Knicks @ Suns – 3-29-14 – Game Recap

Written by William Lee

Friday night’s matchup featured two teams fighting desperately for their playoff lives with the Phoenix Suns clinging on for dear life onto their eighth spot, holding only a half a game advantage on the Dallas Mavericks. As for the Knicks, as poorly as they have played, the Atlanta Hawks have played that much worse, and are in a complete downward spiral losing five straight games, as New York climbed a game and a half back of the eighth seed.

Goran Dragic exploded out the opening gate, going 7-for-8 from the field, with three of them coming from beyond the arc, finishing the first quarter with 18 points. Phoenix as a team had six threes in the opening quarter, which should come as no surprise since the Suns are third in three-point field goals made with 9.4 made per game, and top five in the league in three-point field goal percentage with 37.6%. J.R. Smith kept New York in the game early in the first quarter, scoring back to back threes, after tying a franchise record the previous game with nine three-pointers made against the Sacramento Kings. Smith scored ten points in the first quarter, but cooled off significantly the rest of the game, going 2-for-7 the rest of the way. Continue reading

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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

Episode 174: Finding the Problem

Jay and Marc feel that lately even when the Knicks win it’s ugly and not a formula for success in the playoffs.  They try and figure out if the problem is coming from the coaching or from certain players.  There is a lot of criticizing this episode but almost none of it is about Amare.  Jay comes up with a few trade proposals that Marc finds very unrealistic.  Download Episode 174

Episode 158: Wheeling and Deeling with the Fantasy Nomad

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Michael Pichan from the Fantasy Nomad Show & 2 Guys & a Friggin Football joins us today to help Jay and Marc make a blockbuster fantasy basketball trade and talk fantasy hoops.  Jay and Marc also recap the last two Knicks games against the Wizards and Suns, debate if the Knicks should cut somone to sign Kenyan Martin and notice a trend between late night tweets and Just Ridiculous’s performances.  Download Episode 158

Game Recap: The 12-4 Edition

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The Knicks beat the Suns to maintain their Atlantic Division lead.  About 6 minutes into the game the Knicks had built a big lead and seemed to get bored and decided to make things interesting.  They let the Suns come back, then went up by 20, then let them come back again and so on.  At the end a win is a win but it would have been nice to go up by 20 and then stay up by 20.

  • Speaking of going up by 20; this was the 8th time in 16 games the Knicks have had a 20 point lead.
  • Rasheed Wallace got a technical for yelling “Ball Don’t Lie” which resulted in his ejection.
  • JR Smith had another terrible game.  He was also on twitter at 2 and 4am.  I’m noticing a trend here.
  • Copeland had a career high in every category.  If Camby and Thomas can’t stay on the court it looks like the Knicks have another option.
  • Dragic is 13th in the league in assists per game.  Imagine how many he’d average if he didn’t have to pass to Morris and Beasley.
  • The Knicks had 7 turnovers all game and only one in the 2nd half.  They also forced 17.  Lines like that are going to win a lot of ball games.
  • I thought Stern was about to fine the Suns for resting their players until I realized that’s their actual team.
  • Felton has been on a tear since the New Jersey Nets of Brooklyn game.  Portland fans have to be getting pissed.

Trade Grades

Every other week Jay does an NBA column on POPBLERD.  Khendra does the alternating weeks, she’s a good read too.  The following is my reaction to all the trades, which I wrote for popblerd.com this week.  I added Marc and my grades for each transaction.

The NBA trade deadline seems to have been much busier this year than in seasons past.

Here to break down the deals, steals and head-scratchers is our man Jay, whose Podcast (I hyperlinked it) is one you should definitely be listening to.
The Celtics sent Marquis Daniels to the Kings for a 2017 2nd-round pick.
• Injured all the time anyway, clears up a roster spot and clears up some space for Boston. Low risk for the Kings. Who knows, he might even be healthy enough to play a game before the season ends.
Grades:
Jay – Boston (C) Kings (C)
Marc – Boston (C) Kings (C)

The Rockets sent Shane Battier and Ish Smith to Memphis for Hasheem Thabeet and a first-round pick. – Love it for Memphis, they get a solid player in Battier and get rid of their biggest mistake since Big Country Reeves. Memphis looks like they are going to make the playoffs so the Rockets are getting a low 1st round pick and a guy who stinks. Don’t get this one from Houstons side at all.
Grades:
Jay – Houston (F) Memphis (B+)
Marc – Houston (F) Memphis (A)

The Rockets sent Aaron Brooks to Phoenix for Goran Dragic and another pick.
• Aaron Brooks was having his issues in Houston and has been injured a lot this season. Dragic took a huge step back this season. Maybe a change of scenery will do well for both of them.
Grades:
Jay – Houston (C-) Phoenix (B+)
Marc – Houston (D) Phoenix (A-)

The Cavaliers acquired center Semih Erden and forward Luke Harangody from Boston in exchange for a 2013 second-round draft pick, according to a league source.
• A steal for the Cavs as they get a decent young big man for almost nothing. The Knicks couldn’t have swung this deal?
Grades:
Jay – Boston (F) Cleveland (A+)
Marc – Boston (F) Cleveland (A+)

The Charlotte Bobcats traded forward Gerald Wallace to the Portland Trail Blazers for a package that includes two first-round picks center Joel Przybilla and reserve forward Dante Cunningham.
• I like Pryzbilla but he’s not as good as Wallace. Every move Jordan has made has been to save money and this isn’t any different. Enjoy your mid to late first round picks you cheap bastard.
Grades:
Jay – Charlotte (D-) Portland (A)
Marc – Charlotte (C-) Portland (A)

The Bobcats also sent backup center Nazr Mohammed to Oklahoma City for reserve forward D.J. White and the expiring contract of guard Morris Peterson.
• See cheap bastard comment above.
Grades:
Jay – Charlotte (F) OKC (B+)
Marc – Charlotte (F) OKC (B+)

The Boston Celtics agreed to ship center Kendrick Perkins and guard Nate Robinson to the Oklahoma City Thunder for forward Jeff Green and big man Nenad Krstic.
• This and the Deron Williams trades seemed to come out of nowhere. The Celtics, who have the 2nd best record in the NBA this season ended up trading ¼ of their lineup at the trade deadline. The Celtics seem to be trading offense for defense. With Delonte West back, Nate Robinson isn’t as necessary, so now Jeff Green can give Paul Pierce a rest while not losing much scoring-wise. Krstic is serviceable, but If the O’Neals are healthy come playoff time they’ll probably get the majority of the minutes. While Perk is a better defender it’ll be nice to have a center that can shoot. I like this trade a lot for the Thunder. I felt they were a big defensive man away from really making some noise in the west and that’s exactly what they got. They’ve been criticized for their defense this season and just gave their lineup a big upgrade in that department. Green, while very good, wasn’t getting many minutes behind Durant and he’ll probably want more money when his contract is up, so the Nate pickup works for them as well.
Grades:
Jay – Boston (C) Thunder (A+)
Marc – Boston (C-) Thunder (A)

The Atlanta Hawks acquired guard Kirk Hinrich and forward Hilton Armstrong from Washington for guard Mike Bibby, rookie guard Jordan Crawford, swingman Maurice Evans and a first-round pick in this year’s draft.
• I feel Hinrich is a slight upgrade over Bibby. Slight. It’s a good gamble for Atlanta, but they’re still not going to do anything in the playoffs. Washington is starting Wall anyway so they get a pick in the 20’s and hope to get lucky.
Grades:
Jay– Atlanta (C) Washington (B)
Marc– Atlanta (B-) Washington (B+)

The Los Angeles Clippers traded point guard Baron Davis and their 2011 first-round draft pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Mo Williams and Jamario Moon.
• Davis gets what he deserved. He signed a huge contract and didn’t try until Blake started playing. Now he’s on the worst team in the league. Karma. Williams might not be as good as Davis when he’s trying but you know Williams will try every game and not show up fat. Cavs get a top 10 pick and the Clips get an OK bench player.
Grades:
Jay – Cleveland (D+) LAC (B+)
Marc – Cleveland (B-) LAC (A-)

The Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Hornets finalized a deal that will send forward Carl Landry to New Orleans in exchange for guard Marcus Thornton and cash considerations.
• Good deal for both teams. Thornton wasn’t playing enough in NO and Sacramento had too many forwards. They should both fit better with their new teams.
Grades:
Jay– Sacramento (B) Now Orleans (B-)
Marc– Sacramento (C+) Now Orleans (B)

The New Jersey Nets have acquired Deron Williams from the Utah Jazz. The Nets will send Derrick Favors, Devin Harris, two first-round draft picks and cash considerations to Utah for the All-Star point guard.
• This deal seemed to come out of nowhere. IF Williams signs an extension than Jersey just made NY look like idiots for giving up half their roster when NJ might have gotten the better player. If he doesn’t sign then Jersey gave away a lot for a 1 ½ year rental.
Grades:
Jay – New Jersey (C) Utah (B+)
Marc – New Jersey (B+) Utah (B+)

The Nets will send the expiring contract of forward Troy Murphy and a second-round pick in 2012 to the Golden State Warriors for center Dan Gadzuric and power forward Brandan Wright.
• Both teams traded forwards that should have gotten playing time but didn’t. Murphy might get bought out, we’ll see. 2nd round pick for Gadzuric is pretty even, both will have about zero impact.
Grades:
Jay – New Jersey (B-) Golden State (C)
Marc – New Jersey (C+) Golden State (D)

James Johnson was traded from the Bulls to the Toronto Raptors for a 2nd round pick.
• Small trade, but Johnson started for the Raptors and helped lead them to victory over his former team in his 1st game.
Grades:
Jay – Toronto (B) Chicago (C)
Marc – Toronto (A) Chicago (C)

The Knicks Acquire Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Renaldo Balkman and Anthony Carter from Denver and Corey Brewer from Minnesota. The Nuggets Acquire Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Timofey Mozgov the 2014 1st round pick and the Warriors 2nd round picks in 2012 and 2013 from the Knicks and Kosta Koufos from Minnesota. The Wolves acquire Eddy Curry and Anthony Randolph from the Knicks.

• I’m so torn on this trade. As a Knicks fan I’ve talked myself into and out of this trade 100 times already. I definitely felt the Knicks gave up too much. Billups for Felton is pretty much a wash because neither was probably going to be around in 2012. Mozgov wasn’t going to be the answer and the Knicks weren’t going to be able to resign Chandler if they waited to the offseason to sign Anthony. So now it’s down to Gallinari for Anthony. No brainer right? Well the Knicks now don’t have enough cap space for a 3rd star and also don’t have any centers other than Turiaf who gets injured if he plays more than 20 minutes. The bench is thinner too, Brewer, Anthony Carter, and Shelden Williams won’t play. Balkman will probably get 10 minutes a game. I’d be more OK with this trade if I didn’t see Kendrick Perkins, Semih Erden, Nazr Mohammad, Nenad Krstic and Joel Przybilla all get traded. Since they were all available for cheap can you really tell me getting Aaron Brooks, Gerald Wallace and Semih Erden wouldn’t have made the Knicks a better team than they are now? Denver made out great on this deal. They get 2 starters, a backup point (unless Felton moves into the starting position) and a big man project. Not to mention the additional cap space and draft picks. They are arguably better now than they were before the trade. The Wolves didn’t give up much and get to see what Randolph can do for the final 30 games of the season and free up cap space with Eddy Currys expiring.
Grades:
Jay – Knicks (C) Denver (A) Minnesota (B)
Marc – Knicks (B-) Denver (A)