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!

 - We'll start with something has actually legitimately made me upset over the last 24 hours. Surely you all know by now that Iman Shumpert tore his ACL and will have to undergo surgery. His timetable for recovery is six to eight months, which is really very disappointing. Obviously Shump's defensive presence on the wings will be missed, but recently he'd been acting as a de facto ball-handler with J.R. Smith when Davis sits out, so the Knicks will really miss that as well. Likewise, since the All-Star break, he'd been shooting nearly 35% from 3-point range, which will certainly hurt the Knicks offense when they do drive-and-kicks or pass out of double-teams.

Shump's become one of my favorite players in the league, and maybe my favorite player on the Knicks. I'll really miss watching him on the court. Get well soon, Shumpy, have a speedy recovery.

 - Kind of on the opposite end of that, Jeremy Lin is reportedly ahead of schedule on his recovery. Lin played a game of one-on-one yesterday and has begun to practice running, cutting, and jumping. Reporters spoke with him today and he said he was encouraged by his workout yesterday, but discouraged by his soreness today. That's natural, though. One time I lifted weights, Jeremy, and the next day I woke up very sore, but you know what, I didn't go back to the gym because I'm very lazy. But other people tell me they get sore all the time when they work out after having not worked out in a long time.

Oh, and look at the tangent I've gone off on. Anyway, it's conceivable that Lin could return by Game 4, which is a week from today, but there's no point in pushing it unless the Knicks are close. If they win one of the next two games, then it might be advisable to bring Lin back. Or, if they win one of the next two games, Lin could almost certainly make a return for Game 5 (barring any setbacks), which would be next Wednesday. The series is so stretched out that if the Knicks can make it competitive, Lin has a good shot in returning. That's uplifting.

 - Baron Davis re-injured his back during yesterday's game and sat for a good chunk of the second half. I don't think the extent of the injury has been reported, but apparently his back was stiff. Mike Woodson said Baron is a gametime decision, Baron said he'll play unless he's dead. An unhealthy Baron doesn't bode well for the Knicks. He was dynamite in that 1st quarter, but fell off soon after - I'm assuming his back injury played into that. Either way, when Davis is unhealthy, we've seen that he's pretty ineffective.

 - Tyson Chandler is still battling the flu, and has been receiving IVs. As far as I've seen, he's a game-time decision tomorrow. Jared Jeffries apparently is not at all ready to play basketball, so I'm guessing we'll see more Josh Harrellson and Dan Gadzuric. I liked what I saw from Jorts in garbage time yesterday.

 - I agree with pretty much what a lot of analysts have been saying: the refs blew yesterday, but the Knicks were even worse. Really, the only consequential blame I can put on the refs is that their bad officiating led to the Knicks dramatic spiral in the 2nd quarter. I expect a better officiated game tomorrow, but it's still on the Knicks (and most certainly Mike Woodson) to keep their heads and not let a few calls throw them off so much.

 - Woodson HAS to be more creative in getting Carmelo Anthony the ball. From what I saw, the only thing the Heat did was front him on catches and push him further on the perimeter. The Knicks tossed at least four turnovers yesterday in making bad entry passes to Melo. The Heat are super aggressive in attacking pick-and-rolls, so I'm not sure how effective Melo would be as the screener, but I imagine some off-ball screens and down screens would enough to allow him to make clean catches. Will definitely be watching to see how the strategy changed for tomorrow.

 - I've believed this all along, but the Knicks ability to avoid turnovers will determine their chances of at least hanging with the Heat, if not stealing a game or two.

That's all. More stuff tomorrow. Let's go Knicks! 

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