Quick Reaction: Knicks 103, Pistons 80

New York Knicks 103 Final
Recap | Box Score
80 Detroit Pistons
Carmelo Anthony, SF 31 MIN | 5-14 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 7 AST | 13 PTS | +26

That’s right, Melo. You get an A even though you only scored 13 points. Why? 7 assists and 3 blocks. You had made your teammates better and consistently found cutters and open three point shooters. You looked like Paul Pierce out there (I’m hoping against hope your injured back wasn’t the reason you moved the ball tonight). Missing some open looks and some forced shots in the 1st quarter is the only thing keeping you from an A+.

Amare Stoudemire, PF 28 MIN | 8-15 FG | 6-8 FT | 8 REB | 4 AST | 22 PTS | +24

You get an A too, STAT! You eschewed the mid-range jumper and took the ball to the rim with aggression and purpose against an undersized Pistons’ front line. You’re still turning the ball over a lot, which like your fellow star, Melo, knocks your grade down by 0.25. That said, it was your best game of the season (so far).

Tyson Chandler, C 29 MIN | 4-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 10 PTS | +15

They’re going to start accusing me of grade inflation. Chandler did all the things we’d hoped when he signed this off-season — dominating the offensive glass, changing shots at the rim, and being the vocal leader of the defense. Plus, lotsa hootin’ and hollerin’ after dunks.

Landry Fields, G 28 MIN | 3-8 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 8 PTS | +29

After a shaky 1st quarter trying to keep an eye (or hand, foot or really any body part) on Ben Gordon (who I was SURE was going to have another one of his monster efforts v. the ‘Bockers), held his own on defense, hit the boards, and had a couple of successful forays to the hole. His jumper is still a work in progress – but as was mentioned, the coaching staff have been re-working his shooting form. You can see it’s a lot flatter than last season. I’m not rational when it comes to Landry, but I think he’s on his way back.

Iman Shumpert, G 28 MIN | 5-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 11 PTS | +1

Shump! Shumpy! Shump Shump! Shumperstein? Anyhoo…Shumpert found STAT for a number of easy scores after splitting the double team and looks like he does possess the skills to be a true PG. I maintain the comparison I made over at ESPN — he’s a poor man’s Russell Westbrook. He has to learn to watch the cheap fouls now that he’s starting, but boy, I can’t help but get giddy at his potential.

Mike Bibby, PG 15 MIN | 4-5 FG | 4-4 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 16 PTS | +26

Okay, fess up. Which one of you guys invented a time machine and brought back 2002 Mike Bibby? (I figured the zombie/ghost/back from the dead jokes were getting worn out.) Bibby played great during the 2nd quarter stretch when NY pulled away. He’s got to consistently hit that extended elbow three, run the offense competently, and not be an utter sieve on defense. He did that tonight, so based on what one might hope from Mikey, he tops out with the highest grade for the evening.

Steve Novak, SF 8 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 PTS | -4

Steve, do you see what Michael did? You do that too. Oh-fer-everything, even in garbage time, ain’t gonna cut it.

Renaldo Balkman, PF 13 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | -6

Considering the fits of distraction that Balkman drives me to, I can only imagine what Coach D’A suffers. with numbers like that (and a monster 4th quarter dunk) Humpty clearly has the ability to be a rotation player. You want to give him 10-15 consistent minutes a night, but you never know when he’ll do something so absolutely goofy (like shooting threes in a blowout) that it boggles the mind.

Toney Douglas, PG 6 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -5

Oh Toney. Toney, Toney, Toney, Toney, Toney. Did y’all see the shot of him on the bench in the 4th? He looked like he’d just been liberated from a POW camp in some 3rd world cesspool (no offense intended to 1st world cesspools). Shellshocked. Suffering from PTSD. That’s how I’d describe our one-time starting PG. Adding insult to injury, Maxiell positively leveled him with a pick, possibly re-injuring his shoulder. With Bibby playing so well, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him sit on Monday, just to clear his head.

Jeremy Lin, PG 4 MIN | 1-1 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | -1

Jeremy Lin scored his first points as a Knick on a couple of nice forays to the hoop Swell. You get a C+. Depending on Douglas’ injury, he might get some burn next game, but at this point, I’d prefer it to occur like it did tonight, at the tail end of a big win.

Jerome Jordan, C 4 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 PTS | -1

Jerome threw a gorgeous alley-oop to Shump (Shump be praised). That’s enough for me!

Bill Walker, SG 19 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 2 PTS | -1

A nice put-back accounted for his only points, but I’m more impressed by his better-than-usual defense. Not noisy, but a good outing for Ball Wilker

Josh Harrellson, F 27 MIN | 5-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 11 PTS | +12

Jorts did Jorts things tonight — defend with gusto, scrap for loose balls/rebounds, and knock down open shots. He moves like he’s wearing cement socks, cement underwear and possibly a cement sportsbra, but by hook or by crook, it’s effective. One caveat — that, “One hard dribble before going up for a layup,” thing he does has to get beaten out of him, and quickly.

Five Things We Saw

  1. This is a putrid Pistons team. Possibly even worse than the fine fellows from Washington. But a win is a win is a win (to paraphrase Gertrude Stein). Then again, this is what good teams do when battling their lessers — put them away early. Though Alan Hahn has now officially filled his quota of Mortal Kombat references.
  2. Ball movement = good. When Melo’s setting up his mates first, and going into ISO mode second, this offense can be very, VERY dangerous.
  3. They CAN defend! Again, let’s not go hog wild against a rabidly inferior opponent, but the Knicks were as active defensively as we’ve seen since the first half of the first game v. Boston, creating numerous turnovers, deflected passes and blocked shots. Nice to see.
  4. Rebounds also = good. Some hot shooting broke the game open, but this team got there by dominating the Pistons on the boards. You can do this when you’re bigger than the other kids, and on a lot of nights, the Knicks are going to be able to be the bullies on the playground.
  5. I’ll never get tired of hearing Clyde Frazier call Iman, “CHOMP-ert.” It might be his finest mispronunciation this side of, “Barg-YAR-knee.” Now, time for revenge against those dastardly RobertCats and that fat, fiendish Frenchman , Boris Diaw. Putain de merde!
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Robert Silverman

Hey, did you know that in addition to banging the keys here and occasionally for the NY Times and at ESPN, Robert is a playwright, an actor and a wand'ring mendicant/gadfly? He also once wrestled a bear...and lost.

52 thoughts to “Quick Reaction: Knicks 103, Pistons 80”

  1. Knicks have a positive point differential now. Really hope they blast Charlotte at home on Monday before what I would call a semi-big game Wed at home vs Philly.

  2. Okay somewhere there must be a picture, any picture of Lin wearing something that doesn’t look like a Rockets uniform.

  3. Thomas B.:
    Okay somewhere there must be a picture, any picture of Lin wearing something that doesn’t look like a Rockets uniform.

    Alas, we don’t get to choose the photos. The mothership, ESPN, does.

  4. 7 boards in 13 minutes for Balkman in garbage time, he really should never be out of the rotation.

  5. Hey, NY has a point guard.

    and a center.

    and we’re .500%

    and I forgot that Jorts might be good too.

    I’m glad it was Toney and not Fields to go to the bench. Landry knows how to mitigate the damage done by what he sucks at.

    Meanwhile, Stat, Melo and Chandler have started doing what they do.

    What’s up with Melo’s back?

  6. Okay, so I guess Melo has been reading our posts.

    I missed the game but I like his line in the box score: +26/7 assists.
    It seems like he was a consumate team player and helped everyone around him.
    I hope he doesn’t mind that he scored 13 points. I don’t. Let’s win thirteen in a row. That will lift all our spirits.
    In a strange way, I think the first quarter against the Wiz was a good thing. Sometimes you have to hit bottom to bounce back.

  7. Amare was a beast. The ball moved and when it moves, Landry is better. Shump starts and is a force. His man D is fierce. Jorts and Chandler went to the floor several times. Love to see it.
    Melo as facilitator will get him a place in the hall if he is serious about doing it. He can make everyone better and choose his moments to take over.
    They needed a game like this to see who they could become.
    But don’t expect it to be there every night yet. They need several more games to gain muscle memory.

  8. SJK:
    TDDDWTDDAM. toney douglas doesn’t do what toney douglas do anymore.

    He drives me crazy, but I feel bad for for him.

  9. I’m holding back on getting ahead of myself with excitement for Shump till there’s a real sample size, but he’s great for Amare and Melo. He finds Amare in his wheelhouse, moving without the ball to the rim for monster jams, and kicks out to Melo after breaking down the defense. With that little extra space Melo is so much more dangerous to score or find an open man.
    Most surprising to me about Shump is that he takes charge as point guard, doing the right thing, without deferring to the superstars.

  10. @jon abbey
    In no way was I lecturing about the knicks, just about the negativity that seems to be displayed at the smallest sign of struggle. I am a young person and have not seen a lot of basketball, so shoot me. All I know is that this is the best knicks team i have ever seen and they are perfectly capable of being near the top in todays league if they compete to their potential the way they did tonight. it wasn’t just the fact that they blew out a terrible team; the overall hustle, decision-making, and execution in this game and in the second half of last game was a sign that for whatever reason the knicks have shaken off their early struggles (no training camp+west coast swing) and are going to start winning games.

    If you are going to try to discourage me from making observations because of my age i assure you it isn’t going to work, and that sort of discrimination doesn’t seem to be in the spirit of the blog. I have been reading for years, am a huge nba and knicks fan, have knowledge of advanced statistics, and so on. I think i have as much right to “lecture” as the next guy.

  11. All I gotta say is Thank GOD the Knicks didnt hire Mark Jackson when they had a chance. Golden St still sucks on defense but now they suck on offense too.

  12. I feel like Toney’s not completely done. He should at least be a decent bench scorer once he gets his head screwed on straight.

  13. 7 boards in 13 minutes for Balkman in garbage time, he really should never be out of the rotation.

    Right? I really don’t get it – he looks good every time he plays (I mean, don’t get me wrong, he also makes boneheaded plays every time he plays, as well, but he is definitely a net positive) and he doesn’t get the playing time you’d expect.

  14. All I gotta say is Thank GOD the Knicks didnt hire Mark Jackson when they had a chance. Golden St still sucks on defense but now they suck on offense too.

    As scary as that thought is (Jax coaching the Knicks), I really think Woodson would be a similar type of coach, so the Knicks better do well this season so D’Antoni doesn’t get fired and Woodson become the interim coach.

    To clarify, the Knicks better do well because, you know, I want them to do well, but as a side effect, I really do not want to see Woodson become the coach. I think I mentioned it awhile back, but one of my nightmares for this season is the Knicks being so mediocre that they fire D’Antoni and make Woodson the interim coach and then they back into the playoffs as, like, the #6 seed, pull off a first round upset (before a second round sweep) and then Woodson gets to keep the job for next year, guaranteeing no forward progress.

  15. I feel like Toney’s not completely done. He should at least be a decent bench scorer once he gets his head screwed on straight.

    Do you think there’s a real chance that his shoulder is injured? As we’ve seen with Toney, when the shoulder is hurt, he’s basically useless. When it is healthy, he is at least a great shooter.

  16. I know this week was tough at first but Im pretty certain the Knicks wont do bad enough during the rest of this season for D’Antoni to get fired. Winning these 2 games I think ended any chances of that happening thankfully.

    Of course lose Monday at home again to Charlotte….

  17. Also another reason I say that is the schedule. The Knicks dont really have a tough stretch of games until the first week in March (opponent wise). The East outside of the 8 playoff teams from last season is terrible. I actually think this season the 8th seed in the East will be over .500 because the East to me now has more depth in terms of good teams outside of the obvious Top 2 (Miami and Chicago) but the bottom 7 teams are really, really bad. Bucks you could say are decent but right now they are 2-5 and still suck on offense, Cleveland and Toronto will soon fall back to reality (Toronto is already beginning to) and the other 4 teams are a joke.

  18. I hope Baron Davis is in Toney Douglas’ ear, helping him through this rough patch emotionally. He really is a good basketball player, he just needs to let the game come to him like he did when Billups was hurt last season. Hopefully TD willing be back to DWTDD. This team hasn’t really fired on all (healthy) cylinders all season. I can’t wait until that happens and we blow a team out by 50.

  19. I too feel bad for Toney. As painful as it’s been to watch him, he’s a good egg and he deserves to find his way out of this Knoblauchian debacle.

  20. If Shumpert keeps playing like this does it make Fields expendable? Davis will likely start at point with Shumpert moving over to shooting guard as he is definitely outplaying Fields right now. Douglas and Walker are fine as guards off the bench, assuming Douglas regains his touch. It may be time to look at using Fields to acquire a backup big man or legit point guard off the bench.

  21. But who would take Fields at this point. This would be selling incredibly low on him. Unless we just assume that what you see now is what he’s going to be for the rest of his career – or, at least, for the rest of his career with this incarnation of the team – I’d rather hold onto him and hope he can get it together. And if he does it and we still have a logjam at guard – particularly if the Keith Bogans rumors are true – *then* you try to trade him for a more pressing need.

  22. Fields is a totally different player than Shump so just because they semi-play the same position (Fields could also play the 3, and Shump can sort of play the point) doesn’t mean they crowd each other out.

    Fields also makes less than $1 million a year so he’s not going anywhere, nor should he.

    It would be a massive mistake to trade him for a backup, unless it was a crazy opportunity. He’s not as good as he looked the first half of his rookie year, but he looks like a first-rounder and he’s cheap for 3 more years.

    Keith Bogans? Seriously?

  23. Lin’s parents are going to be PISSED he got a C+. Can we bump him up to a B, for explaining to Amare’ what “eschewed” means?

    These writeups are great!!!

    To me, a HUGE positive sign is Bibby hitting 3’s. He just needs to hit enough so that opponants are forced to guard him.

  24. I believe since Fields was a second round pick, he is only under contract through end of this season…he makes around $700K, but I am pretty sure he will be an unrestricted free agent after this season…can someone confirm this? Hoopshype shows his contract status as terminating after this season.

    http://hoopshype.com/salaries/new_york.htm

  25. Yeah, as I recall we only signed him to a 2-year deal, in part because nobody assumed he’d be as good as he turned out to be. I’m not even sure we have Bird rights, as I think you need 3 years for that.

    Back when the plan was to go all-in for CP3, the assumption was that Fields was going to have to be renounced, or used in a trade, to get us under the cap enough to give Paul a slightly-less-than-max deal. Now we get to keep most of our role players, but if we assume the full mid-level is going to go to a point guard (Nash, Felton, Sessions), could we keep Landry for the vets min? Would another team offer him more based on the promise of his pre-All-Star play last season?

  26. Carmelo gets an A for 5-14 shooting and 4 rebounds in 31 minutes?

    Seriously?

    Talk about low expectations. The guy’s been playing like a one-man playoff team/league MVP for the (first time in his career and the) last eight games, and this is an A?

  27. They changed the rules on 2nd round picks so it would be easier for teams to keep them (the Gilbert Arenas rule).

    I’m not sure of the details in the new CBA – there’s a homework assignment! – but I’m pretty sure he won’t be a completely unrestricted free agent.

  28. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin): Do you think there’s a real chance that his shoulder is injured?

    we have no way of knowing, but the anatomy of the shoulder lends to the notion that a labrum repair is among the iffiest orthopedic surgical procedures going.

    my son plays hockey and rugby at middlebury college and had a torn labrum repaired and was told don’t expect to be close to 100% for about a year and it will be forever prone to re-injury.

    so yeah, his shoulder likely is a factor.

  29. The Honorable Cock Jowles: Carmelo gets an A for 5-14 shooting and 4 rebounds in 31 minutes?Seriously?Talk about low expectations. The guy’s been playing like a one-man playoff team/league MVP for the (first time in his career and the) last eight games, and this is an A?

    I agree, THCJ (heaven forbid!) that this grade is too high. Yes, Melo distributed well and all that, but an A should be reserved for excellent games without a major flaw. 5-14 shooting should eliminate one from thew A category; I’d give him a B+. I do agree with THCJ (again?), that Melo has been playing like a superstar (top 5 player) and therefore his B+ effort (for him) on a night where others stepped up and made shots is not a slight to him.

    Still, thanks for doing this, Robert, it makes for good post-game conversation.

    Here’s a hypothetical for you: how many players in the 2011 draft would you trade Shump for straight up right now?

  30. I don’t see anyone below #7 that’s better than a wash at this point. Would not want Jimmer, Kemba, either Morris, Kawhi, Klay or Knight.

  31. bobneptune:
    my son plays hockey and rugby at middlebury college and had a torn labrum repaired and was told don’t expect to be close to 100% for about a year and it will be forever prone to re-injury.

    Hockey AND rugby at small, elite liberal arts college? In terms of social capital, that might be a better gig than D1 football. Good for your son!

  32. The most astute thought in your writeup was Melo and hoping that his back wasn’t the reason he moved the ball. Hearing his postgame comments seemed to suggest it was just that. I hope the coaching staff shows him the film 1000 times showing him (and STAT) how beneficial their unselfishness was. I’ve been the biggest proponent of patience…thinking we need 15-20 games before judging. And although I’m a defense-first guy, I like d’antoni and..this is his first team that won’t be gutted in Feb..he deserves (and will have) a full season shot at this. Unless he goes apeshit and takes a dump on his desk or something.

    Tonight was one game against a crappy oponent, but very encouraging..offense AND defense looked great.

  33. @35

    Actually Markieff Morris is having a very fine season so far, showing a very impressive all-around game. But otherwise, yeah, Shump Shump looks like a better bet than lots of guards taken ahead of him, especially Jimmer Fredette, this year’s Adam Morrison.

  34. Wonder why Thorpe at ESPN has Shump ranked so low in his rookie rankings. # 25? I hope it’s only because of the lower # of games played. Jorts is even ahead of him. I’d say a good comp for him – both for type of player and ceiling is Sidney Moncrief. That wouldn’t be bad!

  35. Shump is actually much bigger physically, but that would be great. I thought of Sidney a few threads ago but went for Paul Pressey instead because of the size. Montcrief was also the better offensive player; Shump’s offensive game is yet tbd. Still, it’s esciting to even be talking about Shump in the same breath as those guys!

  36. Guys, I love Shumpert too, but seriously, he’s played three games in his NBA career. Let’s keep some perspective.

  37. yoda4554:
    Guys, I love Shumpert too, but seriously, he’s played three games in his NBA career.Let’s keep some perspective.

    At least he’s proven he has physical talent. All we can do is hope his confidence and mental toughness doesn’t vanish.

  38. Comparisons are pointless. Shumpert has no equals. He is awesome in every way. Flawed in none. One day they’ll call MSG “The House That Shump Built”, and the first hydrogen car will be called the Toyota Shump Shump.

  39. Z: Comparisons are pointless. Shumpert has no equals. He is awesome in every way. Flawed in none. One day they’ll call MSG “The House That Shump Built”, and the first hydrogen car will be called the Toyota Shump Shump.

    OK, maybe I’m going a bit overboard, but I do think he is the first draft pick we have in years that has his kind of upside. Considering that he was roundly booed on draft day, including by many on this board, the fact that we are having this discussion rather than “why doesn’t D’Antoni play Balkman more?” is pretty refreshing.

    Besides, nobody is comparing him to Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, or Michael Jordan. [not yet, anyway ;-)]

    I will predict this, though: Shump will be in the top 5 in ROY voting.

  40. Z: …the first hydrogen car will be called the Toyota Shump Shump

    I’m not sure why, but that had me in tears I was laughin’ so hard.

  41. The Honorable Cock Jowles: Carmelo gets an A for 5-14 shooting and 4 rebounds in 31 minutes?Seriously?Talk about low expectations. The guy’s been playing like a one-man playoff team/league MVP for the (first time in his career and the) last eight games, and this is an A?

    Wow, found a way to get a few jabs in at Melo…. You know, this is not the best Melo’s played. Not sure what gave you that idea.

  42. Eternal OptiKnist: The most astute thought in your writeup was Melo and hoping that his back wasn’t the reason he moved the ball. Hearing his postgame comments seemed to suggest it was just that. I hope the coaching staff shows him the film 1000 times showing him (and STAT) how beneficial their unselfishness was. I’ve been the biggest proponent of patience…thinking we need 15-20 games before judging. And although I’m a defense-first guy, I like d’antoni and..this is his first team that won’t be gutted in Feb..he deserves (and will have) a full season shot at this. Unless he goes apeshit and takes a dump on his desk or something.Tonight was one game against a crappy oponent, but very encouraging..offense AND defense looked great.

    Melo wasn’t particularly unselfish last night. Teammates happened to make shots and the Pistons defense was horrible on screen action to the basket……….Melo was much less aggressive than normal, and last night it worked…..

  43. Melo WAS particularly unselfish last night. He took fewer than half the shots he took the previous game, 6 below his season average. Outside of a few iso’s against Prince and Wilkins he moved the ball even after teammates had missed a few shots. He found teammates near the rim instead of forcing up shots with multiple defenders on him. It was an example of what the team is capable of if nobody decides to put the team on their back and will them to victory(which almost never works)

  44. xduckshoex: Melo WAS particularly unselfish last night. He took fewer than half the shots he took the previous game, 6 below his season average. Outside of a few iso’s against Prince and Wilkins he moved the ball even after teammates had missed a few shots. He found teammates near the rim instead of forcing up shots with multiple defenders on him. It was an example of what the team is capable of if nobody decides to put the team on their back and will them to victory(which almost never works)

    He took less shots because of the lead, how his teammates were playing and his body (and a porous Pistons weakside defense)…..

    Teammates were making shots, which combined with aggressive screens and drives toward the basket allowed Melo’s assist number to hit 7 in just 3 quarters.

    Melo’s had quite a few games this year where he should have surpassed 7 assists if teammates had made a reasonable percentage of open-shots, even if it would have been in lower ratio to his own shots.

    Some believe that Melo is taking shots because he’s selfish and doesn’t care about the team, when in fact he’s doing it out of necessity — giving his team the only chance it has of winning.

    Last night was an exception. But I wouldn’t sit back, see the Knicks shooting percentage, then see Melo’s assists and think: “See what happens when he actually passes.”

    You’ve got the causality wrong. Guys made shots this time… and frankly, I think you’re going to see a lot more of it.

  45. Who said that Melo doesn’t care about the team?

    I don’t understand why people continue to invent criticisms like that. You’re overzealous to the point where you don’t even know what people are saying when you’re responding to them.

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