREB%	TOr
UTH	91.0	119.8	51.8%	24.7	46.2	15.4
NYK		124.2	57.6%	27.8	31.4	15.4

Probably the best win of the young season. The Knicks snapped their losing streak against a struggling Bulls team, but this win over the Western powerhouse Jazz certainly feels more like the turnaround game.

After a prolonged drought, the offense bounced back in a big way tonight. 124 points per 100 possessions is easily the best offensive performance of the season for the Knicks. Even more impressively, it came against a stingy Jazz team that had been 4th in the league in defensive efficiency coming into the night (allowing 102.4 pp100). The offense was clicking on all cylinders– a modest TO rate, superb showings at the line and on the offensive glass, and most impressively, a fantastic eFG near 60% after a long stretch of shooting efficiencies in the low 40s.

And all this was accomplished with an offensive no-show from Eddy Curry (8 points on 4-11 shooting). The lionshare of the credit goes to Zach Randolph, Jamal Crawford, and a resurgent Stephon Marbury. In a nutshell, the offense looks great when the guards are clicking. Getting them to click is the hard part, especially the ever-streaky Crawford. The Knick offense as a whole has been streaky this season, seemingly in step with the whims of Crawford’s game. If that pattern continues, it’s bad news for the Knicks over the long haul.

For all the credit going to the offense, the D was just about as bad, however. The Jazz’s rate of 119.8 points per 100 possessions tonight was the most efficient offensive performance against the Knicks this season, over 9 pp100 better than Utah’s season average. None of the 4 factors on D were good tonight. In particular, Utah just crushed the Knicks on the offensive glass, literally rebounding just under half of their misses. This marks another troubling trend in the early season– with the kind of rebounders the Knicks have, the one area they should do decently at on D is to protect the offensive boards.

Still, ultimately what it comes down to is that for this team, the offense must be very good in order for them to win. They got that offense tonight. Whether they can get it on a consistent basis will determine the fate of the season.


4 factor stats were acquired using the ESPN4Factors script by Cherokee of the ABPRmetrics board. Firefox users can use this script (after installing the Greasemonkey extension) to see 4 factor stats automatically displayed in all NBA boxscores on espn.com.

Today’s 4 Factors (vs CHI, 11/24/07)

After each game this season, we’ll be taking a look at what the four factors have to say about the game– how the winner won and the loser lost. For an intro to the four factors, see A Layman’s Guide to Advanced NBA Statistics.

Knicks defeat Bulls, 85 – 78

	Pace	Eff	eFG	FT/FG	OREB%	TOr
CHI	92.0	84.8	38.0%	18.1	21.6	15.2
NYK		92.4	41.0%	36.1	27.9	17.4

Finally, the losing streak is over. Still, it’s hard to take much comfort in this win. The Knicks had to fight tooth and nail to beat the struggling Bulls– perhaps the only team in the league underperforming more than the Knicks themselves– without their best player, Luol Deng.

New York’s woes continued on offense, even though the Bulls haven’t lived up to their defensive reputation so far. The Bulls have been allowing opponents a rather generous 49% eFG, but still the Knicks turned in another effort in the low 40s. The saving grace was that not all the guards were terrible– Marbury had a nice game, helping to offset poor shooting performances from Crawford, Q, and Nate. But things will have to get better if the Knicks are to have any hope against better teams.

This game was won on the other end of the court, as the Bulls played even worse than the Knicks offensively. It seems wrongheaded to give the Knicks too much credit for a good defensive performance here. The Bulls came into the game averaging 92.8 points per 100 possessions, worst in the league by a wide margin, and were without their best offensive player. On the other hand, one could argue that any time the defensively inept Knicks can hold an opponent below their average offensive performance, it is a strong defensive effort (relative to the norm). The Knicks’ best effort was on the defensive glass, where they took away one of the Bulls’ only offensive strengths (29.1 o-reb% coming into the game). It was a good team effort, but credit Quentin Richardson in particular for a tough presence on the boards.


4 factor stats were acquired using the ESPN4Factors script by Cherokee of the ABPRmetrics board. Firefox users can use this script (after installing the Greasemonkey extension) to see 4 factor stats automatically displayed in all NBA boxscores on espn.com.

Tonight’s 4 Factors (@ DET, 11/21/07)

After each game this season, we’ll be taking a look at what the four factors have to say about the game– how the winner won and the loser lost. For an intro to the four factors, see A Layman’s Guide to Advanced NBA Statistics.

Knicks lose to Pistons, 86 – 98

	Pace	Eff	eFG	FT/FG	OREB%	TOr
NYK	85.0	101.2	48.8%	10.0	32.4	17.6
DET		115.3	53.9%	21.1	27.5	10.6

Not the world’s most encouraging game. But, it wasn’t quite as bad as recent performances. The offense wasn’t good– right at NY’s season average, against a Pistons team that has been slightly below average defensively– but “not good” is a vast improvement over where the offense has been lately. The eFG% and TO rate were decent, if not outstanding. But a weak effort at the line didn’t help things along.

The D was about as bad as it has been, if not slightly worse. The Pistons’ offensive efficiency was a bit higher than both their season average and the average offensive efficiency allowed by the Knicks.

So it wasn’t a blowout, thanks to an offense that was tepid rather than putrid. Seems that this is about as good as things get nowadays. The Knicks must take advantage of a struggling Chicago team this Saturday, or else with the following games against Utah and Boston we’re looking at a losing streak that would likely extend to at least 11 games.


4 factor stats were acquired using the ESPN4Factors script by Cherokee of the ABPRmetrics board. Firefox users can use this script (after installing the Greasemonkey extension) to see 4 factor stats automatically displayed in all NBA boxscores on espn.com.

Tonight’s 4 Factors (vs GSW, 11/20/07)

After each game this season, we’ll be taking a look at what the four factors have to say about the game– how the winner won and the loser lost. For an intro to the four factors, see A Layman’s Guide to Advanced NBA Statistics.

Knicks lose to Warriors, 82 – 108

	Pace	Eff	eFG	FT/FG	OREB%	TOr
GSW	100.0	108.0	52.9%	19.8	17.8	11.0
NYK		82.0	41.8%	20.3	36.6	29.0

If the Knicks keep this up, we may as well prepackage the following message for all these 4 factor posts:

The defense was awful. The offense was awful. Awful D + Awful O = blowout losses and a lottery team. fin.

What still cannot be emphasized enough though is that the offense is hurting more than the D. 108 points per 100 possessions is actually below the Knicks’ season average so far, and also less than their average defensive efficiency in their two wins (109.5). So it’s terrible, yes, but not something that will change.

The amazing vanishing offense is continuing its whirlwind tour, however. And what dictates New York’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde mood swings is variation in the offense, which unlike the D, can range from very good to very bad. Right now we’re in a prolonged spell of utter badness. 82 points per 100 possessions. The 4th straight game under 43% eFG. And a whopping season high 29 TOs per 100 possessions, worst of the season by a large margin. The ’94 Knicks would have a tough time winning with that offensive performance, let alone this bunch.

It seems the league has adjusted to the Knicks’ offensive attack. The ball is in Isiah’s court now. What is his countermove? The clock is still ticking.


4 factor stats were acquired using the ESPN4Factors script by Cherokee of the ABPRmetrics board. Firefox users can use this script (after installing the Greasemonkey extension) to see 4 factor stats automatically displayed in all NBA boxscores on espn.com.

Tonight’s 4 Factors (@ DEN, 11/17/07)

After each game this season, we’ll be taking a look at what the four factors have to say about the game– how the winner won and the loser lost. For an intro to the four factors, see A Layman’s Guide to Advanced NBA Statistics.

Knicks lose to Nuggets, 83 – 115

	Pace	Eff	eFG	FT/FG	OREB%	TOr
NYK	92.0	90.2	40.5%	17.9	34.0	18.5
DEN		125.0	55.1%	20.5	38.3	12.0

Another game, another discouraging loss. The Nuggets dominated on both ends of the court. The Knicks had another awful offensive performance, driven by horrific shooting and ball handling. It was the third consecutive game New York shot under 43% eFG. Meanwhile, Denver scored at will, and on the rare occasions when they did miss they simply crushed the Knicks on the offensive glass, despite being a below average offensive rebounding team coming into the game.

It’s early in the season, yes, but the Knicks are in trouble. It was expected that they would be bad on D. But aside from a flash in the pan in the season’s first few games, the offense has looked just about as bad as the D. It’s not that the offense hasn’t been living up to expectations, but rather it’s been genuinely bad, bottom-third of the league bad. If the Knicks can’t work out the offensive kinks, they’ll be bottom feeders on both ends of the court and knocked out of the playoff picture shockingly early.


4 factor stats were acquired using the ESPN4Factors script by Cherokee of the ABPRmetrics board. Firefox users can use this script (after installing the Greasemonkey extension) to see 4 factor stats automatically displayed in all NBA boxscores on espn.com.

Tonight’s 4 Factors (@ SAC, 11/16/07)

After each game this season, we’ll be taking a look at what the four factors have to say about the game– how the winner won and the loser lost. For an intro to the four factors, see A Layman’s Guide to Advanced NBA Statistics.

Knicks lose to Kings, 118 – 123

	Pace	Eff	eFG	FT/FG	OREB%	TOr
NYK	91.0	107.3	42.5%	33.0	36.5	12.7
SAC		111.8	51.7%	39.5	27.7	17.3

Another bad, frustrating loss. You might look at this game and blame Curry’s blown layup at the end of regulation, or Crawford’s and Lee’s misses at the end of the first OT, or the Knicks’ failure to grab a key defensive rebound off a missed free throw at the end of second OT. But games are won and lost not on singular possessions, but over the course of every possession played in the entire game. The Knicks came up short in this department on both ends, accounting for a loss to one of the league’s inferior teams.

Defensively, the Knicks allowed the Kings to score 7.3 points per 100 possessions more than their season average. The Kings shot better from the field, rebounded better offensively, and did more damage from the free throw line than their norms to date, without a dropoff in TO rate.

Offensively, the Knicks failed to capitalize on one of the league’s most porous defenses (29th in defensive efficiency coming into the game). The Kings had been allowing their opponents to score 113.9 points per 100 possessions, but the Knicks only managed 107.3. New York actually did a fine job on the offensive boards, getting to the line, and keeping their TOs down. All of their offensive futility tonight can be chalked up to poor shooting from the field. Crawford and Richardson were the main goats in this respect, combining for 10-35 shooting.


4 factor stats were acquired using the ESPN4Factors script by Cherokee of the ABPRmetrics board. Firefox users can use this script (after installing the Greasemonkey extension) to see 4 factor stats automatically displayed in all NBA boxscores on espn.com.