Knicks-Warriors: What to Watch For?


  • How Will Toney Douglas Fare in Game 2? He was incredibly frustrating in game 1 against Boston, taking 19 shots and failing to distribute the basketball efficiently. Tonight is a game, with Steph Curry probably out, that Douglas should do well in. This game could potentially be a track meet and Douglas should be able to prosper in that type of game. It will be interesting to see what happens tonight.
  • How Will Amar’e be Used Tonight? Lets face it. David Lee is a nice player but his defense may be worse than Stoudemire’s. STAT should see plenty of touches tonight. He dominated last season against the Warriors and I expect him to be dominant tonight. The Knicks did not run pick and roll with STAT in game 1 and thats something I want to see tonight. I know Douglas is sub-par as a point but I’ve seen him run pick and roll efficiently. Amar’e should get about 15-20 shot attempts tonight against a smaller, less-athletic David Lee.
  • How Will the Knicks Defend Tonight? The Knicks need to continue to improve defensively as the season goes on. With the exception of the 3rd quarter, the Knicks were good defensively versus the Celtics on Christmas. The Warriors can score the basketball. Even if Curry does not play, they still have Dorrell Wright, David Lee and Monta Ellis. It will be interesting to see how the Knicks perimeter defense does tonight. As Jared Dubin of Outside the Arc has pointed out, the Knicks perimeter defense is the true weakness of this defense. With Chandler down low, the interior defense is gonna be solid but the Knicks tonight need to close out on shooters and D up people on the wings.
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Notes From Knicks-Celtics Game

Sorry for the lack of posts, I have been having computer issues but they are all now resolved. Since it is obviously far too late to write a game recap, I decided to share some notes I took from watching the game a second time last night.

  • Douglas makes me pull my hair out. I love him and I think he’s a good solid shooting guard coming off the bench but he just does not know how to run the point. When the defense bears down on him he panics which is something you cannot do as a point guard. Multiple times, the play broke down and he panicked and shot the ball. He had 19 shot attempts to lead the team. On a team with Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, Toney Douglas cannot shoot the ball 19 times.
  • Bill Walker sucks. I have said it a million times and game 1 showcased why. He got an offensive foul pushing off a guy on a dunk, which seems to be his forte even though nobody else in the league ever gets called for it. He had 4 fouls in 15 minutes and his defense sucks. He basically picked Chandler off of Garnett on the final play and gave Garnett a pretty good look at the basket. He did not hit a 3, or score any points for that matter, and when he doesn’t hit 3′s he is useless.
  • I do not understand where the criticism of Fields is coming from. I thought he played his role very nicely. He was efficient offensively and played solid defense. His 2 rebounds were a product of having to chase Allen around the perimeter thus taking him away from the paint when the ball was shot. He hit a 3 early in the game and had another possession where he scored off the dribble. With the scorers we have, you don’t want Fields shooting more than 7-9 times a game. He took 7 shots and hit 3. That is pretty solid and I thought he played his role well. Overall, I thought Fields played a solid game.
  • Stoudmire must be careful with the 3 ball. I loved him hitting those as much as anyone did but he must be careful. His dominant reputation does not come from shooing 3′s or floating around the perimeter. I understand that with Chandler now playing center, Stoudemire does not have the freedom to roam as much on offense. That being said, Stoudemire must continue to look to get inside shots. That is where he is truly unstoppable. It would not benefit him or the Knicks for him to be 3-happy because then he is just an overpaid stretch 4. We need his inside dominance. And getting a rebound once in a while wouldn’t hurt either…
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Knicks-Celtics: What to Watch For

 

Will Melo Dominate?

  • With Paul Pierce out and Sasha Pavlovic starting in his place, Melo should have a field day. A 40 point, 12 rebound performance would go along way to securing an opening day win for the Knicks.

Can Toney Douglas/Iman Shumpert slow down Rajon Rondo?

  • Toney Douglas got absolutely destroyed by Rondo in the playoffs last year. This is a new season but the results may be largely the same if Rondo goes off again. The combination of Douglas and Shumpert (Bibby is hurt) must slow down Rondo on the fast break and not allow him to score. If Rondo is contained, I believe the Knicks win.

Who Makes the Big Impact Off the Bench?

  • Shumpert is probably the obvious choice but do not be shocked if Jorts turns some more heads today. I think he’ll get some decent minutes today and I think he will do very well. During the off-season, he spoke about becoming a Charles Oakley-esq enforcer and what better way to do that than against Kevin Garnett. Also look for Balkman to get some minutes to see what he can do.

Merry Christmas everyone and go Knicks!

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State of the Knicks: My 2011 Predictions (Knicks Would Beat Miami in Playoffs)

Overview: This 66 game regular season is going to be a test for the Knicks this year. This season will test the Knicks ability to play consistent basketball as well as their collective ability to stay healthy. Mike D’Antoni will be challenged to keep his stars healthy. Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudmire will be tested as to whether they can coexist on this team. Mike Woodson will be tested to see if he can improve this defense. There are a lot of questions surrounding the 2011 Knicks. There is also a lot of optimism and rightly so.

This team has 2 of the top 5 scorers in the game today. Their starting center was hand picked off the world champions from last season. They have energetic young players surrounding their “big 3″ and a new defensive mentality. I expect this to be the best season of Knick basketball since the Patrick Ewing days. The sky is the absolute limit for this team.

My Biggest Concern: Health. Health. Health. This team’s success, in both the regular season and the playoffs, will be predicated by the health of it’s superstars. With Tyson Chandler and Amar’e Stoudemire having a history of injuries, head coach Mike D’Antoni will have to be careful to not burn his stars out. D’Antoni is notorious for his short rotation and for relying on his starters heavily. This season he cannot do that. Being a D’Antoni fan, I think he will adjust and do a great job this year.

X-Factor: Some people have said Landy Fields or Tyson Chandler. I think the X-Factor for this years Knick team is point guard Baron Davis. When healthy, Davis is a top 10 point guard in this league and if he can return to form relatively soon I think he has a chance to gel nicely with this club. He brings the ability to score as well as the ability to be an absolute wizard passing the basketball. I love Toney Douglas but I think he is a two-guard at heart and would be better suiting coming off the bench. If the Knicks can un-earth the Baron Davis of old, I think they would become a championship team.

Melo will have MVP type season: Yes you read that correctly. Melo, I guarantee, will be a top-5 MVP candidate barring injury. I think, especially early in the season, he will be relied upon as that point-forward and will get others involved. I believe he has a chance to average over 25 points per game, over 8 rebounds per game and over 7 assists per game. As we saw in pre-season, Melo also has a defensive attitude coming into the season. This does not always mean he will be a great defender but at least he will try and I think that is good enough of this Knick team.

The defense will be good enough: No they won’t ever be a dominant defense but I think with the addition and mentality of Tyson Chandler, this defense will be good enough to win. As long as they can slow people down and get some turnovers, this defense will not be a liability for this team. The offense this year should be fantastic and if they can hold other teams on the defensive end this should be a great team.

If met in playoffs, the Knicks DEFEAT the Miami Heat: Yes. You did read that correctly. I think the Knicks match up so well with Miami that they would knock off LeBrick and the queens from South Beach. Tyson Chandler last year was the reason Miami could not defeat Dallas in the NBA finals. His presence down low took away driving lanes from the isolation-orriented Heat offense. Carmelo Anthony is 9-3 career vs LeBrick James. The Knicks have the length and athleticism at guard to slow down Dwayne Wade. Amar’e Stoudemire is a superior player to Chris Bosh. A healthy Baron Davis is miles better than any point guard on Miami’s roster. I believe our bench is better. I think Shumpert, Douglas (he will be on the bench when Davis returns) and Jorts can contribute more than Battier and Mike Miller and god forbid EDDY CURRY. Yes the Heat have EDDY CURRY. The big fat slob that ate all the Knicks money for years now plays for Miami. I think the Knicks really would beat Miami in a 7 game series. It would not come easy and we are not miles better but I think the way both teams are currently constructed that the Knicks would beat them.

Record and Standing: This team I think will finish the season 44-22. I think this team finishes as either the 3rd or 4th seed in the east. I see them being behind Chicago and Miami and just about even with Boston. I think this team wins a first round playoff series this year. I think if they play Miami in the 2nd round they win. If they play Chicago it would be a hell of a series and would be close. The sky is the limit for this team and I think after years of darkness, the light will shine in the garden. A championship is a serious possibility for this Knicks team and I expect them to have a great year.

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Knick Fans Should Know All About Baron Davis

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=0-V-gL23TMg]

Remember this Knick fans? Last season, Baron Davis stunned the Madison Square Garden faithful, leading the Cavs to a 119-115 upset victory over the Knicks in Carmelo Anthony’s second game in blue and orange. This game was just a small insight into what Baron Davis can bring to an offense. I can’t wait to see how he performs as the point man when he finally recovers from his back injury and dawns the Knick uniform for the first time. As shown in this video, Davis can be wizard with the ball and getting others involved and he also can score. I look for him to bring these qualities to the Knick offense in the (hopefully) not too distant future.

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Knicks Defeat New Jersey 88-82

The Knicks finished off a 2 game pre-season sweep of the New Jersey Nets tonight with a 88-82 victory. The Big 3 of Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and Amar’e Stoudemire led the way tonight. Melo had 21, Amar’e had 15 and Chandler had 12 rebounds. A few notes from tonights game:

  • Douglas once again struggled to run the point. He was better tonight than in game 1 but still had a few turnovers and failed to hit open guys on passes. He did run a few decent pick and rolls with Chandler but he is looking more and more like a 2 guard every game. It is not necessarily that he is playing poorly. He is what he is and right now, he is a 2 guard.
  • Tyson Chandler’s energy tonight was awesome. He brought down 12 boards, adjusted numerous shots in the paint and blocked 2 shots. There were 2 things that really stood out to me tonight: Chandler’s communication on defense and his energy while on the bench. During the game there were numerous camera shots of Chandler barking at fellow teammates on the defensive end of the floor. He was directing traffic and getting guys in good spots. Communication is absolutely key to playing good team defense and Chandler is helping bring that communication. In the 4th quarter, Chandler did not log any minutes. However, he was off the bench for most of it cheering on his 3rd team teammates and helping to bring energy to Madison Square Garden. That was really impressive to see that even when Chandler is on the bench he is bringing energy to the team. He was extremely impressive in many facets tonight.
  • JORTS! Harrellson looks more and more like a rotation player the more we see him. He stroked two more 3 pointers tonight and made numerous hustle plays. He was impressive and is showing why Knick fans universally love him. Right now, he looks like a deserving member of Mike D’Antoni’s early season rotation.
  • Iman Shumpert did not impress while Landry Fields did. This is why I said Knick fans should give Fields more than one pre-season game and ditto with Shumpert. One game does not prove anything. Two games do not prove anything. Both players will need to play about 10-20 games before anything can be seriously evaluated in terms of benching one or the other.
  • Jerome Jordan did not play tonight and will probably start the year as one of the two inactive players on D’Antoni’s bench unless Bill Walker cannot go. Walker sat out tonights game with his groin injury. Jared Jeffries missed tonights game with a sore calf but he is expected to go Sunday against the Celtics. Mike Bibby left the game tonight at halftime with back spasms but he said he was fine after the game.
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Knicks-Nets Postgame Spreecast No. 2

Last week, Chris Delgado and I spoke Knicks on Spreecast after the Knicks 92-83 victory over the Nets. Tonight, I hopped back on Spreecast to talk Knicks with Delgado and Jared Dubin of Outside the Arc. It was fun as always and I hope you all enjoy.

Here is the link to the Spreecast

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Knicks-Nets Part 2. What to Watch For

  • Toney Douglas’ progression as a point guard.
    • Douglas, as he did in the playoffs last season, did not look comfortable running the point in Saturday’s pre-season game vs the New Jersey Nets. In game 2, it will be interesting to see if Douglas shows progression moving the ball efficiently and getting the Knicks into their sets.
  • Will Landry Fields show improvements?
    • Fields struggled mightily in game 1, continuing his free-fall from grace with Knick fans. Fields has not been the same player since the Carmelo Anthony trade and has admitted to hitting the “rookie wall” last season. In this compressed 66 game season, Fields will need to play extended minutes this year and needs to find the stride he had in the first half of last season. Tonight should be interesting to see whether or not he looks more comfortable in the offense. In game 1, he looked to me like he was pressing too much and trying to make more plays off the dribble. That is not his game. He is a spot up shooter with the ability to create his own shot but he is no Carmelo Anthony. Fields needs to find his rhythm or he may end up finding himself on the bench a lot this year.
  • Tyson Chandler’s integration into the offense
    • In game 1, Chandler only registered 4 points but it was nice to see them run some nice pick and rolls with him. There were a few times in the game where Chandler was open down low and they didn’t get the ball to him. I think Chandler can be a 10-14 point per game guy with the Knicks. Amar’e and Melo should be such a distraction to the defense that I think Chandler can definitely get his on the offensive end of the floor. I’ll be interested to see tonight if they run more pick and rolls to him. I know the Knicks won’t show their offense tonight but if they are gonna run this pick and roll with him they need to at least see it once or twice in real game action.
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Steve Novak is a Good Signing For the Knicks

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2LeXbvYQV8]

The Knicks had a need for a stretch 4 who could shoot the three-ball with efficiency. They will sign one today. Former-Spurs forward Steve Novak is expected to sign a one-year veteran minimum contract with the Knicks. I actually like this move. Many teams seem to carry a guy or two like this. The Bulls have Kyle Korver, the Lakers now have Jason Kopono and the Spurs have Matt Bonner. I think every team needs a guy or two who can just come in to a game and provide a spark with some outside shooting. Novak is a 41% three point shooter. Obviously he will not be a force on the defensive end but he will give some nice offensive depth at both the 3 and the 4.

I think our backup front-court players have a chance to make an impact this year. I do like Jeffries (I know, I know) and what he provides on the defensive end. I like Harrellson and Jordan at center. Harrellson showed a bit of everything in the Knicks first preseason game. He showed his ability to hit the three, he showed some defense, rebounding and toughness. Jordan is a big 7 footer who I think can bring some solid defense in the post. Balkman, yes I have to mention him, could potentially provide some nice energy off the bench. He showed this during the Knicks first pre-season game, scoring 20 points and pulling down 4 boards. In Novak, the Knicks have a guy who can stretch the floor and hit the 3 ball. I think Shawne Williams would have been a combination of all these things (size, shooting, defense) and alleviated the need to play all these guys but I think the Knicks are sitting okay right now. Novak brings an element to the front court that the Knicks did not previously have.

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Knicks-Nets Postgame Spreecast

Following the Knicks 92-83 win, I joined Chris Delgado on spree cast to talk some Knicks basketball

Here is the link to the spree cast 

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