EARL BARRON IS BACK. Following Rasheed Wallace’s retirement from earlier today (he’ll find a rec league), Earl Barron is back with the Knicks after a three year period of being in exile from New York. Yes, the same guy that Knick fans thought was going to be the team’s starting center during the 2010-11 season. Barron will be eligible for the upcoming playoffs this Saturday against the Celtics. What a weird turn of events the last couple of days; first, King Solomon Jones was waived a couple of days ago, resulting in the signing Quentin Richardson to fill in that roster spot yesterday, then today with Earl Barron filling in Sheed’s vacant spot. Some things about Earl:
- No, Ronny Turiaf isn’t replacing him.
- Who knows what we’ll get in him? Knick fans said the same with Kenyon Martin, but hopefully Barron can do something like this in limited significant minutes. That was Barron’s breakout game, in which everyone thought he was going to become a superstar, because, you know, he was essentially the only hope.
- Barron is happy to be back in New York, apparently, and it makes a lot of sense.
- He also has a championship ring. So, you know what that means…PLAYOFF EXPERIENCE (pfffft)!
Lots of people jokingly said Earl may come back to New York, but those jokes turned into facts. Welcome back, Earl! Two Earls is better than one!
Earlier today, basically out of the blue, the Knicks signed Quentin Richardson, closing the open roster spot they had from cutting
King Solomon Jones. Richardson played with the Knicks from 2005-2009, and holds career averages of 10.3 points per game, 4.7 rebounds per game, and is a 35% three point shooter. This move isn’t that significant, or at least lets hope it isn’t that significant. Also, Richardson is playoff-eligible. Some brief thoughts:
- Once a Knick Always a Knicks! It looks like the Knicks are becoming very committed to this slogan. However, I was kinda hoping that players from Knicks teams we try so, so hard to forget would be, um, forgotten from this new campaign. If the Knicks bring back Jerome James, look for them to have a 10 year anniversary night for the 2005-2006 Knicks, where every fan in attendance gets a replica NBA Draft Lottery ping-pong ball.
- Here’s Q-Rich blowing a dunk against Maccabi Tel Aviv.
- For those of you that weren’t following the Knicks during those terrible years (and god bless you, really) or have drank enough alcohol to forget them, you may not know that Q-Rich is not a big fan of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett. That being said, I’d very much like for those guys not be extra-angry when playing the Knicks.
- And here’s Richardson and Garnett getting into a skirmish.
- Hopefully Richardson doesn’t have to play unless the Knicks are up by 25 and Woodson clears the bench. If he gets burn in a situation other than that, I guess he can’t really be worse than James White. So there’s that.
- Headbands! Melo and K-Mart are already avid wearers of headbands, and I can’t remember Richardson playing for the Knicks without one. I suggest a rule change for the playoffs where the team with the most headbands wins.
And that’s it! The Knicks close out the regular season against the Hawks tomorrow, and then get ready to play the Celtics on Saturday, time still to be determined.
15th win in the last 16 games, locked up the 2-seed in the East…fun times to be a Knicks fan, everyone. (Furiously knocks on all of the wood.) Indeed, the Knicks defeated the Pacers today in a relatively ugly, slow, Pacers-y game. Shorthanded in the frontcourt with Tyson Chandler and Kenyon Martin (and every other tall guy on the Knicks) suffering from
death many different nagging injuries, the Knicks were beat up on the glass 45-32 (and 13-8 in offensive rebounds). However, even with this disparity, the Knicks took 17 (!) more shots than the Pacers, as the Pacers decided to start throwing the ball everywhere but to their own team, even hitting poor Mike Woodson with one en route to 26 turnovers. Carmelo Anthony poured in 25 points while sitting out the 4th with a shoulder contusion (nothing serious according to him, he is still alive), JR Smith added 15 off the bench, and Chris Copeland scored 20 himself as he made up for his poor rebounding with stellar shooting (8-12 from the field). Some notes:
- King Solomon Jones got the start at center, and played pretty poorly but it really doesn’t matter. He over played some hedges defending the pick-and-roll, was constantly getting thrown to the ground by Roy Hibbert, and took a 7 foot jumper off the pick-and-roll that went about 5 and a half feet. Cool name, though.
- Steve Novak missed a layup off the pick-and-roll and had he made it I would probably be dead.
- Melo started off hot, scoring the first 9 points for the Knicks, but cooled off mightily after that. He started getting frustrated with the officials after the physical play escalated and was guarding Hibbert and West down low and taking a beating. After getting fouled hard by David West on the shoulder and favoring it for a couple of minutes, Melo threw down an alley-oop from Kidd and then hit a catch-and-shoot three pointer and we all breathed a sigh of relief.
- The Knicks benefited from Paul George being severly off his game (3-12 from the field) and basically everyone on the Pacers either not being able to throw or catch the ball. I don’t think I’ve seen that many passes flying to no one in particular in a while.
- Jason Kidd, a game leading +17, missed a spot up three pointer by about 35 feet, then on the same possession took a runner from the corner as the shot clock expired and missed the rim by slightly less. Then he airballed his next three-point attempt long. Whatever. Kidd came up with 4 steals today, ripping the ball from poor Lance Stephenson as he attempted to drive on Kidd, then stealing a couple of over-the-top entry passes by playing the basketball version of a free safety.
- Playing the majority of the game at center, Copeland actually did a decent job fighting with Hibbert for position down low. This, coupled with Hibbert’s relatively bad post up game and the Pacers refusing to throw him the ball when he was in *great* position right under the basket, led to Hibbert having 4 points on 2-5 shooting.
That’s basically it. I mean, this was a pretty sloppy game from about midway through the first quarter on. Looking forward, the Knicks now have their highest seed since 1994, will play the Celtics in the first round, and can/will rest their starters for the final two games o the regular season. The issue with the last thing is that the Knicks currently have 10 healthy players, and 8 of them are currently rotation players. If it were up to me, the Knicks would play Solomon Jones and James White, and throw in Jim Todd and Herb Williams occasionally. Alas, NBA rules require you to play 5 players at a time, so I guess they can’t do that. Anyway, the Knicks clinched the two-seed. I’m going to run around like a maniac for a while. This picture describes my emotions right now:
Taylor Armosino (@tarmosino): Earlier this week, Knick legend Bernard King was finally elected to the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame. King won’t be the only former Knick inducted to the hall this year, as ex-coach Rick Pitino and shooting guard Richie Guerin also made the cut. Props to all three, but I’m going to talk about King this week.
Often compared to modern day Knick star Carmelo Anthony, Bernard King was one of the great scorers of his day. Though I’m not old enough to have seen him play, you need just to look at the stats to see how good he was. For his career, King averaged 24.1 points per 36 minutes. His career true shooting percentage was .561, exactly what Anthony’s is this season. The fact that King didn’t shoot threes makes his accomplishments even more impressive. He was scoring efficiently operating in the post and in the mid-range area, the two most inefficient spots on the floor. At the height of King’s scoring prowess, the 1983 and 1984 seasons with the Knicks, he posted player efficiency ratings of 22.7 and 25.2 and true shooting percentages of .619 and .585. He truly was a dominant scorer. More
Look, I know that Kenyon Martin has only played 13 games with the Knicks, but recently, he has been a valuable piece to the Knicks bench. It wasn’t fair to adjudge the way K-Mart played during his first 10 day tenure because he got little to no playing time. He only played one game during his first 10 day deal, and was on the floor for just under 5 minutes, the game being Stephen Curry’s 54 point explosion at MSG. The second 10 day deal was pretty much the same, except, he actually got playing time, but again, in only one game. K-Mart made his legitimate Knicks debut against the Thunder and pulled a Bill Walker by fouling out in 17 minutes of run, four of those fouls being in a very short span. But at the same time, if it wasn’t for him defending Kevin Durant, defending as in bear hugging him or smacking the crap out of him, the Knicks wouldn’t have been in that game. Then, K-Mart was signed for the remainder of the season, and as of now, it has turned out to be a great move. More
Tonight, the Celtics were shorthanded without Kevin Garnett due to an ankle injury that will set him back for two weeks (thank god). Even though KG wasn’t on the floor to antagonize Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks still got it done against the Jordan Crawford-led Celtics, if you will, also without Tyson Chandler. At the beginning of the second quarter and from there on out, the Knicks held onto the lead. The Celtics did go on a mini 5-0 run by scoring the first two baskets of the second half, after the Knicks ended the first half with a 19-4 run, leading me to thinking that the Celtics were eventually going to take the lead and create their own run. Thankfully, that was not the case and Avery Bradley was left in disbelief post game. Here are the most important notes: More
The picture above looks like it’s just an ordinary old ticket stub from a basketball game, right? You may all be thinking that right now in your cerebral cortex, but guess what? You’re totally missing the most significant thing about that game. More
Well, that sucked. The Knicks kept their losing streak alive, getting beat pretty badly the Clippers. Missing Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler (and Amar’e Stoudemire, but whatever) the Knicks got thoroughly out worked on the glass (-12 in that department) and got a really, really, really, terrible game from JR Smith, who they needed to pick up the majority of the offensive load. Notes ‘n’ stuff:
- The aforementioned JR Smith was horrible, shooting 4-20 from the field and getting blown by really badly by Clipper guards. The Knicks needed him to have a good game to have a chance at winning, and in typical JR-up-and-down fashion, he followed up his 33 point night against the Blazers with whatever the hell today was.
- Quietly, Raymond Felton had a good game. His defense wasn’t horrible, though he did make some odd rotation choices. (In fairness, the Knicks as a team make odd rotation choices.) Offensively, he made some lovely feeds to big men in space and should have finished with more than 9 assists if any of those big men could finish layups. Once again though, he had an inefficient 16 points on 15 shots. Still, a step in the right direction.
- Chris Copeland started, played 26 minutes, got lost on dozens of rotations, missed some terrible shots, made some terrible shots, finished with 13 points.
- Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan had many terrifying dunks and I’m happy no one on the Knicks was killed by them.
- Once again, Mike Woodson buried Pablo Prigioni on the bench until the fourth quarter. Between adamantly refusing the play Pablo, constantly playing JR Smith, and having started James White for two weeks, Woodson’s lineup and rotation decisions have been putrid.
- Kurt Thomas and Marcus Camby kept getting jumped over by Blake and DeAndre, and then Chris Paul almost murdered Kurt Thomas with a crossover. Turns out kids don’t have respect for their elders anymore.
- Kenyon Martin put up quite possibly the worst shot of all time (a fadeaway that hit the top of the backboard) and committed 5 hard fouls, one of which was a flagrant.
Overall, the Knicks played with effort today. Their were painfully overmatched, and couldn’t score without JR having a good game. Good news: With the exception of Kurt Thomas potentially moving the cobwebs around in his knee, nobody on the Knicks lost a limb! The Knicks play the Jazz tomorrow, and hopefully the knees become fixed by then.
Well, that was interesting. The Knicks lost to the Thunder 95-94, on a night where myself and the vast majority of others thought they would get clobbered. Without Carmelo Anthony, sidelined by
death a sore knee, it looked like the Knicks would need a big night from their normally supporting role players. JR Smith answered the bell (Loudly, at that. I think he might have broken the bell.) scoring 36 points on 14-29 shooting, including 6-13 from three-point land. After the Knicks fell behind 35-26 at the end of the first quarter, Earl erupted for 18 points in the second, and helped close the Thunder lead to 59-56. The Knicks must have kept JR in an incubator during the break, because he didn’t cool off in the third quarter, adding in 13 more and helping the Knicks get a 6 point lead going into the 4th quarter. The Knicks should have left the court and refused to come back on after that, trying to get the refs to call the game early. Anyway, that didn’t happen, and the Knicks couldn’t hold on to their lead, losing by one. The fourth quarter featured some interesting lineup choices and play calls from Mike Woodson, some shaky calls from the refs, and some expletives shouted by me. Down one with 38 seconds left, the Woodson drew up a creative play to get JR Smith a fairly open three pointer which he missed. On the ensuing possession, Kevin Durant missed a mid range jumper and the Knicks had the ball with seven seconds left and still down one. JR got the ball on the wing, dribbled a bit, and missed a turnaround jumper over Russell Westbrook as time expired. Poop. Some notes: More
Whew. That was fun, wasn’t it? It took me a little while to full comprehend exactly what happened during the Knicks 109-105 win over the Warriors, but I think I’m good now. Steph Curry went unconscious in the middle of the second quarter and stayed that way throughout, finishing with 54 points on 18-28 shooting and 11-13 from beyond the ark. Luckily for the Knicks, no one else on the Warriors contributed much, and the Knicks actual won a game in which someone dropped 50 in the garden on them. Carmelo Anthony had 35 points and 8 assists as the Knicks ran the majority of their offense through him, and JR Smith added 26 on 10-19 shooting and 6-11 from deep.
The Warriors shot 50% from the field as opposed to the Knicks’ 41%, made more 3s (15 to the Knicks’ 11) and shot a better percentage from deep (55.6% to 32.4%) and lost. This was, in major part, to the Knicks dominance on the boards and in the turnover department. Tyson Chandler had 28 rebounds, and the Knicks outrebounded the Warriors 46-38, adding 16 offensive boards to just 5 for the Warriors. Chandler grabbed 10 rebounds in the first 7 minutes, and finished with 13 in the first quarter alone. A lot of this was David Lee being suspended for the Warriors, however the effort was clearly there from Tyson.
Instead of doing a normal, bullet-by-bullet recap, I’ve decided to break down some important plays from the game. While Curry went absolutely insane, and the Knicks only won by 4, I thought that they played much better defensively than they have in the past few weeks. They kept their switching to a minimum, didn’t do a whole lot of doubling in the post, (probably because the Warriors were missing Lee), and played with a lot of effort. They had some breakdowns which led to some open looks for Curry, but he probably wouldn’t have missed if he got hit with a car battery. Anyway, to the game: More