Knicks vs. Lakers Game Recap

It’s hard to avoid the story that Kobe Bryant has likely played his last game at Madison Square Garden, and by “likely,” I mean “definitely.” The way he was making the hugging rounds yesterday, looking deeply into Sasha Vujacic’s eyes, murmuring softly in Italian, it seems certain. It reminded me a lot of the Derek Jeter goodbye tour, as a champion and an icon of a generation limped sadly into the night. Kobe played within himself for stretches of the game, rolling on a handful of signature jumpers, but there’s really nothing left. He looked foolish trying to defend Melo on nearly every possession they were matched up, which is saying something given Melo’s present condition. Carmelo Anthony isn’t all the way back yet and you can see him labor to move on occasion. That didn’t stop him from cooking soup at Bryant’s expense throughout the game, and he played ball denial on Mamba in crunch time as if he were 1990s Dennis Rodman.

The crowd was decidedly pro-Lakers at several points, or at least pro-Kobe Bryant. In a way, I felt bad for those fans who trotted out their preposterous looking yellow and purple clown suits to salute a player who’s given them so much, only to watch him participate in fumbling away a game they led in the 4th quarter. It’s no fun watching a player who has been invincible in your uniform look so mortal. Kobe wasn’t really the chief problem for the Lakers yesterday. He chucked a few crazy looking shots in a “mega heat check” kind of way. It’s as if he thought he’d better try to shoot some fadeaway 40-footers just in case he had that 101-point Garden finale in him, and when it was apparent he did not, he sat in stretches as part of a normal rotation. This is a Knicks blog, so I won’t belabor the point about the LA stuff more than I have to, but their roster is a mix of placeholders and youngsters and it hardly makes a lick of sense from the outside. They have a coach who doesn’t seem to understand the way the league is headed, an ancient star who still plays as if he’s due 20 shots, a mix of instant offense shooters with no other discernible skills, and some good young guys waiting in the wings to take over. The future may be fine in LA, but the present is a hot mess.

Our Knicks showed some of the same sloppy, disjointed play that had them coming in as losers of their last three games. In the quick recap I noted that the game may have been over at the half if they’d been playing an elite team, but you always knew that the Lakers were just too bad to hold on if someone on the Knicks could string together a few nice possessions. In the end, the starters provided a lot of the winning push, with a huge contribution from Langston Galloway, who seems to be in the middle of every successful run. The Knicks figured out how to get Calderon some open shots off Jerian Grant penetration, Melo did Melo things, Robin Lopez played with some fire and intensity, and Kristaps Porzingis continued to build on his all around play.

The numbers for both teams were eerily similar. The Knicks shot 33-84, while the Lakers hit 33-94. Both teams were 9-27 from three. The Knicks were 24-29 from the free throw line, and the Lakers wake up this morning bemoaning the fact that they only mustered 14-23 from the stripe. That seems pretty significant given the final margin. Both teams turned the ball over at a low rate…9 apiece. The Knicks were actually outrebounded on the offensive end, which is mildly surprising. Part of that situation may be related to Kyle O’Quinn’s 11 minute invisibility act. He came into the game in the Top-10 in the NBA in offensive rebounding rate and you can’t grab boards on the bench. I mean, you can but that would be weird.

The other big story from the game was the ejection of Derek Fisher. Fish is too cool for my liking sometimes. I think it’s an admirable trait to maintain poise in the face of pressure, and it rubs off on the players a lot, but there are times when it pays to get fired up. The Knicks complain a lot about the whistle, game to game, and I think some of it has come to a head. The reality is, every NBA team complains a lot about the whistle. It’s almost an epidemic. Porzingis never complains, though, and he rarely crinkles up his nose at some of the ticky-tack calls he’s been getting. He commits stupid rookie fouls, there’s absolutely no question, but a handful of the calls that have gone against him so far have been plain terrible. The phantom foul on the Kobe three attempt was just awful and deserved the sort of reaction it got from our coach. It was worth being tossed, given Porzingis’ cool and the recurrence of his fouling woes. He must be on the floor for the Knicks to compete, and it seems like Fisher will have to be more vocal about the whistle he’s been getting.

After he left for the locker room, Kurt Rambis took over the team and immediately sat Vujacic in cement. He also left O’Quinn on the bench and tightened the rotation a bit. I don’t know if he has a different take on who should be playing, but his second half choices reflected a bit of a departure from the head coach. People might make a bigger deal out of that than it deserves, but Rambis seemed to push a few of the right buttons. One of the rotation situations to keep an eye on is the slimmer role Derrick Williams is playing in the nightly mix. Even when the Knicks are struggling to find offense, he sits firmly on the bench and when he enters the game, he only plays in relatively short spurts. He’s obviously never in the game at the end. Clyde and Breen brought up the point that he’s second on the team in free throw attempts despite his low minutes, and he managed six attempts from the line on a night when he only played 15 minutes. When Afflalo returns, it will be interesting to see how he’s used. Something worth monitoring.

The last note is something of a bridge to our next contest with Toronto. It appears as though there’s a chance that Arron Afflalo will be back in time for that game, and he’s sorely needed. Cutting either Calderon or Vujacic out of the rotation can only improve things that seem to be broken at the moment, and it seems pretty clear that Vujacic is the odd man out. I imagine he might still get some spot minutes on the opposing team’s star, just to frustrate and bother them, but Afflalo was signed to play big minutes for the team and take some of the pressure off Melo. The Knicks desperately need that now, despite getting a lot of production out of Porzingis right out of the gate. If you can triangulate Melo, Afflalo, and Porzingis things will open up a lot and we might see less struggle to score the ball. The Grant kick outs that Calderon splashed will benefit Afflalo as well, and the spacing may even benefit Derrick Williams in whatever minutes he gets.

Toronto is going to be a very tough test, but then again every game this season is going to be a test until the club proves it’s ready to sustain energy and efficient play, and especially that it can close out winnable games.

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84 thoughts to “Knicks vs. Lakers Game Recap”

  1. I know there are a lot of statistical gurus on here. Running through his stats, it seems we’ve hit an incredible piece of luck with him. He projects to be so much better (based on potential) and what has been surprising is that the statistics surrounding his game all are excellent already.

    Combined with the eye-test, even with a small sample size, one can see superstar potential.

    I’m curious what the rest of you actually think his ceiling might be. At the beginning, people skeptically put his ceiling at the Dirk/Pau level. Now I personally see it beyond that, though not by much. Has he changed a lot of the more die-hard stats communities opinion of him even with this small sample size? I love it when the eye-test matches the numbers. Even with the small size, he has been remarkably consistent on intangibles such as huge effort, aggression, and growing knowledge of the game. I’ve seen deer-in-the-headlight moments, but nothing he hasn’t powered through by putting in even more effort.

  2. I think a lot of stats guys really liked him even prior to the draft. I think Pelton noted that according to his Euroleague projections Porzingis translated very well to the NBA.

    Then after the Knicks picked him everybody decided that it’d take 46 years for him to be ready because Phil hoodwinked Knicks fans or something.

  3. Well, there were a few categories that he was considered really weak in, such as rebounding. His defense was suspect. That combined with his shooting stroke, which he obviously hasn’t proven statistically thus far, made him really a “Dirk” guy. If he can find his offense, his defense puts his ceiling above that. I think the stats community was much more enamored with his offensive game and now I don’t even think he needs to be as great offensively as Dirk to reach that top10 player status. That just seems remarkable and highly unexpected so far (and throughout our entire life as Knicks fans).

  4. I do not know what Kristap Porzingis will become.

    I hope that he will be a dominant rim protector, using his Mark Eaton-like size to block shots without jumping.

    I hope that he will become a bigger Brad Dougherty on offense, except with 3 pt range.

    I know that I have not been this excited about a young Knick big man since Marcus Camby, and Camby was never going to be a versatile offensive player, because he did not have the frame to play back-to-the-basket.

  5. There’s a lot of buzz around Porzingis to begin the year. He’s played better than at any point in either the summer or the preseason and he looks like a completely different player from a confidence and activity standpoint. I think those factors are key to his statistical success. The metrics are reflecting his increased level of activity and last night’s comments about a Russell Westbrook approach bode really well. He’s mature and serious. He’s focused and very competitive. All of those things have been said about him by his teammates in their short time practicing with him, and they’ve come out.

    Talent is always going to be a prime determiner of success in sports, but when you get to this level and deal with all the distractions and comforts, effort and focus are hard to measure. They’re often the difference between a good player and a great player, and between a good team and a great team. If he’s going to be a great player, it seems as though the Knicks are bound to be a great team on his back. That’s the non-metrics side of the superstar equation. The effort and focus of the star player translating broadly to the effort and focus of the team.

    He’s got tremendous upside. He may end up like some version of Kevin Garnett with a lower FG% and more threes. It seems possible at this point, early on, and it doesn’t hurt that he’s been modeling his game after KG for a few years with his brother Janis.

  6. Knicks are 11th in the NBA in ORTG so far despite having only one player (the great Langston Galloway) who hasn’t totally fucking sucked at shooting 3s. That’s pretty surprising to me.

  7. It’s a short list of good things that have happened to the Knicks in the last 15 year: T-1000, Linsanity, and, if I am being generous to the my inner 2006 fanboy, David Lee.

    I do not believe Porzingis is likely to end up doing anything other than blowing out both ACL’s in a freak trampoline accident. But I am definitely enjoying the flavor he and Galloway are bringing to the Garden.

  8. Well, there were a few categories that he was considered really weak in, such as rebounding. His defense was suspect.

    I know this was the conventional wisdom, but I would guess some of this was based on very little evidence, specifically that his defense was suspect. At no point since he’s been a Knick, which is still a very small sample, but includes SL, preseason and 7 regular season games has he looked like a poor defensive player. It really seems like people compared him to Bargs and Darko and then just made the assumption that he would be a bad defensive player based on that.

  9. @Lavor

    I’m just going to stick with KG 2.0 until Kristaps proves that he’s something other than that. I’m starting to see it more as things crystallize and how sweet would it be if he were a cool dude who played like that?

  10. I am interested in seeing how much they let Afflalo post up when he comes back. He has had good numbers in the past but how good of a passer is he? Could Afflalo lead to more spot up shots for Porzingis and Anthony?

  11. @yellowboy90

    I expect they’ll do a lot of triangular things with Melo, Afflalo, and Robin Lopez/Porzingis. Those guys can all operate in the post. Porzingis can hit the three. You get Calderon on the opposite side for the swing or skip pass. It does create some versatility. I’m sure Afflalo will take on the Melo-post role in those sets when he’s on the floor without him.

  12. Also im loving the Melo PnR with Porzingis and Lopez. That play has worked every time ive seen it.

  13. @er

    Melo as a ball handler in the PNR with a good roll man has been awesome for a few years now, yet for some reason it’s rarely used except when MDA decided it shouldn’t be part of the offense, but that Melo should run point. Melo as a roll man, or in pick and pop is another thing that isn’t used nearly enough.

    @DRed

    This guy gets it

    @mikeplugh

    Yeah KG 2.0 would be great I just fucking hate KG’s guts

  14. The thing that makes me really optimistic about Porzingis is that the weak areas of his game so far – poor shooting, excessive fouls – are things that every single rookie will struggle with in their first years.

    Other than Towns, I am not sure there’s anyone you would draft instead of him based on the information we have now. Maybe, just maybe, Tim Hardaway Jr. taking the Knicks to that win against the Hawks will be the best stupid thing that ever happened to this franchise.

  15. That THJ game got us Grant too! It really might be the best stupid thing to ever happen to the Knicks.

  16. I know there are a lot of statistical gurus on here. Running through his stats, it seems we’ve hit an incredible piece of luck with him. He projects to be so much better (based on potential) and what has been surprising is that the statistics surrounding his game all are excellent already.

    edit:

    eh fuk it, be happy

  17. I think his offense is just a question of focusing on a few go to moves. Right now he’s trying something different whenever he touches the ball on offense. Every shot attempt is from a different spot, following a different move. He’s like a kid, trying all the new stuff he can get his hands on.

    Once he settles on his best moves, or the coach decides it’s time for KP to get series, his TS is probably going to rise. By a lot.

  18. I wish some of Sasha’s generally wasted minutes were going to Early. He was a mess last year but looked better this summer/preseason and at least isn’t the single worst possible pairing with Calderon this side of Jimmer. Presumably Afflalo’s return will moot this issue, though with Fish it’s hard to be sure.

    Just think, there was a Tuesday in 2015 when Galloway was technically a free agent while the Knicks were balking on guaranteed money. Thank god Cuban was filming Shark Tank that morning.

  19. No THCJ, go for it. I’d love to read your impressions on his play, the metrics, and all that jazz.

  20. The fact that ANYTHING has gone well for the Knicks is shocking. Maybe this is Phil Jackson karma?

    THJr hasn’t played a minute. Grant is averaging 22 Mpg/7.1 Ppg/4 Apg/2.7 Rpg/1 Spg/1.4 TOpg
    KP is being compared to Garnett and Dirk. Nuf said.
    Rolo > Monroe – How could that be?
    O’q!!!
    Galloway > Steph Curry
    DWill is looking like the finisher we haven’t had since Spreewell.

  21. Metrics say he’s pretty good. That’s a happy thing, since we don’t have to do the Bargnani dance and try to convince ourselves (i.e. not me but you understand what I mean) that he’s going to convert his freakish athletic gifts into productive play.

    There are a lot of amazing players in the league right now. Curry, LeBron, Butler, Durant, Westbrook, Davis, and Chris Paul have all played two-way basketball at an extremely high level (Harden has just sucked over the SSS). Will the Porzingod go from a 50% TS player to a 60% TS player? I dunno. Looks like he could, but those improvements are totally unforeseeable.

  22. @19

    What I am most worried about is that once Afflalo returns, and let’s assume he returns and plays well enough to start, that Grant will be moved to a bigger bench role rather than Vujacic. It seems like that would be the case with how Fisher has coached so far, but he’s also made a case for maintaining the GG backcourt. Would he actually go with Vujacic as starter to playing barely any minutes?

  23. @22, then would you say that you went from believing he could be a really good player to, given his shooting stroke, that he could really be a superstar in the making, the type of two-way players you’ve listed?

    I had really high hopes for him coming into the season and believed he could produce. I am mostly surprised at how well he’s produced. Now I am on the side of giddy.

  24. I don’t know. If I saw Shawn Marion shoot threes back in ’03, I’d be like, “How is that guy in the league?” but I’d be dumb for saying that. He looks great. The shot looks good. The free throws look good. But he has not been very efficient yet. So: hopeful? Yes. Promising? Sure. Sure that he’s a new breed of superstar? Nah.

  25. Warriors/Pistons tonight is a lot more interesting of a matchup than I would have thought as recently as last week.

  26. Warriors/Pistons tonight is a lot more interesting of a matchup than I would have thought as recently as last week.

    How’s Drummond going to get 20 defensive rebounds when Steph Curry doesn’t miss shots?

  27. Yeah he’s done a lot more than not suck but okay

    He’s had some highlights, lots of non-shooting stat stuffing (including fouls, which are a big deal) and he hasn’t shot very well. Not Anthony-Bennett-please-stop-shooting-the-ball bad, but sort of below-average player bad. It’s not a big deal. It’s just eye-test optimism that’s going on, and that’s okay. Like I’ve said, this is the first good rookie we’ve had since Landry Fucking Fields. I’m saying that we should not be acting like he’s an MVP candidate. Not yet.

  28. @30

    He’s undeniably playing like a solid NBA player right now, warts and all. Scoring efficiency isn’t the only thing that determines how good an NBA player is.

  29. I’m saying that we should not be acting like he’s an MVP candidate. Not yet.

    That’s right. That’s what we have Langston Galloway for.

  30. How’s Drummond going to get 20 defensive rebounds when Steph Curry doesn’t miss shots?

    He’s playing with Reggie Jackson, so he should still be able to grab plenty of offensive rebounds.

  31. That’s right. That’s what we have Langston Galloway for.

    For real. That dude is great.

  32. Um ok so no joke but I do believe Langston Galloway has the highest ORtg in NBA history right now. If my eyes can be believed.

    Followed closely by Steph Curry and Clint Capela (who?)

    That’s why we’re all tongue-in-cheeky today.

  33. Clint Capela – to my eye test – may be the next coming of Shawn Kemp. There is no statistical analysis involved, just a big man who runs the floor, dunks with power, blocks shots and has a nasty drop step.

  34. Yeah KG 2.0 would be great I just fucking hate KG’s guts

    Great job staying in touch with the community, Mike. Nice to have you. That’s an awesome quote. Love it. The news and a bit of attitude. And I really hate KG too. So, beer’s on me figuratively speaking.

    Only one bone to pick. 33-84>33-94. Not eerily similar, IMO. Do you think the team will keep shooting this poorly? It seems like KP, Calderon, and Melo definitely have some upside they haven’t shown + Alfalo is coming back. Even Vuc can shoot. I think we may end up comparing favorably to most teams in this regard. Also, the offense will continue to grow and we have a number of facilitators. Three guys with pg skills if you count Galloway and Melo and KP are very creative. Seems like there will be more and more easy shots as the season progresses.

  35. The Knicks shooting yesterday was by and large terrible. They would get good looks but could not put the ball in the basket. Galloway was good as was Lopez but everyone else pretty much sucked. That has to improve going forward or winning games is going to get tough. Porzingis is the real deal. in about 2 years he will be a monster, barring injury

  36. @danvt

    Hey Dan. Thanks. I think the eerily similar was a simple sort of box score acknowledgment that they had the same number of makes on the day, both from 3 and overall. The Knicks were clearly more efficient, which was expected given the guys on the Lakers. It was a good win. We did everything marginally better than them and eaked out a W. Nothing to be proud of really, but we would have lost that game last season.

    I think the offense will improve. Melo isn’t quite himself yet, which is why his team play has been encouraging. It’s sort of the anti-Kobe method of coping with limitations. Porzingis will improve his efficiency…mainly because he only has up to go from where he is. I think the only player who will regress is Galloway, but he looks like he’s improved a lot so hopefully the regression isn’t too steep.

  37. Nothing to be proud of really, but we would have lost that game last season.

    That’s the difference between a 17 win and 35 win team.

    I agree that the Knicks can get better. Afflalo hasn’t played, KP and Melo haven’t shot nearly as well as expected. Maybe Calderon will start hitting shots.

    What we hope to say next year is “Last year we wouldn’t have won that game” when talking about the losses to Cavs and the Bucks at home.

  38. Just think, there was a Tuesday in 2015 when Galloway was technically a free agent while the Knicks were balking on guaranteed money. Thank god Cuban was filming Shark Tank that morning.

    I was not a fan of Jackson that day, as the odds of Galloway not making the 2015-16 team at that point were soooo slim and the money that he saved by “winning” the negotiation with Galloway was sooo small ($300,000) that I don’t think that it was a good idea for him to push it. That said (and I think I should put up a post on this in the future), in case anyone tries to criticize Jackson for not getting a third year in the deal, do note that Galloway was never going to accept a third year. He very intentionally wanted to be a free agent after this season.

  39. Which second year player has produced the most win shares this season?

    Hint: he’s the best player on the Knicks and his name is Langston Galloway

  40. how can ANYONE say kp isnt the best rookie in the nva, first in w.a.r.p and leads in double doubles and near top in birtually everything else

  41. He’s a restricted free agent so unless someone pulls a Lin on us. Galloway should remain a knick next year and beyond

  42. Actually according to hoops hype it looks like we have a team option for 980k on him for next year

  43. Actually according to hoops hype it looks like we have a team option for 980k on him for next year

    How odd. They’re wrong, but they’re typically more on the ball than that, so I wonder where they got that number.

  44. Pey that myan his myoney!

    Glad to have you on the board, Mr. Prokhorov.

    Chyeck, chyeck, chyeck!!

  45. “same number of makes on the day, both from 3 and overall”

    OK, I see what you mean. Strange symmetries in the #’s

    Still, I find the same # of makes on ten fewer attempts encouraging. Even if it is LAL on a down year. Plus, I think there’s evidence suggesting we’ll get better from here.

    We really may be reaching a turning point. Even Jowles seems a bit more sanguine on the team’s prospects.

  46. I think everyone’s missing the point, no one has blown us out, we’ve been in every game against a very strong schedule and we’re beating who we should. All this with a sub prime melo, and watching kp,Gallo and grant develop, this is a great season

  47. It seems like people here think Langston start is fluky, but everything I’ve seen on him suggests he’ll be a quality nba starter, will he hit 70% from distance, no..lol but 40 to 45 isn’t crazy, he’s a really good player

  48. I’m just going to stick with KG 2.0 until Kristaps proves that he’s something other than that.

    Porzingis is intriguing. And it’s nice that he’s putting “The Next Bargnani” fears to rest early. But there’s a long way to go from being Not The Next Bargnani to being the Next Kevin Garnett. Let us not forget that Channing Frye put up 19.5 pts/36, 8.7 rbs/36, with a TS% near .580 his first two months in the league, and was considered the bright light of a franchise engulfed in darkness at the time.

    And then there is example B, of course, named Landry Fields, who’s numbers were even gaudier (TS% .620, 8.75 reb/36) and was being called the Next John Havlicek after his first month in the league.

    And that is just examples of recent Knick draft picks that started with a bang and somehow didn’t make the Hall.

    The Next KG would certainly be a great outcome for Porzingis. But he’s got to A) prove he can keep up what he’s started, B) then get even better, and then (most importantly) C) stay healthy and/or not get himself traded for the likes of Demarcus Cousins whoever The Next Steve Francis is.

  49. so, are we willing to trade Kristap to Cousins?
    Kristaps look good but do you think he will be better than the 1st 3 picks?
    Russel looks like a bust.

  50. Criterion for a successful season:

    1. Develop young players.
    2. Trade Calderon by the deadline.
    3. Make the playoff.
    4. Trade Melo? You think Denver would swap for Gallinari (I kid)?

    With that in mind, I don’t object to heavy Calderon usage; it’s the NBA equivalent of roulette–pray for significant enough production that some NBA contender might take a gamble. Say, the Clippers?

  51. wow wolves are getting the best of the hawks.
    Would be happy if this wolves team will make the playoffs.
    Also, just a thought. The NETS and the KINGS this year feels like the OLD KNICKS.
    Im glad we are doing things differently this time.

  52. I think Langston Galloway can be a Chauncey Billups level player for New York, especially considering the big shot acumen both players have displayed. He might never post two seasons with WS/48s over .250 , but I can see him as a career .589 TS% with a USG% of 22.4 (Billups’ numbers in Detroit). It’s also worth mentioning that Galloway has only played in 52 NBA games, so he still has a lot of time to improve. What’s clear to me about Galloway is that he’s an above average shooter and defender for his position and he has an NBA level handle. Grant is cool, but Galloway appears to be what this team needs long term at the point guard position.

  53. Gallinari? No Euro guys please! They don’t play hard, avoid contact, won’t rebound, and can’t play defense! OK?

  54. Yeah, he’s really, really, really, really good.

    Can’t believe Okafor was ever valued higher than him for any reason (even Russell was higher on the draft boards for a very brief time which is laughable)

  55. It’s not as laughable as you think why Okafor was ranked ahead of Towns. Towns played for Coach K, who did not use him well to put it nicely. Towns played 21 minutes a game last year and really never got a chance to display any of his skills outside of rebounding and defense. Okafor was leading the eventual national champions in points scored and rebounds. The truth is Okafor is a potential franchise player at power forward and Towns is a potential franchise player at the five.

  56. More historical context for KP’s start – from Ian Begley at ESPN-NY:

    For the record, Porzingis has 86 points and 60 rebounds through seven games.
    only 13 other players over the last 30 years had at least that many points and rebounds through their first seven games

    That list includes Blake Griffin, Tim Duncan, Chris Webber, Lamar Odom and Shaquille O’Neal.

  57. Why do no one believes my JO comparision?
    I see Kristaps play like JO when he is the franchise player in indiana. Good shooting, mobile, and can block shots.

  58. It’s not as laughable as you think why Okafor was ranked ahead of Towns. Towns played for Coach K, who did not use him well to put it nicely.

    I’m not sure where your mistake was – did you mean that Okafor was misused by Coach K or that Towns was misused by Calipari?

  59. combined point differential of Knick opponents this season, counting Milwaukee twice: -5.2

    We’ve played three games against teams that are somewhere between mediocre and decent, in Milwaukee x 2 and Washington and two teams that are somewhere between good and great in San Antonio and Atlanta, and finally one awful team.

    Before the Laker game, at 2-4, you could say “This record is weighed down by strength of opponents.” Now, at 3-4, not so much.

  60. Yeah, I am fine with the team in general, but I agree that I wouldn’t say that they have been held down by some amazingly tough schedule or anything like that.

  61. That list includes Blake Griffin, Tim Duncan, Chris Webber, Lamar Odom and Shaquille O’Neal.

    That’s a pretty good fucking list. And this is with the kid not shooting the ball well on an offense that doesn’t run a damn play for him as he deals with foul trouble facing a tough schedule. I like.

  62. I dunno, Milwaukee was a playoff team and got better from last year Washington was also a playoff team. Atl, Cle and Spurs are all top-level teams that we should lose to nearly every time. So to say that going 2-1 vs. teams that were on paper better than us is disappointing is illogical. Not to mention that we are a completely reconfigured team with 3 rookies (inc. Galloway) playing essentially starter’s minutes.

    I got the sense that nearly every poster here would have been thrilled with 3-4, given the schedule and uncertainty. Why are we seeing things differently in hindsight?

  63. combined point differential of Knick opponents this season, counting Milwaukee twice: -5.2

    Pretty sure that point differential as a predictor of team quality is totally unreliable after 7 games.
    I saw somewhere that the Knicks had actually played the most difficult schedule in the league to date up until the Lakers game. FWIW as of now according to ESPN’s “Relative Percent Index” they have played the 9th hardest schedule: http://espn.go.com/nba/stats/rpi/_/sort/SOS

    Max – I know you are usually pessimistic but I kinda feel like you’re just looking for reasons to be pessimistic right now.

    Here’s how I look at it–
    Our Net Rating is basically even. We are an average team, which is sort of what I was hoping for.
    We’ve played 6 games (out of 7) against teams that were picked by most to be playoff teams.
    – We are 1-1 against Milwaukee, another average to possibly slightly above average team.
    – We are 0-3 against 3 elite teams – Cleveland (highly likely to be #1 seed and in NBA finals), Atlanta (likely to be 2 or 3 seed at worst), and San Antonio (no clarification necesary)
    – We are 1-0 against bad teams (Lakers).

    what more did you expect?

    This is my favorite MFC line:

    Before the Laker game, at 2-4, you could say “This record is weighed down by strength of opponents.” Now, at 3-4, not so much.

    You would think we lost that game by 30. We WON for Pete’s sake. What more could we have done from 2-4 after 1 game?

  64. On the other hand KP is being walked about after 7 games as being “the next” compared to Garnett, Jermaine O’Neal put on lists of “most in first x games” with guys like Shaq. Sort of reminds me of the “most points or whatever in first xyz starts” back in the halcyon days of Linsanity. It’s Knickerblogger and the internet. Sort of like when and if Galloway continues to be a real solid player the “he wasn’t drafter, D leaguer” crowd will be crickety. You gotta love having players we can dream about though after so many years of bleech and talking tanking scenarios.

  65. Re: KP – I’ll admit to be irrationally optimistic about his future prospects – mostly because it’s just more fun that way.

    That said — he’s been a game-changing force, which is surprising enough in itself. What’s the most surprising AND most promising is that he’s been a game-changer using the parts of his game that were supposed to be his weaknesses. The scouting report on him was soft, poor/inattentive defender, poor rebounder, but has advanced offensive skills. What we’ve seen is the exact opposite. The effort and grit he’s shown, in conjunction with his established physical gifts — that stuff is not going away (barring injury). The offense will come, unless everything we’ve been led to believe about his offensive arsenal doesn’t come across the Atlantic. And I don’t think anyone thinks that.

    Re: Galloway – hard to know what to expect from him. Some things about his unreal ORtg are obviously unsustainable, like his 61% 3 point shooting. His TOV% is microscopic at this point, which feels like it has to increase, but he was a similarly low TO guy last year until later in the year when he was literally asked to create stuff every time down the floor. His 2P% has been pretty bad (32% – especially horrible on mid-long 2’s where he’s shooting 0% and 17% on 10-16 and 16-23ft shots despite those being ~17% of his overall FGA) but that’s in conjunction with a major increase in his FTR — my guess is he’s been attacking the basket like crazy and getting a lot of calls, so his TS% on 2P shots is probably decent (tough to tease that out). So while his 3P% is almost certain to come down, his long 2 percentage is likely to increase so that’ll even out at least a bit.

  66. KP seems almost the opposite of what we were led to expect. His shooting beyond 12-15 feet so far has been meh. He seems to move well on defense, grabs a ton of rebounds and has put the ball on the floor effectively. He passes the ever reliable “eye test”. If only he could avoid those pesky fouls. But for the presence of Dolan and his hyena “it is a good time to be a Knick fan”1

    1-author forgotten

  67. @Frank

    My only point was that if we’re going to try to project the future after 7 games, let’s not include the schedule as a reason to raise our expectations because after the Laker game it hasn’t been that tough. Whether we should have grown more optimistic or not at 3-4 after these 7 opponents, meh. I don’t feel strongly one way or another. I’ve grown more negative about Melo, Lopez and Fisher and less nervous about the young players. It balances out.

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