Knicks Vs. Clippers – 1-17-14 – Game Recap

Written by William Lee
New York played their fourth game in five nights, and started an eight game home stand against the Los Angeles Clippers Friday night, there was no rest for the weary. The Knicks returned to the Garden, after being completely outclassed by the league best Indiana Pacer Thursday night. Before the game even began there was bad news, it was announced that Amare Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin would both be sidelined for two weeks with sprained ankle injuries. The Clippers are a surprising 5-1 since star point guard Chris Paul went down with a shoulder injury, and came off an improbable victory over the Dallas Mavericks Wednesday night, winning the game despite being down 17 points with 4: 35 remaining in the game.
The game can be summarized by three Los Angeles Clippers run, where they were able to keep the Knicks from scoring a single field goal close to five minutes in all occasions. The first occurred at the end of the second quarter, when starting point guard Raymond Felton sat down because of foul trouble with 5:18 remaining in the first half. Mike Woodson decided to not play Beno Udrih, a veteran point guard, and went with combo guards. Toure’ Murry did not look comfortable running the offense Friday night, passing the ball too low to Tyson Chandler on consecutive possessions. New York matched their turnovers per game (12.6) by the first half alone with 13 turnovers. Although during the five minute spam of no field goal, the Knicks were still able to score, getting to the line with some generous calls from the referees. New York would not be as fortunate with the referee’s whistle, when this again occurred again in the beginning of the third quarter and towards the end as well. Scoring only on a few free throws during this spam, New York only made four field goals in the third quarter, being held down to 18.2% shooting for the period. The Clippers ended the third quarter on a 15-4 run to take a 76-67 lead.
The game was actually tied up at the half 50-50, with both teams shooting a low percentage. The Clippers were able to generate points by pushing the ball up the court, scoring 23 fast break points in the first half alone. This kept the Clippers in the game despite shooting only 32.6% in the first half. Blake Griffin brought the ball up and went coast to coast a few times after collecting the defensive rebound. Griffin would barely be met with any resistance going to the rim, highlighted by an end to end score where Griffin made a behind back crossover and dunked over Jeremy Tyler. New York jogged back on defense seemly every possession, only once in the first half was Griffin ever fouled hard. O how I miss the good old days of 90s Knicks basketball, where hard fouls was a norm, and no layups were allowed. Too many times be it Griffin or another Clipper sprinted straight to the rim and was met with little to no resistance. Griffin had 15 points in the first half, finishing the game with 32 points 7 rebounds and 3 steals.
Any hope of a New York comeback was completely destroyed when Los Angeles hit three consecutive threes in a row in the fourth quarter. You felt momentum shift when Blake Griffin knocked the first three, who is a career 23.6% three point shooter. Jamal Crawford exploded for 14 points in the fourth quarter to help close the door on New York, creating an inside outside game for the Clippers. Crawford finished the game with 29 points, as the Clippers won easily 109-95.
With the double digit deficit early in the fourth quarter, it is questionable why Mike Woodson did not hack either DeAndre Jordan or Blake Griffin on purpose, and send them to the line every possession. We have seen throughout the years, all the top coaches implement this strategy, including the current Clipper coach, Doc Rivers do it during his Boston Celtics rein. Jordan is a career 42.1% FT, and Griffin is a career 62.8%, which makes it very appetizing to send either to the free throw line. This was a missed opportunity for New York to gain extra possessions, instead they watched the Clippers rain down five threes in the fourth quarter.
Some positives to look forward to, is that New York will face mostly teams with losing records during their home stand. Jeremy Tyler looked serviceable during his 14 minutes of play Friday night, and probably will see more time with how decimated Knicks frontcourt is. Another positive from the injuries is, it is encouraging to see Carmelo Anthony help rebound. Grabbing 20 rebounds, which was two off tying his career high. This was especially encouraging because Anthony had a terrible shooting night, missing 19 shots, it got so bad, that on a made three, he was signaling thank god that a shot fall down. New York will need divine intervention to even keep afloat and remain respectable for the rest of the season, that is for sure.
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Knicks @ Bobcats – 1-14-14 – Game Recap

Written by William Lee 
Carmelo Anthony last comment in a post-game interview with MSG Tina Cervasio “We got another game tomorrow, Shit”  after an overtime victory over Phoenix Monday night pretty much foreshadowed   Tuesday night’s game. After narrowly escaping a gritty game with the Suns, the Knicks just looked tired on the second game of a back to back, flying to Charlotte right after Monday’s game, getting in at 3 A.M. New York was content with launching long range jumpers, and was just going through the motions for most of the game.
 Charlotte went on a 19-5 run to end the first half, holding a 55-46 lead at intermission.  Al Jefferson dominated New York with his post game, setting the tone early with 11 first quarter points. Jefferson made his presence felt throughout the game, finishing with the game with 35 points and 8 rebounds, helping the Bobcats snap the Knicks’ five game winning streak.
New York got as close as a four point deficit, going on a 12-7 bridging from the end of the third quarter to the beginning of the fourth quarter. All the points were scored by either Carmelo Anthony or Amare Stoudemire during the run. It was interesting to see that Carmelo Anthony had to play 38:25 minutes, continuing to shoulder the scoring load, as well as waste his energy bringing up the ball. Continue reading

2013/14 Knicks Roster Power Rankings – Week 12

Four games and four wins this week making it the best week since I started this rankings.  Unlike most weeks, I might even be able to avoid making myself furious by the end of this weeks rankings:
       
Rank Player Comments Last weeks Rank
1 Anthony, Carmelo Melo started the week off on fire.  His last two games he hasn’t shot particularly well but it’s probably harder to shoot when there is no consistent 2nd scoring option and opponents can double you on every possession.  Melo has also been rebounding and even assisting at a decent clip.  This weeks clear #1. 3
2 Shumpert, Iman While Shumpert didn’t shoot well this week, he seems to have found his groove defensively again, putting up the best +/- on the team with a total +46 in 4 games.  He’s also averaged about 8 rebounds per game which is a nice bonus. 1
3 Martin, Kenyon It won’t show up as much in the box scores but Kenyon has been huge for the Knicks.  He’s had more than a few timely putbacks and has been an underrated passes as well. 6
4 Bargnani, Andrea it’s feast for famine with Bargnani.  He looked so good against Detroit and Miami and so bad against Philly.  At least it looks like Woodson has learned to play Bargs more when he’s hot and much less when he’s not.  Kinda like what should have been done with JR for the last 2 seasons. 7
5 Stoudemire, Amar’e While Amare had a poor outing in Detroit, he was huge in the Miami and Philly games.  He looks like he’s getting his confidence back and even got to show off some of those new post moves we’ve been hearing about.  Amare has already played more games than last season.  I’m not sure if anyone really truely expects him to stay healthy through the rest of the season and the playoffs but if he can it’ll give the bench a much needed scoring punch. Continue reading

Knicks vs Suns – 1-13-14 – Game Recap

Written by William Lee
Monday night’s match up featured two teams headed in opposite direction since the New Year. Phoenix came into New York with a two game losing streak, with their budding young star Eric Bledsoe sidelined after getting surgery last week to remove a piece of his meniscus. Bledsoe is expected to miss 4-6 weeks, which just might kill their playoffs hope with how ultra-competitive the Western Conference is. New York on the other hand are on a four game winning streak, and are only half a game behind the eighth seed in the disaster that is the Eastern Conference, even with the pathetic start this season.
               New York broke open the game on a 15-0 run, holding Phoenix to almost five minutes without a score. The highlight of the run was when Carmelo Anthony blocked a Gerald Green layup and sprinted down the court, knocking down a 30 foot three pointer in stride to give the Knicks a double digit lead. Anthony also had a four point play during the run, scoring 13 points and grabbing five rebounds in the first quarter. Goran Dragic also could not be stopped on the other end, scoring 12 points in the first quarter, but had little help from his teammates, resulting in a 28-21 Knicks edge after the first quarter. Phoenix attempts the most threes per game, launching 26.4 per game from beyond the arc, and are second in threes made per game, making 9.8. In the first quarter the Suns were very content with launching threes, attempting nine in the first quarter, but they had a cold start to the night, making only three, and shooting 31.8% for the quarter.
             The Knicks would start the second quarter on an 8-1 run to take the largest lead of the game, leading by fourteen points with 8:44 remaining in the first half by a score of 36-22. Goran Dragic continued his strong play in the second quarter, finishing the first half with a total of 20 points 4 reb and 4 assist. Dragic knocked down a buzzer beating three to end the first half to trim New York’s lead to single digits 52-43. Continue reading

Some Positivity After the Heat Game

Written by William Lee

Normally I would write recaps on games for New York Knicks Podcast, but for the Heat at Knicks game January 09, 2014 I would like to try something different. I want to point out some positives that came out of the victory over the two time defending Champions Miami Heat. Some positives that if it continues to hold, may offer Knicks fans a slim hope, if and when New York sees them in the playoffs this spring. Now I want to just preface that I am not a coach, or anyone that played for his school’s team, just someone that is a basketball fanatic that watches way WAY too much basketball… Also I am admittedly going to be a homer, so maybe I am seeing everything from orange and blue goggle glasses. With all that said, here are some positives I take from Thursday night’s game, and situations that have to occur if you have any chance of beating the Heat once, let alone four times in a series.

Stretch Four  – One of Miami’s strength is their ability to overload the strong side on defense, yet have quick enough players to recover on the weak side. It helps when you have Lebron James and Dwyane Wade when using this defensive philosophy. Though we have seen stretch fours, give the Heat troubles, when the four is able to shoot the ball well from deep along with a good shooting backcourt. The most notable example of this was when the Dallas Mavericks won the NBA Championship in 2011, with arguably the best stretch four, Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki. The Knicks seemly always have a stretch four on the court at all times, be it Carmelo Anthony or Andrea Bargnani. Bargnani had a great shooting night Thursday night, and highlighted this theory when he was able to knock down open shots, or attacked the rim when the defense was stretched too far. Of course Carmelo Anthony is going to be Carmelo Anthony, and we saw what he can do when he was put in the stretch four position last season (2012-2013). Side note, this was the biggest disappointment of last season when New York was eliminated and New York fans could not have seen what would have played out if the 2012-2013 Knicks team played against the Heat, and see what they could have done. Continue reading

JR Smith Trade Scenarios

The Knicks are looking into trading JR Smith.  Considering he’s played like crap for pretty much the entire season, had an offseason knee surgery, got suspended for repeated drug violations as well as fined for repeated unsportsmanlike conduct (shoelacegate parts 1 and 2) the market for JR is at an all time low.  Remember, when the market for JR was at an all time high after he got the 6th man of the year award the Knicks were still the only team to make an offer.  That being said I’m going to attempt to propose a few trade scenarios that would kinda sorta make sense for the other team (obviously any trade getting rid of JR makes sense for the Knicks).

Scenario #1

Milwaukee Bucks get:
JR Smith
Cole Aldrich

New York Knicks get:
Gary Neal
Carlos Delfino

Why the Bucks do it:  The Bucks really want to get rid of Neal and Delfino hasn’t been healthy in 4 years.  The Bucks save about 1M a year after this year and in theory replace Neals 3 point shooting.

Why the Knicks do it:  They get rid of JR Smith

Scenario #2 Continue reading

Knicks vs Pistons – 1-7-14 – Game Recap

Written by William Lee

The New York Knicks welcomed the struggling Detroit Pistons to Madison Square Garden Tuesday night. Raymond Felton returned to the starting lineup after a six game absence from a strained groin injury. Kenyon Martin was also inserted into the starting lineup replacing the injured Tyson Chandler. Detroit was missing Rodney Stuckey due to a sore shoulder, which is very fortunate for New York because he was a key reason why Detroit was able to pull out a victory in November when these two teams met early in the season with 21 points and 5 assist in the previous game.

This game would start off ugly, with both teams shooting a dismal from the field in the first half. Both teams struggled, shooting sub .400 in a tied ball game 41-41. The Pistons dominated inside with 30 points in the paint. This is not an aberration since the Detroit Pistons are ranked second in the league in most field goals made within five feet, and within 5-9 feet as well. This is not surprising with the large frontline of Greg Monroe, Josh Smith and Andre Drummond. This combination scored 71% of the Pistons’ total offense in the first half. At the half Drummond had 11 points and 8 rebounds, Monroe also helped carry the offense with 12 points. Josh Smith only had 6 points but dominated the glass with 11 rebounds and got his teammates involved with 4 assist. Continue reading