Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Knicks 113, Pistons 86 - Recap

Hey, so that's what a win is, huh? It's been awhile since we've seen one of those, but they still exist! A beatdown of lowly, short-handed team was precisely what the Knicks needed. Between the dunks, steals, 3-pointers, and garbage time, you could see the tension ease out of the Knicks and they appeared to actually be having fun!
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images
What's more, we saw a concerted effort to move the ball on offense, make the extra pass, and communicate on defense. There were some lapses, but overall, this may have been the best offensive performance of the season for the Knicks.

Take the jump for some more.

Knicks vs. Pistons - Preview

Tonight at 7:30 the Knicks take on the Pistons at MSG for their second matchup of the season. Last time, the Knicks blew out the Pistons 103-80 and had a dunkathon in the Palace. Tonight, devoid of Baron Davis and possibly Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks may be short-handed once again.

I think we could all agree that the Knicks desperately need a win tonight, but even a team as bad as the Pistons have been at 4-18, no opponent can be taken lightly. Even if Ben Gordon and Will Bynum are once again questionable for tonight's game.

Jump for notes and a scouting report!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks Support Mike D'Antoni

Here's another nice piece from ESPN New York. With the Knicks losing 9 of their last 10, rumors have begun to swirl about Mike D'Antoni's job security. Though the Knicks defense has drastically improved this season - supposedly Mike D'Antoni's biggest weakness - the offense is stagnant and ineffective as the team has struggled to even score 90 points on many nights.
In the past, Amar'e Stoudemire professed his dedication to Mike D'Antoni and his system, and now today, Carmelo Anthony has done the same.
"Anytime teams are losing, that's the first thing that comes to mind, the coach. But we don't talk about that," Anthony said on Monday. "We support Mike 100 percent. He's here with us, we're here with him, and we're going to roll with that."

That's always good to hear from a team. That quote is coming from a man who refused to sign an extension with the Denver Nuggets and all but blatantly said, "Send me to the Knicks" last season. If Melo had a problem, he would at least hint at it. If there was turmoil within the organization, you'd see the wheels start to come off in other ways. Guys would begin pointing fingers and griping about their roles, but that hasn't happened yet and that's a positive sign.

I, personally, am a Mike D'Antoni supporter, and while I feel that he has his weaknesses, what better options are there? Mike Woodson ran an extremely unimaginative, isolation-heavy offense in Atlanta with a very talented team and never went past the second round. Phil Jackson's system requires a talent isolation scorer (Melo: check), but also a big man with a post game, and sharp shooting guards, which the Knicks lack. Jerry Sloan runs a point guard-heavy system with tons of movement, screens, and talented passers. As we've seen, the Knicks also lack that.

It is much better for the team to try and work out the kinks in a system and with a coach that they're familiar with than to blow it up and start over. So for the time being, it's very good to hear that D'Antoni has the support of his stars.

Tyson Chandler Still Feels...

Today on ESPN New York, Ian Begley posted an article with some quotes from Tyson Chandler, that I suppose were made after practice. Though many fans are doubting the nose-diving Knicks, particularly during their current 1-9 streak, Tyson Chandler still feels.
"In all honestly, I still feel like this is a team that can win a championship. I feel like we definitely have the pieces," Chandler said on Monday. "I feel like we haven’t come together yet. It’s a process ... I feel like guys are going to have to step up and play roles that they are not necessarily used to. We get everybody back healthy, we get everybody on the floor at one time, then we’ll see what we got."

Hey, anybody watching the Knicks may have burned off their nerve-ends, but Tyson Chandler still feels!

Though I've never believed that this team as currently composed could win a championship, Tyson makes some points that sort of contradict what's been going on. He stated that "guys are going to have to step and play roles that they're not necessarily used to". Frankly, that's part of the reason that the Knicks are in their current tailspin. Toney Douglas and Iman Shumpert are not true point guards, but have been slotted in their because of Baron Davis's injury. Carmelo Anthony is not a natural playmaker, and while he's had some nice moments, he doesn't really orchestrate an offense very well. Amar'e Stoudemire also did not play a whole lot of power forward last season, and without a true PG or the space that Chandler takes up in the middle, he's struggled to score.

However, Tyson does hit the nail on the head when he says the Knicks need to get everyone healthy. Guys like Amar'e, Shumpert, Carmelo, Jorts, Mike Bibby, and of course Baron Davis, have not all been healthy at one time. Those are some key pieces to this Knicks team and if all healthy at the same time, they could gel nicely.

I think the lack of a true PG has really hurt the team in more ways than just offense. Because the offense is stalling, it has caused guys like Melo and Amar'e, and the shooters to get out-of-rhythm looks that just don't fall. That causes some guys to go cold, isolate on offense (obviously), or lose confidence.

I don't expect Baron Davis to be a savior, but he could truly make a big difference. I also don't expect the Knicks to be championship contenders as Tyson feels, but perhaps they can become a team that doesn't get embarrassed on a near night-to-night basis.

An Update With the Knicks!

So, first off, I apologize for not posting a recap after the Houston Rockets game. I was away from the computer for most of Saturday night and the better part of Sunday, and figured nobody wants to read a recap that long after a game.

Anyway, with that out of the way, here are some things going on with the Knicks:


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Knicks at Houston - Preview

Tune in at 8 PM tonight to see the Knicks take on the Houston Rockets. Coming off of a loss against the Miami Heat last night, the Knicks take on another formidable foe in the red hot Rockets. Houston, at 11-8, has won eight of their last nine since they started 3-7. Though Kevin Martin is may be out for the game (he missed the last one), the Rockets still present plenty of challenges.

The Knicks meanwhile have plenty of challenges of their own, as they've now lost eight of their last nine. New York will be without Carmelo Anthony again, so it will be up to the rest of the team, mainly Amar'e Stoudemire, to try and pick up the scoring load better than they did against the Heat last night.

Jump for some notes!

Heat 99, Knicks 89 - Recap

What a wacky game. Truthfully, I didn't have any hope of a Knicks victory going into last night, and was sort of pleasantly surprised/bewildered at the Knicks performance.

Minus Melo, Baron Davis (I'm still using this as an excuse), and Jorts, Mike D'Antoni went deeper into his bench and switched up the starting lineup, and what resulted was a barrage of 3-pointers. 43 downtown bombs, and just 41 shots from inside the arc. They also didn't get to the FT line with their usual frequency and thus, New York just couldn't find the offense they needed to overcome a forceful foe.

Take the jump for just a few notes.

Friday, January 27, 2012

UPDATE: Knicks at Heat

Just read this on Twitter, courtesy of Al Iannazzone:
Dwayne Wade will play tonight for the Heat.
Wade was originally supposed to be out for the game, but apparenly he's feeling spry enough to play the Knicks, a team he seems to like to get up for.

With that comes a lineup change for the Knickerbockers.
@jonahballow Jonah Ballow
#Knicks starters: PG Douglas, SG Shumpert, SF Fields, PF Stoudemire, C Chandler #NBA
So, Douglas gets reps as the starter again, Shumpert will be put on Wade, which could be very interesting, and Fields has to guard Lebron James which could potentially be diastrous. I like the moves except for putting Landry on James. Fields has been playing well lately and I'd hate to see his confidence get crushed by James.

We'll see how it goes. Go Knicks!

Knicks at Heat - Preview

Tonight at 8 PM, the Knicks will venture into Miami to play the Heat for the first time. Though both teams will be short-handed - no Dwyane Wade for the Heat, no Carmelo Anthony for the Knicks - judging by New York's recent play compared to Miami's, the result might not be so pretty.

As I noted earlier today, Melo will sit out this game to try and let his wrist heal. In the meantime, Baron Davis just doesn't have enough "pop" to get on the floor yet. Interesting decision by Anthony to sit out a game that usually means a lot to both teams, especially given his success in head-to-head matches with Lebron James. However, eventually he was going to need time to get back to 100%, so better sooner than later.

With all that said, let's jump for some notes on tonight's game!

Baron Davis and Carmelo Anthony Both Out vs. Miami

Tonight the Knicks will be slightly short-handed against the Miami Heat. Jared Zwerling tweeted this bit from D'Antoni earlier in the day:
D'Antoni on Baron: "He's a little bit away. He just doesn't have a pop yet, and we're going to wait until he can be NBA ready."
That seems like a good idea to me. No need to rush Baron back, especially when he'll be so crucial to the team later in the season. Get that back 100%, guys!

Also, from ESPN New York, Melo will sit out tonight, and possibly Saturday against Houston. Anthony is shooting just 30% over the past 5 games, and as Mike D'Antoni noted, it's just "crazy" to send him out there if he's not 100%. In that article, Anthony admits to having tried to play"superhero" ball and hide his injuries from the team.

Frankly, what more do the Knicks have to lose besides more games? Might as well try and get everyone healthy, and then get to work. I still believe when everyone on the team is healthy, they can still be very competitive and a real threat in the playoffs. Right now injuries and lack of confidence is hurting them, and those are two large hurdles to get over before they start playing winning basketball.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Amar'e Lives to Play Big Games

So, I guess this was a postgame quote from Amar'e Stoudemire after last night's loss to the Cavaliers (via Jonah Ballow):
"I'm born ready for these type of games. It's what I live for." @Amareisreal on facing the Heat on FRI. #Knicks #NBA
That's nice to hear, Amar'e, but maybe you should also live to play every game, including the one you guys just lost against a sub-.500 team. Of the Knicks' 11 losses, six of them have come at the hands of losing teams.

Also, for the record, Amar'e is averaging nearly 8 less ppg this season than last season, 1.4 less bpg than last season, and is shooting over 7% worse from the field. Not to mention he's been a turnover machine, compiling 21 over the last 5 games.

Perhaps Amar'e should consider that before he shoots his mouth off about "hunting" Miami, and being born to play big games.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Cavaliers 91, Knicks 81 - Recap

Photo by David Liam Kyle

Well, that was fun. The Knicks came out flat-footed and succumbed to launching ill-advised shots on offense and hoping somebody else would step up on defense. In the process, their momentous 1-game win streak was halted by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

This team is just a mystery to me. Truthfully, after the Denver loss, I thought this team was going to turn a corner. I thought they'd be motivated to pick it up after coming so close against a very good team. With Baron Davis set to return, that seemed to have give them motivation, and while the game in Charlotte was against mostly marginal NBA talent, the Knicks played the game right. But against the Cavs, there seemed to be lack of energy, interest, and overall skill.

Take the jump for some disappointing notes.

Knicks at Cavaliers - Preview

Tonight at 7 PM, the Knicks take on the Cleveland Cavaliers and look for their second win in a row. Coming off of a dominating victory over the short-handed (or short-clawed, right!?) Bobcats, the Knicks are hoping to keep their positive momentum rolling. However, it will not be that easy as the Cavaliers are actually in the playoff mix and sport a 6-10 record.

Take the jump for some things to look for tonight!

Knicks Pick Up Toney Douglas's Option

From Howard Beck, who is always on the ball:
Knicks will pick up Toney Douglas' fourth-year option today, keeping him under contract through 2012-13.
Beck also noted in a later tweet that the option will be for $2 million, which makes Douglas a pretty inexpensive option considering by then he'll be in his fifth year in the league.

There's porbably a lot of fans that just shrug at this move, but I consider it a smart maneuver. Douglas has obviously struggled this season, but as anybody without memory loss can recall, Douglas had a very strong second half to last year's season. When he's healthy and confident, he can light it up from downtown, play hard-nosed, smart defense, and even throw in a bit of playmaking.

Add in the fact that the Knicks will not have cap room going forward, keeping Douglas as (preferrably) a backup PG off the bench is a smart move.

Do What Toney Douglas Do.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Knicks 111, Bobcats 78 - Recap

Boy does it feel nice to write a recap without any complaints or grievances. The Knicks were in control of this game pretty much from buzzer to buzzer. It was quite obvious that the Bobcats wouldn't put much of a challenge as they were missing D.J. Augustin, Corey Maggette, and DJ White. But nonetheless, the Knicks put away a disadvantaged team in convincing fashion and got some positive vibes going along the way.

Who would have thought that the Knicks would post over 110 points in a game that Carmelo Anthony scored a team- and career-low (!!) 1 point? Every player on the Knicks scored tonight and in the process, held a lowly team to less than 80 points.

Like the sound of that? Then take the jump!

Monday, January 23, 2012

What Goes On Inside of Carmelo Anthony's Head?

For anyone that watched the game against the Denver Nuggets, it seemed that the crowd was really trying to send a message to Carmelo Anthony: pass the ball and stop shooting. The Knicks' best stretch during that game came when Melo was on the bench and the Knicks moved the ball and themselves and got some open looks and most importantly, the shots went down.

Until the last two minutes or so of the 4th quarter, Anthony was just 3-17 from the field, following a 5-22 performance against Phoenix. When Melo seemed content to not pass the ball and instead look for his own shot, the crowd moaned in dismay and even began booing him after his misses. After the game, a lot of attention was given to Carmelo's unusual introspective ways. There quotes like this:
Maybe I need to not take so many shots. Maybe I should take the blame for the games weve been losing, offensive struggles. Coach does run the offense through me. So Ill take it. Ill take that blame.
Well, yeah, Carmelo. That's the point I think a lot of people have been trying to get across to you for a long time. Nonetheless, it was good to hear the team's newly-appointed captain acknowledge his lackluster performance. But then, after today's practice, Melo just went back to being... himself. Both tweets are from Howard Beck.
Carmelo not rethinking his shot selection, despite his remarks Saturday. “I was just beating myself up," he said.
Carmelo on shot selection, cont: "If I’d have made some of them shots, then I probably wouldn't have said that."
So, there you have it. All is well in Carmelo Anthony's world and his moment of clarity, his near epiphany was just beating himself up. Some quick numbers for you:

 - Over last three games, Melo is 26-78 from the field, good for 33% shooting
 - Over the last three games, Amar'e Stoudemire 17-44, only 39%, but nearly 40 less shots.
 - Over the last two games, the starting lineup, excluding Anthony has taken 74 shots. Melo's taken 56.

There is clearly a shot distribution problem here and the post-practice comments that Anthony made today basically couldn't have been any worse. It's Melo's job to recognize when the shot isn't falling and instead concentrate on passing the ball, which he actually is quite good at. However, it's also D'Antoni's job and whomever the PG is - usually, Shump - to wave of Melo and run a set.

It will be very interesting to see what the Knicks' offense looks like in Tuesday's game against Charlotte.

Baron Davis Returns to Practice; Lin and Jordan Return

Good day, crimpets! Two items of Knicks-related news today. First, and bestest:

Baron Davis has returned to practice! From Sir Howard Beck:

As expected, Baron Davis will be on the court today when Knicks practice. Big day for him, and them.
Here's a picture of B-Diddy putting up a jumper, courtesy of Jonah Ballow. Beautiful, isn't he?
You may notice in the background there is a tall man wearing a #44 jersey. You probably thought, "Hey! That's reserved for Jerome Jordan!" Well, it is Jerome Jordan! That's the second bit of news today:

From Al Iannazone:
#Knicks recall Jerome Jordan and Jeremy Lin from the D-League.

That's good to hear as well. In a D-League game, Lin reportedly fucked around and got a triple double, and Jordan dropped 20-something point himself. With Harrellson out, I think Novak, Balkman and/or maybe even Jordan will get some more burn.

So, hopefully, things are looking up starting today!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Josh Harrellson Injured; Baron Davis Returning Soon

So what do you want first: the good news or the bad news? You probably already know since you've looked at the title of this post, but really, what do you want first? What kind of mood are you in? Are you a glass half-full or half-empty person? Hmm....? Okay, I'll tell you the bad, probably more urgent news.

Last night Josh Harrellson fractured his right wrist and will require surgery. The recovery time is supposed to be six weeks. Obviously this is unpleasant news, but the Knicks actually have people who could fill in for Jorts. Renaldo Balkman provides hustle and gritty play on the court, Steve Novak obviously spread the floor, and better than Josh, Jared Jeffries will probably see more minutes, and if really necessary, the Knicks can call Jerome Jordan up from the D-League to fill in. Get well soon, Jorts. We'll miss you!

And now the better news.

Baron Davis is set to practice tomorrow! From Howard Beck:
Many saying Amare/Melo will be OK with real PG. Maybe. We should know soon. Baron expected to practice tomorrow, barring setback.
Baron said himself the other day that once he's healthy enough to practice and play with contact, it'll take him two to three days to get on the court and learn his teammates. He said he's very quick learner. I do hope he realizes the amount of hope Knicks fans are placing on him to get the offense turned around. Godspeed, Baron.

Nuggets 119, Knicks 114 (2OT) - Recap

This game was both a mixture of (good) things we've hardly seen this season and (bad) things we've seen all too much of. The short-handed Nuggets, missing Arron Afflalo and Rudy Fernandez, managed to rally and pounce on the Knicks with some luck, help from the officials, and help from the Knicks' ever-switching defense.

This game we saw the Knicks move the ball around and hit shots. We saw the bench come alive, mainly in the 2nd quarter. We saw the Garden crowd do their damndest to lecture Melo when he had the ball on offense. We saw the Knicks finish the game in their same Aerosmith style that has ultimately led them to some other losses this season. Take the jump for more.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Knicks vs. Nuggets Preview

This is a game I've long awaited since that fateful day when the Knicks and Nuggets completed a massive trade to send Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks and a bunch of the Knicks' starters to the Nuggets. Denver is one of the best teams in the Western Conference, sitting at the #2 seed with an 11-5 record. Since Melo's departure, Denver ended their superstar subscription, and instead play a very fun, team oriented style of basketball that I'm quite envious of.

The emotional significance of this game has been dulled for me, slightly, with Raymond Felton now playing in Portland and Wilson Chandler currently playing in China. Timofey Mozgov was a nice player and I've wished him the best, but what will really sting for me is seeing Danilo Gallinari return to the Garden floor.

Last year's pre-Melo team was shaping up to be my favorite squad since the '98-99 Knicks that went to the Finals during a lockout-shortened season. That was the team that made me a fan of the Knicks and basketball in general. So, when the trade went down, it was pretty upsetting for me as far as meaningless transactions can be. I had envisioned Gallo becoming the Knicks first home-grown All-Star in God knows how long. I still think he will achieve that one day, and from the time he was drafted, through the few terrible years he beared before last season, he was the pride of the Knicks.

I hope the Garden crowd treats him nicely tonight, and though I will miss the beginning of tonight's game, in my mind, at 7:30, I will give a salute to Danilo when he steps foot on the floor when the Nuggets' starting lineup is announced.

I still quite like this current Knicks team and though I've written harsh words about them, I have plenty of hope that in the next four months (yes, we still have that much season) they will turn it around. However, I hope fans and Knicks management, and even the players, take notice tonight of what team basketball looks like and that there is hardly ever a need for hero ball when everyone pulls their weight.

I don't know why I'm in this nostalgic, almost melancholy mood. Perhaps it was Seth Rosenthal's piece over at Posting and Toasting, but either way, I didn't feel like writing a typical game preview tonight. I didn't want to analyze these two teams and be reminded of how much better the Nuggets have been since the trade, and I wasn't particularly in the mood to poke fun at certain players either in my "Scouting Report".

The Nuggets have some crafty ball-handlers in Ty Lawson and Andre Miller, guys who can fill it up like Gallinari and another former Knick, Al Harrington, some astute defenders in Aaron Afflalo and Chris Andersen, and just a great style of basketball. I hope this game inspires our Knicks and gets this season turned around.

Let's go Knicks!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Bucks 100, Knicks 86 - Recap

So, these Knicks are pretty bad, huh? I've had an hour and a half to cool off and I don't have any kind words to say, but had I written this recap during the 4th quarter, it'd look like this: AAHHHH ITF LERI MELO HEWKGFI STOUDEMIRE HHEF DOUGLAS QPOEWRBN JENNINGS REIJSPW!!!!!!

These Knicks don't deserve bullet points of analysis. The switching is absolutely awful, and there is no communication on either end of the ball. The rotations were late and led to easy buckets, obvious mismatches or open shots. Brandon Jennings, the skeevy, kniving, little rat that he is, toched the Knicks for a season-high 36 points, cookin' off the dribble into fade-away jumpers and snatching errant passes or stealing from unaware dribblers.

Carmelo Anthony continues to ignore teammates and sling shots with the accuracy of a blind gunman. But then again, who's to blame him when Stoudemire coughed up the ball or barrelled into Bucks five times, and Mike Bibby, Bill Walker, Iman Shumpert, and Toney Douglas - aka the surrounding "shooters" - shot a combined 2-17. And they were missing wide open shots. In rhythm, too.

Mike D'Antoni has no alternate solutions, and showed poor sideline management by not calling a timeout at the end of the 2nd quarter when the Bucks rattled off three or four baskets in a row. He also failed to stop the momentum early in the 3rd quarter (yes, the dreaded 3rd quarter, again) when the Knicks came out flat and the Bucks adversely built a four point lead into a ten point lead.

Tyson Chandler is trying, but he needs to scream at folks when they miss defensive assignments. Likewise, at like 9 feet tall, he needs to finish around the basket better. He should be getting and-1s like nobody's business, but usually tosses up a miss and gets bailed out by a foul.

Toney Douglas looks more and more miserable with every passing moment. The worst moments came when he passed up an open 18-foot jump shot, dribbled three feet closer, chucked up a floater as a Buck (I forget who) contested, and pushed off in mid-air, only to get an offensive foul called. A possession later (or maybe a few), Douglas drove past Jennings, got tentative and shaky with his dribble, and Jennings pick-pocketed him and got an easy dunk.

There isn't communication right now. They're on a five-game losing streak, can't score over 90 points, and can't win on their home floor against sub-.500 teams. The schedule is going to get tougher soon and frankly, I'm not sure Baron Davis is the answer to that many of this team's woes.

Here's What They're Saying

Yo, everybody! So, there's a lot of talks right now in basketball circles (both real and digital) about the Knicks because frankly, I think everyone is surprised at how unimpressive they have been. Here's a look around the web at some things that are being written:

 - Al Iannazzone, now of Newsday(!) - round of applause to him - wrote about Carmelo Anthony missing practice because of a family issue, and the Knicks being in a "crisis", according to Mike D'Antoni. One of the most notable parts is this little sliver from Amar'e Stoudemire:
"Coach D'Antoni is an offensive genius," Stoudemire said. "He's been very successful with this offense, and he knows what it takes to score and how to win. So we just got to make sure we believe in his strategy and follow through with it.
I think it's definitely good to hear one of the team's stars back up the coach and offer words of encouragement.

 - The brilliant Zach Lowe of the Point Forward, did a thing about the Knicks' offensive struggles. Of note, he said that the Knicks rank #1 in the league in isolation plays, but are only 29th in points scored in isolation plays. Meaning, the team's most frequent offensive plan (or really, lack thereof) is also probably their least affective. Hmmm.... He does, however, credit the Knicks' defense for its large jump in points allowed per possession (23rd last season to 10th this season).

 - Tom Ziller decided to squash the good vibes about the Knicks defense, by saying it's mostly a result of their poor opponents. The Knicks have actually allowed five opponents to score over their season average, and some of them were some pretty lowly teams (cough, the Bobcats, cough). To me, though, it's still an improvement. Though the switching is maddening, last year the Knicks very rarely got stops, and let pretty much all teams score above their season averages. So, I'm still pleased.

 - Chris Broussard's article on Deron William's free agency wish list is making some noise around the internet because the Knicks are apparently on it. Really though, I recommend reading Seth Rosenthal's take on it on Posting and Toasting, because he hits the nail on the head. This is only a step higher than gossip from TMZ, and frankly, it's ludicrous to speculate about these things only 14 games into the season. Not to mention it involves the Knicks trading Stoudemire or Anthony.

Read all or some of them links and get caught up with what's going on in Knick-land. Preview of the Knicks-Bucks game coming up at some point before 7:30. See ya'll then!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

NBA All Rookie Team

This is just a thought I had recently. To my knowledge, there is only one NBA All-Rookie Team; if there is a Second All-Rookie Team let me know. But assuming there's only one, given the number of talented rookie guards this season - Rubio, Irving, Norris Cole, Marshon Brooks, etc. - Josh Harrellson might stand to make the team over Iman Shumpert.

There aren't a lot of talented big men in this current rookie class, or at least they haven't shown their colors yet. Besides maybe Tristan Thompson and Markieff Morris, Harrellson might be one of the more talented rookie forwards this season.

What do ya'll think? If you had to select a Rookie Team, who would make the cut? Comment and let me know!

Suns 91, Knicks 88

Probably the most upsetting part of this loss is the fact that everyone knew it was coming. That the Phoenix Suns were on a 5-game losing streak, embarking on a difficult road trip, and their game against the Knicks was deemed the most winnable. That with a few minor tweaks, the Knicks would be sitting at .500 instead of two games below it.

Both teams entered last night needing a win, and it ended up being decided by a lucky bounce on a 3-pointer, cool free throw shooting by Steve Nash, and some unseemly chucking by the Knicks two superstars.

Take the jump for the grisly details.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I'm Back!

Anyone who reads this blog, I apologize for a somewhat brief absence. My laptop is having a clothing malfunction, and is currently being re-dressed with a fancy new keyboard. So, I was computer-less for a few days until I got an old, replacement laptop. However, the internet didn't work on that, so I had to do some fixin' to get it back in action.... and now it is!

Some things that happened while I was gone:
  • The Knicks lost to the Orlando Magic in a tight contest at home. Many people are freaking out about the loss, and rightfully so; there were some pretty bad things about it (Amar'e's continued struggles, Carmelo shooting 9-25 and missing the big buckets down the stretch, the lack of shooters, etc.) But it's not panic time yet. The Orlando Magic had a freakish shooting performance from downtown (17-35), and played a great zone defense that really limited New York's offense in the final minutes. They did contain Dwight Howard (8 points, 10 rebounds, 6 fouls), and Iman Shumpert, Landry Fields, and Toney Douglas all looked to regain some confidence with decent performances.
  • The Knicks assigned Jerome Jordan and Jeremy Lin to the D-League. This will be good to get both guys some burn and experience, and hopefully, they can earn some minutes. This doesn't open a roster spot.
  • The Knicks play the Suns tonight. No preview because I've got work to do beforehand, but I'll get back into the swing of things soon.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Baron Davis Could Return Soon

From Marc Berman's story in The Post:

Davis is getting closer and closer to returning from a herniated disk and a person familiar with the situation said the guard will take a big leap in his rehab this week by starting full running drills and some contact basketball drills.
The story also goes on to say that Davis could be cleared for practice by next weekend, but he's going to take it slow and keep from being too optimistic.

Obviously, everyone is excited for Davis to get back, but he's right in refraining from being too optimistic.  We all know this season has a hectic schedule, so to throw a 32-year old point guard with a bad back onto the floor, well... the results may not be instant. Add in the time he'll need to develop on the court, and we may still be looking at a four or five week period before we see this team getting it together with Davis.

There's also a ton of pressure on him to get this team into shape. People have been pointing to the lack of a point guard as the reason for the Knicks' poor play, and are expecting Davis to be the solution.

Godspeed, Baron. We need ya.

Thunder 104, Knicks 92 - Recap

I consider myself lucky for missing this game. I didn't get to watch because I had some things going on, but I caught the recap, and have seen the highlights and such, and this was just bad. Thus, this will be a pretty abbreviated recap.

The final score is a bit deceiving because the Knicks' scrubs out-played Oklahoma City's scrubs. A more telling score would be the halftime score which was 70-47 in favor of the Thunder.

I'm not sure really what bright spots there were in this game, but I'll search:

  • The bench crew played well. Toney Douglas, Josh Harrellson, and Renaldo Balkman combined for 38 points on 14-26 shooting. Harrellson is playing really well the last few games, Balkman deserves playing time over Bill Walker, I believe, and anything Toney Douglas does at this point is good for his confidence.
  • Mike D'Antoni put a different starting lineup out, replacing the injured Carmelo Anthony with Bill Walker, moving Iman Shumpert (who had another poor game) to shooting guard, and Mike Bibby as the point guard. Landry Fields came off the bench. Walker, Shumpert, Bibby, and Fields all stunk in this game.
  • Amar'e Stoudemire continues to stink. I don't know what else to say. I didn't get to really watch much, but I'm guessing at this point Stoudemire is just forcing way too hard, and the lack of a point guard is making things worse.

Those are really the only things I found noteworthy about the small glimpses I saw of this nightmare. The Knicks need a team meeting, or to go to a day spa, or talk to some fortune tellers or something. This isn't the doomsday scenario a lot of beat writers are making it out to be; the team is still fairly banged up. 

However, few teams with as much talent as the Knicks are struggling so mightily, and some of that leads me to believe there's something wrong with the chemistry or coaching. I don't know. It's still early, we're only 12 games into the season. Tyson Chandler once said something about this team needing a 20-game mark to gel and get it together. I guess we'll see, but the clock is ticking.....

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Carmelo Anthony Unlikely to Play Tonight

From Al Iannazzone:
As expected, carmelo is out tonight. Bill Walker starts. Jared Jeffries returns.
So that's some bad news mixed with some OK news, mixed with some good news! So, here's some thoughts:

 - Without Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks will feature Amar'e Stoudemire on offense. That was the case most of last year, and the results were usually 25-30 points for Stat. However, as we've all seen Amar'e has not been himself this season, so we'll see how that goes. A win over Oklahoma City seems very unlikely without the Knicks' top gun.

 - Bill Walker starting is an interesting move. Walker is naturally a small forward, not a shooting guard as he normally plays, but it definitely takes some firepower off of an already weak bench. Frankly, I'd rather move Fields up to his natural position at SF and fill in the SG role, or start Balkman to keep Walker coming off the bench. Well, here's Billy's chance.

 - I'm happy Jeffries is returning. He'll only further strengthen the defense, and he might just have the length and quickness to guard Kevin Durant.

 - Speaking of guarding Durant, Walker might prove useful in that aspect. Walker plays physical defense and might rough up Durant a bit, which isn't his game as evidenced in last year's playoff series vs. the Mavericks. Something to look out for.

We'll see how it goes tonight, but I'm personally not holding out hope for a win. Oh well. Go Knicks!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Grizzlies 94, Knicks 83 - Recap

It was a pretty miserable night for the Knicks, who had their four-game winning streak snapped by the Memphis Grizzlies. From the onset, the team looked flat, and with Amar'e Stoudemire in foul trouble, Carmelo Anthony spraining his ankle, and Iman Shumpert launching up shots like they were going out of style, the Knicks never really looked poised to win this game.

  • The Knicks are really beginning to miss having a real point guard on the floor. In the fourth quarter against the Sixers, nobody could handle the rock with any sort of confidence, and against the Grizzlies, the Knicks gave the ball up 18 times, and generally couldn't run an efficient offensive set.   Somebody tell Baron Davis to see those German doctors that Kobe Bryant saw.
  • Don't read too much into Amar'e's poor game. We already know Amar'e struggles without a legitimate point guard, and between foul trouble, and the lack of another scoring presence in Anthony, the Grizzlies didn't really have to worry about any other scorers on the Knicks.
  • Carmelo Anthony sprained his ankle, but X-rays were negative. The Knicks are supposed to play the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday (actually, they will play them. I don't know why I put "supposed". OK, back to the sentence), and without Anthony, Kevin Durant will surely gobble up any Knicks defender. Not that Anthony would stop Durant, but at least they could take turns gobbling up each other on offense. However, given the compressed schedule, I'd rather see Melo sit that game and get ready for the Orlando game on Monday. Give that ankle some time to heal
  • Thanks Bill Walker, for having a great game when it almost didn't even matter. The same could go to Landry Fields, who boosted his stats a bit in garbage time. Whatever. Maybe that will give them some confidence heading into the next game.
  • Yo, Iman, chill out with the jumpers. I know the dude is only a rookie, but his biggest criticism coming into the NBA was his shot selection and he showed why last night. 
  • Not that this matters, but Rudy Gay had a season-high 26 points last night. He's considered their best player without Z-Bo, right? 26 points seems a little low, does it not? I don't know, that just surprised me.

The Bright Side
  • The Knicks still held a good team to only 94 points on 45% shooting, with 16 turnovers. Hey, the defense right now is looking better than the offense, and with D'Antoni as coach, you know the offense will come around. We still have a very good point guard on the bench, waiting to come back and give this team a boost. Come mid- or late February, this team could really be clicking if all goes as planned.

Well, that's it. Pretty disappointing way to end a win streak, especially when you throw in Carmelo's injuries. We need this team to get healthy.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Knicks 85, Sixer 79 - Recap

The Knicks tried their damndest to throw this one away in the 4th quarter, but it just wasn't meant to be. So, instead, the Knicks beat the Philadelphia 76ers, the league's hottesr team, and extended their own win streak to four.

Photo by Jim McIsaac
It's been awhile since we've been able to call a Knicks game a defensive battle, but that's preciasely what this was. The Knicks only allowed the Sixers to shoot 39.5% FG, which is impressive even if the Sixers were playing the third night of a back-to-back-to-back.

Take the jump for some notes and such

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

New York Knicks vs. Philadelphia 76ers - Preview

Tonight at 7:30, the Knicks meet a stout division foe in the streaking Philadelphia 76ers. Both teams are riding little streaks with the Knicks winning their past three games and the Sixers winning their past six in a row.

The young and spritely Sixers will present some problems for the Knicks with their athleticism, spacing, depth, and gritty defense. However, while the Sixers boast a daunting record, their schedule has been fairly easy, and they lack a true go-to player that the Knicks possess in two-fold.

Take the jump for some notes!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Baron Davis Could Return Soon

Ian Begley wrote a piece on ESPN New York about the impact of Baron Davis's return on Iman Shumpert. Really, the best part of the article was this little nugget of news:
Mike D'Antoni said Monday that Baron Davis could be back by the end of the month.
 That's always good news! Today is January 10th, meaning the end of the month - the 31st - is exactly three weeks away. However, factor in that Davis will need to get back into game shape, and will also need time on the floor to get comfortable with his teammates, we may not see Baron back (get it?) until early to mid-February.

As Begley pondered in the article, what do you do with the guard rotation when Davis is back in action? For me, it's a simple answer.

As I had mentioned before, Davis will need time to get back into shape and get acclimated with his new teammates. During this time, I'd keep Shumpert as the starting PG, until B-Diddy is ready to go. Once that happens, move Shump to the 6th man role. That's not what a lot of folks would like to hear, but I think it'd be best for the team.

Toney Douglas and Shump could thrive as a 1-2 punch off the bench, providing nagging defense, ball-handling, scoring, and energy. Douglas is most suited as a bench scorer, and while Shump deserves to start over Fields, he could thrive coming off the bench. Fields does not excell at doing any one thing, which would make him ill-suited to come off the bench because he couldn't bring any one particular skill.

The odd man out here would be Mike Bibby. Bibs recently had two nice games on the road, but at 33, he is the slowest guard, the least capable defender, and is not a threat on offense except to shoot 3s or deep 2s.

This is just my thinking on the subject, though. Mike D'Antoni might make me run suicides for suggesting such things, and really, it's his thinking that matters. Either way, I think we're all looking forward to seeing some Baron Davis on the court.

Knicks 91, Bobcats 87 - Recap

A win is a win, I ain't complainin'. Well, actually, there were some thing to complain about. The Knicks once again were given sharp competition by the Charlotte Bobcats, but managed to squeak out the win, despite some poor shooting and poor 4th quarter execution.
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images

Take a look at these numbers, really quickly:
  - 38% FG
  - 10% 3FG
  - 3 points off the bench
  - 13-43 combined shooting between Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire.

Yet, the Knicks managed to move above .500; either a testament to their fortitude or to how dreadful the Bobcats are.

Take a jump for some notes and such.

Monday, January 9, 2012

New York Knicks vs. Charlotte Bobcats - Preview

The rematch! Tonight at 7:30 the Knicks will try to get revenge on the Bobcats for embarrassing them last Wednesday at MSG. Since that meeting the Knicks have won two in a row over the Washington Wizards and Detroit Pistons. The Bobcats, meanwhile, have lost two in a row to the Atlanta Hawks and Indiana Pacers.

Photo by Anthony Gruppuso, US Presswire
The Knicks should be feeling good after they put a beatdown on the depleted Pistons. The defense and offense came together, forcing turnovers and getting baskets in the open floor. In the halfcourt, they were able to get in the lane and get easy baskets, or stroke the 3-pointer on kick-outs.

Take the jump for some notes and info.

Amar'e Stoudemire's Offensive Production

Through the six games that Amar'e Stoudemire has played in this abbreviated 2011-12 season, he has not looked like the Amar'e Stoudemire from 2010-11. Most notably, his scoring and FG% are down from last season. It's fair to attribute some of this to rust from not playing NBA basketball since April, and to adjusting to new teammates.

There has been a lot of griping from Knicks fans (myself included) about Stoudemire's offensive production, and how he just does not look the same as last season. As mentioned, his overall numbers are down, and while his past 3 performances have been encouraging as his scoring and rebounding have picked up, he does not look like the same old STAT.

However, a look upon Stoudemire's early production from last season shows that his abated offensive output may not be so abated at all.

Jump from some analysis!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Knicks 103, Pistons 80 - Recap

Well, that was much needed! The Knicks took it to a weak opponent missing several rotation players and moved back up to .500.

There were some great things about this game: Iman Shumpert getting the start, Amar'e Stoudemire attacking the rim, Mike Bibby finding the bottom of the net, and dunks!!

I hardly even realized this, but the Pistons were missing Rodney Stuckey, Charlie Villanueva, and Austin Daye, so this win wasn't exactly the Knicks winning the NBA Finals. However, it was the kind of win that gets confidence and chemisty and hopefully, a little bit of momentum.

  • So, Iman Shumpert got his first career start. The young iMan was somewhat quieter than in previous performances, but once again, he looked like the most apt ball-handler on the team. He had a few drives to the paint where he set up Amar'e Stoudemire for some easy dunks, and even finished two alley-oops himself. 11 points, 5-10 shooting, with 3 assists for the rook.
  • Mike Bibby! As Clyde always says, "Like Lazarus, risen from the dead!", so has Mike Bibby found his game. 16 points, 4-4 from downtown, and 3 assists, and a generally splendid effort from the Bibs.
  • Another point guard note. If you had asked me during the preseason which tow guards I feel most comfrotable with having on the floor, I probably would not have said Iman Shumpert, the rookie, and Mike Bibby, the 13-year old veteran.
  • Amar'e Stoudemire looked like the Amar'e Stoudemire we saw from last season. With the exception of one jumper from the right elbow, all of STAT's points came from the paint or the free throw line. His effort was there defensively, and he was active on the glass. 22 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists for Stoudemire. 
  • Carmelo Anthony's shooting was off (5-13), but he made up for with 7 assists and an absolute facial on Greg Monroe!
  • The Knicks employed an interesting defensive strategy (a change from recent trends). When a player, usually Greg Monroe on the low block, got the ball, they sent a double team. Sometimes this resulted in missed rotations and open shots, but often it resulted in steals as the Pistons do not have many proficient passers.
  • All 13 active players got to play, which is awesome. Jeremy Lin scored, Renaldo Balkman grabbed 7 rebounds in 13 minutes, and I like Jerome Jordan.
Just an overall, good team win. Charlotte Bobcats on Monday, before a tough to schedule! Let's go Knicks!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Knicks 99, Wizards 96

Photo by AP
It wasn't pretty, nor was it entirely satisfying, but the Knicks pulled out a win over the lowly Washington Wizards. I didn't get to see this one in its entirety because I was at a family function, but I'll do my best to give some notes on what I saw:

In the first quarter, the Knicks went down 18-32. Washington was stroking the long ball and breaking down the Knicks' defense courtesy of John Wall (intentional rhyme). On the other end, Amar'e Stoudemire forced a whole bunch of shots and the Knicks turned the ball over what seemed like every other possession.

From that point on, the Knicks out-scored the Wiz 81-64. Hot shooting from Carmelo Anthony, improved defense, and some passable point guard play from Iman Shumpert and Mike Bibby helped get the Knicks a much-needed win.
  • By my eye, Toney Douglas took good shots and attempted to make good decisions, but it just didn't happen for him. He only played 11 minutes in the game and was scoreless during that time, but he attempted to attack the basket and make little drop-off passes for Stoudemire and Chandler, but the shots were either turned away by the Wizards big men or the passes were fumbled.
  • Iman Shumpert started the second half and gave the Knicks competent point guard play. He didn't shoot the ball well, and I was sort of unaware of his impact until I looked at the boxscore. 10 points on 4-11 shooting (eh), 3 rebounds, 7 assists, 5 steals, and 1 block, with a +/- of +20! Whether that means Shump will start next game, I don't know, but he's solidified a spot on this team and has become an important piece going forward.
  • Carmelo Anthony had himself a ball game, being the main catalyst to pull the Knicks out of their lassitude. 37 points on 16-33 shooting, no basket more important than his 3-pointer with 15 seconds to go in the game that gave the Knicks a two point lead. He played a lot of isolation ball, but he and Amar'e hooked up on a few nice plays which is always good to see. What isn't all that good is what a crutch Melo is becoming for the Knicks; eventually you need a total team effort to win.
  • I haven't had any complaints about Tyson Chandler the last few games. It seems as if he's found his niche on both sides of the floor. 12 points and 15 rebounds is fine by me.

I wish I could provide more insight, but my viewing was rather abbreviated, and watching the Knicks in 60 doesn't really give you much to go on. Especially when 10 of the 60 minute-recap is just the pregame show.....

Detroit Pistons tonight at 7:30! Preview will be up later.

Friday, January 6, 2012

New York Knicks vs. Washington Wizards - Preview

Tonight at 7 PM, two lowly teams in the form of the Knicks and Wizards will play each other. The Knicks (2-4) have lost 4 of their last 5, and the Wizards have won zero of their last six.

Both teams will be desperate for wins so it should be a tightly contested match. The Wizards are the lone winless club, and the Knicks have been largely disappointing to start the season.

Take the jump for some notes and the scouting report on the Wizards!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Iman Shumpert Might Start the Next Game

From Marc Berman:
D'Antoni says considering starting Shumpert Friday in Wash but wouldn't say PG or SG.
I can't tell if this should be made into a big deal or if it's really meaningless. In two games, Shumpert's already been the Knicks' best backcourt member, but at the same time he looks like a valuable member off the bench.

If Shump was going to replace Landry as the starting SG, it'd give the Knicks a solid defensive duo in their backcourt. It would also maybe make Shumpert take better shots with Amar'e and Melo also demanding the ball. Whether or not Fields would look good as the leader of the bench crew remains to be seen.

If Shump replaced Douglas as the starting PG, it probably wouldn't have as much of an impact. Douglas would become the 6th man and bring some scoring, defense, and passing off the bench. However, Douglas is more of a point guard than Shumpert, who mainly looks to score. Though Toney isn't a great playmaker, he does try and run the offense.

I suppose in the end, it's all about what group is playing the best. Starter is really only a title. I guess we'll see who's starting on Friday.

Here's What They're Saying

Here's a quick round-up of Knicks related links. I plan on making these regular posts when there's a good assortment of material being written about the Knickerbockers on the interwebs. Here's what we've got today:

- Seth Rosenthal from Posting & Toasting discusses the Knicks' tenacious tendencies thus far this season. The Knicks are tied for first in fouls per game, but they're also fourth in the league at getting fouled.

- Jared Zwerling of ESPN New York, did a piece on ESPN's Daily Dime about the Knicks' generally disappointing start. There's some good stuff in there about what is and isn't working for New York.

- Two nice posts up on ESPN New York as well. One by Ian Begley about the Knicks defense through the first six games, and the other is a joint effort by Begley and Zwerling on the Landry Fields vs. Iman Shumpert starting debate. If you're interested, I'm pro-Landry because I like Shumpert's energy and scoring off the bench.

- A wonderful piece by Zach Lowe at the Point Forward on New York's switching in the Bobcats game. There's some great analysis on the Knicks' personnel, but also some speculation on the possible gameplan behind all of the switching. Very good work.

- This is an article by Howard Beck of the New York Times from New Year's Day that I must have over-looked. It's about the Knicks' depth and how their fortunes and future have changed since the Carmelo Anthony trade. Interesting speculation.

I suggest reading all of those pieces above as they are all excellent. Over the next few days I plan to write some more analytical stuff, comparing the current Knicks' start to last season's start, and Amar'e Stoudemire's offense so far this season. Stay tuned!

Bobcats 118, Knicks 110 - Recap

If you didn't watch this game then, yes, that is the correct score. On a night when the Knicks' offense looked rejuvenated - maybe even semi-potent - the defense went ice skating at Rockefeller Center. There was cohesion and movement on offense for the Knicks, but on the other side of the floor they could not stop a Charlotte Bobcats team that looked like Mike D'Antoni's Phoenix Suns from the mid-2000s.

The defensive lapses were painfully obvious, and for much of the night the Knicks seemed content to let the Bobcats sneak to the basket in the halfcourt, get layups in the fast break, or shoot open jump shots.

Take the jump for some more note

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Al Iannazzone: "Amar'e Stoudemire, Iman Shumpert set to play tonight"

According to Al Iannazzone, Amar'e Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert will play tonight vs. the Charlotte Bobcats.

Both are actually game-time decisions, but they participated in a walk-through practice yesterday, and a 3-on-3 scrimmage and said they felt fine afterwards.

Shumpert's return will be welcome as an additional play-maker and scorer off the bench. Amar'e has not looked good to start the season, so it will be interesting to see if he looks any fresher tonight.

Either way, two talented bodies getting back on the floor is pretty much always a good sign. Yay!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Raptors 90, Knicks 85 - Recap

We've all seen this song and dance before - the Knicks came out hot, then couldn't buy a basket and went down by double digits. In the second half they rallied to bring it within 1 point in the final minute, but couldn't entirely close the gap, and they lost the game.

Before we all run around like chickens without heads cut off, screaming (even though we're head-less) for D'Antoni's head (okay,  okay I'm done), let's all take a moment to get level-headed (no, really, I'm done. Sorry). The Knicks were without Amar'e Stoudemire for the second straight game, and still without Iman Shumpert, Jared Jeffries and Baron Davis. Realistically, besides Carmelo Anthony and Toney Douglas, no one on this team who was playing last night, is suited to carry that much weight on offense.

Here's just some notes about how it went down:
  • 10-35 from 3-point land. Yuck. Again, without Stoudemire's presence inside, and anyone who can drive the lane except for Melo, it was launch city.
  • Melo had 35 points! On 31 FG attempts..... Not that he had any help, but Melo forced the action quite a bit last night. 11 rebounds and 4 assists ain't too bad though. Put it this way: without Melo, the Knicks would have struggled to score 50 points.
  • Toney Douglas had a nice game I thought. He still struggles running the offense, and can't get into the paint with his dribble, but he did help out with 22 points. Once again, he shot too much, but nobody else beside he and Melo were doing anything, so shoot away, Toney. His playmaking was a bit improved though, as he served up one splendid alley-oop to Tyson Chandler.
  • If you asked me before the game, who on the Raptors I'd be afraid of hitting big baskets in the clutch, I wouldn't have answered "Rasual Butler". But he and Bargnani both hit a few daggers down the stretch.
  •  The Knicks surged in the second half, but credit the Raptors for keeping control of the game. Melo and Douglas both got hot, and were making some easy plays for others, but they just couldn't quite there. Like I said, same old song and dance.
Odds and Ends
  • Victor Cruz got a big ovation when they showed him on the monitor. He was sitting at half-court and after some prodding from teammates and the crowd, got up and did his salsa dance. I'm not really a Giants fan or football fan in general, but that salsa dance is quite lovable when he does it.
  • Iman Shumpert had a brief interview during a timeout and said he was felt good and was close to returning to the court. Afterwards, Clyde calling him a "loquacious neophyte". Couldn't have said it better, Clyde.
  • I like when Steve Novak plays because it seems like he's automatic from downtown, even though he was only 1-3, but he's definitely a liability on the defensive end. He also brings nothing to the rebounding battle.
  • Mike Bibby looked spry in the first half, as he often charged up the court, hoping to start a fastbreak. But to no avail. That's just a side note about his game. The main point I wanted to make is I can't wait until Mike Bibby doesn't play serious minutes.

That's about it. Same old song and dance. Don't read too much into it. Toronto's actually playing pretty well this season, and New York is quite injury-depleted. Game against Charlotte tomorrow!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Amar'e Stoudemire Out vs. Raptors

From Jonah Ballow:
D'Antoni says @Amareisreal is OUT for tonight's gm against Raptors & Harrellson will earn his 2nd start of the yr in his place #Knicks
To my knowledge, Josh Harrellson will remain the starting PF with Stoudemire out. No complaints there.

And another nugget of news from Al Iannazzone:
D'Antoni didn't rule out Shumpert for Wednesday, but it depends on how he feels tomorrow and whether he can practice.
That's good to hear! But no need to rush it, Shump Shump. He can take an extra 4 or 5 days if need be. He's not the difference between winning and losing, and you'd hate to see him rush back and possibly reaggravate the injury.

New York Knicks vs. Toronto Raptors - Preview

Tonight the Knicks are back home to play the Toronto Raptors. Coming off of a blowout win over the Sacarmento Kings, the Knicks will try and move above .500.

The Raptors are playing the second night of a back-to-back after losing to the Orlando Magic last night. The Raptors have mostly the same roster as last year, but have a multitude of offensive threats that could give the Knicks all they can handle.

Take the jump for some notes on the game and the Raptors' scouting report! 

Iman Shumpert and Jared Jeffries Close to Returning

Marc Berman of the New York Post reported today that Iman Shumpert and Jared Jeffries are both making good progress in returning to the court.

Shumpert said there is a chance he can return from his left-knee sprain by this weekend, perhaps Saturday in Detroit. Jeffries, who has a sprained left calf, could return in the next few days.

The Knicks readjusted Shumpert's brace, giving him more range of motion when tests showed he was "ahead of schedule.''
Getting both players back to the court would do wonders for the Knicks' bench and their rotations. Shumpert, while not a true point guard, is a fine ball-handler and the Knicks have missed his ability to get in the paint and break down defenses. 
Jeffries doesn't provide really anything on offense, but he is great on the defensive end. Jeffries does all the little things like taking charges, tipping rebounds out, and he also should make a difference in the defense with his ability to guard multiple positions.

Let's hope the Knicks get both of these fellas back soon and start picking up some wins!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Knicks 114, Kings 92 - Recap

Hey now! That was a surprise! I didn't see this one live, but caught the recap on MSG and saw lots of good things. As I had mentoned before, the Kings are the type of young, athletic, energetic team that seems to always catch the Knicks at the wrong time and give them a beat down. But with Carmelo Anthony calling it a "must-win", the team rallied and gave the Kings a whooping.

Photo bySteve Yeater/ Associated Press
  • First off, before anybody starts foaming at the mouth and clawing for the ESPN Trade Machine, this win does not diminish Amar'e Stoudemire's role or importance on the Knicks. STAT was out with a sprained ankle and Josh Harrellson filled in at the power forward slot admirably. However, Stoudemire is still very much a part of the team's future, and will still have a big role.
With that said....
  • The Knicks' frontline had themsleves a ball game. Harrellson filled in as the starting PF and put up 14 points and 12 rebounds on 5-11 shooting, 4-8 from downtown. He was also very active on defense, poking balls away, and manning the paint with Tyson Chandler. After showing obvious signs of rookie jitters, Jorts played like an NBA veteran and will now surely earn more minutes.
  • Tyson Chandler had easily his best game as a Knick with 22 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 blocks. In the fourth quarter, Chandler showed moments of utter dominance, finishing tons of plays at the hoop, drawing fouls, and deterring drivers on the defensive end. The Kings' starting big men, DeMarcus Cousins and Chuck Hayes to 14 points on 4-16 shooting.
  • Toney Douglas did what Toney Douglas do! Toney needed a good game, and while he shot poorly from the field (6-18), he started off hot, making three 3-pointers in the first quarter, and that's all it took. 17 points, 8 assists, 2 steals and only 1 turnover is a fine ballgame, Toney Douglas.
  • Landry Fields needed this game as well. He padded his stats a little bit in garbage time, but 21 points, 5 rebounds, and 10-16 shooting is great. He attacked the basket, hustled on all plays, and was active on defense. It was truly a vintage performance from Landry.
  •  Melo was Melo. He didn't stop the ball too much, and got others involved with 5 assists, dropping 23 points along the way. 
  • Bill Walker looks like he's going to get consistent minutes off the bench this season. Billy the Bully has a nice offensive repertoire, and aside from his always silly fouls, he looks like he's finally putting "it" all together.
Other Odds and Ends
  • Donte Green tried super hard to get the Knicks called for a flagrant foul. He eventually succeeded, when on a fast break, Mike Bibby grabbed his arms to stop the shout, to which Green tossed himself to the ground, spinning out of control. Superb acting, Donte.
  • Marcus Thornton has a very pouty face. That is all.
 Well that was a nice win to get. Hopefully, this will get the team gellin', and give them some confidence going into two win-able games at home vs. the Toronto Raptors and Charlotte Bobcats.