Knicks 101, Bobcats 91

New York Knicks 101 Final

Recap | Box Score

91 Charlotte Bobcats
Andrea Bargnani, PF 35 MIN | 11-25 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 5 BLK | 1 TO | 25 PTS | +14

Bargnani was very competent in his role as a starting center tonight. But let’s apply context before we jump to any major conclusions. It was the Bobcats — 8 boards and 5 blocks aren’t exactly shocking. 25 points on 25 shots somehow amounting to a “breakout performance” is not a good sign.

But hey, he was okay! The defense was still not a thing — beyond the few times he was caught having to defend a guard on a switch and forced a long two. If anything, Bargs’ game tonight proved he’s best at the center.

Carmelo Anthony, SF 39 MIN | 12-22 FG | 3-5 FT | 8 REB | 6 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 28 PTS | +16

Anthony reminded me, at times, of a child on offense: MKG hurt his wittle feelings by pwaing good defense on him and blocking his shot so he decided he needed to get back at that mean ol’ kitty and iso him at every opportunity. His shot is lookin’ better though, and the improved spacing helped bump up his efficiency and shot selection. On defense, he was pretty blech all night long. So why the high-ish grade? His work on the boards. That’s just flat out effort and he brought it.

Raymond Felton, PG 38 MIN | 6-17 FG | 1-1 FT | 4 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | +17

We’re really going to need Felton to make a good amount of open shots this season. Or you know, at least more than a small fraction of them.

Pablo Prigioni, PG 22 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | +4

Timely pick-and-roll-bred threes, sweet dishing, a pesky steal. Oh oh oh, and ran a MASTERFUL pick and pop with Bargs all night long. What I love about Prigs is that I can copy and paste his section from former recaps and it’ll probably still apply.

Iman Shumpert, SG 39 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 5 PTS | +3

Shump couldn’t really find open looks tonight, and thankfully he didn’t try to look for many of his own. He was very team-oriented, and worked his ass off on the boards. One issue: He didn’t quit gambling on the defensive end. With Chandler out, that play is riskier than ever and the fact that he went for those home-run steals so many times wasn’t exactly encouraging.

Kenyon Martin, PF 10 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +8

Did Kenyon things.

Amar’e Stoudemire, PF 8 MIN | 2-2 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 5 PTS | -7

Anything would’ve been better than that last game. I wanted to cry. We wanted to cry. STAT drew two charges, post-move’d his way to a nifty layup, and — more poignant still — threw down a one-handed slam. I loved every minute of it.

Oh, he was sort of kind of possibly horrible on defense.

Metta World Peace, SF 29 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-1 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | +4

Metta was pretty awesome tonight. He was a spark off the bench, quickly grabbing an offensive rebound and finishing it with a tough and-one. He took fewer iso-Metta shots — which was lovely to see — and did the right things defensively.

Cole Aldrich, C 1 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -3

/tumbleweed slowly rolls across empty western road

Beno Udrih, PG 4 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -2

Just handled the ball and was terrible on defense.

Toure’ Murry, SG 1 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -3

Checks in, drops a simple pass from Shumpert, gets scored on by Kemba Walker, gets rejected brutally by MKG. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Tim Hardaway Jr., SG 14 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 5 PTS | -1

Splashed a couple of catch-and-shoot jumpers, at times was solid — and other times dreadful — on defense. Traveled on two consecutive possessions. He may be a JR Smith clone, but he also has a few years to figure out the better parts.

Mike Woodson

Woody should be commended for his lineup management this game. For the most part. He did shy away from Melo-at-the-four and two-point-guards at times. BUT, the fact remains that he started both of those things — albeit reluctantly, and sometimes due to injury. BUT IT HAPPENED! Now there were some fundamental flaws in his coaching game tonight — allowing the Knicks to switch so often (shocking), letting Anthony isolate so much (shocking), stuff like that (shocking). Basically: Just because these things happen regularly, doesn’t mean we should just glance over it.

Four Things We Saw

  1. As previously mentioned: boy oh boy boy did the Knicks switch the hell out of the joint tonight. This was a problem a few days ago as well, but tonight they got away with it because of Charlotte’s many unforced giveaways.
  2. The spacing and ball movement on offense were fantastic. Bargnani at center is the best Bargnani-related idea coach Woodson has come up with, and it helped the Knicks resolve their lingering offensive issues — at least for this game. Will it work for extended periods against good teams? Probably not. But we’ll take it tonight. New York also assisted on over half of their field goals, which was a nice touch.
  3. Don’t overreact to this game. Just don’t, please. It was the Bobcats. The Knicks made some of the same mistakes as last game, and their major correction — MELOATTHEFOUR — only went through because Tyson Chandler got hurt. The Bobcats had A LOT of unforced turnovers. Kemba missed A LOT of shots he’s been making his entire career. But the Knicks played well and won. So there’s that.
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David Vertsberger

David Vertsberger considers himself a precocious neophyte, writing for ESPN TrueHoop site HawksHoop as well as Hickory-High. A member of the younger generation of Knickerbocker fans, his fondest memories of years past have been the trade for Larry Hughes and Nate Robinson scoring 41 following a month-long benching.

46 thoughts to “Knicks 101, Bobcats 91”

  1. Pretty good line for Melo I have to say. Also, he wasn’t efficient, but at least Bargnani made some basketball plays out there and looked like an NBA player for a change.

  2. I dont understand why you keep harping that it was the Bobcats. If the Knicks lost everyone would have been jumping off bridges so yes it was a big game even if it was JUST the Bobcats. They handled business like good teams are supposed to

  3. So, Melo gets a B- but Kmart gets a B, Bargs gets a B+, Metta gets an A-, Shump and TH2 also get B-‘s, MWP gets an A- and Pablo is the star of the game with an A? Does each player get a different rubric designed especially for them? Maybe the cap number is counting against Melo and Bargs?

    5 blocks, 8 rebounds, and 1 TO for Andrea. 11-25 could be more efficient but he carried the offense for stretches. I’ll take that every night.

    This is a big win considering Chandlers injury and all the negativity swirling around the team.

  4. Melo did force a few shots but he was also a huge part of the good ball movement, leading the team in assists with six. And with Bargnani, yeah there were a few late rotations and he did get caught on the perimeter a few times when he could have switched back onto his own man but that happens to everybody. He didn’t just play a good game by his on (admittedly pretty low) standards- he played a good defensive game by anyone’s standards.

  5. To those fighting for Melo’s grade to be higher: y’all know defense is a thing, right? You guys know Melo was non-existent on that end tonight, right? Melo was pretty solid on that end through our first 2-3 games but since has regressed, so I gave him a B- for that and over-isolating. I graded each player on how they performed in the context of their roles. Was Shump 3’ing and D’ing? Well, he did so okay-ly. Was Prigioni Prigioni’ing? Yeah, right on the mark. Looking back, Bargs’ grade was probably too low. THJ’s should’ve probably been lower. I don’t know why Murry’s and Aldrich’s are C’s, pretty sure I put that down as an inconclusive.

  6. B+ is a fair grade for Bargnani, but David should have given him an A+ for performance relative to his expectations.

    Let’s also consider that he missed his first 3 shots and was 2-7 at one point. Call it what you will, it was promising to see him working the boards and moving his feet vs. smaller, quicker players. Regardless of the numbers, I liked the effort level 90% of the time. He wasn’t the stiff on D and the boards I saw in previous games.

  7. Looking down the road when Chandler comes back, how does Woodson use Bargnani? I know tonight he really didn’t face any legit centers, but there are a lot of compelling reasons to use Bargs at the 5. Backup to Tyson maybe? But I really think he needs reps to be effective, it will be interesting to see how Woody allocates minutes when everyone’s healthy.

    PS a B- for Melo is a joke

  8. Re: Melo, I thought he was trying to make other players better, but is still at an early stage in that regard. He converted at least 3 Bargnani misses into points down low. It was the most LeBron-esque game I’ve seen from him in a while.

  9. I also thought that Bargnani really tried not to force the issue, he had some nice passes. I liked his postgame interview as well. But as I said, Sunday will be a much better test.

  10. If James Harden has the exact same line as Melo tonight, does he get a B- or an A for “his usual excellence.” And yes, James Harden is a terrible defender.

    This was definitely a game we needed, though. I’m thinking that we might have a chance against San Antonio.

    Bargs is being used the way he should be on offense for the most part. I know he’s playing the 5 on defense, but his spacing the floor and opportunistic attacks to the basket make him more of the 3 I thought he would be best suited for. Of course they’re going to run some P&Rs/P&Ps for him, which is smart. I’m glad his offensive game is looking useful. We just need him to not use 25 shots and only get 25 points.

    Ron Artest plays like the guy at your park who scores and nobody understand how anything that ugly ended up in a made basket.

    Shump with a good 7 boards and 4 assists from the 3. He’s a very selfless player out there, and I don’t like that. He needs to go get 18 a night so Dolan and his lack of understanding statistics doesn’t force him out of town.

    Encouraging game, even though it was Charlotte. But hey; who better to get your shit together against than the Bobhornetcats?

  11. Best part was saying Melo’s grade was high-ish as if he actually deserved a lower grade. SMH

  12. Chandler didnt play in the loss at Charlotte last season. Neither did Melo/Felton/JR/Shump since the loss came in the 2nd to last game of the season the day after they clinched the 2nd seed.

  13. BBA, you’re right. For some reason I remembered them losing in Charlotte when they actually won a really sloppy game and Melo got injured. And Will, that was not intended as a slight on Chandler at all.

    It’s like last season on this board, when every loss was season-defining and all but a couple wins were praiseworthy. Vertsberger is one of the cool kids.

  14. BBA, you’re right. For some reason I remembered them losing in Charlotte when they actually won a really sloppy game and Melo got injured. And Will, that was not intended as a slight on Chandler at all.

    Yah Earl hits game winner and saluted his boy Cruz with the Salsa

  15. I don’t know. I’m pretty sure Melo got straight A’s at ‘cuse, whether he played D or not.

  16. I was just happy to see Woodson tighten his rotation and see the Knicks win.
    I like that Udrih was mostly benched and we got less of Hardaway. I like that AB was more involved and draining 3s.
    I loved that Amare took a positive step. He was way smoother.
    I would like to see Melo and AB score more efficiently, but I love that Melo is not just a scorer on this team. He has become a much more complete player, boards, assists, and D.
    To give him a b- because of efficiency when he is doing so much more is simply contradictory.
    He used to get slammed for being one-dimensional. Now he plays a more complete game and he still gets dinged.
    MWP is doing what he has always done: figure out what the team needs and doing that. I love the guy. He reminds me of a smaller Charles Oakley, only more athletic.
    One last thing: much more continuity on both ends.

  17. I am a little puzzled by the b- for efficiency also. Melo had 28 points on u 24.2 possessions for a ts% of 58%. I can’t quibble with the results. If he did that all year it would be a career year. The process might have been meh. I didn’t like a few of the ISO sequences but this is Melo, it’s part of the package. And last night he at least hit on the wing jumpers at a reasonable rate.

    I would have given him an a-…..

  18. He used to get slammed for being one-dimensional. Now he plays a more complete game and he still gets dinged.

    It’s because

    y’all know defense is a thing, right?

    I’m not smart enough to see how Melo’s defense was lacking but it’s not like he got a C because of it so I can live with it. The “childishness” of his near triple double is lost on me, however. I do think the team defended well and 91 points allowed is pretty good. Amar’e taking two charges in his 8 minutes is pretty damn heroic IMHO. That’s not horrible defense. You can’t stop every bucket and those were big stops. The CHA TO’s were a product of some pressure by the NYK defense, except for the ugly Byombo two foot pass. Also, as far as Bargnani trying to stop Kemba on a switch, I don’t think there’s a player in the league who can do that. As to Kemba, he’s got a .401 shooting percentage for his career so it’s not like we dodged a bullet there.

    Biggest positive tonight is the lack of TO’s from NYK. 11 was the final number but there were two or three in garbage time, with two in a row from TH2 late in the game. Another good effort Sunday and my panic attack will be a thing of the past. Not predicting anything. There’s a lot of parody this year and the CHA’s of the world are improved. I just want to see NYK in the mix.

  19. Is Vertsberger trolling us and becoming the Bargs of the Knickberbloggers? Ha. Lots of misused talent. These grades and comments are of someone who didnt watch one second of that game.

  20. ruruland said:

    “Not sure I can stomach another David Vertseberger recap.”

    The irony is, the consistency of his output is similar to Bargnani’s.

    Rose-colored glasses take on the game:
    Bargnani did not draw a single foul, but we know he can do that, so if he gets to the line a bit more, his efficiency should go up. Maybe this game film gets opponents to come out on him a bit, bringing the pump fake and blow-by into play.
    Three of Bargnani’s misses were put back by Melo. I hope that isn’t lost on Melo, because he can be a dominant offensive rebounder. So if some of Bargnani’s misses turn into a weird version of Kobe assists, that’s not a bad thing. Shooting aside, Melo is clearly making an effort to be more LeBron-like.
    There are 3 forwards on the team who have long careers as exceptional NBA defensive players, including 2 former DPOYs who have played major roles on champoinship teams. These guys know angles and footwork as well as any coach in the league. They must have had at least some impact on Bargnani’s game last night. What struck me is that Bargnani’s 8 rebounds were not the random uncontested kind, e.g. off missed FTs. He fought hard in traffic, got to the ball above the rim, had a Chandler tip-out, and chased a ball into the corner. He didn’t get stripped before securing the ball, which I saw a few times in preseason, although the bigger problem was his passivity. His blocks were in help or switch situations where he had to bend his knees and move his feet. Chandler had essentially said that if he could help Dirk become a better defender/rebounder, he could help Bargnani. Last night was the first time that seemed somewhat possible.

    Look, I’m not getting carried away, it was one game vs. a terrible team. Biyambo, Adrien and Zeller are hardly a formidable trio. But I hope the detractors here will give the guy props for battling through his weaknesses when he deserves it.

  21. Put another way, it appeared as if Bargnani actually LIKED rebounding and defending for a change.

  22. I was thrilled with the team performance and wouldn’t downgrade a single thing based on the opponent.

    BTW I just realized JR’s first game back is 12pm on a Sunday. So really it’s a 6 game suspension.

  23. I didn’t watch the game, and certainly agree it was a big one to have. But Woodson really needs to playing Melo so many minutes — it’s been a bit insane so far. I understand there’s been no JR Smith and the offense has struggled, but Melo is leading the league with 41.6 (!) MPG, a full 1.6 MPG more than the next guy. The next four guys behind him in MPG are all 24 or younger. Approaching 30, Melo isn’t really old, but he’s not crazy young either, and it seems (again, not having watched the game) pretty irresponsible to play him 39 minutes A) in mid-November, B) when the Knicks led by double-digits for all but 3 minutes of the second half and C) against the Bobcats

  24. Re: the Bobcats being a terrible team — they may end up being terrible but, so far this year, they’ve been pretty good (3-2 coming into the game). A solid win against on the road against a team that is playing halfway decently is a good win. By the way, since everyone has killed Bargnani for his +/- coming into the game, it’s worth noting that he was +14 last night.

  25. Bargnani having five blocks may not have been shocking, but considering he’s had 5 or more blocks in a game only five other times in his career, it was pretty surprising. Otherwise, he had solid game. 8 rebounds and a point per shot aren’t great, but they aren’t bad either, and that’s all I’m hoping for out of him. Getting JR back to replace the useless pile of suck that has been Hardaway will be great going forward, and might help put a check on Woodson’s plan to burn out Carmelo by January. Can someone give Cole Aldrich like 7 minutes of playing time?

  26. DRed — I too feel that describing Bargnani’s 5 blocks and 8 rebounds as “not exactly shocking” is, in and of itself, kind of shocking. If anyone had predicted yesterday that Bargs would block 5 shots and snag 8 rebounds last night, people on this site would have had a great time laughing and mocking his hopeless optimism. I didn’t see the game but I for one was shocked when I saw his stat line.

  27. If last night is indicative of the effort we will see from Bargs on the boards, then that gives the Knicks a lot of options. I was one of the people who thought he would be best in a Copeland/Novak role with 15-20 or so minutes a game. I still think the defense does too much switching, but it seems like when they actually give a shit on that side, they can still get it done.

  28. The thing about last night and Bargs effort is that he got 8 rebounds in 35 minutes against the team that was second to last in the NBA in rebounding last season. That is, at best, an average rebounding performance. I don’t think Bargs problem throughout his career is that he doesn’t try-I think that’s more or less a media narrative. I think he’s just not good at rebounding. I bet he could try just as hard against a team like Indiana and get 4 rebounds.

  29. DRed, are you telling me that he played the same way last night as he did on previous nights but things just fell his way? If so, I would beg to differ. But you always have such an absolute and cynical tone, so I wonder if trying to have a meaningful conversation with you is worth the effort.

  30. He obviously played better last night than he has thus far in his Knicks career. I just don’t think it’s because last night is the only night he was trying.

  31. Yeah, I guess I wasn’t clear enough. I don’t think that last night’s game meant all AB needed was some more effort to be a solid rebounder. He is never going to be a plus rebounder, but even getting to below average would be a big improvement over what he was doing before. Not sure if you saw the game (I only watched the replay), but I thought he had a different energy level to other games. He was contesting more shots and his rebounds weren’t just everybody getting out of the way so he could grab them. Now, doing that against West, Boozer, etc. is definitely going to be a completely different animal.

    But again, the entire team seemed liked the cared what was happening on defense, so rising tide lifts all boats, etc.

  32. I think he was more proactive than reactive, and was moving both vertically and laterally in a more purposeful way. Of course, 1 game means nothing, but I thought Bargnani showed that he is at least physically capable of some things that neither Novak nor Copeland were capable of on the defensive end. If there’s no consistency across games, then this game won’t mean much. But the physical and mental potential to improve was in evidence last night.

    Essentially, I just want folks to give him a chance before writing him off. The only thing last night demonstrated is that he deserves that much.

  33. “To give him a b- because of efficiency when he is doing so much more is simply contradictory.”

    Just pointing out that Melo had a .579 ts and a 23 game score.

    The only other high usage guys who are normally above that are the two floppers — Harden and Durant.

  34. There are quite a few guys that fit in that category. Lebron of course. Curry, Love, Paul and Howard (probably).

    But hark, Ruru and I basically agree on something Melo related.

    If you told me that Melo was going to put this line up every night I would be ok with it….

    The NCAA is stupid. They took a touchdown away from A+M because the guy dove in on a return and flipped as he did. So stupid.

    There are some things I hate more than Dolan….

  35. “But hark, Ruru and I basically agree on something Melo related.”

    Who are you and what have you done with my Knickerblogger?

  36. Bargs definitely did some things last night that, off of the first four games, I didn’t think he could do. Rebounding in traffic being the main one. I think it’s hard to be a stretch big and still get good offensive rebounding position but we’ve seen (again) that it’s better to try to beat the big boys at our game rather than theirs, so, better that he makes Duncan / Splitter chase him and open up space for other offensive rebounders. On defense, if the team gives up 90 or so points per game I’ll be overjoyed and we’ll win a lot.

  37. Jeff Green with a crazy buzzer beating 3pter to beat the Heat in Miami. Nets lose to Pacers at home and are now 2-4.

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