Hawks 103, Knicks 96

New York Knicks 96 FinalRecap | Box Score 103 Atlanta Hawks
Carmelo Anthony, SF 37 MIN | 8-20 FG | 2-3 FT | 9 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 20 PTS | +1A perfectly imperfect game for Melo—that first quarter outburst (14 points, eight ‘bounds and a block) flickered like a neon light spelling out ‘H-O-P-E’, before his next 25 minutes on the floor chewed up and spat out a line of 2-10 from the field, 1-for-2 at the line, three fouls, one board, and a solitary assist. He bodied up Millsap well in an all-round admirable defensive effort in the fleeting moments that Fisher was willing to stick with him in the frontcourt.  The offense after that first quarter though?  That’s now four straight games in which Melo has attempted at least 20 shots and made eight or fewer, a stretch matched only by Kobe and Danny Granger in the past six seasons. The perky smile that came with the Knicks’ 13-point lead in his halftime walk-off spot with MSG didn’t take long to dissipate, sadly. Side note: Fisher left Anthony in the game at the beginning of the 2nd period, overlapping with the usual window where he nabs 3-4 minutes of rest, but it did little to perpetuate Melo’s bullish start.

Samuel Dalembert, C 25 MIN | 3-4 FG | 1-1 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 3 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | -1Contrary to reports, Dalembert has not started the first seven games of the season with cinderblocks for hands. The “Haitian sensation” is often credited as a nifty and willing passer, though it shouldn’t have taken you seven starts to decipher that the Knicks aren’t exactly deploying Arvydas Sabonis at the pivot spot. Triangle, trapezoid, or rhombus, no manner of geometry can cover for the fact that Dalembert is a limited stopgap whose offensive merits are made to stand out only by comparison to the rest of the Knicks’ frontcourt depth chart.He finished with three blocks, and on a night like this, was the best of an especially bad bunch. 20-24 minutes is right about where you’d want to squeeze Dalembert into the equation, and no more than that.

Shane Larkin, PG 29 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | -4 Fisher brought Larkin back into the starting unit after Deron Williams had his way with Shumpert in Brooklyn. Shane had difficulty handling Jeff Teague early on and picked up a couple of fouls, and the Knicks looked significantly better with Shump at the controls (and benefited defensively, of course). Not his finest outing, but he avoided gifting the ball to the Hawks, and has done a nice job of manning the fort in Calderon’s absence.

Iman Shumpert, SG 35 MIN | 8-12 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 7 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 19 PTS | -3Iman Shumpert, rim-finisher, orchestrator, outside shooter, and overall destroyer of worlds. Quite frankly, if all that is gained from a season riding into battle with this grimy pu-pu platter of a roster is a considerably developed, confident Shumpert, then so be it. There’s no other way to say it—save for a hiccup in Brooklyn—he has been fantastic, and the Knicks’ best performer through a week and change. The fact that he can rely on precisely zero cover/help defense from teammates is going to be a bone to pick for all 82 games, and it’s another reason why he has to figure out a way to dodge picking up those ticky-tack fouls without sacrificing his stout on-ball D.Count me in for the Shumpert-as-lead-guard experience in the short-term; what’s to lose from tossing him out the front of the tire fire?

Tim Hardaway Jr., SG 25 MIN | 5-12 FG | 2-3 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | +7Second straight start for THJ, as part of the undersized crew cobbled together by Derek Fisher to kick-off the proceedings. Couldn’t finish off a four-point play opportunity (beating the shot clock) in the first—though the resultant shimmy was nice. Have to like his relentless approach to attacking the basket, but boy is there scope for improvement on the opposite end. Sooner or later, the powers that be will (should?) wise up to the fact that it’s nothing short of crippling to have THJ scrambling on the perimeter like a stray cat ducking oncoming traffic.

Amar’e Stoudemire, PF 21 MIN | 6-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 9 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 14 PTS | -5Here’s a fun game: over/under number of times Clyde gleefully mentions Hakeem and/or the ‘dream shake’ in reference to Amar’e’s post moves? I’ll set the line right at 156.5 for the season. Amar’e worked really well on the glass, plucked a few crafty twirls and spins from his repertoire, and overall clocked out with an honest 20-minute shift.The key to his involvement is how (or if) Fisher staggers lineups, and sends him in at the right time, and with the appropriate complementary lineups. In the 11 minutes that Melo and Amar’e were on the floor together, the Hawks put up—*sigh*—31 points on 10-of-20 (with four 3s) shooting. This has been your 3,464th reminder that said combination cannot, under any circumstance, be depended upon.

Cleanthony Early, SF 11 MIN | 0-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -8Cleanthony was into the game early for the second consecutive night, a sign that the coaching staff might be willing to wet his feet in non-garbage time scenarios (at least while they’re short on cattle). He couldn’t knock in a jumper and didn’t have the blurst of times with Atlanta’s wing players, but it’s still encouraging to see him out there and remaining aggressive offensively.

Quincy Acy, SF 14 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -10Too much Quincy Acy. Plus, six of his 14 minutes were alongside Amar’e. If somebody can explain why the hell anyone in good conscience would want to toy with that pairing, I’d love to hear it. In fact, I’ll go you one better—grab a quill and some ink, and have it on my desk by 9 o’clock on Monday. I can wait.

Jason Smith, C 11 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 2 PTS | -3The Knicks’ resident enforcer and mid-range connoisseur had a forgettable night. The stench on this one was particularly pungent in the third period:

J.R. Smith, SG33 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | -9 49 passes for five assists for Earl in this one. Pretty pleasing when he’s able to fulfill a deferential role and avoid sprinkling it with nincompoop turnovers. Second half was a tad bizarre, producing only two attempts and no points. It’s a bit of a weird fit for him to be on the court with both Hardaway Jr. and Shumpert simultaneously, and that’ll likely iron itself out once Calderon returns.

Derek Fisher
Fifth time in seven games that the starting lineup has changed. The smaller lineup was a welcome surprise, and there were one or two tinkers mid-game that shook things up, but I’m not a fan of that shade of mauve resonating out of Fisher’s self-inflicted wounds. Look, the leash has to be longer than seven October-November games, though that doesn’t mean one can’t question decision-making here and there.

Stick with what works; it’s not complicated. For the record, I’m a Fisher optimist, and I’ve been thoroughly encouraged by his willingness to yank guys for cut-and-dried defensive lapses. That shouldn’t overrule the damage done by toeing the line with Amar’e-at-the-5, the Acy-Smith frontline, and a smattering of other wrinkles that flat out do not work. Bake it away, Tob:

Three Things We Saw

  1. This cheeky little drop-off pass from Melo to Shump:
  2. Melo at the four! To start the game, no less.
  3. Kyle Korver with more space on the perimeter than an incontinent person on the subway. According to the NBA’s player tracking data, Korver had six (!!!) uncontested field goal attempts—defined as the shooter not having a defender within a vicinity of 3.5 feet. This was at its worst in the final 7:00 of the game, when Korver and DeMarre Carroll broke free for a combined three triples, while being checked (using that term generously) by Hardaway and J.R. Korver finished 6 for 9 from deep for the game.
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24 thoughts to “Hawks 103, Knicks 96”

  1. The last 2 games our opponents were a combined 23-46 from downtown. If you can’t defend the 3 pointer in this league, you are fucked. Every team has at least one Korver-type that will not miss when left open.

  2. How many games of putrid play before we start talking about the Carmelo contract the way we do the Amar’e contract?

    Let’s just set a number so we don’t wait until year four.

  3. How many games of putrid play before we start talking about the Carmelo contract the way we do the Amar’e contract?

    Let’s just set a number so we don’t wait until year four.

    Yes, I’m sure Carmelo will continue to post a negative WS/48 now that he’s got that big contract. I doubt it has anything to do with seven games spent trying to run an offense that has a notoriously steep learning curve with zero NBA caliber PGs on the active roster.

  4. Andre “Bill Russell” Drummond has about a .440 TS% so far so I guess it’s curtains for him too.

  5. Facts: Cole Aldrich has a higher PER than Carmelo “Best Scorer in the Game/Maxlevel Superstar/Championship building block” Anthony, is scoring more efficiently than Andre “Daryl Dawkins 2.0” Drummond, is blocking more shots than Serge “I-block-a” Ibaka, and outrebounding all but 8 players in the NBA. That’s why we lost last night ppls. You leave that sort of MVP caliber performance nailed to the bench and you’re not going to win basketball games in the National Basketball Association.

  6. @ 4 & 5. Agreed. But if he starts wearing the Boy George outfit to go with the hat all bets are off.

  7. I feel ya Jowles. Never expected to much in 14/15. Calderon & prigs will help. Bargs might help to limit Amares minutes. Hang in there.

  8. Don’t worry, the Titanic may have crashed but the Hindenberg will soon arrive to give you a ride.

  9. On the positive side, If Shumpert can keep his offense even in the same neighborhood as it’s been so far this year (big if) the Calderon/Shump backcourt could actually be very good on the offensive end.

  10. How many games of putrid play before we start talking about the Carmelo contract the way we do the Amar’e contract?

    I said it, and said it again, and again and again and again, as the ink was drying. Just wait till year five, that’s going to have a real stench.

  11. He’s got a maximum of 405 regular season games left before his next contract. He turns 31 in May. At what point do I become a Pelicans fan and just say, “Ugnnnnnnnnnnnh?”

  12. @15 and @16 you guys are just rock hard huh lol. I understand. The hate is real. But please do not say any kind words when the b2b 40 point outbursts come. Please keep counting down the days so you can say its a bad contract. On the Pels…at what point can we comment on Anthony Davis’ teams not winning?

  13. Please keep counting down the days so you can say its a bad contract.

    It was a bad contract the day it was signed.

  14. He’s got a maximum of 405 regular season games left before his next contract. He turns 31 in May. At what point do I become a Pelicans fan and just say, “Ugnnnnnnnnnnnh?”

    As soon as possible

  15. At what point do I become a Pelicans fan and just say, “Ugnnnnnnnnnnnh?”

    Not sure this would be the best course of action. Besides lucking into AD, their front office has been pretty woeful. Like, they’ve done pretty much everything else wrong (Matching the Gordon deal, Giving up Noel AND a first for Jrue freakin’ Holiday, letting Aminu walk for peanuts, etc.). I guess Asik for a first rounder is fine because Asik is a good player, but they wouldn’t have had to do that if they had just hung onto Noel, and Asik can still bolt after this year. Wouldn’t shock me to see AD take the Greg Monroe route and GTFO as soon as he can.

  16. I think the situation is different.
    I think on July 1st everybody who is important for the Pellicans will knock on Davis door and offer him his 5 year max extension.

    Which if the cap really jumps to 80-90 mil in 2016/17 will be something around 150/5. I don’t think any player would turn that deal down.

  17. Wouldn’t shock me to see AD take the Greg Monroe route and GTFO as soon as he can.

    This is what I’m hoping for-I’d like NO to keep missing the playoffs while the Brow furrows in frustration. You’re right about their front office not seeming to know what they’re doing. When you have one of the best players in basketball it should not be that hard to build a pretty good team, but they are struggling.

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