Cavs 106, Knicks 100: Kübler-Ross Stage Five

Cleveland Cavaliers 106 Final
Recap | Box Score
100 New York Knicks


All terrible Knick losses are alike; yet each is unhappy in its own way.
— Leo Tolstoy, Knicks fan (probably)

A brief convo sprung up at the conclusion of this godawfully stupid game on the Twitters, about ranking the excruciating defeats. Certainly, this one would have to rank pretty high, if only because, while we should have seen it coming, not just because of history and this season and everything, even during the 8-game era of good feeling, there were some serious warning signs; like, “I’ve got a pustulent boil growing out of the side of my neck and it’s entirely possible it’s gained the power of speech, so maybe I should toddle on down to my friendly neighborhood GP”-type warning signs (we’ll delve into those in a bit). And I thought about it for a second, because reliving past horrors seemed eminently preferable to putting hands to keyboard and recapping this particular blight.

Said recounting of grievances would have to include (in no particular order):

• The Sacto loss right before the All-Star break where Raymond yawned and Jimmer got a career-high
• The Milwaukee OT blunder where Brandon Knight had a career-high and nailed the game winning in Felt’s grill, (And yes, if memory serves, that makes 15 guys who’ve logged a season-high point total against the ‘Bockers this year. 14 of those players were wings. I would have wagered vast quantities of arable land that Jack would’ve topped his personal best of 33 tonight.)
• The Washington fiasco where Beno was left to fend for himself/Woodson didn’t call TO/Melo sashayed up court,
• The Orlando OT collapse where Chandler dunked the ball of his own head
• The Houston debacle where J.R. pulled a Bargs
• The Indiana tilt where Shump got whistled for tickling George’s elbow, and on and on and on

Hell, like our pal Joe said…

…you could trace it all back to the original derp-tastic sin right there.

Of course, trying to decide which defeat might rank the worst in this ludicrous race to the bottom is almost an exercise in pure futility, because they all seem so painfully, soul-crushingly alike, hence the above bowdlerization of Tolstoy’s quip from Anna Karenina.

Tonight was no different than all the other misspent evenings that made you (or at least me) want to pound nails into the floor with my forehead. It was so utterly laughable (in a laugh-to-keep-from-weeping-uncontrollably kind of way), in the sad inevitability of it all. They failed because of the same painfully obvious reasons that they’ve always failed this year, and all of us—you, I, a particularly dull-witted, drooling child; hell, anyone with a vaguely functioning cerebral cortex—could see this one coming a mile away. In fact, the only person who seemingly didn’t see the gnarled, wizened, foul hand of defeat coming to snatch this one out of the feeble, muscle tone-free mandibles of victory was Mike Woodson.

Let’s relive it, shall we? Or as Navin R. Johnson said, roll the ugliness

Things started off well enough, and the offense was humming against a rather tepid Burning Lake Erie defense. Melo was cooking up a massive bowl of piping-hot soup, starting off with a few buckets off the ball, then a couple of elbow ISO’s, then another off the ball bomb, and finally the Dirk leg kick heave on his way to a nifty 16 point (6-7) first. Stoudemire was converting down low and banging home jumpers, and J.R. Smith was hitting contortionist-level post ups and dribble drives.

Despite all this dandy bucket-getting, they were only up seven because they were just as shitty on D as they were pretty on O. Felton couldn’t keep Jack in front of him, sort of waved aggressively in Waiters general direction, sloppy, needless switching left bigs on littles and vice versa. If you’ve heard this tune before, please feel free to sing along.

The 2nd was sort of disjointed and weird, Cole Aldrich netted a steal when the ball sort of bonked off of one of his lower tree trunks and he stared at it dumbly for a second, like a lost puppy dog in the rain trying to read a signpost. Prigs had a few beyootiful passes, except they were directed at the likes of Shannon Brown, whose entire operating system seemed to abort/crash when he got to the rim and…

Let’s pause here for one sec. I know, I know, we’re right in the middle of the absolutely ripping yarn, and I’m sure you’re dying to know how it all ends [sarcasm font] but boy oh boy did the Knicks miss Shump tonight. It’s not just that Shannon Brown got way, way too much floor time and looked totally useless (considering he’d logged all of 164 minutes all season, and was never particularly good to begin with, duh), but for all of Iman’s struggles and lack of confidence and wholly inconsistent (at best) outings, the ‘Bockers were desperate for someone who could corral the world’s finest floor general, Jarrett Jack.

Here’s an idea. If you won’t go back to the two-PG look or put Prigs back in the game when Felt’s getting his fat slow roasted over an open fire (that bears a striking resemblance to Cuba Gooding Jr. as Rod Tidwell), why not take the bubble wrap/remove the Hello Kitty backpack from the precious, delicate hothouse flower that is Toure’ Murry? He and Brown both 6-4, so it’s not like they’d be giving up the height advantage or anything and Shannon was shooting a robust .348 (including 0-2 from distance).

I know, I know, asking logical questions with regards to Woodson’s lineup choices/rotations is akin to engaging in a Socratic debate with a colicky toddler that won’t stop screaming. Why are you wasting time explaining to said bundle of joy that you’ve got a pounding, throbbing headache/it isn’t going to make you let him/her watch Yo Gabba Gabba! For the 43rd time anyway? He/she is

Anyway, where were we? Oh right, the 2nd. The aforementioned Mr. Aldrich, who, given his abilities on the boards and as a rim-protector, would be a serviceable starting center if he didn’t have huge slabs of country ham for hands. STAT fell down at once point for no apparent reason, Ohioans zipped passes to people who were already out of bounds, and so on.

The starters came back in, and there was a spate of truly gorgeous play (again, on offense). The Corsairs started doubling up on Anthony, who swung the ball to J.R. at the top of the key. He quickly directed it to Pablo on the left wing, who proceeded to bang home a hesitation-free trey. Yummers!

Pablo followed that up with a tricky bit Prigspocketing™ near the sideline, before lofting a perfect alley oop to Smith for a crowd-pleasing flush. They were up 15 at the break, and all seemed well and good for the fine denizens of the World’s Most Famous.

I was worried. (I’m usually worried.) Despite the offensive heroics, Cleveland (without Kyrie Irving, mind you) shot 19-39 in the half. Granted, it was the same formula that we’d seen throughout the streak, and even for the bulk of last season, to be honest—great shot-making negating whatever deficiencies were there on the other end.

There was a halftime interview where Al Trautwig (clearly giddily dazed over the recent spate of success/crowning of King Phil) babbling like an over-caffeinated fanboy about ‘changing nothing’/ignoring warning signs aplenty put a mic in front of NBA Rasputin Herb Williams who (shockingly) outlined the team’s “strategy”. I’m paraphrasing but it was something along the lines of, “Get Melo the ball. He’s not playing great so, let him make plays, if not, maybe a pick and roll or Amar’e, steal underpants. ???? Profit!”

Which—to state the painfully obvious—isn’t really much of a strategy at all.

You know what happens next, even if you didn’t watch this bleak, sad mess of a game. You know because you’ve seen them practically blow a 17-point lead against the giant, flashing “NO TANKING/MUST FIX, RIGHT COMMISH SILVER” sign that is Philly. You know because they’ve frittered away leads great and small all season long, because, to put it as simply as possible, this is a dumb team, with a profoundly dumb coach, that either out of blind stubbornness will not, or rank incompetency cannot change or adapt or make countermoves when things go wrong.

The Corsairs shot 11-16 in the 3rd and the lead was gone. They missed open jumpers early and it led to forced shots and wasted possessions,.

They ran out a STAT-Chandler (who was [again] rendered invisible once the opponent started hedging on the pick and roll/banked on the Knicks forcing up bad outside shots)-Brown-THJ-Prigs unit to start the 4th and then it vanished.

Down the stretch, what do you think they ran? Death and Taxes? No, ISO-Melo. (It’s just as predictable.) Melo shot 0-5 in the final stanza, with each possession proving more brackish-ly stagnant than the last.

And no one could stop Jarrett freaking Jack, because of course they couldn’t.

The Cavs ended the game hitting 23 of their final 30 shots. Let that sink in.

Of course, the postgame quotes were their usual mix of both the maudlin and the oblivious. To wit:

(Josh Lyman voice) YOU THINK?

Woodson also spewed something about ‘taking the blame’ for this one. Which, yes, he should, and could possibly be perceived as trying to shield his players, etc. But maybe, after multiple pressers where we’ve heard him launch his goatee’d frame upon the grenade, it’s time for the man himself to realize that he’s had an absolutely execrable year. {Insert joke about Woodson throwing himself under the bus/kicking himself to the curb here.}


So, back to the question I posed 1.7k words ago: where does this one rank on the gut-punch scale?

Well, recency bias notwithstanding, this feels like the worst. (I’m sure the next dumb loss will feel worse than this one). Not just because it was the almost perfect summation of all of the misery-inducing rank idiocy we’ve seen, but I got suckered back in to believing in this team, or at least wanting to believe I believed in this team.

Yeah, they bopped off a couple of patsies, but eight games is eight games and Phil! Phil will fix this! Playoffs! 1999 Redux!

And it just leaves us feeling stupid, because we thought we were past all of this crap. I’m sure the players themselves feel the same way. There’s nothing worse than reverting to an old, failed self, and that’s what makes this one so awful. You and I (and possibly the Knicks themselves, too) know how fundamentally flawed this team is. Why do we cast ourselves as Charlie Brown and let the Knicks Lucy the football. Eventually, Sisyphus stops trying to push the freaking boulder up that hill, right?

Of course it happened when the Hawks totally fornicated with the canine v. the Raptors. Of course they would’ve been a mere two games out of the 8th spot. Of course they reverted to all of their awful, recidivist habits at the worst possible time. They couldn’t just get whomped by the superior (if flailing) Pacers, they had to piss away another win in a season of micturated victories against a cellar-dweller.

Here’s a joke that I think really sums up this entire season. “Like Vladimir said to Estragon, it’s not the heat, it’s the futility.” [rim shot]

I’m not even angry with the team or the coach, really, because this is who they are. This is what they do.

And until our new Beatific lord and master truly is able to purge this wheezing, ill-considered Rube Goldberg device of all the unnecessary and broken parts, that’s not going to change.

The only silver lining (aside from Clyde riffing about A.C. Green’s celibacy. That was a hoot!) is that it’ll all be over soon enough.

Till then, if acceptance is the greatest wisdom we can come to, so be it. In Anna Karenina, just to bring it back to my make believe Tolstoy quote, all of the adultery and the scheming and the intrigue is just a cover for the real change that’s coming to Russian society as a whole. And there’s a shit ton of confusion and misery that has to be dealt with before that can happen. So yeah, this sucks, but there is something new on the horizon. Of course, we’ll overlook the fact that the Russians got fucked over just as badly by the slightly different totalitarian goons that that followed.

In closing…

Best. 2013-14 Knicks Anagram. EVAH. (Ray Felton version): ER, NO. FATLY.


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Robert Silverman

Hey, did you know that in addition to banging the keys here and occasionally for the NY Times and at ESPN, Robert is a playwright, an actor and a wand'ring mendicant/gadfly? He also once wrestled a bear...and lost.

72 thoughts to “Cavs 106, Knicks 100: Kübler-Ross Stage Five”

  1. Kahnzy March 23, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    There is no way we lose this one.



    What the fuck, man? I put this loss on you. #firekahnzy

  2. Look at the bright side,

    Now we can watch Bargs return generate some funny gifs without caring if it’s costing wins or not…

  3. Great writing, RS.
    The good news is that the knicks can’t have a new, worst loss of the season – because the season is over! Done. Put a fork in it.

  4. I really hope Denver gets the #1 pick.

    I don’t care if you were hiring Phil Jackson. Woodson needed to be fired.

    I strongly advocated firing him after the 4th game of the season, which was aggressive but correct (amazingly, I didn’t change my name to Hubert I Told You So). It was very clear at that time that Woodson lacked the thought process necessary to fix a problem and his answer to everything was going to be “go big” and “play the veterans”, and there was no point giving him a whole season to fuck up by playing the wrong people.

    The obvious time to fire him was probably after the Wizards game in December, which he managed to fuck up 1,000 different ways.

    Not firing him after the Sacramento game was professional negligence.

    There’s just no good reason we didn’t hire an interim manager to finish this season out, and I’ve got no doubt we’ll pay for that stupidity by forking over a top 3 pick to Denver.

  5. I agree with what Robert said above about dusting off Murray. I mean, the argument for keeping Felton in to run the offense means nothing, since every time down the floor was iso-Melo anyway. So if you have a 3 or 5 point lead, focus on stopping Jimmer Jack and win the damn game.

    The other thing is, losing home games to awful teams is not just about the end of our slim playoff hopes. It’s an insult to all those fans who paid big $$ and showed up on a Sunday night to watch the Knicks play a team without their one star and completely implode in the 4th quarter. And it’s happened all season long.

  6. “It’s tough,” Carmelo Anthony said. “We should’ve won this game. We gave it away. They earned it. They beat us.”
    Leaders that don’t take responsibility for their own mistakes and misfortune are not leaders . . . regardless of how much of a warrior they may be.
    That sickening iso garbage that Melo initially brought to this team was on full display down the stretch in the fourth quarter, at this season’s most critical juncture.
    And the other non-leader of a coach said, Yeah, that’s it. Keep doing it.

  7. Having said that, I’m taking the fork out. The season isn’t over yet. I believed we could make the playoffs if we lost just 3-5 games the rest of the way. The Hawks lost a home game to the Pelicans I didn’t expect them to lose, and we matched it. Now we just have to win one we didn’t expect to lose. It will be hard. Our idiot coach will make it harder. But it’s not over yet. We’ve played some great basketball to close out the season the last two years.

    We’ll need at least a 3-2 road trip.

  8. If we go 2-2 this week and Atlanta goes 1-3 (both likely), we’ll wake up Monday with 31 wins to their 32.

    If we go 3-1 the following week against Utah, Brooklyn, Washington, and Miami and they go 2-2 against Philadelphia, Chicago, Cleveland, and Indiana, the following Monday we’ll be level with them at 34 wins.

    Then for the stretch run they have to play 6 games in 9 days.

    There’s still a fair amount of time left, and if I had to guess, we’ll both end up with 37-38 wins. Don’t stick a fork in it just yet.

  9. Having said that, I’m taking the fork out. The season isn’t over yet.

    Given the competition, this is certainly true. But try to remember that this team is fated to miss the playoffs by 1 game because Tyson dunked a ball off his own head and it bounced out of the basket.

  10. Takeaways from last night:

    (1) Agreed Robert — We really should not underestimate the value of Shumpert, not because he is the best defensive player of all time, but because Raymond and JR and THJ have to be among the three worst backcourt defenders in the league. There was no Shump to put some chillin on Jack’s thrillin. On top of that we had to over-rely on Shannon Brown (15 mins) who is beyond a negative offensive force right now.

    (2) I thought we had 3 losses the rest of the way to make the playoffs… now we have 2. We need to go 4 – 1 over our next five to put some pressure on ATL. Given our history of how we respond to losses, I’ll believe it, when I see it. The good news is we have four straight away from home.

    (3) Melo seems to have no problem moving the ball and being altruistic when we’re playing ahead, but reverts to his worst instincts when we’re trailing. He took bad shots in the 4th quarter, when he wasn’t cooking. The most blatant for me was when he drove in and had Amare wide open on the baseline, but faked the pass to him instead, which did not fool Varejao, and ended in an offensive foul. He needs to trust more, in pressure situations.

    (4) Assuming total collapse…I’d say the worst record Atlanta could have is 5-9 the rest of the way — so they’d go 36 – 46. We would then have to go 8-4 to end the season with 37 wins. We’re favored in about 4 of the games left, so even assuming semi-ATL collapse, we still have to win some games we’re not expected to win, and NOT lose to teams with their best player injured. This upcoming roadtrip will be interesting…

  11. I watched only the last 18 minutes of the game, so maybe I missed something, but…

    You know what is really unbelievable? That even this loss depends almost completely on bad decision after bad decision by Woodson. I mean, in the last 6 minutes of playing time I kept asking myself “is Amar’e injured?”, because that, and only that, would have been an excusable reason to not seeing Stoudemire walking upon the hardwood. I know he doesn’t defend a lick, but the benefits he gives us on offense can’t be understated. With Stat, we have a necessary secondary offensive option (necessary since Woodson seems oblivious to the fact that Felton is quite uncapable of directing a team, and he won’t trust Pablo to do something, which, ok, Pablo is old but is waaaay more savvy and smart than that hobbled penguin): why in the hell do you renounce to him? To let play who? THJ (I like the kid, mind you, but he doesn’t do much more than space the floor at this point; it’s not like he’s a great creator off the dribble)?

    And, for the sake of goodness: are you really sure you want to depend on Shannon Brown in a crucial game at this point in the season? Even with Shump out?

    Well, come on, fire Woodson NOW and maybe we still have a chance. I wrote days ago that the 8th spot run would have hinged on Woodson’s decisions in close games, and that was a doomed premise, so we would have been better off firing the man. We pay the price of many missed opportunities, and remember: we lucked out with Philly, we were at risk of losing even that game and we know damn well the reason why.

    Fire Woodson, now, or let us not care anymore until July.

  12. Now the question is, can you find eight wins in the last twelve games for the Knicks?

    Kings, Lakers, Jazz – that’s three. Splitting against Toronto and Brooklyn gets you five. So they need to win three more out of the following: @Golden State, @Phoenix, @Miami, Washington, Chicago, the other Brooklyn game and the other Toronto game. It’s not impossible.

    But it is more than just a little problematic that the three “definite” wins on this list are all road games on the west coast, and two of them are the back ends of back-to-backs. These are the kinds of games that good teams circle as possible (or even probable) losses. If those are the most winnable games on your schedule, you got problems (especially for a team that can’t beat Cleveland at home without Irving, yikes!)

  13. I think 8-4 is a realistic shot at the playoffs. I just don’t think 8-4 is a realistic record. They have a lot of tough games left. Sweeping the west coast trip would change that, though, so I think that they should just do that. ;)

  14. Boy oh boy. How are we supposed to win 8 games when our coach has just been outsmarted by Mr. Ugly Offense, the one and only Mike Brown?

  15. It’s kind of weird that with three weeks left in the season, there is only one team in the entire league that is actually fighting for a playoff spot (two, I suppose, if you call what the Knicks are doing as “fighting”)

  16. The season ended for me when the Knicks almost blew the 76ers game.
    It was obvious then that this team was reverting, and that game obliterated what little embers of confidence they had.
    Up 17 with five minutes left, Woodson watched a slow motion wreck, mouth often agape, refusing to call a time out to settle the young’ins.
    He permitted a 16-1 run to continue rather than calming them down and then putting them back out there to build their confidence.
    Nope. He just waited until it was almost completely blown, and put starters back, risking their health and crushing the confidence of the back ups.
    And then surprise, surprise, after doing nothing to support the second team in that game, he nails Murry to the bench when the Penguin’s waddle wasn’t up to Jack.
    This guy so needs to be fired.
    This team’s failure is entirely his.
    No way they should be calling Melo isos. It hasn’t won games all year; Melo’s late game heroics are a myth. Woodson alone has probably cost the Knicks a dozen wins this season. Several of the painful losses Rob recapped can be traced directly to him.
    The funny thing is, if Bargs came back, he’d be starting him, reducing Amar’e’s minutes and repeating the refrain, “The East is big, man.”
    I would be surprised if he ever gets another head coaching job, even in a league prone to 10th chances.

  17. @18 Amen, Frank, well said. The level of Woodson’s idiocy is really mind boggling, and I saw another “this one’s on me” quote this morning, as if that means anything.

    And the Melo iso thing drives me nuts, they ran it (if you can call it running a play) every single time down the court from about 5 minutes left to the end of the game. Melo is being guarded by one of the best one on one defenders in the league, how about a few high screen and rolls? How about putting Amare back in and letting him do his thing?

    I am so sick of Woodson and that stupid mouth open, WTF is going on look from the sidelines. And you’re right, he should never coach again in the NBA based on this season alone.

  18. The fact that the Cavs scored “only” 106 points kind of understates what a horrible, terrible defensive game the Knicks played. 106 does not cosmetically look like a bad score, but the game was played at a glacial 86.0 pace. The Cavs ended up with a 123.3 offensive rating, shooting for a .674 eFG%.

    The Knicks surrendered 60 second half points at home to a bad offensive team missing its best offensive player in a game played at just about the slowest pace humanly possible, in a game that was practically a playoff game for them all things considered. They were repeatedly embarrassed by the most basic offensive play in the game of basketball, and never made any kind of adjustment. It was the 70th game of the season– if they haven’t figured out how to stop a basic 1-5 pick and roll by now, they ain’t ever figuring it out.

    This season is done. This team is a complete failure.

  19. Regarding Woodson, could you ever imagine this happening in Miami? How long would Pat Riley watch losing games by stupidity without making a move?

  20. To those wondering why STAT was benched for the majority of the 4th quarter, he picked up a Tech with about 9 min left. He didn’t return until the 2 minute mark. However if Carmelo picks up the same technical foul, he would not get benched. Good old-fashioned Mike Woodson “Accountability”

  21. Is there any coach in the league that would be a downgrade from Woodson at this point? Maybe Larry Drew but just about every other coach in the league would be an upgrade

  22. Woodie does it again! Once again proving how awful he is at “on the fly” adjustments and lineups. Shannon Brown? Seriously? I’m sure by now that all of the young players on this team are looking forward to having a coaching staff that is competent at devoping players.

    I don’t know, maybe Mike thinks that saving his job depends on appeasing Melo and letting Melo run Iso plays is the best way to accomplish that (even at the risk of incurring more losses). You would have to think that he knows his days are numbered no matter what, right?

  23. Is there any coach in the league that would be a downgrade from Woodson at this point?

    Probably. Woodson is not a good coach, but it’s not like Bargs didn’t play in Toronto either. The biggest problem with the Knicks isn’t Woodson, it’s the roster. Woodson makes things worse, and it’s easier to fix the Woodson problem than the roster construction, but the real problem is the team just isn’t that good.

  24. The worst loss was the Wizards game. The uncontested Beal layup was horrifying. The subsequent inbounds and Melo chuck (without timeout called) was one of the most awe-inspiring, stupifying moments I’ve ever witnessed while watching sports.


    I think firing a coach after a single blunder is a ridiculous thing to do — everyone makes mistakes — but if there was ever a time, that was it.

  25. After the way Murry played at the end of the 76ers game I think its safe to say he wont be playing any meaningful minutes the rest of this season.

    He really is awful on offense, but having said that I would like to see him play with Prigs or even Felton as opposed to playing PG. He shouldve gotten Brown’s minutes last night but whatever, hopefully Shump is back tomorrow.

  26. I’m not sure Kübler-Ross is working in the normal order, I was in depression and acceptance, but after this game and the last half of the previous one I’m back to anger.

  27. I get that Murry is young and that alone should make him deserve some love and PT in this awful season full of awful guards, but let’s not forget that so far he’s been a terrible basketball player.

    Not a difference maker on defense and clueless on offense.

    TS% .470
    WS -0.007
    PER 10.7
    WP -0.005

    The fact that we are hoping for more playing time for him just show how sad this season is.

  28. With the way this team plays defense, I just have “Yakety Sax” running in my head the whole time the opposing team has the ball. I can’t believe that there are a handful of teams in the league that actually have a lower defensive rating than the Knicks. It’s bad defensive players half-heartedly playing a broken, doomed defensive system.

  29. I think all can agree that we currently employ a Bottom 3 coach along with a Bottom 2 PG (being generous)

    In today’s NBA, it’s a miracle we are even in the hunt with that combo of ineptitude

  30. No, seriously. When are you guys going to start selling that shirt? I want to buy it. I would also buy one that says “Ingest Bath Salts” instead of “Drink”.

  31. I still think you’d all be rich if you’d gone and made my “Stop Switchin” Carmelo tees

  32. 29. MSA

    Not a difference maker on defense and clueless on offense.

    TS% .470
    WS -0.007
    PER 10.7
    WP -0.005

    Those stats do no cover for the situation that presented itself yesterday…Shannon is even more putrid on current form than Murray.

    People need to stop sucking on the teet of analytics in a game as dynamic as basketball. Especially when they tell you that Kevin Love is fine quality milk you can drink defensively speaking.

    If its of some solace, some of the Melo bricklaying occurred on play calls. Most uhhm all got the ball to ‘Carmelo from round hook’ with 5 seconds or less (Mike Woodson’s offensive system) to shoot…a putrid hand off/underhand chuck by Tyson after ‘Raymond from Latta’ had to point Timmy which direction to pass (following a TO no less)…another resembled some off ball motion with the vigor of which Carmelo gets back on defense after a miss call before he of West Baltimore got the ball and a double team with 6 seconds left preceding the inevitable clank.

  33. Is there any coach in the league that would be a downgrade from Woodson at this point?

    No. We employ the worst basketball coach in the NBA, and I don’t think he’ll ever work as a head coach again.

    When Dolan is loyal to someone incompetent, they tend to never get employed in that position again. Think Layden, Isiah, Chaney…and you might as well add Woodson.

    The irony is that Dolan’s loyalty actually ends their careers because he gives them enough time to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that that they are incompetent! Whereas if he would just fire them when it was the right time they might get sent into that bucket of retreads that keeps getting new jobs.

  34. With the way this team plays defense, I just have “Yakety Sax” running in my head the whole time the opposing team has the ball. I can’t believe that there are a handful of teams in the league that actually have a lower defensive rating than the Knicks.

    Our top 5 in minutes played are Melo, JfuckingR, Felton, Shump, and Hardaway. Only 2 of those guys can play any sort of defense. Some of that is on Woodson’s rotations, but some of it is simple roster construction. The guys we have who can play defense either can’t stay healthy or are named Cole Aldrich. It’s hard to play good defense with players who are bad at defense.

    Or to put it another way, it’s difficult to make fine quality milk to drink defensively speaking when your cow is a low quality defense milk to drink producer being fed poor quality grass to make into milk digestively speaking.

  35. Or to put it another way, it’s difficult to make fine quality milk to drink defensively speaking when your cow is a low quality defense milk to drink producer being fed poor quality grass to make into milk digestively speaking.

    Lmfao [applause]

  36. I think Larry Drew is worse than Woodson. He’s basically just Woodson-lite, which is insane when you think about the fact that not only have they both gotten head coaching jobs, but they’ve both got second jobs after their first ones. Woodson, at least, went the interim coach route. Some team honestly went out and interviewed multiple people who coach basketball professionally and decided that Larry Drew was the best of the bunch.

  37. ^Word Brian Cronin…Larry Drew and Mike Woodson are basically the same. The only difference between Mike Woodson being in Larry Drew’s position this season (I guess) is having a star player like Carmelo, who as bad as he has been in quite a few games in the 4th, still makes somewhat of a difference. Imagine how few games they would have won without Carmelo (For those who are not Melo supporters/fans/etc I don’t think if carmelo wasn’t here this season we would have ended up like Toronto after Rudy Gay’s exile)

    Mike Brown inspired more fight in his guys last night than Woodson did. That should sum it up.

  38. It’s really difficult to rank coaches, but I think its fair to say Woodson’s done a bad job and deserves to be fired. And I’m pretty sure Phil knows that too.

  39. It was not just about fight. Mike Brown out coached Woodson. He figured out to go small and just keep running the PnR until the Knicks stopped it. Varejao and Jack with three shooters. The Cavs shut down the Knicks on offense by fronting and overplaying. Jack owned Felton. He also found Deng and Waiters for wide open 3s.

    Woodson had no answers.

  40. Can’t say I’m an expert on Larry Drew, but I would guess Giannis wouldn’t have become the breakout player of the 2013 draft if Woodson were his coach. He’d probably give all his minutes to Ilyasova, Pazulia, and Udoh bc veterans.

  41. Woodson’s had years where his teams won a lot of games. I doubt he’s the worst coach in the NBA. I think there are a lot of pretty mediocre coaches in the NBA, and Woodson is one of them.

  42. Forgetting John Loyer, since he is an interim coach, I think there are really only about four-five candidates for being the worst coach in the NBA:

    Larry Drew
    Randy Wittman
    Tyrone Corbin
    Mike Woodson

    Brian Shaw has been a mess in Denver, but a lot of that has been due to injuries to irreplaceable players plus the loss of Iggy. Plus, Shaw was not allowed to pick his roster and the roster he got does not fit his style at all. He’s been far too lauded by too many people as an assistant coach for me to really blame him fully for the mess in Denver (but yes, he has been bad there, no doubt about it. I don’t want to seem like I’m absolving him completely – he has been bad).

    Mike Brown is a mess, as well, but we’ve seen him at least do what he is apparently good at, which is create a good defense.

    So I think Corbin, Wittman and Drew are Woody’s only competitors, and I could see a case for all three of them being worse than Woody, but I think Drew is the only one I’m sure is worse than Woody.

  43. Must..stay…away…from……do not check Atlanta-Phoenix score….does not mean anything……we are not making the playoffs

  44. charlotte lost, atl losing….last night was so bad, why did i start hoping again….

  45. That’s just a list of coaches of bad teams.

    The Wizards are a playoff team.

    And typically, if a team gets good and still has a shitty coach (the Clippers) they tend to replace him.

  46. Phoenix taking care of business in ATL. Should be 2.5 out going into the all-important West Coast Trip

  47. Three in the loss column from Atlanta and four from Charlotte. That is better than nuthin’!

  48. That’s just a list of coaches of bad teams.

    The Wizards are a playoff team.

    In the east those are not mutually exclusive.

  49. Take Scotty Brooks as an example for the difficulty in evaluating coaches. On the one hand, he’s got a great W-L%. On the other hand, he’s played Kendrick Perkins for thousands of minutes. OKC has developed a lot of nice young players. Is Brooks partly responsible for that, or is it someone else in the organization, or is it just that they have a lot of good young basketball players?

  50. I don’t think Brooks is a particularly good coach, but I don’t think he’s awful, either. I’d have him the Michael Malone/Dwayne Casey/Jason Kidd/Mark Jackson area. The sort of “They do some things I like a lot and they do other things poorly.”

  51. These are the coaches that I think already are or will be just flat out good coaches:

    Brad Stevens
    Tom Thibodeau
    Rick Carlisle
    Frank Vogel
    Doc Rivers
    David Joerger
    Erik Spoelstra
    Rick Adelman
    Monty Williams
    Jacque Vaughan
    Jeff Hornacek
    Gregg Popovich

  52. These are the coaches that I think excel at certain things but have a bit of trouble with other things:

    Terry Stotts
    Mike D’Antoni
    Mike Budenholzer
    Brett Brown
    Michael Malone
    Steve Clifford

  53. These are the coaches that I think excel at certain things but have a lot of trouble with other things:

    Jason Kidd
    Mark Jackson
    Kevin McHale
    Dwayne Casey
    Scott Brooks
    Mike Brown
    Brian Shaw

  54. And these are the coaches I think just aren’t good period:

    Larry Drew
    Randy Wittman
    Mike Woodson
    Tyrone Corbin

    I don’t know anything about John Loyer. I really should bone up on him, but then again, I doubt he’ll be back next year.

  55. Knicks play LAL and SAC back to back Tues and Wed. ATL plays @Min on Wed. Assuming things go in the Knicks favor (which is usually the complete opposite of what actually happens), NY wins both and ATL loses to Min. That would mean the Knicks could be 1 back after Wed. night. Schedule gets tougher but ATL without Korver is a lottery team. Outside of Teague and Millsap there are no playoff-team rotation players. Mike Muscala? Schroder? Mike Scott? good young prospects but this Hawks team should not be anywhere near the 8 seed. Just goes to show how much of a disaster this NYK season has been

  56. They wouldn’t really be one back. They’d be two back in the loss column, which is more like three because they have to outright pass Atlanta, not just tie them (because Atlanta still gets to play the tanking trio of Boston/Philly/Milwaukee, who are all Eastern Conference opponents).

  57. Long time lurker here. I just want to say I don’t think Adelman is in the top tier coaches anymore. He seems to just be shipping it in recently. His infatuation with JJ Barea and refusal to play Dieng and Bazz are big mistakes, imo.

  58. I really like Thibodeau but I’m pretty sure he’s a coach that excels at certain things but has a bit of trouble with other things. Like not running his players into the ground.

  59. Long time lurker here. I just want to say I don’t think Adelman is in the top tier coaches anymore. He seems to just be shipping it in recently. His infatuation with JJ Barea and refusal to play Dieng and Bazz are big mistakes, imo.

    It’s funny, I was actually thinking about that very thing when I put Adelman there. I, too, get really frustrated with his stubbornness vis a vis playing time to players that aren’t “his guys” (that’s a problem a lot of these coaches have – silly stubbornness over players that don’t fit the mold of what they perceive to be an ideal player), but at the same time, he’s had so much success in the past that I just couldn’t bring myself to downgrade him.

  60. By the by, objectively speaking, I probably am rating Woodson too low. I am probably just too pissed at him to rank him objectively at the moment. He probably does belong in that third rung and not the bottom rung. Hell, Corbin might belong in the third rung, too. Wittman and Drew, though, they definitely belong on that bottom rung. I don’t think anyone’s ever had anything good to say about either of those two guys, coaching-wise, besides “Wittman is a really nice guy.”

  61. Noah vs. Hibbert tonight:

    Noah – 10 pts., 8 rebounds, 8 assists, 4 steals, 3 blocks

    Hibbert – 3 pts., 5 rebounds, 0 blocks

    Noah may not just be the best center in the NBA, I think he’s approaching elite status, as in a top 10 player.

  62. I really like Thibodeau but I’m pretty sure he’s a coach that excels at certain things but has a bit of trouble with other things. Like not running his players into the ground.

    While obviously every coach has some issues, the guys in the second rung I view as guys who could get into trouble even with a good team because of their issues. The top rung I think are all guys where if you give them a good team, they’re not going to fuck it up. Adelman, as Hugo Busto notes, might be on there more because of his past success and maybe he is so old and out of it that he no longer belongs there, but I am still pretty confident that if you gave Adelman, say, the Rockets, that they’d improve. And I think Thibs fits into that category, as well. I don’t think there’s a good team out there that he wouldn’t make better (well, except for teams coached by guys even better than him, like Pop – but that’s kind of a given, right? That guys on the same rung might not necessarily outstrip their fellow coaches on that same rung).

  63. I know this may be an unpopular opinion here, but I think whatever tier you put Mike D’Antoni in, you put Tom Thibodeau in. I think they are just different sides of the same coin.

    And yes, the fact that D’Antoni’s Lakers are approaching league-worst status does not help me at all. But then again, look at that roster.

  64. I know this may be an unpopular opinion here, but I think whatever tier you put Mike D’Antoni in, you put Tom Thibodeau in. I think they are just different sides of the same coin.

    And yes, the fact that D’Antoni’s Lakers are approaching league-worst status does not help me at all. But then again, look at that roster.

    It’s not like I had D’Antoni that far away from Thibs. I think they’re not that far apart, either, I just think Thibs is better. And yes, I think the job D’Antoni has done this year has been very good, which is why it really does baffle me that Kobe has chosen now to be all, “I won’t play for D’Antoni.” Fuck the heck?

  65. D’Antoni should get a medal for wringing this many wins from that little talent. 23 wins from a D-league roster and the ghost of Pau Gasol in the Western conference is a pretty great effort.

    Unless the Lakers get a medical amnesty on Kobe, signing him to that deal will go down as one of the most puzzling decisions of the past five years. Don’t get it….

  66. Agreed, Owen, which makes me feel a bit bad for Coach Pringles that his rep will be shot after this stint in L.A. when it really should be the other way, that his rep should get a boost from this season.

    Then again, when four of the five future Hall of Famers you’ve coached in the past three years publicly hate you (and the only guy who hasn’t turned on you is the guy you helped to win two MVPs earlier in his career), then I guess it is fair for that to be a real knock on you. He just doesn’t know how to deal with NBA egos (maybe because his own ego is so large).

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