Hats Off to Roy

By now just about every Knick fan has seen or read about the ending to Sunday’s Portland game. Clinging to a 1 point lead, Brandon Roy hits a layup as time expires to give New York another loss. If you haven’t check out Gian’s SSOM Webisode on it. Gian does an excellent job breaking down this play, as well as the others that led to it. So how did Roy get his shot off?

On the final play, Portland has the ball on the sideline with 4.3 seconds left. Duhon is covering Aldridge at the top of the key. Behind him is Oden guarded by Lee, and next to them Richardson is covering Outlaw. Aldridge heads to the corner and Duhon frantically calls out a switch. But Richardson ignores the plea and instead follows his man who clears past Duhon. With no one on Aldridge, Duhon races over to cover.

This frees up the middle of the court from everyone except for Roy and Oden. Up to this point Roy is in the middle of the box and is covered by Jeffries. Oden turns to set a screen on Jeffries, and Roy is free to get the ball a few feet behind the arc. Oden sets such a strong pick that Jeffries is off balance and easily 8-10 feet away from Roy when he receives the ball.

Roy turns and sees Jeffries a few feet away on his right, so he drives to his left. Roy picks up a full head of steam and steers away from Jeffries. With 3 seconds to go, Jeffries catches up to him at the three point line, but can’t get across court to get in front of Roy. Instead Jeffries follows Roy on his right side. This is the only chance he has to foul Roy on the ground. A half second later Roy is set to jump. Should Jeffries foul him at this juncture, it’s likely that Roy will receive two shots for being in the act of shooting. Lee slides over to Roy’s left to assist, and Duhon leaves his man in the corner to help as well. Richardson tries to assist as well from the weak side, but he’s eclipsed by Oden.

At this point in time, Jeffries is to Roy’s right, but a half step behind. Lee is in front of him, but his momentum is taking him to Roy’s left. Duhon is in front of Roy on his left. Roy jumps on a diagonal to the right and clears all the Knick defenders. He scoops the ball in his right and lets it go. The shot sinks with time expiring and the Knicks lose.

There is a lot of blame to go around. Immediately after the play, Knick announcer Clyde Frasier voiced his displeasure saying the Knicks had a foul to give and should have used it. And in the post game interview, Oden said the team had planned a second play because they expected New York to foul. However due to the excellent pick by Oden this was difficult for the Knicks to execute. Jeffries was so far from Roy that he had a small window to foul him without risking a shot. Granted there was a window, but Jeffries missed it.

Some of the blame could go to Richardson for missing the communication from Duhon telling him to switch to Aldridge. Perhaps the defensive scheme was to keep Duhon near the top to help, but the missed signal moved him into the corner. D’Antoni gets some of the blame as well. He should have made sure that his team fouled Roy to give Portland a few less seconds to make a play. Additionally, putting Jeffries on Roy may not have been the best move. He could have went with a more traditional matchup and placed Duhon on Roy. Lee deserves his share as well. He’s in perfect position to block the shot, but let’s Roy get a good look at the basket.

But ultimately the failure comes down to the Knicks roster construction. In a situation like that you put your best defensive five on the floor, and D’Antoni chose Lee, Duhon, Richardson, Jeffries, and Chandler. Hardly the 1994 Knicks. The lack of a shot blocker or perimeter stopper left D’Antoni with few options. Lee or Richardson might have been in a position to block the shot, but both are well below average in that area. You could argue that Jeffries is the Knicks best defender, and he was the one guarding the shooter on the play. Even if the Knicks foul Portland, the Blazers would still have about 3 seconds to execute another play, and Roy got this shot off in less than 2. Taking that into account with the Knicks poor defensive lineup, it’s likely the result would have been the same even if they fouled Portland.

New York will be plagued by plays like this until the team is able to turn over some more of it’s roster. This first year, Walsh’s goal has been to cut enough salary for free agency in 2010. So far he’s done an admirable job, but the cost has been a roster filled with scorers who don’t defend. It’s possible that over the summer Walsh might be able to add a few defenders, either through trade, draft, or free agency. Until then, Knick fans are going to have to grin and bear a few more defensive lapses like this.


Comment on this article in the forums: here.


2009 Game Thread/Preview Knicks @ Blazers

Well “Dream Week” is over and not a moment too soon.  New York went 0-3 against 3 of the NBA top five teams.  I cant say I’m surprised but I am happy about the quality of play.  If the energy and execution remain high, New York could manage a winning record on this west coast swing.  First order of business is Portland (30-19) who beat New York 104-97 on December 2, 2008. 

TEAM POSS EFF eFG TO OREB% FT/FG
New York Knicks-Offense 97.2 107 50 15.4 23.9 21.1
Rank 2 16 12 16 28 27
Portland Trail Blazers-Defense 86.2 109.2 50.8 15.7 25.1 24.2
Rank 30 21 23 12 7 16
New York Knicks-Defense 97.2 109.4 51.4 14.8 27.2 21.2
Rank 2 22 27 20 19 6
Portland Trail Blazers-Offense 86.2 113.3 50.6 14.8 32.7 24.3
Rank 30 2 10 10 1 15

What to watch for: Joe Przybilla.  Yeah, I know what you are thinking but it was big Joe that really sealed the win for Portland when they came to MSG.  Big Joe pulled down 14 boards (4 on offensive glass) and blocked 2 shots.  New York needs to keep him-andthe rest of the team- off the offensive glass.  Portland is a very efficient team on offense (2nd, 113.3 pts per 100 poss) andthey are strong on the offensive glass as well (1st).  The last thing New York should do is give this team second chance points.

What to watch for 2:  Portland’s defense.  Portland is not a very good defensive team.  They are in the bottom third of the NBA in defensive efficiency (21st,  109.2) and defensive eFG% (23rd, 50.8%).  New York should exploit this by getting into theiroffense well before Portland can react.  Lee and Harrington should look to beat Oden, Aldridge, and Pryzbilladown the floor as often as they can.  Portland is not used to a fast pace as they are last in the NBA in possessions (86.2).  New York should try to take the team out of their comfort zone by pushing the pace.

What to watch for 3:  Three point defense.  Portland’s Blake, Fernandez, and Outlaw are each shooting better than 39% from distance.  As I expect New York to double Aldridge and Oden in the paint, Portland’s shooters will have more open looks if New York does not improve the defensive rotations.  Hopefully, JJ can play well enough on Aldridge to reduce to need for doubles.

To comment on this game, join us in the game thread forum.

Knicks’ Week in Advance 12/8/08

I’m toying with the idea of theme music for this weekly feature.

To the original theme from “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids”

Hey, hey, hey…. it’s Thoooooomas B.
I’m gonna preview some games for you.
And Mike might add a word or two.
We’ll have some fun now, looking at these stats.
I’ll talk about what to watch for based on PERs and other facts.
Nah, nah, nah going to get some stats now.
Hey, hey, hey!
Hey it’s Thomas B. coming at you with four factors and fun.
And if you’re not careful, you might learn something before we’re done. Hey, hey, hey.
Nah, nah, nah going to get some stats now.

Now that I have that out my system, let’s get on with the fourth installment of Knicks’ Week in Advance. The Knicks start a five game road trip this week with games in Chicago, New Jersey, and Sacramento. While tough, road trips can be a good thing for a team. The team gets to pull together and that is just what the Knicks need as Harrington, Thomas, and Jeffries find their place in the rotation. Let hope the Knicks can improve on the 2-7 road record.

Tuesday, December 9 @ Chicago [First meeting of the teams this year.]

TEAM POSS EFF eFG TO OREB% FT/FG
New York Knicks-Offense 98 105.5 50.1 15.8 23.6 19.1
Rank
1
19
12
15
28
30
Chicago Bulls-Defense 94.8 106 48.4 16.5 29 25.6
Rank
5
15
8
12
26
23
New York Knicks-Defense 98 109.2 51.2 14.5 28.3 18.9
Rank
1
24
25
26
20
2
Chicago Bulls-Offense 94.8 103.4 47.1 16.5 27.6 24.1
Rank
5
23
24
20
9
16

Another Tuesday brings another tough game for the Knicks. The Knicks are 0-4 on Tuesdays so far this year. Let’s see if we can turn this thing around.

The Bulls come into this game with numbers very similar to those of the Knicks. Like the Knicks, the Bulls push the pace with 94.8 possessions per game (5th). The Bulls’ offensive efficiency (103.4, 22nd) trails the Knicks’ offensive efficiency (105.2, 19th). Furthermore, the Bulls’ eFG% of 47.1 (24th) is well behind the Knicks’ 49.8 (13th). One reason for this could be the Bulls’ lack of inside scoring.

The Bulls’ big men are not efficient scorers from close range. Aaron Gray leads the big men with an eFG% of 46.6 in 14 minutes per game. Behind Gray, the Bulls have Noah and Thomas with eFG% of 39.6 and 34.4 respectively. Compare that to David Lee’s 56.2 eFG%, and *gulp* Tim Thomas’ 51.8 (I know, but what other big man do we have?). The Bulls’ inside scoring troubles bode well for the Knicks as they struggle defending big men who can score inside.

What to watch for: Defense. The Knicks should focus on limiting penetration from Rose and open looks from Gordon (51.1 eFG%, 37.3 3p%) and Hughes (53.2 eFG%, 47.7 3p%).

What to watch for 2: Q. Richardson vs. Hughes/Gordon. Nate Robinson’s injury has moved Q to the shooting guard spot. What Q gives up in speed, he makes up for in strength. Q should take the same approach he took with Jamal Crawford defending him and take Hughes inside. When Thomas or Noah help, move the ball for a good shot.

What to watch for 3: More of the high pick & roll. Seven Seconds or Mess did a great job showing how the high pick & roll worked for the Knicks against the Blazers. New York should should employ the same approach in this game. Inexperienced players usually aren’t good at defending the pick & roll, so the Knicks should go at Rose and Noah/Gray/Thomas early with it.

What to watch for 4: Chi-town ties. Q and Chandler are from the area so they should be comfortable for this game. Meanwhile former Bulls Duhon and Thomas may feel they have scores to settle against their old team. You ever notice how nobody ever leaves the Bulls on good terms? When have you heard, “I really enjoyed my time with the Bulls organization and I look forward to returning some day.”

Wednesday, December 10 @ New Jersey [First meeting of the teams this year.]

TEAM POSS EFF eFG TO OREB% FT/FG
New York Knicks-Offense 98 105.5 50.1 15.8 23.6 19.1
Rank
1
19
12
15
28
30
New Jersey Nets-Defense 91 111.3 51.3 15.3 26 29
Rank
22
27
27
20
11
29
New York Knicks-Defense 98 109.2 51.2 14.5 28.3 18.9
Rank
1
24
25
26
20
2
New Jersey Nets-Offense 91 110.2 50 14.4 26.8 26.8
Rank
22
5
13
3
15
4

The Nets are a team of contrast. New Jersey is bad on defense, and their efficiency (111.3, 27th), and eFG% (51.3 %, 26th) are among the worst in the NBA. On the other hand, the Nets are strong on offense (110.2, 5th) and they take care of the ball (14.4 Turnovers, 2nd).

What to watch for: The Nets are over .500 due to the great play they are getting from Devin Harris. Harris leads all Eastern Conference PGs in PER (27.6), and scoring (24.5/36 min, 5th overall). He averages 0.8 3PM/36, which means he does most of his damage on the inside and at the free throw line (9.2 ftm/36). I have not seen him play this year, but those numbers indicate that Harris drives a lot. The Knicks need to give Harris room to take the jumper rather than let him get into his comfort zone of driving.

What to watch for 2: Defense. I have said this every week, but the Knicks need a strong defensive effort against teams that are efficient on offense. The Knicks’ defensive focus has to start with Harris. Duhon will need to play smart (stay out of foul trouble) as he may not have Nate to back him up.

Saturday, December 13 @ Sacramento [First meeting of the teams this year]

TEAM POSS EFF eFG TO OREB% FT/FG
New York Knicks-Offense 98 105.5 50.1 15.8 23.6 19.1
Rank
1
19
12
15
28
30
Sacramento Kings-Defense 92.7 112.9 52.8 15.9 29.5 25.8
Rank
10
29
29.5
13
29
25
New York Knicks-Defense 98 109.2 51.2 14.5 28.3 18.9
Rank
1
24
25
26
20
2
Sacramento Kings-Offense 92.7 103.7 49 17.2 26.7 21.7
Rank
10
21
16
25
16
21.5

The Kings are rebuilding around Kevin Martin, John Salmons, and uh…not much else. Sacramento is one of the worst defensive team in the NBA. They are 29th in defensive efficiency (112.9), tied for last in defensive eFG% with Golden State (52.8), and they don’t do well on the defensive glass giving up 29.5% of available defensive boards (29th). Only one team does it worse – you guessed it, the Warriors again. Their leading shot blocker is Hawes (1.8 per 36 minutes).

What to watch for: The Knicks should take the same approach they took against the Warriors with one exception – play better defense. The Kings are not strong on offense coming in 21st in offensive efficiency (103.7) and 15th in eFG% (15th). The Kings frequently turn over the ball (17.2, 24th), so added defensive pressure should bring those numbers up.

What to watch for 2: The Knicks should run the high pick & roll with Lee and Duhon against the Kings’ slow frontcourt players.

What to watch for 3: Push the pace. This game is the second of a back to back for the Kings. The Knicks come into this game on two days rest. The Knicks should push the pace and try to wear the Kings down. Hopefully, Nate, JJ, and Mobley (I’m still holding out hope) will be able to give us around 20-25 a night and help us keep the pressure on the Kings.

SSoM Episode 10: Blazers vs Knicks

Mike and I have decided to post the videos on KB now to foster even more discussion about games. I would’ve posted last night but the game thread was going up, so here it is on an off night.

(Enjoy the new widescreen format.)

Great call by the coaching staff to attack Greg Oden. High PnR gets his shot blocking ability out of the paint and he simply isn’t quick enough to recover or match up against this style in general. I’m a bit surprised at LaMarcus Aldridge’s lack of effort, though. Joel Przybilla got all of the minutes from mid-third quarter on and changed everything defensively for Portland. It allowed them to get quicker while the Knicks got tired. Bad combination.

Game Thread: Knicks vs. Cavaliers

Lebron part deux. Eight days ago, his appearance in New York generated reams of publicity and some controversy, along with a very solid 26 point outing in only 30 minutes of action. I have a feeling that he will look to put up some big numbers tonight to keep the hometown fans happy.

Those Cleveland fans have a lot to be happy about these days. The Cavs are firmly in control of the Central division and are the second best team in basketball right now with a +11 efficiency differential. Although they play at only 23rd fastest pace in the league, they field the best offense in the NBA, a significant improvement over last year.

After last night’s game against the Trailblazers this will be a big test for the Knicks. It’s hard to expect much, but I think that at the very least we can count on them playing hard, one of the things which is making me proud to be a Knicks fan again.

Game Thread: Knicks Vs Blazers

Notice the contrast between the two rebuilding franchises.

Thomas B.:

December 2 Portland [First meeting of the teams this year.]

TEAM POSS EFF eFG TO OREB% FT/FG
New York Knicks-Offense 98.8 107 50.3 14.8 23.5 19.3
Rank 1 11 10 10 27 29
Portland Trail Blazers-Defense 86.2 107.3 49.7 16.2 25.2 23.5
Rank 30 18 21 13 8 13
New York Knicks-Defense 98.8 109.4 51.5 14.5 28.8 18.8
Rank 1 26 27 25.5 25 2
Portland Trail Blazers-Offense 86.2 113.5 51.4 15.1 32.8 22.1
Rank 30 2 3 12 1 21

Terrible Tuesdays continue for the Knicks (four Tuesday games, four playoff teams), this time Portland comes to town. In some ways, the Blazers are the Bizzaro Knicks. The Blazers are dead last in pace (86.6 possessions per game), while the Knicks are first in pace (98.7 possessions per game). The Blazers are a great rebounding team (detailed below), while the Knick are not. The Blazers waived a highly paid, petulant, offensive minded point guard before a power play between he and management became a distraction. The Knicks… well you know the story.

What to watch for 1: Rebounding. The Knicks are going to have trouble keeping the Blazers off the glass. The Blazers are 2nd in offensive rebound percentage (32.6%), and none too shabby on defensive glass securing all but 25.1% of defensive rebounds (6th). The Knicks give up 28.8% of all defensive rebounds (24th), while securing 23.5% of available offensive boards (27th). Long story short: make the first shot; there will not be many second chances.

What to watch for 2: The neutralization of David Lee. Lee at center is not going to have the easy match ups he had against the Warriors. Oden and Aldridge are solid interior defenders and strong shot blockers (2.7 and 1.3 blocks per 36 minutes respectively). What Lee can do to help the team is work the pick and roll with Duhon and then hit the 15 footer with consistency (why don’t they run that more with Lee and Harrington’s mid range game?). If Lee can lure Oden out of the paint, it could open things up for drives to the lane (if only there was a Knick that liked to do that).

What to watch for 3: The Blazers are exceedingly efficient on offense (113.1, 2nd in the NBA) and from the floor (51.1 eFG%, 5th). The Knicks will need a solid defensive effort against this team.