Sunday, April 29, 2012

Thoughts Heading into Game 2

Hey everybody, I haven't posted here too much lately because I've been over at Buckets Over Broadway writing quite a bit. My ability to keep up with things here while writing for Buckets, while studying for finals, while watching playoff basketball, while running an underground box turtle racing league, will probably lacking, and I apologize for that. I'll try my best to put things up daily.

So, how'd you like Game 1?! Wait, what's Game 1? Did that happen already? Oh, right, I've tried my best to erase that mess from my mind, but unfortunately it really did happen and it all was very sucky.

The Knicks held practice today, and play tomorrow night at 7. Here some thoughts on the series going forward. Jump!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Meet the Miami Heat

I didn't get to watch last night's game, but as you may have heard, the Knicks beat the Charlotte Bobcats, Amar'e Stoudemire pooped on Tyrus Thomas, and the Knicks clinched the seventh and will officially play the Miami Heat in the playoffs.

For some people, that last bit might be frightening - no one likes poop on other people. Oh, and the part about the Knicks playing the Miami Heat, that's frightening too. Naturally, the Miami Heat are a team that conjures up feelings of anger and rage because of the old rivalries in the 90s. However, these two teams are also linked because of the way they were built. Recall that the Knicks were the first team to go all-in for the free agency class of 2010, hoping to sign Lebron James AND a second superstar. Recall that that James spurned the Knicks (after years of flirting with one another) and went to the Miami Heat who conjoined THREE superstars.

The Knicks tried to modeled their team after the Heat, by signing Amar'e Stoudemire, trading for Carmelo Anthony at all costs, and after striking out on Chris Paul (who, remember, first brought up the idea of a New York Big 3), signed Tyson Chandler to round out a Big 3 in their frontcourt.

The Knicks-Heat games always seem to matter a little more than other games, even if they don't end up being all that close. If you're an NBA fan, you're thrilled with this first-round matchup. If you're a Knicks fan, you're likely some combination of shaking-in-your-boots, curled-up-in-a-corner, scared, and fire-raging-in-your-stomach, foaming-at-the-mouth excited.

So, let's meet the Knicks' first round opponents, the Miami Heat.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Knicks 99, Clippers 93 - Recap

This game probably doesn't really need a full recap. In their only meeting of the season, the Knicks and Clippers played a very hot-and-cold contest that seemed to vary depending on the outcome of other games, the lineups on the floor, and the amount of pride each team wanted to maintain.
Griffin, terrified of Chandler. Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler

To further explain that, the Knicks were on the verge of romping the Clippers in blowout fashion, until in the 3rd quarter, Mike Woodson undoubtedly received the news that the Orlando Magic locked up the sixth seed by beating the Charlotte Bobcats. Gradually, Woodson pulled Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, Baron Davis, and Iman Shumpert, and threw out a lineup of Mike Bibby, Landry Fields, J.R. Smith, Steve Novak, and Dan Gadzuric (!). At this point, the Clippers (who needed a win tonight to secure homecourt in the playoffs) decided to make one last run. When they cut it too close, the Knicks decided to play spoilers and Woodson re-inserted Shumpert and Chandler to help close out the game.

The Knicks struggled to defend early on and looked sluggish from their two days rest. However, Carmelo Anthony and Baron Davis seemed to give the Knicks the boost they needed by pushing the ball up the court and attacking the basket. Melo got his points mostly in isolation as he burned Caron Butler to the basket, or drained jumpers in his face, undaunted by any defense.

The bench unit, however, gave the Knicks the real spark they needed to push the lead. Novak and Smith both entered the game and promptly snapped the nets off jumpers, while Fields attacked the basket and had a flurry of drives, dunks, and lay-ups in the 2nd quarter. This lineup also succeeded by causing havoc in the passing lanes and forcing the Clippers into 14 first-half turnovers.

A few times, the Clippers got within a basket or two - Randy Foye was torching the Knicks from downtown - but each time the Knicks would go on a mini-run to give themselves a comfortable cushion.

The regular season wraps up tomorrow when the Knicks play (an oddly national televised game) in Charlotte. If they win, they'll lock up the seventh seed. If they lose and the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Detroit Pistons tomorrow night, then the Knicks will get the eighth seed. So, to tank, or not to tank?

Jeremy Lin Update

During shoot-around today, Jeremy Lin joined the team, but mostly worked by himself, doing some running drills and shooting free throws. Barbara Barker from Newsday fills us in with some information from Mike Woodson:
"He's starting to smell the gym a little more, which is great," Woodson said. "I asked him yesterday how he felt after getting out running a little bit, he said he felt pretty good. But we got to put him through drills where he's cutting and things of that nature to make sure the knee doesn't swell up and he's not physically sore. There is going to be some soreness. We just have to make sure when he steps out on the floor he's able to do basketball things."
As far as anyone knows, Lin's timetable for return is still six weeks, which would mean he would return in the second round of the playoffs if the Knicks make it that far. I, personally, thought that Lin would have a good shot at returning if the Knicks were to go to a game five or six in the first round. However, since by this time next week they'll be in the midst of a playoff series, and Lin is just starting to work out now, that seems unlikely.

Either way, we wish Jeremy a healthy recovery. We miss you!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Hopes for Sixth Seed; Resting for the Playoffs

As was probably noticeable to anybody watching yesterday's game vs. the Atlanta Hawks, the Knicks looked indecisive. Indecisive, perhaps unorganized on the floor, but even moreso in spirit. They had clinched a playoff berth on Thursday night with Milwaukee's loss, and seemed content with that during their lackluster meandering around a wooden floor in Cleveland on Friday night. Yesterday afternoon, the Mike Woodson allowed Tyson Chandler to rest, another sign that the Knicks were just content to be playing into May. But then something happened.

Amist trash-talking, yapping back and forth, some hard fouls, and a fiery offensive duel, the Knicks pride kicked in and appeared to will them to beat the Atlanta Hawks. This was significant for a few reasons. First, it seemed to suggest that the Knicks aren't willing to tank in order to avoid the Miami Heat in the first round. Second, they rode Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire for heavy minutes, perhaps throwing aside the idea of rest. Third, it pointed to a desire to still contend for the sixth seed in the East.

But even still, nothing has been set in stone as far as the playoffs go, and there are still a few options for the Knicks in their final two games, each with its own set of benefits.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Knicks 113, Hawks 112 - Recap

I think we'll take it. The Knicks came into this game having pitifully dropped one against Cleveland on Friday night. Now in a quandary between tanking for the 8th seed or trying to win out and hope Orlando will lose out for the 6th seed, the Knicks kind of flip-flopped between motives for a good portion of the game. They sat Tyson Chandler and Jared Jeffries to give them rest and let some injuries heal, so it appeared they would just sort of play this one out.

But then pride took over. After a dull first half, the second half was an offensive battle with bits of defense sprinkled in, and the two teams went at it. For the Knicks, Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, and Baron Davis (!) led the charge against a chipper trio of Jeff Teague, Joe Johnson, and Marvin Williams for the Hawks. Things got physical as both teams exchanged hard fouls and plenty of talking afterwards, but in the end it really came down to who would score more points.

The Knicks did. Jump for some notes!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Knicks Add Dan Gadzuric

In a surprsing, startling development, the Knicks are expected to add Dan Gadzuric today. Via ESPN New York:
In other developments, the Knicks are expected to add big man Dan Gadzuric to the roster. Gadzuric traveled with the team to Cleveland. With Jared Jeffries out, the Knicks need depth in the second unit.
The Knicks roster, however, is full, and so it appears that Bill Walker will be waived in order to make room for Gadzuric. I guess the move makes sense since there really isn't an entirely healthy big man on the Knicks except for maybe Josh Harrellson and Jerome Jordan. It will stink seeing Bill Walker go, though.

In 9 seasons in the NBA, Gadzuric has averaged 4.7 ppg on 50% FG, with 4.4 rpg, and .9 bpg. As to how many minutes he'll actually receive, nobody knows yet, but he's definitely going to be used as insurance for any of the Knicks big men.

Seems odd though that the Knicks would choose to add another big man instead of another PG....

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Knicks 104, Nets 95 - Recap

Hey, well, I'm hoping to forget that I just watched a game of NBA basketball, but let's recap first. The Knicks, coming off of a big, adrenaline-fueled, emotional win over the Boston Celtics last night, traveled across the river to the urban paradise of Newark to play the lowly Nets for the last time ever in New Jersey. Hoping to avoid a trap game, the Knicks did just that, and were able to scrap together just enough positive minutes of Carmelo Anthony domination and overall competent basketball to come away with a win.
Photo by AP

And yes, if not for Carmelo Anthony's first quarter domination, this game might have actually been an tight contest. Continuing his red hot April, he started the game by scorching the Nets for 21 points in the opening 12 minutes and helped the Knicks open up a 21-point lead. After that, however, the Knicks began to get lax and careless and let the Nets hang around until late in the 4th quarter.

However it wasn't ever a truly riveting or nerve-racking game for the Knicks. Each time the Nets got too, too close, the Knicks pushed them off again, usually by rebuilding a double-digit lead and giving themselves some breathing room.

Eventually, the Knicks sealed the win and moved four games above .500 for the first time this season! That should be cause enough for you to jump!

Baron Davis out; Mike Bibby in vs. Nets

Last night against the Boston Celtics, Baron Davis didn't play much due to an upset stomach. Evidently his condition has worsened as he'll be out of the game and Mike Bibby will start in his place, according to Howard Beck:
Baron Davis out tonight (stomach virus). Bibby starts.
Sooo... okay. I guess. Bibby actually was actually pretty productive against Boston last night. If they can get him in rhythm and get some quality minutes out of him, it would really help the Knicks point guard situation. However, we've seen Bibby play decently in games before, and then poop the crib during his next opportunity, so we shouldn't get too excited. Actually, in general, no one should be excited; it's just Mike Bibby.

One has to assume that this means Toney Douglas will be given his fair share of minutes off the bench. With Deron Williams out tonight, even this lowly point guard rotation of the Knicks shouldn't have too, too much trouble. As was said above, perhaps some rhythm and confidence will do well for Toney.

We can also expect some more lineups where Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith handle the ball and playmaking responsibilities.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Knicks 118, Celtics 110 - Recap

'Twas a night of triples in Madison Square Garden, as the Knicks registered two different type of triples to beat the Boston Celtics and keep their hopes for winning the division alive. Carmelo Anthony posted the second triple-double of his career and his first with the Knicks, while J.R. Smith and Steve Novak absolutely shredded Boston's elite perimeter defense by combining for 15 triples for 45 points off the bench.
Photo by Frank Franlin II/ AP

In the early moments of the game, the short-handed Celtics looked ready to show their dominance as kings of the division, but the Knicks (who, mind you, are still more short-handed than the Celtics) would have none of it. When Smith checked in late in the 1st quarter, he showed some good signs, hitting some 3s and setting up teammates nicely. And that was only the beginning of it.

The 2nd quarter featured a barrage of 3-pointers unlike almost anything the NBA has ever seen. The Knicks' 14 first-half 3-pointers tied an NBA record, and certainly beat the club's previous record. Regardless of the shooter, the location, the time left on the clock, the Knicks bombed away on Boston's oddly lackadaisical defense and gave them enough cushion to ride it out in the second half.

We knew Boston would make a comeback, and when they cut it to six with three minutes left in the 4th quarter, who came to the rescue? Anthony with his ninth and tenth assists, and Steve Novak with his seventh and eight 3-points to boost the lead back to double-digits!

 Take the jump for the usual good, bad, and miscellaneous!

Notes on Knicks-Celtics tonight

I'm going to do a different type of preview tonight in lieu of the normal "What to watch" previews.

By my count, the Knicks have won just one game against Boston in their last 12 - this year's season-opener. They were swept in last year's season series (I believe. I'm too lazy to look it up, so correct me if I'm wrong on that), swept in the playoffs, and are 1-2 this year. This year especially, the Knicks have found some heartbreaking, grueling ways to drop games to the Celtics. In the two losses, the Knicks had exceptional leads and then blew them in the second half, either losing late in the 4th, or losing control of the game, going to overtime, and then just losing.

However, those were Mike D'Antoni teams, and this Mike Woodson team is different. The Boston Celtics (much like the Miami Heat, get up to play the Knicks, and will undoubtedly be ready tonight. Boston's on a hot streak, but the Knicks have the weapons to beat Boston if they utilize them properly.

 - Use size! The Celtics play a lineup of Kevin Garnett, Brandon Bass, and Greg Stiemsma up front. Between Tyson Chandler, Jared Jeffries, and (I hope) Josh Harrellson, the Knicks can out-rebound and keep the Celtics out of the paint and off the boards.

 - The Celtics are a terrific perimeter defensive team. That means guys like Steve Novak, J.R. Smith, and Carmelo Anthony aren't going to just get easy looks. The Knicks will need to play good inside-outside ball and get good penetration in the paint in order to get clean looks on the perimeter.

 - Get out in transition! The Celtics are a pretty old team, and the more the Knicks make guys like Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Garnett hustle down the floor, the less energy they'll have to expend breaking our hearts. Baron Daivs probably isn't healthy enough to play with a lot of speed, but guys like Iman Shumpert, Landry Fields, and J.R. Smith can all handle the ball in the open court, and they should look to push often.

 On the injury front:
  • Tyson Chandler is going to play tonight, despite some soreness in that knee he banged in Sunday's game. 
  • Baron Davis will also play tonight.
  • Ray Allen possibly out...? Haven't seen it anywhere else though....

Mike Woodson on the idea of playing Toney Douglas:
"I gotta start thinking about Toney, based on changing the dynamic of the game, the speed of things. Our pace was SO slow v. MIA."
 Woodson on Toney Douglas playing tonight: "Possibly."
This would be the second full go-around where Woodson experimented with Mike Bibby, went to Douglas, failed, went to Bibby, and now possibly back to Douglas. Goddammit I miss Jeremy Lin.

Game is at 8 on TNT. If the Knicks win, they still have a shot at the division title, or at least the 6th seed. Tonight is important. For the love of God, no game-winners from the Big 3, and no ridiculous triple-doubles from Rajon Rondo. Go Knicks!

Here's What They're Saying

Good day, rascal flattses. I haven't posted Knicks news in awhile, so I thought I'd catch everyone up on some stuff in one post. There are some great links available, like the one where I got the picture below! So, I really recommend that everyone jumps and reads up on the Knicks!

So, like.... NOW!!!

Moving on... but not

Hey ya'll. You may have noticed that there's been a lack of posts around here lately, despite the fact that there's been a decent amount of things going on with the Knicks. The reason for that would be that I was recently contacted by a member of FanSided to write for their Knicks blog Buckets Over Broadway.

And I have accepted!

For awhile I deliberated over whether or not to leave Knicks Now entirely, or to stick with it. Ultimately, I've decided that I'm going to keep writing here, but things may change a little bit. I'm still working out the details at Buckets Over Broadway, so I'm not sure exactly what type of content I'll be writing there, or how frequently I'll be doing so, but I just couldn't find it in myself to stop writing here.

I have thought of a few things regarding what I'll be writing here. Should the Knicks make the playoffs, I'll still make the regular posts - previews and recaps - but for the remainder of the regular season, I'm probably going to scrap writing previews. If I don't end up writing recaps at Buckets, then you can expect normal recaps here. If I do write a recap at Buckets, I'll probably link it here in a post, and then add a few other noteworthy things.

In terms of general news, updates, injuries, thoughts/opinions, etc. I'll still post them here, but I can't guarantee that I will do so with any regularity. You can probably expect some more posts with links and stuff, too.

I appreciate everyone who reads this, even if you all like to remain shadowy and never post comments! I hope you'll keep reading here and that you will also read the things I write for Buckets Over Broadway.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Heat 93, Knicks 85 - Recap

In a way, I sort of didn't expect much good out of this game, and it exceeded my expectations. Yes, despite a loss to the rival Miami Heat, the Knicks, still short-handed and beat-up, were able to make the Heat sweat a little bit, and nearly pulled off a big win.

And therein lies the real disappointment. Not that the Knicks lost this game to a better team, but that they had a chance, and couldn't close it out. After falling behind by double-digits in the 1st quarter, the Knicks closed out the quarter strong, and behind some strong bench play, changed the pace of the game. The 2nd quarter featured Carmelo Anthony continually scoring at will, while J.R. Smith pitched in a good effort, creating some offense for himself. The Knicks won the quarter, but behind some botched defensive rebounding, finished the first half down two.

The 3rd quarter played out much like the 1st quarter: the Knicks and Heat went back and forth until the Heat started to pull away, until the Knicks closed the quarter with some solid defensive plays and some more 3s by Smith. However, though the 4th quarter was tight for awhile, the Heat kicked it into an extra gear the Knicks didn't have. While Miami's stars made some acrobatic, seemingly possible plays on offense, the Knicks sputtered on their end of the floor, either shooting early in the shot clock or just shooting arrhythmic jumpers.

It's hard to be upset about the loss, but it's easy to be disappointed. If the Knicks want to move higher up in the standings over the next week and a half, they need to get wins, and this only set them further back. Take the jump for some notes.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Iman Shumpert seems alright; Amar'e Stoudemire is getting alright

Last night, in the 3rd quarter, I believe, Iman Shumpert sprained his ankle and was noticeably gimpy getting off the floor. Naturally, with the Knicks' already-banged-up roster, another injury to a key member of the rotation - especially the current backup point guard - would really hurt the Knicks.

But at practice today (the Knicks held practice, by the way), Iman sounded good to go:
@I_Am_Iman: I'll be ready to go vs Miami #NYKAllday we outchea
I can't say I know what "we outchea" means, but it seems good! I believe it's either a dialectical "we out here" or "we - ouch! - yeah/here" - a possible reference to Iman's and the Knicks' various injuries. But Mike Woodson seemed to back up the notion pf Iman's well-being, according to Jared Zwerling:
UPDATE: Shumpert says he'll play tomorrow against the Heat. Woodson said "He'll be ready to go."
In other practice news, Amar'e Stoudemire (remember him?) participated in some 4-on-4 and seemed to be moving well. Apparently he's still not talking to media, which I think is kind of cool, and a sign that he's really focusing on getting back to 100%. If he does return next week (folks have pointed to Wednesday's game against NJ), it would be a nice week to shake off the rust and get ready for the playoffs.

More updates as they come, ya'll. Enjoy your Saturdays and maybe spend some time in that sun thing.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Knicks 103, Wizards 65 - Recap

The score pretty much says it all. In a game probably not worthy of an entire recap, the Knicks blew out the "lowly, hapless" (thanks, Clyde) Washington Wizards by nearly 40 points. The Wizards, who are probably better off tanking and trying to get a better lottery number than winning games, have experienced an awful season, and now, banged up and purposeless, the Knicks took advantage of them right from the get-go.

And to be honest, it wasn't anything particularly special that the Knicks did. They ran a good, fluid offense, but nothing stupendous. They shot the ball well, but not at a ground-breaking percentage (aside from the 48% shooting from downtown). They defended with purpose and intent, but it wasn't stifling or "lockdown" defense. It's just that the Wizards are really that bad.

For the Knicks, Baron Davis - celebrating his 33rd birthday - produced his best game as a Knick with 18 points on 7-9 shooting (4-5 3FG), with 2 assists and 2 steals in just under 23 minutes. J.R. Smith, despite some typical follies (another foul on a 3-pt shooter in motion), led the way with 23 points and 6 assists of his own. Carmelo Anthony had his way as you'd expect him to against the turnstile defenders the Wizards possess (aside from Chris Singleton). Whether it was attacking the basket or shooting the jumper (though that was a little spotty), Melo cruised his way to 18 easy points on 8-17 shooting. His two buzzer-beaters right at the basket to end the 1st and 2nd quarters pretty much summed up how easy his night was.

The Knicks really didn't do anything bad except for letting the Wizards get within 6 points during a lax, complacent stretch during the 2nd quarter, and that was quickly corrected. Otherwise, the game resembled more of a pick-up game with each Knick picking and choosing the shots they preferred, and putting in a 75% effort on defense. The Wizards really are that bad.

One cause for concern could be Iman Shumpert's sprained ankle. There aren't a whole lot of details, but he hopes to play the next game. I'll have updates when there is more information released, but given the Knicks already-banged-up roster, an injured Shumpert could reeeaaalllyy hurt.

One nice part of the game: none of the Knicks except for Landry Fields (who had just 4 points on 2-7 shooting, but 7 rebounds and 4 assists) played over 30 minutes. Now, with a blowout win that they were supposed to achieve, everyone can rest until Sunday's matinee game against the Miami Heat. With losses by the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers, the Knicks are in 8th place, still two games up on the Milwaukee Bucks, and three games behind Boston.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Here's What They're Saying

The Knicks are off today, presumably back in New York, resting or preparing for tomorrow's game, or playing video games, or sticking grapes in Josh Harrellson's mouth. With things being pretty quiet in their corner, today might be a good day to look at some links!

Take the jump!

Perhaps it's time to rest Baron Davis

As you may or may not have noticed, Baron Davis didn't play any minutes in the 4th quarter of last night's win over the Milwaukee Bucks. It was disclosed before the game that Baron had hurt his neck diving for a loose ball Tuesday night against Chicago, further piling up his injuries. Marc Berman gives us some more info on Davis's woes and Iman Shumpert's emergence back into the point guard role:
The 32-year-old Knicks point guard, who is battling knee, neck and hamstring injuries, has continued telling coach Mike Woodson he is going to play through the pain, doing whatever he can to help the team get into the playoffs.

But after last night’s 111-107 win over the Bucks at the Bradley Center, Davis told The Post “he couldn’t move” and was “feeling off,” prompting Woodson to remove the veteran midway through the third quarter, after he totaled five points with three assists and five turnovers in 19-plus minutes.
Baron has been helpful to the Knicks because of his ability to set up an offense and still get into the lane, but that's about it. His turnovers have been woeful, his shot selection questionable, and his defense lacking. Nonetheless, the Knicks are going to need him down the stretch and into the playoffs if they want any success, especially with Jeremy Lin out for the time being. So, perhaps then, it would be wise to give him some rest.

Jump for my thoughts on the subject!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Knicks 111, Bucks 107 - Recap

Well now that our heart rates have probably all returned to normal levels, we can talk about this wild, wacky, incredibly distressing game. The importance of it was not missed by either team as both sides talked about must-wins, playoff intensity, and the like. To start the game, however, those labels couldn't have been further off.

The Bucks opened up extremely lax, carelessly handing the ball to the Knicks who raced down the court for easy buckets or wiggled their way into the paint in the halfcourt without much trouble. After posting a 36-point first quarter, the second quarter blues washed in again as the Knicks returned the favor by allowing the Bucks 35 points to finish the half at a 62-62 tie.

The second half came down to execution and for the most part it looked like the Bucks were ready to pull away at any moment. But New York kept fighting back. With every basket Milwaukee scored, the Knicks retaliated with a 3-pointer, 3-point play, drive to the basket, or trip to the free throw line. In the final minutes of the 4th quarter, despite giving up a plethora of offensive rebounds, the Knicks clamped down on the deer while getting big 3-pointers from Steve Novak and J.R. Smith, and numerous big shots from Carmelo Anthony.

When it mattered most, the Knicks pulled away and saved their hopes of a playoff seed. Jump for some notes!

Knicks at Milwaukee Bucks

Perhaps the most important game of the Knicks season will be played tonight in Milwaukee at 8. The Knicks are clinging to a one-game lead over the Bucks for the eighth and final seed in the playoffs.

Both teams are coming off of losses - the Knicks to the Chicago Bulls last night, the Bucks to the Oklahoma City Thunder Monday night. Of course both teams recognize the importance of this game as it not only affects playoff seeding, but it also determines the season series. If the Bucks win, they'll take the season series and thus be awarded a playoff spot should they finish with the same record as the Knicks.

It's been called a "must-win", a "game 7" by members of the Knicks, so let's take the jump for some notes on what to watch for tonight!

Helping out Carmelo Anthony

Last night in the loss to the Chicago Bulls, the Knicks offense looked eerily similar to the perimeter-based stagnation that we saw during the doldrums of January. Minus Jeremy Lin, the playmaking impetus has been placed on Baron Davis, Carmelo Anthony, Iman Shumpert, and J.R. Smith and Toney Douglas to some degree. However, with Davis operating at less-than-100%, there really isn't a natural point guard available on the Knicks, which complicates the offense.

All year, the Knicks have been far worse on offense than they have at defense, rarely - if ever - cracking even the top 20 most offensively efficient teams in the NBA. Of course, with Jeremy Lin (undoubtedly the Knicks best playmaker) and Amar'e Stoudemire (seemingly the Robin to Melo's Batman) both out for extended periods of time, the Knicks need someone else to respond and carry the load on offense the way Melo has.

Carmelo Anthony has said as much himself.

Continue reading!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Bulls 98, Knicks 86 - Recap

Photo by Nathanial Butler/NBAE/Getty Images
That was so just... yuck. We knew the Bulls wouldn't go down easy without Derrick Rose, but it seemed like the Knicks expected to be handed the win. After an ugly start to the game where the Knicks were down 8-0 and didn't score until there was under eight minutes left in the game, they put together a really impressive run, where they scored on ten of eleven possessions, and mostly stifled the Chicago Bulls on defense. After that it was back to ugly.

The 2nd quarter was just abysmal, with the Knicks being out-scored 25-10. While their offense came back to life (somewhat) in the second half it was never enough. Richard Hamilton got hot and evidently was fouled every time the Bulls had the ball in the 3rd quarter, and the Knicks defensive effort in the deciding 4th quarter was lacking. Too many open shots, too many silly fouls, too many bad turnovers.

I suppose a split in a home-and-home with the Bulls isn't a bad result, but it sure felt disappointing to me. Jump for some notes.

Knicks at Chicago Bulls - What To Watch For - Updated

The Knicks play the Chicago Bulls tonight at 9:30 in the second game of a home-and-home. Sunday proved to be an epic showdown in which the Knicks' grit and defense allowed Carmelo Anthony's timely shooting to steal the win. After a day off the two teams will battle again on ESPN.

Derrick Rose is still a game-time decision, but that should be neither here nor there for the Knicks. The Boston Celtics play the Miami Heat tonight, and if Boston loses and New York wins, the Knicks will only be two games out of the 4th seed. Regardless is Rose plays, tonight will be a very tough matchup for the Knicks and I hope to see them come out with the same intensity that we saw on Sunday.

UPDATE: Derrick Rose is out tonight.

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

Walt Frazier comments on style, hands out back-handed compliments

The Basketball Jones posted an interview with Walt "Clyde" Frazier today, discussing his style and NBA players' style, and he provided some great quotes.

Link to the site/video.

Some of the highlights of the interview:
  • On his nickname: "Clyde came from the movie 'Bonnie and Clyde'. I used to wear the hat - the wide-brimmed hat -, I used to steal the ball on the court... had a few Bonnies trailing behind me as well!" 
  • Leigh Ellis opens the interview by calling Clyde "Walt 'Clyde the Glide' Frazier", which is inaccurate and a combination of Walt and Clyde Drexler. Come on, Leigh, you're better than that!
  • Clyde usually dresses the way he feels, so he was pretty "effervescent" at the time of the interview.   
  • He says this often during broadcasts, but Clyde believe NBA players are like models and will always look good because of their height. He points out Shaq, Patrick Ewing and Amar'e Stoudemire as two individuals who stick out.Clyde wouldn't go as far as saying that he's rubbed off on Amar'e. After all, who could touch Clyde?!
  • Clyde doesn't like to wear coats. He also has stingray boots which people apparently love.
  • On Craig Sager's outfits: "[Agrees that Sager is the 'poor man' version of himself] he doesn't have the body; the height to pull [the suits] off, but he tries!"
  • On Leigh Ellis's get-up: "It fits."

Never change, Clyde!

Amar'e Stoudemire Injury Update

Amar'e Stoudemire is still out with a back injury, but it appears he's making some progress. Before Sunday's game against Chicago, he was participating in drills where he was running, cutting, and dunking.

Today, it seems like he's back at it, according to multiple reports. Al Iannazzone's take:
Amar'e Stoudemire on the court with the knicks during shootaround here in chicago.
Mike Woodson said Amare won't play tonight or tomorrow. It's up to doctors and amar'e when he returns.
Marc Berman also mentioned that Amar'e looked "great" today in shoot-around.

It's still unclear when Stoudemire will officially return. Thus far (much to the repugnance of the beat reporters) Amar'e has been silent and avoided giving injury updates. One can only hope that this means Stoudemire is focusing solely on working hard and getting back. He had his epidural shot just under two weeks ago and the original prognosis said his recovery time would take two to four weeks. If he's already participating in drills and shoot-arounds, perhaps we can see him return sometime next week.

Derrick Rose is a gametime decision tonight

Tonight the Knicks play the second night of a home-and-home against the Chicago Bulls. However, after being on the receiving end of a Shump-down, Derrick Rose may be out tonight. From ESPN Chicago:
Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose injured his right ankle in the second quarter of Sunday afternoon's loss to the New York Knicks and is a game-time decision for Tuesday night's rematch.
Rose was wearing a walking boot early Monday but later was seen without it. He received treatment on the ankle Tuesday morning, but he said there's still some swelling and pain. The Chicago Tribune initially reported Rose's situation.
The Knicks, and in particularly, Iman Shumpert, did a great job defending Rose in Sunday's game, but Rose is obviously one of the most talented players in the NBA and still managed to go off in the second half and steal the win for Chicago. The last thing the Knicks need is Rose and the Bulls to come out with revenge on their minds and play like the #1 team they are.

However, if Rose is out, it doesn't nearly guarantee a win for the Knicks. Rose had recently missed 12 games and the Bulls went 8-4 in his absence. Likewise, losing a top gun can inspire a team and the Bulls are pretty tough in the United Center where they are 22-6.

Regardless, tonight is another big game and big test for the Knicks, with or without the potent flowery one.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Here's What They're Saying

Got a cool buncha links for all you hungry hamsters out there. The Knicks are off today, so it should be pretty quiet in terms of news and updates. So, instead, let's read! Please jump for some links, but do so with your indoor voices, because others are reading and this is a goddamn library!

Knicks 100, Bulls 99 - Recaps, notes, links, terrificness

Easter lunches, right?! Prevented me from watching perhaps the best Knicks game of the season - would you all agree? I did see the Knicks' dominant 1st quarter, but otherwise I was away from my television, instead snacking on hors d'oeuvres and Italian food and trying my best to seem friendly even though I was missing the game. Therefore I am unqualified to tell you much aside from what I saw.

Undoubtedly, though, yesterday was a big confidence booster for the team and gave the Knicks some breathing room in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. So take the jump for some notes and links and stuff.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Knicks vs. Chicago Bulls - What To Watch For

Good afternoon, ladytramps! Happy Easter, or if not, happy Sunday! The Knicks take on the Chicago Bulls at 1 today in a game that could possibly have huge implications on the playoff race. The Knicks stand just half a game over the Milwaukee Bucks for the 8th spot in the East, and now begin the first game of a home-and-home against the Bulls before playing those blasted Bucks this week.

The Knicks could reeeaaallly use a victory today to push themselves two games above .500 since I don't know when, but to give themselves a little cushion above the Bucks who play the Thunder tomorrow. With a win and a Bucks loss, the Knicks could get a little more comfortable in the 8th seed. Oddly enough, this game probably means little to the Chicago Bulls other than pride in beating the Knicks.

So with all that, let's jump!

The Knicks Hired Larry Johnson...?

Larry Johnson, who donned a Knicks uniform for a few years and was part of a celebrated run to the Finals in 1999 (including perhaps the most famous shot in Knicks history), has been hired by the Knicks. The ellipsis-question mark duo in the title regards the surprising nature of the move. I haven't seen much about Larry Johnson this season. He sometimes attends games, but this move sort of seems out of the blue.

Howard Beck and Alan Hahn have the scoop:
Knicks announce they have hired Larry Johnson as "basketball and business operations representative."

LJ's role will focus on player development, community relations and in marketing. So #Knicks now have Allan Houston and LJ in front office.

It seems like a fine move to me; it was just surprising because there hadn't really been any whispers about Johnson. But hey, it's not Isiah!

Alan Hahn noted this morning that Johnson could be a great influence on Amar'e coming off his back injury. During his time in Charlotte, Johnson was an athletic, powerful 4 who could out-jump and out-muscle his opponents - not unlike the younger Amar'e Stoudemire, or currently, Blake Griffin. However, after some back injuries, Johnson became the stretch 4/post-up player we saw in New York. He could teach Amar'e to still be effective with diminished athleticism and that alone would be worth the hire.

Likewise (heads up: this is my own thought), Johnson could be a good influence on Josh Harrellson. Jorts isn't super athletic, and doesn't seem like a natural center, but he could learn a thing or two about spot-up shooting and post moves from LJ.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Knicks 96, Magic 80 - Recap

With drama swirling around the Orlando Magic franchise, the Knicks came into town at an opportune time and took advantage. Through fluid offense and tough defense, the Knicks were able to keep the Magic at arm's length and give their top guns some much-needed rest towards the end of the game.

As we saw in these teams' last matchup, the game began a little sluggish and streaky, but the 2nd and 3rd quarters proved to be the key for the Knicks as they got big contributions from Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith, Baron Davis, and Landry Fields to blow up the lead.

Of course, the defense played a huge part in only allowing 80 points and basically shutting Dwight Howard down entirely.

And just so much stuff to talk about! Take the jump!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Knicks at Orlando Magic - What To Watch For

Tonight at 7 on TNT, the Knicks will play the Orlando Magic, a team whose wheels seem to be coming off with each passing day. The Magic will be without the services of Ryan Anderson and possibly Jameer Nelson, but they may face bigger problems between Dwight Howard and Stan Van Gundy, and furthermore team chemistry.

The Knicks meanwhile aren't in the best shape themselves. After building a 17-point lead against the Indiana Pacers, the Knicks squandered it entirely in the 4th quarter and failed to stay above .500. Furthermore they have just a one game lead over the Milwaukee Bucks for the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference. But with the Magic in an unstable position, it may be a blessing for the Knicks to steal a game.

Jump for some notes on what to watch for tonight!

The Orlando Magic are just as much of a mess as the Knicks

When the Knicks take on the Orlando Magic tonight in Florida, both teams will be fairly maimed. While we know that the Knicks are missing some key players to their rotation, the Magic may be too. Alan Hahn sums it up nice and clean for us in one of those Twit things:
So to recap Magic injuries: Dwight is in, but not 100%. Jameer is uncertain and a game-time decision. Ryan Anderson out.
Also, this whole scene is just unfolding on Twitter right now in front of my computer-locked eyes. This could also perhaps have an affect on the Magic's performance tonight.

Howard Beck:
Stan Van Gundy just acknowledged that Dwight Howard has asked that he be fired.
Ian O'Connor:
Howard comes in hugs Stan and doesn't realize Stan just confirmed story

Howard Beck:
Absolutely surreal: Dwight comes out and denies reports that he wants SVG fired, though SVG himself just said it on record moments earlier
Al Iannazzone:
 Stan Van Gundy may not be coaching tonight's game after all this. Howard had no idea what SVG said. It was wild.
Wow. So, let me recap as cleanly as possible. Jameer Nelson is a gametime decision, Ryan Anderson is out, Dwight Howard will likely play but isn't 100%, and he wants Stan Van Gundy fired and Stan Van Gundy knows it, while Howard just tried to deny. Seems like that last bit could create a riff in the locker room....

If you want to take the jump, there are a few updates on the Knicks' health too.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Pacers 112, Knicks 104 - Recap

We'll keep things short because, really, who wants to relive or rethink this game any more than they have to? And unless you're a player, a member of the Knicks' staff, or a professional journalist (which I am not), you really don't have to think about this game anymore. Here's your chance to abandon ship unless you like to wallow in misery which is a trait most Knicks fans possess anyway, hence why you're reading my blog!
Photo by AP

The last two days I've boasted about the Knicks now (seemingly) elite defense and in tonight's preview I pondered if the Knicks would have to play this game in a grind-it-out-fashion. Instead, both the Knicks and the Pacers offense clicked at different times in the game, and when it came down to crunch time, it was almost a matter of offensive execution (though you could argue that the defense mattered more).

And boy, was Mother Crunch Time was tough on the Knicks. After excellent 2nd and 3rd quarters where the Knicks clamped down on defense and crisply moved the ball and attacked the basket on offense, they had built themselves a 15-point lead going into the final 12 minutes. Unfortunately those 12 minutes were 12 minutes too long and the Pacers rattled off a furious rally to tie the game and eventually take the lead by as many as eight.

When it mattered most, the Knicks couldn't compose themselves during Indiana's determined run. Jump if you want to continue torturing yourself.

Knicks at Indiana Pacers - What To Watch For

Tonight at 7 the Knicks will be back in action when they take on the Indiana Pacers in the Bankers Life Fieldhouse, which evidently is no longer than Conseco Fieldhouse. The Knicks come in after two days off following a victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday and a loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Friday. Similarly, the Pacers went 1-1 with a loss to the Spurs on Saturday and a victory over the Rockets on Sunday.

The last time these two teams met, Mike Woodson was still the new coach of the Knicks and the lineup was much different. The Knicks defeated the Pacers in back-to-back games in a home-and-home sweep. However, at that time, Jeremy Lin and Amar'e Stoudemire were both in the lineup as was Jared Jeffries, Baron Davis missed the second game, and guys like Josh Harrellson and Toney Douglas were not receiving minutes. This time, the Knicks' lineup will look much different.

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

Jeremy Lin's injury and how things have come full circle

I can recall the day that the 2011-12 season for the Knicks took a shocking turn (for the better) before a single game had even been played. I had finished classes for the day and while walking back to my apartment, checked Twitter to find that my timeline was flooded with tweets of this nature: "Knicks emerge as front-runners for Tyson Chandler. Chauncey Billups would need to be traded or amnestied."

My mind swirled and my heartbeat grew faster. The Knicks? Frontrunners for the defensive cog of the defending NBA champions? A real seven-foot center? Tyson Chandler was the type of center that I had dreamed the Knicks would somehow acquire - long, athletic, a solid rebounder, defensive-minded, and content with a small role in the offense. The Knicks' front office also felt this way and they used the amnesty clause on Billups and acquired Chandler.

The keys to then-coach Mike D'Antoni's offense were handed to Toney Douglas - a third year player who had manned the point guard helm before with decent results. However, anyone who had watched Douglas before knew that he wasn't the natural PG that D'Antoni preferred; he wasn't particularly adept at running plays, passing the ball or driving the lane. Douglas, though, was coming off a strong season shooting the ball. He could at least dribble up the court, and he was feisty on defense. Furthermore, he was the Knicks' only option.

To try and fill the shallow void at the position, the Knicks signed Mike Bibby - a move that was almost laughable at the time, and has thus far been unrewarding. They sought free agents Jamal Crawford and J.J. Barea, but were spurned as both guards went to teams offering more money. A card did fall into place for the Knicks as Baron Davis was amnestied by the Cleveland Cavaliers and cleared waivers to eventually sign with the Knicks. Yet the team knew that they would not have a healthy Davis back (no pun intended) until at least February as he recovered from a herniated disk in his back.

Through December, January, and some of February, the Knicks offense was a sputtering mess. Toney Douglas struggled right out of the gate, unable to hit shots, make halfway decent entry passes, or run a pick-and-roll. Iman Shumpert replaced him and was effective for a time, but the rookie combo guard was mostly unable to run the offense any more efficiently than Douglas (or Bibby, who hardly ever got a real shot). Moreover, D'Antoni's plan to use Carmelo Anthony as a point-forward had failed despite Melo's attempts to act as a playmaker. This was due to the fact that nobody on the Knicks could make open shots when Melo passed out of double-teams, and partly because Melo was just ill-suited to run an offense.

Things looked bleak for the 8-15 Knicks until on February 4th, Jeremy Lin happened....

Monday, April 2, 2012

Weekend Recap + Weekly Musings

Hey ya'll, I had computer difficulties Friday and Saturday and was just simply swamped Sunday, so I didn't have time to post much. As you most likely saw, the Knicks lost Friday night in Atlanta and won Saturday night vs. Cleveland (I didn't get to watch much of either game). Likewise, you have probably heard the devastating news about Jeremy Lin's injury.

I have a few things to note about this past weekend and the coming week for the Knicks, so take the jump if you will.