2010-2011 Game Recap: Warriors 122 – Knickerbockers 117

One of the most entertainingly stupid games I’ve seen in a long time.
— Frank O.

How to sum this up for those that might have missed this sordid affair? Well, it’s a game the Knicks should have won, that for the majority of it, they should have lost, that for a second there in the final seconds, it looked like they might be able to win, but no, in fact, they lost. I’ll touch on the overall hi-jinks of our hardwood heroes, but first, a few in-depth thoughts regarding the sequence of plays that cost them the game. The ‘Bockers were up two (and, to be honest, really getting bailed out by the refs, even if they were canning their FT’s) when…

1:57: Dorell Wright makes 25-foot three point jumper (Monta Ellis assists) 114-113

For what seemed to be the umpteenth time, Curry beat Douglas/Felton off the dribble and kicked out to a wide-open shooter, to which the Nix wouldn’t or couldn’t close out. Okay. No worries. Let’s just execute on offense like we had been for the last 6 mins of the quarter. No prob!

1:36: Toney Douglas misses 25-foot three point jumper. Raymond Felton offensive rebound. Gallinari misses 25-foot three point jumper. Wilson Chandler offensive rebound. Gallinari misses 4-foot jumper 114-113

Just an AWFUL sequence. Yes, Toney was open, but he hadn’t hit a three since Chicago and they had been killing the Dubs at the line. Felton gets the board, but Gallo forces ANOTHER off-balance 3. Chandler gives them another chance and Gallo bricks a layup. Leading to this fastbreak…

1:05: Stephen Curry defensive rebound. Chandler blocks Reggie Williams’s jumper. Dorell Wright offensive rebound. Wright makes layup 116-113

Great play by Chandler to block the shot, but the rest of the team just gave up on the play. Guys, I know it’s frustrating that you really screwed the pooch on the last offensive sequence, but run back on d, pretty please? Okay, that was bad – but still time left, just keep attacking the rim. All is well. Remain calm!

0:49: Dorell Wright shooting foul (Amare Stoudemire draws the foul). Stat misses 2 free throws

Look, they’d made 27 or so in a row, but you have to have those. Lee then made one of two and Gallo forced a three, AGAIN. And that cued up the fat lady. Yes, Stat’s three that made it close, but Chandler was positively the last guy who should have taken the shot that could have tied it (even if he was 4-9 behind the arc at that point).

One minute and thirty-odd seconds of Dumb.

Powerful Dumb.

Dumb with a side of extra stoopid and a boneheaded chaser.

You know, I was born 10 years too late to watch/root for the Clyde/Willis teams, and lawdy it galls me. I so want to pull for a smart team. (And please don’t say the Rileybockers. They played like a bunch of crazed dogs [as Lawrence Taylor might say], but watching the head-scratching things they’d do to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory caused me to literally put my head through the wall on one occasion.) Tonight, for every good thing the Knicks did, they did something so gut-punchingly awful that one could easily forget what the good thing might have been. F’rinstance. Stat hit a bunch of tough shots and finished with what looks like a pretty cran-tastic line (33 points on 15 shots, 10 rebounds, 3 steals), but he turned it over six times (and I’m surprised it’s only 6), all of them on unforced errors – dribbling the ball off his foot, hands of stone on the pick and roll – and of course the two bricks from the line at the end. Gallo was driving to the lane and playing solid D, but…he forced some terrible treys at the end of the game. Toney Douglas made some tough runners as they were coming back in the 4th, but…he too couldn’t buy one from downtown and played some uncharacteristically flimsy defense (going under screens, dumb reach in fouls), especially v. Stupendous Stephen Curry (Seeing him for an entire game for the first time, I gotta say that he’s wicked good. Better than I thought, even. I’m so pissed that he’s not a Knick. Effing Warriors. Anyway…) And Chandler…gap-toothed Willy, one might be tempted to call him from here on out…27 pts, .40 3FG%, and 3 blocks notwithstanding, on the final play he definitely had time to get the ball back to Stat or even swing it to Gallo in the corner for the final shot (MD’A said as much in the post-game presser, but it doesn’t excuse the fact that he did take the shot.)

So how is one to feel? Are you pleased that they did so many things well? Or appalled that they continue to play utterly sans IQ (Save for Landry Fields. Landry, you complete me) and seemingly get stupider at the end of games (see Portland, last week). Do you marvel at Felton’s guts/clutch play? Or groan that he’s worse than Duhon on the Pn’R?  Whither these fledgling Knicks?

And we couldn’t have a wrap-up without mentioning our homeward angel, David Lee. Nothing we saw tonight we hadn’t seen time and time again over the past five seasons, but his absence certainly has made my heart grow fonder. David, we hardly knew ye.

One more thing.Those new GS unis are damned pretty. I’m sorely tempted to break my piggy bank and buy one w/a certain “un-athletic” PF/C’s name and number stitched on the back.

Knicks 112, Wizards 91

The Knicks won their second game in as many nights, handing the Washington Wizards a 112-91 defeat. On offense it was a team effort as 6 New Yorkers had double digit points. Toney Douglas led the team in scoring with 19 points, and although he needed 19 shots to accomplish it, he contributed a lot in the other areas. The Knicks guard had a Clyde-esque 5 steals and 10 rebounds, along with 3 assists. Stoudemire dropped 18 points with only 11 attempts, but had 4 blocks and most importantly only 2 turnovers.

It was a game were seemingly every player in white, blue, and orange had a good night. Gallinari nailed 4 of 9 from downtown. Timofev Mozgov stole the ball and showed some agility going the length of the court (only to be fouled at the rim). The biggest theatrical moment was Wilson Chandler throwing down a thunderous dunk, a play that will undoubtedly be shown on every recap of the game.

However the best thing to take from this game is that New York has won the games that they should be. In recent history, optimistic Knick fans were inventing reasons why their team should be respected. For instance after a 3 point loss, the idealist would say that New York was just a shot away from victory. So far in the 2011 season, there is reason to be optimistic. No excuse is required.

A Look After 3 Games

With 3 games in the books, let’s take a quick look at how the team is doing.

* A few interesting things to notice with Amar’e’s stats. His turnovers (5.7 to/36) are more than double his career rate (2.7 to/36). His worst in Phoenix was 3.1, which he did in 2004 and 2007. Astute KnickerBlogger readers have noted that he’s getting the ball on the perimeter too often. Additionally he’s attempted 5 three pointers so far (1.7 3pa/36) which is also far above his career average. It’s possible that his perimeter play has also upped his assist rate (3.0 ast/36) which is also double his career rate (1.3 ast/36). However from what I’ve seen that rate might be from playing alongside Landry Fields (more on that tomorrow). Obviously giving the ball away 5+ times a game is awful for any player, so you’d expect that number to decline.

* Some stats to keep your eyes on for Raymond Felton as the season progresses (aka which Raymond Felton are the Knicks getting?):

3P%
2009: 28.5
2010: 38.5
2011: 33.3

TS%
2009: 48.3
2010: 52.5
2011: 52.7

* Please tell me Gallinari is hurt. He shot poorly in the preseason, and he’s continued it into the regular season. Making only 18% of your three pointers is not a trait you’d expect from him. If his shooting is being hampered that badly, he should not be on the floor, period. Without Gallo, the Knicks really lack a three point shooter. Although it seems that Bill Walker could fill the void.

* At the KnickerBlogger meet-up I yelled “David Lee” every time Landry Fields touched the ball. It’s because he, like Lee, is great at contributing without holding the ball in his hands on each possession. Actually he’s a bit reminiscent of another Knick: Renaldo Balkman. Granted the two have their differences. Balkman was a much better defender, especially with regards to shot blocking and steals. But Fields has a more refined offense, including a jump shot all the way out to three. Differences aside, Fields, like Balkman, gets most of his offense by making strong cuts to the hoop and finishing in the paint. Again, I’ll have more on this tomorrow.

* Toney Douglas is 5th on the team in minutes, earning a chunk of them at SG. He seems to clearly have the edge over Roger Mason. The former Spur has been a disappointment, and isn’t playing as you would have expected given his career stats. He’s yet to hit a three pointer, and his TS% is a unbelievably low 11.3%.

* Not much to dislike statistically about Ronny Turiaf (20.3 PER, 65.1% TS%, 4.1 blk/36, 3.6 ast/36). Ok maybe defensive rebounding is an eyesore (3.1 dreb/36).

Celtics 105, Knicks 101

Tonight New York went into Boston hoping to keep their 2011 season on an upbeat. Unfortunately they came up short against the Celtics, losing 105-101. Although Boston held the lead for most of the game, New York kept it close and occasionally took a lead here & there. In fact New York missed a great opportunity with 31 seconds left in the game. Toney Douglas stole the ball from Ray Allen, but Wilson Chandler missed a three pointer to bring New York within 1 point. After a pair of Paul Pierce free throws, Stoudemire made a three pointer (his second of the game) to slim the lead to 103-101. But another pair of Pierce free throws and a final attempt by Amar’e was blocked, giving Boston the victory.

Some notes:
Amar’e Stoudemire provided efficient scoring with 27 points on 17 shots. He had a pair of blocked shots, but one of his defensive lapses hurt the team. It was on a switch, and I’m not exactly sure what happened there, but he seemed upset that Toney Douglas went over a pick. Amar’e was clapping his hands, and left his man open for an easy basket. Otherwise I thought he played well enough defensively.

Toney Douglas chipped in with 12 points on 8 shots, but he had a head scratching moment near the end of the first half. Douglas forced an ill advised shot on a broken play, even though there were 11 seconds left on the shot clock. On the next possession he threw a cross court pass out of bounds. I’m not Paul Ekman, but D’Antoni’s facial expression wasn’t “happy” at those plays.

Danilo Gallinari continued his regressive play. He was 0-6, including 0-3 from behind the arc, and ended with 2 points in 11 minutes. He hasn’t looked good since last year. This is very concerning considering this is the year he’s supposed to make forward strides. I’d like to hear a reason why he isn’t playing well, that doesn’t include the phrase “sophomore slump.” (Yes I know technically it’s his third season…)

Wilson Chandler contributed 19 points on 20 shots, but more importantly played 33 minutes, much of it at SF instead of Gallo. Chandler was active defensively, and led the team with 4 blocked shots. Unfortunately his three point shooting, especially that attempt in the last minute, hurt the team tonight. He was 1-7 from downtown, which has me wondering if he’ll ever improve in this area. (Yeah I know it’s only game 2, but don’t forget his history.)

Roger Mason took one shot, and it was an awfully forced attempt in a fast break, which he missed. I want this guy to light it up from three, because well that’s his strength. I don’t see him getting minutes once Azubuike returns, unless he goes NBA Jam from three.

Finally Landry Fields is such a joy to watch. He’s active at all times. You’ll see him cutting to the hoop without the ball, being active on the boards, helping out on defense – everything that would take a superior athlete and make him a next level player. Fields led the team with 10 boards, and only had 11 points on 10 shots. But he didn’t have a single turnover, and dished out 4 assists. He’s a keeper.

Knicks Exercise Options on Gallinari, Randolph, and Douglas

[From the Knicks P.R. department.]

NEW YORK, October 24, 2010 – New York Knickerbockers President of Basketball Operations Donnie Walsh announced today that the team has exercised fourth-year options on forwards Danilo Gallinari and Anthony Randolph, as well as its third-year option on guard Toney Douglas.

Gallinari, 6-10, 224-pounds, has averaged 12.8 points and 4.2 rebounds in 109 games (76 starts) over his first two NBA seasons. Originally selected by New York with the sixth overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, Gallinari was selected to play in the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge and compete in the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest at 2010 NBA All-Star Weekend in Dallas last season.

Randolph, 6-11, 225-pounds, has averaged 9.2 points and 6.0 rebounds in 96 games over his first two NBA seasons with the Golden State Warriors. Originally selected by the Warriors with the 14th overall selection in the 2008 NBA Draft following his freshman season at Louisiana State University, Randolph was acquired by New York, along with Kelenna Azubuike and Ronny Turiaf, from Golden State in exchange for David Lee on Jul. 9, 2010.

Douglas, 6-2, 185-pounds, averaged 8.6 points, 2.0 assists and 19.4 minutes in 56 games during his rookie campaign with New York in 2009-10. The Jonesboro, GA-native was selected by the L.A. Lakers in the first round (29th overall) in the 2009 NBA Draft and had his draft rights traded to New York in exchange for cash considerations on draft night, Jun. 25, 2009.

Knicks 2011 Season Preview – Point Guards

With the Knicks 2011 season almost upon us, it’s time to analyze the roster. Usually teams have some stability from one year to the next, but New York has only a third of the players returning. How New York is going to perform is more of a mystery than previous years. This year’s I’ll look at each position and attempt to address the critical question for those players.

Point Guards: Is this really an upgrade?

Last year if you had to find a single scapegoat for the Knicks abysmal record, you might want to place some horns on Chris Duhon. He played the 5th most minutes on the team, while providing virtually no offense (8.6 pts/36). His scoring was so futile that he would often drive into the paint and be left alone, only to kick the ball out in lieu of an easy layup. Defenses were able to play off of Duhon and concentrate on his teammates, disrupting the offense.

So this season New York decided to invest $7M on a new point guard: Raymond Felton. Based on last year’s stats it seems that Felton is an upgrade to Duhon. He had a better true shooting percentage (TS%: 52.5% to 50.1%) and three point percentage (3P%: 38.5% to 34.9%) while scoring nearly five more points per 36 minutes (pts/36: 13.2 to 8.6). Additionally he was a better ball hawk (stl/36: 1.7 to 1.0) and rebounder (reb/36: 3.9 to 3.1). However a look at his career stats show Duhon’s superior in regards to true shooting percentage (52.4% to 49.3%) and from downtown (36.2% to 32.7%). It’s painful for me to write this, but over the course of their careers Duhon had been a more efficient scorer than Felton.

CAREER MP FGA 3PA 3P% FTA FT% ORB TRB AST STL TOV PTS PER TS% eFG%
Douglas 1087 12.9 5.8 38.9% 2.3 0.809 1.3 3.6 3.7 1.4 1.8 15.9 14.9 57.1% 54.5%
Duhon 12706 8.5 4.3 36.2% 2 0.797 0.5 3.2 6.5 1.1 2.1 9.8 11.5 52.4% 48.5%
Felton 13939 12.5 3 32.7% 3.2 0.782 0.7 3.5 6.6 1.5 2.6 13.7 14.1 49.3% 44.8%
2010 MP FGA 3PA 3P% FTA FT% ORB TRB AST STL TOV PTS PER TS% eFG%
Douglas 1087 12.9 5.8 38.9% 2.3 0.809 1.3 3.6 3.7 1.4 1.8 15.9 14.9 57.1% 54.5%
Duhon 2072 7.8 4.5 34.9% 1.7 0.716 0.5 3.1 6.6 1 1.9 8.6 10.7 50.1% 47.2%
Felton 2643 11.5 2.1 38.5% 2.4 0.763 0.7 3.9 6.1 1.7 2.3 13.2 15.2 52.5% 49.4%

So it boils down to which Raymond Felton are the Knicks getting? Unfortunately even last year’s Felton wasn’t a big upgrade over Duhon. Even worse if that was a fluky career year, then the Knicks have made no progress. Ultimately it means they didn’t significantly upgrade the one position that is most crucial for a Mike D’Antoni run team. From what I’ve seen, the Knicks’ coach requires his point guards to be good passers, hence why he stuck with Duhon last year. Statistically there isn’t much of a difference between the old point guard and the new one. So if Felton hurts the New York offense with poor shooting, it’s likely that D’Antoni will stick with him as well, much to the team’s detriment.

The backup PG will be Toney Douglas, although it’s possible that he’ll play more SG than PG this year. Douglas is more of a scorer than Felton, but a better passer than his predecessor Nate Robinson. Last year Douglas was the forgotten man until mid-March but he played well once given the opportunity. His TS% was well above average (57.1%) and he provided strong defense on the perimeter. Douglas struggles running the offense, as his low assist total (3.7 ast/36) would attest. This year I don’t see D’Antoni ignoring him like last year, but I do see him as a huge underdog in unseating Felton. In the end I think he’ll fit nicely as the backup guard role, much like Barbosa did in Phoenix.

At the end of the line is Andy Rautins. It’s hard to predict how Rautins will do in the NBA, because he was a three point specialist who played mostly zone for the Orangemen. The rookie looked over matched in summer league, but has looked capable in limited minutes this preseason. Considering how selective D’Antoni is with his PGs, I don’t see him playing a lot of minutes, at least early on. However if in D’Antoni’s mind Felton isn’t cutting it, and Douglas isn’t the type of PG he wants, then Rautins could have a small window to show his stuff.

Poll

Did the Knicks Upgrade the PG position in 2011?

  • A little bit. (60%, 380 Votes)
  • Greatly. (32%, 203 Votes)
  • Not at all. (8%, 52 Votes)

Total Voters: 635

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Preseason Recap: Celtics 97 – Knicks 84

Can you see it?

Look real hard.

I know, right now, it’s only there in fits and spurts, like a Sasquatch that dashes into view only to be just as quickly herded back into its pen in Area 51, that one might be tempted to doubt that they had seen it at all.

But I’m telling you, there’s the making of a real durned good ball-team here.

But, not to wax too poetic for a Sunday afternoon when most of us (and your humble correspondent) are girdlaing our loins for the Manichean, proto-fascist, ground-acquisition war/blood orgy that is NFL Sunday in America (Let’s go Jets!), but watching the ‘Bockers late last night, I almost whispered to my teevee, “Inchworm! Climb Mount Fuji! But slowly, slowly…”

And yes, I oft quote Issa during ballgames. It’s a real hoot when I do it in bars.

Long story short, even without the Great God STAT, there were flashes of…something…in last night’s tilt v. the right proper Bostonians. Crisp passes as the ball flitted around the perimeter till the open man drained an uncontested J, the likes of which haven’t been seen since Earl n’ Clyde were doing their thang. Rotating on D? Defending the rim? Sweet fancy Moses, who are these guys?? Of course, somewhere in the 3rd quarter, this wondrous bounty of winning b-ball, seemed to crawl into a hole and die, but for stretches there…

Anyhoo. Here’s a bit of, “The good, the bad and the random/jejune.”

THE GOOD

Ray Felton – Ray-Ray finally had a game that implied why DW would lavish 15 million upon his rounded shoulders. He was confident in his shot, got to the rim quite a bit and generally hit the open man. I was semi-resigned to him being, “A faster Chris Duhon, “ so while 6-13, 16 points, 5 dimes, doesn’t exactly scream Nash 2.0, he held his own against the otherworldly Rondo. (And boy, isn’t “Balkman over Rondo” starting to look like one of the worst draft blunders ever?)

Danilo Gallinari – Someone must have told him that the 22’ ring on either end of the court isn’t an electrified fence or something because Il Gallo actually decided to take it to the bucket a few times. And lo! He had his best game so far. Go figure. There’s very few sights in this work-a-day world more enjoyable than Paul Pierce with a royally pissed-off look on his mug because he can’t fathom how he got whistled for hacking a guy (our Danilo) who runs like a drunk careening down 9th Avenue, crashing into mailboxes/streetlights, trying to avoid an imaginary cop.

Wilson Chandler – I’m convinced that someone fixed his shot this off-season. He’s holding the ball more out in front, using his legs and less launching the ball from behind his shoulders/fading away. It’s definitely working as Ill Will Chill’s looked like a legit SG for the first time, well…ever.

Landry Fields – He’s just got a knack. Granted, the bulk of his minutes came when the Knicks were going through one of their trademark, “Someone put cellophane over the hoop so there’s like, seriously no effing way we can score, ” stretches, but, He. Just. Makes. Plays. I think he’s gotta be in the rotation sooner rather than later.

THE BAD

Toney Douglas – Toney certainly didn’t do what Toney Douglas do in this one. His shot was off, he had gobs of sloppy turnovers, and the offense up and croaked when he was running it. Still, I have complete and utter faith that he’ll turn it around ASAP

Anthony Randolph – Oh, I so want him to be good. And you can tell by watching that he does too. Therein lies the problem. He so wants to do something that makes the crowd collectively go, “Ooo!”, that yanks the mob out of their seats and transforms them into a sea of suitors sooooo badly that he’s prone to some godawful blunders/seems like someone tought him how to play, like, yesterday. In addition, when he errs, like by say lofting a Jamal Crawford-esque off-balance 20 foot brick, he instinctively fires a glance towards the bench to see if he’ll get yanked. Screw Don Nelson, we as fans need to give AR unconditional love and maybe a nice card or some candy every chance we can get.

Mike D’Antoni – pick a rotation, Coach. Pretty please?

THE JEJUNE

Mozgov! – Evidently, when Timofey got t’d up, he was saying to himself (and yes, when I imagine him speaking, it’s in Ivan Drago-style pidgin English), “I say, I no good with fouls. Referee say I talking to him. But I am talking to me! Now, when I foul. I say nothing…” Good times, good times.

Roger Mason Jr. – Is it me or does he look eerily like Larry Hughes out there. I don’t like him. Maybe it’s because he resembles Wee-Bay from the Wire, but the sooner Azubuike/Fields takes his pt, the better.

C’est tout, mes amis. I’m yoinked to watch the irrepressible John Wall and the goofily appealing Javale McGee tonight. In lieu of a separate game thread, feel free to add your thoughts on tonight’s game too. Even though the games don’t count, get them W’s!