|Amar’e Stoudemire, PF 30 MIN | 8-13 FG | 2-2 FT | 9 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 5 TO | 18 PTS | +8
It was mostly good. The MONSTER SLAM at the beginning of the 4th Quarter over Varejao was a thing of beauty that sent visions of fall 2010 running through MSG. STAT unleashed some crafty low post moves and played some good defense in space on PNR, leading to a clanged Marion corner 3 and then a Shumpert/Carmelo two on none fastbreak. He grabbed a bunch of tough rebounds, and even made two nice passes out of the post to Larkin and Hardaway. Really, I saw it happen and everything. But early on, Stat was clowned by Varejao off the dribble, leading to an easy Love basket, The turnovers are still a problem, though. Still, it’d be nifty to see this version of Amar’e every night.
|Quincy Acy, SF 31 MIN | 6-8 FG | 3-4 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 15 PTS | -15
. That was Quincy’s best, manimal-est game as a Knick, starting with the hard/borderline cheap hit on LBJ early set the tone. He had some great leak outs and dashes to the rim for easy points, played strong defense, banged home rainbow jumpers and even dumped off a pocket pass or two. Sometimes, though, he crossed over from aggressive to “aggressively dumb” with his hackery, and we’re going to knock a point off his GPA accordingly. Speaking of cats we’d like to see every night… this guy!
|Carmelo Anthony, SF 30 MIN | 4-19 FG | 0-0 FT | 10 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 5 TO | 9 PTS | -13
Some nice rebounding and passing, but ooh boy. His shot was off, and for some reason that only emboldened him to force it even more. He looked slow and in pain, frankly, which might make one question the wisdom of playing him 40+ minutes in the first two games back from injury. Going ISO and running out the clock with a chance to tie, only to fling up a contested, no-hope trey was really the crappy icing on a poopy game.
|Jose Calderon, PG 28 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 3 PTS | -9
Absolutely could not keep Kyrie Irving in front of him after the first quarter, when Irving was inexplicably went scoreless. He moved the ball on offense quite well, but we’ll need better than this from Calderon sto make up for the turnstile defense (which was expected).
|Iman Shumpert, SG 25 MIN | 0-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -16
Solid game for a guy with no points. The jumper’s still broken or he’s lost the confidence to take it altogether, and the botched tip dunk early is just another reminder of what we already know–he really can’t score in traffic. Still, a decent outing as the secondary ballhandler, setting up Acy, Carmelo (2x) for easy baskets rather than trying to finish himself.
On defense, Shumpert has three big problems. First, he just plain dies on screens. Second, because he fears screens, he gets wrongfooted by quick guards like Irving–particularly on the shot that put Cleveland up three–who reject the screen.
Third, he is not strong enough to keep SFs (especially Lebron James) from backing him down in the post.
|Samuel Dalembert, C 18 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 6 PTS | -11
We can debate whether Phil actually thought Dalembert was a reasonable plug in for Tyson, but this is more or less what the Knicks hoped for. Strongish defense, good rebounding, a few garbage points, and he does seem to understand the Triangle, even if he lacks the skills to execute it well. And yeah, that backdoor pass we’ve all been lauding can just as easily go awry.
Speaking of ways that Dalembert is definitely not Tyson, alley oops. Please don’t try, Sammy.
|Jason Smith, C 13 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | +15
“Jason Smith, tough guy.” Hmm. No. “Jason Smith is a tough hombre.” Nah. “Jason Smith, a bad-ass motherfluffer.” Close, but no. Jason Smith is not tough. He tries, though!
|Shane Larkin, PG 16 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | -5
First half was an F. He was getting torched on defense and could not get the Knicks into their offense. The second stanza, though, was much, much better. He hit a nice three and made slick good passes to get Knicks into their offense. Despite his speed, he couldn’t stay in fromt of Kyrie either, which, to be fair, the guy with the best odds of doing so was wearing a lovely suit and streaking out to midcourt flapping his arms like Michael Keaton in Birdman trying to call a timeout.
|Pablo Prigioni, PG 8 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 4 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +8
Pablo’s crafty – he’s gets around
|J.R. Smith, SG 19 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | +13
JR was much better than he was against Miami. He carried the offense when STAT and Carmelo were on the bench. He took JR Smith shots (step back long 2s) and hit them. Also made a couple of nice passes for assists.
|Tim Hardaway Jr., SG 22 MIN | 8-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 20 PTS | +10
A spectacular first half in which it looked like he’d regained his shooting touch from last year. No idea why he did not get more run in the second half.
Sigh, yes. They lost another close game, but if we’re looking for a page to tear out of the silver linings Knickbook, they were generating good looks out of the triangle. I counted six misses that were great shots generated by the Triple Post. I dig that he kept the team’s head in the game when breaks went badly in mid-4th quarter, but at the other end of the spectrum, I can’t feel good about going ISO-Melo to try to tie it with 10 seconds left.
Five Things We Saw
- After joining my fellow citizens in Foley Square (wrong forum to discuss this too serious subject), I came to this game just hoping for a close, entertaining game. I had little hope that it would happen, but the Knicks delivered a tense, hard-fought effort, even if they fell short. I’m not going to complain. (Feel free to complain in the comments.)
- As I noted above, the triangle generated a lot of good looks including some serious highlight-worthy baskets off of three or even four passes. Amar’e is getting enough space in the post to operate, backdoor passes are starting to click, and nicks are making the weakside handoff work. It’s still not resulting in, you know, wins, but there is a foundation being laid.
- The Knicks cannot win games where Carmelo shoots 4/19 and does not get to the foul line. It’s just that simple.
- Something was seriously wrong with LeBron tonight. I do not know if it was the after-effects of the whomping he took from Quincy Acy, but Lebron missed easy layups and lots of foul shots. There’s been a lot of chatter the last year plus about LBJ losing a step. Seeing him in person… well… I’ve gotta agree. Right now, for whatever reason, this isn’t the dude that would destroy people. And his defense? It’s bad. Not, “Bad for LeBron James” bad. Just plain not good.
- You know who is good? Kyrie Irving. Yes, FARTDOG, but he’s exactly the sort of quick point guard who has torn, does tear, and for the foreseeable future will continue to tear the Knicks up. As much as I wish Shumpert was an answer to this problem, he is not. And that’ll do it. The rest of the schedule is just brutal. Take a look.
Things not very likely to get better soon for NYK. Have played easiest schedule so far and this is their next month: pic.twitter.com/VcGAItaMi1
— Jared Dubin (@JADubin5) December 5, 2014
Okay, stop looking. That hurt. But if they keep playing hard and making incremental gains, maybe, they won’t get lapped by the Sixers. Go Knicks!