Recap: Knicks 120 Wizards 99: Atlantic Division Champions!

Spike

They did it! For the first time since 1993-94, the year in which Jason Kidd was a sophomore at the University of California, Carmelo Anthony was 10 years old, Iman Shumpert was 4 and I wasn’t born yet, the Knicks have won the Atlantic Division.  Now we can all laugh in unison at the ESPN writers, who all picked the Celtics, Nets or Sixers to win the division, knowing that we surmounted the arch rival Celtics (see ya in the playoffs) and the preseason media hype glutton Nets. The Knicks made sure their division clinching game was going to be a blowout, as they rained threes down on the Wizards en route to a 120-99 victory. They have now won 13 in a row. Here are a few notes: Continue reading

Notes From the Knicks 125-120 Victory Over Oklahoma City

Melo

50 wins on the season. 12 wins in a row. This is fun.

ABC’s Sunday matinee featured a showdown of teams fighting for playoff position. The Knicks are trying to hold onto the 2 seed in the East, while the Thunder are trying to get the 1 seed in the West. It was a big game for both teams. Not surprisingly Carmelo Anthony led the way for the Knicks with 36 points and 12 rebounds. The Knicks were hapless defensively, allowing OKC to shoot 57.7% from the floor, but they took 15 more shots and hit 15 threes. Without Kenyon Martin in the fold due to injury, the bench stepped up for the Knicks, especially in the first half. Chris Copeland, Jason Kidd and Steve Novak all played well and JR hit a few huge shots down the stretch. All in all, this was a great team win for the team. It was easily the best win of the streak and probably the best win of the season. The Knicks now lead Indiana by 2.5 games in the standings. This was a fun Sunday.

Here are my notes from the game: Continue reading

EPIC RECAP: Knicks 101 Bucks 83

melo marquis

What. A. Night. The title says it all. Please excuse me you will. Tonight, the best Friday Night Knicks game of all-time occurred, bar none. It’s not even a question. A bajillion years from now, you won’t be able to come up with a better Friday night game like this. To be honest, who the hell was thinking of Robert Randolph during the game? Probably lots of people during and after the first half of play, but no one gave two shits about Robert Randolph after the second half. People were probably throwing darts through an image of him. What happened tonight was absolutely mesmerizing. The Knicks went from a more than atrocious first half to the best second half of the season, containing the best third quarter of the season, which is not even a question. The Knicks only scored 36 points in the first half, shooting 34% from the field, 1-12 from the perimeter and coughed the ball up 8 times, while J.J Redick bombarded them with threes early on. It would of been miraculous if the Knicks made a shot with ease in the second quarter. The Knicks needed some kind of motivational booster or strategy adjustments going into the locker room. “Fuck Robert Randolph” tweets were all over the place, per usual. But after the awe-inspiring 1972-73 championship team ceremony (I’ll talk about that more later), the Knicks annihilated the Bucks in the second half six ways to Sunday, the seventh way being Carmelo Anthony, and, if you want to include an eighth (Beatles homage), J.R Smith. In the third quarter, the Knicks scored 42 points, 6 more points than they scored in the first half, went on a 25-2 run at one point, and the granddaddy of them all (no pun intended), Jason Kidd’s buck-naked-inducing (no pun intended there either) 59 foot buzzer-beater from beyond half court. Somehow, the Bucks did come within a six point deficit in the fourth quarter, but that was sealed by one of the few Carmelo Anthony heat checks that happened tonight. Here are some notes: Continue reading

The Knicks Offense Continues to Lead the Way

Melo

All season, despite the media narrative of the Knicks being a defense oriented team, New York’s elite offense has been the catalyst for it’s success. The Knicks score 108.2 points per 100 possessions, a mark that ranks third in the NBA behind only Miami and Oklahoma City. However, the defense has been woefully average all season. New York gives up 103.1 points per 100 possessions, good for 16th in the league behind Minnesota, Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Golden State.

On Wednesday night’s Knicks-Hawks ESPN broadcast, the insufferable Jon Barry said something that spurred me to go look at the stats. He incorrectly spoke about how the Knicks defense has been the difference during the winning streak. Having watched the games, I didn’t think the Knicks were that much better defensively. They’ve had a few great performances (Utah, Boston) and a few not so great performances (Memphis, Charlotte). As I figured, and par the usual, Barry was completely wrong. Continue reading

Game Recap 3/31: Knicks vs. Celtics

Happy Easter!

It’s so much more fun to write a recap for win instead of a loss. And even more fun when it’s so much more fun to write a recap for win instead of a loss. And even more fun when it’against the Celtics.

The Knickerbockers won its eighth straight game on Sunday, defeating the Boston Celtics 108-89 at the World’s Most Famous Arena. They now have a 4 ½ game lead in the Atlantic Division, and the magic number to clinch the division is at 6.

With the win, the Knicks took the season series from the Celtics 3-1, and have all but ended Boston’s reign atop the division.

The Knicks dominated this game from about the second quarter on, and held a double-digit lead for the majority of the second half. Carmelo Anthony led the way with 24 points on 9-19 shooting, despite only taking a handful of shots in the second half. He was also a beast on the offensive glass and grabbed 10 rebounds in all, but really looked aggressive crashing the basket.

The key to the game was the bench. Chris Copelandia poured in 22 points the lead the second unit, a role usually designated to J.R. Smith. After three straight 30-point games, Smith scored 15 on 4-12 shooting. He didn’t have the great shooting nights he has had in the past week or so, but Smith did a lot of good things tonight. He continued his drive-first mentality and got to the free-throw line 10 times, as well as grabbing 12 rebounds and dishing out four assists.

Copeland played a huge role with Kenyon Martin being sidelined due to a strained abdominal muscle, and played 20 important minutes. He was 6-10 from the field en route to his 22 points, and also grabbed five rebounds. He got to the line nine times himself, and as a unit the Knicks took 31 free-throws.

Overall, this was a fairly easy win for the Knicks, and they coasted for most of the contest. It was exactly the way they wanted, especially since they travel to Miami on Tuesday. Maybe Lebron, Wade and Chalmers won’t play again? No shot.

Here are a few other notes from the win:

  • The ball movement was excellent again tonight, and led to 14 three-pointers. The Knicks shot 52% from behind the arc and allowed them to build the lead and put the Celtics away. The Knicks have shot extremely well from 3 during this winning streak, and is coming from the crisp ball movement and spacing; the keys to an efficient Knick offense.
  • Raymond Felton had a solid game tonight, despite having only four assists. He hit 3 three pointers and scored 18 points in total. The addition of Pablo Prigioni to the starting lineup continued to be effective with the two point guards. Prigioni dished out five assists, and Kidd off the bench because of the change is doing a lot of little things for the second unit.
  • Steve Novak took more two point shots than three pointers tonight. That has to be the first time that’s happened.

 

Recap: Knicks 100 Celtics 85

j.r rotem

Tonight, the Celtics were shorthanded without Kevin Garnett due to an ankle injury that will set him back for two weeks (thank god). Even though KG wasn’t on the floor to antagonize Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks still got it done against the Jordan Crawford-led Celtics, if you will, also without Tyson Chandler. At the beginning of the second quarter and from there on out, the Knicks held onto the lead. The Celtics did go on a mini 5-0 run by scoring the first two baskets of the second half, after the Knicks ended the first half with a 19-4 run, leading me to thinking that the Celtics were eventually going to take the lead and create their own run. Thankfully, that was not the case and Avery Bradley was left in disbelief post game. Here are the most important notes: Continue reading

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

Preseason Recap Knicks 98 Celtics 95

This wasn’t your mamma’s Knicks-Celtics preseason game, that’s for sure! Overtime, up-and-down pace to the game, and a down-to-the-wire 98-95 finish were all on display during this Knicks victory in Hartford, Connecticut. Also, appearances by Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Jason Kidd, Kurt Thomas, as well as others — so yes, maybe this was your mamma’s Knicks-Celtics preseason game. Or, at this point, your grandmamma’s. You may have been away and missed this sure-fire Knicks classic, (perhaps you were watching the Nets? Ahahahaha.) and in doing so missed out on the Pablo Prigioni-Chris Copeland pick-and-roll you will be telling your kids about. Some notes to catch you up:

  • Firstly, the Knicks were without Amar’e Stoudemire, Iman Shumpert, JR Smith, and Ronnie Brewer for tonight’s game. If those guys were healthy, can you imagine how much the Knicks would have won by? At least 4000 points.
  • The Knicks jumped out to an eight point lead midway through the first, and then proceeded to end the quarter down one. The Knicks, it turns out, are still allergic to momentum.
  • There was a nice play where Melo air-balled a long two-pointer off of a catch-and-shoot opportunity and the ball dropped right into James White’s hands and he made a lay-up. That, some decent defense on a variety of different players, and seven rebounds was basically the game for White, who was starting in place of JR Smith. Continue reading

Anthony Hyperextends Knee at Practice

It doesn’t sound serious but its a bit scary especially with no viable scoring threat behind him. D Brown is gone and Shawne Williams hasn’t been resigned. Right now if Melo went down for any period of time, Balkman and Walker would probably be the guys backing him up. Thats scary. Really really scary.

This is probably what i’d do to myself if I had to watch Bill Walker play an entire season as the starting small forward

Hollinger Calls Carmelo Anthony “One of the Game’s Top 25 or so Best Players”…. Seriously?

The New York hype machine overrated Anthony as a conquering superstar; while that’s a step too far, he is one of the game’s 25 or so best players. That’s about as high as we can heap the praise until he either starts trying on defense or becomes more efficient on offense. That said, Anthony is capable of phenomenal scoring binges, leading all small forwards in points per minute and posting a solid true shooting percentage on the way because he draws so many fouls — Anthony earned 0.40 free throw attempts per field-goal attempt and converted 83.8 percent from the stripe.

Last season Anthony had one of his best seasons shooting the ball from outside, making 42.6 percent of his long 2-pointers and 33.3 percent of his 3-pointers; he took the latter shot more frequently and more accurately as a Knick than at any other point in his career, but in a 27-game sample I’m not sure we can read too much into that. However, he converted only 55.6 percent of his tries in the basket area, a place where he normally excels. I’d expect his numbers from both spots to revert to their historical norms.

Anthony’s less-discussed high-value skill is his beastly rebounding for a small forward. He was fifth at the position in rebound rate and is among the league’s best at tapping in his own missed shot; for a Knicks squad with a soft underbelly his board work will be quite helpful.

Alas, he needs to put more effort into stopping the other team. On the ball, he has his moments, and Anthony doesn’t blatantly cherry-pick the way he did a couple years ago, but he’s basically worthless as a help defender and openly loafed in several games — both before and after the trade. He’s had brief spasms of effort over the past couple of years, but the big picture numbers speak volumes. Last season was the fourth consecutive one in which Anthony’s teams defended better once he left the court, while his Synergy numbers went from bad as a Nugget to among the league’s worst as a Knick.

Via Hollinger’s Genius Article

Really John Hollinger? A top 25 player? What Carmelo Anthony are you watching? I do not even say this as a Knick fan I say this as somebody who watches basketball. Do you, John Hollinger, even watch the NBA? I can totally understand why people can say ‘Melo is not a top 5 player, or even top 10 player. Because of his defense. I get that. A top 25 player? Really. So basically Hollinger is saying that guys like Zach Randolph, Josh Smith, Manu Ginobili and Chris Bosh are better than Carmelo Anthony. Carmelo Anthony, bias aside, is the best clutch player in the league today (see Knick games vs Memphis, Indiana, Philadelphia last season). Carmelo Anthony is universally regarded as the most versatile scorer in the league along with Kobe Bryant. Anthony is dominant in the post, in the mid-range game and off the dribble. He shot 42% from 3 last season as a member of the Knicks. Anthony has a career scoring average of 24.8 points per game. At 6’8 and 230 pounds, Anthony creates matchup problems all around the floor. Even Hollinger has to admit that Anthony is one of the game’s top rebounders at the small forward position.

So what justification does Hollinger give for Anthony only being one of the “game’s 25 or so best players”? One measly 4 sentence paragraph about his defense. Interesting. I do not disagree with Hollinger’s analysis of Anthony but I find it fascinating how little evidence he uses to back up his assertion. Isn’t he the king of stats? He can’t come up with some defensive efficiency stats or some stat measuring Melo’s shoe size relative to the guys he is guarding thus making him an inferior defender? C’mon Hollinger?? I know I am just starting on this whole blogging thing but I’d like to challenge Hollinger to write me back. Give me some justification on why ‘Melo is worse than 24 other players. I get his defense is weak, i’ll agree with that, but he is not worse than 24 other players in the NBA.

Now am I a little biased? Yes I am a Knick fan. That being said, I call it like I see it. Do I hate Bill Walker? Absolutely. Talk about a bad defender? He’s awful and he commits more offensive fouls than any players I’ve ever seen. I think Billups is a poor fit for this team unless he takes on a distributing mentality. I think Stoudemire is an abysmal on ball defender. I do not shy away from the facts. ‘Melo is not  a great defender. Fact. Nobody will disagree with that. But do not say, John Hollinger, that there are 24 better players in the NBA than Carmelo Anthony. That is insulting to people reading that you think people will actually believe that. Even if you HATE Carmelo Anthony, even if you think he is a braindead, greedy ball hog, you cannot name 24 better players. I bet John Hollinger will pass over this or probably not even read it but I challenge him to elaborate on this article. Make a list of 24 better players and give some justification for it. I know he won’t do it and I won’t hold that against him. He works for ESPN. He’s big time. Maybe that is why he had the balls, or lack thereof, to say that Carmelo Anthony is one of the “game’s top 25 players or so”. That statement is wrong, it is insulting and it is moronic. Carmelo Anthony, despite his defense, is a top 10 NBA player. Few are as versatile offensively and no player last season was more clutch. Great job John Hollinger. You sound like an ass and a biased Knick hater once again.