knicks

Ex-Knick of The Week

20130318-163917.jpg

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

Recap: YUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VN2KRxTdjE]

When I heard the Knicks were returning back to the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indiana, another half-court grinding sloppier-than-a-food-fight game was imminent. Thus, the Knicks lost by 34 points in a foul/technical foul, free throw-happy game, hence Tyson Chandler going 11-11 from the charity stripe, filled with repulsiveness. Gagging, vomiting, the works, I did it all while watching this complete dog crap of a game. Where to start? The Knicks started out the game shooting 8-22, allowing 30 points to the Pacers in the first quarter. Then, the Pacers scored 44 points in the second quarter. Yes, probably, if not, the best defensive team in the NBA that doesn’t have their main scoring option in Danny Granger due to injury that is also a bottom three offensive team scored 74 total first half points. Only can that happen to the Knicks, I say, because hey, it’s the Knicks. Even with Carmelo Anthony in the fold as the main scoring option instead of J.R Smith as the viable scoring threat in the last matchup against the Pacers, that did jack shit. Depressing notes are seen below: More

Is Adding Jared Dudley Worth Losing Iman Shumpert?

Shump2

Preface: This Dudley talk (as of 4:15 AM EST on Saturday, Feb 9) is purely speculative. There is no proposed trade on the table that we know of and the intentions of both the Knicks and Suns are unknown. Everything written below pertaining to any sort of trade would be purely speculative.

Screen Shot 2013-02-09 at 12.42.09 AM

Phoenix Suns small forward Jared Dudley would absolutely help New York’s chances of dethroning Miami in the Eastern Conference. He’d fit in nicely to the starting lineup at the three spot alongside Jason Kidd and Carmelo Anthony. At 6’7 Dudley is a pure three and a legitimate knock down shooter. He is shooting 39.1% from downtown this season, with an eFG% of 56.1% and a TS% of 59.5%. To put that in perspective, Steve Novak shoots 44.1% from downtown, with an eFG% of 59.7% and a TS% of 61%. Dudley is not Steve Novak shooting the ball, but he’s not much worse and he is more complete in every other facet of the game. Dudley is not great defensively, but he is not a complete liability either. As we can see from Dudley’s shot chart, he is a much more complete offensive player than Novak. He can shoot the mid-range and get to the rim with efficiency in addition to his elite three point shooting. More

Game Preview: Hawks at Knicks 1/27

 

Hawks (25-18)  at    Knicks (26-15)

The only real positives that could be taken out of the Knicks beating to the Sixers in Philly last night is that they have to have a short memory and bounce back today. The Knicks return home after a couple of Atlantic Division road games to take on the Hawks, who currently sit in sixth place in the East, two games behind the Knicks.

After a gutsy and much needed victory over the Celtics on Thursday night, the Knicks laid an egg in Philadelphia last night. They lost to the lowly Sixers 97-80 in a game where the ‘Bockers seemed to be indifferent. It was the return of Raymond Felton to the lineup but that didn’t spark much as the Knicks couldn’t knock down any open shots. It was the first time we caught a glimpse of the Felton-Kidd-Shump-Melo-Chandler lineup, but it looked rusty as expected with Felton and Shumpert still working themselves back.

A bright spot from the game in Philly was Amar’e Stoudemire’s play off the bench. After scoring 15 points against Brooklyn and then Boston, STAT dropped in 20 against the Sixers. Even though Melo outscored him as he poured in 25 points, Stoudemire was the Knicks lone bright spot offensively last night. His improvement from game to game, not only offensively but he has been been more aggressive on the glass and on defense, is something that is encouraging going forward for the Knicks.

One thing that isn’t encouraging is the shooting slump that J.R. Smith has found himself in. His field-goal percentage has dropped to under 40% on the season, and he seems to be lost offensively recently. Smith went 0-8 from the field last night and didn’t score a single point. That followed a 3-16 performance against the Celtics, a 7-19 performance against the Nets, a 6-15 shooting night in London against the Pistons, and a dismal 3-11 shooting against the Hornets. It has been a real tough stretch for Smith who many people believed should have been an all-star. J.R needs to regain his shooting stroke and stop forcing up awful shots in transition and the half court. I think he gets it going again today, starting on the defensive end to get himself an easy bucket.

Felton looked rusty last night, but at least we saw one Felton to Chandler alley-oop that we became so accustomed to seeing. The Knicks host the Hawks today who have won three straight games, including a 27-point comeback against the Celtics the other night. The Knicks have beaten the Hawks four of the past five meetings, and need to get back on track against them today. The key will be keeping the Hawks off the boards who are led by Al Horford, Josh Smith and ZaZa Pachulia. The Knicks have been improving their rebounding on the defensive end over the past few weeks, and as weird as it sounds, Stoudemire has helped provide some rebounding help.

The Hawks leading scorer is the versatile Josh Smith who averages 16.9 points per game, but the more important defensive matchup for the Knicks is Felton on Jeff Teague. Even before the injury the Knicks and Felton had trouble keeping the opposing point guard out of the point. Last night was a prime example as Jrue Holiday did whatever he wanted en route to scoring 35 points in the blowout. Teague is another extremely quick point guard who can get in the paint and cause havoc. Teague averages 13.4 points and 6.7 assists per game, and the Knicks need to keep him in check today.

Follow Brian on Twitter @bcoles1029

Game Preview 12/18: Knicks at Kings

The New York Knickerbockers return to action tonight as they take on the Sacramento Kings (or Queens if you are Shaq) in Sacramento and continue their western swing. The Knicks are coming off a thrilling win in Phoenix on Wednesday night thanks to a J.R. Smith buzzer beater. Smith also hit the game tying shot moments before. The Knicks got 50 points combined from Smith and Jason Kidd on a night where they were without Carmelo Anthony and Raymond Felton. Felton is out 4-6 weeks with a broken pinkie and Anthony is still listed as day-to-day, and is unsure if he will give it a go tonight. Leave it to the Lakers to hurt Carmelo yet again.

The Knicks did get some solid minutes out of Marcus Camby, a good sign going forward as they need depth up front especially with the length of Rasheed Wallace’s absence being unknown. Pablo Prigioni will also need to see extended minutes with Felton out, and this is a good stretch to evaluate just how deep the Knicks are as a team.

Based on Carmelo’s comments and saying he was barely able to walk yesterday, I am going to assume he is going to sit out tonight. The Kings aren’t exactly the best team in the league and they were without Demarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans in their last game. The Kings have the second to worst record in the Western Conference and have been just a mess all year. Cousins was suspended indefinitely a week ago for conduct detrimental to the team, a.k.a whining and complaining over and over again. He was reinstated to the team but did not play in their previous game as clearly him and head coach Keith Smart do not see eye to eye.

So the Knicks head into Sacramento a little banged up with a record of 21-8, and should go in and take care of business. The Kings are just 3-7 in their last 10, and rank in the bottom of the league in both offensive and defensive efficiency. If the Kings are going to be without their top two players in Cousins and Evans then the Knicks should have no problem getting win number 22. If Cousins does play then Chandler and Camby will both have their hands full with the young big man as he is one of the top big guys in the game when keeping his head. It will be key for Chandler to stay out of foul trouble, and to work Marcus Camby into the rotation.

 

Follow Brian on Twitter @bcoles1029

 

Game Preview 12/17: Rockets at Knicks

It’s the game we’ve all been waiting for. Well, not really, but it is the long awaited return of Linsanity to the Mecca, the arena where Jeremy Lin became a house hold name practically overnight. Lin has struggled mightily this season though, averaging less than 11 points and 6 assists per game, to go along with his abysmal field-goal percentage (under 40%). The backcourt tandem of Lin and Harden has been questioned because of their styles of play and has left many wondering if they don’t click well. It hasn’t effected James Harden however, as he is averaging 25 points per game, the fifth most in the league.

This game is a lot bigger for the Knicks then Jeremy Lin’s return, as they should have some revenge on their mind. The last time these two teams got together the Knicks got ran out of the gym, giving up 131 points to the Rockets in Houston en route to a 28-point blowout, by far the Knicks worst defeat of the year. In that game Harden had 33 and Chandler Parsons added 31, and in the wise words of Bart Scott, the Knicks couldn’t stop a nose bleed. The Rockets knocked down 14 of 25 threes, something the Knicks cannot allow to happen again. The Knicks have gone 10-2 since that game, and have allowed 100 points in only four of those last 12 games. Their three-point shooting and lack of turnovers has been the catalyst all season, and could be tonight as well.

The Rockets allow opponents to shoot 38.9% from behind the arc, the fourth highest in the league according to HoopData.com. The Knicks shoot over 40% from downtown and lead the league in 3-point rate. The Rockets are just behind the Knicks in 3-point rate, so be prepared to see a lot of three-pointers tonight from both teams. With Carmelo Anthony questionable with a sprained ankle, the three-point shot will again be huge for the Knicks. Both Harden and Lin like to get out in transition, so the Knicks transition defense will be crucial tonight. The Rockets average 16.8 fast break points a game, and the Knicks need to make sure they get back on defense and force the Rockets to beat them in the half-court game. As we saw when he played in New York, Lin is susceptible to turnovers in the half court and could allow the Knicks to get out into their own fast breaks.

Keeping Omer Asik in check tonight will fall on Tyson Chandler. Asik killed the Knicks last meeting with 18 and 14, and is averaging over 11 boards a game on the season. With Rasheed Wallace likely out again, Chandler’s interior defense and rebounding will be essential to limiting Asik’s effectiveness.

Tonight will mark the return of another former Knick point guard, Toney Douglas. Douglas played well for a brief time a couple years ago and was the Knicks starting point guard against the Celtics in the playoff series, but seemed to regress significantly last season. Douglas was a part of the deal that brought Marcus Camby back to the Knicks, and has played pretty well for the Rockets this season.  He is averaging over 10 points per game over his last 10 games in 22+ minutes. The hard-working point guard was pretty much ran out of New York at the end of last season, and has found a decent fit with the Rockets.

This is a huge game for the Knicks even without the return of Jeremy Lin. That is the last thing on the Knicks’ minds as they want to avenge their worst loss of the season. Raymond Felton told reporters this morning that they owe the Rockets something, and I expect them to come out firing at the World’s Most Famous Arena.

Follow Brian on Twitter @bcoles1029

Knicks-Nets: What to Watch For

netsknicks1

The Knicks travel back to the Barclays Center tonight to take on the Nets in the second meeting of the NBA’s newest rivalry. The Nets won the first chapter of this saga in overtime, 96-89, back on Nov. 25 in Brooklyn where the Knicks were without Jason Kidd, but both teams have gone in different directions since that game. The Knickerbockers have won six of seven since the road loss to the Nets, while the Nets have dropped four straight games including three in a row at home. Tonight marks the end of a four-game home stand for the Nets, and the Knicks would love nothing more than to give them an 0-4 home trip at the Barclays.

Brook Lopez has missed the last five games for the Nets and  will miss tonight’s game as well. Lopez killed the Knicks in the first meeting with 22 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks. On the flip side, Tyson Chandler has been on a tear recently, averaging 15 points, 10 rebounds and shooting over 75% from the field in his last 10 contests. He torched the Nets for 28 and 10 in the last meeting, and with no Lopez tonight, Chandler could be due for a huge game. He and Felton have developed a great chemistry and the high pick and roll, and even Felton’s drives to the basket that go for misses turn into assists for Chandler.

The Knicks and Nets currently sit atop the Atlantic Division standings, with the Knicks holding a 3 ½ game lead and the top seed in the Eastern Conference. It is the latest the Knicks have been first in the conference since the 1994 season when they went to the Finals. With the rest of the division struggling a bit it’s a great chance for the Knicks to really put a stranglehold on it. I still think the Knicks and Nets are the two best teams in the division, and tonight is a statement game for both teams.

The impact of this game goes deeper than just the standings, for obvious reasons. All clichés aside, the Nets want to be the dominant team in New York, and are still the only Eastern Conference team to beat the Knicks. A rivalry has started and the Knicks need to claim their first victory in the battle of New York.

Heres what to watch for: More

Knicks Need To Take Care of Business Before Showdown In Miami

 

Fresh off the 102-88 victory over the Bucks on Wednesday night, the Knicks return home to take on the newest members of the NBA’s win column, the Washington Wizards. The Wizards won their first game of the season Wednesday, defeating the Blazers 84-82. Tonight’s game is the first of three very winnable games for the Knicks before they travel to Miami and play the Heat in an Eastern Conference showdown. These three games are crucial for the Knicks to avoid those let down games we have come so accustomed to seeing from them over the years.

The stretch starts tonight as the Wizards travel to the Garden trying to establish their first winning streak in a decade (not a real stat). The Wizards are 1-12 and are at the bottom of the league in points scored, at just 89.4 per. They then play the Suns in another Sunday afternoon contest at the Garden, there fourth already this season. The Suns currently sit at 7-9 and are coming off of an embarrassing 40-point shellacking to the Detroit Pistons, after which prompted their head coach Alvin Gentry to say they couldn’t have beaten an NCAA team. These two are both winnable games for the Knicks in their home building where they have yet to lose a game this year. The Knicks need to continue to take care of business at home before they hit the road.

The final game of this mini-three game stretch before the showdown with the Heat is in Charlotte against the surprising Bobcats. The Bobcats have seven wins this season, matching their total from all of last year. The Bobcats beat the Knicks once last year thanks to their inability to defend Boris Diaw. They play the Bobcats the night before they play the Heat in Miami on TNT, and this one has all the makings of a letdown game. This Knick team feels a little different than in the past though. They took care of business against the Pistons at home in an afternoon game the day before they played the Nets in the much-anticipated New York battle.

The combined record of the next three opponents for the Knicks is 15-28, and I would love to see a 13-4 record heading into Thursday’s matchup. It is imperative the Knicks take care of business, especially at home, against the lesser teams in the league. Those are the first steps in becoming an elite team in this league, beating the teams that you are supposed to.

Game Preview 11/28: Knicks @ Bucks

        Two nights after the Knicks lost the first Battle of the Borough’s to the Nets they are back in action on the road against the Milwaukee Bucks. The Knicks are in need of a win and have dropped three of the last four games since jumping out to a 6-0 start. After losing their third straight road contest to the Nets at the Barclays, the Knicks travel to Milwaukee. Jason Kidd will miss his second straight game and did not travel with the team to Milwaukee because of back spasms. They face a Bucks team that sits atop the Central Division in the Eastern Conference at 7-5 and can really score the ball, something teams have been doing with ease against the Knicks the past several games.  The Knicks did hold the Nets to 96 points in an overtime game on Monday night, but gave up 100+ points the three games prior. A bright spot that came out of the Nets game was the reemergence of Tyson Chandler, who poured in 28 points and grabbed ten rebounds, demonstrating some of the energy and intensity we become used to seeing with him.

The two teams enter the game under different circumstances. The Knicks have lost 3 of 4, while the Bucks are fresh off a 27-point comeback victory over the Bulls on Monday night. The Bucks are second in the league in field-goal percentage, and are led by their two star guards Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis. Ellis leads the Bucks in scoring with 19.1 per, and Jennings is second to him averaging 16.5 per but leads the NBA in steals at a little over three a game. Those two are the engine that makes the Bucks go, and the Knicks perimeter defense will be crucial tonight to avoid the Milwaukee guards from peculating (Clyde voice).  Here are a few keys/notes/things to look for:

Bench Scoring: The Bucks come into the game second in the league in bench scoring, getting 42 points from their reserves this season. On the flip side, the Knicks are only allowing 32 points per game from the opposition’s bench.  In Milwaukee’s comeback victory over the Bulls the other night, their bench outscored the Bulls 56-10, clearly turning out to be the difference in the contest. The Knicks will have their hands full with the two starting guards of the Bucks, so it will be crucial for them to win the battle of the second units tonight. J.R Smith could never get going offensively the other night against the Nets, and the Knicks offense struggled because of it. Chandler and Anthony scored a combined 63 points against the Nets and the Knicks scored 89 as a team; they need J.R. to add some scoring off the bench.

Play of Raymond Felton: We all know how poor Felton shot the ball the other night. He was 3 of 17 from the field and couldn’t find his jumper all night. He also seemed to be a little hesitant on some pick and rolls with Chandler, caught in between whether he wanted to drop in an eight-foot floater or throw Chandler a lob. He and Tyson connected on a few real pretty pick and rolls that led to easy Chandler dunks, but overall Felton played easily his worst game as a Knick. With Kidd out for the second straight game, the play of Felton will again be under a microscope, and they will without a doubt need a better shooting performance from him. I’d also like to see him and Tyson run that high pick and roll more often, and Felton improving on the decision-making. His defense will also be put to the test against the two electrifying guards, especially since Kidd will miss his second straight game and Ronnie Brewer ailing with a dislocated finger.

3-Point Shooting: The Knicks come into tonight averaging just fewer than 12 threes per game to lead the NBA. It has been a major part of their offense so far this season. They were able to knock down only six against the Nets on Monday night, and it is no coincidence they lost the game. Novak looked like he regained his stroke in the game prior against the Pistons, but barely showed up against the Nets as he attempted only three shots. Steve Novak is a key part of this offense when he is able to spread the floor, but he is obsolete on both ends of the floor when he isn’t hitting the three ball. I look for him to hit some big three’s tonight to help the second unit along with J.R. For the Bucks, they shoot under 30% as a team from behind the arc, so the Knicks will need to keep them around that number tonight.

The Bucks are also a pretty good rebounding team with Samuel Dalambert and Ersan Ilyasova who both attack the offensive glass. While the Knicks outrebounded the Nets in the fourth quarter on Monday night, they were outrebounded for the first three quarters, and got abused on the glass by Reggie Evans who grabbed 14 boards in 17 minutes. Rebounding continues to be an issue for the Knicks, so I would like to see Kurt Thomas and Marcus Camby show up and help on the rebounds.

Follow Brian on Twitter @bcoles1029

Key Matchup Tonight 11/26: Chandler vs. Lopez

Well it’s time to redeem myself in this post. The last time I wrote about the matchup between Raymond Felton and Jeremy Lin and how Felton was going to outplay the former Knick point guard. Turns out I was wrong, completely wrong, as the Knicks didn’t even bother showing up in a 131-103 route to the Rockets. So here is another attempt at writing about a matchup, this one about the big men down low (pause..) for both the Knicks and Nets, Tyson Chandler and Brook Lopez.

One of the major storylines for the Nets this season has been the play of Lopez. He leads them in scoring with 19 points per game and shooting 55% from the field, and has shown a more aggressive side to his game that has been lacking in his young career. Brook can be a dynamic center because of his ability to step out and hit the long jumper, making Chandler’s defense tonight that much more important.

Chandler won the DPOY award last year in deserving fashion, but so far this season hasn’t been the defensive force Knick fans have become accustomed to seeing. He has been nagged by illness and some injuries early on, and the Knicks need him to get back to being the anchor of that defense going forward. Early on, defense was the Knicks catalyst, but lately it has been their Achilles heel. They gave up 65 second-half points to the Mavericks last Wednesday, 131 points to the Rockets on Friday, and then despite winning yesterday, allowed the lowly Pistons to drop 100 at the Garden. The Knicks need to get back to playing the defense that allowed them to jump out to an undefeated start, especially against a Nets team that can really score.

One of the keys to tonight’s game will be the pick and roll defense of the Knicks. As Taylor pointed out in the game preview, the Knicks have allowed 1.08 points per possession to roll men, and the Nets run both Humphries and Lopez off pick and rolls. In order for the Knicks to be successful tonight, Chandler, Sheed and Camby will all have to do a good job of chasing Williams out of the paint and getting back to defend the big men. Easier said than done obviously as the Nets have some formidable scorers down low, but that is why Chandler needs to play a key role tonight.

It should be a great game tonight, and despite whatever hatred you may have for the other team, it’s good to have two relevant basketball teams in New York…But who am I kidding, I dislike the Nets very much, and hope the Knicks beat them down tonight.

Follow Brian on Twitter @bcoles1029