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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him @tarmosino
Instead of doing normal recaps of the games, I’m going to do something different. Due to the length in-between games, I’m going to have ample time to review each game and I’ll write about things I did/didn’t like about each game.
The Knicks took out Boston 85-78 in game 1 at Madison Square Garden. It was a defensive grinder and in the end the Knicks ball security and offensive rebounding were the difference. New York finished a +6 in offensive rebounds (scoring 12 second chance points) and won the turnover battle 20 to 13. In what finished as a 7 point game, those 13 extra possessions ended up playing a huge role in the Knicks victory.
Let’s start with the Knicks defense, which was subpar in the first half. For whatever reason, they were super lazy with their rotations, allowing Boston to shoot a bunch of open corner threes. The Celtics were unable to capitalize because they can’t shoot, but the Knicks still have to clean this up.
Avery Bradley, running point for Boston by default, was a thorn in the side of both the Knicks and the Celtics. I’ll explain. Exposing a bad habit that’s been a problem all year for New York, Bradley took advantage of ball watching, bad double teams, and lazy/non-existent help defense to score on a series of cuts in the first half.
If you notice Carmelo Anthony on those plays, his help defense was pretty pitiful. Though Bradley shouldn’t have those kind of open looks to the lane, a simple close off rotation from Anthony into the lane would have negated some of those baskets. His effort was much better in the second half, as was the team’s. Bradley’s cuts weren’t an issue for New York after halftime. Regardless, look for Boston to try and manufacture some baskets throughout the series with cutters. I would. More
It feels right that the Knicks will have to go through the Celtics on the road back to NBA prominence. Though the Knicks won 54 games, this season means absolutely nothing if they flame out in the first round of the playoffs. The Celtics may not be the the same dominant force we’ve seen been in recent memory, but they are certainly not a team to take likely. We’ve seen unlikely playoff runs before from Doc Rivers’ group in the past, and with the third ranked defensive in basketball another deep run is certainly possible. With all the chaos and tragedy that struck the state of Massachusetts over the last week, you know the Celtics are going to come out fired up and ready to play. All that being said, the Knicks are the much better team and should win this series handily.
Mike Woodson has been a very pleasant surprise this season – re-inventing his previously ball-sticky isolation oriented offense into a spread pick and roll attack that finished third in the NBA in offensive efficiency thus inserting himself into the conversation for coach of the year. Carmelo Anthony had the best season of his career after a wildly disappointing 2011 campaign. JR Smith is going to win Sixth Man of the Year, having transformed himself from an inconsistent long range gunner to an efficient multi-faceted scorer over the last two months of the season. This was the best Knicks season I’ve seen in my basketball watching lifetime, and it’s not close. It’s time for them to take the next step. More
Dan and I recorded the inaugural Meloship of the Ring podcast. We set out with the goal of talking basketball, which we did relatively well. We discussed the Knicks new signings, as well as the upcoming Knicks-Celtics playoff series.
*Note* We know Dan’s sound was a bit quiet and muffled. It won’t be next time.
Tonight, join us on Spreecast as James talks Knicks with the great Art Rondeau. Here is the link to that:
All-NBA Team discussions are always fun this time of year so I thought I’d chip in and put mine up here with a little bit of justification for each. Let me know if you agree/disagree with my selections.
G – Chris Paul
G – Russell Westbrook
F – LeBron James
F – Kevin Durant
C – Marc Gasol
The two spots for debate here are Westbrook’s guard spot and the center spot. More
In an effort to add players who aren’t broken and can actually play, the Knicks will sign forward James Singleton (no, not the guy we passed up for Shumpert in the draft) and release the injured Kurt Thomas. The only thing I knew about Singleton prior to writing this post is that his name was James Singleton. I’d heard of him a few times, but couldn’t recall having seen him play. I read around the inter-webs for information and here’s what I came up with:
Singleton stands 6’8 230 pounds and is a forward. He seems positionally versatile due to his size, so I could see him playing multiple positions with the Knicks. Because the Knicks have zero healthy big men, he’ll play power-forward primarily and probably some center too. Basketball-reference had him listed as a power-forward for the Wizards last year. In 12 games with Washington last season, Singleton played well. His TS% was .60 and he recorded a PER of 19.6. Small sample size definitely applies, but I like this guy. I took to Synergy to watch some film on him and I like what I saw. More
50 wins on the season. 12 wins in a row. This is fun.
ABC’s Sunday matinee featured a showdown of teams fighting for playoff position. The Knicks are trying to hold onto the 2 seed in the East, while the Thunder are trying to get the 1 seed in the West. It was a big game for both teams. Not surprisingly Carmelo Anthony led the way for the Knicks with 36 points and 12 rebounds. The Knicks were hapless defensively, allowing OKC to shoot 57.7% from the floor, but they took 15 more shots and hit 15 threes. Without Kenyon Martin in the fold due to injury, the bench stepped up for the Knicks, especially in the first half. Chris Copeland, Jason Kidd and Steve Novak all played well and JR hit a few huge shots down the stretch. All in all, this was a great team win for the team. It was easily the best win of the streak and probably the best win of the season. The Knicks now lead Indiana by 2.5 games in the standings. This was a fun Sunday.
All season, despite the media narrative of the Knicks being a defense oriented team, New York’s elite offense has been the catalyst for it’s success. The Knicks score 108.2 points per 100 possessions, a mark that ranks third in the NBA behind only Miami and Oklahoma City. However, the defense has been woefully average all season. New York gives up 103.1 points per 100 possessions, good for 16th in the league behind Minnesota, Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Golden State.
On Wednesday night’s Knicks-Hawks ESPN broadcast, the insufferable Jon Barry said something that spurred me to go look at the stats. He incorrectly spoke about how the Knicks defense has been the difference during the winning streak. Having watched the games, I didn’t think the Knicks were that much better defensively. They’ve had a few great performances (Utah, Boston) and a few not so great performances (Memphis, Charlotte). As I figured, and par the usual, Barry was completely wrong. More
After I spent the day warding off angry Knick fans on twitter for saying that he wasn’t a top 10 player in the league, Carmelo Anthony dropped a 50 burger on the Heat in Miami. He was truly fantastic, getting his 50 points on 18/26 shooting. I don’t care if LeBron and Wade were out, scoring 50 points on anybody is impressive. The game itself was frustrating in the first half, as the Knicks came out flat. Even if they had lost, I wouldn’t have cried panic. It’s hard for teams to come out fired up when the other team is missing it’s two best players. Like good teams do, the Knicks turned it up in the second half and took care of the depleted Heat. After hitting 7 threes in the first half, Miami was able to score just 32 points in the second half.
Is this a huge statement win for the Knicks? No. Miami didn’t have LeBron or Wade and this a game the Knicks should’ve won. That being said, they did well to actually win the game. It’s really difficult for teams at this point of the season to come out fired up against depleted teams. Obviously it was a great game for Anthony, but the Knicks did well to come out and take care of business tonight.