Tonight’s 4 Factors (11/11/07)

After each game this season, we’ll be taking a look at what the four factors have to say about the game– how the winner won and the loser lost. For an intro to the four factors, see here.

Knicks lose to Heat, 72 – 75

	Pace	Eff	eFG	FT/FG	OREB%	TOr
MIA	84.0	89.3	47.9%	6.8	27.0	20.2
NYK		85.7	39.3%	17.3	26.7	21.4

In a word, this game was ugly. It was a slow, low possession game, but not substantially slower than the 97 – 93 win over the Timberwolves (87 possessions). What made it unbearable was the offensive ineptitude of both teams (and the general ineptitude of the Knicks down the stretch).

The Heat actually did not perform all that much worse than their seaosn averages, as they were 28th in offensive efficiency coming into the game (95.9 points per 100 possessions). One might want to credit the Knicks for at least keeping the Heat off the line and getting their turnovers high. But Miami had been dead last in the league in FTM/FGA coming into the game, and their turnovers seemed to result from sloppiness as much as any defensive pressure by the Knicks.

Still, the fact that Miami did not blow the doors off their previous offensive performances has to be regarded as a small victory for the defensively inept Knicks. Prior to this game, New York’s best defensive performance of the season was holding the rebuilding Timberwolves to 106.9 points per 100 possessions, and their average yield of 114.5 pp100 was second to last in the league. It would be a small miracle for New York to hold another team below 90 pp100 for the rest of the season.

But the story of this game for the Knicks is the sputtering offense. After a very strong showing in the season’s first 3 games had them among the league leaders in offensive efficiency (114.4 pp100), the offense has looked awful in the past two losses to Orlando and Miami. Much of the blame goes to the struggling backcourt. Against Orlando, Marbury, Crawford, and Robinson combined for 10-31 shooting with 13 TOs; tonight, the starting backcourt combined with Mardy Collins to produce 11-33 shooting with 7 TOs (which is worse than it might seem, given the game’s slow pace). The outlook for recovery in the backcourt is not terribly encouraging as Marbury is declining with age, Robinson is hampered with a hamstring injury, and Crawford is as streaky as ever. Losing Richardson to a hyperextended shooting elbow is just the cherry on top.

Worst of all, the Achilles’ Heel of last season’s offense– turnovers– seems to be back in force this season after what seemed like a promising start for the ballhandling. In the last three games, New York has coughed up 19, 19.6, and 21.4 TOs per 100 possessions. Granted that this team is going to be poor defensively, it must compensate with a strong offense to be competitive. But it is very hard to have a strong offense when you’re giving away one fifth of your possessions.

4 factor stats were acquired using the ESPN4Factors script by Cherokee of the ABPRmetrics board. Firefox users can use this script (after installing the Greasemonkey extension) to see 4 factor stats automatically displayed in all NBA boxscores on

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28 thoughts to “Tonight’s 4 Factors (11/11/07)”

  1. Tom, the link at the top of this post is dead.

    What happened to Curry’s hands? He’s been paying a season-long tribute to Jared Jeffries by fumbling away passes he used to catch easily. And his already terrible rebounding has gotten worse as balls hit him in the hands and drop away. For all of his faults, stone hands was never one of them. He’s going to have to start looking the ball into his hands or else his regression will continue.

  2. As for the piece, excellent stuff, Tom. This was a very dispiriting loss, and I was feeling the same way – beyond “Man, this loss sucked” I was thinking “If Q and Nate are hurt – this is probably exactly what we WILL see next game – and that will be awful.”

  3. Jake– actually Curry’s turnover rate has been fantastic so far this season (12.4 TO/100poss, vs 17.7 each of the past two seasons). But that figure will rise a bit after tonight’s performance. An interesting question is whether having Zach on the court helps Curry keep his TOs down, though it’s far too early to be able to answer that question.

  4. Is it too early to look forward to Draft 2009?
    Derrick Rose would look fantastic in orange and blue.

  5. “Is it too early to look forward to Draft 2009?
    Derrick Rose would look fantastic in orange and blue.”

    if you mean 2008, I’m right there with you.

  6. I don’t know if this is the right place, but regarding your stats page: has Portland been kicked out of the league? Right now it looks like there are only 29 teams in the league.

  7. Curry, hands of stone:
    This is more of a question due to my lack of knowledge, but if he never has possession, it’s not counted as a turnover, right?
    I don’t think it’s just turnovers that show his lousy hands, it’s the opportunities he loses because he never actually get possession in the first place. When there are loose ball situations he is often in the mix to get the ball, but rarely walks away with it, often fumbling it and losing it. And has anyone ever noticed that he rebounds from his hips? His arms are never up when he’s around the basket. Maybe it just stood out last night from his obvious fear of Shaq. He’s scared of any decent center. You can see his body language on the court. “Baby Shaq” wants to climb back in the womb.

  8. I said 2009 just in case Rose decides to return to college.

    OJ Mayo is Marbury Jr.
    Derrick Rose is Anti-Marbury.

    Guess which one we need?

  9. He was charged with a turnover on that final play. Crawford probably deserved it just as much, but….

    Curry is exceptionally bad at the business of gaining and maintaining possession. There are few centers in the history of the NBA, perhaps none, who have performed as poorly as him on the net of turnovers, rebounds, and steals.

    Curry has been performing quite efficiently on the offensive end so far, and his turnovers have been well below what he did last year, but his ft shooting and rebounding have been very bad.

  10. Interesting take in Newsday on David Lee:

    It’s obvious why David Lee doesn’t start. He couldn’t stop Haslem from scoring, or keep him off the glass, and unless he’s catching the ball under the basket or putting back an offensive rebound, he provides zero offense.
    More importantly, I bet that if you measured Lee’s vertical leap, it would be an inch shorter than last season. Don’t know if he’s feeling lingering effects from the stress reaction in his leg or if he’s letting up on the explosion pedal a bit – even subconsciously – because he’s afraid to get hurt.

  11. Bah…

    Lee didn’t have a stellar game, but he was pretty solid. What was his +/- for the game? Jon said after three quarters it was + 15.

    Haslem really benefitted from Lee having to come off him on defense. A couple times Lee doubled Shaq, and a few times he left him to stop penetration. Also, Haslem is a pretty good player. Very underrated.

    Watched the Knicks in 60 recap of the end. Jamal Crawford missed a wide open transition layup also, wide wide open. That turned out to be a pretty big hoop.

    I sort of agree though that Lee doesn’t look like his old self.

  12. I taped the game this morning (10am) because there are 2 things that stuck in my mind about what happened last night. One of them was the Lee/Haslem beginning. More on that after I re-watch the game.

  13. TMART posted the full David Lee mention from that article.

    But Berger is off-base. I’m going to stop posting DL’s numbers every day, since you can see ’em on the stats page – but he’s easily been better than Randolph. I won’t pay for my league pass until they run the discount in February, so I haven’t seen him this year except in the highlights – but several people have mentioned that he doesn’t have quite the same spring in his step. I’ll buy that – but it’s not hurting his on-court production any. DL goes 6-15 and he’s a goat; Randolph goes 6-18 the other night and he’s a hero. Sheesh.

    For all that Haslem played well (and it’s not embarassing – he’s a pretty good player) – the Knicks were almost 10 points better with Lee on the court. Par for the course, this year. I’m not knocking Zach; of course it hurts to have him out – a lot of his minutes will end up going to Curry and Malik Rose. And I think he’ll play better than he has. But the main reason we looked decent the first 3-4 games was that we cut down on turnovers, and got more efficient guard play than we’re used to.

  14. “I won?t pay for my league pass until they run the discount in February”

    is this really worth it? it’s $160 from the start of the season, 4 monthly payments of $40. what’s the discount price?

  15. Why is Rose our fourth big man (third last night). Balkman can guard forwards and centers just as good and is a much better rebounder and is more active on offense. Balkman needs more minutes so I would think that putting him in instead of Rose would be better.

    Also I think Curry has made some pretty big strides. His turnovers are way down and last night he had four but two of them were not his fault at all. The offensive foul in the second quarter was a joke and that turnover at the end was Crawford’s fault. His passsing has also looked alot better, which I think contributes to less turnovers. His defense has looked pretty solid this year as well, not great but I think so far he has been good enough. His free throws have been bad but he shot 5-6 last night, 6-7 if you count the one that Lee lane violated on. So I believe they will get better and he has the skill to be better than 70% as shown by his last season in Chicago. His rebounding is not great but he had a couple of nice ones last game and with Lee, Balkman, Randolph and Q all sharing the frontcourt with him he has alot great rebounders on the court with him at all times.

    As for Lee, he was still good last game but he was not the great player we are used to. He missed a couple of layups and took four midrange shots that he missed. It was not a great game for him and I think people are harder on him because his consistancy is usually so rock solid. Also he seems to have a tendancy to drift away from his man on defense which I have noticed all season.

    I do not know what is happening to Crawford, he is still attacking the basket but he is not getting close to the same looks as he did the first three games. I think he is bad at attacking teams with great interior defense like Miami and Orlando. Hopefully we will see the Crawford we saw in first couple of games in Pheonix.

    I liked seeing Collins out there he is a great defender, though not nearly the help defender of Balkman his on ball defense is really really good. If he wants to stay on the court he has to improve his free throw shooting though. He is a guard there is no excuse for him to shoot less than 70% from the free throw line. (His two free throws were not even close)

    I hope Robinson gets better soon we need his scoring off the bench because last year he was our most consistant scoring guard and we need to be able to count on him coming off the bench when Crawford and Marbury struggle.

    Those are my comments, ugly game that we had no excuse losing. We really laid an egg down the stretch and if we want to compete at all we need to wins games like this especially at home.

  16. “is this really worth it? it?s $160 from the start of the season, 4 monthly payments of $40. what?s the discount price?”

    Not a huge difference, but last year they offered the last 3 months, plus playoffs, for $99. Hey, I’m cheap.

  17. Until they get a new coach and some new players it’s not even worth talking about the 4 factors. The entire team and the coach is a factor.

  18. I think we can all agree that Zeke needs to be fired. Anybody else is blind, and a pretty big homer. Let’s face it, we would need the hands from everybody on this forum to count the times the team looked completely unprepared to play against a team with a bad record, key injuries, or both. And I’m very concerned that after the Orlando loss Zeke did not even mention defense as a point of concern. He stated the main reason we lost was because of impatient offense. When clearly, defense was the main problem during that game. I would not be surprised if the Knicks return from this road trip 2-7, where Zeke can expect fans like me to be calling for his head.

  19. Caleb — “I?m going to stop posting DL?s numbers every day, since you can see ?em on the stats page – but he?s easily been better than Randolph. I won?t pay for my league pass until they run the discount in February, so I haven?t seen him this year except in the highlights”

    If you haven’t seen any games how can you say he’s been better than Randolph? I think anyone who actually saw the games would tell you that Randolph has been a pleasant surprise. The guy just attracts rebounds like a magnet on both the offensive and defensive boards and scores well around the hoop. The only thing I’ve really been disappointed in with Zach is his FT shooting– the guy shot 82% from the line last year and is a career 77% shooter.

    The reason that David Lee gets the goat tag for a 6-15 is because so much of his value is based on the fact he takes very very high percentage shots off someone else’s offense, ie. a dish from Crawford, or on put-backs. If he can’t shoot 55-60% then he is pretty useless on the offensive end.

    I for one have been very disappointed in Lee’s play this year. His numbers are down, and I think it is likely it is because Randolph is taking many of his rebounds (possibly similar to how Curry’s rebounding #s may be down because he plays next to superlative rebounders like Lee last year and Randolph this year). It’s no surprise that his best rebounding game came in the game that Randolph didn’t play.

    In addition, he seems to be having a lot more trouble finishing around the hoop. I don’t remember him getting blocked nearly as much last year as he is this year. This may be because of his injury but I think it is difficult to give someone a pass because of a year-old injury when so many other players who have chronic injuries (ie. Marbury) get killed on this board even when they are playing through injuries all the time.

    That being said, Marbury may be having the worst defensive year of his career. Watching Jameer Nelson blow by him again and again with his strong hand nearly made me throw up in my mouth. And his predilection for wandering away from his man (who usually is a good 3 point shooter) to softly kinda maybe double team someone else has probably cost the Knicks 20 points already this season. Injuries can explain why he is not the same explosive offensive player he was, but cannot explain laziness, mental lapses, and not taking away someone’s strong hand (and ONLY hand when it comes to Jameer Nelson) when he keeps going by you on that side.

    And last thing — did Mardy Collins work on his jumper at all over the offseason? Those were some serious bricks he put up on sunday.

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