2013 Playoffs

J.R Smith Must Wake Up

Where’s the playoff pipe?

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Quasi-elbowing that was considered a real elbowing, a proclaimed funeral that was actually a near-death experience, clubbing excessively (not seals), Twitter ranting, and the like; J.R Smith has never been the same on the court. The inefficient Sixth Man of The Year in the playoffs as of recent has been worrisome. It’s at a point where people prefer him to be on the bench rather than on the court, so people’s eyes could be saved from the hydrochloric acid being poured into their eyes that is the ghastly shooting percentages posted ever since he came back from his quasi-Bill Cartwright elbow incident on Jason Terry. Of course, it’s J.R in a nutshell; his cool shooting performances resulted in a playoff homecoming of “Bad J.R,” and playoffs “Good J.R” is still nowhere to be found. Let’s take a look at his recent shooting percentages: More

Carmelo Anthony Must Be Better Than This

Melo needs to play better

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Seven games into the 2013 playoffs, the newly crowned NBA scoring champion is struggling mightily and his team has followed suit. Carmelo Anthony has yet to find his offensive stroke, recording a woeful 47.6 true shooting percentage. In large part due to the struggles of their cornerstone offensive weapon, the high powered Knicks offense of the regular season has found itself performing at the worst level of the remaining playoff teams. In fact, it’s not even close. The Knicks are scoring just 97.3 points per 100 possessions. Indiana comes in as the second worst offense. They’re scoring 101.5 points per 100 possessions, which is sizably better than their 2nd round counterpart.

Anthony hasn’t been the only Knick to struggle. Tyson Chandler hasn’t been fully healthy, hampering his mobility and ability to set good screens – a crucial part of the offense. JR Smith’s shooting has been marred in a playoff fog and Jason Kidd has fallen off the face of the Earth. Coach Woodson also deserves blame. His offensive play calling has been atrocious and his adjustments non-existent. By far the best offense has been the spread pick and roll, as it was during the regular season, but Woodson has opted for a seemingly endless amount of Anthony wing-isolations instead. The results have not been good. But that brings us back to Anthony. More

BREAKING: Indiana Nightclub Taken Under Siege By J.R Smith (Satire)

A satirical take on JR Smith’s Saturday night

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After coming off an emotional roller-coaster of sorts in Boston a couple of nights ago, J.R Smith needed to combat his offensive ineptness. On Saturday night, according to Smith’s publicist, he was “smoking a blunt heavier than a full bag of Halloween candy collected in a pillow case from trick-or-treating,” and “looked atop his head and noticed an imaginary light bulb flickering on and off,” while sitting in his Maserati Coupe. “The weed he had smoked in the car that night really made him paranoid,” said Smith’s publicist, who didn’t want to be identified. “All of a sudden, I was at a loss for words; he was singing ‘Say You, Say Me’  by Lionel Richie while high. And I must say, what a (expletive) night.”

But that wasn’t J.R’s only method of calming himself down. The Knicks, on their team bus, headed to Indiana to face the Pacers. Once they got to the hotel they were staying at—with every member of the team asleep besides him— J.R ran out of his hotel room and stole the team bus to go on a joyride, en route to the nearest local nightclub in town. More

Knicks-Pacers Series Breakdown Preview

 I’ve got the Knicks winning in 7. I don’t feel good about it though.

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New York almost blew a 26 point fourth quarter lead Friday night in game 6 and in the process I almost wet my pants. Nonetheless it’s onto the second round, where the second seeded Knicks will face off with the third seeded Indiana Pacers. Like Boston, Indiana is a great defensive team. The Pacers finished the regular season as the league’s best defense, allowing just 96.6 points per 100 possessions.  Though they got by the Celtics in round 1, the Knicks offense really struggled, scoring just 96.9 points per 100 possessions.

This series is going to be an absolute bloodbath. Like the Celtics series, we’re again going to see a contrast of regular season styles. Indiana boasts a great defense and a mediocre offense, while the Knicks boast a great offense and subpar defense. These are two evenly matched teams and there are some really interesting story lines and match-ups to look at. I’m going to break it all down. More

Game 5: Celtics 92 Knicks 86

Yeah, so about that funeral…

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The Celtics don’t want to die. They really don’t. So much for that Knicks funeral that was supposed to happen; it was one, colossal near-death experience for the Celtics. The Knicks totally wasted their time for dressing up in black suits. Celtic fans are going to be hitting us Knick fans back with some kind of black suit/funeral joke variant. But those jokes are all irrelevant for the time being. It’s funny that Celtic fans think that the Knicks are oscillating the white flag in the air already. While this is an infuriating loss, that is obviously not the case.

The Knicks scored the first 11 points of the game. It may have taken light years for the Celtics to strike back, considering their crappy offense. The Celtics scored their first basket on a Brandon Bass free throw with 7:32 remaining in the first quarter. Despite the big hole the Knicks dug the Celtics in, they got outscored 45-28 in the first half after the run. Jeff Green and Jason Terry were hitting threes down the stretch, Kevin Garnett went grizzled, clutch veteran in the 4th quarter and on the glass, and the good ole Celtics trash talk made the Knicks lose their composure and dopamine in their cerebral cortexs. More

Game 4: Celtics 97 Knicks 90

“Those damn Celtics”

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Oh well. I couldn’t whip out my limited edition autographed Wicked Witch of The West broom to celebrate a Knicks sweep on the arch rival Celtics. Everyone that watched this game had their beats per minute go through the roof in the last two minutes of the fourth quarter and in overtime. Even if you took a whole bottle of Lipitor (I advise you not to do that), it still couldn’t have controlled the high blood pressure. The Knicks offense played like the Celtics offense from the last three games in the first half; one colossal hot, steamy turd was dropped on them from the rafters. Somehow, they were only down by 5 at the end of the first quarter. The game was very 90s-esque; sloppy, sluggish basketball was played and it was really documented in the first half, as the Knicks shot 29% from the field, along with an abysmal 20% from downtown, as well as committing 12 turnovers, more than their average 11.8 a game from this season. The Knicks didn’t gain the lead until Raymond Felton hit a jumper with 1:17 left in the fourth quarter, which explained the struggle within the Knicks: Gaining the lead. The reoccurring comeback gene that happened several times in the regular season was happening in the playoffs. The Knicks had a chance to capitalize in the final minute of the fourth quarter after Tyson tipped out™ an offensive rebound, which resulted in a Melo pull up three, in what was their final possession before Paul Pierce took the final shot that everyone thought was going to be drained because its Paul freakin’ Pierce, and missed, en route to overtime. More

JR Smith Wins Sixth Man of the Year

Hey! JR Smith won Sixth Man of the Year!

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I have no issues with JR winning this award as I would’ve voted for him if I had a ballot. My mock ballot looked like this:

1. JR Smith

2. Ryan Anderson

3. Matt Barnes

4. Jarrett Jack

5. Jamal Crawford.

Winning 6MOY has become an award about wing scorers, and JR certainly would fit into that category, but that isn’t why I think he’s deserving of winning. If you looked at the majority of this season, he was largely inefficient shooting the ball (remember the ridiculous JR for all-star campaign?). Over the last month and a half, he’s been fantastic, but the season isn’t comprised of just it’s last month and a half. If this was an award about efficient scoring, Ryan Anderson is my runaway winner. But it’s not. More

Thoughts From Game 1

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.

JR Dunk

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

Knicks-Celtics Playoff Preview

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

JR Smith: The Chosen One

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Written by JS Gunther

Rejoice!! Not only are the Knicks headed to the playoffs but they wrapped up the Atlantic Division and the 2 seed in the East!! If you had told me in September that the season would play out this way, I would have assumed you were the devil and were interested in attaining my soul. Undoubtedly, the Knicks had a season to celebrate. And on top of that celebration, we also had the NBA’s scoring champion (congrats Melo!) and the potential (probable?) 6th Man of the Year.

Allow me to take a trip back to the previously alluded to past September before the 2012-13 NBA season started, back in the days when many believed the Lakers to be a potential 70 win team and the Andrew Bynum acquisition was a steal for the 76ers, Jonathan Abrams wrote a piece (link to JR Grantland article) about that potential 6th Man of the Year, one Earl Smith III, a.k.a. J.R. Smith, for Grantland. In this article, Abramsʼ general thesis questions J.R.ʼs erratic nature and whether or not it is a function of him being misguided or is it simply a case of J.R. being misunderstood by fans, coaches, teammates, and anyone else even remotely associated with the NBA. While Abrams did a phenomenal job, what he did not stress enough is what J.R. Smith truly has been over the course of his 9 seasons: frustrating. Frustrating to his teammates. Frustrating for his coaches (see Karl, George). But mostly, he has been frustrating to the fans of the teams that have employed him through the years. But that changed this season…potentially? More