Game Preview 11/18: Pacers @ Knicks

 

The Knicks will host the Danny Granger-less Indiana Pacers at the Garden on Sunday afternoon, their second Sunday afternoon game already this season (hopefully JR isn’t partying to hard tonight. Wait that was last year, right?). Anyway, I’m glad the Knicks play an afternoon game tomorrow. The Giants are on a bye and therefore I can give the Knicks my undivided attention instead of being subjected to watching the Jets play the Rams. The Knicks are coming off their first loss of the season to a much more physical Grizzlies team on Friday night, dropping them to 6-1. They were going up against the league’s leading rebounder in Zach Randolph, but the most alarming part of the loss was getting beat up on the glass for the seventh time this season. For all the things the Knicks have done very well this year, rebounding is certainly not one of them and something they need to address going forward.

After getting the loss out of the way, the Knicks will look to bounce back against a 4-6 Pacers team that they without a doubt should beat. They are one of the worst offensive teams in the league as they average only 89.3 points per game, and have the second worst offense efficiency rating of 92.2 (not very good). They also turn the ball over a lot, possessing a turnover rate of 15.65, the fourth highest in the league. They are coming off of a 103-83 blowout win against the Mavericks where they were able to find some offense. However, if the Knicks can continue their outstanding defense on the lowly Pacer offense, they should be able to take care of business on their home court. Here are a few key matchups to watch in this game:

David West vs. Carmelo Anthony: If the Knicks continue to go with their small lineup with Carmelo playing the four (which they probably will and should), they are going to need to help Anthony on the block against West. West is the Pacers leading scorer and rebounder, and can be a real menace on the offensive glass. Anthony needs to make sure he boxes out West and limits the Pacer’s second chance opportunities.

Can Rasheed Wallace continue his solid play?: Through the first seven games of the season you can’t be any happier with what you have seen from Sheed. He is averaging 7 and 3 to go along with a block per game. With Tyson Chandler being banged up and sick plus Amare’s injury/Camby working his way back, the Knicks needed someone to defend and play in the post. Wallace has done a great job of that (it’s hard for me to believe even as I type it) and will be needed down low as the Pacers have two very formidable bigs in David West and Roy Hibbert.

Starting Lineups

New York                                                                    Indiana

PG-Raymond Felton                                          PG-George Hill

SG-Jason Kidd                                                     SG-Lance Stephenson

SF-Ronnie Brewer                                              SF-Paul George

PF-Carmelo Anthony                                         PF-David West

C-Tyson Chandler                                               C-Roy Hibbert

Prediction: Knicks 105, Pacers 91

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Game Preview 11/16: Knicks @ Grizzlies

After one of the most valiant comeback wins I’ve ever seen, if not, the most valiant comeback I’ve ever seen (there are a lot more valiant comebacks I’ve seen), and essentially mutilating my caps lock button on my keyboard, the Knicks snagged another win last night, this time from the Spurs, to keep their undefeated record put at 6-0.  Tonight, the Knicks are in Memphis to face the roughhousing 6-1 Grizzlies, who are in first place in the Southwest Division. The Grizzlies have won 6 games in a row, two of them being consecutive wins over last year’s NBA Finals recipients, the  Thunder and the Heat. Four of the six games the Grizzlies have won in a row were determined by 10+ point margins. Here is some stuff to watch for:

Matchups:  One of the most intriguing matchups to look for tonight is gonna be Carmelo Anthony up against the walking double-double aka Zach Randolph. Randolph has notched a double-double in all 7 games the Grizzlies have played this season. Melo, who is coming off of a horrid shooting night, will be probably getting battered and bruised under the boards, but Melo will hopefully, and I think he will, mesmerize Randolph with his shooting abilities tonight creating space on his isos because it’s very unlikely that Randolph knows how to play defense when it’s not paint defense. Melo should take some precautionary measures, though, if he’s gonna attack the rim because the Grizzlies are the definition of hard in the paint (no Waka Flocka Flame reference intended). Tony Allen is probably gonna be scrambling all over the floor due to the Knicks having an abundant of shooters, but Allen will probably be defending a very efficient JR Smith for the majority of his minutes. JR should brace himself, primarily on the perimeter because Allen’s lockdown perimeter defensive prowess is, well, you know, unstoppable, giving no one little to no breathing room for shot creation. Ronnie Brewer is going up against premier scorer Rudy Gay. Brewer has Tony Allen’s perimeter defensive characteristics, and that will probably be a huge factor in determining Gay’s scoring from beyond the arc. Tyson Chandler going up against Marc Gasol will be a defensive marquee matchup. Raymond Felton will be going up against point guard sleeper, Mike Conley. As long as Felton attacks the rim aggressively like he has been all season, then Felton will have a great night.

CRASH THE BOARDS, Although, That Might Be Difficult: The Knicks have been playing outstanding defense so far this season, but despite the great defense, the Knicks are last in the league in rebounds per game and the second worst in rebounds allowed per game. As it says in the bullet title, it may be very difficult to grab rebounds against a team that has a league leading rebounder in Zach Randolph and a superb rebounder in Marc Gasol. Carmelo Anthony is the Knicks leading rebounder with an 8.2 RPG average, which makes me a little worried, but hopefully Tyson Chandler rejuvenates tonight under the glass.

Bench: Hopefully Steve Novak can bounce back from his previous ghastly shooting night. Marcus Camby and Kurt Thomas should be getting some significant minutes because the starters were definitely flushed from last night. Containing Wayne Ellington and Jerryd Bayless on the perimeter is imperative. Bayless’  has shot.556 from three so far this season, while Ellington has shot .458 from three. Get cracking on the perimeter, second unit. And I forgot, I HAVE THE NEED FOR SHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED.

Lastly, on a side note, if Hamed Haddadi gets any kind of minutes, preferably garbage time minutes, I will go bonkers.

NOTES FROM THE KNICKS 104-100 VICTORY OVER THE SPURS!!!!!

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSCdq1s5ekI]

SO MUCH CAPS LOCK!!!!!!! FELTON! KIDD! MELO PASSING THE BALL! THERE ARE SO MANY THINGS TO TALK ABOUT.

*TAKES DEEP BREATH*

*TAKES ANOTHER DEEP BREATH*

Okay caps lock disengaged, but still !!!!!!! That was a fantastic comeback victory for the Knicks. Down 12 with 7:13 to go in the game, things looked bleak for the Knickerbockers. But Jason Kidd rose from the dead (sorry) and splashed two threes in a row to get New York right back in the game. Ray Felton was attacking like crazy off the pick and roll and had by far his best game of the season. Felton came through in crunch time with 4 points and 2 assists in the final five minutes. The Knicks defense went into lockdown mode, the Knicks offense woke up and a Tyson Chandler smash dagger dunk put the game out of reach. When it was all said and done, the Knicks emerged with the 104-100 win.

Here are my notes from the game:

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Game Preview 11/15: Knicks @ Spurs

The Knickerbockers are in San Antonio tonight to take on the 7-1 Spurs. The Knicks are coming off a 99-89 victory over the Magic on Tuesday night, and carry their undefeated record into the heart of Texas. The Spurs are coming off a 84-82 win against the pre-Dantoni era Lakers, and have won three straight overall. The Spurs are one of the few teams around the league playing just as well as the Knicks. I still don’t understand how this game isn’t one of the two on TNT tonight, but I guess it is okay, I’d rather listen to Breen/Frazier than Marv/Reggie. Anyway, tonight’s contest is the first major measuring stick for the Knicks this season as they take on the Spurs. Yes they did beat down the Heat on opening night at the Garden, but the great teams are the ones who can get a win on the road against a top opponent. The Knicks haven’t won at San Antonio in their last eight tries, and the Spurs have won 22 of the last 24 games at home dating back to last season (those losses came in the Western Conference Finals to the Thunder). So the Knicks have their work cut out for them tonight, and need to continue to do the things that have them sitting at 5-0 in the early season.

Continue to win the turnover battle:  The Knicks are currently tops in the league as far as turnovers go, committing just under 11 per game, significantly improved from a season ago. On the flip side they are forcing the most turnovers in the league at 17.58 per game according to HoopsData.com. Making sure you don’t waste any possessions is obviously important, no more so when you play against a veteran team like the Spurs. The Knicks are going to need to continue to take care of the basketball tonight to give them the best opportunity.

Attack the glass: So far this season it’s hard to look at the Knicks and pick out a flaw, but if you were going to talk about one it has been their rebounding. The Knicks are actually 2nd to last in the league in rebounding differential, and have allowed the 7th most offensive rebounds per game. They are the best defensive team in the league as of now, but cleaning up the defensive glass is just as important as forcing a bad shot is. I would like to see a little more Marcus Camby tonight.

Keep Tony Parker out of the paint: The Spurs are at their best when Tony Parker is getting into the paint and breaking down the defense. He is one of the best point guards in the league at creating havoc with his penetration and using his tear drop to get easy buckets. He averaged 32 ppg against the Knicks last season, and if Felton/Kidd/Prigioni do not keep him out of the paint he could be in for another big game.

Prediction: Knicks 98, Spurs 93

Recap: Knicks 99, Magic 89

Well it wasn’t pretty by any means, but a win is a win. The Knicks used a fourth-quarter surge to pull away from the young and rag tag Magic group on Tuesday night in Orlando to win 99-89. It is another double digit win for the Knickerbockers who improve to 5-0, still the NBA’s lone unbeaten team. This game had the feeling of a trap game from the beginning as the Knicks hadn’t played in four days following the fast start to the season.  The Magic came out with a ton of energy on both ends of the floor and gave the Knicks all they could handle for 3 ½ quarters. The Magic, who came into the game averaging a league-worst 87 points per game, were able to drop 53 first half points on the Knicks (the best defensive team in the league thus far). The Knicks defense clamped down in the second half however, and was the catalyst in the fourth quarter as the Magic squeaked out only 13 points in the game’s final quarter. Carmelo Anthony led the way for the Knicks with 25 points and 8 rebounds, and J.R. Smith was a huge spark of the bench with 21 points, hitting a lot of big buckets to take the Knicks out of some funks to go along with a couple of steals. J.J Redick led the Magic in scoring with 18. The Knicks now sit at 5-0 and have an off-day tomorrow before they head out west for a tough back-to-back against the Spurs and Grizzlies. Here are a few notes I took away from tonight’s game: More

Notes From the Knicks 104-94 Victory Over Dallas

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rzmQZaoM2k]

Another game, another double digit margin of victory. The Knicks are 4-0. New York disposed of the previously 3-1 Dallas Mavericks 104-94 on Friday night. Carmelo Anthony was the star scoring 31 points on 22 shots. JR Smith played his best game of the season, chipping in an efficient 22 points on 8/16 shooting. My biggest take away from this game is that the Knicks won despite not playing a particularly sharp game. They gave up 57 first half points before bearing down and giving up just 37 in the second half. Unlike the first three games, the Knicks weren’t shooting lights out from downtown tonight. They also got out-rebounded. However, this is what good teams do. The NBA season is a long one. You’re not always going to play your best every night, but you have to find ways to win. The Knicks weren’t at their best tonight and they beat a very good Dallas team by 10 points. That, my friends, is a very very good sign.

Here are my notes from the game: More

Carmelo Anthony: Post Passer

Yes, the title of this post is correct. Post PASSER. We all know Carmelo Anthony can score in the post, he’s shot 5/10 from there so far this season. But in these first three games, all Knick victories, Anthony has shown prowess passing out of the post. Often times he has been doubled in the post and he’s shown the ability to almost seamlessly hit open guys. This is a skill that is often taken for granted. For example, Andrew Bynum wets his pants every time a double team comes to him and often turns the ball over. It makes sense though why Anthony has been excelling in this part of the game. We’ve seen him make great passes before, not a lot of them, but he’s made them. We know he can handle the ball. He has all the skills to do everything he needs to do out of the post, it is just a matter of decision making. Through the first three games, Anthony has made great decisions.  More

Notes From the Knicks 110-88 Victory Over Philadelphia

This game was a lot of fun, unless you are a Sixers fan of course. It had a little bit of everything. You got some Sheed, some good JR and some hilarious Nick Young being an idiot. Overall it was another blowout win for the Knickerbockers, their third in as many games this season. Melo Tony led the team in scoring with an efficient 21 points on 7/16 shooting. Earl Smith had another strong game with 17 points on 7/15 shooting and almost got in a fight. Sheed entered the game in the third quarter and proceeded to drain a buzzer beating three to end the quarter. This game was loads of fun and the Knicks are 3-0 for the first time since 1875.

Here are my notes from the game:

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Melo Pulls Off the Pretty Spin Move Against Philly (Video)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibhGPVNgGJQ] Via NBAShowtime

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Notes From the Knicks 100-84 Victory Over Philadelphia

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1YqsoYhmHQ]

Oh how sweet it is. The new look Knicks kept the momentum from Friday’s win going this afternoon as they defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 104-84 at Madison Square Garden. Carmelo Anthony was absolutely fantastic on both ends of the court, scoring 27 points on 18 shots and making countless great plays on defense. The offense was efficient once again, shooting 50.6% for the game. JR Smith chipped in with a cool 20 points on 8/15 shooting. Defensively, the Knicks were great as has become the norm with this team. Sixers not named Jrue Holiday shot just 37.7% for the game and the Knicks forced more turnovers then they committed. Up 13 in the final minutes, Mike Woodson put in the Knicks human victory cigar. Rasheed Wallace came in, grabbed some rebounds, dished an assist and made a shot. All around, it was a great afternoon for the Knickerbockers.

Here are my notes from the game: More