Knicks @ Blazers – 2-5-14 – Game Recap

Written by William Lee

Carmelo Anthony was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Month for January, leading the New York Knicks to a 10-6 record for the month, averaging 28.7 points 9 rebounds and 3.4 assists.

Sadly, we can only look back fondly on January and on his historic 62 points night at Madison Square Garden, because February has been dreadful so far. Five days into February and the Knicks have already mounted three losses, losing to the Portland Trailblazers 94-90 Wednesday night.

In the opening minutes, there was a play that was indicative of how the 2013-2014 New York Knicks season has been going so far, and what is wrong with the Knicks all season.  New York misses a shot in the lane, and while the Knicks are back paddling in transition, Nicolas Batum gets straight to the rim for a dunk because no one picks him up. When the offense isn’t clicking, the defense is just not sufficient, there an extreme lack of communication on the defensive end. The dunk gave Portland an early 10-4 advantage, during the play you can see Tyson Chandler yelling at Raymond Felton to pick up in transition, but Felton had no clue Batum was coming his way, and didn’t even have time to turn his head to react. Felton defense has been especially horrid this year, and was showcased in the Bucks’ loss a couple night’s back, when he was beaten on a backdoor cut at a pivotal closing moments of the game.

There were a lot of good things to take away from the game, especially in the first half where it was a very competitive game against a top team in the league. The Blazers only led by one, after the first half, with the score 47-46. Carmelo Anthony was a big reason why, Anthony missed his first shot, then would proceed to make his next six in the first quarter good for 14 points, including a buzzer beating mid-range pull up jumper, making it 26-23 deficit at the end of the quarter. Tyson Chandler was doing a great job of guarding LaMarcus Aldridge, forcing him to take tough shots, the only shot he made in the first half was a tough fade away bank in jump shot. Aldridge was 1/7 in the first half, and finished the game, making only five field goals. Although Aldridge struggled with Chandler’s length guarding him, and the double teams that New York sent, he did get his teammates involved, collecting five assist in the game.

Other than the first quarter, where the Blazers shot 50%, the Knicks played really good defense. Constantly lowing Portland’s field goal percentage in every quarter, Blazers shot 40% in the second quarter, 37.5% in the third quarter and then 23.5% in the fourth quarter. This is especially encouraging to see because Portland has the league’s most potent offense at 107.7 points per game. The Blazers are also number one in most threes made per game at 9.4 three-point field goals made a game. New York was able to hold Portland below their averages in both categories Wednesday night.
Unfortunately the Knicks reverted back in their ways in the third quarter. Even with the Blazers dreadful shooting, the Knicks did not complete defensive possessions with a defensive rebound. The Blazers outhustled the Knicks, getting seven offensive rebounds in the third quarter. The Knicks also could not defend without fouling, sending Portland to the line constantly. Of course this isn’t new, because New York is the fourth most-foul prone team in the league at 22.3 personal fouls per game. New York doesn’t only foul, but commit dumb fouls, fouling jump shooters. J.R Smith fouled Aldridge trying to contest his shot, and then a minute later would foul on a three-point attempt by Dorell Wright. Portland would make New York pay on their transgressions, converted on all ten free throws.

J.R Smith might have committed some low IQ fouls, but he actually did play well. Smith made aggressive moves to the basket, and then would make the right pass when the defense collapse on him because he beat his initial defender. Smith and Amare Stoudemire made a good pairing in pick-and-roll, and pick-and-pop. Four of Smith’s six assist were to Stoudemire, where he threw down a couple of dunks, and knocked down a couple of open jump shots, created by Smith’s dribble penetration to the rim.

In the fourth quarter the Blazers continued to parade to the free throw line, converting 8/13. With 1:11 left in the game, it looked like Portland would walk out of New York with a sure victory, leading by 89-81, but back to back threes by the Knicks got New York within striking distances in a few seconds. With 50 seconds remaining in the game, Portland called a timeout up only one possession 89-87. Aldridge would hit a clutch fade away jumper that would eventually end up being the game winning jumper, as the Blazers hit their free throws down the stretch to secure the victory. It is of note that Anthony laid an egg in the fourth quarter, not scoring a single point in the final period, in a highly competitive game against such a quality opponent.
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2013/14 Knicks Roster Power Rankings – Week 15

A 2-2 week.  Doesn’t seem to bad right?  Well the two wins were against some of the worst teams in the league and one of the losses was against literally the worst team in the league.  I really don’t understand this team at all right now, you never know what team will show up from night to night and unlike last year no game on the schedule is a definite win.
       
Rank Player Comments Last weeks Rank
1 Anthony, Carmelo Two weeks in a row at #1.  No one else on this team seems capable of stringing together more than 2 games of good play so this is Melos spot to lose.  His rebounding has taken a slight dip but considering how bad everyone else has been I can’t complain too much.  You have to wonder if Carmelo wants to stick around after this season considering the players around him.  Is the Knicks pitch to Melo going to be “hey this offseason we are confident we will be able to add the pieces necessary to beat the Bucks.” 1
2 Smith, J.R. Yes, the guy who spent the most weeks at the #15 spot is now in the #2 spot.  That’s what this season has come to.  He had one bad game, but looked surprisingly good in the other 3.  My theory: It’s too cold out to go to the clubs.  He’ll revert back to terrible, hungover JR around mid/late March, just in time for the playoffs. 6
3 Chandler, Tyson Never mind what said about Tyson looking like the old Tyson.  He looks like Tyson but old.  Seeing him get manhandled by Zaza Pachulia was depressing.  Still he played alright which is better than 12 other players on this team. 2
4 Prigioni, Pablo Pablo needs to be more aggressive.  He can’t go a game without a shot an another with only 1 assist.  Deficiencies aside he’s still the Knicks best point guard. 3
5 Hardaway Jr., Tim 3 great shooting nights before that stinker in Milwaukee.  Still, he has to get better on defense, THJ posted a +/- of -19 against the Heat despite being productive on offense. 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

Knicks at Clippers 11-27-13

Written by William Lee
Raymond Felton made his return to the Knicks after missing the last four games with some nerve complications in his hip. At first Felton looked out of sync with his teammates committing two quick turnovers, but quickly got back on track, finishing the game with 12 points and 7 assist. Blake Griffin got into early foul trouble, picking up his second foul before the half way mark of the first quarter. With the Clippers’ superstar forward on the bench, the Clippers united as a group to take a 29-27 first quarter lead. The Clippers had eight players score by the end of the first quarter.  Carmelo Anthony and Andrea Bargnani got off to a quick start, both finishing in double digit scoring by the end of the first quarter predicated by the Knicks better ball movement. The Knicks finished the first quarter with eight assist on eleven made field goals.
Basketball is a game of runs, and the second quarter featured three prolonged runs. The Clippers opened up the second quarter on an 11-2 run to take a 40-29 lead with 8:20 remaining in the second quarter. The Knicks then went on a 13-0 run to regain the lead 42-40, during this run the Clippers took and missed four straight threes. The Clippers then went on a 9-3 run to end the first half leading 49-45. During the two prolonged Clippers’ runs there was one common denominator; Amare Stoudemire was in the game defending the paint for the Knicks. The first Clipper run ended when Stoudemire was substituted out at 8:13, and then the Clippers went on the run to end the quarter when Stoudemire checked back into the game at 3:37 left in the first half. Whenever Stoudemire was in the game, there was a clear path to the rim, he was completely lost on defense. He finished the first quarter with a +/- of -21, as compared to the current best Knicks defender Kenyon Martin, who had a +17 at the end of the first half. Overall Stoudemire finished the game with an even worse+/- at an astonishing -29, while Martin was by far the best Knick in +/- staying at +17. Continue reading

Knicks Player Tweet of the Week

We got two today, the first one is from Raymond Felton, commenting on Jason Kidd’s coaching status:

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And the second is from none other than JR Smith.  He either means he’s not drinking alcohol or he’s trying a diet that isn’t really a diet but more of a way to become malnourished.

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Michael (@delacmi1) scours twitter all week to find our Knicks player Tweet of the Week every Monday morning.