Oh well. I couldn’t whip out my limited edition autographed Wicked Witch of The West broom to celebrate a Knicks sweep on the arch rival Celtics. Everyone that watched this game had their beats per minute go through the roof in the last two minutes of the fourth quarter and in overtime. Even if you took a whole bottle of Lipitor (I advise you not to do that), it still couldn’t have controlled the high blood pressure. The Knicks offense played like the Celtics offense from the last three games in the first half; one colossal hot, steamy turd was dropped on them from the rafters. Somehow, they were only down by 5 at the end of the first quarter. The game was very 90s-esque; sloppy, sluggish basketball was played and it was really documented in the first half, as the Knicks shot 29% from the field, along with an abysmal 20% from downtown, as well as committing 12 turnovers, more than their average 11.8 a game from this season. The Knicks didn’t gain the lead until Raymond Felton hit a jumper with 1:17 left in the fourth quarter, which explained the struggle within the Knicks: Gaining the lead. The reoccurring comeback gene that happened several times in the regular season was happening in the playoffs. The Knicks had a chance to capitalize in the final minute of the fourth quarter after Tyson tipped out™ an offensive rebound, which resulted in a Melo pull up three, in what was their final possession before Paul Pierce took the final shot that everyone thought was going to be drained because its Paul freakin’ Pierce, and missed, en route to overtime. More
Ryan Lochte did some stuff on TV yesterday and you might have tragically missed it. Here’s the recap!
We’ve decided to give the Knicks a break here at the Meloship and provide some essential writing on the wonderful national treasure that is Ryan Lochte. So begins a weekly thing, for better or worse, where I will write recaps of episodes of “What Would Ryan Lochte Do?” in an attempt to make Mondays a little less terrible. Or more terrible. We’ll see. Jeah, this should be interesting.
We begin the inaugural episode of What Would Ryan Lochte Do? (WWRLD) with our hero and a large group of people called the “Lochterage” (Spectacular wordplay. We’re already off to a great start.) walking down the streets of Gainesville, Florida getting ready to play quite possibly the most intense game of flag football ever. Quickly, we are introduced to Lochte’s assistant/BFF Gene and his younger brother Devon. Devon, of course, is rocking a tuxedo shirt. Ryan, not to be out-bro’d, is wearing a tank-top that says “LochteNation” on it and keeps saying that over and over again to describe the group. The teams split into a shirts-vs-skins game, and shockingly, the real-life Aquaman quickly takes off his shirt. Some things to know about the game: More
I have no issues with JR winning this award as I would’ve voted for him if I had a ballot. My mock ballot looked like this:
1. JR Smith
2. Ryan Anderson
3. Matt Barnes
4. Jarrett Jack
5. Jamal Crawford.
Winning 6MOY has become an award about wing scorers, and JR certainly would fit into that category, but that isn’t why I think he’s deserving of winning. If you looked at the majority of this season, he was largely inefficient shooting the ball (remember the ridiculous JR for all-star campaign?). Over the last month and a half, he’s been fantastic, but the season isn’t comprised of just it’s last month and a half. If this was an award about efficient scoring, Ryan Anderson is my runaway winner. But it’s not. More
Instead of doing normal recaps of the games, I’m going to do something different. Due to the length in-between games, I’m going to have ample time to review each game and I’ll write about things I did/didn’t like about each game.
The Knicks took out Boston 85-78 in game 1 at Madison Square Garden. It was a defensive grinder and in the end the Knicks ball security and offensive rebounding were the difference. New York finished a +6 in offensive rebounds (scoring 12 second chance points) and won the turnover battle 20 to 13. In what finished as a 7 point game, those 13 extra possessions ended up playing a huge role in the Knicks victory.
Let’s start with the Knicks defense, which was subpar in the first half. For whatever reason, they were super lazy with their rotations, allowing Boston to shoot a bunch of open corner threes. The Celtics were unable to capitalize because they can’t shoot, but the Knicks still have to clean this up.
Avery Bradley, running point for Boston by default, was a thorn in the side of both the Knicks and the Celtics. I’ll explain. Exposing a bad habit that’s been a problem all year for New York, Bradley took advantage of ball watching, bad double teams, and lazy/non-existent help defense to score on a series of cuts in the first half.
If you notice Carmelo Anthony on those plays, his help defense was pretty pitiful. Though Bradley shouldn’t have those kind of open looks to the lane, a simple close off rotation from Anthony into the lane would have negated some of those baskets. His effort was much better in the second half, as was the team’s. Bradley’s cuts weren’t an issue for New York after halftime. Regardless, look for Boston to try and manufacture some baskets throughout the series with cutters. I would. More
It feels right that the Knicks will have to go through the Celtics on the road back to NBA prominence. Though the Knicks won 54 games, this season means absolutely nothing if they flame out in the first round of the playoffs. The Celtics may not be the the same dominant force we’ve seen been in recent memory, but they are certainly not a team to take likely. We’ve seen unlikely playoff runs before from Doc Rivers’ group in the past, and with the third ranked defensive in basketball another deep run is certainly possible. With all the chaos and tragedy that struck the state of Massachusetts over the last week, you know the Celtics are going to come out fired up and ready to play. All that being said, the Knicks are the much better team and should win this series handily.
Mike Woodson has been a very pleasant surprise this season – re-inventing his previously ball-sticky isolation oriented offense into a spread pick and roll attack that finished third in the NBA in offensive efficiency thus inserting himself into the conversation for coach of the year. Carmelo Anthony had the best season of his career after a wildly disappointing 2011 campaign. JR Smith is going to win Sixth Man of the Year, having transformed himself from an inconsistent long range gunner to an efficient multi-faceted scorer over the last two months of the season. This was the best Knicks season I’ve seen in my basketball watching lifetime, and it’s not close. It’s time for them to take the next step. More
Rejoice!! Not only are the Knicks headed to the playoffs but they wrapped up the Atlantic Division and the 2 seed in the East!! If you had told me in September that the season would play out this way, I would have assumed you were the devil and were interested in attaining my soul. Undoubtedly, the Knicks had a season to celebrate. And on top of that celebration, we also had the NBA’s scoring champion (congrats Melo!) and the potential (probable?) 6th Man of the Year.
Allow me to take a trip back to the previously alluded to past September before the 2012-13 NBA season started, back in the days when many believed the Lakers to be a potential 70 win team and the Andrew Bynum acquisition was a steal for the 76ers, Jonathan Abrams wrote a piece (link to JR Grantland article) about that potential 6th Man of the Year, one Earl Smith III, a.k.a. J.R. Smith, for Grantland. In this article, Abramsʼ general thesis questions J.R.ʼs erratic nature and whether or not it is a function of him being misguided or is it simply a case of J.R. being misunderstood by fans, coaches, teammates, and anyone else even remotely associated with the NBA. While Abrams did a phenomenal job, what he did not stress enough is what J.R. Smith truly has been over the course of his 9 seasons: frustrating. Frustrating to his teammates. Frustrating for his coaches (see Karl, George). But mostly, he has been frustrating to the fans of the teams that have employed him through the years. But that changed this season…potentially? More
Dan and I recorded the inaugural Meloship of the Ring podcast. We set out with the goal of talking basketball, which we did relatively well. We discussed the Knicks new signings, as well as the upcoming Knicks-Celtics playoff series.
*Note* We know Dan’s sound was a bit quiet and muffled. It won’t be next time.
Tonight, join us on Spreecast as James talks Knicks with the great Art Rondeau. Here is the link to that:
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.
All-NBA Team discussions are always fun this time of year so I thought I’d chip in and put mine up here with a little bit of justification for each. Let me know if you agree/disagree with my selections.
G – Chris Paul
G – Russell Westbrook
F – LeBron James
F – Kevin Durant
C – Marc Gasol
The two spots for debate here are Westbrook’s guard spot and the center spot. More