Tempered Enthusiasm

There’s a memorable line from the poker film Rounders that goes, “If you can’t spot the sucker in the first half hour at the table, then you ARE the sucker.” This applies to basketball teams as well. If you can’t pick out the easy games that should definitely win on your schedule, well, then you are the easy games on the other teams’ schedules. Luckily, the Memphis Grizzlies still definitely qualify as the “sucker at the table,” and the Knicks took care of them last night in a generally all-around pummeling, although it was unsettling that the Grizzlies actually cut the lead to five at one point towards the end of the game.

When Eddy Curry plays like he has been playing the last few games, the Knicks look so much better, as a strong Curry is a definitive advantage for the Knicks, with so many teams out there playing small lineups.

Marbury had a strong game, and Francis didn’t play poorly (Jamal Crawford did, though).

It was great seeing the Knicks just get so many easy buckets. It was practically a clinic, except, and here is the tempered enthusiasm part, it WAS only the Memphis Grizzlies, who I am astonished have won four games with this line up.

Isn’t it interesting to see Steve Francis leading the NBA in free throw percentage? How weird is THAT? I doubt it will stay that way all season, but still, very impressive job by Francis.

With Curry playing so well offensively recently, it is starting to look more and more like it will be Francis who will be replaced by Jeffries. Man, I would not want to be in Isiah’s shows when he has to decide which players to play…there are going to be some interesting minute crunches when Jeffries and Frye return.

In any event, this was a good win (except for the comeback at the end, where the Knicks were lucky the Grizzlies are so bad, as the Knicks practically GAVE them the comeback). Let’s hope they can keep it up on the homestand. 7-13 doesn’t look awful – 10-15 would look a lot better.

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23 thoughts to “Tempered Enthusiasm”

  1. A comment on the minute crunches when Jeffries and Frye return. I think Crawford should be the odd man out. He does have the ability to blow up for 30, but most of the time he just takes horrible low percentage shots and plays no defense. I think a Marbury, QRich, Jeffries, Lee and Curry lineup gives them the best chance of winning. Plus they’ll have some great depth off the bench with Nat, Frye, Francis and Balkman. It may actually start looking like a team!

  2. I think Balkman will be the odd man out, getting only spot minutes when we really need some energy. And we’ve actually been using Malik Rose now and then – that will probably stop once Jeffries gets back, freeing up some minutes. Rose is one of the only players coming in with low expectations minutewise and he has a clearly defined role off the court already – be a locker room leader and the voice of veteran experience.

    As for Crawford, he and Curry look good together in the fourth, especially since Crawford suddenly noticed he can drive to the basket and pass to the big guy instead of shooting halfcourt threes before the offense sets up.

  3. Why not have a front court of

    Lee and Jeffries

    A back court of Q Rich and Francis

    Marbury coming off the bench. I think that Francis has been getting more assists as of late. Or is everyone sold on Marbury and his defense as of late? Just last week people were saying how Marbury was sulking and not cheering for the team and he didn’t take a shot because he was confused, now he gets it all of a sudden?

  4. PG Marbury
    SG Q
    SF Jared Jefferies
    PF Frye
    C Curry
    6: David Lee
    7: Steve Francis
    8: Balkman
    9: Nate

  5. How about Lee and Brian Cardinal trading buckets with about 7min left in the fourth – good stuff. I like that Lee has added a jumper from the top of the key to his reportoire, and Curry’s performance lately, especially rebounding, has been outstanding. If they could close out close games, this would be a .500 team.

  6. What has Jeffries done in the league that makes you think that HE shouldn’t be the odd man out?

  7. hudson,
    where’s Crawford, he’s been our most solid guard(excluding Q)?
    An 8-man rotation is enough, not 9.

  8. id start the following line up:

    pg/Crawford/Steph(6th man of the year)/nate

    I know its not 8 players but I don’t know how to correct it unless you trade for a pass first pg, ie. 2 for 1 and then sit someone

  9. Didn’t see much of the game because I was working but it’s nice to be on the other end of a blowout turned close, just for the leading team to hold off for the win.

    Meanwhile Curry is grabbing boards (up to 7.1 per game) and Lee is shooting 63%.

    As for Jeffries, seems like Isiah is in love with him – it will be interesting to see what kind of role he plays. There are a lot of options with the set of players we have (not necessarily all good ones).

  10. What has Jeffries done in the league that makes you think that HE shouldn?t be the odd man out?

    The only debate over Jeffries when the Knicks got him was not over whether he was a great defender – everyone agreed he was. It was, “Is he a great enough defender to be paying this much money to?.” And the answer to that was generally no. However, it is clear that Jeffries, when healthy, WILL be the Knicks best defender – and for a poor defensive team like the Knicks, that is going to guarantee him big minutes.

  11. Marbury does not work coming off the bench. He gets pissy and takes the team with him. Furthermre he’s been playing well as of late on both ends of the floor, so there’s no point antagnozing him. Francis has actually given us some decent games off the bench and it would mean less distractions. There’s no reason to bench Marbury right now.

  12. Marbury can opt out of his contract after this year. The idea that he will do so is beyond preposterous considering he is due over $40MM over the next two years.

  13. Still we get the Marbury hate. I just wish fans would give it a rest already. When he’s on his game he’s STILL the best PG we have. He’s far less prone to the chuck fests that Jamal and Nate have and he’s more decisive then Francis, who still get’s caught too often dribbling the air out of the ball. Tho I feel francis has been VERY good. I think Steph and Francis should be the lead guards. Francis the PG off the bench and Jamal SG off the bench.

    Steph, Q, Jared, Lee, Curry
    Francis, Jamal, Frye, Balkman

    Solid 9 man, with some spot minutes for Nate.

  14. Marbury should be our starter because he playing the best PG of anybody on the team. His numbers don’t look great, but his turnovers are down, and he playing solid defense. Q is definatly our starter at 2 because of his versitility, and Jefferies plays excellent defense and rebounds well. Frye should start because he is an offensive weapon, which this group should use. Curry is clearly our center because he is playing so well of late.

    David Lee, Jamal Crawford, Balkman, Francis and Nate are most effective off the bench, but they should not all be played as a unit. Rather they should supplement the starting line-up, and provide support.The knicks can actuallly become a tough team, something they lacked in the post-ewing, Houston era.

  15. Our starting pg should be someone with some ability to lead a team, not a negative influence. Having said that I dont think Marbury is our best pg.
    Marbury makes stupid decisions and has lost a step since Wally fouled him; also he gets burned by quicker guards. In the game against Toronto he fouled T.j. Ford while he was going to call a timeout and sent him to the freethrow line ending the run we put together and in effect costing us the game. no starting pg does that!

    Crawford plays well at the point I would start him; for every bad shot Craw takes he does something to redeem himself ie., steals, clutch shots, perimeter defense, getting to the free throw line.

    Francis’ turnover’s kill us, he constantly carries the ball without getting called for it and he dosen’t see wide open players particularly on the screen and roll; I dont trust him down the stretch with the ball so why would I start him?

  16. In regards to who should lose minutes when Jeffries and Frye return or if the rotation were to be shortened, Crawford gets my vote.

    First, he’s an inefficient shooter, yet still takes 2 more FGAs than anyone on the roster. Some might argue that he’s being aggressive. I think it’s either that he’d rather shoot than play within an offense or that Isiah has told him to shoot the ball whenever he wants (neither being a positive thing).

    Second, he’s redundant. As I see it, every one of his skills is also possessed by one or more of the other guards. He’s a combo-guard capable of shooting the 3 (maybe not well), creating his own shot, creating shots for others, and stealing the ball. So are all of the Knicks guards. The difference is that the only categories in which he leads the other guards are FGAs and 3ptFGAs and, therefore, points.

    Third, the general consesus seems to be that he’s more tradeable than Marbury and Francis ($)and Richardson (health/insurance).

  17. hows this trade look Knicks fans?
    New York Knicks

    Incoming Players
    Samuel Dalembert
    Salary: $9,464,307 Years Remaining: 5
    PTS: 8.5 REB: 8.1 AST: 0.3 PER: 15.01

    Wayne Simien
    Salary: $932,760 Years Remaining: 2
    PTS: 2.2 REB: 1.6 AST: 0.2 PER: 2.80

    Rodney Carney
    Salary: $1,439,760 Years Remaining: 2
    PTS: 4.7 REB: 1.1 AST: 0.3 PER: 10.13

    Earl Barron
    Salary: $744,551 Years Remaining: 1
    PTS: 7.0 REB: 4.7 AST: 0.3 PER: 24.22

    Bobby Jones
    Salary: $412,718 Years Remaining: 2
    PTS: 0.3 REB: 0.5 AST: 0.3 PER: 3.27

    Theo Ratliff
    Salary: $11,666,666 Years Remaining: 2
    PTS: 2.5 REB: 3.5 AST: 0.0 PER: 6.90

    Outgoing Players: Channing Frye, Steve Francis, Eddy Curry, Jamal Crawford

    Boston Celtics

    Incoming Players
    Kevin Ollie
    Salary: $3,196,050 Years Remaining: 1
    PTS: 4.4 REB: 1.8 AST: 3.4 PER: 9.64

    Allen Iverson
    Salary: $17,184,375 Years Remaining: 3
    PTS: 31.2 REB: 2.7 AST: 7.3 PER: 24.00

    Antoine Walker
    Salary: $7,606,820 Years Remaining: 5
    PTS: 9.7 REB: 4.2 AST: 1.4 PER: 7.80

    Outgoing Players: Kendrick Perkins, Wally Szczerbiak, Theo Ratliff

    Philadelphia 76ers

    Incoming Players
    Channing Frye
    Salary: $2,325,000 Years Remaining: 2
    PTS: 7.6 REB: 5.5 AST: 0.4 PER: 8.99

    Kendrick Perkins
    Salary: $1,689,410 Years Remaining: 5
    PTS: 4.4 REB: 5.6 AST: 1.0 PER: 10.94

    James Posey
    Salary: $6,392,100 Years Remaining: 1
    PTS: 5.2 REB: 3.8 AST: 0.8 PER: 8.35

    Steve Francis
    Salary: $15,070,000 Years Remaining: 3
    PTS: 11.0 REB: 3.7 AST: 4.5 PER: 17.30

    Eddy Curry
    Salary: $8,171,103 Years Remaining: 4
    PTS: 16.9 REB: 7.3 AST: 0.7 PER: 14.94

    Outgoing Players: Kevin Ollie, Samuel Dalembert, Rodney Carney, Allen Iverson, Bobby Jones

    Miami Heat

    Incoming Players
    Wally Szczerbiak
    Salary: $11,775,000 Years Remaining: 3
    PTS: 19.6 REB: 3.6 AST: 1.9 PER: 19.00

    Jamal Crawford
    Salary: $7,200,000 Years Remaining: 5
    PTS: 15.3 REB: 2.6 AST: 3.4 PER: 13.60

    Outgoing Players: James Posey, Wayne Simien, Earl Barron, Antoine Walker

  18. Am I the only one who thinks Crawford is absolutely terrible as a PG. Once the ball is in his hands, there is a slim chance he is giving it up. At least Marbury knows how to pass. When Crawford runs te point it seems like others become disinterested. I hink they know the guy is a chucker.

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