Knicks-Mavericks: What to Watch For

The Knicks enter Sunday’s matinee matchup against Dallas coming off their first loss in almost two weeks. The Knicks faltered badly friday at Madison Square Garden against the Hornets and look to start another winning streak on Sunday against the defending world champions. The 20-11 Dallas Mavericks come into the world’s most famous arena riding a 6 game winning streak. For the Knicks, Carmelo Anthony will sit out but JR Smith and Baron Davis could potentially make their Knick debuts. Linsanity died down in the media after the Knicks disappointing Friday “performance” but that may end up being a good thing for the Knicks young point guard. Jeremy Lin even admitted in his post game interview that the media has been a bit overwhelming at times. I think Lin will come out and play well today and I expect this to be a hell of a game.

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Spreecast: What Role Does Jeremy Lin’s Race Play in Linsanity?

Last week, I had the honor of jumping on Spreecast with ESPN’s Ros Gold-Onwude to discuss the role that Jeremy Lin’s race plays in the “Linsanity” craze. Here is the link to the Spreecast (I am having trouble embedding the spreecast onto this site at the moment):

http://www.spreecast.com/events/linsanityandrace/embed-medium-520

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Notes From the Knicks 89-85 Loss to New Orleans

The Knicks sucked tonight. Period. End of story. They never led in this game, they started the game with poor effort and they couldn’t get a stop down the stretch. 10 missed free throws and 21 turnovers cost the Knicks this game. They were sloppy and played like an Isiah Thomas coached team tonight. New Orleans wanted it more and they got it. Before you read my anger filled post game, let me say something. I understand that this is only 1 out of 66 NBA games. I understand the Knicks came in a bit cocky and might even be exhausted from this constant media attention but there is NO excuse to blow a chance to get over .500 to a team like that. The Hornets had 3 starters (Gordon, Landry, Okafor) out and Jarrett Jack hardly played tonight. The Knicks remaining schedule only has 13 “should win” (in my opinion) games left. The Knicks have played most of their cupcake games this year. They need every win they can get and there is absolutely no excuse for losing to a banged up New Orleans team at home.  More

Knicks-Hornets: What to Watch For

Melo is out again tonight for the Knicks. No worries. The 6-23 Hornets come into Madison Square Garden without 4 of their starters. Eric Gordon, Emeka Okafor, Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry will all be sidelines with knee injuries for New Orleans. The Knicks will go for 8 straight victories tonight against the Hornets. Linsanity still remains in full effect for the Knicks and their new point guard. More

Done Deal: JR Smith In. Renaldo Balkman Out

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fK3-HIoMdaU]

It is a done deal. Whether you love it or hate it, JR Smith is a New York Knick. Renaldo Balkman, who was probably hated by most Knick fans, will be released according to Berman of the Post:

According to multiple sources, Smith, who played in China during the lockout and became eligible to sign an NBA deal on Wednesday, will be at the Garden tonight, but won’t make his debut until Sunday against the Mavericks.

The Knicks have to cut a player to make room for Smith and Renaldo Balkman, who has been out of the rotation since early January, is the expected candidate, according to a source. Coach Mike D’Antoni was never a big fan of Balkman, a throw-in to the trade with the Nuggets for Carmelo Anthony. Balkman has one remaining year at $1.8 million and could have been an amnesty casualty if the Knicks were still going for 2012 cap space.

I noted earlier in my JR Smith pros/cons post that indeed the Knicks new addition is a big risk. He’s been known to be a defensive liability and he has had a vast history of off-court problems. However, I am of this belief. I believe that defense is effort and that Smith is athletic enough to play well defensively when he puts in the effort. I also believe that the Knicks have a solid support system in place. Tyson Chandler, Baron Davis and Amar’e Stoudemire have been great leaders for this Knick team and I expect them to keep JR Smith on a tight leash.

This signing does provide me with a small moral victory as well. As anyone who follows me on Twitter (@tarmosino) or follows the site knows, I am not a fan of Bill Walker. Nothing personal against the man, I just don’t think he can play. In theory, this signing should cut his minutes way down. Walker logged solid rotation minutes playing both small forward and shooting guard but Smith can play both those positions and is a far better talent than Walker.

For more analysis on Smith’s impact with the Knicks, check out my aforementioned JR Smith Pros/Cons article. Thanks.

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The Pros and Cons of Bringing JR Smith to New York

It has been widely rumored that JR Smith will be a New York Knick soon enough. The Knicks and Smith have had mutual interest for months and the Knicks reportedly will be using their 2.5 “room exception” on Smith. It is also rumored that Smith is trying to work in a player option for next season.

The Knicks bench has been porous this season. With the emergence of Jeremy Lin, the Knicks bench has played stronger as of late but this still is not a championship level bench. The Knicks bench ranks 26th in the league in points per game, they are dead last in rebounds and they are 25th in field goal percentage.

Enter JR Smith. The ex-Denver Nugget has elite athleticism and scoring ability. He is an absolute wizard with the basketball and has deep shooting range. Defensively, Smith is a gambler. He rated above the league average in Defensive Plays Rate (via Hoopdata) which measures defensive blocks, steals and charges taken. Smith gambles a lot defensively and therefore does get a lot of steals. He rated 8th last season in steals per minutes among shooting guards and he rated 5th in total rebounds among shooting guards. He shows flashes of strong defense but has not done so consistently and is notoriously thought of as a weak defender. Given his athleticism, Smith does have the potential to be a solid defender but he has not shown any willingness to do so in his 4 year NBA career. There is a basic assessment of JR Smith’s game. The question now is how does he fit on this Knicks team? Here are the pros and cons of the Knicks signing JR Smith: More

Notes From the Knicks 100-85 Win Over Sacramento

Make it 7 wins in a row. The soon to be relocated Sacramento Kings came into Madison Square Garden Wednesday night only to be blown right out of the building by the Jeremy Lin show. In one of his best games as a Knick, Lin played his role to near perfection scoring 10 points and dishing a career high 13 assists in 26 minutes. It was a great all around win for the Knicks and the starters were able to get some key rest late in the game. More

Knicks-Kings: What to Watch For

Last season, the Knicks were 1-1 against the Kings. The 14-15 Knicks come into tonights game looking to push their winning streak to 7 games. Sacramento has struggled badly this season and enters the game with a 10-18 record. Despite that and the fact that New York blew out Sacramento earlier this season, I expect the Kings to give good effort tonight at Madison Square Garden. They do not play any defense but on any given night they can score the ball with anyone. It should be a great one tonight. More

Knicks-Raptors Recap

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqeEuV7C6pc]

Tonight, I did the post game on the Knicks 90-87 victory for TheKnicksWall.com.

Here is the link to the post game.

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Knicks-Raptors: What to Watch For

Tonight, Amar’e Stoudemire makes his return as the Knicks come into Toronto riding Linsanity on a five game winning streak. The Raptors defeated the Knicks 90-85 earlier this season at Madison Square Garden but that was a far different Knick team. The Knicks lost that game with no Amar’e Stoudemire and with Toney Douglas as the starting point guard. Tonight, Stoudemire returns and Douglas likely will play 0 minutes. The Knicks will be without Carmelo Anthony but they should be able to extend their winning streak to six games tonight. More