Friday, March 30, 2012

Jeremy Lin will sit tonight against the Atlanta Hawks

Jeremy Lin, who missed the past two games with a sore knee, will also not play tonight when the Knicks visit the Atlanta Hawks. From Al Iannazzone:
No Jeremy Lin again tonite.
It's still unclear what exactly is wrong with Jeremy Lin's knee; all we've heard is that it's "sore". Iannazzone also tweeted some more news nuggets regarding Jeremy Lin (and Amar'e Stoudemire), one of which is concerning, the other slightly more reassuring:
 Woodson: ''i have no idea when [Lin and Stoudemire] are going to return; if they're going to return. I just don't know.''
 The Knicks just said Lin is shooting for next week against the Indiana and Orlando, depending on how he feels.
So, first, the Wooded one fools us into an apocalyptic nightmare (*if* Jeremy returns?!), but then another authority with the Knicks (that second tweet is a bit uninformative) reassures us that Jeremy's knee hasn't been taken hostage by a rabid, hostile faction of wolverines and Komodo dragons. 

I guess we'll just have to wait and see what becomes of the situation, but it seems the Knicks just really want Lin to be 100% going into the final push and then hopefully the playoffs. Can't deny though that the lack of details are a bit sketchy. Perhaps the Knicks coaching staff are indeed the rabid, hostile faction of wolverines and Komodo dragons! F!R3 WOOD$ON!!!!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Knicks 108, Magic 86 - Recap

Well now! Quite a turn around from the opening minutes where I found myself saying, "It's going to be one of those games." In the 1st quarter the Knicks offered little resistance to the Magic as Jameer Nelson and Hedo Turkoglu canned jumpers and finished drives to the lane while Dwight Howard just did what he does. After giving up 29 points in the opening quarter and trailing by as many as seven points, the Knicks took control.
Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images

A defensively stifling 2nd quarter accompanied by efficient offense is what turned the game around for the Knicks. Carmelo Anthony was determined around the basket, either finishing drivess or getting fouled in the process. Steve Novak was especially explosive off the bench, hitting a good clip of his jumpers, including a 3-pointer to beat the first half buzzer.

The 3rd quarter featured some dazzling, and at times, just downright silly shooting by the Knicks. Carmelo Anthony opened it up by scoring eight straight points before Iman Shumpert got in the act sinking 3-pointers, and the rest of the team followed suit. At one point the Knicks led 86-49. Things then got a little sloppy and lax, but the Magic never really threatened to make a comeback. Aside from a brief reappearance from the starters (sans Melo) to clean things up, the Knicks basically cruised to a dominant win, pushing them to above .500 for the first time since early January!

Would you like to read some more? Jump!

Knicks vs. Orlando Magic - What To Watch For

Tonight at 7 the severely dinged up Knicks take on the Orlando Magic for the second time this season. The Knicks will be without the help of Jeremy Lin, Amar'e Stoudemire, and Jared Jeffries, and possibly J.R. Smith who apparently is a little under the weather. Carmelo Anthony is expected to play tonight though.

The Magic currently sit comfortably as the 3rd seed in the Eastern Conference having won their last three games and seven of their last ten. In the Knicks' last meeting with the Magic it was a back-and-forth affair that came down to the 4th quarter where Orlando started raining 3-pointers. Tonight the Knicks will look to tighten that up and continue their highly defensive ways.

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

Carmelo Anthony likely to play tonight; Jeremy Lin out

From Al Iannazzone at Newday:
Carmelo Anthony went through shootaround this morning and is playing tonight despite still feeling some soreness in his strained right groin.

But the Knicks wont have Jeremy Lin (sore knee), Amare Stoudemire (back), Jared Jeffries (knee) and Bill Walker (elbow). J.R. Smith is questionable with an illness and Baron Davis hamstring is bothering him but hes going to start at point guard tonight against the Magic.
Sheesh! I think that makes for three completely healthy (to our knowledge) players in the usual rotation - Landry Fields, Steve Novak, and Iman Shumpert. Keep in mind that Tyson Chandler and Josh Harrellson both have had/are playing through wrist injuries.

This cranky groin of Carmelo's is the same one that he hurt in that game against the Jazz and forced him to miss the big Linsanity stretch. He's said that this isn't as bad as last time, but he can still feel it on some plays. He also admitted that if this was happening in January, he'd probably sit out, but in the midst of this playoff race (which he called "fun") there isn't time to sit out.

The fact that Lin is missing another game worries me a little bit and perhaps the knee is worse than he's been letting on. I can't say that surprises me considering the reckless way he plays and some of the hits he takes going to the basket. As Alan Hahn stated today, he believe it is extra important for Lin to get back to 100%, which is probably true.

Likewise, Mike Woodson said today that he's going to have to get Toney Douglas minutes because Baron Davis can't go 30 tonight. When Mike Bibby got significant minutes two nights ago against Milwaukee, the Knicks offense reeked of early January where the ball sloppily swung left to right around the perimeter with little forward progress made; there were a lot of ugly attempts late in the shot clock. Toney Douglas was part of that hideous offense in the early parts of the season, but why not give him another try. If he can find the range from 3-point land like he did last season, he'd be a HUGE addition for the Knicks.

Tip of the hat(s) to Al Iannazzone, Alan Hahn, and Howard Beck who are always on the ball with their news updates. More later when more of tonight's situation becomes available.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Knicks are an Injured Bunch

Across the league, through this up-and-down lockout-shortened season, there have been a slew of injuries. So, perhaps it's unfair for me to groan and pout and bemoan the Knicks' injury woes. But there's no doubting that the Knicks have consistently been hamstrung and bedeviled by the injury bugs. And as the Knicks' season started showing signs of coming together - the defense nearing elite rankings, the offense playing more smoothly than ever this season, Amar'e Stoudemire regaining his usual form, etc - it all culminated into one agonizing agglomeration.

 - Currently, Jared Jeffries will remain off the court for at least two weeks, but Tommy Dee has heard whispers that he'll be out for even longer. Most Knicks fans (myself included) probably never envisioned a time where we'd be counting the days until Jeffries returns to replace an injured Stoudemire, but that is what we face. Jeffries provides great defense, rebounding, and leadership on the floor, and while he's far from reliable on offense, he provides depth at the 4 and 5 positions.

 - Jeremy Lin sat out last night with a sore knee. I haven't found any updates on Lin, but I imagine he'll be reevaluated before tomorrow's game against the Magic. The Knicks offense looked awfully disrupted without Lin's guiding hands last night. Even when Baron Davis was filling in nicely, he still doesn't have the stamina or rhythm to have the same impact as Lin. With point guard opponents such as Jameer Nelson, Jeff Teague, and Kyrie Irving up next on the menu, it would be handy to have Lin around.

 - The most devastating of them all is that MRI results revealed a bulging disk in Amar'e Stoudemire's back (also a bulging dick - thanks Al Trautwig). Recall that Stoudemire's (and subsequently, the Knicks') playoff run was cut short by a pulled muscle in his back. That same muscle prohibited him from playing basketball in the offseason, and it clearly diminished his explosiveness for a better part of this season. Just as Stat was starting to look like his old, springy self again, this happens. It's a really a sad situation, and while I'm not usually someone to look on the darker side of things, this seems like a problem that could really affect Stoudemire long term. In the article linked above (disk, not dick), it says surgery is a possible route, so we'll see what happens there.

 - To pile on the heap of despair, Carmelo Anthony tweaked his groin in the second half of last night's game. Melo sat for a good chunk of the 4th quarter, but played in the final minutes where he did hit a jumpshot and played some good defense on Mike Dunleavy Jr. Anthony said he'll be reevaluated soon and hopes to play against Orlando tomorrow night. I... don't even know. Get better soon, Melo. Please.

The Knicks are not the only team to be hampered by injuries this season; the Denver Nuggets and Chicago Bulls have had to deal with their fair share too. But with the Knicks in a race to the playoffs with one of the tougher remaining schedules in the league, they can't afford to have their flags at half-mast, so to speak. We'll see what becomes of these injuries, but may everyone recover quickly!


Monday, March 26, 2012

Knicks beat Bucks 89-80

It was declared a demolition of basketball and the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference by Mr. Ken Berger, and he was right. But it was also a big, ugly win for the New York Knicks as they pushed Milwaukee further back from that coveted final playoff spot and crept ever closer to the division lead held by the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers.

At times, baskets were a rarity and secure possession of the ball was limited, but despite New York's attempts to give the Bucks chances to get back into the game, the Knicks' defense was unrelenting and forced Milwaukee's top guns - Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis, Ersan Ilyasova, and Drew Gooden - into horrific shooting nights. Meanwhile, Carmelo Anthony kept his team afloat with a slew of free throws and guys like J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert all came up with big baskets down the stretch.

Sans Jeremy Lin and Amar'e Stoudemire (following devastating news of the MRI results on his back), the Knicks offense was putrid, but their defense continues to inch closer to elite with each game. And while these weren't the results we'd have expected from our Knicks, their defense may just be good enough to win them enough games to secure a playoff spot, regardless of what seed it is.

More extensive recap tomorrow. Yo estoy muy, muy ocupado! Si, yo tengo un examen in Espanol manana. Buenos noches, amigos!

Knicks vs. Milwaukee Bucks - What To Watch For

Tonight at 7:30 the Knicks play a very important game at home vs. the pesky Milwaukee Bucks. In a game that has potential playoff implications, both teams come riding in playing some good basketball, but the Knicks are a little banged up. Likely without the services of Amar'e Stoudemire, and definitely without Jared Jeffries, the Knicks will be short-handed in their efforts to hold off the deer from Brew City.

However, the Knicks will have the advantage of playing at home and the Bucks have been pretty poor on the road. Likewise, if it helps calm you down, the Bucks have been pretty awful against teams over .500. While the Knicks aren't one of those teams, it's a slightly more reassuring sentiment. 

Take the jump for what to watch for tonight!

Weekly Knicks Musings

With the Knicks seemingly adjusted in the Mike Woodson era, this week brings about tougher competition and the usual large stakes. Sitting 1.5 games behind Boston and 3 games behind Philadelphia, the Knicks have just 17 games to try and move ahead in the standings. Of course, that will be difficult when 9 of their next 17 games are teams above .500.

Take the jump for some thoughts on the Knicks' past and upcoming week.

Amare Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin are both questionable tonight - UPDATED

The Knicks play a very important game tonight against the Milwaukee Bucks who are ever-sneaking up the Knicks' behinds and trying to snag that 8th spot in the Eastern Conference. So, seeing as how this is the Knicks and it has been one of the wackiest seasons ever, of course two key players might not play tonight. From Jared Zwerling of ESPN New York:

Jeremy Lin (sore right knee) and Amare Stoudemire (sore lower back) are both questionable for Monday night's game against the Bucks.
Recall that both fellows went out late in the second half against Detroit to get their respective sores checked out. Lin returned to the court while Studemire stayed back in the locker room. Both guys insisted that they were OK after the game, but Stoudemire's history with back problems makes this a little bit worrisome. Though 'questionable' is much better than 'doubtful' or 'out', so this may not be too terrible of an issue.

There have been some updates from shoot-around this morning. Lin is practicing and running drills with folks, so it sounds like he'll be good to go. However, Amar'e did not even go to practice as he stayed in the city to get treatment on his back. Steve Popper notes that teammates didn't sound confident that he would play. If you've ever had a back injury, you know how hard it can be to move around and do things like running and jumping, which is essentially what basketball is. So, this doesn't sound good for Amar'e. More later as updates come through.

UPDATE: Amar'e Stoudemire is going to have an MRI on his back. As far as I've seen, he's still not definitely out tonight, but it doesn't look good. GULP.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Knicks 101, Pistons 79 - Recap

Photo by AP
After a disappointing letdown game against Toronto last night (I called that!), it was nice to see New York secure a nice (albeit kinda boring win) against another weak opponent. Though at times it was ugly and the Pistons showed signs of maybe putting forth a run, the Knicks mainly held them off with passable offense and aggressive defense.


Against most teams (such as the ones the Knicks will see in this coming week) committing 22 turnovers while shooting 30% and 63% from beyond the arc and the free throw line, respectively, would do you in, but well... that's kind of the Pistons' deal.

Take the jump for some quick notes!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Knicks at Toronto Raptors - What To Watch For

Following a day off - of traveling presumably - the Knicks face the Toronto Raptors for the final time this season. The Knicks currently stand one game below .500 and are just three games out of the lead for the Atlantic division! They recently beat Philadelphia in one of the grittiest, most defensive efforts we'd seen all season. And before that, the Knicks beat down the Raptors in MSG.

As always though, the Knicks have to be aware of trap games. Recall that the seven-game Linsanity win streak was snapped by a loss to the lowly New Orleans Hornets. Tonight presents a great chance to get back to .500 and move up the standings, but a team can never be taken lightly.

Take the jump for what to watch for tonight!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Jared Jeffries Will Miss More Time

During the second half of last night's game, while attempting a layup Jared Jeffries was blocked and subsequently knocked to the ground pretty hard. The Knicks called a timeout and he hobbled over and went straight back into the locker room. It was called a "sore knee" last night, which is something he's been dealing with all season. Al Iannazzone gives us an update:
Jeffries will have tests on his knee when the Knicks return home from Toronto. He's out tomorrow and doubtful for Sat. vs. DET.
After Saturday the Knicks don't play until Monday against Milwaukee and then Wednesday against Orlando. To be cautious, it might be better for Jeffries to miss the next three games and get a week's worth of rest. The way he limped off the court last night, it didn't look good. Also, this news from Landry Fields isn't too brightening either.
 When asked how Jarred's knee is doing, his response, "prayers." #sendthemup
I imagine that Josh Harrellson will receive some playing time in Jared's spot, but we don't exactly know how Mike Woodson fields about rookies or Jorts or in particular or jorts in general, so that's still to be determined. Losing Jeffries for an extended period of time would hurt though, because as Tommy Beer mentions, the Knicks are pretty good when he plays. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Knicks 82, Sixers 79 - Recap

Watching tonight's game was a little bit like watching a weird boxing match. And I know nothing about boxing, so forgive me for this comparison; this is just how I imagined it. In the first half, the two boxers defended themselves from punches extremely well, rarely allowing the other to ever get a good, clean look. In the second half though, their defenses came down a little bit and they viciously swung punch after punch, defending when they had to, but going after one another whenever they got the chance.
Amar'e Stoudemire gettin' jiggy with it

Maybe that was a terrible comparison, but tonight's game was a slugfest. The Knicks came out and treated the 76ers like prisoners, locking them down. It took Philly nearly eight minutes to score a field goal. The Knicks offense meanwhile, wasn't much better as the number one defense in the league gave New York its fair share of problems. Though the Knicks dominated the 1st quarter, Philadelphia never let them run away with. The second half was another slow offensive outing for both teams, but the pace quickened a little and New York was up by eight at halftime.

In the second half, Philadelphia made a vigorous push, as you'd expect them to, and threatened to blow the game open numerous times. Up one going into the 4th quarter, the Knicks defended like their lives were on the line, and found just enough offense through Jeremy Lin's slashes to the rim, and Amar'e Stoudemire's overall brilliance.

This one felt like a playoff affair, and the Knicks emerged victorious, winning their fifth game in a row. Take the jump for some more notes, won't you?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Knicks 106, Raptors 87 - Recap

Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images
The interesting thing about this team, despite their turnaround under Mike Woodson, is that they still don't really have a concrete identity. Their defense is beginning to actually look elite, but it's not quite consistent yet. Their offense is a mixture between fastbreak, open-court speedball and halfcourt sets with lots of screening and ball-movement, and occasional post-ups and isolations; it's still not really developed yet. Sometimes their bench brings the energy and gives the team the lead, and sometimes the starters do the heavy lifting. Tonight it was the latter.

And despite all that, when the Knicks are playing well, it's hard to pinpoint a weakness in the team. Tonight they once again scored over 100 points, with five guys scoring in double-digits. The Raptors hung around for most of the night, every now and then looking like they might really make a run, but each time they got close, the Knicks' intensity, energy, and execution boosted and they kept or extended the lead. Behind some (at times) scrappy, stingy defense, some masterful orchestrating from Jeremy Lin, and a combined 56-point effort from their starting frontcourt, the Knicks won their fourth game in a row.

Take the jump for some more notes!

Knicks vs. Toronto Raptors - What To Watch For

Tonight at 7:30, the Knicks take on the Toronto Raptors for the third time this season. The Knicks have had two days of rest since completing a home-and-home sweep of the Indiana Pacers to stretch their winning streak to three games since Mike D'Antoni's departure and Mike Woodson's arrival. The Raptors have also had two days rest since completing a four-games-five-days stretch, but only went 2-2 during it and they struggle pretty heftily on the road.

The top of the division is within sights and two games against the Raptors, and a game against the Pistons this week would help them get back near .500. Of course, they have to take it one game at a time, and that starts tonight.

Take the jump for some things to watch for!

Here's What They're Saying

The Knicks have had two days off since Saturday's win over Indiana, their most recent game. Tonight they play the Toronto Raptors at 7:30. In the meantime, though, let's have a look around the interwebz and see what's being published about the Knicks.

Shall we jump?

Baron Davis is Out Tonight

The Knicks will be Baron-less tonight, according to Al Iannazzone:

No Baron Davis tonight for the Knicks
The Knicks managed an impressive half against the Indiana Pacers last Friday without Baron's services, and had an impressive four quarters Saturday against the Pacers without him, so this doesn't feel like too worrisome of a situation. In some ways I'm actually relieved that Baron's given that nagging hammy some more rest; I'd hate to see him rush back and tweak it and sit him out for longer.

Point guard also isn't necessarily a barren position with out Davis (ha ha). Jeremy Lin's minutes have decreased as Davis has gotten healthier, but we know he's capable of playing 35-40 minutes a game. Iman Shumpert is better off the ball, but he can play spot minutes. Mike Bibby filled in admirably last game and provided some shooting and generally good hustle. And Toney Douglas is back and from the sounds of it, raring to go.

So, giving Baron some more time off isn't too big of a deal.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Weekly Knicks Thoughts

Hey, ya'll. Sorry for the lack of a recap following the Indiana game on Saturday. I just didn't have the opportunity to post much this weekend, but things will be back to normal on here this week.

Photo by Jim McIsaac
This week presents some interesting scenarios for the Knicks. They play four games in five nights, three of them against sub-.500 opponents. Nothing ever comes easy for the Knicks, but in terms of their current (albeit small) resurgence over the last three games, this week's schedule gives them the opportunity to gain some ground in the Eastern Conference.

Take the jump for some thoughts and facts on the week

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Knicks at Indiana Pacers - Preview

Rounding out the home-and-home series, the Knicks play the Pacers again tonight, this time in Indiana. The Knicks packed the Pacers' lunch last night in the Garden and could possibly make a statement by winning two big back-to-back games against a playoff team. However, Indiana will be a hostile territory and the Pacers will look to play with a little more pride.

A win tonight would set the Knicks on a three-game winning streak and give them some confidence by winning two big games. The starters are well-rested, but they will be without the services of Baron Davis. Take the jump for some things to watch for.

Knicks 115, Pacers 100 - Recap

This game was entirely too much fun. The Knicks looked totally hyped by Danny Granger's comments and came out with purpose and intensity. If I'm not mistaken, this was a completely wire-to-wire win. The Knicks locked down the Pacers on defense and gave up only 31 first half points, while on offense, they found success driving to the basket and leaking out on breaks.

By the third quarter, the Knicks had rung up a 30 point lead and the Pacers looked completely deflated. Even the Pacers fans sitting next to me had evacuated the building. The fourth quarter was garbage time to the max and a lot of the top guns got rest. The final score wasn't indicative of the blowout that this really was.

Dare I say it was a statement game? Take the jump for more notes!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Knicks 115 Defeat Pacers 100

And that final score is deceiving. The Pacers had all but waved the towel by the start of the 4th quarter as the Knicks just pounded and pounded away with ferocious defense and efficient offense. There was some hype before the game as Danny Granger had called this home-and-home stretch against the Knicks two winnable games. And the Knicks came out with purpose.

Tyson Chandler led the way with 16 points, but four other Knicks scored in double figures as everyone got to touch the ball and take turns scoring. I was in the Garden for the game and the Knicks' defense was suffocating and had MSG going wild. The Knicks allowed just 31 first half points, and hardly even bothered to play defense in the 4th quarter as they were up by 20-20 points the whole time.

I like what I'm seeing in the Mike Woodson era. Full recap tomorrow morning, ya'll!

Knicks Expected to Add Some Coaches Today

Something that has gone somewhat unnoticed (or rarely spoken about) is that with Mike D'Antoni's resignation, Dan D'Antoni and Phil Weber also left. Weber was very helpful on offense and taught a lot of guys to sharpen their jumpshots (David Lee and Amar'e Stoudemire probably most prominently), and Dan D'An was... Mike's brother.

So with only Mike Woodson, Kenny Atkinson, and the indestructible Herb Williams on the bench, the Knicks are looking to hire two more assistants. From Al Iannazzone of Newsday:

Knicks expected to add Darrell Walker and Jim Todd as assistant coaches, probably tomorrow.
Darrell Walker: Darrell played in the NBA for ten years and was actually drafted by the Knicks! He actually almost averaged a triple double one season (9.5 ppg, 8.8 rpg, and 8 apg) which is pretty badass. He was a coach for the Washington Wizards and Toronto Raptors and was largely unsuccessful, however he only ever coached one entire season. Also, according to his Wiki page, he's in a fraternity! This Knicks team is totally about to bro-out the rest of the season.

Jim Todd: Jim's Wiki page is considerably smaller than Darrell's, but from what I gather from around the web, Jim has spent a lot of time being an assistant coach for teams like the Hawks, Bucks, Clippers, and Raptors, and he and Woodson were both assistant coaches with the Bucks. According to his Wiki, Jim specializes in coaching big men with moves in the post, so that's cool. Also, he resides in Massachusetts with his wife and has a mustache.

 So, let's give these guys a warm welcome. When you catch the ball, give us your name and say something about yourself. Go!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The trade deadline has come and gone...

And the Knicks didn't do anything! It seemed like the Knicks would just sit on their current roster... what else could they do at this point?! Alan Hahn mentioned earlier today that things were quiet on the trade front for the Knicks and he was right. In each of the last three years, the Knicks made fairly big deals at the trade deadline, so it was pretty refreshing to just sit back and let the madness swirl around other teams. Plus we got to keep Toney Douglas!

Meanwhile, some other big moves were made around the league, some of them affecting the Knicks' Eastern Conference foes. The Milwaukee Bucks traded Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson for Monta Ellis, Ekpe Udoh, and Kwame Brown, which might potentially bolster Milwaukee's backcourt, pairing Brandon Jennings and Ellis, and it adds depth to their frontcourt. The Knicks had better hope it doesn't work out well because the two teams are competing for the 8th spot in the East.

The Indiana Pacers (who are well ahead of the Knicks in the standings, but an opponent nonetheless, particularly this week) acquired Leandro Barbosa and added some punch to their bench, while giving up very little.

The Philadelphia 76ers picked up Sam Young from the Memphis Grizzlies for practically nothing as well. Young hasn't played very much this season and might not play much with the 76ers, but he also adds some depth to their team.

The New Jersey Nets - who are probably the losers of the day with Dwight Howard deciding to stay in Orlando - also decided to make some moves. They traded Mehmet Okur, Shawne (Extra E!) Williams, and a 1st round pick to the Portland Trailblazers for Gerald Wallace. If New Jersey gets healthy, they might be able to make a run for a playoff spot, so the Knicks should also beware of those pesky cross-river foes.

The Knicks have their work cut out for them and this year's deadline didn't make it any easier for them.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Knicks 121, Blazers 79 - Recap

And so begins the Mike Woodson interim era with a bittersweet blowout win over an opponent that slept-walked for 48 minutes tonight. Really though, the Knicks played pretty great basketball, but the Blazers looked like they'd rather be mulching their gardens or getting their cars inspected at the DMV than playing basketball. I sure am glad my team isn't dysfunctional!
Photo by Associated Press

I've said it before, but I was a fan of Mike D'Antoni as a coach and as a person, so it felt a little hard to celebrate a dominant win given that just hours previous Mike was practically exiled from the team. But this one was filled with highlights. Carmelo Anthony (who I found myself sticking my tongue out at semi-disdainfully for most of the night) threw some tremendous passes; Amar'e Stoudemire was 8-10, scoring almost all of his points on dunks; Steve Novak and J.R. Smith accurately hoisted 3-pointers like they were going out of style; the whole team got by giving like 75% on both ends of the floor. It came that easily. And perhaps that's a glimpse at how dominant this team can be, regardless of how lowly the opponent.

This one was never really in question. After the game was back-and-forth for the first few minutes, Portland started playing hot potato with the ball and the Knicks took advantage, scoring at the expense of Portland's butterfingers and executing in the halfcourt. By the 2nd quarter the Knicks were on cruise control and road it out the rest of the game.

Take the jump for some more details!

Knicks vs. Portland Trailblazers - What To Watch For

Despite the circus that has surrounded the New York Knicks today, the team is still entrenched in a six-game losing streak and play a similarly flailing team in the Portland Trailblazers tonight at 7:30. All week I had looked at this game as one the Knicks could most likely use to snap the losing streak. Winning cures everything, after all. But now the Knicks find themselves in a big old, chaotic mess and Mike D'Antoni, Dan D'Antoni, and Phil Weber are not around to try and find the remedy.

Take the jump for some things to watch for. This won't be a full preview with a scouting report, because I'm really not in the mood to be quirky and silly about the game. Not today. So, jump. NOW!!!

Mike D'Antoni Has Resigned as Head Coach

Wow. A series of tweets from Adrian Wojnarowski on the subject:
Mike D'Antoni has resigned as New York Knicks coach, a source tells Y! Sports.

Another source confirms D'Antoni ouster with Knicks, tells Y!: "Conflicting visions of club's future...Mutual decision to no longer coach."

 Assistant coach Mike Woodson will take over as the Knicks interim coach, a source tells Y!

 Knicks assistants Dan D'Antoni and Phil Weber are gone too, source tells Y! Sports.
I'm in class for 50 minutes and this is what happens?! Holy smokes. It was almost a definite that D'Antoni would be gone at the end of the season, and I was beginning to be OK with that because the Knicks clearly weren't on the same page, and I questioned certain aspects of his coaching. But I liked the man. I liked his offense, I liked how he handled players, I liked how he handled the media.

But this does bring some clarity (and legitimacy) to the reports this morning about the turbulence in the Knicks' locker room. We know he and Carmelo Anthony weren't on the same page. Who knows about other players. But we do know guys like Amar'e Stoudemire, Jeremy Lin, Jared Jeffries, and Baron Davis were all advocates of D'Antoni's coaching and his system.

It will be interesting to see now how the team fares under Woodson and other assistants that I'm sure will be needed to replace D'Antoni. Will it look like a weight has been lifted off their shoulders? That would be telling. Or will they look like chickens running around with their heads cut off (kind of like all of the personalities and voices in my head are right now)? This is shocking.

Best of luck to D'Antoni and his departed assistants in future endeavors. The man was hardly appreciated in his time in New York which is a shame. But I know myself and hoards of other Knicks fans and writers will miss him.
 

The Knicks' locker room is a bit shaky, perhaps

When I woke up this morning, I rolled over and grabbed my phone and decided to check Twitter, because... that's just what I like to do in the mornings. Upon scrolling through my feed, it appeared that the Knicks universe was bursting at the seams, ready to explode (or perhaps implode, depending on how you look at it). Stories about Mike D'Antoni on the chopping block; players tuning out their coach; players frustration with Carmelo Anthony; Carmelo Anthony's frustration with everybody.

Already on a six-game losing streak, having been demoted to 9th place in the Eastern Conceference with questions abound about the team's cohesiveness, the drama circling the Knicks' locker room is probably about as ill-timed as one could imagine.

Jump to find out more.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What They're Saying

The Knicks are off today and will once again try and recoup before tomorrow's game against Portland. Having lost six games in a row and fallen out of 8th place in the East, things aren't too fun right now.

Let's have a look around the web to see what some folks are talking about!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Bulls 104, Knicks 99 - Recap

What originally looked like a puzzle that would need time to solve, is slowly starting to look like a puzzle with pieces that don't fit. A case of mistaken identity, an identity crisis, an identity-less or unidentified team, whatever you want to call it, the Knicks certainly don't look like they resemble anything that should be called a team. Instead, unfamiliarity amongst a group of talented players, all seemingly with one goal in mind, is beginning to look like a group of isolated individuals unsure of their roles, unwilling to blend, assimilate, and sacrifice what it takes to win.
Photo by Associated Press

Point to what you may. Some will say this needs more time; some will say it's the coach; some will say it's the superstars; some will say it's just an ill-equipped, poorly designed machine whose parts can't function together. Either way this is the current state of the New York Knicks, and to quote Carmelo Anthony, "it sucks".

Call me dramatic ("you're dramatic"), but this team deserves no praise and instead should be critiqued for everything they do wrong. That's what happens when you claim you're going "hunting in Miami"; or when you sing a rendition of Travie McCoy's "Billionaire" but change the words to "champion"; or when you talk about adding a banner in the practice gym that says "2011-12 New York Knicks". Those are bold statements or over-excessive, over-anxious (albeit funny in the case of Landry Fields singing") celebrations for a team that fails to perform even the most simple, fundamental tasks in playing basketball.

Jump for some notes or spare yourself the details and watch a rerun of Everybody Loves Raymond, or 30 Rock, or something, and have more fun.

Knicks Lose to Bulls, 104-99

If it's not the offense, it's the defense and vice versa. If it's neither, it's the turnovers. If it's not the turnovers, it's the free throw shooting. If it's not the free throw shooting, it's the rebounding. And so it goes for the Knicks who are inventing new ways to shoot themselves in their collective feet and let precious opportunities wither away.

The Knicks were out-rebounded 56-38 and gave up 22 offensive rebounds. Likewise, they missed 9 FTs and shot just 27% from 3-point range. But even those numbers are somewhat forgivable. 22 extra possessions to the best team in the league is absurd, inexcusable, and just downright baffling.

Recap later, but in the meantime... Knicks: How to box out.

 

Knicks at Chicago Bulls- What To Watch For

Tonight at 8 the Knicks play the Bulls in Chicago in a game that could turn very ugly. The Knicks have lost five straight (mostly in pitiful fashion) and are nearing the midway point in March without any wins to call their own this month. Now they head into the home arena of the best team in the league with a multitude of questions floating around their heads.

Last time the two teams met in New York in early February, Amar'e Stoudemire had easily his best game of the season, and the still point guard-less Knicks took Chicago to the buzzer, but ended up losing. Part of what makes these teams' games so intriguing is that no matter how well or poorly one or the other is playing, they match up with each other well. If the standing ssomehow remain the same for the rest of the season, they would meet in the first round.

Take the jump for some notes on what to watch tonight

Knicks Thoughts for the Week

Good day, fanatics! No matter where you look today, pretty much every New York media outlet is spurting words of the Knicks' failures in recent games. Trade rumors, coaching concerns, locker room drama, even talk of the Knicks tanking to retrieve their top-5-protected pick from the Houston Rockets!

With the trade deadline just three days away, I would be highly surprised if the Knicks make any moves. So, for the time-being, we're sticking it out with this current team. Yes, that means with Mike D'AnDUMMY, Carmelo BRICK-ony, and Amar'e STUPIDmire!

So, let's take a look at the week ahead and some thoughts on what's going on. Click the "Read more" button so that you can read more!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sixers 106, Knicks 94 - Recap

The Knicks are finding new and heartbreaking ways to disappoint. After a competitive first half, that had them trailing by two at halftime, the Knicks came out flatter than a panini in the dreaded 3rd quarter (seriously, what is up with that?) and never really looked to threaten the Sixers who just drilled 3s and got all the right bounces today.

And now, we're left in a real tailspin, as the Knicks have lost five straight and are now 18-23. Questions about Mike D'Antoni's job security have re-arisen, whether the pieces fit, and whether the team can really make the playoffs. And the worst part is, the schedule doesn't get any easier this week.

Take the jump if you like things like sick animals, rotten food, wilting flowers, and pollution.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Bucks 119, Knicks 114 - Recap

Truthfully, I didn't get to watch the entire game as I had plans and went out around midway through the 3rd quarter. So, I won't pretend I can totally analyze this game, but I'll offer up what I saw and then link a few things for people searching for more info.

Once again without the help of Tyson Chandler and Jared Jeffries, the Knicks' defense was of the revolving door variety. Mike Dunleavy and Ersan Ilyasova got typically open shots from all over the floor and Brandon Jennings (who plays about as loosy goosy as anyone in the league) shook and book (past tense for shake and bake, obviously) his way to some tough jumpshots. For awhile, the Knicks countered with equally hot offense, including making their first 11 shots, but the potion ran out after some time. Despite falling down by 15 in the 4th quarter, the Knicks made their typical run, only to have the wheels fall off in the final minute.

Take the jump for a few notes and again, some links to other sources.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Knicks Starting Lineup Tonight Will Be...

Courtesy of Jonah Ballow:
...Lin, Smith, Fields, Melo, STAT as the starting lineup for the #Knicks tonight
So, that team will be a team that looks to score, most definitely. But it may also be the Knicks' worst defensive lineup they could throw out there. We'll see how it goes

Knicks at Milwaukee Bucks - What To Watch For

In a recent downward spiral, tonight at 8:30 the Knicks play a suddenly important game against the 9th place Milwaukee Bucks. The Knicks have dropped three straight and five of their last seven and now are in danger of being replaced as the 8th seed team in the East by the Bucks.

And it seemingly couldn't come at a worse time. While Milwaukee is only 3-7 in their last ten games, they always play their best, winning eleven of the last thirteen games. Likewise, Brandon Jennings who forever hates the Knicks (20 ppg, 5 rpg, 5 apg against New York for his career) will now play them without Tyson Chandler or Jared Jeffries in the middle. 

It will be a tough test for the Knicks tonight. What do ya'll say? You ready for some Robert Randolph and the Family Band "Friday Night Knicks"?! Take the jump for some things to watch!

Perhaps there will be some lineup changes tonight; UPDATED

With Tyson Chandler and Jared Jeffries both likely to miss tonight's game against the Milwaukee Bucks, it seems that Mike D'Antoni might tinker with the lineup a little bit more. From Jonah Ballow:
ChandlER gametime decision, Jeffries OUT, & potential starting lineup changes. Could see small lineup w/ STAT at center
Update from Steve Popper:
Knicks likely to go small - Amar'e at center, Melo at PF, Shumpert, Fields and Lin. D'Antoni said he'll decide after walk-through
Likewise, there's some talk (seemingly definitive talk) that Iman Shumpert will be placed back on the bench.

Not sure how I feel about all of this. The Knicks are a team in transition, clearly struggling with continuity. Are more lineup changes really the best thing? Of course, some of it comes out of necessity. Last game, minus Chandler and Jeffries, the Knicks started Josh Harrellson and Amar'e together and were very thin upfront, thus Jerome Jordan was called up. By possibly placing Amar'e at center, it gives the Knicks a little more size off the bench.

The Shumpert-Fields tinkering is a little puzzling. Fields had played poorly against Boston and Dallas, so was D'Antoni trying to send a message by cutting Landry's minutes even further. However, the word that Shumpert won't start does not necessarily imply that Fields will be placed back at the two position. There still is a possibility that J.R. Smith is inserted into the starting five, though that seems like a stretch.

My guess is D'Antoni is frustrated, feeling the heat, and is trying to find something that works; something to give the team some new life. We'll see as the day goes on how the lineups develop, and of course, we'll see tonight how they all work. More later.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Jerome Jordan Returns From D-League

With Tyson Chandler and Jared Jeffries both out with various leg injuries, the Knicks are quite shallow up front and have thus recalled Jerome Jordan from the D-League. In three games, Jordan averaged 18 ppg on 48% FG, with 9.3 rpg, and 3.3 bpg. Not bad numbers!

As Howard Beck notes in his twupdate Jordan will be available for tomorrow night's game in Milwaukee. I'd imagine that Josh Harrellson will continue to start in Chandler's place, but Jordan will almost definitely see minutes off the bench. How much he can contribute is yet to be determined, but at the very least he gives Jorts and Stoudemire a breather, and uses up some fouls. And being 7-feet tall probably doesn't hurt the Knicks too much inside.

Welcome back, Jerome!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Spurs 118, Knicks 105 - Recap

Photo by AP
It's beginning to feel a bit like mid-January right now, as the energy and spark of Linsanity, the depth, and all-around togetherness from that fabulous February have really worn off. Absent of their two defensive cogs, the Knicks floundered through most of the game, unable to get more than a few stops in a row, and unable to play good, efficient offense when it mattered.

What's alarming is the discombobulation on both ends of the floor. The two superstars have been less than impressive, the bench is inconsistent, and the driving force for those three beautiful weeks, Jeremy Lin, has seemed to lost "it". Things are so bad that I'm quoting somebody saying "it", and I don't even know who they are.

Take the jump for the nitty gritty shitty details.

Iman Shumpert to Start; Tyson Chandler and Jared Jeffries Out

Oh boy. This game just got a lot more gruesome by the sounds of it, and not in the Knicks favor. Courtesy of Howard Beck:
Tyson Chandler out tonight with strained left hamstring. Day to day... Jeffries out tonighjt and Friday w/ sore rt knee.
Josh Harrellson will start in Chandler's place according to Frank Isola. Also, you may notice in that tweet that Iman Shumpert will indeed start for Landry Fields. So, for those of you confused, the Knicks' starting lineup will be: Jeremy Lin, Iman Shumpert, Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, and Josh Harrellson. That's a lineup that we haven't seen before!

That lineup's defense will suffer without Chandler, and the bench will certainly suffer without Jared Jeffries, but there are a few things to look at:
  • Amar'e Stoudemire will get some minutes as the center tonight, where he may have more room to operate, and may be quicker than whoever is guarding him. We saw him have offensive success in this situation last season.
  • Landry Fields might thrive off the bench with the free-flowing, passing ways of Baron Davis and the floor-spreading ways of Steve Novak.
  • The rotation will be shorter and tighter tonight, which may give the players more opportunities to get adjusted and in-rhytm. 
We've obviously seen the Knicks short-handed and counted out before, but pull out miracles. We'll see how they handle it tonight.

Knicks at San Antonio Spurs - Preview

The beautiful thing about the lockout-shortened season is that there isn't any time to wallow in your joys or sorrows... sort of. Moving on from two disappointing losses in Boston and Dallas, the Knicks face their next big challenge tonight at 8:30 against the San Antonio Spurs. It's a chance for the Knicks to try and get back to their winning ways, but surely questions will persist about Carmelo Anthony's offense and attitude, Jeremy Lin's recent struggles, and the Knicks' consistency.

And playing the Spurs doesn't seem like any sort of medicine for their recent woes. The Spurs are second in the Western Conference, have won seven of their last ten games, and are 14-3 at home. Despite their aging stars and injurious ways, they still keep on chugging led by Tony Parker's brilliant play, Tim Duncan's stabilizing presence, and their ability to turn unremarked players into effective pieces.

Take the jump for more!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Mavericks 95, Knicks 85 - Recap

I don't have time for a full recap tonight, so I'll have to keep this recap brief.

The Knicks continue to puzzle with their lack of consistency and tendencies to go hot and cold. After opening up the game with two baskets, the Knicks looked shocked that the Mavericks actually wanted to compete and were pushed around in all aspects. There was little communication on defense, and the Mavs torched the Knicks with open jumpers and drives to the basket. On offense, the Knicks couldn't buy a shot, and were repeatedly stuffed and bullied when they got into the paint, and finished the quarter with just 15 points.

Carmelo Anthony struggled mightily with his shooting, at first taking good shots and making strong moves to the basket, but finishing poorly, but then his shot just disappeared entirely. It seems to me, part of it might be due to the fact that he his recoil his follow-through as if his hand can't hang in midair for more than a split second. The follow-through seems like a silly notion when it comes to shooting a basketball, but its importance can't be ignored.

In the second quarter, there seemed to be a little more fight, however. The bench unit didn't quite do their typical thing, but it was a combination of starters and bench buddies alike that got the Knicks within six at halftime. Through the first half, Amar'e Stoudemire was the Knicks' best player, challenging Dirk Nowitzki on defense and holding him to just 1-8 shooting. On offense, Stat looked a little more spry and finished around the rim and sank his jumpers.

The dreaded 3rd quarter, was yet again, a dreaded 3rd quarter for the Knicks. Countless times this season, we've seen New York come out flat in the 3rd and lackadaisically hoist jumpers and non-nonchalantly skip back on defense while the opposing team takes advantage. The execution was a little crisper as the quarter played on and the Knicks were down 14 going into the 4th quarter. Ho hum.

It got interesting for awhile as the Knicks stormed back behind a lineup of Baron Davis, Iman Shumpert (who was terrific once again), Steve Novak (who continues to burn barns down with his 3-point prowess), Stoudemire, and Josh Harrellson (!). The unit sprang out on a 15-0 run to briefly take the lead, but as Dallas has done time and time again, they struck back and went back up by five behind some typical Nowitzki jumpers and a 3 from Jason Kidd. In the surprising move of the night, D'Antoni took Davis and Harrellson out of the game with about four minutes left and replaced them with Lin and Melo who had been sitting for quite some time. From there on, the Knicks lost all of their juices and the Mavs regained control and coasted for the win.

I'll post some more tomorrow, but I've got a lot of work on my plate tonight, and just don't have the time to get into numbers and individual performances. Good night everybody, and try to shake this one off. Knicks play the Spurs tomorrow night.

Knicks at Dallas Mavericks - What To Watch For

Tonight at 8:30 the Knicks take on the Dallas Mavericks on the road to complete the season series with the defending champions. Coming off a loss to the Boston Celtics, the Knicks will look to rebound and go back to .500 against a Dallas team that lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder just last night.

These two teams met just over two weeks ago in the Garden in what resulted in perhaps the Knicks' most impressive victory of the season. Minus Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks were led by perhaps Jeremy Lin's most impressive game of his career - 28 points and 14 assists. The Knicks also received a spark from J.R. Smith in his debut off the bench, and Steve Novak poured in some 4th quarter 3-pointers to take the game for the Knicks.

But things have changed since then, so take the jump for some notes on what to watch tonight!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Tyson Chandler Won't Sit Out Despite His Pain

A few weeks ago when the Knicks played the Mavericks in the Garden, Tyson Chandler had several hard falls that really dinged up his wrist. The pain it's been causing him since is quite obvious to anybody watching, as he winces after every rebound, dunk, block, and collision. But that hasn't stopped him from doing his thing and it doesn't seem like it will (from Calvin Watkins of ESPN Dallas):
"It's a lot going on," said Chandler, who said he has hand and wrist issues, but wouldn't get into specifics of the injury. "But it's a situation where I don't think I can hurt it anymore [by] playing. It's just more so the pain. I'm more so concerned about the way I catch the ball, and that kind of stuff, trying to find ways to pad it without restricting anything."

 Tyson's a tough dude, and if you read that article linked above, Mike D'Antoni was pretty much like, "Deal with it." Chandler was grimacing quite a bit during yesterday's game, and I'm sure it's the reason for him fumbling some really easy catches and even bobbling a few rebounds and loose balls.

The upcoming schedule is really tough as the Knicks play eight games in a row against playoff teams, all pretty much with better rankings and records than themselves. However, after that from March 20 - 24, the Knicks play four games in five nights, two against the Toronto Raptors, one against the Philadelphia 76ers, and one against the Detroit Pistons. Might that be a good time to rest Chandler and give Amar'e Stoudemire, Jared Jeffries, and Josh Harrellson some more playing time? Doesn't seem like it, but I hope D'Antoni, Chandler, and the rest of the staff at least consider it.

It's just like the old expression: a basketball player without a huge brace on his hand and wrist does things better than a basketball player with a huge brace on his hand and wrist.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Celtics 115, Knicks 111 - Recap

So, the Knicks lost by four points in excruciating, overtime style to the Boston Celtics. A team that loves nothing more than tearing out the Knicks' hearts and eating them in front of the fans, Indiana Jones style. With the back and forth nature of the game - both teams held double-digit leads at one point - somebody was going to "steal" the game. The Knicks more or less just opened their pockets more than the Celtics.

There were some incredibly positive signs in this game. While neither Carmelo Anthony nor Amar'e Stoudemire had great games, there were signs of life from the both of them. Iman Shumpert looked like the rookie we all dreamt of and were enamored with all lockout long. The Knicks bench looked potent in the first half. But there were some big, costly problems too, that cost the Knicks the game.

Take the jump, ya'll.

Knicks at Boston Celtics - What To Watch For

At 1 PM today the Knicks take on the Boston Celtics for their third meeting of the season. The Knicks have lost 12 straight games in Boston including the playoffs, so they'll be looking for revenge, especially after blowing a game there in early February.

An interesting subplot to the game is the Jeremy Lin factor. That game in early February was the start of Lin's playing time, but he played pretty poorly, and didn't come off the bench in the second half. The next game was against New Jersey, and Lin blew up for 25 points and 7 assists. So, in a sense, Linsanity might come full circle today if he has another good game.

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

Bill Walker to Have Elbow Surgery

Out the last few weeks with some sort of elbow injury, it seems that Bill Walker is going to miss even more time with surgery:
#Knicks say Bill Walker will have surgery on his left elbow. He's expected to be out 4-6 weeks.
Walker figures to already be out of the rotation, as Carmelo Anthony, Landry Fields, Iman Shumpert, and J.R. Smith all sit ahead of Bully. Not to be a negative Nancy, but this figures to be the end of Bill Walker's season. Four to six weeks takes us anywhere from late March to mid-April. Of course, he'll still have to rehab and get his feel back for the game, so it may be even later than that.

Even if the Knicks were to have injuries to any of those four players listed above, D'Antoni may not insert Walker into the lineup anyway, so he could play a shorter rotation and give other guys more minutes. I have a love-hate relationship with Billy, but this might be the end of his season, which is pretty saddening.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Baron Davis Sets Some Lofty Goals

With all of the hype surrounding Jeremy Lin, and the Knicks nearly fully healthy roster, and the newfound depth, it's easy to get excited. Early in the season, Mike D'Antoni confessed (professed?) that the Knicks would be good enough to compete for a championship. That seemed to backfire as the Knicks stumbled out of the gate to an 8-15 record before Linsanity took over.

However, given the positive momentum of the team, Baron Davis has some great expectations of the Knicks. From Steve Serby of the New York Post:
“The Heat have an advantage. The Bulls have an advantage. The Orlando Magic have an advantage. ... But I am optimistic, and I believe in what we have here in New York City,” Davis says. “And I believe in what we have here for the New York Knicks. ... We’re gonna get better.

“We can do it. We can do it.

“And I think that we’ll come out of nowhere, and we’ll do it.”
Davis is later quoted saying that each day he looks at the two lone Knicks championship banners in the practice facility, and he dreams of putting a new one in between. Davis also lists the team's camaraderie and the fans as their X-factors. No doubt the team is close and there is a special bond between the guys, but what's interesting is Davis says that in the past, as an opponent, teams knew they could play well and turn the crowd on the Knicks. If the crowd stays patient with the team, the Knicks can put together runs and feed off of the energy in MSG.

These are all pretty cool things that Baron is saying, but a premature, no? The Knicks after all, are only 18-18, face a grueling schedule during March, and still have a ways to go to work their way up higher in the Eastern Conference standings. For a team that already has a target on its back because of the Linsanity, it seems like Baron has just added another. Or made the current one bigger.

This team definitely does have a special feel to it though. There's no denying the depth of the bench, the all-around talent, and the sense of togetherness. Mike D'Antoni has a complete roster, and perhaps his most talented roster in his coaching days even dating back to Phoenix. No doubt it's a long road ahead, but if they really believe they're capable as Baron says... start putting some wins on the board.