About Taylor Armosino

Taylor Armosino is a Business major at the University of Arizona. He loves the Knicks, Raiders and A's, but mostly the Knicks. He also writes at KnicksNow.com, Saving the Skyhook, and Charged.fm. Email him taylorarmosino@yahoo.com. Follow him @tarmosino

Posts by Taylor Armosino:

Game Preview 11/28: Knicks @ Bucks

        Two nights after the Knicks lost the first Battle of the Borough’s to the Nets they are back in action on the road against the Milwaukee Bucks. The Knicks are in need of a win and have dropped three of the last four games since jumping out to a 6-0 start. After losing their third straight road contest to the Nets at the Barclays, the Knicks travel to Milwaukee. Jason Kidd will miss his second straight game and did not travel with the team to Milwaukee because of back spasms. They face a Bucks team that sits atop the Central Division in the Eastern Conference at 7-5 and can really score the ball, something teams have been doing with ease against the Knicks the past several games.  The Knicks did hold the Nets to 96 points in an overtime game on Monday night, but gave up 100+ points the three games prior. A bright spot that came out of the Nets game was the reemergence of Tyson Chandler, who poured in 28 points and grabbed ten rebounds, demonstrating some of the energy and intensity we become used to seeing with him.

The two teams enter the game under different circumstances. The Knicks have lost 3 of 4, while the Bucks are fresh off a 27-point comeback victory over the Bulls on Monday night. The Bucks are second in the league in field-goal percentage, and are led by their two star guards Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis. Ellis leads the Bucks in scoring with 19.1 per, and Jennings is second to him averaging 16.5 per but leads the NBA in steals at a little over three a game. Those two are the engine that makes the Bucks go, and the Knicks perimeter defense will be crucial tonight to avoid the Milwaukee guards from peculating (Clyde voice).  Here are a few keys/notes/things to look for:

Bench Scoring: The Bucks come into the game second in the league in bench scoring, getting 42 points from their reserves this season. On the flip side, the Knicks are only allowing 32 points per game from the opposition’s bench.  In Milwaukee’s comeback victory over the Bulls the other night, their bench outscored the Bulls 56-10, clearly turning out to be the difference in the contest. The Knicks will have their hands full with the two starting guards of the Bucks, so it will be crucial for them to win the battle of the second units tonight. J.R Smith could never get going offensively the other night against the Nets, and the Knicks offense struggled because of it. Chandler and Anthony scored a combined 63 points against the Nets and the Knicks scored 89 as a team; they need J.R. to add some scoring off the bench.

Play of Raymond Felton: We all know how poor Felton shot the ball the other night. He was 3 of 17 from the field and couldn’t find his jumper all night. He also seemed to be a little hesitant on some pick and rolls with Chandler, caught in between whether he wanted to drop in an eight-foot floater or throw Chandler a lob. He and Tyson connected on a few real pretty pick and rolls that led to easy Chandler dunks, but overall Felton played easily his worst game as a Knick. With Kidd out for the second straight game, the play of Felton will again be under a microscope, and they will without a doubt need a better shooting performance from him. I’d also like to see him and Tyson run that high pick and roll more often, and Felton improving on the decision-making. His defense will also be put to the test against the two electrifying guards, especially since Kidd will miss his second straight game and Ronnie Brewer ailing with a dislocated finger.

3-Point Shooting: The Knicks come into tonight averaging just fewer than 12 threes per game to lead the NBA. It has been a major part of their offense so far this season. They were able to knock down only six against the Nets on Monday night, and it is no coincidence they lost the game. Novak looked like he regained his stroke in the game prior against the Pistons, but barely showed up against the Nets as he attempted only three shots. Steve Novak is a key part of this offense when he is able to spread the floor, but he is obsolete on both ends of the floor when he isn’t hitting the three ball. I look for him to hit some big three’s tonight to help the second unit along with J.R. For the Bucks, they shoot under 30% as a team from behind the arc, so the Knicks will need to keep them around that number tonight.

The Bucks are also a pretty good rebounding team with Samuel Dalambert and Ersan Ilyasova who both attack the offensive glass. While the Knicks outrebounded the Nets in the fourth quarter on Monday night, they were outrebounded for the first three quarters, and got abused on the glass by Reggie Evans who grabbed 14 boards in 17 minutes. Rebounding continues to be an issue for the Knicks, so I would like to see Kurt Thomas and Marcus Camby show up and help on the rebounds.

Follow Brian on Twitter @bcoles1029

Notes From the Knicks 96-89 Loss to Brooklyn

EVERYBODY STAY CALM. It is just one basketball game, contrary to Jay-Z’s asinine tweet of “The city is under new management.” Troll so hard Mr. Z, troll so hard. Anyways, the Knicks and Nets played a hard fought game Monday night. Reggie Evans willed Brooklyn to a two point halftime deficit. New York’s offense really fell apart in the second half and overtime. The Knicks scored just 20 third quarter points, 17 fourth quarter points and mustered a mighty 5 point performance in the overtime period. New York held an 84-81 lead with 1:38 to play in regulation, but a series of Knick miscues allowed Brooklyn to push the game to overtime. In extra time, the Knicks offense was unable to do anything and they were outscored 12-5. Deron Williams, despite his shooting struggles, played a masterful game. His 16 points and 14 assists led Brooklyn to victory. Tyson Chandler broke out of his early season doldrums with a 28 point 10 rebound performance. Carmelo Anthony also had a great game, scoring 35 points on 25 shots and grabbing 13 rebounds, but ran out of gas along with the Knick offense.

Here are my notes from the game: More

Key Matchup Tonight 11/26: Chandler vs. Lopez

Well it’s time to redeem myself in this post. The last time I wrote about the matchup between Raymond Felton and Jeremy Lin and how Felton was going to outplay the former Knick point guard. Turns out I was wrong, completely wrong, as the Knicks didn’t even bother showing up in a 131-103 route to the Rockets. So here is another attempt at writing about a matchup, this one about the big men down low (pause..) for both the Knicks and Nets, Tyson Chandler and Brook Lopez.

One of the major storylines for the Nets this season has been the play of Lopez. He leads them in scoring with 19 points per game and shooting 55% from the field, and has shown a more aggressive side to his game that has been lacking in his young career. Brook can be a dynamic center because of his ability to step out and hit the long jumper, making Chandler’s defense tonight that much more important.

Chandler won the DPOY award last year in deserving fashion, but so far this season hasn’t been the defensive force Knick fans have become accustomed to seeing. He has been nagged by illness and some injuries early on, and the Knicks need him to get back to being the anchor of that defense going forward. Early on, defense was the Knicks catalyst, but lately it has been their Achilles heel. They gave up 65 second-half points to the Mavericks last Wednesday, 131 points to the Rockets on Friday, and then despite winning yesterday, allowed the lowly Pistons to drop 100 at the Garden. The Knicks need to get back to playing the defense that allowed them to jump out to an undefeated start, especially against a Nets team that can really score.

One of the keys to tonight’s game will be the pick and roll defense of the Knicks. As Taylor pointed out in the game preview, the Knicks have allowed 1.08 points per possession to roll men, and the Nets run both Humphries and Lopez off pick and rolls. In order for the Knicks to be successful tonight, Chandler, Sheed and Camby will all have to do a good job of chasing Williams out of the paint and getting back to defend the big men. Easier said than done obviously as the Nets have some formidable scorers down low, but that is why Chandler needs to play a key role tonight.

It should be a great game tonight, and despite whatever hatred you may have for the other team, it’s good to have two relevant basketball teams in New York…But who am I kidding, I dislike the Nets very much, and hope the Knicks beat them down tonight.

Follow Brian on Twitter @bcoles1029

Knicks-Nets: What to Watch For

The 9-3 New York Knicks face off tonight against the newly minted 8-4 Brooklyn Nets. This matchup brings us the first Knicks-Nets matchup since the Nets uprooted from Chris Christie-territory and made the magnificent Barclays Center their new home arena. What makes this matchup fun is that both teams are good. This isn’t Knicks-Nets of the recent past, where New York has won 6 of the last 7 meetings between the teams. Brooklyn poses a formidable opponent for the Knicks and actually match up quite well with them. Taking into consideration that the Knicks are floundering as of late and that the Nets are 6-1 at home, we should have a good game on our hands.

Brooklyn and New York are pretty evenly matched across the board. New York boasts the NBA’s most efficient offense with a 111.5 offensive rating, while Brooklyn rates 6th at 104.4. Defensively, the Knicks and Nets are incredibly similar as they rate 17th and 19th respectively in defensive rating. Both teams play at incredibly slow paces and rank 28th (Knicks) and 29th (Nets) in that category.

Here is what to watch for: More

Knicks Face Off Against Linsanity, Reminder of Solid Off-Season Moves

      

   The Knicks will wrap up a mini three-game west coast trip tonight when they take on the Rockets in Houston. The Rockets have the league’s top scorer in James Harden who is averaging 24.5 points per game through the early part of the season (just fractions ahead of Carmelo Anthony), but the bigger and more obvious storyline coming into tonight’s matchup is Jeremy Lin’s first game against the team that helped put him on the map last season.

                The biggest decision the Knicks had to make last season was whether or not they were going to retain Lin, who burst onto the scene last year when he averaged 24.4 points to lead the Knicks on a seven-game win streak. You can attribute Lin’s success last season to whatever you want (there was no film on the guy, they played a weak schedule, there was no Carmelo Anthony, etc.), but you cannot deny that he played extremely well and helped Mike D’Antoni keep his job for the time being.  The Knicks decided (wisely) to not match the lucrative offer Lin received from the Rockets, and instead brought in three new point guards to help anchor the backcourt.

Coming into the season Raymond Felton declared he was the better point guard than Jeremy Lin, and so far has done just about everything to prove that. He is averaging 15.7 points per game to go along with 6.9 assists, compared to Lin’s 10 ppg and 6.3 assists. Felton is also shooting 10% better from the field. Felton without a doubt came into this season with a chip on his shoulder having to answer to all the Jeremy Lin fanatics who thought the Knicks made the wrong decision in letting him go. The Knicks also brought in Kidd and Prigioni to help anchor the backcourt, providing them with guard depth that they did not have last year. Kidd currently ranks 17th in the league in PER at 22.62, and Prigioni has been a formidable floor general with the second unit.

The defense at the guard position is also much improved with the new additions. Lin was a turnstile last year and has been exposed early on this year with his on the ball defense. While I think Lin can be a solid point guard in this league, he’d be the first one to tell you he has some things he needs to improve on. I think Felton still has that chip on his shoulder, and will come out tonight with a lot of intensity and attack Lin. He is quicker and stronger than Lin, and I’d like to see him utilize the pick and roll, something that gave Lin fits defensively last season with the Knicks. I look for Felton to have a very nice game tonight as the Knicks look to avoid consecutive losses for the first time this season.

 
Follow Brian on Twitter @bcoles1029

Game Preview 11/18: Pacers @ Knicks

 

The Knicks will host the Danny Granger-less Indiana Pacers at the Garden on Sunday afternoon, their second Sunday afternoon game already this season (hopefully JR isn’t partying to hard tonight. Wait that was last year, right?). Anyway, I’m glad the Knicks play an afternoon game tomorrow. The Giants are on a bye and therefore I can give the Knicks my undivided attention instead of being subjected to watching the Jets play the Rams. The Knicks are coming off their first loss of the season to a much more physical Grizzlies team on Friday night, dropping them to 6-1. They were going up against the league’s leading rebounder in Zach Randolph, but the most alarming part of the loss was getting beat up on the glass for the seventh time this season. For all the things the Knicks have done very well this year, rebounding is certainly not one of them and something they need to address going forward.

After getting the loss out of the way, the Knicks will look to bounce back against a 4-6 Pacers team that they without a doubt should beat. They are one of the worst offensive teams in the league as they average only 89.3 points per game, and have the second worst offense efficiency rating of 92.2 (not very good). They also turn the ball over a lot, possessing a turnover rate of 15.65, the fourth highest in the league. They are coming off of a 103-83 blowout win against the Mavericks where they were able to find some offense. However, if the Knicks can continue their outstanding defense on the lowly Pacer offense, they should be able to take care of business on their home court. Here are a few key matchups to watch in this game:

David West vs. Carmelo Anthony: If the Knicks continue to go with their small lineup with Carmelo playing the four (which they probably will and should), they are going to need to help Anthony on the block against West. West is the Pacers leading scorer and rebounder, and can be a real menace on the offensive glass. Anthony needs to make sure he boxes out West and limits the Pacer’s second chance opportunities.

Can Rasheed Wallace continue his solid play?: Through the first seven games of the season you can’t be any happier with what you have seen from Sheed. He is averaging 7 and 3 to go along with a block per game. With Tyson Chandler being banged up and sick plus Amare’s injury/Camby working his way back, the Knicks needed someone to defend and play in the post. Wallace has done a great job of that (it’s hard for me to believe even as I type it) and will be needed down low as the Pacers have two very formidable bigs in David West and Roy Hibbert.

Starting Lineups

New York                                                                    Indiana

PG-Raymond Felton                                          PG-George Hill

SG-Jason Kidd                                                     SG-Lance Stephenson

SF-Ronnie Brewer                                              SF-Paul George

PF-Carmelo Anthony                                         PF-David West

C-Tyson Chandler                                               C-Roy Hibbert

Prediction: Knicks 105, Pacers 91

Follow Brian on Twitter @bcoles1029

Game Preview 11/16: Knicks @ Grizzlies

After one of the most valiant comeback wins I’ve ever seen, if not, the most valiant comeback I’ve ever seen (there are a lot more valiant comebacks I’ve seen), and essentially mutilating my caps lock button on my keyboard, the Knicks snagged another win last night, this time from the Spurs, to keep their undefeated record put at 6-0.  Tonight, the Knicks are in Memphis to face the roughhousing 6-1 Grizzlies, who are in first place in the Southwest Division. The Grizzlies have won 6 games in a row, two of them being consecutive wins over last year’s NBA Finals recipients, the  Thunder and the Heat. Four of the six games the Grizzlies have won in a row were determined by 10+ point margins. Here is some stuff to watch for:

Matchups:  One of the most intriguing matchups to look for tonight is gonna be Carmelo Anthony up against the walking double-double aka Zach Randolph. Randolph has notched a double-double in all 7 games the Grizzlies have played this season. Melo, who is coming off of a horrid shooting night, will be probably getting battered and bruised under the boards, but Melo will hopefully, and I think he will, mesmerize Randolph with his shooting abilities tonight creating space on his isos because it’s very unlikely that Randolph knows how to play defense when it’s not paint defense. Melo should take some precautionary measures, though, if he’s gonna attack the rim because the Grizzlies are the definition of hard in the paint (no Waka Flocka Flame reference intended). Tony Allen is probably gonna be scrambling all over the floor due to the Knicks having an abundant of shooters, but Allen will probably be defending a very efficient JR Smith for the majority of his minutes. JR should brace himself, primarily on the perimeter because Allen’s lockdown perimeter defensive prowess is, well, you know, unstoppable, giving no one little to no breathing room for shot creation. Ronnie Brewer is going up against premier scorer Rudy Gay. Brewer has Tony Allen’s perimeter defensive characteristics, and that will probably be a huge factor in determining Gay’s scoring from beyond the arc. Tyson Chandler going up against Marc Gasol will be a defensive marquee matchup. Raymond Felton will be going up against point guard sleeper, Mike Conley. As long as Felton attacks the rim aggressively like he has been all season, then Felton will have a great night.

CRASH THE BOARDS, Although, That Might Be Difficult: The Knicks have been playing outstanding defense so far this season, but despite the great defense, the Knicks are last in the league in rebounds per game and the second worst in rebounds allowed per game. As it says in the bullet title, it may be very difficult to grab rebounds against a team that has a league leading rebounder in Zach Randolph and a superb rebounder in Marc Gasol. Carmelo Anthony is the Knicks leading rebounder with an 8.2 RPG average, which makes me a little worried, but hopefully Tyson Chandler rejuvenates tonight under the glass.

Bench: Hopefully Steve Novak can bounce back from his previous ghastly shooting night. Marcus Camby and Kurt Thomas should be getting some significant minutes because the starters were definitely flushed from last night. Containing Wayne Ellington and Jerryd Bayless on the perimeter is imperative. Bayless’  has shot.556 from three so far this season, while Ellington has shot .458 from three. Get cracking on the perimeter, second unit. And I forgot, I HAVE THE NEED FOR SHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED.

Lastly, on a side note, if Hamed Haddadi gets any kind of minutes, preferably garbage time minutes, I will go bonkers.

NOTES FROM THE KNICKS 104-100 VICTORY OVER THE SPURS!!!!!

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSCdq1s5ekI]

SO MUCH CAPS LOCK!!!!!!! FELTON! KIDD! MELO PASSING THE BALL! THERE ARE SO MANY THINGS TO TALK ABOUT.

*TAKES DEEP BREATH*

*TAKES ANOTHER DEEP BREATH*

Okay caps lock disengaged, but still !!!!!!! That was a fantastic comeback victory for the Knicks. Down 12 with 7:13 to go in the game, things looked bleak for the Knickerbockers. But Jason Kidd rose from the dead (sorry) and splashed two threes in a row to get New York right back in the game. Ray Felton was attacking like crazy off the pick and roll and had by far his best game of the season. Felton came through in crunch time with 4 points and 2 assists in the final five minutes. The Knicks defense went into lockdown mode, the Knicks offense woke up and a Tyson Chandler smash dagger dunk put the game out of reach. When it was all said and done, the Knicks emerged with the 104-100 win.

Here are my notes from the game:

More

Game Preview 11/15: Knicks @ Spurs

The Knickerbockers are in San Antonio tonight to take on the 7-1 Spurs. The Knicks are coming off a 99-89 victory over the Magic on Tuesday night, and carry their undefeated record into the heart of Texas. The Spurs are coming off a 84-82 win against the pre-Dantoni era Lakers, and have won three straight overall. The Spurs are one of the few teams around the league playing just as well as the Knicks. I still don’t understand how this game isn’t one of the two on TNT tonight, but I guess it is okay, I’d rather listen to Breen/Frazier than Marv/Reggie. Anyway, tonight’s contest is the first major measuring stick for the Knicks this season as they take on the Spurs. Yes they did beat down the Heat on opening night at the Garden, but the great teams are the ones who can get a win on the road against a top opponent. The Knicks haven’t won at San Antonio in their last eight tries, and the Spurs have won 22 of the last 24 games at home dating back to last season (those losses came in the Western Conference Finals to the Thunder). So the Knicks have their work cut out for them tonight, and need to continue to do the things that have them sitting at 5-0 in the early season.

Continue to win the turnover battle:  The Knicks are currently tops in the league as far as turnovers go, committing just under 11 per game, significantly improved from a season ago. On the flip side they are forcing the most turnovers in the league at 17.58 per game according to HoopsData.com. Making sure you don’t waste any possessions is obviously important, no more so when you play against a veteran team like the Spurs. The Knicks are going to need to continue to take care of the basketball tonight to give them the best opportunity.

Attack the glass: So far this season it’s hard to look at the Knicks and pick out a flaw, but if you were going to talk about one it has been their rebounding. The Knicks are actually 2nd to last in the league in rebounding differential, and have allowed the 7th most offensive rebounds per game. They are the best defensive team in the league as of now, but cleaning up the defensive glass is just as important as forcing a bad shot is. I would like to see a little more Marcus Camby tonight.

Keep Tony Parker out of the paint: The Spurs are at their best when Tony Parker is getting into the paint and breaking down the defense. He is one of the best point guards in the league at creating havoc with his penetration and using his tear drop to get easy buckets. He averaged 32 ppg against the Knicks last season, and if Felton/Kidd/Prigioni do not keep him out of the paint he could be in for another big game.

Prediction: Knicks 98, Spurs 93

Recap: Knicks 99, Magic 89

Well it wasn’t pretty by any means, but a win is a win. The Knicks used a fourth-quarter surge to pull away from the young and rag tag Magic group on Tuesday night in Orlando to win 99-89. It is another double digit win for the Knickerbockers who improve to 5-0, still the NBA’s lone unbeaten team. This game had the feeling of a trap game from the beginning as the Knicks hadn’t played in four days following the fast start to the season.  The Magic came out with a ton of energy on both ends of the floor and gave the Knicks all they could handle for 3 ½ quarters. The Magic, who came into the game averaging a league-worst 87 points per game, were able to drop 53 first half points on the Knicks (the best defensive team in the league thus far). The Knicks defense clamped down in the second half however, and was the catalyst in the fourth quarter as the Magic squeaked out only 13 points in the game’s final quarter. Carmelo Anthony led the way for the Knicks with 25 points and 8 rebounds, and J.R. Smith was a huge spark of the bench with 21 points, hitting a lot of big buckets to take the Knicks out of some funks to go along with a couple of steals. J.J Redick led the Magic in scoring with 18. The Knicks now sit at 5-0 and have an off-day tomorrow before they head out west for a tough back-to-back against the Spurs and Grizzlies. Here are a few notes I took away from tonight’s game: More