Game Previews/ Recaps

Knicks-Bucks: What to Watch For

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ul1bpyaegDc]

^ Remember that. Carmelo Anthony’s first game as a Knick came last season against the Milwaukee Bucks. Since that game, the Knicks own a modest 20-22 record including a 6-8 record this season. The Knicks look to turn their season around tonight against a Bucks team that they finished 1-3 against last season.

Here’s what to watch for:

  • Milwaukee ranks 24th in offensive efficiency. The Knicks improved defense may have to carry the team tonight as the offense has struggled all season. The Bucks rank 11th in defensive efficiency and played the Knicks very tough last season. I think the defense will have to carry the team tonight as I don’t see the offense breaking out.
  • Melo must distribute. With his injured wrist, Melo has been off the past couple games. I have not had an issue with his shot selection but the results do not lie. Anthony has made only 14 of his past 49 shot attempts. In addition to scoring more efficiently, Anthony will need to get others involved if the Knicks are going to win tonight.
  • Fields must continue to play well. Landry Fields played a very good game in Wednesday’s loss to Phoenix. His impact was felt and must be felt again tonight. Rather than detriment the team with air balls and turnovers, Fields was an efficient scorer Wednesday night. With the recent struggles of Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, the Knicks need Fields to help contribute to the offensive cause tonight.
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Notes From Knicks 91-88 Loss to Phoenix

In a disgustingly bad game to watch, the Knicks lost to the Suns 91-88. Chandler, Fields and Shumpert were good tonight. Everyone else sucked.

Here are some notes from the game:

  • The Knicks need to stop switching on defense. Phoenix had an advantage offensively all night due to the constant Knick defenders switching on picks. Robin Lopez would have had 30 tonight if he didn’t fucking suck. There was a stretch in the game where he was posted up on a guard about 6 times and he only scored once. Nash was often guarded by Tyson Chandler and Josh Harrellson on the perimeter. I don’t know what Woodson is doing with this defense. They have played better and the defense hasn’t been the problem so far but this defense could be so much better without the switches. There is no reason why the Knicks must always switch a big man onto a point guard. In emergency situations, the switch is acceptable but this team does it on every single screen. The defense was adequate tonight but the switches really did hurt the Knicks.
  • Stoudemire’s jump shot is still ice cold. I thought that tonight could be a turning point for Stoudemire’s season. I thought he would come out guns blazing and play lights out. I was wrong. Sort of. He was better tonight then he has been, scoring 23 points on 7/22 shooting, but his jump shot was still off. He did improve at finishing at the rim tonight but he got nothing from his perimeter game. His mid-range game is nonexistent right now and it hurts his game. Defenders are sagging off Stoudemire thus hurting his ability to drive to the rim. As a result to the cushion being given by defenders, Stoudemire picked up 2 bad offensive charges tonight.
  • Melo was awful tonight. I don’t know if it was the wrist injury or the personal matter that kept him from speaking to the media post game but Melo was dreadful tonight. He finished the game 5/22 with 12 points. While he did hit a big 3 late in the game, his head was just not in the game tonight. I don’t know if he was cold or if it was the personal matter but he was a non-factor tonight. While Stoudemire did not play well, I think the Knicks got enough production from him to win. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for Anthony. The Knick star missed two big layups in the game that would have been big baskets in a close game. Obviously this will not be the norm for Anthony but his poor game really hurt the Knicks tonight.
  • Landry Fields came alive tonight. The beleaguered second year shooting guard from Stanford finally showed flashes of ┬ábeing the productive rookie Knick fans came to love last season. Fields put in 17 points on 6/12 shooting. While he was scoreless from downtown, Fields’ nifty offensive game kept the Knicks afloat in the second half. Defensively I thought he was solid and he picked up 6 rebounds. Fields must continue to string solid games together and help this team get back on track.
  • Iman Shumpert played a phenomenal game tonight. Despite his air ball at the end of the game, Shumpert played one of his best games as a Knick. He held his own against Steve Nash and played a great offensive game. More impressive than his 20 points on 8/14 shooting were his 4 steals. His energy was great as always and he hit some clutch shots down the stretch. It was a very nice game by Shumpert further solidifying his starting spot on the team.
  • Amar’e had a great transition block tonight only to lead by a missed three by Fields. I thought that sequence would have been a momentum changing play but the Knicks were unable to finish it off with a basket.
  • Douglas regressed from last game which did not help anything. The Knicks got a whopping 7 points out of their bench tonight.
  • Steve Novak saw no minutes again tonight. I think that is a mistake. For a team that cannot shoot 3′s to save its life, I think Novak could give the Knicks 2-3 key baskets a game coming off the bench.
  • Chandler was a beast once again with 17 rebounds. His defense really was good tonight. He probably would have had 20 rebounds if he wasn’t guarding Nash out at the 3 point line for a lot of the game…
  • Shannon Brown had 14 points for Phoenix. That sums up what kind of game it was.
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Knicks-Suns: What to Watch For

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

Last season the Knicks were 1-1 versus the Phoenix Suns. Tonight, the reeling Knicks look to get back on track against Amar’e Stoudemire’s old club at Madison Square Garden.

Here’s what to watch for:

  • Coming off a string of pathetic performances, Amar’e Stoudemire has to show up tonight. If he plays a poor offensive game again, the Knicks will likely drop their 4th straight game. The Knicks cannot solely rely on the banged up Carmelo Anthony to carry the offense for a second straight game. His 33 point performance was not enough to overcome Stoudemire’s 22 minute 12 point performance on Monday versus Orlando. This team is built around their two superstars and does not have the depth right now to overcome the consistently poor play by one of them. As long as Stoudemire struggles, this team will be mediocre and inconsistent. I am going out on a limb here, I think Stoudemire will be very good tonight. I think Monday’s performance was rock bottom and tonight he will get back on track and dominate.
  • Which mediocre Suns shooter will kill the Knicks tonight? The Knicks love to make people’s careers (credit to my uncle for that saying) and the Suns have plenty of candidates. Will Shannon Brown score 20? Jared Dudley 25? Will the Knicks let Robin Lopez go for 50? The Knicks perimeter defense sucked on Monday versus Orlando and if it sucks tonight I think the Knicks will lose. Defense hasn’t been the Knicks problem this year but with the offensive struggles, this team does not have a great margin for error defensively.
  • The Knicks must defend the pick and roll. The one thing the Knicks can’t do offensively is run the pick and roll. The one thing the Suns do very well offensively is the pick and roll. Suns center Marcin Gortat is ranked 3rd in the NBA in points per possession on the pick and roll. Tonight, if the Knicks can slow down the Nash to Gortat connection, they’ll have a good shot to hold the Suns in check defensively.
  • Bill Walker is not playing. Mike Bibby and Steve Novak will probably see more minutes tonight because of Walker’s absence.
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Notes from the Knicks 102-93 Loss to Orlando

Amar’e Stoudemire was in foul trouble all game and Carmelo Anthony ran out of gas as the Knicks relinquished a fourth quarter lead and lost to the Magic at Madison Square Garden 102-93. Despite shutting down Dwight Howard, the Knicks defense was not good enough to slow Orlando down in the second half.

Here are some notes from the game:

  • A tale of two halves. The Knicks outplayed Orlando in the first half only to be beaten down the second half. In the first half, Carmelo Anthony was rolling with 16 points and the Knicks offense put up 51 points despite Amar’e Stoudemire sitting out most of the half with foul trouble. The defense, and Tyson Chandler in particular, held Dwight Howard and the Magic to 45 points. In the second half, Anthony began to struggle and Orlando’s perimeter shooting began to take over. Ryan Anderson went 7/13 from outside the arc thus burying the Knicks in the 4th quarter. The Knicks forgot how to guard the perimeter in the 4th quarter giving up 29 points. Late in the fourth, Orlando went to a zone defense in which the Knicks responded by running around like headless chickens.
  • Stoudemire must be better. 22 minutes. Stoudemire relegated himself to the bench with silly fouls resulting in him playing 22 minutes. Douglas played 22 minutes and Jeffries played 25. As much as I like Douglas (when he’s not running the point) and Jeffries, the Knicks will not win games with those guys playing as many minutes as Stoudemire. When Stoudemire did play, he was fairly efficient on offense shooting 4/7 for 12 points. After the game, Stoudemire looked depressed and sullen and I think this might be a turning point for him. In what I believe to be a positive sign, Stoudemire proclaimed after the game “I take blame for the loss. I got into foul trouble. Won’t happen again.” I think the fact that he grabbed his poor performance by the horns and made no excuses for his poor game (more on that in a second *cough* Melo *cough*) is a good sign and I expect him to come out determined on Wednesday versus Phoenix.
  • Oh Melo… After the game, Melo spoke to the media about his 9/27 performance. He claimed that he couldn’t control the ball because of his sprained wrist. I have a problem with this. I have a problem on two levels. One, why do you shoot the ball 27 times if you cannot control the ball? I did not have an issue with Melo’s shot selection today, I actually thought it was very good. However, he leaves himself open to criticism by using the wrist as an excuse. If he does not feel like he can shoot then why does he take 8 three pointers? I know he had 16 free throw attempts but if he could not shoot the ball he should have gotten to the line more. My second issue is that Kobe Bryant has not used that excuse once this year. He has a worst wrist than Melo does. Now I hate Kobe and it burns my skin just to be writing this but if you are healthy enough to play, you play and you give no excuse. I don’t believe Melo’s wrist is so bad that he can’t hit shots, clearly he still had a decent game with 33 points. He is not in Stoudemire condition like the playoffs last season when he could barely run around with his back, much less play basketball at a high level. I love Melo but I don’t love using his wrist as an excuse, especially when he shoots 27 times.
  • Walker only got 10 minutes in the game. He was 0/1 with 1 rebound and was a -11 on the day. Maybe D’Antoni and the staff finally read my blog.
  • Chandler was excellent defensively. Today showcased what Tyson Chandler can do for this Knick team. His performance today is why they gave him a 4 year 58 million dollar contract. He held the best center in the game to 8 points and 10 rebounds. 8 points and 10 rebounds. That is unbelievable when you think about Howard’s usual performance against the Knicks. Howard averaged 29 points and 15.8 rebounds a game versus the Knicks last year. This season, he is averaging 20.5 ppg and 15.2 rpg. He was almost a non-factor in terms of production today. It was a marvelous performance by Chandler.
  • Jared Jeffries was great today. He played a solid defensive 25 minutes and even contributed 6 points. Today showed why Jeffries is valuable to this team. Often berated by Knick fans, Jeffries is an important player on this team because of his defensive prowess at both the 4 and the 5. With Stoudemire eating pine all game, Jeffries stepped up and played some nice defense today. Had Jeffries not been available today, the Knicks would have had to play Chandler over 40 minutes (he played 34) and would have had to play either Balkman or Walker more minutes today.
  • Douglas played better today. I thought he provided a nice spark off the bench but like the rest of the club, he went cold in the 4th quarter.
  • I thought Fields was better today. His defense was good except for a couple times when he was mixed up on defensive switches and left JJ Redick open. His offense was okay until the late 4th quarter when he air-balled a shot and turned the ball over once. WIth Fields it needs to be baby steps. I do think he will be good this year and I think he just needs some confidence. His rebounding seems to be coming around as well. He has had 5+ rebounds in 4 of his last 5 games.
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Knicks-Magic: What to Watch For

The Knicks went 1-3 against Orlando last season. They come into today’s game on a two game losing streak and potentially without superstar Carmelo Anthony.

Here’s what to watch for:

  • How will the Knicks defend Dwight Howard? This will be interesting because this is the first Chandler versus Howard matchup. Last season, the Knicks mostly guarded Howard with the sterling post defensive presences of Shawne Williams and Ronny Turiaf, both of whom are no longer on the team. Howard averaged 29 points and 15.8 rebounds per game over the four games he faced the Knicks. It will be interesting to see how the Knicks defend Howard. Will they hack-a-Dwight like Mark Jackson and Golden State did last week? Or will they take the Atlanta Hawks approach and guard Howard one on one and lock down the perimeter? I think the smart thing to do would be to guard Howard one on one and lock down the perimeter, especially if Melo is not playing. If Orlando gets hot from 3, it will be a long night for the Knicks.
  • Will Glen Davis bring out the best in Amar’e? Glen Davis always talks shit about Amar’e… and Amar’e then shits on him. See evidence here and here. Knick fans, including myself, have been frustrated with Stoudemire’s struggles this season because we know him to be the dominant force he was last season. Could Glen Davis turn the Knicks tide? If Amar’e can go for an efficient 30 and 10 on “the big baby” then maybe he can get on a roll. I would love to see the Knick superstar get back on track today against fat baby Davis.
  • How will Amar’e be used in the offense? During the game, I will be noting, and then posting here afterwards, where Amar’e gets the ball offensively and the results. I noted in last night’s notes from the OKC game that often times Stoudemire got the ball outside the arc and then was left on isolations thus resulting in wasted possessions. It will be interesting to see if Stoudemire will try to get inside knowing that Dwight Howard will be waiting for him there.
  • If Melo is out, does Walker have to start again? I’d much rather see Fields. At least Fields will defend. Walker does nothing. The Knicks need to bounce back defensively after the last two porous games. If Walker is playing significant minutes, I think the defensive prowess of the team suffers. When Walker does not shoot, like Saturday night when he was 1/6, he is pretty much useless. I’d rather see Fields inserted back into the lineup and given a vote of confidence to see if he can get back on track.
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Notes From the Knicks 104-92 Loss to Oklahoma City

The Knicks were expected to lose to Oklahoma City on Saturday night without Carmelo Anthony. They did. Badly. The Knicks, who make blowouts look semi-competitive in the box score better than any team I’ve ever seen, lost in Oklahoma City 104-92.

Here are some notes from the game:

  • I saw some things I liked and some things I didn’t like about Amar’e Stoudemire. I’ll be positive and start with what I liked. He did make a conscious effort to drive the ball last night. Driving to the hoop then allowed Stoudemire was able to kick out 3 assists to his teammates on the perimeter. I did not feel like Stoudemire forced a lot of shots in the first half, he just wasn’t hitting them. In the second half, I thought he forced a lot of shots but that was mostly because of the lopsided score (it was 70-47 at halftime). Here are the negatives. STAT picked up his league-leading 4th technical foul. This has to be a concern because in this shortened season, 13 results in a suspension. As a leader on this team, Stoudemire has to fix this problem and stop getting so many technical fouls. One thing I noticed on offense last night was where Stoudemire was getting the ball. I noticed that he was getting the ball on isolations outside the 3 point line in the left corner and then out past the left elbow. This is a direct result of having either no point guard or no offensive plan, and I know D’Antoni isn’t drawing up schemes were Stoudemire isolates outside the 3 point line. I think in order to help Stoudemire out of this funk, the point guards must do a better job of getting him the ball in a position to be successful, aka not outside the damn 3 point line.
  • In Melo’s absence, Bill Walker was …well Bill Walker. Despite my clear disdain for Bill Walker, I was rooting for him last night to help get the Knicks a victory. I should have known better. Rather than grab his new opportunity by the horns, he dropped the ball and sucked. He shot 1/6 from the floor, the 1 being a dunk, 0/4 from outside the arc, including an air ball, and he played porous defense on Kevin Durant. To his defense Durant is an animal but letting Durant hit 10/13? C’mon Walker. I pray to god that Melo comes back Monday not only to help the team but to put Walker out of the starting lineup. I saw people on Twitter saying that Walker should start and it drove me insane. There was nothing he did last night to indicate that he is deserving of playing more, only indications that he should play less.
  • Durant should have been double teamed on defense. I do not understand why the Knicks did not constantly bring double teams on Kevin Durant. This falls on D’Antoni and Woodson for not making this adjustment. I noted three times in the first half when they doubled on KD. Two of the three possessions resulted in a turnover and one resulted in an OKC layup. Clearly the Knicks had no way to stop the guy, he was 10/13, so why not bring more double teams and mix it up? I thought that was a glaring mistake by the coaching staff last night. When you’re short handed, you have to do everything you can to scrap out a win and as a coaching staff you must put your players in better position to win. The Knicks coaches did not do a good job of that defensively because they should have had Durant double teamed all night.
  • Jorts continues to shine. Josh Harrellson has been the lone bright spot for the Knick bench lately and he continued that trend last night. His defense was again solid and he put in 10 points on 2/5 shooting from beyond the arc. I really like what Jorts has been bringing to the table. Him and Jeffries, who returned last night, give us two pretty good defensive front court players off the bench. Obviously Jeffries contributes close to nothing on offense but Jorts can stretch the floor and hit his 3′s. I continue to like how Jorts plays the game.
  • Jeffries returned last night. I thought Jeffries had a pretty decent game in his return from injury. He was 0/4 from the field, taking 4 more shots than he should, but he contributed 5 rebounds, 2 blocks and 2 steals in 22 minutes of play. I thought D’Antoni had a very interesting rotation late in the first half. He had Shumpert and Fields as the guard with Jeffries, Harrellson and Chandler in the front court. The rotation didn’t really work last night but that doesn’t mean it can’t work. That rotation has a lot of size and defensive skill. I think that rotation could be regularly seen at the end of quarters or the first half as the season progresses.
  • Toney Douglas looked like the Toney Douglas of old. This is a good thing Knick fans. Douglas came in and shot the ball well last night. He was 5/10 and put in 14 points. Though he didn’t hit a 3 pointer, going 0/3, I thought his game was a step in the right direction. Douglas will never be a solid distributing point guard but if he can score some points off the bench and not be a detriment to the team then he will be a good piece to this Knick club. He was a +4 on the night and looked more confident on the offensive end.
  • Landry Fields looked like the Landry Fields of new. Poor Landry Fields seems to have lost all his confidence right now. It is a shame because I really think he can be a good contributor to this Knick club. For whatever reason, he seems to have just totally lose all his confidence. He was a sad 1/7 from the floor last night. His lone good play was a nice pick and roll he ran with Jorts in the second quarter but apart from that he was pretty bad. Fortunately for him, Bill Walker was equally as bad so Fields will continue to see minutes and hopefully will bust out of this slump.
  • Unfortunately for Fields and Walker, Bibby was very good last night. I liked what Bibby did. Rocking an oversized blue headband, Bibby shot the ball really well from outside the arc, shooting 2/4, and I thought he moved the ball well. Despite the fact that he hasn’t been a good defender since 1978, I think Bibby can contribute as a backup point guard. If he can continue to shoot well he will play because right now the Knicks collectively have struggled from 3 point range.
  • Can Steve Novak get some shots? He played 5 minutes and shot 0 times. If you’re not gonna get him a shot then why play him? He doesn’t really do anything else well so if he’s not shooting 3′s then he is kind of pointless.
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Knicks-Thunder: What to Watch For

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93PZwMX2tU8&feature=fvst]

Last season the Knicks were 1-1 versus the Thunder. They did not face the Thunder with Carmelo Anthony last season and they will not face them with Anthony tonight. He is out with a sprained ankle.

Here’s what to watch for:

  • Bill Walker, yes that Bill Walker, will start in place of Melo. Walker can only shoot 3′s and he plays no defense. I think D’Antoni would be smart to match Fields up on Durant and stick Walker on Sefolosha/Harden. I think with Walker on him, Durant could score 70 tonight.
  • How do the Knicks compensate for Melo’s absence on offense? Melo this year has accounted for a 34.4% usage rate in the Knicks offense. If Bill Walker records 34.4% usage rate tonight, I’ll probably shoot myself in the head. The ball needs to moved in the offense tonight. I think in order to win, the Knicks will have to improve on their 3 point shooting. The Knicks have shot 31% from outside the arc this season. Melo is shooting 37% from 3 which shows how poor the rest of the team has been. Fields, Shumpert and Douglas have shot 22% 25% and 26% from 3 respectively.
  • Amar’e must dominate tonight. In order for the Knicks to win tonight, Amar’e must go for an efficient 30 point game. The Knicks need him to play like the Amar’e of last season. His test tonight is Serge Ibaka who can be had. While Ibaka is athletic, he can be beaten on the pick and roll and he’s been beat on isolations 7 of 13 times this season. If Amar’e can snap out of his funk tonight, he should have a good game.
  • How does Shumpert bounce back? Shumpert played his worst game of the year in Memphis, shooting rapidly in a 5/20 performance. Tonight he faces Russell Westbrook who is a very good defensive point guard. Shumpert must continue to play well on defense and improve his game offensively. Not only does he need to shoot less but he needs to penetrate and kick more often. His athleticism allows him to get to the rim whenever he wants but he needs to dish the ball more to create open mid-range and 3 point opportunities.
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Notes From Grizzlies 94-83 Ass-Whooping of the Knicks

That game sucked. Chandler was nonexistent, Melo got hurt and Amar’e scored 6 points. Need I say more? Knicks lost 94-83 and it wasn’t that close.

Here are some notes from the game:

  • Amar’e had a really good game tonight. He got 2 fouls in the first 2 minutes and finished the game 1/7 with 6 points and 3 rebounds in 20 minutes. It was like he and Chandler got on a plane to Oklahoma City with about 6 minutes to go in the first quarter. Both players were non factors tonight, much like the rest of the beleaguered team except for Melo.
  • Melo is a mess right now. He played a good game, scoring 14 points on 6/11 shooting, but he sprained both his wrist and ankle. It was just that type of a game. Melo’s status is unknown right now but if he’s out for any period of time, the Knicks will be in trouble. While Amar’e and Chandler were on their way to Oklahoma City, Melo kept the Knicks from drowning with his quality offensive game. Right now, he is far and away the Knicks best player but unfortunately he is the most injury beleaguered player with the exceptions of Davis and Jeffries.
  • Can Baron Davis come back already? I know he won’t hit the ground running but he can’t be any worse than this. I love Shumpert but tonight showed why we cannot rely on Shumpert. He was…. ready for this? 5/20 shooting the ball. Yes he took 20 shots and hit 5 of them. At one point he had more shot attempts than Melo, Amar’e and Chandler combined. Knick fans will act like its the end of the world. It’s not. Shumpert is a rookie, he will have games like that. That being said, this team cannot afford to have many outputs like this from Shumpert. His offensive efficiency is crucial to the Knicks success. (Hoopdata hasn’t released the advanced box scores yet but I am expecting Shumpert’s usage rate to be in the 70′s).
  • Bill Walker is a garbage time all-pro. Too bad he goes 0/11 in the playoffs.
  • Douglas showed signs of life… With 4 minutes to go in the middle of a blowout
  • Notes on Landry Fields: see notes on Toney Douglas
  • Jeremy Lin didn’t even see the court in this one… I expect him to be cut next time the Knicks sign a free agent.
  • Jerome Jordan didn’t even see the court in this one… he might be headed to the D-league when Jeffries comes back
  • Chandler was a -22 tonight
  • Novak was a +12
  • Jorts continues to stroke from outside the arc
  • Douglas continues to not stroke from outside the arc
  • Balkman thought he was Scottie Pippen trying to pipe on people tonight at the rim. He was unsuccessful.
  • Knicks play OKC on Saturday. If Melo’s not there, Saturday’s game might be worse than this one.
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Knicks-Grizzlies: What to Watch For

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COrXqN_vl14&feature=fvst]

Last season the Knicks finished 2-0 against Memphis including a 110-108 thriller in which Melo hit a game winner. The Knicks, winners of 4 straight, look to continue their hot streak against the Zack Randolph-less Memphis Grizziles tonight.

Here are some things to watch for tonight:

  • Stoudemire vs Marreese Speights. With injuries to Zach Randoph and Darrell Arthur, the next man up for the Grizzlies is newly acquired Marreese Speights. Stoudemire should destroy Speights tonight. There’s no other way to say it. If Stoudemire can dominate tonight and take some of the pressure off Melo, I think the Knick offense will be much more productive than last night. Last night, Anthony had a 43% usage rate while Stoudemire was at 25% I think if those usage rates can even out a bit more, the Knicks will be more successful offensively.
  • Can Shump go 5-0? Iman Shumpert is 4-0 since replacing Toney Douglas as the Knicks starting point guard. The rookie has brought lots of energy on both sides of the ball and I look for him to continue that trend tonight. The Grizzlies, who have struggled offensively this year, can be had at point guard. The combination of Mike Conley, Jeremy Pargo and Josh Selby should not pose any offensive problems for Shumpert and I expect him to shine again tonight.
  • D’Antoni should clear bench tonight. The bench has been very thin the past few games and I think this is a game where D’Antoni would be wise to play more players. Looking to Saturday, the Knicks play a very good Oklahoma City team in Oklahoma City. I know Memphis is a good team but they still have a 3-5 record. I believe the Knicks can defeat them even if the bench has to play decent minutes. I think having Melo, Amar’e and Chandler all playing more than 35 minutes tonight would be a mistake.
  • De-fense! De-fense! De-fense! The Knicks are currently ranked 7th in defensive efficiency and seem to be improving by the game. The Grizzlies are definitely a team that the Knicks should handle defensively and I look for them to continue that trend tonight.
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Notes from Knicks 85-79 Victory Over Philadelphia

Tonight, the Knicks ground out a defensive 85-79 victory over a hot Philadelphia team. Melo and Amar’e lead the way with 27 and 20 respectively. The defense held a hot Philadelphia team to 39% shooting and forced 14 turnovers. Iman Shumpert is now 4-0 as the Knicks starting point guard.

Here are some notes from the game:

  • De-fense! De-fense! De-fense! Now, I will not say the Knicks were great on defense tonight. The Sixers were playing their 3rd game in 3 nights. I get it. That being said, this game was the ugly, defensive type of win the Knicks will need to pull off in the playoffs. They will never be a great defensive team but they were very good tonight. I think the Knicks have the ability to defend well night in and night out but it all comes down to effort. Last week against Charlotte, you saw no effort. Tonight, you saw a great effort. I think this defense is vastly improving. Tonight they did have a few lapses and were bailed out by missed Philly shots, but overall I loved the defensive effort we gave.
  • Stoudemire looks to be playing slower, less explosive. Stoudemire did have a very good, efficient game tonight. He was 8/14 with 20 points but he seems to have lost some explosiveness. It may have to do with all the added weight he put on over the summer bulking up but he doesn’t seem to have that explosiveness that he had last year. We haven’t seen many explosive dunks with him this year and he just looks slower moving with the ball. I love that he added weight to help his defense and he still is a dominant offensive player but right now he just looks to be moving in slow motion sometimes.
  • Shump makes a difference. Rookie Iman Shumpert is 4-0 since supplanting the troubled Toney Douglas as the starting point guard. Even though he didn’t shoot that well (5/15) tonight, I thought Shumpert was impressive. You can just tell the difference when he plays as opposed to when Douglas plays. Even when he doesn’t shoot well, he moves the ball, he brings energy and he plays damn good defense. Tonight, he delivered the highlight play of the night when he got a steal and then zipped the pass through the lane to Amar’e for a layup. Shumpert continues to shine and more importantly he continues to help this team win games.
  • Toney… Poor Toney Douglas. He was never a point guard, he was thrust into the starting job by circumstance. He was in way over his head, he’s been eaten alive by the fans and media and he got booed at the garden. Toney is a simple guy. He’s not real bright but he’s a really nice dude. I feel bad for him but at the same time he cannot be playing like this. He was a +16 tonight, I have no idea how, but he had some porous passes and continued to hurt the flow of the offense. Again, I am a fan of Toney and I think eventually he will come out of this funk but right now he is an absolute detriment to the team. When you are 1 of 3 players coming off the bench you have to produce. Jorts produced, even Billy dumbass hit a big 3 and got some boards. The Knicks need more production from Douglas.
  • Jorts was very good again tonight. I love Jorts. I wish he had a post game on offense but apart from that, I love Jorts. He hit some big 3 pointers tonight and gave some good effort again. If we can get consistent offense from him, I think he and Jeffries will be a pretty serviceable front court bench.
  • D’Antoni still doesn’t trust the bench. Once again, as has been all year, D’Antoni used a short bench tonight. I do believe that this team needs to continue to play together and gel but they also need to stay healthy. The starters all played 35+ minutes tonight. This is a trend that cannot continue or there will be injures that this thin team cannot afford.
  • Fields is improving. Despite his lost jump shot, I think Landry Fields is improving. His defense continues to be excellent and I think he looks a lot more comfortable in the offense and moving the ball. Fields has a role on this team as a glue guy and him being on the court with Shumpert and Chandler gives the Knicks a very strong defensive lineup. I ultimately believe Fields’ jump shot will return at some point, although he seems to have lost all arc on it. If Fields can regain his jump shot, those 2-3 baskets a game he could add could pay huge dividends down the stretch as this Knick team continues to improve on defense.
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