Episode 357: An Almost Perfect Week

Marc and Jay talk about the 4 games the Knicks played this week, the rise and fall of certain players, the bench, defense, phil jackson, and much more

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New York Knicks vs Atlanta Hawks – 11/20/16 – Game Recap

New York Knicks vs Atlanta Hawks
Game 13: November 20, 2016
Knicks 104, Hawks 94

Written by Eric Weinstein – @ericcweinsteinn

A tough stretch of games started this afternoon at MSG when the Atlanta Hawks came to town to face the Knicks. The Knicks were without Joakim Noah, who had a 72 million dollar cold and was unable to play. Kyle O’Quinn slid into his spot the starting lineup, and had a solid game with 8 points and 8 rebounds. Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 31 points, and Kristaps Porzingis had a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Paul Millsap led the Hawks with 19 points.

Takeaways from this game:

The Backup Center Spot

Coming into this season, the backup center position was a real question mark for this team.  Could Kyle O’Quinn and Willy Hernangomez be good enough as the two backup centers? I thought no, but so far this season I have been proven wrong. O’Quinn fit nicely with the starting unit and showed the value of having a center that could step out and consistently hit a 15 foot jumper. His hands were like magnets in the first quarter where he had 7 of his 8 rebounds and a block. Hernangomez continues to impress off the bench with his slick passes and offensive arsenal. Both of these guys need some work on the defensive side, but both have been pleasant surprises.

Melo Mania:

Carmelo had one of those games where he reminds everyone he is still an offensive force in this league. Melo had a game high 31 points, and was scoring from every spot on the court. When he and KP both score like they did today, it makes it really tough for the opposition to keep up. Old school Melo game in this matinee affair at Madison Square Garden.

Holding Home Court:

Clyde always says how the Knicks need to make Madison Square Garden a hostile environment for teams to come and play in. That’s exactly what the boys in blue and orange have done lately, as this was the fourth straight win at the Garden. This was a tough test against an excellent Atlanta Hawks team, a team which plays tough defense and has real talent in Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver, and Dwight Howard, to name a few. The Knicks have shown they enjoy playing in front of the Garden crowd, and it’s important for them to continue to win at home.

The wins on the road will come, but winning in front of a cheering home crowd helps the team’s confidence.

The Portland Trailblazers and their talented backcourt of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum take the 2 train from Brooklyn to Penn Station to take on the Knicks this Tuesday night at 7:30.

Another tough test for New York, they’re going to need to bring the tough defense they brought against the Hawks to stop those two dynamic scorers and make it five in a row at home. 6-7.

New York Knicks at Washington Wizards – 11/17/16 – Game Recap

New York Knicks at Washington Wizards
Game 12: November 17, 2016
Wizards 119, Knicks 112

Written by Eric Weinstein – @ericcweinsteinn

#TrapGame

The Knicks traveled to Washington to take on the Wizards on the second game of a back to back, and showed a lot of fatigue. They came out sluggish in the first half, got creamed in the third quarter, made it interesting in the fourth quarter, but ultimately fell to the Wizards, 119-112. John Wall once again tantalized the Knicks, to use a Clyde-ism, with 23 points and 11 assists to lead the Wizards. Derrick Rose had his best scoring game as a Knick with 27 points, and Brandon Jennings had an excellent game off the bench with 17 points and 10 assists.

Kristaps Porzingis and Carmelo Anthony both struggled from the field after great games last night, as they shot a combined 14-33 for 35 points.

Takeaways from this game:

Point guard play:

The lone bright spot from this game was the great minutes from Derrick Rose and Brandon Jennings. Both of these guys were scoring at will in the second half, with Rose going off in the third, and Jennings in the fourth. Jennings continues to move the ball effortlessly as he eclipsed the 10 assist mark once again. Rose was getting into the paint with ease and hit a few three pointers, a shot he has struggled with so far this season. Jennings also caught fire from three in the fourth quarter when he hit three in a row from downtown to make the game at least somewhat interesting, but it was too little, too late for the Knicks. What else is new?

Lack of three point defense:

Not much to say here other than the fact that it was horrible. The Knicks let the Wizards, who are one of the worst three point shooting teams in the NBA, shoot 15-25 from three point land, good for 60% from the field. There is no way a team can expect to win when they let their opponent shoot that well from three. The Knicks weren’t fighting to get over screens, which led to countless open threes for Washington. Good to see Kurt Rambis has made some adjustments on defense! (Not).

Otto Porter Knick effect alert:

21 points, 8 rebounds. One of his best games of the season.

All the good feelings from the win against the Pistons pretty much went away by the third quarter of this game. The Knicks didn’t show any life in the first 40 minutes and it showed on the scoreboard. They always seem to make it interesting, but this was one they should’ve had easily. The Wizards are a struggling team coming off a bad loss in Philadelphia last night, so it wasn’t like they were coming in well rested either. These are the games the Knicks will look at in April if they are fighting for a playoff spot and see that it was one they had to have. A playoff team HAS to take advantage of games like this, especially with the tough games the Knicks have coming up next week. With Atlanta, Portland, and Charlotte all coming to the Garden the next three games, the Knicks are going to need to bounce back quickly to avoid falling into a deeper hole to start the season. 5-7.

New York Knicks vs Detroit Pistons – 11/16/16 – Game Recap

New York Knicks vs Detroit Pistons
Game 11: November 16, 2016
Knicks 105, Pistons 102

Written by Eric Weinstein – @ericcweinsteinn

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Kristaps Porzingis show.

The Knicks took on the Detroit Pistons tonight for the second time this season, and evened up the series at 1-1. The story of tonight’s game was Kristaps Porzingis, who led the Knicks with a career high 35 points, along with 7 rebounds and 3 assists. Carmelo Anthony had 22 points, and Derrick Rose had 15 points, with a few clutch baskets in the fourth quarter. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led the Pistons with 21 points, and missed a potential game tying three pointer at the end of regulation. Long Island native Tobias Harris finished with 19 points and 10 boards.

Takeaways from this game:

Kristaps Kristaps Kristaps:

I don’t want this to become a lovefest for Porzingis, but boy was he special tonight. Porzingis had his career high of 35 points, which is great in itself, but the array in which he scores is incredible. Whether it’s threes, post ups, fade-away jumpers, or that thunderous alley-oop, he had the garden crowd on their feet all night. He only took 22 shots to get to those 35 points, so the efficiency is there, and we are watching him become a star in front of our very eyes.

Props to KO and the bench:

His numbers won’t jump off the page, but Kyle O’Quinn had a really nice game tonight off the bench. He finished with 6 points, 5 boards, 2 assists, and 3 blocks, and this may have been the best defense we have seen him play. Besides, KO, the entire bench played great as well.

Brandon Jennings had 7 assists, Justin Holiday had 9 points and 5 assists, and even Maurice N’Dour had an extremely active 9 minutes.

Joakim Noah:

Joakim responded to the benching positively, as he came out of the gates hot. The Knicks ran pick and roll with Rose and Noah the first play of the game, and continued to use it throughout the game. 7 points and 15 boards for the 72 million dollar man in this one, and these are the type of nights that make him worth that cash.

Ball movement and offensive boards:

The Knicks outrebounded the Pistons 52-40, even with Andre Drummond on the other team. They totaled 19 offensive boards, which is the most I’ve ever seen the Knickerbockers grab in a game. Joakim Noah was a huge reason for that, his activity on the glass was a key to the Knicks jumping out to a first half lead.

Other Notes:

The way the Knicks played tonight, it just felt like there was no way they were going to lose, no matter how close Detroit came. Even though it came down to the final shot, I was never in doubt that New York would come away with the win. One thing to be worried about is the Knicks going to Washington tomorrow night to play the Wizards, and KP played a season high 40 minutes. Rose, Melo, and KP all played heavy minutes tonight, and hopefully won’t be too fatigued going into tomorrow’s game. Knicks and Wizards tomorrow night at 7. Great win tonight, 5-6.

New York Knicks vs Dallas Mavericks – 11/14/16 – Game Recap

New York Knicks vs Dallas Mavericks
Game 10: November 14, 2016
Knicks 93, Dallas 77

Written by Eric Weinstein – @ericcweinsteinn

See what happens when you play defense?

The Dallas Mavericks came to MSG to take on the Knickerbockers tonight, and the Knicks took it to them. New York defeated Dallas 93-77 backed by Carmelo Anthony’s 24 point, 7 rebound effort, as well as Kristaps Porzingis’ 24 points and 11 rebounds. Dallas was without Dirk Nowitzki and Deron Williams tonight, and Harrison Barnes paced them with 20 points.

Takeaways from this game:

An Epic Holiday:

For those that understood my Angels and Airwaves reference there, well done. The Holiday that I’m referring to is Justin Holiday, who had his best game as a Knick tonight. Holiday finished the game with 16 points, and he sparked the team with his exceptional on the ball defense. Most notably, he began the second half with the starting lineup, and we didn’t see the 72 million dollar man, Joakim Noah, for the rest of the game, which is a completely different problem.

Holiday is proving to be more than just a throw-in from the Derrick Rose trade with his active play.

Defense!

I guess the Knicks read my last recap when I blasted the team defense. The Knicks held the Mavs to just 77 points tonight, which is far and away the lowest amount they’ve given up this season. I know Dallas was missing some key players, I mean, one of the greatest players of all time was in street clothes on their bench, but to hold an NBA team under 80 points shows an excellent effort. It finally looked like the Knicks cared about playing hard on defense, which was nice to see that as a priority. Courtney Lee and Justin Holiday especially played hard and dug in on the defensive side of the ball.

KP and Melo:

When your two best players both score 20 plus, you’re in good shape. Melo, who couldn’t buy a bucket in the first half, got into a nice groove in the second half, as he scored 20 of his 24 after halftime. Porzingis was scoring a number of ways, and his crossover into a pullup jumper in the first half got me out of my seat. The dude is 7’3, and everything he does is so smooth. Love it when these two click.

Other Notes:

The Knicks have a lot of winnable games coming up this week. They play Detroit at home on Wednesday, and then they play Washington the night after. If the Knicks defend like they did tonight, and the ball moves as freely as it did in the second half, the Knicks should win both of those games. Look for Justin Holiday to be the first guard off the bench after tonight’s performance.

By the way, Maurice N’Dour should never shoot a three ever again, no matter the situation. My God that was ugly.

Episode 356: Knicks Trump Nets

Marc and Jay talk about the last 3 games, the Euro bench, rotations, trade rumors, team defense, and more

Download Episode 356

New York Knicks Vs Toronto Raptors – 11/12/16 – Game Recap

New York Knicks Vs Toronto Raptors
Game 9: November 12, 2016
Raptors 118, Knicks 107

Written by Eric Weinstein – @ericcweinsteinn

Can SOMEBODY play some defense?

On the second night of a back to back, the Knicks lost another tough game, as they dropped this one to the Toronto Raptors, 118-107. Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 31 points, but that wasn’t enough to defeat the Raptors. DeMar DeRozan, the NBA’s leading scorer, paced Toronto with 33 points.

Takeaways from this game:

This team cannot defend, which should be news to nobody:

I don’t know if I could count how many easy baskets the Raptors scored tonight. Whether it was Kyle Lowry and Norman Powell getting to the rim, or open threes for the Raptors shooters, it was they were warming up. And when the Knicks decided to try and play solid D, they ended up bailing them out with a foul, (See, “Courtney Lee“ who had a tough time guarding DeRozan in the third quarter). The Raptors took 38 free throw attempts, making 33, and shot 47 percent from the field. Watching Raptors players drive past Joakim Noah (who did have a really nice game with 18 rebounds) was so frustrating, and the fouling by basically everyone on the roster was maddening. Clyde always says, “Play defense with you feet, and not your hands.” Maybe they should’ve hired him as the defensive coach.

DeMar DeRozan is a problem:

This dude can fill it up. DeRozan had 33 points tonight, which is actually one point below his average for the season, but the way he scores is so fun to watch. DeRozan barely takes any shots from behind the arc, and is so smooth with his drives to the rim and mid-range jumpers. A true throwback, and fun to watch. It would be more fun if he didn’t play for a team in the same division, but what can you do.

KP’s Dunk:

Not a lot to say about this, only that it was so dope. Love this man.

Other notes:

The story of this game was defense. The Knicks scored 107 points, which is more than enough to win in the NBA. Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony, and Kristaps Porzingis all looked great on the offensive end of the floor, but the team defense is atrocious, and you don’t need me to tell you that. Until that improves, the Knicks are going to lose a lot of games like this. The bright spot in this game is that they really competed against a team that most people would say is better than them, and hung around the whole game. It was about as intense and entertaining as a November game could get. The Knicks get the injury riddled Dallas Mavericks on Monday night at the Garden, led by Harrison Barnes. Let’s hope they learn how to defend before that one. 3-6.

New York Knicks at Boston Celtics – 11/11/16 – Game Recap

New York Knicks at Boston Celtics
Game 8: November 11, 2016
Celtics 115, Knicks 87

Written by Eric Weinstein – @ericcweinsteinn

Yeah, that was awful.

After a solid win to get everyone feeling good about this team, the Knicks looked terrible in Boston on Friday night. They got blown out of the gym, 115-87. New York let poor officiating take them out of the game and result in multiple technical fouls, including Carmelo Anthony getting ejected from the game in the second quarter. They never found a groove after Melo’s unceremonious exit, and it was garbage time early in the fourth quarter.

Takeaways from this game:

More Willy, more fun:

There weren’t too many bright spots in this game, but a definite plus was the play of Willy Hernangomez off the bench. In his second straight game with extended minutes, Hernangomez finished with 8 points, 12 rebounds, a block, and 3 assists. His defense was iffy, but he looks more comfortable out there, and in time, will learn how to play defense in the NBA.

A new Knick killer:

Paul Pierce isn’t be a Celtic anymore, so the role of Knicks killer has been filled in by Isaiah Thomas. Thomas had 29 points on 9/17 shooting, and was perfect from the line, 8/8. This guy is amazing, and I love to watch him play against the other 28 teams in the NBA, just not tonight.

Also, the whole, “Marcus Smart plays physical” is code for, “Marcus Smart gets no fouls called on him.” I mean, he was beating the crap out of whoever he was guarding, which leads to…

Refs were trash:

I’m one of those guys who NEVER blames a game on officials because my Dad has been officiating basketball for about 8 years, but this was horrible. Tony Brothers and his crew were just awful tonight, as every call seemed to go the Celtics way. That’s not why the Knicks lost by 28, but the calls took the Knicks out of the game, literally in Carmelo’s case. Even Breen and Clyde were complaining.

Other Notes:

Courtney Lee, Derrick Rose, Kristaps Porzingis and Brandon Jennings all had off nights tonight, and when that happens it’s going to be a tough one. The Knicks need two of those four guys to have good games every night if they want to have a chance to win, especially when Melo is unavailable. Also, does Sasha need to shoot from 30 feet EVERY time he catches the ball? That’s me nitpicking, but I digress.

Knicks need to have a short memory, as they take on DeMar, “All of a sudden I’m Michael Jordan” DeRozan and the Toronto Raptors tomorrow night in Canada at 7:30. Hey, at least Carmelo will be well rested!

New York Knicks vs Brooklyn Nets – 11/9/16 – Game Recap

New York Knicks vs Brooklyn Nets
Game 7: November 9, 2016
Knicks 110, Nets 96

Written by Eric Weinstein – @ericcweinsteinn

The EuroKnicks came to play!

After all the talk of too much triangle and Kurt Rambis taking over as the defensive coach, the Knicks came and played a solid basketball game, as they defeated the Nets at the MSG, 110-96.

Takeaways from this game:

Defense:

Even though it was against the rebuilding with no draft picks Nets, this was the best game the Knicks played on the defensive side of the ball. After giving up 55 points in the first half, they tightened up the defense and gave up only 41 points in the second half. A huge improvement from the past few games. This is also the first time the Knicks hadn’t given up 100 points in the game. Baby steps, as the defense still needs to improve if they expect to compete with the better teams in the NBA.

The Bench:

Could the Knicks perhaps have (gasp), a playable bench? Well, Willy Hernangomez, Mindaugus Kuzminskas, and Brandon Jennings were excellent off the bench in the second half. Jennings had his best game as a Knick, with a season high 11 assists. The biggest positive of the game was Hernangomez though, as he definitely locked up the backup center spot for at least another game (sorry KO). 14 points on 6-7 shooting with 6 rebounds in 15 minutes? Sounds great to me. Can’t expect this every night, but the defense and ball movement was awesome to watch. The lineup with Jennings, Vujacic, Kuz, KP, and Hernangomez was a lot of fun as well.

KP on the P&R:

Finally, we get to Porzingis.

I still don’t know why it took the Knicks this long to realize that Porzingis in the pick and roll is their best offense. After too much triangle, KP started playing pick and roll with Jennings and immediately hit consecutive threes, and had an and one dunk after a sweet pass from Jennings.

Why the Knicks don’t run that every time down the court is beyond me. He finished with 21 points on 7-15 shooting, 8 boards, and 2 blocks.

Oh yeah, and Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose, and Courtney Lee had a combined 49 points.

Solid outing from those three, even though Melo only really had it going in the third quarter.

This was a solid game to build on, with a tough matchup in Boston this Friday, as they look to get back to .500 with a win there. 3-4.

Episode 355: Not the Best Week

Marc and Jay talk about the last 4 Knicks games, the bench, the defense, things we’d like to see worked on, listener questions and more

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