Knicks vs Celtics – 1-28-14 – Game Recap

Written by William Lee

After finally earning a win in matinée games Sunday against the Los Angeles Lakers, New York looked to avenge a 114-73 matinée loss to the Boston Celtics from early December. With the Knicks down 0-2 in the season series so far, New York jumped out to an early lead, and never looked back, winning 114-88.

Reverse layup, slam dunk, Iman Shumpert got to the rim early, New York got into the paint easily, getting layups, dunks, just about whatever they wanted. Tyson Chandler put back, Pablo Prigioni reverse layup, Chandler alley opp, these are all the scores of the first few possessions that began the game. You get the picture, the Celtics could not defend the Knicks, and when they finally stopped the bleeding from the inside, New York would drop a three on them for good measure. New York finished the first quarter with 14 points in the paint, along with four threes to help double up on Boston 31-15 when it was all said and done in the period.

The closest the Celtics ever got back into the game, was within fourteen points, when they went on an 11-0 mid-way through the second quarter. With the score 45-31, Tim Hardaway Jr. would knock down two timely threes, and Boston never threatened again. Hardaway Jr would finish the game with 16 points off the bench. The bench contributed greatly to Tuesday night’s victory with 63 bench points. Reigning Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith contributed 17 points and 5 assist off the bench as well. Jeremy Tyler recorded 17 points as well, a majority of the time during garbage minutes, when the game was already out of hand, but nonetheless, a positive. Continue reading

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Knicks vs Lakers – 1-26-14 – Game Recap

Written by William Lee
What would Carmelo Anthony do for an encore, after his historic 62 points performance in Madison Square Garden Friday night?
Carmelo Anthony followed it up with 35 points, in a 110-103 New York victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. This was the first matinée day game victory for New York all season long, as the Knicks were 0-5 prior to Sunday’s victory.
Anthony immediately scored on the Knicks’ first possession, scoring seven points in three minutes, enticing Knicks’ fans to hope for another epic performance. Though he would be relatively slowed compared to Friday night, by scoring only ten points in the first quarter. Anthony looked to be forcing the issue for another great game at the end of the first quarter, missing an ill-advised three on the fast break. Then turning the ball over while trying to drive to the rim leading to break away windmill dunk by Wesley Johnson, and then he just dribbled out the clock trying to make a move to the rim not aware that the clock was about to expire.
It was a tightly contested game throughout, with neither team being able to take a double digit lead. With the Knicks up 99-97 in a little less than five minutes remaining in the game, Anthony went to work, going on a personal 6-1 run to give New York a 105-98 lead with 2:33 left in the game. Anthony scored on a couple of layups and a jump shot, he got to the rim with ease Sunday, getting by any defenders the Lakers threw at him. Raymond Felton would knock down a jumper to increase the lead to 107-99 with 1:31 left in the game. Felton played extremely well, also getting into the paint with ease, connecting on a few floaters in the lane, scoring 20 points and collecting five assists on Sunday’s matinée game.
Pau Gasol had 20 points 13 rebounds and 4 assists, and Los Angeles went to him late in crunch time. Gasol would score with 1:23 remaining to keep the Lakers in the game 107-101. Lakers would get the stop they needed, and they would try to get the ball to Gasol again, the Knicks wisely doubled teamed him immediately, forcing Gasol to kick the ball out to Kendall Marshall, who missed a three that could have made it a one possession game. With 44.7 seconds left in the game, the Lakers looked to make a defensive stop instead of fouling to stop the clock, watching J.R. Smith dribble it out, but Nick Young foolishly fouled Smith on his initial move to the rim, effectively ending the game for the Lakers. Smith was also a key contributor to the win with 16 points 6 rebounds and 4 assists.
Carmelo Anthony had plenty of help in Sunday’s matinée victory, with four other Knicks’ in double digit scoring, on top of his 35 point encore performance. As great as the victory was, and a momentum builder, it should be noted that the Lakers give up the second most points to opponents in the league at 106.1, so it was definitely a game the Knicks should have won, if they are to make the playoffs. Something interesting to note going forward, is that Mike Woodson elected to go with Cole Aldrich as the first big to come off the bench, even though Jeremy Tyler showed potential in the previous games. Another coaching tactical issue is the fact that Jodie Meeks was allowed to go 6/8 from beyond the arc. Meeks is a three point specialist, with half of his field goal attempts being threes, New York should have ran him off the three point line, and force him to put the ball on the floor.

Knicks Vs. Bobcats – 1-25-14 – Game Recap

Written by William Lee

January 24, 2014 Carmelo Anthony set a career high and franchise record with 62 points in Madison Square Garden.

In a post-game interview with MSG’s Tina Cervasio, it was revealed that Anthony and the Knicks as a whole were inspired in the locker room before the game by a motivational video about greatness by a Mohammad Ali speech. Anthony said “My energy level went up, my focus level went times ten” after watching the video. It showed early, as Anthony drove to the lane throwing down a thunderous one handed dunk to score his 18th point of the game in the first quarter alone. This tied for most points scored in a quarter by any player so far this season. He would set a record this season for most points scored in a quarter on a step back jump shot to give him 20 points to end the first quarter, and also gave New York a 30-21 advantage at the end of the period.

Carmelo Anthony continued his rampage on the Charlotte Bobcats in the second quarter, scoring 17 points for a total of 37 points in the first half. The 37 first half points would mark the most point scored by a player in the NBA this season in any half played. Even with Anthony almost matching the total point output Charlotte was putting up, the Bobcats for most of the first half was always within striking distance, always within single digits deficit for the most part. It wasn’t until Continue reading

Knicks Vs. 76’ers – 1-22-14 – Game Recap

Written by William Lee

Both the New York Knicks and the Philadelphia 76ers are bottom dwellers in the standings, and both looked to snap a losing streak Wednesday night. The Sixers quickly got a double digit lead in the first quarter, going on a 13-0 run to lead by a score of 19-9 with 6:43 left in the quarter. Philadelphia came into the game with the second worst three point shooting percentage in the league at 31.5%, and it looked like it was part of the game plan for New York to leave them open. One problem with that strategy, the Sixers were not hesitant to take the open opportunities, and they made the best of it, knocking down five threes in the first quarter. This helped give the Sixers a 33-26 lead after the first quarter.
Andrea Bargnani kept the Knicks in the game, getting by his defender and straight to the rim a few times. Carmelo Anthony was held without a field goal in the first quarter, and went to the locker room briefly, cutting his finger on a block attempt at the rim. Anthony exploded for 13 points in the second quarter to get New York within 61-56 at the half. New York did not show any second effort on possessions, particularly in the second quarter. The Knicks would play good enough defense to make the Sixers miss, but was outhustled by Philadelphia on second and third effort plays. The Sixers had seven offensive rebounds alone in the second quarter, and ten for the first half, which led to ten second chance points.
Andrea Bargnani continued his aggressive play, and helped ignite a comeback late in the third quarter into the fourth. Bargnani made a very aggressive move, driving into the paint, attempting to throw down a dunk on two Sixers! He got fouled in mid-air, and had a rough fall, he would get back up and hit both of his free throws to cut into the Sixers’ lead, 79-76. The Knicks would then go on a 10-0 run to start the fourth quarter to take a 90-84 lead with 9:27 left in the game. Evan Turner would stop New York’s momentum, as he did all game long, scoring five straight points to get Philadelphia within a point with 6:47 remaining in the game. Evan Turner made his presence felt throughout the game, scoring career high 34 points, while also grabbing 11 rebounds.
New York would continually leave Philadelphia open from beyond the arc, and it cost the Knicks big time in the fourth. The Sixers would hit back to back threes to take a 96-92 lead with 5:11 left in the game. Shortly after, another Sixer would be left wide open again, Thaddeus Young would deliver a dagger three with 1:47 left in the game. Young had 19 points 7 rebounds and 4 steals for the game. The final score of 110-106 made the game look a lot closer than it really was, and that was because Carmelo Anthony hit two meaningless threes to finish the game. Anthony finished the game with 28 points 4 rebounds 7 assist and 2 steals in a losing effort.
Looking at the box score and seeing everyone’s individual stats you might think the Knicks played a decent game, but Philadelphia play at the fastest pace (Pace factor is an estimate of the number of possessions per 48 minutes by a team)so all the stats are inflated. One statistic that is telling is the fact that the Sixers only turned the ball over 14 times for the game. Philadelphia came into the game being the highest turnover team in the league with 17.5 turnovers per game. This shows that the Knicks were not harassing the Sixers enough on defense. Another category that is hustle statistic is rebounds, and New York was utterly dominated Wednesday night. The Sixers held a 54-39 rebounding advantage, with 17 of those coming on the offensive glass, this allowed for 19 second chance points.
Mike Woodson continue to rely on Raymond Felton, putting him in when the game was on the line. When Felton replaced Prigioni the Knicks were up by two with 7:15 left in the game, Felton would go on to get a layup blocked, and miss a crucial three. Felton had a +/- of -9 for the game, Pablo Prigioni had a +5 in the short amount of playing time he was given. Prigioni actually looks like a point guard when he is out there, he is running pick and rolls, and is willing to wave off Carmelo Anthony, when he is demanding for the ball. Simply put the offense looks to run smoother when Prigioni is the one commanding the floor, there is ball movement whenever he is in the game. New York will look to right the ship with Charlotte coming into town Friday night, but they will be no slouch, as the Bobcats has already handed the Knicks two defeats.

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.

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

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