Friday, November 12, 2010

The Beginning of the End?

Optimism is waning among the Knickerbocker faithful. Tonight's game against the inexplicable Timberwolves could be a watershed moment of this young season. Lose, and the Knicks officially suck. Win, and they still may suck, but it wouldn't be official.

Anyway, I obviously expect a win, but judging from my peers on the Realgm forums, others don't agree. Here is a sampling of prognostications from other Knick diehards:

"I expect us to lose. And I won't even be upset anymore. Let's face it. Our New York Knicks have been losers for the past decade and it's not gonna change."

"Automatic loss, I won't even be mad either"
"Have a really bad feeling about this one..."
"We will get our asses handed to us.On a platinum platter. Served with a side order of Sebastian Telfair career highs of 26 points and 14 assists. It will happen."
"Loss. Blowout loss.
Followed by more D'Antoni laughing and lame excuses with his stupid accent."
"Another day, another loss."
"Another day, another game, another losing streak and another 30 win season."
So many naysayers and Negative Nancys out there in the world of Knicks fandom. Oh well I guess I'm a contrarian thinker.
Here are my notes from the awful loss to the Bucks. I was crying too hard to type watching David Lee dismantle his former team last game.
  • Maggette points to the sky after every made FT.
  •  Bucks can't miss Knicks can't penetrate the d. Bucks started 13-15 Taj Gibson then Blatche then Brand now Drew Gooden all kill Knicks in 1st. Trend?
  • Turiaf injured is bad news for the D.
  • Felton highlight alley oop to Randolph
  • Amare has a nice stroke from 3
  • Sometimes you can hear amare yelling stuff. Screamed Ahh shit after bricking a j. It's like Amar'e is mic'd up.
  • Does respect the game apply to guys screaming and one?
  • Bogut elbowed amare and amare started to pick a fight...Bogut must be thinking "scoreboard"
  • Problem with the NBA is the players are getting too good at tricking the refs. The new respect the game rule makes the refs less accountable for all their awful decisions.
  • Ohhhhh Landry fields throws down a one handed put back boomshackalacka. Unfortunately he showboated after the highlight play, despite being down 16.
  •  Nobody guards Amar'e elbow jumper.
  • Maggette fools ref flops for the charge on Wil.
  • God refs suck
  • Knicks offense sucks. Stagnant one on one
  •  Ugh Maggette king of the flops
  •  Bogut swats Amar'e then breaks, gets through the leg pass from Jennings for the monster slam, while Amar'e jogs behind
  • Fields is the only bright spot
  • Rautins sighting, hits moz with a pinpoint feed and drains a three off the curl!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Knicks after Six, 500 heading to Milwaukee

The Knicks come into tonight’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks with a respectable 3 and 3 record after 6 games. Last week the Knicks were 2-1, with wins against the Bulls (120-112)and Wizards (112-91), and a tough loss at home against the 76ers (95-106).

The game against the Bulls was a rare nationally televised game for the Knicks, and they rose to the occasion displaying the potential dynamism of their offense. They simply shot the lights out, and the Bulls, who are led by new head coach and supposed defensive mastermind Tom Thibodeau, could do little to stop the onslaught. If Thibodeau’s game plan was to stop Amar’e at all costs, then the Bulls executed their defense to perfection. The Knicks’ talisman shot an abysmal 5-21 from the field, committed 8 turnovers, and was blocked 4 times. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, but while the Bulls focused on stifling Stoudemire, the rest of the Knicks were shooting wide open 3’s, going 16-24 from downtown. 

Danilo Gallinari silenced the critics by scorching the nets early, and finished with 24 points on 11 shots. The Rooster hit all 4 of his 3 point attempts, showed some athleticism with a couple dunks, and also had a block, two steals, took a charge, and snagged 6 boards. Despite this crowfest from The Rooster, Toney Douglas was the star of the game. Toney did what he does, and did it some more, dropping a career high 30 points on 14 field goal attempts, and committed larsony 4 times. This was a great win, especially considering how the media loves the Bulls this year, and how little Amar’e contributed. 

I would be remiss if I did not mention the vicious two handed tomahawk jam that Derrick Rose threw down in this one. It looked like it could have been a move in Street Fighter or something. Also of note, The Bulls rookie head coach faced a dilemma when his bench squad staged a semi comeback in the fourth quarter, with Derek Rose and Joakim Noah on the pine. Thibodeau decided to stick with the scrubs, despite the Chicago crowd chanting “we want Rose!” I hope he was just spiting the fans for telling him how to do his job.

The Wizards then visited MSG, and John Wall wore some gilded shoes. Early on, it was the Andray Blatche show, as the chubby youngster did his best KG impression, swishing midrange jumpers left and right. Clyde pointed out his protruding belly, and it was lucky for the Knicks that Blatche is rotund and out of shape, as after the early barrage he went ice cold. Wall failed to impress for the Garden faithful, and looked out of sorts on his way to 13 measley points. The Knicks shot blocking has been a godsend this year, and they swatted away all comers and ended up with 11 blocks, led by Amar’e with 4. Wilson Chandler had the highlight of the day, make that the week, make that the year, with a vicious baseline one handed reverse slamma jamma over the giant JaVale Mcgee. The Knicks spread the wealth with 6 players finishing in double figures. The Wizards almost made a game of it behind some vintage chucking by Gilbert Arenas, but the Knicks held out. A good win over a team that they should beat every time.

The Knicks were riding high heading into the Sunday matinee against a Sixers team without their star, Andre Igoudala. The Knicks were up for most of the game after bouncing back from a hot start from the rejuvenated Elton Brand, but they blew the lead in typical fashion of the Knicks of yore, scoring just 15 points in the 4th quarter. The Sixers went to the zone, and as has been the case this whole season, the Knicks were baffled. Youngsters Jrue Holliday and Evan Turner impressed for the 76ers, and nobody on the Knicks really stood out. Also, combo guard Lou Williams looked like Paul Pierce, duping the foolish Knicks into questionable fouls with pump fake after pump fake. The Knicks have to learn to win these games if they want to be any better than mediocre.

All things considered, it was a good week for the Knicks. They went 1-1 over teams they theoretically should be beating, and 1-0 over a team that is theoretically better than them. Toney Douglas has grown into a bonafide scorer off the bench, and rookies Landry Fields and Timofey Mozgov are both contributing. The team is showing good chemistry, making the extra pass, and helping eachother on both ends of the court. Gallinari is seemingly back after his rough first 3 games, and Anthony Randolph has just been added to the mix. I can’t get over all the blocked shots I’m seeing by the Knicks. They still lead the league with 8 per game. Things are looking up, and that’s before you consider that Amar’e has yet to have a decent game. I expect a win tonight vs. the Bucks, but then again, I never expect the Knicks to lose.

Monday, November 1, 2010

3 Down, 79 to Go

The Knicks are 1-2, having beat the woeful Raptors, and lost to the imposing Celtics and Blazers. Let’s take a look back at the general themes that have emerged so far in this young season.

First, as always, the bright side of things.

Landry Fields

I just picked up Landry for my fantasy team. It looks like he is determined to hold on tight to his starting 2 spot. It has been said by many, but Fields just has a knack for the game. He knows where to be, knows his role, and makes the right decision. He is an opportunistic player, never stops looking for a lane to cut into, and is always flying after offensive rebounds. He already notched his first double-double. Fields also has played solid defense (he did get abused by Brandon Roy a little, but really, nobody could have stopped his midrange artistry). To sum up my blossoming admiration for Landry’s game, against the Blazers I said “why is Gallo in the game, take him out, put in Fields!” which is borderline blasphemy for me.

Timofey Mozgov

Against the Blazer Tim showed that he can play. He defended excellently against LaMarcus Aldridge, and swatted a few shots, all without fouling at an absurd rate. Sure he has made his share of rookie mistakes, and got a technical after he got called for a cheap foul, but like a fine wine, he will get better with age (and NBA experience).

Wil the Thrill

Wilson Chandler is loving the sixth man role. He is still playing starters minutes, and is getting into the game pretty quickly. Wil has been an all around stud, scoring with ease, resounding rebounding, and blocking shots. When Amar’e and the starters are on the bench, it’s been Wil or nothing on offense, and he has carried the Knicks through some sketchy offensive stretches. And he really looks great with his new look baby fro and beard.


The Knicks eked out a close win against a plucky Raptors squad, then battled until the dying moments against the veteran Celtics. They matched the Blazers the whole game until collapsing late. The point is they beat who they were supposed to, and nearly beat the teams they weren’t supposed to. Both losses could have gone the other way. The Knicks aren’t elite, but they gave the elite Celtics and quasi elite Blazers a run for there money. Sure it would have been nice to win, but you gotta take the crookeds with the straights right?


Last year there was swiss cheese defense, now there are NO EASY BUCKETS. The Knicks are #1 in the NBA in blocks per game, with 8.3. I mean…wow….


How can you not love Rice a Roni? He plays so hard and swats people so much. He can also dunk off of pick and rolls, and likes to make funny faces, dance, flex, and make Amar’e say “Roni is crazy!”

Dark Clouds


Yeah he is scoring a lot, but I think he was the culprit on a lot of those Blazer backdoor cuts that burnt the Knicks over and over. One time you could hear him yell “hey, what’s going on here” as the Blazers completed another backdoor layup. He has had some emphatic rejections, but needs to be more aware and guide the defense better. Also, he needs to recognize his limitations. Amar’e is not so good at dribbling, and it is painfully obvious to me, and opposing defenders, when a steal is coming. One or two dribbles should be his max. Also, Amar’e probably shouldn’t shoot contested 3’s, until he has proven he can nail some open ones. He has played decent, but needs to shoot a higher percentage from the charity stripe, and especially cut down on the turnovers.


Danilo has looked extremely bad. Preseason, I shrugged it off. The first game, meh just one game. Now it has been 3 games, and Danilo is shooting 20% and 18% from 3. My favorite player looks like a shadow of his formerly cocksure self, and I am afraid. Afraid Landry Fields and Wilson Chandler will take over most of the swingman minutes, and Gallo will drift into oblivion. Now, he is supposedly nursing a bad wrist, and also, it has only been 3 games, but whoa he looks bad. He is playing scared, and bricking shots he usually swishes. The Knicks desperately need a 3 point gunner to space the floor and open up some room for the pick and roll, and I hope Gallo will return to form. With an in form Gallo, no doubt the Knicks would be 3-0.

That’s really it for the dark clouds.

Let’s looks at some interesting stats from the first 3 games.

  •  Wilson Chandler is averaging 21 and 10, a steal and 3 blocks
  • Unfortunately, Wil is shooting 26% from downtown, and attempting 6 per game.
  • Amar’e and Landry Fields lead the team in 3 point shooting, at 40%. Not a good sign.
  • The team is shooting 68% from the line. Not good
  • The Knicks have the 2nd highest 3 point rate (3 pointers attempted/FG attempted), not surprising. Only the Magic shoot the 3 ball more often.

That’s all for now. Overall the first 3 games have been mildly encouraging, and mildly disappointing. We will surely learn more about the team this week, when the Knicks face off with the Magic, Bulls, Wizards and 76ers. They should get at least 2 wins.