Game Previews/ Recaps

Knicks-Pistons: What to Watch For

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUE1O-skSGc]

The Knicks defeated the Pistons 103-80 earlier this season in Detroit. Carmelo Anthony is a game time decision for the game tonight and Baron Davis will not make his Knick debut.

Here’s what to watch for:

  • Who posters Monroe tonight? Amar’e dunked on him last year. Melo dunked on him earlier this season. If I had to put money on it, I bet Bibby is gonna jam on him tonight.
  • All jokes aside, Monroe can play. He is far and away the best player the Pistons have on either side of the court and he will get his touches tonight. The Pistons center has averaged 17 ppg and 9 rpg in his last 5 games. Given the Knicks success against bad teams this year (sarcasm), I expect Detroit to play well tonight. Madison Square Garden brings the best out of opposing teams and I do not expect tonight to be different. If Detroit is going to compete, they will need to feed Monroe the ball tonight. Tyson Chandler, who has been excellent defensively all season, will have to slow down Monroe. In the last Knicks-Pistons meeting, Monroe had an efficient 15 points on 7/11 shooting.
  • **Breaking Meloship News** Just kidding but Melo WILL play tonight. I do not know why. I am not happy he is playing. He is too hurt to play against Houston and Miami but he can play against Detroit. He better play Thursday against Chicago. If he looks horrible again tonight I do not wanna hear any excuses. I want him to be as close to 100% as possible and if he is rushing himself back for a game against the lowly Pistons then I believe he is making a mistake. He should have sat tonight and made sure he was ready to go against Chicago.
  • That being said about Melo, this is a big game for the Knicks. Not to elicit panic (although its not like I need to) the Knicks are 7-13. They are screwing up the easy part of their schedule by losing games they should easily win and the schedule only gets harder from here. The Knicks need to start scrapping out victories until they can begin to play like they should. Losses like Phoenix, Charlotte, Toronto and Cleveland may end up killing this team down the stretch if they do not improve. The East has a lot of solid teams this season and the game from 1-8 won’t be as wide as it has been in the past. The Knicks need to stop dicking around and get back on track or else they could potentially not even make the playoffs. I know its early in the year but its not that early. This team has played more than a quarter of their games and they need to start winning.
  • Iman Shumpert seems to have lost the right to play point guard and I do not get why. Maybe it is an attempt to save his legs a bit and he is better served at the 2 and 3 but he is the best point guard on this team. Douglas has gotten his job back and I do not understand what prompted Mike D’Antoni to make this move. Douglas has done absolutely nothing to get his job back. He has been god awful all season, he really has not had that breakout game and he hasn’t been good defensively. I ultimately think Shumpert will stay at the 2 but for right now I would like to see him keep getting minutes at the point.
  • I think Jeremy Lin is going to get some run tonight…
  • I think Steve Novak will also get some run tonight…
  • ^ Neither of those things are good for the Knicks
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Notes from Knicks 97-84 Loss to Houston

Without Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks were beaten by the Rockets 97-84 in Houston. The Knicks were able to compete with Houston but fell apart in the late 3rd quarter and lost by a worse margin than the score would indicate. Amar’e Stoudemire was the Knicks leading scorer with 23 points.

Here are some notes from the game:

  • In the 3rd quarter, Mike D’Antoni decided to insert Jeremy Lin into the game with the Knicks down 59-50. The Knicks were able to cut the lead to 6 but D’Antoni then sat Stoudemire and the Rockets pulled away to build a 75-60 lead to start the 4th. The Knicks then started the 4th quarter with Balkman and Novak on the floor and the Rockets put the game away. D’Antoni’s decision to play Lin totally backfired. The Harvard product was wildly mediocre. I thought he got to the rim nicely but he couldn’t finish and he didn’t shoot very well. A lot of people questioned D’Antoni’s coaching method during last nights game and I’m one of them. Putting in Lin, Balkman and Novak together at the start of the 4th is basically waving the white flag. I thought he should have kept Amar’e in from the start of the 4th to see if the Knicks could make a run and get back into the game.
  • Amar’e Stoudemire’s jump shot was improved last night. On jump shots from 16-23 feet, Stoudemire has shot a pathetic 32% on the season. In last night’s game, Stoudemire was 5/11 from that range and 10/20 overall. This was not one of Stoudemire’s dominant games but he did seem to find some of his lost mid-range stroke.
  • Iman Shumpert is slowing down. Mike D’Antoni even admitted after the game that Shumpert is starting to tire out and his athleticism is suffering. This is a typical lockout effect and I think it is smart for D’Antoni to try and play Shumpert under 30 minutes a game to try and get his legs back. However it is surprising to me however that a young player with such great athleticism is burning out so quickly. Given Shumpert’s early injury and the few weeks of conditioning I can understand why he is not conditioned. Unfortunately for the Knicks, Baron Davis doesn’t seem to be coming back for another week and the Knicks need Shumpert. We will see what happens but I do not expect Shumpert to make an impact until he gets his legs back underneath him.
  • Landry Fields seems to have aggravated his strained back. This is exactly what the Knicks need. Melo and Jorts injured, STAT struggling, Shumpert burning out and now Fields potentially could be injured. In the 3rd quarter, Fields seemed to have grabbed his back in pain and did not re-enter the game. This would be devastating to lose Fields as he has been one of the Knicks best players over the past two weeks. Fields was unable to score in 18 minutes last night but I think the Knicks would have been in the game longer if he had played more.
  • As I noted in my pre-game, Houston has a very deep bench and it killed the Knicks not-so-deep bench. Goran Dragic and Chase Budinger killed the Knicks with a combined 35 points. Ex-Knick lottery pick Jordan Hill had 14 points and 11 rebounds. The Knick bench was outscored  61-35. That was the difference in the game. The Knicks lack of depth once again bit them in the ass and cost them this game.
  • Tyson Chandler continues his incredibly efficient season with a 5/7 shooting performance. Chandler is now shooting a staggering 69.6% on the season. Now obviously he only takes shots at the basket but still that is a great mark. He has been a perfect center for the kind of team New York wants to be. In this season where the Knicks shooting has sucked, a little more scoring would be nice from Chandler. However, in the overall image of what this team was thought to have needed, a big defensive center who did not need the ball to score, Chandler has been fantastic. I really am looking forward to seeing Chandler play for the next few years as he is an absolute joy to watch on the defensive end.
  • Bill “Wale” Walker gave a solid 2/9 performance including 1/7 downtown thus proving that his strong performance against Miami was an aberration that Knick fans will never see again.
  • Toney Douglas was 3/13 and once again showed that he cannot run the point guard position for this team. He had 4 assists in 27 minutes while Jeremy Lin had 6 in 20 minutes. Douglas just proves to everyone game in and game out that he is not capable of running the point for this team. Unfortunately for the Knicks, Baron Davis will not be back for another week and Iman Shumpert seems to be burning out. Douglas must learn to at least make his shots in order to give this team a chance. He is never going to be a great passer because he is not a great ball handler and the game moves far too quickly for him.
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Knicks-Rockets: What to Watch For

Last season the Knicks went 0-2 against the Houston Rockets. The first loss, a 104-98 loss at Madison Square Garden resulted in the infamous “I’m sick of losing” Amar’e Stoudemire post game and helped turn the Knicks season around. Tonight the Knicks, having lost 8 of 9, look to turn their season around against the Rockets.

Here’s what to watch for:

  • The Knicks bench vs the Houston bench. While the Knicks have a weak and mostly ineffective bench, the Rockets bench is one of the deepest and most talented in the league. Chase Budinger, Goran Dragic, Courtney Lee, Patrick Patterson, Terrence Williams, Jonny Flynn and ex-Knick Jordan Hill give the Rockets bench a huge advantage over the Knicks. In an attempt to try and even the bench scoring, Mike D’Antoni has decided that Billy Walker will start and Iman Shumpert will come off the bench tonight. Shumpert is better suited off the bench in that he will give the Knicks some much needed scoring. In order for the Knicks to succeed tonight, their bench will have to shoot well and put some points in. This is a winnable game for the Knicks but that will change if the Rockets 2nd unit grossly outscores the Knicks tonight.
  • Is this the night Amar’e Stoudemire gets going? I seem to write about this before every game but with Melo out it is imperative that Amar’e dominates offensively tonight. In last season’s match ups with Houston, Chuck Hayes was able to get underneath Stoudemire and throw off his offensive game. Houston no longer has Hayes on their roster and does not boast another post defender that historically gives Stoudemire problems. Luis Scola is a good player but he plays a bit soft. Ditto for Samuel Dalembert. If Amar’e really is focused and aggressive tonight, he can dominate against Houston’s front court.
  • If the Knicks are trailing in the 4th, will they go to “Toney Douglas” offense? Whenever the Knicks trail in the 4th, they revert to this wildly ineffective Toney Douglas high pick and roll offense that either results in 3′s banging off the side of the backboard or horrid turnovers. I truly hope that the Knicks will get their damn max-salary player the ball in the 4th quarter instead of putting the ball in the hands of a rattled shooting guard from Florida State. In the heat of the crucible, Douglas’ head begins to spin and the game moves far too quickly for the 3rd year guard.
  • Landry Fields > Rockets shooting guards. With Kevin Martin out (yes I said Wade was out yesterday and he ended up playing but Martin WILL be out) with plantar fasciitis, Fields should have his 6th consecutive double digit scoring game. Last night, Fields knocked down a couple 3 pointers which was a great sign given that he has been horrible from beyond the arc (22.9%) this season. Tonight, against either Chase Budinger or Courtney Lee, Fields should have an advantage. Both players are good players but I believe Fields is more athletic and should get to the rim tonight.
  • The desperate Knicks will be in dire straits tonight against a deep and athletic team. A loss will drop them to a horrid 7-13 on the season. Look on the bright side Knick fans, at least this guy doesn’t play for Houston anymore:
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzUv5_YFhPI] [twitter-follow screen_name='tarmosino' show_screen_name='no']

Notes From Knicks 99-89 Loss to Miami

Without Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks fought valiantly against the rival Heat but fell 99-89 at the American Airlines Arena in Miami. Surprisingly, Bill Walker was the Knicks high scorer with 21 on 7/12 shooting and all 7 shots being 3 point shots. Dwayne Wade did not disappoint Heat fans in his return. Wade buried the Knicks with 28 points and 5 steals.

Here are some notes from the game:

  • What on earth got in to Bill Walker? A la something out of Space Jam, Billy Walker went unconscious from 3 in the 3rd quarter. He finished the game 7/10 from 3 point land. Yes. 7/10. He was unreal shooting the ball tonight. I thought his defense was still horrid and he had 6 turnovers but Billy Walker won over a morsel of my respect tonight. If he keeps shooting 70% from 3 he will continue to win more of my respect.
  • I was surprised how the Knicks struggled against Wade. In my opinion Dwayne Wade is the best player in the NBA. He is good defensively, he is a prolific scorer and he has won a ring. I think he’s the greatest shot blocking guard in NBA history and his athleticism is off the charts. However, I thought the tall, athletic guard combination of Iman Shumpert and Landry Fields would be able to at least slow Wade down. Tonight, they failed miserably. Wade had 28 points on an efficient 11/19 shooting. I still do believe that Landry Fields and Iman Shumpert have the size, athleticism, length and defensive prowess to match up with Wade but tonight they did not do a good job defensively.
  • I applaud Mike D’Antoni for his game plan today. I think he realized that the only way the Knicks could compete is if they fired away from 3 and that is what they did. The Knicks shot an insane 43 shots from beyond the arc. This was their best 3 point shooting game of the season. They hit 18/43 for 41.8%. On the season the Knicks have shot 30.4% from 3 so tonight was a big improvement. In terms of the game plan, I thought Miami did an excellent job rotating on Stoudemire when he tried to get to the paint. Stoudemire was 3/7 from mid-range but primarily tried to get to the rim. I did not think Stoudemire played poorly tonight. He still is not dominating but I did not have a problem with his shot selection tonight despite his 5/14 shooting. While people love to criticize D’Antoni, his game plan tonight kept the Knicks in the game till the end. With Miami being an excellent defensive team around the rim, D’Antoni preached the 3 point shot. The Knicks took 14 shots at the rim. They made 4. If D’Antoni had preached a normal kind of game plan, the Knicks would have lost by 40. Having gambled and planned around the 3 point shot, the embattled coach was able to keep his team in the game until they flared out and lost to the better team late in the game.
  • I thought the Knicks were good defensively. The Knick half court defense tonight was pretty solid. Miami shot only 2/10 on 3 point shots. The Knicks really did what I said they couldn’t: they got killed in transition. The Knicks were outscored 20-7 in fast break points which included some thunderous Miami dunks. Despite their poor transition defense, the Knicks half court defense kept them in the game. I thought they did an excellent job on Chris Posh aka Bosh Spice. The finesse Miami “power” forward was 4/18 with 13 points. As much as I hate to say it, LeBron was very good tonight. He wasn’t the killer though. Wade was the one that got a bucket anytime the Heat needed one. Wade came in to a close game in the 4th led Miami to a victory.
  • In the 2nd quarter, Wade broke out on a fast break and went up for a dunk. Iman Shumpert came from behind and fouled him, although he got most of the ball and probably does not get called for a foul on a regular player. Wade, showing Wade-like arrogance, tried to show up the Knick rookie. Wade got in his face in ridiculous fashion as the foul was not hard or malicious and Wade did not even go down to the floor. I was so happy to see how the Knicks got in-between the two guards and got up in Wade’s face. It was asinine for Wade to act in that fashion and I was glad to see the Knicks stick up for their rookie point guard.
  • Unfortunately Steve Novak sucked tonight. He was 2/6 shooting and seemed to not know his role. He was forcing 3′s with hands in his face and he was shooting 3′s off the dribble. I NEVER said Novak was rotation worthy because he isn’t. My thing was Novak could play 5-10 minutes a game and give the Knicks some outside shooting that they desperately needed. I wasn’t expecting much from Novak but his forcing of shots was awful tonight.
  • Landry Fields continues to get his shooting stroke back on offense. As of late he has been great getting to the rim and tonight he hit some 3 pointers. Fields was 2/5 from 3 which is a great sign to see. I really do like Fields and I think he’s going to continue to improve. He scored double digit points for the 6th straight game tonight and seems to be finding his spot in the offense.
  • The “Toney Douglas” offense sucks. When the Knicks get down in the 4th quarter they seem to always revert to this “Toney Douglas” offense. In a situation where they should get the ball out of Douglas’ hands, the Knicks seem to put their trust into his hands. Of course the offense fails. He starts running high pick and rolls and then he either turns the ball over or bricks 3′s. I do not understand. I think this falls under D’Antoni. D’Antoni must tell his “point guard” to get the ball to Amar’e. To move the ball earlier in the shot clock. Whoever’s idea it was to run these stupid high pick and rolls with Douglas ought to have their IQ tested because it NEVER works and always ends up burying the Knicks late in games.
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Knicks-Heat: What to Watch For

Last season the Knicks were 2-2 versus LeBrick James and the arch rival Miami Heat. Tonight, the Knicks will be without the services of their franchise player, small forward Carmelo Anthony. However, Miami will also be short handed as guard Dwayne Wade will not play.

Here’s what to watch for:

  • With Melo out, the Knicks will need to find scoring from somebody not named Amar’e Stoudemire. Obviously, Carmelo Anthony and his 33% usage rate are a huge part of the Knick offense. Even though he has struggled as of late, Anthony leads the team over the past 4 games with 26 shot attempts per game. Without Melo tonight, the Knicks will need Iman Shumpert, Toney Douglas, Landry Fields, Bill Walker (sigh…) and Tyson Chandler to pick up the slack on offense. Douglas has been killing backboards with his 3 point shots as of late and needs to find his stroke tonight. I expect Walker to start in place of Melo but I expect him to struggle as always. Personal favorite Steve Novak should get some run tonight to boost the Knicks outside shooting in Melo’s absence.
  • The Heat have M*other****ing Eddy Curry. Yes, that Eddy Curry. The center who ate up the Knicks salary cap for years while never being thin enough to get on the court. The same Eddy Curry who gave Knick fans great moments like this:
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdRDXXAgvFw]

and this…

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxCOfv9t9a8]

and this…

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sC7dRSCYM40&feature=related]
  • Amare/Chandler vs LeBron/Bosh. Unfortunately for the Knicks, Melo has dominated LeBron whenever they’ve played but obviously Melo won’t be out there tonight. Ditto goes for Wade against the Knicks. This leaves, in a nutshell, a battle of Amar’e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler versus LeBron James and Chris Bosh. I think tonight is a chance for Amar’e to break out of his shell. I do not think Bosh can body him up if Amar’e gets his mind set on dominating at the rim. If Amar’e settles for jump shots tonight, I think the Knicks will be in for a long night. I do think the Knicks can guard LeBron James tonight. As seen in the finals last season, Tyson Chandler was a Heat killer. The Heat, mostly the big 3, love to use their athleticism to get to the rim and throw alley-oops to each other. With Chandler in the middle, and his giant 7’1 frame, the Knicks should be pretty well suited to defend that style of offense. I think if Chandler can stay out of foul trouble tonight, his presence will give the Heat problems offensive tonight.
  • Stop the transition. In order to win tonight, the Knicks will have to stop Miami in transition. If they give Miami 25-30 transition points tonight they have no chance to win. They cannot allow LeBron to get started in fast break situations or they’ll let him score 40 tonight. Miami ranks 5th in the NBA in fast break points per game with 17.4 per game. I believe this will have to be a grind it out kind of game in order for the Knicks to win tonight.
  • Can Landry Fields keep up his hot scoring? Fields has hit double digit points per game over his last 5 games and will need to keep that up tonight. Without Melo, Fields’ scoring will be even more important to the Knicks success. Shane Battier will likely start for Wade. Battier is a strong defensive player but I look for Fields to take advantage of Mike Miller when he is brought off the bench. I think Fields could put in 15-20 points today and really truly contribute.
  • If it comes down to the wire, I like New York’s chance given the un-clutchness of LeBrick James. Knick fans are familiar with this as James choked twice last season in his only game against the Post-Melo trade Knicks. In case you don’t remember…
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a91PAUFIe6Q]
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Notes From Knicks 91-81 Loss to Cleveland

The Knicks seemed to find their way offensively Tuesday night against Charlotte only to become lost again Wednesday night in Cleveland. In a pathetic second half showing, the reeling Knicks scored only 36 points and lost 91-81. Amar’e Stoudemire showed flashes of brilliance and worked hard on the boards but was unable to find any consistent jump shot. Carmelo Anthony is a walking bandage right now and cannot consistently dominate offensively.

Here are notes from the game:

  • The Knicks need a point guard. Badly. The 3 Knick point guards, Bibby, Shumpert and Toney Douglas had a combined 6 assists tonight. Melo had 6 by himself and Billy Walker had 4. By comparison the Cavalier point guards, Kyrie Irving and Ramon Sessions, combined for 12. The Knick point guards are not only bad but they are holding the offense back. Shumpert basically did not play tonight. He was nonexistent in the 22 minutes he played and was benched early in the 4th quarter. Douglas came in and did what Toney Douglas does best. He panicked. When Douglas panics, he shoots. When Douglas panics and shoots he misses and when he does not hit his shots he is useless. Tonight, Douglas did not move the ball, he did not score and he did not get Melo and Amar’e the ball where they needed it. This game came down to the 4th quarter and in the 4th quarter the Knicks sucked. They decided to run the offense though Douglas and Jeffries despite the fact that Amar’e played strongly at the rim again tonight and Melo showed a few flashes in the 4th. Why Douglas would take it upon him self to continue chucking aimless shots, he finished 3/12, is beyond me. Which brings me to my next point.
  • I do not like to criticize D’Antoni. I do not like feeding the notion that the team would be better without D’Antoni this season because they wouldn’t be. However, I find it unacceptable that Toney Douglas was allowed to run around and basically blow any chance the Knicks had to win the game. If you’re D’Antoni, YOU HAVE to sit Douglas late in that 4th quarter. Clearly the game was moving far too fast for him. I would rather have seen Bibby out there late in the game. Bibby would have at least realized that running a high screen with Jeffries every possession was not the way to go. Again I do not commonly rip D’Antoni but he deserves blame for not benching Douglas late in this game.
  • However, I did like the Knicks ball movement in this game up until they went to the Douglas-Jeffries offense. I thought the ball moved nicely, I liked what Melo did. He did a nice job of not forcing shots and moving the ball to where it needed to go. His shots did not fall tonight as he went 5/14 but I liked how he played within the offense. Stoudemire gave a good effort as well. Despite the fact that his jump shot is anything but consistent, STAT made an impact offensively. Showing relentlessness on the boards tonight, he picked up a season high 14 boards. The bottom line is this offense is not going to gel consistently for a while, and I’ll continue to pull my hair out every night, but the two stars in particular seem to have the right idea. The offense will make no progress if the ball sticks every possession and I think STAT and Melo are doing a good job of trying to get others involved.
  • I do not understand why this damn team cannot shoot. The Knicks were 3/20 from beyond the arc tonight. How do you shoot 15% from downtown?? I do not understand this team. They should not be this bad shooting the ball. Look at the Knicks 3 point percentages from last season compared to this year and then tonight’s game.

Carmelo Anthony:

2010 w/NYK 42.4%

2011: 31.5% Tonight: 0/3

Bill Walker:

2010: 38.6%

2011: 33% Tonight: 0/2

Toney Douglas

2010: 37.3%

2011: 23.5% Tonight: 2/8

Landry Fields

2010: 39.3%

2011: 21% Tonight: 0/1

Mike Bibby

2010 with ATL: 44.1% 2010 with MIA: 45.5%

2011: 37.2% Tonight: 0/2

  • This team has guys who have shot well in the past. They should be able to shoot in the present but so far this year they have been atrocious. I think a the impending arrival of Baron Davis will help the spacing and rhythm but at some point this team just has to play better basketball. Get looks. Shoot the ball. Make the shot. Right now the Knicks are struggling to make the shots and it is incredibly frustrating.
  • Conversely, the Knicks allowed Cleveland to shoot lights out from downtown. The mighty (only against the Knicks) Cavs shot 9/20 from down town hitting their 3′s at a 45% clip. When you shoot 3/20 from downtown and allow the opponent to shoot 9/20, often times you will not win. The Knicks, especially on nights when they struggle to score, cannot allow opponents to shoot open 3′s. Chandler is doing a fantastic job of protecting the rim this season and Amar’e actually has played decent defense as of late. The strength of the Knick defense is in the paint and they must force teams to try and score there. Letting a garbage team like Cleveland shoot 45% from downtown is unacceptable.
  • Fields had another solid game. Fields scored in double digits for the 5th straight game tonight scoring 13 points on 5/7 shooting. He had a couple really nice drives to the hoop and a strong and-1 at the basket. Anthony Parker did have his way offensively against Fields late in the 2nd quarter but apart from that stretch, I thought Fields played a solid game.
  • Jeffries hit another corner 3…
  • The Knicks turned the ball over 22 times tonight. Cleveland turned the ball over 18 times. The Knicks allowed 14 offensive rebounds tonight. A big reason the Knicks are struggling is because they do not do the little things well. When playing a lowly team like Cleveland, allowing 14 offensive rebounds and losing the turnover battle by 4 is unacceptable. This team has more problems than Melo and STAT and cannot win by playing this way. To compensate for their poor shooting, the Knicks must pay special attention to offensive rebounding and ball security. The Knicks rank 27th in the NBA in turnovers per game at 16.7. Conversely, 9 of the top 10 teams that turn the ball over the least have winning records. In order to pick up some wins during this slump, the Knicks must excel in turnovers/offensive rebounding, not lose both categories to bad teams.
  • That Deron Williams guy looked pretty good for New Jersey tonight. Melo has been struggling… Just saying.
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Knicks-Cavs: What to Watch For

Last season the Knicks struggled mightily against the Cavs, losing 3 of 4 to LeBron’s old squad. Current Knick Baron Davis killed the Knicks last season as a member of the Cavaliers. His replacement, first overall selection Kyrie Irving will provide a challenge for the Knick defense tonight as he has had an impressive rookie campaign.

Here’s what to watch for:

  • Multiple Knick beat writers have been reporting that Baron Davis may make his Knick debut tonight. Now this won’t be a Melo debut where he starts and plays 35 minutes. Any Davis appearance will likely be 5-10 minutes just to get his feet wet. Personally, I do not want him to play tonight. I want him back healthy as much as anyone but there is no need to rush him back against a Cleveland team playing a back to back.
  • Apart from breaking their 6 game losing streak, the Knicks decisive victory last night allowed the starters to get some much needed rest and the Knicks should have an advantage tonight. Cleveland battled with Miami last night and should have more wear on their legs than the Knicks do tonight.
  • Lets see how Stoudemire and Anthony co-exist tonight. I blogged after the game last night about the remaining lack of a two-man game against Charlotte. Moving the ball definitely is great but to maximize their abilities, the two stars must learn to play together. Whether that is the pick and roll, the pick and pop or the give and go, the two stars must being to set each other up in positions to score the basketball.
  • Landry Fields should continue his hot streak. Fields has begun to re-gain his confidence over the last 4 games and his continued production offensively will be huge to the Knicks success moving forward. Against the imposing defensive matchup of Anthony Parker (sarcasm), Fields should continue to get to the rim and score points for the Knicks.
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Notes from Knicks 111-78 Victory Over Charlotte

Carmelo Anthony scored 1 point tonight as the Knicks defeated the Charlotte Bobcats in a laugher, 111-78. Tyson Chandler was a beast tonight scoring 20 points and grabbing 17 rebounds in 29 minutes. Amar’e Stoudemire came to life tonight with 18 points on 7/12 shooting. Despite the Knicks dominating performance, I do have some concern about what I saw tonight.

Here are some notes from the game:

  • Carmelo’s single point performance. Despite the fact that Melo scored 1 point, I liked what I saw from him. The ball did not stick with him and he moved it swiftly and accurately all night. He picked up 11 rebounds, 7 in the first quarter, dished 4 assists and did a good job keeping the offense going. It was evident that Melo, despite his 0/7 shooting, drew the attention of the Charlotte defense and opened up the floor for others to score. Landry Fields, Tyson Chandler and Amar’e Stoudemire all scored more than 18 points tonight. The Knicks ran very few isolation plays tonight to Anthony and Stoudemire which resulted in better spacing and ball movement for the entire offense. Here is what I didn’t like:
  • I am all for ball movement and spacing, however I was not thrilled with Amar’e Stoudemire’s lack of time on the floor with Carmelo Anthony. I do not have any official numbers on it, but Stoudemire and Melo were hardly on the court tonight. I understand that they will always play better apart then together on the floor but at some point they will need to learn how to co-exist. I understand the Knicks needed a win tonight and I am all for that but at the same time, is there a better time to work out kinks than when playing the Bobcats? Stoudemire and Anthony had their “important meeting” yesterday, did they not discuss how to run a two man game with each other? There was none of that tonight. At some point when it will really matter, aka the playoffs, the two stars will need to make this offense work together. I am just very concerned that they are going to be unable to do that because there have been no signs of their successful coexistence this season. The two stars will have to play together in 4th quarters and will need to work on getting their games to mesh TOGETHER. If they aren’t willing to work on it against Charlotte, what is going to happen when they are down 5 with 3 minutes to go in the 4th against Miami…?
  • Tyson Chandler was worth his money tonight. Chandler abused poor Byron Mullens scoring 20 points and recording 17 rebounds, 8 of which came on the offensive glass. Need I say more?
  • Shumpert was 1/9 shooting the ball. Despite his bad statistical night, I thought he played well. Two of his misses came on a botched dunk and a missed layup so his numbers are a bit misleading in that he wasn’t just tossing up shots a la the Memphis game. As always he brought it defensively and he moved the ball well.
  • There was a Steve Novak sighting! My boy Stevie Novak came in mid-way through the 4th and hit 3/3 from outside the arc. He actually played some good defense too building his case that he should get some minutes in games not against semi-pro teams. I think his consistently strong outside shooting could boost the Knicks offense even if he only played 10 minutes a game.
  • I won’t be starting a Team Bill Walker. He wasn’t good tonight, proving that his 5 minutes (literally) of fame against Denver were an aberration. He was 0/4 after hitting his first shot, a 3 from the corner, and I thought his defense was subpar. He also stepped out of bounds for the 415th time this season. Great job as always, Bill.
  • Jared Jeffries was good on BOTH ends of the floor tonight. A la me using the Knicks in 2k12, Jeffries drained a corner three (a staple of my 2k offense). He was 3/5 offensively and actually made some nice plays scoring the ball. He even hit all 4 of his free throws and finished with 11 points (which is the equivalent of 40 points to any other player not named Jared Jeffries). Defensively he was solid as always, including a great hard foul on Gerald Henderson that was ridiculously called a flagrant.
  • Jeremy Lin and Jerome Jordan played. Both solid D-leaguers got on the court midway through the 4th and feasted on a Charlotte bench that is probably better off joining Terrell Owens in the Indoor Football League than continuing to pursue their NBA careers. Against a lottery level D-League lineup of Cory Higgins, 400 year old Eddie Najera, Bismack Biyombo, Matt Carroll (fresh off a near death experience on a dunk) and DeSagana Diop, Lin and Jordan combined to shoot 3/3 from the field and score 10 points. I still do not think Lin is that great but seeing him destroy Cory Higgins makes me happy that the Knicks at least don’t have Cory Higgins…
  • Last but not least, Landry Fields is getting his confidence back. It is about damn time. Despite looking like Charles Barkley in Space Jam since the all-star break of last season, Fields has pieced together a stretch of really nice games. In his last 4 games, Fields has averaged 15.8 ppg on 53% shooting. While most have seemingly given up on Fields, I refuse to do so. I am not delusional, I understand that at this point in time he is an average player at best but I really do think he has potential. He will never be an all-star, he will never win the scoring title but he will compete night in and night out and in this era of NBA basketball filled with Andray Blatche’s and Eddy Curry’s that intangible is invaluable. In this era where money causes laziness, I believe Fields will stick for a long time because he will always hustle and defend. In the end, it is not always the most talented player who wins the battle *cough LeBron cough* but it is the player willing to sacrifice every night. Fields is one of those guys and I am glad to see him finally starting to produce for the Knicks.
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Knicks-Bobcats: What to Watch For?

The Knicks have struggled this season against the lowly 3-14 Charlotte Bobcats. The Knicks and Bobcats have split their two prior meetings this season and have two match ups this season, including tonights game.

Here’s what to watch for:

  • Can somebody please guard Boris Diaw? The large Bobcats forward is averaging 7.4 points per game this season. Against the Knicks he is averaging 23 ppg in 2 games. Both of his season high point totals, 27 in the first matchup and 19 in the second, have come against Amar’e Stoudemire and the Knicks. However, New York forward Jared Jeffries did not play in either of the two match ups with Charlotte due to a calf injury. Jeffries is a strong defender and may be able to slow down Diaw. Unfortunately for the Knicks, Jorts Harrellson is out 6 weeks with a broken wrist so his strong defensive services will not be called on to body up Diaw tonight. Ultimately, stopping Diaw will come down to the effort and will of Amar’e Stoudemire. If Stoudemire struggles (again) on Diaw, the Bobcats will once again compete against this reeling Knick team.
  • Speaking of reeling, will Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire figure this thing out? The two stars had a sit down talk yesterday about their struggles as of late. Stoudemire has looked butthurt and uninterested all year while Anthony decides to play 1 on 5, especially late in games. The individual games of the two stars did not mesh last season after the trade and this season has been a complete disaster. If there was ever an opponent to figure it out against, the Bobcats would be it. They suck. Point blank, they just are a sad team. I am interested to see how Anthony and Stoudemire play following their discussion but I am not expecting all that much.
  • Is Chandler going to play 47 minutes tonight? With Harrellson out, the Knicks are once again thin on the front line. Mike D’Antoni is not expected to give Jerome Jordan any additional minutes which means that Jared Jeffries, Tyson Chandler and Amar’e Stoudemire will be splitting the minutes at center. Jeffries and Stoudemire, better thought of as forwards, are clear downgrades at center from Chandler. Especially in a close game tonight, Chandler may be playing 40+ minutes at center. D’Antoni has already played Chandler an average of 33 minutes per game, up 6 minutes from his 27 mpg average last season. I am not in support of the Knick center playing these kind of minutes. D’Antoni is playing a dangerous game with Chandler in that if he were to go down the Bockers would truly be screwed in the front court. Harrellson’s absence has left the Knicks insanely thin again and losing Chandler would be disaster.
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Notes From Knicks 119-114 Double-OT Loss to Denver

In the Knicks first matchup with Denver since the Carmelo Anthony trade, a hard-fought game ended in a 119-114 Denver victory. Ex-Knicks Danilo Gallinari and Al Harrington were the difference in the game. Carmelo Anthony came alive in the 4th quarter and overtime and finished with 25 points.

Here are some notes from the game:

  • Despite his 25 points, Carmelo Anthony was off tonight. He finished 10/30 including a porous 1/7 from beyond the arc. The Knicks moved the ball well in the first half and that consequently came without Melo in the game. I will not say that Melo is a ball hog but it is very apparent that the Knicks system dramatically differs with Melo in the game. When he was in the game, the ball movement did stop. The garden crowd got on Melo, and deservingly so, for not passing the ball. Usually I defend Melo’s shot selection but tonight I did feel like he was forcing shots and forcing unnecessary shots. As for his three point shooting, he needs to cut that down to about 4 per game instead of 7 or 8 shots. He is not a 3 point shooter and clearly is a better scorer when he drives to the hoop. His missed 3′s are killing possessions right now and the Knicks cannot have that.
  • Amar’e Stoudemire was a total non-factor tonight. Stoudemire took 9 shots tonight. In a game that went double overtime, Stoudemire took 1 shot in the 4th quarter and both overtimes. That shot was taken with 10 seconds left in the double overtime. The offense became “iso-melo” in the overtimes and that cannot happen. Stoudemire is a max contract “star”. He cannot be excluded from the offense, especially when the Knicks need buckets. It seems that the Knicks seem to panic and lose their offensive system late in these close games and that can’t happen. While moving the ball frequently, the Knicks controlled the first half. While playing stagnant isolation-orriented offense, the Knicks lost control of the game in the second half and ultimately lose the game. Stoudemire has to shoot more than 9 times a game, especially when he has less shot attempts than Fields, Shumpert and Douglas.
  • Landry Fields is re-gaining his confidence. Tonight, Fields had 18 points on 8/14 shooting. He did have 3 turnovers and a late charging foul but for the 3rd straight game, he looks more confident and has been more productive. While the offense is struggling, Fields seems to be prospering as of late and is helping to keep the Knicks in these games. Even when the Knicks get production from Stoudemire, they’ll need their non-max contract role players to contribute and Fields has been doing his job as of late.
  • Douglas and Shumpert were also good tonight. Toney Douglas, 4/10 11 points, and Iman Shumpert, 7/16 18 points, were both pretty good tonight. Obviously neither of them is a true point guard, hence the problems the Knicks have had offensively this year, but they moved the ball well tonight. The Knicks got off to a very good start in this game moving the ball and then got away from it in the second. If the Knicks can start carrying over the ball movement to the second half every game, the offense will be a lot better. I think the two young guards showed a lot of good signs in terms of running the offense well tonight.
  • Walker played a good game. Billy Walker was red-hot, no I am not joking, when he came off the bench in the 2nd quarter. He did play poorly in the 3rd quarter and was benched for the rest of the game. I do think he should have gotten a bit of run early in the 4th just to rest Shumpert or Fields but I have no problem with him sitting. Knick fans were calling out D’Antoni for not playing him, because Knick fans love to call D’Antoni out on anything, and I think that is wrong. Fields, Douglas and Shumpert all played very well tonight. Jeffries played well and Harrellson played well. I feel more comfortable with all those guys playing in a close game than Walker playing in a close game. I will say though, if Walker can continue to play like this then he will deserve to play more on this team but right now he seems to be in D’Antoni’s dog house. Maybe D’Antoni reads this blog…
  • Jared Jeffries and Josh Harrellson continue to show prowess on the defensive end of the court. Jeffries drew another charge tonight and recorded 3 blocks. Harrellson’s defense was great all night and he recorded 6 boards. Ultimately as the bench changes in the coming years Harrellson will replace Jeffries but right now the duo gives the Knicks a very good defensive front court coming off the bench. They do not contribute as much offensively as you would like to see but right now both men are showing a lot of heart defensively.
  • The two man game between Stoudemire and Anthony is nonexistent.
  • Chandler only scored 8 points tonight. The Knicks need to get back to getting Chandler a couple dunks per game on back-screens. They seem to have gone away from that.
  • Andre Miller is exactly what the Knicks do not have. I thought he was very impressive tonight.
  • Don’t you wish the Knicks had Mozgov? Moz had 16 points 7 rebounds tonight and dominated in the early going. We all know his potential as tonight he showcased his athleticism getting up and down the court. I really think he could have been a great piece on this Knick team as his offensive game was good tonight. The Knicks would have two 7 footers down low and would have a bit more presence in the paint than they currently do.
  • I hated to see Gallo kill the Knicks. I was a proponent of the Melo trade although I was unhappy with how much the Knicks ultimately gave up. I knew Gallo had to go but that did not mean I was happy about it. I think he has the potential to be an all-star caliber player. He is a very proficient driver and has the ability to stroke from outside the arc. He killed the Knicks tonight with 37 points and 11 boards which was very sad to see.
  • Iman Shumpert left the game in overtime. The Knick point guard cramped in both his hamstring and his back.
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