I have to be completely honest. The Knicks were down by 12 in the 4th quarter and I wrote a whole write up about the game. I recounted what went wrong tonight and how if you are going to lose, it might as well be to the Spurs because they look damn good. I wrote about how Carmelo and JR barely showed up to the game. As I kept writing, Jason Kidd hit two straight three pointers. I eventually had to stop writing and watch the awesomeness. HOLY CRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I cannot believe the Knicks pulled this one out. The Knicks will not remain perfect but they came to play this season. This is going to be a fun season to be a Knicks fan. I don’t want to overreact but this is their best victory all season. Here are my thoughts:
- The 4th quarter is officially renamed “Hammer Time” because that is when the Knicks defense bring the hammer down.
- Hey Melo, you scored 9 points tonight which last season would have meant you barely contributed. This season’s Melo played great defense, took down 12 boards and figured out he could contribute even if he was not scoring.
- Ray Felton is officially nicknamed JW as in “Jeremy Who”. The Spurs challenged Felton to score especially on pick & rolls and Felton delivered when no one else could.
- Speaking of Jason Kidd, does it violate any league rules for him to drink from the fountain of youth?
- The Knicks as a team turned the ball over 7 times tonight. How is that even possible? Jeremy Lin used to turn the ball over 7 times in a half.
- JR Smith looked like he was off but when I looked at the box score he had 17 pts on 6-13 shooting. I guess he played better than I realized. 6th man of the year, yeah that could happen. And, I almost screamed when he hit that 3 at the end of the game…but stopped myself for fear of waking my wife and baby.
- I would have liked to see more Ronnie Brewer tonight but I assume his knee was hurting him. Hope his knee heels soon because Brewer has been way better than expected so far.
- I believe Woodson’s grave might say “In Rasheed we trust”. Never thought I would see so much Rasheed this early in the season but he played pretty well tonight for a retiree.
- Tonight was interesting because at times it seemed they were playing with “Refs call fouls mode” turned off.
- Here is the beginning of the write up I started when the Knicks were down by 12 and I assumed they would lose (kind of fun to read this now!!!) Continue reading
It has been said that we are a little too pessimistic about the Knicks and that we complain a little too much. Well here are the top 10 complaints about the Knicks 5-0 start so far:
- Their record in the NBA may be 5-0 but against the point spread they are only 3-2.
- Anyone can win their games by double digits. How about winning by triple digits?
- Kurt Thomas, Marcus Camby or Rasheed Wallace are all playing like they are old. I expected more triple doubles from these guys.
- If Melo is playing so well then why doesn’t Woodson have him play all 48 minutes every night?
- They are playing well now but how well will they do when every player on the team suffers a debilitating injury. Continue reading
The Knicks are 5-0 for the first time since 1993-94! Here are the good and bad of tonight’s game:
- Ball handling. The Knicks only had 9 turnovers the entire game. They’ve done an amazing job at not turning the ball over in all 5 games. Something I don’t think they did for 5 games all last season.
- JR Smith. Arguably his best game all season. He led the 4th quarter run that ended up being not only the Knicks 5th straight win but their 5th straight double digit win. Just Ridiculous has been the good JR all season so far.
- Carmelo Anthony. Was aggressive, drove the ball a lot and hit from everywhere on the court.
- Finishing the game. Last season the Knicks were known to fade in the 4th quarter. Today the Knicks had their best quarter in the 4th.
- Marcus Camby. He only played 4 minutes and basically just stood there. I really hope he’s just not in game shape instead of just being washed up.
- Carmelo Anthony. When he missed a shot or didn’t get a call he pouted a few times, giving the Magic a 5 on 4 power play. Watch the end of the 2nd quarter, that last Magic basket was due to his pouting.
- Defense. The intensity didn’t seem to pick up until the end of the game. If it was there all game this would have been a blowout.
It was an ugly game but a win is a win and the Knicks are still undefeated. The real test is the Thursday/Friday back to back against Memphis and San Antonio.
Four games into the season and the New York Knicks are still undefeated. I have to admit, I’ve never been this excited about a Knicks team. The last time they started this strongly (1993-94), I was seven, so it makes sense. Usually, with teams who seem like they can’t keep up a great start (sorry, but it’s true), the underlying numbers make the case. With the Knicks, however, I’m not so sure. Let’s examine some NBA metrics to try to make a conclusion about this New York team.
Player Efficiency Rating (PER
This statistic, pioneered by ESPN’s John Hollinger, has become the poster-stat for basketball metric fans everywhere. Basically, it explains how effective a certain player is while on the court, taking into account a variety of factors. Currently, New York’s own Carmelo Anthony is ranked fourth in PER, mostly due to a very high Usage Rate (simply, how often he gets the ball on offense – ‘Melo leads the league) and the fact that he plays 36 minutes a game, third most in the top ten (behind Kobe and Kevin Durant).
The worrying part of this equation is Anthony’s poor True Shooting Percentage (TS%, what a player’s percentage would be with free throws and three pointers included, then adjusted). His .546 is by far lowest in the top ten, and the only person lower than him in the top-23 is Brook Lopez (who, in my opinion, kind of sucks). This is partially attributed to his poor free throw shooting early in the year, which should improve. I think Melo’s PER should hover around fifth in the league for most of the year, strictly due to the aforementioned Usage Rate. Continue reading
Congratulations Dallas!!! Why am I congratulating Dallas? They are the first team to actually beat the spread against the Knicks (I am assuming the Knicks are now favored by 20 points every night). They are also the first team to actually put up a real fight against the Knicks. This game was close most of the way especially through the first three quarters. I was actually getting scared especially midway through the 2nd quarter when the Knicks could not hit a 3 and the Mavs pulled up by 9. The Knicks ended up pulling away in the end thanks to tough D, JR Smith and, of course, new and improved Super Melo. Here are my thoughts:
- I have to hand it to Dallas they did a wonderful job defending the Knicks uncontested free throws. The Knicks missed 12 tonight including 4 in a row by Melo and 4 in a row by Felton.
- Last season it was especially frustrating to see how hard the Knicks had to work for every basket. It has been nice to have real point guards this season. It has also been nice to watch how hard their opponents’ have had to work for each basket.
- If you told me ahead of time Knicks would miss 12 free throws, Felton would shoot 3-11 and Melo would be in foul trouble all night I would have assumed this would be a loss.
- High props to JR for stepping up when Melo went out with foul trouble and to Melo for playing hard even when in foul trouble.
- Statistically the Knicks defense was the worst when JR was on the floor last season. I haven’t checked the official statistics but I cannot imagine that trend has continued this season as JR has looked pretty darn good so far on defense.
- I loved the fact that near the end of the 4th when the Knicks needed to score Melo was extremely aggressive about taking it to the basket.
- At one point when the Knicks were up by 12 in the 4th, JR took one of his patented terribly inefficient shots – and missed. I think it was Frazier who basically said let’s excuse that stupid shot because he has played so well tonight. Continue reading
If you read some of the preseason breakdowns of the Knicks the consensus was that this team was old and slow and that the Knicks made some rather baffling off-season moves. I think most people are still baffled because this old and slow squad is now 3-0 and winning games by an average of 20 points. This is the first time in team history that they have won the first 3 game of the season by double digits. Think how much better they would be if they went even older and slower.
Things could not be going better for the Knicks but no one outside of New York is going to give them credit. Here are the top 5 excuses to be given as to why the Knicks are just getting lucky (with sarcasm):
- Miami couldn’t bare to really play after the hurricane unlike the Knicks who are energized by tragedy.
- The Knicks were lucky enough to play without Amare who promises to single handedly subtract 12 points a night.
- Of course they beat Philly because they were missing Bynum who just never suffers injuries and Jason Richardson who is just at the peak of his career.
- Melo is only playing well because he still thinks this is the Olympics.
- The Knicks players all have extra energy because they did not have to run the marathon yesterday.
Here are my thoughts on tonight: Continue reading
The Knicks are now 2-0 which is in a word, shocking. They have looked good on offense and ferocious on defense. If they keep playing with this intensity they may have a shot to play some basketball in late May or even June – not to get way ahead of ourselves. They could easily blow the next two but if you are a Knicks fan and you are not excited then check yourself for a pulse. Here are some thoughts from how the Knicks treated the 76ers like a small child today:
- There was a guy playing for the Knicks wearing #7 who was diving for lose balls, blocking shots, playing stellar defense and even dove into the stands for a lose ball. I have no idea who this player was but I hope he can give Melo some tips on how to play.
- I am going to go out on a limb and say that whenever either the Knicks hit 19 treys like Friday or JR Smith actually plays well the Knicks are going to win. And, JR with 20 points, 9 rebounds and 2 steals – did that really happen???
- The Knicks are winning by an average of 18 points a game. The Knicks are winning by an average of 18 points a game. I had to write that twice because it sounds so absurd but is true.
- How is it that the Knicks won by so much in back to back games yet I was on the edge of my seat and kept waiting for the Knicks to blow it in each game?
- Hey Philly, you better hope Bynum comes back soon or this is going to be a long season for all of your fans. I may regret saying that tomorrow night but right now I am sticking my tongue out at your mediocre squad. Continue reading
I know it was only the first of 82 games but I am freakin ecstatic that Knicks won tonight. No disrespect to the Nets – there will be plenty of time to disrespect the Nets later in the year – but beating Miami was so much cooler than beating the Nets would have been to start the season. The Knicks were not flawless tonight but they played aggressive, were tough on D and hit about a thousand three pointers. Everyone predicted tonight would be a blowout but no one thought it would be one for the Knicks and I guess that is why you play the game. Here are my thoughts on tonight:
- This is why it is nice to have actual point guards. The triple headed monster of Felton-Kidd-Prigi looked real good tonight.
- Dwayne Wade said tonight’s game should not have been played and apparently in honor of that statement Miami took the night off.
- Carmelo was awesome then not awesome and then awesome again. I feel like Carmelo is going to drive me crazy all season but I loved the fact that he had energy and actually tried on defense.
- JR Smith was not awesome. At some points it seemed like he was having a contest with Carmelo to see who could take a more ill-advised shot.
- I don’t know about you but I sure missed Amare’s lack of defense and lane clogging on offense. Continue reading
Finally, games that count! Win or lose I’m so excited to watch an actual meaningful game. Thoughts, predictions, rants, comments, etc go here.