Knicks 101, Celtics 95: The Bleeding Stops, At Least For One Night

New York Knicks 101 Final
Recap | Box Score
95 Boston Celtics
Amar’e Stoudemire, PF 26 MIN | 9-16 FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 20 PTS | +14

Really strong offense. Dominated Sullinger and Bass in the post on offense and snaggled some strong rebounds. An inconsistent outing on efense, which is actually an improvement over “Think of the children! Won’t somebody please think of the children!!” He also had a tough, Charles Smith-like sequence late when the Celtics were threatening to make it a game. But if this were the norm for STAT, you could easily see a team offering him a decent deal next year. Not the Knicks, but still.

Quincy Acy, SF 17 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | +16

He was really good in the first half, even if he failed to score a single point, and high-larry-ous-ly airballed his one shot from the baseline. Of course, Quincy sat pretty much the entire second half, because [shrug emoticon].

Carmelo Anthony, SF 39 MIN | 9-20 FG | 4-4 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 3 BLK | 2 TO | 22 PTS | +1

Considering he wasn’t expected to play, a very nice outing, even if he was catching iron from downtown, and the refs kept their whistles in their pockets on seemingly every drive. Melo had some nice chemistry with Tim Hardaway, Jr. in the second quarter when Timmy went off, and hustled on D, racking up blocks and deflection, including the final strip of Jeff Green to seal the game. Not a superstar night, but a good night for a guy grinding on a bad knee.

Jose Calderon, PG 33 MIN | 4-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 7 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | +11

Started on fire on offense with 7 points in the first quarter. Ran the offense well. Played some good defense, including a successful defense of a Rondo/Zeller PnR with Stoudemire. Has a disconcerting habit of almost always “midgeting” when he penetrates, rather than taking the ball to the rim. Celtics started to expect the pass and did not respect the shot. Missed a 23′ with less than 30 seconds left that would have iced the game. Inexplicable foul on a driving Pressey late in the game.

Iman Shumpert, SG 17 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-2 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +1

First of all, get well soon Iman. That dislocated sholder looked like it HURT. And not to add insult to injury, but he was having a bad defensive game before prior to getting injured, getting clowned repeatedly by Evan freakin’ Turner and absolutely dying on screens when trying to defend the pick and roll. On offense, Shumpert had one really nice rhythm three on a catch and shoot, but he continues to be a horrible finisher at the rim. He blew a monster dunk on a nice pass from Dalembert and, frankly, got bailed out by a charity whistle. Rest up, Shump, and maybe work on layups with the one healthy limb you’ve still got.

Samuel Dalembert, C 22 MIN | 2-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | -11

This is the good Dalembert. Had one AWESOME dribble-drive for a slam, played solid defense, grabbed some strong defensive rebounds, and made some nice pocket passes. Hi, good Dalembert! Take off your coat and stick around for a while, why dontcha. Make yourself at home and ish.

Jason Smith, C 17 MIN | 5-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | +2

Well, that’s about good as it can possibly get for Jason Smith. The midrange was sopping wet, worked the pick-and-pop perfectly, used his size effectively and (shockingly) grabbed rebounds with vim and vigor. His one assist came on a strip steal and pass to Prigioni for a breakaway layup. Knicks would be getting enormous value if this Jason Smith showed up each night.

Shane Larkin, PG 22 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 5 PTS | -12

If nothing else, he’s the Knicks best perimeter defender, and seemingly improving each and every night. Granted, the C’s didn’t really take advantage of their guards’ height advantage down low. His jumper was falling and he moved the ball on offense, especially on the drive and kick. Had one egregious cross-court pass that was stolen, and only some nifty defense from Calderon (!) kept it from being a transition basket.

Pablo Prigioni, PG 14 MIN | 2-5 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | +3

In a loss, this grade might have been lower. He forced (sacrilege) a couple of long threes early in the shot clock.

Tim Hardaway Jr., SG 32 MIN | 5-13 FG | 4-4 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 16 PTS | +5

I was holding my breath for how THJ and Melo would get along after a howling dumpster fire’s worth of “Team Turmoil!” tabloid headlines. Naturally, Timmy responded with possibly his best all-around game of the season. He carried the offense in the first half, looked durned competent on the other end, and actually wrangled some tough defensive bounds instead of leaking out. I was shocked to see him finish only 5/13 from the field.

Derek Fisher

Lots to like, few things to question. Fish kept lots of ball handlers on the court going extensively with two points after Shump went down. Because Celtics are not going to punish small guards in the post, it resulted in a slew of steals and kept turnovers to a minimum. He made some smart offense/defense substitutions late and had all three PG’s with Acy and Melo for the key possession when the Celtics needed a trey. Carmelo defended Olynyk 25 feet from rim and forced air ball, in a way Dalembert or Amar’e were not likely to do. As previously mentioned, I have no idea why we saw so little of Acy in the second half. Also, there are a lot of plays where Carmelo is not even being used as a decoy.

Five Things We Saw

  1. First, the bad. The ‘Bockers have to get better at reacting to double and triple teams of Carmelo Anthony. The whole point of this danged geometric offense, is to react to defensive pressure and move to spots for a wide open look. It’s not complicated, but needs to happen ASAP.
  2. Boy, it is nice to win. Yes, tanking is a thing, whether it’s on purpose or not, and this team certainly needs a top draft pick, but eff that. Let’s live in the now, and the now (thankfully) includes win over the goddamned Celtics. With rumors that Carmelo might be open to trade and ugliness between Carmelo and his teammates, the Knicks needed to do something to take the pressure off, and give everyone a second to breathe. This has been a real fecal sandwich of a season, but things can definitely get worse. An certain angry, impulsive, dimwitted cable scion using his greasy mitts to grab the tiller, resulting Josh Smith in the white, orange and blue. I just threw up in my mouth. Be back in a sec.
  3. Okay, we’re back. Anyhoo, when Big Chief Triangle decided to bring in Jason Smith, he was looking for nights like tonight. Tough, rough, ready, heady, smooth shooting and defenisive looting. Don’t forget to tip your waitress at Clyde’s Wine & Dine.
  4. I cannot get used to the Celtics having cheerleaders. During the bumpers, I kept wondering why the Knicks City Dancers were in Boston, and then I would notice they were beckecked in green. Not to invoke the supernatural, but I consulted a ouija board, and I can report that Red Auerbach is not pleased (sources say).
  5. I love Clyde. You love Clyde. Pretty much everyone loves Clyde. (Clyde’s personal tailor looooooves Clyde, that’s for sure.) But there are times when it seems as if Clyde doesn’t really get how the game has evolved in the last decade or so. To wit: he disparaged Shumpert for dishing to Hardaway for a corner three (which he made) on a 3-on-2 fast break, whinging that Shump “Wasn’t even looking for his shot.” First, getting Hardaway a wide-open trey is a better choice than just about anyone on the roster trying to finish at the rim, let alone Shump (who, you know, can’t). Get well soon, oh Flat Topped one. I’m still wincing from watching his arm get wrenched from its socket.
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25 thoughts to “Knicks 101, Celtics 95: The Bleeding Stops, At Least For One Night”

  1. “Yes, tanking is a thing, whether it’s on purpose or not, and this team certainly needs a top draft pick, but eff that.”

    Thanks for that. I even think Jowles would agree with me (for once) that you don’t chase “stars” (even through the draft). The organization just needs to stop making the same stupid mistakes.

    And if teams truly are tanking, someone please explain the difference between that and fixing or point shaving, etc. The NBA brand is taking a huge hit with all of this and I imagine there’ll be some serious rules put in to discourage this crap.

  2. Say we are tanking by playing shit players like Jason Smith in an effort to lose more games. Say we tank so effectively we win only 25 games. We’ve had 3 winning seasons in 14 years, and during 4 of the seasons where we were most definitely not tanking we won 30 or fewer games. You think it’s worse for the NBA for the Knicks to (hypothetically) win 25 games on purpose because they have a (hypothetically) intelligent front office with a long term plan than it is for us to spend 15 years blundering from fiasco to fiasco?

  3. “I’m not even looking forward to even discussing the surgery or anything like that,” he said earlier this week. “I’ll explore as many other options as I can before I go under the knife and get surgery. We really don’t know exactly what’s the problem.”

    Maybe find out what the problem is before you decide how to treat it? This team and injuries-I feel like I’m taking crazy pills.

  4. On top of the idiocy of signing a 30-year-old to a mega max contract when you don’t plan on being good until year 3 of the deal, it only gets better when it’s a guy whose body takes such a beating constantly that injuries are very likely, to boot (of course, any long term deal carries injury risk, but still).

  5. The term tanking in my mind is absolutely 100% empty. It is a nothing term, all connotation with zero actual meaning. Nearly all if not all teams could make a trade right now that would help their team right now. Many of those trades would destroy that team’s odds of actually being great. Are all those teams tanking?

    No, right? Okay, so let’s move down the line. What about those teams that like the Sixers who have cap space but choose instead to give their roster spots to young, unestablished players for minimum deals? First of all there are only two teams in the league who are far enough under the cap not to technically be capped out (i.e. have cap space larger than the MLE): Milwaukee and Philly.

    Second, which is better for Philly’s long term chances — overpaying to convince a veteran player to play on an extremely young team that wouldn’t make the playoffs anyway, a player who would eat the minutes of their younger players, hindering their development OR giving that roster spot to a low ego young dude who has an unguaranteed contract for the minimum that lasts 3 years?

    The cap means that the free agent the Sixers could potentially sign would be on average a hindrance to their potential. The ungauranteed dudes have a shot at being valuable pieces on ridiculously cheap deals. Take Robert Covington who ripped the Knicks and is having a great season. The Sixers have him locked up for $1m/year for four years. Were he a free agent this summer, he’d get at least 4x that, and without the Sixers’ determination to play to win, odds are some fading vet like Luol Deng would be playing Covington’s minutes, or worse, would have eaten Covington’s roster spot.

    So how is the Sixers’ choice to focus on players who could actually benefit their pursuit of greatness any different from the Spurs’ “sin” when they chose not to trade a young Tony Parker or Kawhi Leonard for a veteran?

    The true embarrassments of the NBA who make me mad and cause me issues as a fan of the league are those teams that simply decide, “Our fans are morons who don’t really care about a title. Screw a title. Let’s just sign a second rate star. Oh, and tell my butler to prepare a bath for me full of Benjamins.”

    If you don’t like the way the system tells teams to achieve greatness, be mad at the system. Railing against rebuilding teams by demeaning them with a insult like “tanking” is meaningless. I would go on, but I have to leave… :-(

  6. I agree that I think teams like the Isiah Knicks are worse to watch as a fan than a team that’s intentionally trying to lose now to become good later. Also, I recall the 2008-09 Knicks and 2009-10 Knicks on this board – everyone was cool here with the Knicks losing 53 games that season because finally we had a GM who had a real solid plan (even if I differed with significant parts of that plan, like signing STAT instead of just re-signing David Lee). And, of course, Dolan came in and fucked that plan over because he’s an impetuous moron.

  7. Grizzlies getting their asses kicked by the Sixers. The odds of Marc Gasol coming to NY just went from 100-1 to 95-1.

  8. Max,
    I never really considered it before but I think you’re right. Rebuilding=tanking. “Young team”, “Developing Team”, tanking, tanking. “We’re shitty we might as well look for future upside and fuck the people who have tickets tonight. The league will reward our behavior. The fans come back enough to at least mitigate losses.”

    It’s funny that this board that prides itself on bucking the party line, god forbid we talk about ppg, just sort of buys the whole “let’s not care about tonights or this season’s result” ethos. Ultimately I don’t think you’re wrong Max. It goes against my old school heart but I’m realistic. I just think, if theres a trade that will make you better and you don’t do it because the rules are so restrictive that it will screw you longterm, those rules gotta change a bit.

    Just pick a new way to structure the draft position. How about earning draft position? How about non guaranteed contracts? Then you can take a flyer on someone who can create a bit of excitement without all the longterm risk.

  9. I recently went to Vegas for the first time, and I stood at the roulette table with a colleague of mine while he gambled, looking to burn the $2500 he had brought with him from the Tristate.

    I noticed that he would bet on a color, and then, if the color lost, he would again bet on the same color, but double his wager. When the same thing would happen (bet on red, black comes up), he would again double that bet on the same color. I asked him about this.

    “Why do you continue to double your bet?”
    “Because eventually, red has to come up.”
    “That’s true, but why double your bet?”
    “Because it’s more likely to be red. It has to be red at some point.”

    This was a grown man not understanding that red has a ~47% chance of coming up each and every spin, no matter what came up before it. The problem is that he had no feedback system in place to tame that stupid belief of his. He just kept betting and betting and didn’t seem to understand that he was losing slowly, even when it seemed like his bet would eventually pay off. There are no sure things in roulette, just as there are no sure things in the NBA. But you can give yourself more chances to bet by playing smart.

  10. just watched that game too, Monroe will attract lots next year. decent game from him, perfect from the line too

  11. On the tanking front, one thing that needs to be said is that the Knicks have an enormous payroll. For me, tanking gets really offensive when the owners of a franchise are pocketing a huge check while their fans pay to watch, as in Philly or Miami. It’s been even worse in Miami given the huge sum of public money that went into building the ugly-as-sin ballpark although things are turning around finally.(sidenote – the public money that goes into parks is a disgrace pretty much everywhere.)

    It’s also interesting to contrast tanking in MLB and the NBA. In MLB, attendance is a big component of revenue, is more elastic, and the rewards from going to the postseason are significantly higher. You pay real a cost to tank – it’s a big impact on the bottom line, and it can trigger a death spiral where you have less and less money to spend.

    The NBA just seems different. So much tv money is sloshing around relative to both attendance money and the salary cap that it doesn’t seem quite as disadvantageous financially and there isn’t any kind of threat of a death spiral. Although someone is probably going to tell me that the split is pretty similar and I am wrong….

    Also, game note, 22 points on 20 shots and four free throws feels like the most Melo line possible. It’s funny he and Timmy were fighting because honestly, I feel like there offensive games are eerily similar statistically…..

  12. tanking gets really offensive when the owners of a franchise are pocketing a huge check while their fans pay to watch

    Totally agree. I want to see Cleanthony Early out there. If he makes a mistake that costs us a game I’m fine with that. That’s not tanking. Deliberately building a non competitive roster in an effort to get that one more piece… Tanking.

    (sidenote – the public money that goes into parks is a disgrace pretty much everywhere.)

    I agree, big government at it’s worst. Still I wish we had built a fucking palace for the Dodgers in the mid fifties.

    One more thing, Why would anyone want the players to play badly? Do we never want to trade any of them? I know our front office can’t seem to promote someone from the D-League without giving up a 2nd rounder, but wouldn’t it be good to have some positive assets. We do if we win a few games this year and that might mean more than a few extra ping pong balls.

  13. I recently went to Vegas for the first time,

    I assume this is you Jowleekins, I can hear the sarcasm dripping through. Remember Paul Lynde, that’s who I hear.

    Why would you care about draft position? Does pick 23 always correlate to the 23rd best player? The draft is a gold mine if you value the right things and (as you have said) NBA gms constantly overvalue the wrong things. The Knicks need Massai Ujiri, not more ping pong balls. They need more picks period. First rounders, second rounders. Trading guys with 5 years and 124 million left on their deals for expiring $ and PICKS is not tanking.

  14. The term tanking in my mind is absolutely 100% empty. It is a nothing term, all connotation with zero actual meaning. Nearly all if not all teams could make a trade right now that would help their team right now. Many of those trades would destroy that team’s odds of actually being great. Are all those teams tanking?

    Nailed it.

    The name of the game is building teams that can contend for championships. There are rules that dictate how teams can construct rosters. If your perspective is constantly myopic — always trying to make your team iteratively better right now, without considering the cost of your moves down the road — you will inevitably fail to be competitive against franchises that are capable of thinking long-term.

    While I’m all for rules that level out lottery odds (so mediocre-bad teams have better chances at lottery success relative to bad-bad teams) I also respect franchises that are willing to go through down periods and invest in young talent. I’d trade the Knicks roster for Philly or Orlando or Milwaukee or even the Celtics’ in a heartbeat. All of those teams are investing in youth, and there is the excitement of watching the kids to see if they develop into good players. The current Knicks are utter garbage. They are deeply unlikeable AND the future is grim.

    Our 54 team two years ago was stocked full of veterans who were either ‘at their peak’ (Melo, Tyson, JR, Felton) or on the back 9 part of their career (Prigs, Kidd, Sheed, Thomas, STAT, K-Mart, Camby). Very little potential to actually improve (except for Shump or maybe Cope). It’s no wonder the fall has come so hard and so quickly.

  15. Why would you care about draft position?

    It’s provably true that draft position correlates with the likelihood of drafting a star-level player.

    That doesn’t mean you’ll always get one (see: the Bargage Man) but these are percentage games.

    That said, total agreement that the Knicks need MORE picks even if they aren’t high picks. An investment in youth. Play the long game.

  16. It’s provably true that draft position correlates with the likelihood of drafting a star-level player.

    That doesn’t mean you’ll always get one (see: the Bargage Man) but these are percentage games.

    That 2006 draft is actually a good example. 4 or the top 5 picks were complete duds. But two of the top PGs in the league right now (Rondo and Lowry) were both selected in the 20s.

  17. And the Knicks, despite trading away the 2nd pick in the draft, still wound up with two of the top five players drafted. #takethatmasai

    Bargnani, Aldridge, Adam Morrison (LOL), Tyrus Thomas, Shelden Williams

  18. Wow, was that a bad draft. Some of those picks, man, they were awful right out of the gate. I like Randy Foye, but as the #7 overall pick?!!? Fuck the heck? And he’s one of the better lottery picks from that draft!

  19. You don’t understand how a little anecdote about losing strategies and a lack of critical responsiveness relates to the system of tanking that has worked for about three franchises over the last twenty years?

  20. You know, if the Knicks had any idea how to build with youth, they would have figured out how to get 3 draft picks. With the first, they would have taken the best player available and signed him . With the second, they would have taken an athletic freak and put him in the D League to learn the game and, with the third, they would have taken a flier on a raw big guy and stashed him in Europe to see if he develops. But not our Knicks…

  21. @23:
    Best player available: Cleanthony?
    Athletic freak: Thanasis?
    Raw big guy sent to Europe: Labeyrie?

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