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.

That Was Good!
 - Jeremy Lin played more recklessly as he did during the 7-game Linsanity streak and it was a joy to watch. When Lin just goes balls-to-the-wall, he seems far more effective darting to the basket, making difficult passes, shooting jumpshots when he's feeling it, and gambling for steals. Frankly, Lin didn't do a damn thing wrong other than his 5 turnovers and 5 fouls (which are bad, don't get me wrong), but if that helps him do his natural thing, then by all means go for it. 20 points on 8-14 shooting, 13 assists, and 4 steals is downright awesome.

 - Landry Fields was also pretty great. He made a few awful turnovers as he's prone to doing (the type where he drives unsuccessfully and instead of stopping and pulling the ball back out, he just makes a wild pass directly to a defender), but he was pretty efficient on offense. 18 points on 9-12 shooting, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists as the starting small forward nonetheless. Some highlight plays were a crossover, hesitation move for a baseline jam on Mike Dunleavy, and two backdoor, baseline alley-oops.

 - Any fears about Amar'e Stoudemire's explosiveness and lack of offensive game may have been quelled tonight. Stoudemire really looked comfortable with Lin and Baron Davis's penetrating and dishing ways. He fumbled a few great passes from Carmelo Anthony, but generally Stoudemire thrived in the paint and in transition, throwing down at least four dunks in the first half alone. 27 points, 11-15 shooting, and 11 rebounds for Stoudemire.

That Wasn't So Good
 - Of course, Stoudemire's above-mentioned success came with him playing center instead of power forward. Seems like a bit of conundrum since Tyson Chandler is an absolutely essential piece to the team, no? Also, Stoudemire is ghost on defense, and simply let drivers get to the hoop, and gave up numerous offensive rebounds, including an absolutely critical one to Ilyasova in the final minute (Carmelo Anthony was equally at fault too).

 - D'Antoni's substitution patterns are puzzling and ineffective. For example, the Knicks starters opened the game by shooting like, 80% and with about four minutes left in the first he replaced three of them three of the bench bros. A bit odd, no? He seems to be figuring out that the lack of continuity and playing time for everyone is hurting the rhythm. Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith, and Josh Harrellson all played under 19 minutes, though I can offer no insight into the Shumpert-J.R. drama. Eventually, somebody's going to become the odd man out because I just don't think there's enough time for all of these guys.

Odds and Ends
 - Jerome Jordan didn't get any playing time which struck me as odd considering they recalled him from the D-League and were getting eaten alive on offense last night.

 - I kind of don't want to talk about the Carmelo Anthony drama or anything, but he didn't really play too bad to my eyes. He started the game out HOT, nailing jumpers, 3-pointers and taking it to the basket smoothly, effortlessly and with determination. He finished 7-17 with 22 points and 5 rebounds, so there's that.

 - One other thing about Melo, he seems to love isolating against Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, which is weird. Does Melo have some kind of vendetta against Mbah a Moute or what, because isn't his Mbah a Moute's thing kinda playing great defense?

 - Baron Davis takes some unsightly, ill-advised shots, but he still finished with 9 points on 4-10 shooting, with 5 rebounds and 9 assists. Since Baron's still clearly lacking that pop and extra gear to go up and finish at the rim, he should throw in some hesitation, stop-and-pop moves, or pump fakes into his repertoire, even though it's not really the smooth, effortless, free-flowing style that he enjoys.

 - From Tommy Beer, the 26, 25, and 25 point efforts from Ilyasova, Jennings, and Dunleavy, respectively, is the second time this season the Knicks have allowed a trio to score over 25 points each.

 - A video of Jeremy Lin screaming at Amar'e/Melo/the refs (not sure exactly) after a botched box-out that led to essentially the game-winning basket for the Bucks. Great to see Lin unafraid to express emotion, especially after he played basically perfect defense against Jennings.

 - Both of Posting and Toasting's recaps and leftover thoughts on the game here and here.

 - Analysis and post-game interviews from players and D'Antoni, via the MSG crew:

That's all for now. The Knicks now hold a two game lead on the Bucks for 8th place which is scary. Especially considering the Knicks play Philly tomorrow afternoon, Portland, and a home-and-home against Indiana. Good news is that Chandler is expected back soon. More stuff as it comes in later on today.

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