Game Thread: Knicks vs. Pistons

Welcome to the new low point of the season Knicks fans! For the first time all season our favorite club is five games under .500 and the panic is starting to set in among fans and beat reporters. I would be lying if I didn’t feel a tinge of that panic. The Celtics loss was particularly galling to me, and I had a hard time not feeling the sort of anger and hatred that lead to the Dark Side. Nothing about this recent skid ought to be a surprise to followers of the Knickerbockers. The guards have been pretty bad overall, led by a guy I’ve started to think of as “lumpy oatmeal” for his inconsistency. A-F-F-L-A-L-O stands for Arron Frequently Feels Like Awfully Lumpy Oatmeal – Inconsistent. You can call him ‘LO for short.

The bigs are being asked to do too much defensively, and guards are starting to wreak havoc around the hoop. Teams have figured out that taking away the top of the key from Porzingis forces him out of the offense until (maybe) someone gives it to him in the post, where he’s less effective. For some reason they still seem unwilling to use him in pick and roll, pick and pop, and curls to the free throw line as much as they should. And so on…

Derek Fisher just mentioned that he’s cool with not making the playoffs, which is probably a way to take the pressure off the team a few games after ‘LO pronounced his belief that the Knicks were a playoff club…promptly sending them into a tailspin. It doesn’t make anxious fans feel great to hear that kind of talk after dropping to a low point in the standings. It’s the sort of thing you can live with if the team was playing well and sitting around .500 because you’re feeling upbeat and cool at that moment. Hearing it at this point is just crappy. Still, I said 35 wins at the start of the year, and I’ve been sticking with that number at our highest and lowest points. I think the Knicks will be hard pressed not to hit 35 wins with 31 games remaining. 12/31 is .387 basketball and that’s easily doable. If I were a betting man, I’d probably figure the Knicks to finish with 37 or 38 games, and miss the playoffs. The team is good enough to make those huge strides from last year (which isn’t saying much), but without a single starting caliber NBA guard on the roster, 37 or 38 wins seems like the ceiling. I hope I’m wrong…and I hope I’m being a bit harsh in judging our guards that way. They all have strengths, but ideally none of them are starting on a competitive Knicks club going forward. Am I wrong?

Tonight the Knicks visit the just-above-.500 Detroit Pistons, who are middle of the road in most NBA team stats. They are the #1 offensive rebounding team in the league, whereas the Knicks are a good, but not great, defensive rebounding club. The Knicks are #1 in team free throw percentage, attempting a league average number of freebies per hame. The Pistons are dead last in team free throw percentage while being sixth in attempts. That’s slightly deceptive given the presence of Andre Drummond, who ranks seventh in the league in free throw attempts per game and worst among all qualifiers in FT% at around 35% shooting. Oof. The three best rebounders in the NBA are also its worst free throw shooters. Interesting.

Because we all know that the story for the Knicks, every game, is which opposing guard is going to give the team fits, it seems pretty clear that the answer is Reggie Jackson. Jackson is 3rd among all qualifying NBA guards in shot attempts from 0-10 feet of the basket. He sits right behind Russell Westbrook and Dwyane Wade in that category. He and Westbrook shoot within 10 feet about 47% of the time, although Jackson’s rate of “makes” is less. He and Westbrook are also near the top of the league in possessions holding the ball 6+ seconds. In fact, Reggie Jackson leads the league in that category. He dribbles. He drives. He makes a fair number of close up baskets. His teammate likes to gobble up his misses and slam them back home. The key to this game is to limit Jackson’s drives, limit his clean looks, and keep a body on Drummond. If the other guys are going to beat you, that’s how it’s gonna be, I guess.

The Pistons are a much better team at home than they are on the road. They win 2/3 of their home games, so the Knicks will have to be focused and ready to go from the start. The bench guys are going to have to outplay Detroit’s bench, which mainly consists of NBA “also-rans,” hobbled Brandon Jennings, and rookie Stanley Johnson. Perhaps a big game is in store for Derrick Williams. That would be nice. Oh….Jose Calderon should be back tonight, sooooooo…..okay.

C’mon fellas…be the good Knicks tonight.


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173 thoughts to “Game Thread: Knicks vs. Pistons”

  1. I know all of the games are big games at this point in the season, but a game against a team in the playoff hunt and just ahead of the Knicks? The Knicks really, really need to win this one.

  2. If that missed wide-open 3 pointer by Jackson doesn’t make you believe in the power of individual talent in the NBA, nothing will. So many possessions are that banal, but you’ll never ever hear them talked about on Sportscenter or in Youtube play breakdown videos. About the most boring basketball play I’ve ever seen, and also a wasted possession by Detroit.

  3. Well, at least the Knicks are breaking the habit of solid 1st halves followed by awful 3rd quarters. Let’s have an awful first half for a change!

  4. Let’s at least put out some strong athletes and bang somebody. Gallo Seraphin Williams Melo Lance. Let’s go down fighting because this is embarrassing.

  5. Reggie Miller summing it up well. No easy points. No points from your defense. No threes. No offensive rebounding. But please don’t blame the coach.

  6. i didnt know that there were 5 derek fishers on the court to lose us this game it all makes sense now

  7. How can you even make a comeback when you can’t get a stop, an easy basket, and it takes you 23 seconds to get a shot off?

  8. Bring me some young aggressive guards please. I’m ready. I’ll try a Wroten, a Russ Smith, a Jimmer. They can’t be any worse. I’m desperate.

  9. Before that Atlanta/Miami/Atlanta/San Antonio stretch, I would have been fine just chalking this up as, “They’re just not that good.” But how can this be the same team from that stretch? What has gone wrong?

  10. I feel a comeback win happening which will then initiate a downward spiral for the pistons as they go on to lose 10 out of their next 14.

  11. Jesus. Downright shameful end to a downright shameful half. Shame be upon this team! That was worse than any half last season because we know they can do so much better now.

  12. When was the last time a national broadcast mocked an NBA that badly? Melo is gonna shit when he sees TNT compared him to a Washington Generals player getting “pants’d”

  13. Yellowboy I like your optimism. But wouldn’t you like to see some young, fast, aggressive, fresh guards instead of Jose, Sasha, Arron, and even Grant who should be honing his skills in the d league?

  14. Sure but the Knicks will not find anything in the D-league. I would trade calderon, AA, Seraphin and KO’Q though

  15. That’s more like it boyz. We have ourselves a game now. Way to dig. Melo needed to draw a foul that last possession. Let’s see if they can sustain it Q4. They should be able to since they barely exerted themselves 1st half.

  16. I worry that Melo, Afflalo and Lopez may now be gassed. They played a ton of minutes that quarter. Reub, you may not like it, but some other guys are going to have to play and give them some rest.

    Maybe KP can get hot?

  17. Notice again how different an offense it is when there’s a 2 guard out there who can score? In this case, the occasional Dr. Jekyll version of AA that we’ve seen in the 2nd half.

  18. yellowboy90
    February 4, 2016 at 8:26 pm
    I feel a comeback win happening which will then initiate a downward spiral for the pistons as they go on to lose 10 out of their next 14.

  19. I don’t believe in moral victories. But this will be a clear character statement regardless of outcome.

  20. Robin Lopez and Langston Galloway have been nothing short of excellent. Afflalo and Melo are having good nights too

  21. He’s fine. Just saying. I forgot Calderon is back s I’m wrong anyway… He sat first three minutes of half

  22. We been playin pick. And roll moving the god dam ball getting every shot that we wanted and he gotta go and do that shit

  23. Gallowin becomes Gallowinded. He couldn’t fight through that screen and that’s all the space RJ needed.

  24. Funny how a while ago the announcers were talking about Melo being the only “closer” on the court. Since when has he ever been that late in games?

  25. Would rather have gotten blown out and saved the starters for tomorrow. This comeback does nothing to change the fact this was another loss and this team’s playoff chances are done.

  26. as it should be, all great displays of heart should wilt in the face of reggie jackson chucking up contested threes

  27. hmmm very poor planning from Fischer there… Hahaha. I’m happy he went with hot hands… Nice to see for once

  28. Never quote until it’s over. That’s basic Cronin 101. Have we learned nothing from Brian? :)

  29. Melo has been ice cold since that stupid boston game a few weeks ago. Rebounding and passing have been good but damn

  30. Sorry Melo lovers … But we gotta sell … Need to stock up…. Unless AA or Williams gets us anywhere but I doubt it…. We have but one hope

  31. Never quote until it’s over. That’s basic Cronin 101. Have we learned nothing from Brian? :)

    They won that game! :)

  32. It was over after the hero ball.
    Too bad. We fought back hard

    What hero ball? dafuq are you talking about. The Knicks played pretty good offense in the 4th quarter. Pistons just made more plays when it mattered.

  33. I at least appreciate their willingness to try to extend the game as long as they can.

  34. I agree with the Dwill point. The guy needs to play consistent minutes. I don’t get Fisher there.

  35. Also obvious.
    1. Do not trade for Brandon Jennings.

    Also kinda obvious
    2. No pigeon holing Galloway as a one… He’s an undersized two so let him be an undersized two…

  36. KJG: I like Galloway as a combo guard off the bench. We still need a 1 and a 2. AA and Calderon are placeholders. I seriously believe that Phil knows this.

  37. Oklahoma City should be ashamed of themselves. They had Westbrook, Harden, Jackson, Durant, and Ibaka on the same roster and didn’t keep them together. That’s shameful.

  38. Galloway is clearly good enough to be an every day starter in this league. He’s a limited player but you start him on a team next to a ball dominant backcourt mate and he’s very valuable.

  39. I’m well aware of the NTC… It’s up to him… If he wants to gamble with finding the right pieces in NY…Then so be it… We are at his mercy. Doesn’t mean I have to like it… If the One or two players we get in FA this year are the right pieces, well then fine, I’m happy… If they’re not … We give up another year of our lives as fans, not making $25M like he is… I can be spiteful

  40. Oh, to have someone other than Melo who can create.

    Also, teams should just leave Melo open. He can’t shoot at all.

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