Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Knicks 120, Cavaliers 103 - Recap

'Twas a tale of two halves. During the first half, the Knicks played abysmally, bricking jumpshots, missing easy lay-ins, and rotating late on defense. Giving up 61 first half points to the Cleveland Cavaliers is pretty much something that should never happen.
Photo by AP

However, in the second half, the Knicks' starting unit played aggressive defense, and slowly chipped away at the lead, particularly by getting out in the fast break. When the bench crew checked in late in the quarter, it was showtime! Steve Novak got things rolling with some hot shooting (like, really hot), and then Baron Davis started grooving and throwing nifty passes, and Iman Shumpert started hounding folks, and when the starters came back in halfway through the 4th quarter, the lead was just about sealed up... only until some more fancy highlight plays! :)


Knicks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers - What To Watch For

Tonight at 7:30 the Knicks take of the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second time this season. The Knicks are coming off of a nice, long five day break since their last game - a loss at Miami. The Cavaliers meanwhile played the Celtics in Cleveland and couldn't hold on to the lead and lost the game late in the 4th. This should be a good chance for the Knicks to beat a tired, lesser opponent while they have fresh legs and are at home.

So, these "What To Watch For"s will probably become the new thing when I've already done game previews for a team the Knicks have faced this season. With that said, here's what I'll be looking for in tonight's game:

  • Yesterday it was announced that Iman Shumpert and Josh Harrellson will both be available for tonight's game. When healthy, both have been solid contributors for the Knicks and I don't expect that to change. However, now the Knicks have six guys on the bench who all deserve playing time - Baron Davis, J.R. Smith, Shumpert, Steve Novak, Jared Jeffries, and Harrellson. Meanwhile, guys like Jeremy Lin, Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, and Tyson Chandler aren't chopped live either, and usually do good things on the court. So, really, there's quite a logjam of players for Mike D'Antoni to sift through and make rotations with. Should be interesting to see how he juggles all of this.
  • Kyrie Irving has been on a tear lately, and (in my opinion) has been the runaway Rookie of the Year. Jeremy Lin had plenty of media attention during the All-Star weekend, but during his brief playing time in the Rising Stars game, didn't really do anything. Let's hope Jeremy rested those legs and can continue to do great things in the second half of the season. Tonight should be a fun matchup between two young, ever-learning point guards.
  • The Knicks held practice yesterday and surely went through some offensive and defensive plays. The defense however, has been solid, even with the new parts like Smith and Davis, but the offense still needs to come around. Though it's only one practice, it will be interesting to see if the guys have a clearer sense of their roles in the offense.
The sprint to the playoffs begins now, and the Knicks have a super tough month of March waiting ahead of them. Games like these are important to put away early so everyone can rest. Go Knicks!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Knicks Practice Update

Yesterday, the Knicks wanted to hold practice because of all of the time off they have coming up, but couldn't due to some CBA rules. The Knicks play the Cleveland Cavaliers tomorrow night, but then have off until Sunday afternoon when they play the Boston Celtics. Given the team's lack of chemistry and playing time together, this week makes for an excellent time to get to know one another and develop said chemistry before a grueling March schedule.

Luckily for us, many beat writers have been updating on the Knicks practice today! Take the jump for some notes on what those orange and blue rascals are up to!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

All Star activities as they pertain to the Knicks

Things are pretty quiet in Knicks land as one would imagine during this All-Star Break. Here's just a quick update of their participation in the All-Star festivites:

 - Landry Fields and Jeremy Lin both played in the Rising Stars game as members of Team Shaq. Lin played just under 9 minutes and had only 2 points and 1 assist. Fields, however, played 18 minutes and had 16 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists. It's probably pretty good that Lin hardly played so he could rest those weary legs. And it's cool that Landry represented the Knicks with a good performance.

 - The Knicks had a team in the Shooting Stars contest with Fields, Allan Houston, and a nice lady from the New York Liberty whose name I'm too lazy to look up. And they won! Yo, the Knicks should totally sign Allan Houston to a contract because that man's jumper is still wet!

 - Carmelo Anthony is in the starting lineup for the East All-Star team, so that's cool!

Everyone enjoy the weekend!

Friday, February 24, 2012

A Midseason Report of the Knicks

Last night the Knicks wrapped up the first half of their season with a loss to the Miami Heat. Going into the All-Star break, they stand at 17-18, good for the 7th seed in the Eastern Conference. It's been a roller coaster ride of a season already and we're only 34 games into it!

Really though, thinking back on the team in December when the season started, so much has happened. Toney Douglas was the starting point guard and lost his spot within a few weeks. Carmelo Anthony was experimenting with the point forward role. The Knicks' bench was shallow and weak. Jeremy Lin went from 15th man to superstar in two weeks. Through injuries and failed experiments, the team's identity has changed greatly.

There have been some positives though. Of course, Linsanity has turned the NBA's eyes on the Knicks and their sparkly new starting point guard. Iman Shumpert, the multifarious rookie, looks like one helluva player. Landry Fields has shaken off that slump that plagued him through the second half of last season and the early parts of this season. The Knicks have a top 10 defense, and while the offense is still quite patchy, their ability to keep opponents from scoring seems like the real deal.

To further analyze the Knicks first half of the season, I had the holy triumvirate of Seth Rosenthal, Charlie Osborn, and Gian Casimiro from Posting and Toasting come by and talk about the team!. Jump!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Heat 102, Knicks 88 - Recap

Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
We wanted a measuring stick game, and we got one. For most of the night the Knicks were over-matched, unprepared, and ill-equipped to handle the Miami Heat who certainly look like the NBA's best team. Coming off of a win on the Atlanta Hawks and an overnight flight to South Beach, the Knicks had to expend a considerable amount of energy in the first half, and just didn't have the zip or the punch to really challenge the Heat in the second half.

For awhile though, it was exciting. Amar'e Stoudemire looked like he might have a breakout game (he didn't), Carmelo looked ready to duel Lebron (he more or less didn't), and the Knicks looked like they were going to give the Heat a challenge. Make no mistake, this game was a measuring stick, and the Heat knew it. They weren't going to have mercy, and they had the look that they would do whatever it took to win. For a slowly-recovering, pretty much newly found Knicks team, they just weren't ready.

Jump for some thoughts

Knicks at Miami Heat - What To Watch For

Hey, ya'll. I already did a preview for the Knicks-Heat game back in January, so this won't be a full preview. The Heat have been consistently dominant this season, while the Knicks' circumstances have changed greatly from the last time these two teams met. This figures to be the Knicks biggest test and specifically, Jeremy Lin's, and it should be very fun, but very frightening.

In their previous meeting, the Knicks were without Carmelo Anthony, a known Lebron James nemesis/frienemy. Likewise, the Knicks now have a legitimate point guard presence in Lin, and the bench has become deep and dangerous with the arrivals of J.R. Smith and Baron Davis, the 3-point slinging ways of Steve Novak, and the hustle and pestering of Jared Jeffries.

Here's a look at what I'll be watching for tonight:

  • Lin has shown surprising composure when faced with tough, trapping defenses. Sure, his handle can get sloppy and he'll turn the ball over, but he still finds ways to score and set up teammates. However, you have to figure that if he starts causing problems, the Heat will send Lebron James or Dwyane Wade his way. Those two are elite perimeter defenders with considerable size and speed advantages on him. Lin has proven he's not shy (his two best games came against the two biggest opponents - L.A. and Dallas), but the Heat are in a category of their own and could present serious problems for him. 
  • The Heat have the advantage in having the two best players on the court in James and Wade, but they're weaker upfront than the Knicks. Tyson Chandler led a Mavericks team in the Finals that kept Wade and James from getting to the rim too easily. Likewise, Chandler is better than any center that the Heat can throw out there. When Stoudemire's in a groove, he's better than Chris Bosh, and Jared Jeffries has turned into a reliable big man off the bench because of his defense and hustle. If the Knicks can protect the paint, score in the paint, and win the rebounding battle, good things will happen.
  •  The Miami Heat don't boast big names on their bench like the Knicks do in Smith and Davis, but it does have some solid players. Shane Battier, Udonis Haslem, Norris Cole, and James Jones are all scrappy dudes, who have range on their jumpshots. Similar to the Knicks, they can cause some turnovers and make you pay for it. The Knicks bench will need to play some tough defense, rebound the ball, and Smith and Novak's shooting will be needed.

That's it everyone! Get ready! Don't walk into any booby traps or get into any intense thumb-wrestling tournaments and miss the 7:00 start. Go Knicks!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Knicks 99, Hawks 82 - Recap

Safe to say that the final score of this one is even a little bit closer than what the final score indicates. In the 1st quarter the Knicks got off and running and fully took advantage of the Hawks' lack of an interior defender, and on defense, they suffocated the Hawks into committing 25 turnovers.

New York wasn't entirely polished themselves as they coughed the ball up in some flabbergasting ways, but none of it really mattered. The offensive execution was crisp and extra pass-y tonight and the Knicks rode their way to 17-17.


Knicks vs. Atlanta Hawks - Preview

Tonight at 7:30 the Knicks take on the Atlanta Hawks in their night of a five-game homestand at MSG. This is the first time the two teams have met this year after splitting the season series last year. The Knicks and Hawks currently stand on opposite ends of the spectrum as New York has won eight of their ten games, and Atlanta has lost seven of their last ten.

As mentioned earlier, Joe Johnson will be out for the Atlanta Hawks. For the Knicks, Iman Shumpert will be out as he tries to get his knee all fixed up. In some ways, this game is more important for the Knicks than tomorrow's game against the Heat. The Knicks need to prove that they can beat solid, middle-of-the-pack playoff teams before trying to prove they're one of the elite teams in the East.

Jump for some things to watch for tonight and a scouting report!

Joe Johnson Out for Tonight's Game

Title pretty much says it all, but to verify here's a bit from Marc Berman's piece about the absences of Shumpert and Johnson:
The Knicks get a double bonus by the knee injury of the Hawks’ Joe Johnson. He won’t face the Knicks tonight, and he has pulled out of the All-Star Game....
As Berman noted, Shump's absence takes the Knicks' defense down a notch, but it also gives Mike D'Antoni more time to blend Baron Davis and J.R. Smith into the rotations and schemes. As for Johnson's replacement on the Hawks, I imagine it would be either Tracy McGrady or Willie Green, but I'm not too sure. Not to discount either of those two fellows, but the absence of Johnson certainly makes the Hawks a less formidable team and further solidifies that fact that the Knicks should win this game at home. 

Shump Shump won't be in the Dunk Contest

As we know, Iman Shumpert missed Monday's game against New Jersey because of knee tendinitis. This could explain some of the sloppy misses we've seen Shumpert make at the rinm this season; perhaps his lift-off isn't what it should be. Well, in addition to being held out for the remaining games this week, Shumpert will also miss the dunk contest.
NBA announces that #Knicks guard Iman Shumpert will be replaced by Jazz forward Jeremy Evans in the dunk contest.
That kind of stinks because Shumpert was really the only dunker I was looking forward to watching. I probably will still watch anyway, since even the worst dunk contests can have a cool trick or two, and I don't have any of those friend things to hang out with on Saturday nights... so what the hell? However, Adrian Wojnarowski totally has a point: if this dunk contest was held in your driveway, would you even open the drapes to watch?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Nets 100, Knicks 92 - Recap

Sorry for this semi-belated recap. Anyway, my thoughts on this game remain the same as last night. The Knicks let a good opportunity slip through the cracks by allowing the Nets to get hot from beyond the arc. The defense was at least competent otherwise, but on offense, the Knicks looked a little jumbled and unsure of what to do.

Can't pin this loss on anybody, however. Carmelo Anthony looked rusty and had some untimely turnovers, but was not a ball-stopper in the slightest, and for anything that he did wrong, the Knicks had other chances to make up for and didn't. It was a rather obnoxious game from Deron Williams - who was pulling 3s like a magician pulls a rabbit out of his hat - and the easily unlikeable Kris Humphries. Combine their will to show the Knicks up, the Knicks lack of execution, and the referees' general incompetence, and this one slipped away.

Take the jump for some more notes.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Nets 100, Knicks 92

That should have been an avoidable loss, but sometimes these things happen in the NBA. The Nets, namely Deron Williams, were scorching hot from downtown, and the Knicks had no answer for him.

Jeremy Lin looked visibly tired and didn't have his normal speed and lift to attack the basket. Carmelo Anthony looked rusty, mainly with his drives and jumpshots, but he made an effort to move the ball and had a few nice dimes to Amar'e Stoudemire. Tyson Chandler got caught up in a battle with the despicable Kris Humphries and committed some silly fouls (and a technical foul) and generally got beaten on the boards. The Knicks looked like a group that hasn't played as a unit, which was mostly the case, and they missed the help of Iman Shumpert's defense, especially in that 3rd quarter.

These things happen. New York is 16-17, and lost to a team that relied on 38 points and stunning shooting from its superstar. No excuses, but Deron Williams is one of the best in the league, and some things faltered for the Knicks down the stretch.

Day off tomorrow (during which I hope they practice) before Wednesday's game against the Hawks. Recap tomorrow, ya'll.

Knicks vs. Nets Notes

Tonight at 7:30 the Knicks taken on the Nets in MSG and seek their ninth win in ten games! A win tonight would put the Knicks over .500 for the first time since they were 6-5 heading into Oklahoma City! I already did a preview for the Nets when the two teams met earlier in the season, so I'll just offer up some notes for tonight's matchup.

 - Baron Davis is expected to make his Knicks debut tonight! That is really exciting, not only because he was viewed as the savior up until Linsanity began, but because it means he actually is living, functioning, semi-healthy basketball player! Also, it means he could spell Jeremy Lin for at least a few minutes.

 - Carmelo Anthony will return tonight and Tyson Chandler (as you can see in that tweet) will play! Chandler is "sore", but able to play which is good. We'll get to see how well Melo fits in with Lin, but I bet it will go fine. Moreover, I bet he's going to try exceptionally hard to prove all of the doubters wrong.

 - Iman Shumpert will not play tonight as he has a nagging knee thing. Get well soon, Shump Shump.

 - I expect Deron Williams to come out in full force tonight, since Lin dominated him in the last matchup and thus started Linsanity.

 - Haven't seen this officially listed anywhere, but I had heard that Brook Lopez will be out tonight since it's the third night of a back-to-back-to-back for the Nets. Also, it's the third night of a back-to-back-to-back, Knicks. Finish 'em early.

That's pretty much it. Knicks should take advantage of playing a slightly lesser team tonight before taking on Atlanta and Miami later this week. Go Knicks!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Jason Terry: Jeremy Lin's success is because of D'Antoni's system

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports wrote this nice piece about Jeremy Lin, and Jason Terry's thoughts regarding Lin's play. When asked about Lin, Terry said it's "95%" Mike D'Antoni's system that's helping Lin. As we saw today, Lin went out and poured in 28 points on 55% shooting to go along with 14 assists, 4 rebounds, and 5 assists in a win over the Mavs. Despite all of that, Terry still had this to say:
 “If you play 46 minutes (a game) in this league, you have an opportunity to put up some nice numbers,” Terry said. “Again, it is what it is. He’ll have to maintain this pace. It’s going to be tough. Ask anybody: Give them an opportunity, ball in their hands, 20-plus shots and you better do something.”
 Lin has plenty of doubters, and that's fine, but after two weeks' worth of excellent play and a 7-1 record during that stretch, what else is there to doubt? He's already broken records, and demonstrated an ability to adjust to defenses and still play well. There will always be some that don't want to acknowledge what he's doing, and Terry is one of them.

But hey, the Knicks just beat the Mavs, so what does Jason Terry know?

Knicks 104, Mavericks 97 - Recap

Wow, what a game. Short-handed, following a loss to the Hornets, the Knicks could have very well surrendered to a very good team riding a win streak. But instead, the Knicks that we saw prevail during their 7-game win streak came out and went punch-for-punch with the Dallas Mavericks and evened their record back up to .500

The Knicks crucially dominated the 1st and 4th quarters and despite runs by the Dallas Mavericks, were able to withstand every blow. Jeremy Lin dazzled like he did against the Lakers, and the Knicks got some supreme help off the bench from Steve Novak and J.R. Smith, who made his Knicks debut.

Jump for more!

Knicks vs. Dallas Mavericks - Preview

We got a matinee game on our hands! At 1:00 the Knicks play the Mavericks for the first time this season. The lineup is a little wacky today, as Carmelo Anthony is still out and Bill Walker is out too with an elbow thing. Iman Shumpert will start at the 3 in their places. Also, Mike D'Antoni said Baron Davis is only likely to play in garbage time and J.R. Smith will play if the situation calls for it

So, with all that said, the consistently short-handed Knicks take on a Mavericks team that has won six in a row. The Mavs are a little banged up too as Delonte West is out, and Jason Terry may play for the first time today, coming off of some sort of injury.

Take the jump for some notes:

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Baron Davis and J.R. Smith Might Play Tomorrow

First off, ya'll, sorry for not posting a game recap. As I said in the preview, it was a good friend's birthday and I wasn't around to watch. It'd be kind of lame to try and make judgements based on the box score, so I was going to post some links to other recaps, but I wasn't near a computer for a better part of the day.

Alright, with that out of the way, some news that has been discussed from several sources, but this about sums it up (from Jonah Ballow):
D'Antoni says Melo probably will not play on SUN, JR Smith & Baron Davis could dress & be available against DAL #Knicks
 So, that seems pretty good, right? It was sort of looking like Baron Davis might become this year's Kelenna Azubuike. If he's ready to play this week, he'll only see limited minutes, but barring any major setbacks, it seems like he'll most definitely be a part of the rotation by the time All-Star weekend is over. Lin and a healthy Baron Davis could make a mighty fine point guard rotation!

As far as J.R. Smith goes, it would be fun to see him play, but I don't know if he's even gotten to practice with the team. It seems like D'Antoni didn't even know that Smith was ready to go. It seems like it would be better to give Smith a little time to watch the Knicks from the sideline and then let him play in Monday or Wednesday's game. As for Melo, no need to rush him back.

I guess we'll see tomorrow how this all plays out.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Knicks vs. New Orleans Hornets - Preview

Tonight at 8 the Knicks look for their 8th win in a row by taking on the New Orleans Hornets. The Knicks are coming off of a nice buzzer-to-buzzer beatdown of the Kings in which all of the top guns got rest. With the day off yesterday, the Knicks may come out sharp and try to put this one in the bag early on.

The Hornets meanwhile, have been ghastly this season, but have won their last two games. However, the team is quite beat up and are expected to be without Eric Gordon, Emeka Okafor, Jarrett Jack, and Carl Landry. I hate to discount any opponent, but this one is ripe for the taking for the Knicks so they should pounce early.

Also, I have a bit of news for ya'll who read this. I'm not going to get to view this whole game (if any) because of a close friend's birthday tonight. If anybody who watches wants to send me some notes, comment on this preview or write your email down and you can fill me in on what went down! This is open for anybody!

With that said, jump for some notes!

Jeremy Lin is in the Rookie-Sophomore Game Now

This is older news that broke last night, but Jeremy Lin has been added to the Rookie-Sophomore game. Norris Cole of the Miami Heat was also added to set the rosters at ten each. This year the format is different as Charles Barkely and Shaq both have teams that they drafted of players from both classes. Lin is on Team Shaq qith Landry Fields and Blake Griffin, so that will at least be fun to watch.

The NBA is absolutely feeding off Linsanity as he has been added to the dunk contest to assist Iman Shumpert, and will probably in the Shooting Stars competition where an ex-player, a WNBA player and NBA player all race to hit shots and hold people over until the dunk contest.

I mean, I guess it's cool. I would have liked if Jeremy got to rest during the break and get those legs back, but whatever. He could have refused to participate if he wanted, but he didn't. Gotta say though, Iman Shumpert got totally snubbed in not being added to the Rookie-Sophomore game.

Knicks to Sign J.R. Smith

It was announced this morning that J.R. Smith will sign with the Knicks. The Knicks' roster is currently at the league maximum 15 players, so someone will have to be released. Word is that Renaldo Balkman will be the victim :(
No contract terms were available, but the Knicks were able to offer Smith a pro-rated share of their $2.5 million mini mid-level exception and a player option for a second year. The Knicks will have to clear a roster spot to add Smith. Veteran guard Mike Bibby and seldom-used forward Renaldo Balkman are candidates. According to a source, center Jerome Jordan will not be released.
So, as sad as it is to see Renaldo go - and it seems like he will be - this is definitely an upgrade to the team. Good ole Renaldo hardly plays, and with the dpeth at the wing positions he was more expendable than Mike Bibby who is the current backup PG. Likewise, it's good that the Knicks will hold onto Jerome Jordan who could be a valuable project for the future.

Smith is a deadly offensive player, who when focused and in the groove, can absolutely carry a team. He dropped 60 points in a game in China this season. However, Smith has off-the-court issues too (which are detailed in the ESPN-linked article up top). He needs to be focused and motivated for him to be effective. I don't think Smith will act up as a distraction to the team since he chose to come to New York. But let's hope that he doesn't get distracted in the Big Apple.

Nothing to do now, but root for him. Welcome, J.R!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Knicks Nearing Deal For J.R. Smith

There had been mumbles and grumbles about this all day long, so I was hesitant to post about it, but it's sounding pretty sure now. Frank Isola tweeted about it earlier, but I was cautious to believe it at first because...yeah. But Alan Hahn has also mentioned it since.
JR Smith deal not yet completed, but seems imminent. #Knicks still need to open a roster spot to fit him. Curious to see that result.
This is both exciting and frightening. Smith can add a lot of punch to this team, hopefully coming off the bench. It's a low-risk move because the Knicks would only have to cut either Mike Bibby or Renaldo Balkman to make room for Smith. However, Smith has been known to cause off-the-court drama and occasionally locker room drama. Granted, winning can cure a lot of those things, and he'd be choosing to come to a situation, rather than be stuck in one.

We have to consider Mike D'Antoni's rotation now, though. Landry Fields and Iman Shumpert both play the 2/3, like Smith, and have been playing very well lately. Smith is more talented than those two, but why mess with a good thing? Likewise, if Baron Davis comes back, that only further tightens things up. It's a good problem to have, but Fields and Shumpert are both entertaining, fan-favorite players, so it would stink to see them lose minutes.

Anywho, this is J.R. Smith and this is what he likes to do:

Iman Shumpert Will Be in the Dunk Contest

The NBA announced today that Iman Shumpert will be one of the four contestants in the Spite Slam Dunk competition this All-Star Weekend! This year's contest will have a different format, as there will be only one round, consisting of three dunks for each participant. The outcome will be purely fan-decided as you can vote using Twitter this year.

It's exciting to have a Knick in the contest again. We've seen Shump blow plenty of dunks in games this year, but in an open gym, without defense, he can throw it down.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Knicks 100, Kings 85 - Recap

In the game preview I said the Knicks would need a 48-minute effort tonight, and that's what we got! How 'bout that! I want a cheesesteak! ... Nothing. Ah well.

Thankfully, the Kings never threatened the Knicks throughout this game, and for much of the second half, the Knicks' lead was above 20 points. Seven Knickerbockers scored in double-digits tonight, and Tyson Chandler had 9 points. Everyone shared the ball willingly, and there were a couple moments of delightful offensive chemistry. The defense was solid once again as well. The Kings are a poor shooting team, but hte Knicks held them to just 38% shooting, and didn't allow over 20 points in any single quarter until the 4th when it didn't matter.

Take the jump for some feel-good notes!

Knicks vs. Sacramento Kings - Preview

Tonight at 7:30 the Knicks return home riding a 6-game win streak to play the Sacramento Kings. Last night's heroics are sure to have the Garden buzzing tonight, especially with a chance to get back to .500. However, the Kings have been playing a little bit better lately too.

A lot of people have been calling this week's stretch of games "winnable". However, in the last two, we've seen the Knicks go down by double digits to supposedly inferior teams, and have to scrap it out to win in the final seconds. You can never discount a team, and on the second night of a back-to-back, the Knicks will need a 48-minute effort.

Take the jump for some notes on what to watch for!

Jeremy Lin's Game-Winner

The glorious moment brought to you by Mike Breen's wonderful delivery:

Jeremy Lin on turning to D'Antoni on start of last possession: "...I looked back at him to ask if I could get an ISO."

Courtesy of Adrian Wojnarowski

Knicks 90, Raptors 87 - Recap

Perhaps what is most surprising about the Jeremy Lin revolution (RevoLintion? Nah? Okay) is how he's inspired the Knicks grit in close games. We've now seen two games in a row where the Knicks played like cow poop, but didn't quit. Cow poop is manure and manure helps things grow, and the Knicks manure-style play through three quarters seems to inspire them to go 110% in the 4th quarter. Two games in a row the Knicks have pulled out breath-taking wins because of their 4th quarter execution.

Behind some terrific defense from Iman Shumpert, and a final burst of energy and badassness from Jeremy Lin, the Knicks won the game. Take the jump if you like notes or agriculture analogies!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Knicks 90, Raptors 87 - They Did It Again!

Unbelievable. The Knicks sucked their way through three and a half quarters and somehow stole a win away in a greater theft than we saw in the Minnesota game. Of course, everyone will talk about Jeremy Lin - and he deserves it! Lin finished with 27 points and 11 assists, and hit the game-tying 3-point play with less than a minute. After a stop on defense, Lin got the ball off of a Tyson Chandler rebound and hit a game-winning, pull-up 3 in Jose Calderon's face with .5 seconds left.

Lin deserves the talk, but this comeback was so much more than him. Iman Shumpert absolutely locked Jose Calderon down in the 4th quarter, and had a game-changing steal with under 2 minutes left. As Calderon brought the ball up, Shump reached around, picked Jose's pocket, and ran it in for the easy dunk.

Tyson Chandler, despite 5 fouls, deterred every Toronto driver in the final minutes. He also got THE offensive rebound of the night when Shump missed a jumpshot, and he corralled it and kicked it out to Lin for the game-winner.

Amar'e Stoudemire found his offensive groove in the 4th quarter and grabbed some important rebounds too. Bill Walker played excellent defense in the 4th quater as well, after a miserable 3 quarters.

It was a team win and a brilliant one at that. 6 in a row! Real recap tomorrow!

Knicks at Toronto Raptors - Preview

Hey ya'll, I already did a game preview back in January when the Knicks played the Raptors at home, so this one is just going to be a quicky. The fortunes of the Knicks have changed greatly since these teams last saw each other, so of course, the circumstances have changed quite a bit. The Knicks are still missing Carmelo Anthony, but Amar'e Stoudemire will be back tonight. For the Raptors, they're missing Andrea Bargnani, who is a notorious Knick-killer.

 Here's what I'll be watching for:

  • Amar'e Stoudemire has only played one game with Linsanity as we now know him, so tonight's game is sort of a meet-and-greet of sorts. Stoudemire may be a bit rusty as he hasn't played in over a week and is likely still mourning the loss of his brother. Lin, meanwhile, has had two days rest and made Jared Jeffries look pretty nice in the pick-and-roll, so adding in Amar'e should be a welcome change.
  • Simply said, Bill Walker's been pretty terrible the last few games, while Steve Novak has excelled in his new found place in the rotation. Novak is averaging 15.5 ppg, shooting 52.4% from downtown, and grabbing 4.5 rpg in his last 4 games - all Jeremy Lin starts. Though Novak can still be considered a bit of a defensive liability out there, there's no doubt he helps the offense more than Bill Walker.
  • Make no mistake, the Knicks' win over the Wolves last Saturday probably wouldn't happen without Shumpert's and Fields's contributions on offense/ Both had terrific games, wisely choosing their spots on offense, playing solid defense, and getting big baskets down the stretch. The Knicks are a much better team when both guys step up and play their best. Consistency is the key here for young players.
Let's all get ready! Tip off is at 7. If the Knicks win tonight, they'll be 14-15 and on a 6-game winning streak which are both very exciting things! Go Knicks!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Jeremy Lin Named Eastern Conference Player of the Week!

Congratulations to Jeremy Lin who won the NBA's Eastern Conference Player of the Week! Lin, of course, has taken the league by storm since his breakout game against the New Jersey Nets last Saturday. It's amazing to think that two weeks ago, Lin was practically considered the shoe-in to be cut by the Knicks so that they'd have room for one of the returning CBA players or other roster-cut victims. Now, he's considered a must-see player.

Since his breakout game against New Jersey, let's take a look at what Lin has done:
  • Led the Knicks on a 5-game win streak.
  • Put the Knicks back in 8th place in the Eastern Conference
  • Averaged 26.8 ppg, 53.3% FG, 4.2 rpg, 8 apg, and 2 spg - those are ridiculous numbers!
  • Made Landry Fields's couch the most famous piece of furniture in the NBA
  • Helped raise shares at Madison Square Garden
  • Climbed Mount Everest
  • Performed life-saving CPR on a dying puppy
  • Revealed Jim Morrison's hiding spot and unveiled the false accusations that Tupac is dead
  • Began early developments in creating the first time machine
Hey, it's been quite a week for Jeremy Lin! May there be many more!

Jason Whitlock Apologizes For Jeremy Lin Joke

Friday night, after the Knicks beat the Lakers and Jeremy Lin scored 38 points, "journalist" Jason Whitlock tweeted this:
Some lucky lady in NYC is gonna feel a couple inches of pain tonight.
Credit to Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don't Lie for being on the ball with this story and Jason's apology (which was hardly an apology, but more of an excuse). Whitlock claimed that his "immature, sophomoric, comedic nature" kicked in - a humor that he developed from his mother and Richard Pryor. I don't need to say anything more on this as Dwyer rightfully blasts Witlock for his immature, idiotic terribly unfunny nature in the article.

Racial jokes are always lame, but why lash out on a happy, inspirational young man like Lin? Even seeing signs in Madison Square Garden that say Yellow Mamba kind of bums me out. Can we please forget that Lin is anything but a terrific basketball player and just celebrate his surprising, but excellent rise to NBA fame?

Jason Whitlock 

vs. Jeremy Lin

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Very Short Update on J.R. Smith

ESPN NBA analyst Brian Windhorst tweeted the following today:
According to my Chinese friend @JordanLee2009 JR Smith's team officially missed playoffs & he can return to NBA on Feb. 15.
I don't know if that means J.R. Smith will be able to play on the 15th or if it means he can begin his search for a team on the 15th. If it means he will be eligible to play, that means we could get a decision from Smith within the next two days. If it's the latter, then it may take awhile before Smith reaches his decision.

With Jeremy Lin's emergence and this current Knicks winning streak, with Amar'e returning this week and Melo returning (hopefully) next week, my desire for Smith has diminished a little bit. Team chemistry is extremely high right now and it seems like everyone is pretty comfortable with what they're doing. Smith has been known to cause some problems off the court and in the locker room, so is it a risk to bring him onto a team that's in a groove?

Alan Hahn tweeted this morning that the Knicks are still very interested in him. Either way, I suppose we'll know what he's doing within the next 10 days or so.

Knicks 100, Wolves 98 - Recap

On a night when Linsanity looked exhausted, the Knicks relied pretty heavily on their supporting cast and some tough second half defense to win their fifth straight. To summarize the game in a few words: the Knicks flat-out pick-pocketed the Timberwolves out of this win. By my memory, this was nearly a wire-to-wire victory for the Wolves; the Knicks didn't lead until the final minute. But as we've seen with this team lately, they've got some grit.

Theoretically, the Knicks had no right winning this game, but the NBA isn't always fair. Take the jump for some notes on one of the most surprising, gritty wins the Knicks have had all season.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Knicks at Minnesota Timberwolves- Preview

Are they still called the Timberwolves? Or is it just Wolves, like the Devil Rays became the Rays? Anywho, tonight at 8 the Knicks play them! The Wolves that is! Tonight's the first time these two teams have met in Minnesota since the Wolves pulled out a win behind a 30-30 effort from Kevin Love. The Knicks don't want to do that again tonight.

Surely there will be some fun matchups in this one, particularly Jeremy Lin vs. Ricky Rubio. However, Jared Jeffries guarding Kevin Love could be interesting, and Landry Fields vs. Wesley Johnson is fun because it reminds me of what a steal Landry is.

Anyway, take the jump for some notes!

Analyzing Jeremy Lin's Career Game vs. Los Angeles

Last night, in the Knicks-Lakers recap, I posted a video that highlighted all of Jeremy Lin's field goals. This video, however, is a bit longer, shows some replays, and also highlights his assists. I'm no Zach Lowe (or any of the other tremendous basketball analysts there are out there, for that matter), but I thought we could take a look at the video and do a slight breakdown how Lin is able to orchestrate the Knicks' offense.

Take the jump!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Knicks 92, Lakers 85 - Recap

Coming into this game I didn't think the Knicks really stood much of a chance of winning. Obviously missing Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire, I didn't think the Knicks could match the Lakers ability to put points on the board and contain a team while missing its top guns.

Photo by Getty Images
In my preview I mentioned three things I'd be watching for:
  • The Knicks ability to guard Kobe Bryant -- 11-29 FG shooting for Kobe, despite a hot streak at one point.
  • The Knicks frontcourt vs. the Lakers frontcourt -- 19 points, 7-18 shooting, 10 fouls, 5 turnovers between Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum.
  • The Jeremy Lin factor -- Well, he was alright, I suppose....
 This was one of the best wins of the season. Take the jump for some notes!

Knicks vs. Lakers - Preview

Tonight at 8 the Knicks finish their season series against the Los Angeles Lakers in an ESPN-televised game! There's a lot of hype surrounding the game based on this Jeremy Lin dude (heard his name once or twice on the web) and the Lakers/Kobe Bryant playing in MSG always draws a lot of attention.

Frankly, I'd be much more giddy if Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony were available to play this game because it would make a win so much more likely. The Lakers are undoubtedly a better team than the Nets, Jazz, or Wizards - all of whom the Knicks have beaten on this winning streak - so the Knicks will really have their hands full!

Everybody jump!

Brandon Jennings is Maybe Interested in Big Markets

Not that I particularly care, but since it was listed on ESPN New York, I thought I'd share this. Brandon Jennings on his (possible) pending free agency:
"I am going to keep my options open, knowing that the time is coming up,'' Jennings said in an email interview. "I'm doing my homework on big-market teams.''

Jennings, 22, is in his third NBA season and will be eligible to sign a long-term contract extension with Milwaukee this summer. Jennings can become an unrestricted free agent in 2014 if he signs a qualifying offer after next season.
Recall that in 2009 when Jennings was drafted, he was pretty angry about not being selected by the Knicks. That year, the Knicks picked Jordan Hill and ended up missing out on a multitude of point guards, Jennings being one of them. Others include Ty Lawson and Jrue Holiday, all three of whom could be useful point guards to the Knicks these days.

Anywho, I don't like Brandon Jennings and I won't be polite about it. For one, I'm not a fan of his attitude, but ignoring that, his game doesn't strike me as the winning type. He's got loads of talent, sure, but for his career, he shoots a low percentage from the field (38% FG) and he is not a pass-first PG. Granted, Milwaukee hasn't had great players to pass to, but 5.3 apg for his career with 2.1 turnovers per game doesn't strike me as someone the Knicks should target with their limited money. Not that there's any evidence of mutual desire, but just thought I'd point it out.

Kobe Bryant Hasn't Heard of 'Linsanity"

By now Jeremy Lin has reached celebrity status, his name, face, and highlights all over the internet and all forms of social media. What the obsession is, I don't know. I love the kid; he's become one of my favorite players on the Knicks, and it's wonderful to see him shining and taking advantage of his opportunity. However, when you type "je" into Google, "Jeremy Lin" is the second suggestion to come up, which is pretty crazy.

A lot of people are making a big deal about the Knicks game vs. the Lakers tonight, as Kobe takes on "Linsanity". However, Kobe doesn't understand the big deal because he hasn't heard about Linsanity! As reported by Reid Cherner of USA Today, Kobe said:

"I know who he is, but I don't really know what's going on too much with them," he said. "I don't even know what he's done ... I'll take a look at (the tape) though."
Kobe could be bluffing, but I hope he isn't. With the attention Jeremy has received over the past week, he's been put on a such a high pedestal, that on a night where he under-performs (or more likely, returns back to Earth), the media will turn against him. I hope Kobe Bryant hasn't heard of him because I don't want to see this again just to make a statement. Frankly, I hope people forget about Lin so that the attention is taken off of him and he can focus on playing basketball, without the enormous expectations. He said himself that the media attention has been overwhelming.
Photo courtesy of Jonah Ballow
I think Jeremy Lin has the potential to be a part of the Knicks' championship building process. As Mike D'Antoni noted in a postgame interview recently, Lin's got court vision, he's got speed, and he's got smarts, and those things don't just disappear (though Toney Douglas may wish to argue with me about dissipating talents). Eventually, teams will focus on making Lin shoot the jumper, which isn't weak, but isn't strong. They'll put more pressure on his semi-weak ball-handling. They'll figure him out. But those are things that can be fixed and worked on.

In Lin's two games as a starter, he's averaged 25.5 ppg, 9 apg, and he's shot over 50%. The last player to put up over 20 points and 8 assists in their first two starts was Lebron James. Lin's in some high company there. It should be noted too, that statistically, what Lin has done the last three games is likely better than what a healthy Baron Davis will produce.

However, with the absence of Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire, the attention and pressure will be on Lin to (once again) perform like a superstar. The Los Angeles Lakers are a significantly better team than the Nets, Jazz, or Wizards and you can bet that they aren't ready to let Linsanity dominate them and be the story around America.

So for Jeremy's sake, let's give him a break and ease up expectations. A win tonight would be a near miracle, in my opinion, and let's not put more pressure on Lin than need be. Please?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Knicks 107, Wizards 93 - Recap

Boy, oh boy, is this fun or what? Sans-Melo, sans-Amar'e Stoudemire, the Knicks continue to thrive at the hands of Jeremy Lin. The first game seemed like an aberration, the second game seemed like pure sillyness, but now three games in, Jeremy Lin is turning skeptics (myself included) into believers.

No, I don't believe Jeremy Lin will continue to average 25 points and 8 assists per game, but Lin looks like a quality NBA point guard that, most importantly, is helping his team win. Lin should not get all of the credit tonight as it was a team effort on both sides of the court that helped the get the Knicks their third straight victory.

Take the jump for some notes!

Knicks at Washington Wizards - Preview

Tonight at 7 the Knicks play the Washington Wizards. Minus Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire, a game against the lowly Wizards might be exactly what the short-handed Knicks need. The rest of the team will need to step up in their absence and of course, all eyes will be on Jeremy Lin.

Last time these two teams met, the Knicks barely escaped with a win, mostly in thanks to Carmelo Anthony's 37 points and game-winning 3-pointer. Tonight the results may look a little different. Take the jump for some notes!

Amar'e Stoudemire Won't Return Until Monday

Via Marc Berman:

Amare won't return until Monday's practice. Missing next three.
Well that kind of stinks. Obviously, Amar'e deserves to take as much time as he needs after an awful loss. It just stinks that he'll be missing so much time. No doubt the Knicks will miss him with Carmelo Anthony and Josh Harrellson both injured. Likewise, while two of the games he'll miss - Toronto and Washington - are fairly winnable, the Knicks have about a 1.3% chance of winning their game against the Lakers on Friday.

On the bright side, this will give other players a chance to step up. Tyson Chandler and Jared Jeffries will get the bulk of the minutes at power forward and center, but this leads me to believe Steve Novak and Jerome Jordan will also get fairly significant playing time. In terms of scoring, it will fall on guys like Landry Fields, Bill Walker, Iman Shumpert, and hopefully Jeremy Lin to pick up the slack.

It will be a great test to this team's fortitude to go a week without its top guns, however it should be interesting/fun/possibly horrifying to see how it goes. And of course, condolences to the Stoudemire family.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Carmelo Anthony Out 1-2 Weeks With a Strained Groin

More good news for the Knicks (courtesy of Howard Beck):
Knicks say Carmelo will be out for 1-2 weeks because of strained right groin. No other tests scheduled.
Melo appeared to just strain it while running up the court, which seems kind of weird for a professional athlete. He wasn't sprinting, nor was their anybody even in close proximity to him; he just strained it.

This isn't particularly good news for the Knicks or Melo, who has been quite banged up this season. But if you want to look on the bright side, this may give Melo some time to let that wrist properly heal. In the meantime, Adam Zagoria notes that Shumpert and Bill Walker will get Melo's minutes, and Jonah Ballow states that Mike D'Antoni might even give Shumpert some burn at the SF spot.

At the very least, it will be fun to watch the lineups that D'Antoni throws out there. I believe Steve Novak should have earned himself some more minutes after his performance last night. Keep in mind too, that Amar'e Stoudemire will eventually be back (I'm guessing by Friday's game against the Lakers), so the Knicks won't be completely devoid of scoring. This concludes my scattered thought paragraph.

Baron Davis Got an Elbow Infection

Yesterday I wrote about Baron Davis's setback that has furthered delayed his Knick debut. Well, before the game started, news broke that Davis received an elbow infection that set him back. In that article, Davis is quoted as saying that his arm and back both feel good, but who really knows at this point?

It seems more and more that Davis won't even return until after the All-Star break which is pretty disappointing. Jeremy Lin has filled in tremendously the last two games, but I don't think we can expect him to continue to play at a higher rate than any point guard in the league. Likewise, Lin's inexperience will begin to show when games start to become more and more important, and opponents focus their defense more on him. Baron could be very important when that time comes.

I supposed we'll just have to continue to twiddle our thumbs and enjoy Jeremy Lin until Davis comes back.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Knicks 99, Jazz 89 - Recap

Is it a full moon tonight? Quick, everyone run to your windows and tell me if you see a full moon! There's got to be one. On a night where Amar'e Stoudemire was home mourning the loss of his brother, on a night when Carmelo Anthony strained his groin early in the 1st quarter, on a night when Tyson Chandler was plagued by fouls for the majority of the game, guess who came to the rescue. JEREMY LIN! Coming off of a career game against the Nets on Saturday night, Linsanity got the start and did it again, somehow topping his previous career game.

With the Knicks missing their (seemingly) two best players, other Knicks stepped up in a big way, and in a refreshingly team-dominant performance they got the victory! What a wild, raucous, completely upside down night it was at the Garden! Take the jump for more, ya'll!

Knicks vs. Jazz - Preview

Tonight at 7:30, the Knicks take on the Utah Jazz for their first and only meeting of the season. The Knicks are coming off of a rousing win over the New Jersey Nets, led by the surprisingly dominant performance of Jeremy Lin.

The Jazz meanwhile have had a surprising start to the season, winning 13 of their first 22 games. Riddled with young, promising talent, but lacking currently up-to-speed leaders, the Jazz weren't considered playoff contenders. However they currently sit at 5th seed in the Western Conference and have surprised opponents with their total team effort.

Take the jump for some notes!

Baron Davis Had a Setback

According to this ESPN New York article, according to Mike D'Antoni, Baron Davis has suffered some sort of setback and it has now become even foggier as to when he will return.

"If it calms down then he'll pick up where he left off and then we've got to go through the process of practicing and we're still at least a week or ten days out when the process re-starts," the coach said. "Hopefully (it restarts) tomorrow but I'm not too sure."
D'Antoni could make no guarantees that Davis would return to the Knicks prior to the All Star Break, which begins February 24.  
"(He) might not," D'Antoni said. "At this point it's hard for me to update you guys every day. Because we don't know, and right now we're not counting on it and if he does, great."
The longer this drags out, the more it seems that the original 8-10 week timetable was accurate. Two weeks ago, there were reports that Davis could make his debut against Cleveland. Now, two weeks later, we're hearing at least another seven to ten days.

It would be particularly excellent if Davis could come back before All-Star break, which as the article mentions, is a little under three weeks away. I think a healthy Baron Davis can solve or at least lessen a lot of this team's problems, and so to get him back before the break could give the Knicks some positive momentum heading into the second half of the season.

However, with all of these setbacks and lack of practicing or feeling ready, it's hard not to worry about what Kelly Dwyer brought up a few weeks ago. Baron has not always been the most reliable or easy player to coach, and while it's good that he's taking his time and trying to get healthy, it also seems as if he and the coaches and trainers might be on different wavelengths right now.

I'll keep looking at the positive side and think about how when Davis does return, he'll be completely healthy!

Amar'e Out; Jeffries and Lin In

First, some grave news. Amar'e Stoudemire's brother, Hazell, was killed in car accident early this morning. Amar'e is traveling down to Orlando to be with his family and will miss tonight's game. In that linked article, Mike D'Antoni says Amar'e may take as much times as he needs, which is the courteous thing to do. Obviously, we all send our condolences to Amar'e and his family. What a tragedy.

Because of Amar'e's absence, Jared Jeffries will get the start tonight against the Utah Jazz. But along with Jared, there will be another new addition to the starting lineup tonight! Via Howard Beck:
Reports from Knicks shootaround are that Jeremy Lin will get his first start tonight, with Jeffries replacing the absent Stoudemire.
Hey, congratulations, Jeremy! The unreasonable Knicks fan in me is extremely excited to watch Lin tonight and I'm very curious to see how he'll play now with that his adrenaline isn't pumping like crazy. However, the reasonable human within me (somewhere) is trying to tamper expectations. It appears Shumpert will move to the bench, so we'll see how long D'Antoni leaves Lin in before going to Shump or Toney Douglas.

Either way, a starting lineup of Jeremy Lin, Landry Fields, Carmelo Anthony, Jared Jeffries, and Tyson Chandler may struggle mightily to score. Something to watch for.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Knicks 99, Nets 92 - Recap

On a night where the Knicks and Mike D'Antoni desperately needed a win, Jeremy Lin came to the rescue! I didn't get to watch this game very astutely due to some company that was over, but what I saw in the 4th quarter was one of the best things we've seen all season.

It feels wrong to write about anything else. Jeremy Lin absolutely took over the game with 25 points on 10-19 shooting, 7 assists, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals. The video above explains it all. Before we get too carried away, Lin isn't going to do this every night; he clearly had some insane adrenaline pumping last night. But, he may be an answer to the PG spot while we wait for Baron Davis to return. Then, he might be able to provide competent play as a backup. We <3 you, Jeremy!

 - Tyson Chandler was probably the second best Knick of the night. 17 points and 9 rebounds, and he did a solid job keeping some Nets out of the paint and finishing some sweet alley-oops from Lin.

 - Amar'e Stoudemire had a nice night, but wasn't anything special. 17 points and he too benefitted from some nice drives by Lin.

 - Melo looked very tired and admitted so last night. 3-15 shooting for Melo, who will probably benefit from this day off.

 - Hey Jared Jeffries had 9 points and 10 rebounds! He took 10 shots though, which is probably too many.

 - Jeremy Lin took Deron Williams to school last night! Holy crap!

Everybody enjoy your Superbowl Sunday! Go Knicks!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Knicks vs. Nets - Preview

Rounding off the back-to-back-to-back tonight, the Knicks take on the New Jersey Nets in a cross-river battle. Back at home after a disappointing letdown in Boston, New York will try and rebound and get one of the elusive "win" things.

The Nets, who have been equally as lowly as the Knicks (although more justifiably), are also coming off of a tough loss last night at the hands of Minnesota. With the way the two teams have been thus far, it could be mediocre match made in heaven. Hooray!

Jump for some notes.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Celtics 91, Knicks 89 - Recap

Were you expecting anything different? If you've watched any Knicks-Celtics game over the past year and a half, it always follows the same script, or at least a very similar one. In fact, if you've watched the Knicks at all over the last two years, you knew what was coming.

Through nearly three quarters, the Knicks ran an efficent offense, moving the ball, making smart passes, and getting second chances from offensive rebounds. But when the Celtics started to tighten up their D, and beat the Knicks to every loose ball, mainly rebounds, you knew what was ahead: the inevitable comeback.

There was some questionable coaching decisions and really, just some poor execution down the stretch. Take the jump for some notes.

Is J.R. Smith Thinking About the Knicks?

J.R. Smith, who may be coming back to the USA this spring if his Chinese team doesn't make a deep playoff run, will be an unrestricted free agent. The Knicks evidently have some interest in him, and perhaps he has some interest in them as well.

A few weeks ago (though I can't seem to find it on the internet), J.R. tweeted pondering what it would be like to play on Broadway. Today, he also tweeted about the Knicks. Is this a hint?
How many people does the Garden seat?
To be fair, Smith then tweeted "How many does people does staples seat?" so he's not entirely thinking about the Knicks if his tweets are any indication.

I'm not entirely a big fan of Smith's game, but he'd be a huge improvement to the bench. He can fill it up with the best of them, and would probably assume the 6th man role for the Knicks. They still have their stretch exception (2 yrs/$5 mil) sitting in their backpocket. Would that be enough for J.R.?

Bulls 105, Knicks 102 - Recap

Sorry for the belated recap, I had quite a bit of work to do over the past few hours. Last night with the gut-wrenching loss to the Chicago Bulls, the Knicks fell to 8-14. However, this one did not come easily to the Bulls by any means. New York battled until the final buzzer, particularly giving Chicago some scares in the second half.

There were some positive signs in this game, most notably Amar'e Stoudemire's performance. Stat looked like his December 2010 self, dropping 34 points on 59% shooting, with 11 rebounds. Likewise, Landry Fields continued to display his newly found/returned confidence, scoring 17 points on 10 shots, and dishing out 4 assists.

As a team, New York looked like they had a gameplan, which was encouraging. The ball moved around, the guards found Tyson Chandler and Amar'e rolling to the hoop, and on defense we saw some brilliant traps and a committed to hustle to fighting over screens instead of switching.

Take the jump for some notes, and comment and tell me if you like the format I'm trying!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Bulls 105, Knicks 102

Ah shucks. The Knicks should be well past moral victories at this point, but this feels like one nonetheless. Heading into halftime, it looked like the Knicks might get blown out in the 2nd half as their defense was lethargic and everybody seemed tentative on offense.

However, they came out playing hard in the second half and gave the Bulls a real scare. The defense looked good, even if Derrick Rose played like a super-human. Seriously, there's no defense for that man when his jumpers are falling.

Amar'e scored 34 points - a season high - and grabbed 10 rebounds. Fields had himself a solid game, including some clutch baskets and nice drives. If the Knicks can put together an effort like this all of the time, they can get themselves back in the playoff race while they wait for Baron Davis to return.

Recap tomorrow because I've got too much work to do tonight. G'night, ya'll.

Knicks vs. Bulls - Preview

We got a big one on our hands, folks! Tonight at 8:00 the Knicks take one the Chicago Bulls in a game that will be broadcasted on TNT. The Knicks are coming off of a rousing blowout win over the Detroit Pistons. The Bulls meanwhile have lost their last two games, and played last night.

Rip Hamilton and Luol Deng are both questionable and/or out for the game, which would be a big boost for the Knicks. Take the jump for some quick notes!

Knicks Are Quite Interested in J.R. Smith

As we've all heard, the Knicks are looking to enhance their roster, either by making some trades or by signing some of the returning players from China. J.R. Smith appears to be their main target, according to Howard Beck.
Continue to hear that Knicks' interest in Kenyon Martin is modest, at best. Won't do backflips to get him. More interest in J.R. Smith.
Adrian Wojnarowski also shed some light on the situation.
Knicks were hot on Kenyon Martin early, tailed off, and checking back now. As @HowardBeckNYT says, focus on JR Smith. NY needs guard help.
Between Amar'e, Chandler, and Melo, the Knicks have three players that receive 35-40 minutes a game. Add in Jared Jeffries and Josh Harrellson, who both get 15-25 minutes a night, and the rotation upfront is pretty tight. Kenyon Martin would certainly strengthen that rotation, but he's more of a luxury at this point.

J.R. Smith is an interesting scenario. Most likely, the Knicks would use him as a 6th man for some added offense punch off the bench. Smith is one of the most talented scorers in the league, but he's always had off-court issues and his behavior can be erratic; he and George Karl probably wouldn't even sign each other's yearbooks.

However, when he's on his A-game, he can create his own shot, score from anywhere, and even create looks for other guys. At this point though, would he help or only exacerbate the problem with lack of ball movement and poor shot selection? What do ya'll think? Comment!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Knicks May Look to Add Some Players

Since Kenyon Martin was sent back to the United States a month ago or so, his name has been linked to the Knicks a few times. Likewise, Ramon Sessions's name is inevitably linked to the Knicks at some point in the season. However, other names have been brought up in trade/signing rumors as well. Other China bros like Aaron Brooks and J.R. Smith have been mentioned, as well as Jose Calderon, who the Raptors are evidently looking to unload.

Though all of these names are potentially interesting, the problem is that the Knicks have almost nobody to trade. Outside of the "Big 3", guys like Landry Fields and Iman Shumpert are probably tradeable, but the major fluctuation in salaries on the Knicks makes it hard to trade anyone. Renaldo Balkman has the fourth highest salary on the team, and he makes below $2 million a season. This makes for a problem when it comes to matching salaries.

Sessions would be a great pickup for the Knicks, and his salary isn't too high, but the Knicks would have to combine a few players to make it work. I don't think they're interested in trading Fields or Shumpert, so it'd take some sort of combination of Balkman, Toney Douglas, Jared Jeffries, Bill Walker, Josh Harrellson, and maybe even Jerome Jordan (who I see as someone who may get interest from other teams). Whether or not any of those players are appealing to teams is another story; just their salaries would help match.

As far as free agents go, Kenyon Martin's name was linked to the Knicks in this Marc J. Spears article. However, as mentioned in that piece, Martin has other suitors that he may find more attractive. Guys like Brooks (a restricted free agent) and Smith (unrestricted) could potentially be signed for the $2.5 mil exceptiom, which the Knicks still have.

Mike D'Antoni didn't rule any trades or signings out, and said that if it "makes sense" the team will pursue it. However likely that may be though, is a different story.