My Thoughts on GM Poll

Today, posted the results of a survey they took of all NBA general managers. The participating general managers were not permitted to vote for their own teams. The topics included who the GM’s thought would win MVP, who will win the NBA title, who the best players were at their position and who the best coach was.

Here is the link to the survey.

Here are problems I had with the survey:

  • When asked about the MVP, the general managers voted that Durant had the best chance to win at 55.6% and LeBron had the next best chance at 44.4% Derrick Rose received 0 votes. Really? Derrick Rose got 0 votes? What the hell is wrong with these GM’s? The defending MVP who’s team currently sits at 12-3 has NO shot to win the MVP? I think Derrick Rose has a very good chance to win the MVP considering his importance to his team and their eastern conference best record.
  • I thought it was interesting how the general managers voted at 77.8% that LeBron was the best small forward in the league followed by Durant (18.5%) and Melo (3.7%). Despite my deep hatred for LeBron James, I do not necessarily have a problem with the order of this but I find the percentages interesting.  Is there really that big of a gap between LeBron and the other two players? I don’t think so. All 3 players routinely compete for the scoring title and all 3 players have failed to win a championship. Melo has a winning career record over both Durant and LeBron despite having a worse team year in and year out. LeBron is not 59.3% better than Durant and he sure as hell isn’t 74.1% better than Melo.
  • When asked who was the best center in the NBA, the general managers voted at 96.3% that it was Dwight Howard. Who got the other 3.7% of the vote? It wasn’t Andrew Bynum or Joakim Noah or even Tyson Chandler. It was Pau Gasol. The same Pau Gasol who rarely plays center and whose team was 2-2 with him as the starting center in Andrew Bynum’s absence. Gasol is a power forward and is not even the best center on his team much less the second best center in the NBA.
  • Iman Shumpert, at 12%, was voted second behind Norris Cole of Miami, 44%, as the best “sleeper” rookie in the league. I think Shumpert should have been placed above Cole on this list. Not because he plays for the Knicks but because of the role he plays. Shumpert is the starting point  guard while Cole is not the starter. Shumpert averages more points, rebounds and assists per game and he is a much better defensive player than Cole.
  • At 76.9% Dwight Howard was voted the best defensive player in the NBA. There was nobody who garnered enough votes to be placed as the runner up but some of the players that did garner votes were interesting to me. The other players were: Aaron Afflalo (Denver), Shane Battier (Miami), Luol Deng (Chicago), Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (Milwaukee), Tayshaun Prince (Detroit) and Dwayne Wade (Miami). Tayshaun Prince?? Luc Richard Mbah a Moute?? No wonder half the league is shitty every year. Some general managers actually voted 700 year old Tayshaun Prince and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute as better defensive players than Dwight Howard?? That is appalling.
  • This is the one that really pisses me off. When asked who the best head coach was, Greg Popovich won the vote with 42.3%. That is not what made me angry. Coming in 4th place with 7.7% of the vote was MIKE BROWN. Yes, that MIKE BROWN that got to one championship with LeBron in which he got swept by Popovich and the Spurs. The same MIKE BROWN that was unemployed last season and wasn’t chilling on ranch in Montana. This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen. These general managers voted him ahead of Rick Adelman, Doug Collins, Nate McMillan, Tom Thibideau, Scott Brooks, Mike D’Antoni and Stan Van Gundy. I would take any of those coaches over MIKE BROWN in a heartbeat. Brown is a good coach no doubt but he is not the 4th best coach in the league. In my opinion he is a worse coach then all those I just listed. To my knowledge, the survey only allowed the general managers to vote for their number one choice. That means 7.7% of the general managers voted him the best coach in the league. I do not see the justification in voting Brown the 4th best coach in the league nor does he have a resume that justifies that standing.
  • The general managers went ahead and voted Derrick Rose as the league’s best point guard but then voted Chris Paul as the league’s best passer. Rose got no votes for being the league’s best passer. Steve Nash, Ricky Rubio, Deron Williams, Jason Kidd and Jose Calderon received votes. How can the best point guard in the NBA not be one of the top 6 passers in the NBA? That makes no sense whatsoever. Chris Paul far and away is the best point guard in the league in my opinion. He can score, DISTRIBUTE, defend and steal the basketball. Rose is very good but isn’t the distributor nor defender that Paul is.
  • I believe Melo is the most clutch player in the NBA along with Kobe. The general managers decided that Kobe (48.1%) and Durant (30.8%) were the two must clutch players in the league. Durant seems to be the new flavor of the league. He tops everyone’s lists of favorite players and best scorers. I think he is overrated. He is a prolific shooter no doubt and he does have scoring titles but he is not the best scorer in the league nor is he the second most clutch player in the league. While he is clutch, I do not believe he has been doing it long enough to trump Carmelo Anthony, the leader in 4th quarter scoring this season, as the second best clutch player in the league. He may eventually get there but he’s not there right now.
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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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Analysis of Amar’e Stoudemire’s Offensive Game Versus Magic

Knicks star Amar’e Stoudemire has struggled mightily this season getting his offensive game going. Over the past few games, I’ve paid more attention to where he was getting the ball and where he took his shots. Stoudemire has been cold this season but often times he is receiving the ball in a position that does not help his game. Today against Orlando, I decided to log where he got the ball on impact plays. Meaning, I didn’t record if he got the ball and passed it off but I logged possessions in which he shot, assisted or turned the ball over. Here is what I recorded:

1st half

  • left elbow coming off screen – travel
  • left elbow coming off screen- missed jumper
  • left post- pass out, near turnover
  • ran fast break – assist
  • post mid-left- blocked shot
  • right post- miss
  • middle paint on movement- hook shot-good

2nd half

  • free throw line off screen- pass: play was designed for STAT but taken away by defense
  • right elbow off screen- jumper good
  • left elbow off screen- penetration to the rim- shot good
  • left elbow- penetration- got to free throw line
  • left mid-range baseline- penetration- dunk

Overall: 22 minutes, 4/7 shooting, 2/2 from free throw line, 12 points.

Analysis: Despite his foul trouble, Stoudemire’s offensive game showed a few signs of improvement. His post play was poor but that’s to be expected against Dwight Howard. I liked Stoudemire’s adjustment of driving the ball in the second half as opposed to settling for jumpers. I thought Stoudemire did a nice job of not settling for stagnant jump shots. When he shot the mid-range jumper he was coming off a screen and shooting a rhythm jump shot. A lot of his success came against Glen “Big Baby” Davis who Stoudemire routinely destroys (as noted in my game preview). I thought he showed some great explosiveness on the poster dunk of Davis. It was the type of explosive move we haven’t seen from Stoudemire this year. It is one thing to drive the ball but I thought in the second half, Stoudemire did a good job of exploding to the rim to get to the line and get some shots in the paint. D’Antoni did a nice job of getting Stoudemire moving in the offense and not just isolating him 22 feet away from the rim. Against Oklahoma City, there were times where Stoudemire was running isolation beyond the arc which was asinine and ridiculous. Today there was none of that which was good to see and despite his smaller sample size of shots, Stoudemire was efficient today. I liked a lot of what I saw in terms of running him off screens and getting him rhythm jump shots.

However, there were a few things I did not like. How many pick and rolls do you see in that list above? 0. The Knicks did not run any pick and roll to Stoudemire. At times he set screens but there was no effort to get him the ball off the roll. The pick and roll what Stoudemire does best and the Knicks do not even run it. I understand there’s no point guard but that doesn’t mean abandoning the pick and roll is a good idea. Clearly Stoudemire is best moving towards the rim, why not even TRY to get him the ball on a pick and roll? Especially when Stoudemire’s jump shot has been cold and struggling. The second thing I did not like was Stoudemire’s lack of usage in the 4th quarter. He started the 4th quarter on fire and then the Knicks went away from him. Part of this is on Melo. Part of this is on the point guards and the coaches but I think Stoudemire needs to receive blame as well. I thought he did a poor job of presenting himself for the ball in the middle and late stages of the 4th. As a result, he barely touched the ball and when Melo went cold the Knicks were done.

Looking past his foul trouble and limited minutes, I thought Stoudemire played a decent offensive game. His impact was not felt after about the 8 minute mark in the 4th but he did show some good signs when he had the ball. His jump shot is still cold but he did show good willingness to adjust his game and get to the rim. Clearly he can get to the rim when he wants and I would like to see more of that from him. I want to see some pick and rolls as well but the Knicks seem hesitant to do it until Baron Davis gets back. Stoudemire must stay on the court first and for most but overall he did do some good things today.

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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


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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Greg Monroe Being Terrorized by Knicks Stars

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Last season it was Amar’e Stoudemire. This season it was Carmelo Anthony. Both Knick stars have now posterized Pistons center Greg Monroe.

January 31st, when Detroit comes to the garden, I look for Steve Novak to continue the trend and mash on Greg Monroe’s head

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Knicks-Grizzlies: What to Watch For


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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