Recap: heat 100 Knicks 67

 

BOX SCORE

The Miami heat simply totally dominated the Knicks in Game 1 of this first round series.  There were certainly a LOT of issues with the officiating in this game, but NY simply gave away too many possessions with 27 turnovers in the game.

Tyson Chandler, who was still recovering from the flu, was called for a flagrant 2 initially on a pick set on LeBron James.  The official later changed it to a flagrant 1.  Chandler clearly was not his normal self as he committed 7 turnovers himself including several charges on pick and rolls. He was scoreless with only 3 boards in 21 minutes.

Carmelo Anthony never could get going in this game as he missed his first 7 shots.  He got called for an absolutely pathetic technical foul for simply passing the ball back to the official.   Melo took it hard to the basket several times and did not get the calls. He finished 3-15 from the field for 11 points.

Amar’e Stoudemire was extremely quiet as well.  He could not really get anything going outside of a couple dunks in the first half.  He was held to 9 points and 5 rebounds in 32 minutes.

Baron Davis kept the Knicks in it in the first quarter with 10 points including a fast break dunk and a couple three pointers, but his back stiffened up and he only played 17 minutes.

Iman Shumpert appeared to suffer a serious knee injury in the 3rd quarter and his status remains unclear as he was taken to the hospital.

These officials have gotten carried away with the technical foul calls as well as the flagrant foul calls.  Officials look more on the reaction of the player as opposed to whether it is a legit play.  If you look at an official funny you get called for tech.  It has gotten out of hand.  I understand not having guys constantly barking at the officials, but there has to be a happy medium.

Miami had 33 free throw attempts to NY only having 11.

While the officials were an issue, Miami’s defense dominated this game and NY simply could not get anything going offensively.

NY held Miami to only 7 fast break points, but they were operating at a different speed all game led by LeBron James’ defense. James finished 32 points on 10-14 shooting along with 4 steals.

It is one game and every playoff game has a life of its own, but the Knicks have a lot of work to do.

On to Game 2 on Monday.

 

 

 

 

Recap Knicks 104 Bobcats 84

BOX SCORE

Being a native New Yorker living in Charlotte, I get a couple opportunities a year to see my team play every year. It didn’t matter that it was a relatively meaningless game with Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, and Baron Davis sitting out of this game as they were resting for the playoffs.

There are a lot of transplanted New Yorkers here in the Charlotte area which was shown by the very New York centric crowd tonight. There were a LOT of New York Knicks Jerseys in the crowd tonight.

How New York was the crowd?

I actually saw a Renaldo Balkman jersey in the crowd. I couldn’t help but laugh hysterically.

Amar’e Stoudemire could have rested, but he wanted to get some more work in before the playoffs. He certainly did not disappoint as he had a few highlight reel dunks that had the partisan New York crowd going bonkers. Amar’e played exactly 2 quarters, which was determined before the game. He finished with 21 points on 9-15 shooting.

Mike Bibby who has played well as of late finished with a season high 12 assists as he was moving the ball well dishing it to guys cutting to the rim all night. He only turned it over once on the night in 36 minutes. He played that many minutes as Toney Douglas was out with a virus.

JR Smith led the way with 22 points and 6 assists on 10-16 shooting.

Knick fans got to see Jerome Jordan in extended minutes as he had a career high 13 points on 6-11 shooting. He even had a nice foul line jumpshot.

Josh Harrelson, who has never been quite the same since the wrist injury, had a solid game with 18 points and 9 rebounds.

As this game went on and the Knicks broke away in the fourth quarter of this game, I couldn’t help but reflect on how far the Knicks have come since the last time I saw them play in January.

I was at the game in Charlotte on January 24th and NY had lost 6 straight. After that win, the Knicks were 7-10. They would proceed to lose 5 of the next 6 before the birth of Linsanity.

Fast forward to tonight, where they have dug themselves out of such a big hole, going from 18-24 under Mike D’Antoni to 18-6 under Woodson.

My oh my have we come a long way. I can’t help but smile as I feel we are headed in the right direction for the first time as far as I can remember.

It is a new season, and it is now official.

We go to Miami to play the heat. The Knicks are playing as well as anyone right now, with arguably the hottest player in basketball.

To be the best, you have to beat the best. As Tyson Chandler has said, “You have to believe”

Let’s do this.

GO NY GO NY GO!!!

 

 

Recap: Knicks 99 Clippers 93

BOX SCORE

Is the regular season over already?

The Knicks hope for the 6th seed ended tonight as the Bobcats lost to the Magic.  The Sixers beat the Bucks tonight to stay tied record wise with the Knicks.  NY has the tie breaker.

With the Knicks playing the Bobcats (who have lost 22 straight) tomorrow, the Knicks are locked into the 7th seed.  If the Knicks lost tomorrow, David Stern might launch a tanking investigation.

Now onto tonight’s game against the Clippers.

Chris Paul sat this one out for LA with a strained groin.

For NY, the big concern defensively was matching up with Blake Griffin.  As mentioned earlier, Amar’e has had issues keeping guys in front of him, so they put Tyson Chandler on him.  Tyson did a very good job of staying in front of him and forced him into some very difficult shots.  That’s all you can ask for.

With the Knicks resting their starters in the 4th quarter and the lead quickly slipping away, Chandler asked back in the game.  He would then proceed to stay in front of Griffin and swat his shot out of bounds.  He wasn’t going to let us lose this game.

While Griffin’s numbers looked good (29 points, 10 boards, 6 assists), the Knicks didn’t let him have a dunkfest and put him on the line where he is awful.  Good players make tough shots.

The story of this game was mostly the Knick bench who played very well until the end when the offense got very stagnant with JR Smith ending up having to hoist shots up at the end of the shot clock.

Smith had a solid all around game on the night playing under control for the most part with 21 points and 5 assists.

Carmelo Anthony had 17 points in only 28 minutes of action as the starters played limited minutes.

Positives from this game include Landry Fields continuing to play with more confidence, Baron Davis penetrating well (although he only had one assist, he had 12 points on 2-5 from three), Steve Novak being Steve Novak (4-7 from three) and Tyson Chandler continuing his defensive player of the year campaign. Shumpert also did a nice job helping out on the boards with 7 rebounds.

Negatives include Amar’e’s defense again and Iman Shumpert turning his ankle again.

Dan Gadzuric played 7 minutes in the game in his Knick debut and didn’t make much of an impression with 2 rebounds.  I noticed Mike Woodson barking at him as they were going to a timeout.  I am guessing he will be seeing more minutes tomorrow night.

The Knicks are probably going to sit several players tomorrow I am guessing.  If they don’t they will be playing very limited minutes against (in my opinion) the worst team in the history of the NBA.  When the Knicks win tomorrow night (I will be at the game), the Bobcats will finish with the lowest winning percentage the history of the league beating the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers team that went 9-73.

Enough of the regular season.  Bring on the heat.

Amare on facing Griffin: 'It's going to be fun'

Via ESPN New York

GREENBURGH, N.Y. — It’s a good thing Amare Stoudemire has gotten two games under his belt (with two more to go), so he’s able to build some rhythm heading into the playoffs.

But there’s another reason why: to get some defensive preparation in before facing the most electric and explosive dunker in the NBA, Blake Griffin, who arrives at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday. Stoudemire is entering dangerous territory tonight with the potential for posterization, but he’s excited about the matchup.

“It’s going to be fun,” STAT said. “Blake is a friend of mine. He was at my basketball camp when he was in college, so it’s good to see him doing great in the NBA.”

I am hoping that STAT steps up his defense heading into the playoffs.  This matchup concerns me as Amar’e has a tendency to overplay and jump at his man as he gets caught leaning the wrong way which allows an offensive player to easily blow by him.

All Amar’e has to do is stay in front of him, and if he makes a jumper so be it.  Playing defense is about playing the percentages.

When you are going against the best athletes in the world, all that offensive player needs is the defender leaning in the wrong direction.  Amar’e needs to stay balanced and in front of his man.  It is this overplaying and getting right up on his man that leads to players blowing right by him.

If Amar’e plays right up on Griffin, that will play right into his hands as Griffin loves to spin off his defender on contact.

Amar’e’s defense is a major concern heading into the playoffs as it leaves Tyson Chandler in the position of having to come over and help (which he has done great all year) and potentially get him into early foul trouble.

It also takes the Knicks best rebounder out of position for rebounding as he has to come over and help.  This often leads to offensive rebounds which the Knicks have had issues with this season.

Something to keep an eye on.

Chandler: Let's Rest and Get Healthy

Via ESPN New York:

Friday’s game was the Knicks’ 10th in the last 18 days. Chandler, who only had four points and eight rebounds against Cleveland’s beleaguered frontcourt, said some players may be running out of gas.

“Last week, we had those four games where it was back-to-back, day off, back-to-back. It’s been a little tough that way,” Chandler said. “I think it’s more important to rest, get healthy. At this point in the season, with these games rolling over and over, it’s important that we feel right for the playoffs.”

Chandler went so far as to suggest that he may approach Woodson about getting some extra rest before the playoffs. The Knicks won’t practice on Saturday in anticipation of their 1 p.m. tip-off at Atlanta on Sunday.

I think all Knick fans are miffed at the effort the Knicks gave last night.  I think though while its unacceptable with the effort level as Coach Woodson has said, it is important to put things in perspective.

When Mike Woodson took over a team that was 18-24, things were not looking good.  Only seven games in, the Knicks lost 2 of their most important players in Amar’e and Jeremy Lin not to mention Jared Jefferies was out during that time as well.

For the past 5 weeks, for all intents and purposes the Knicks have been playing must win games every single night.  The Knicks had to go 15-5 over the last 5 weeks in order to get into the playoffs in the last week of the season.  And the Knicks have been playing great basketball just to get in.  They have had such a big hole to dig out of and they have.

I am willing to give them a pass for last night’s game as it was one game.  If they don’t show up tomorrow then that will be more alarming.

To Tyson’s point, he does need some rest as he has been carrying a huge burden with the Knicks not really having anyone to back him up.  We need Tyson as healthy as possible for the playoffs.

The Knicks need Amar’e to show he won’t be a total liability on defense in the next 3 games  as well as show he can hit the mid range shot.

The ball needs to flow through Melo and even if he isn’t getting shots he must touch the ball so that he can make plays.

While Knick players may get some rest for the next few games, one thing that must be demanded is that while they are on the court they give full effort.  If they aren’t going to give full effort, they should sit next to Mike Woodson.

 

 

Amar'e:Had Bulging Disk For a Year

Via NY Post

CLEVELAND — Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire, in his most extensive interview in weeks at Friday morning’s shootaround at Quicken Loans Arena, confirmed his bulging disk has been around since he suffered a back injury in the playoff series against the Celtics last April.

Stoudemire said the bulging disk was discovered then but was not considered a big issue. Nevertheless, it became more noticeable after an MRI exam in late summer, and the setback in his rehab forced him to enter training camp not in proper condition.

“It wasn’t as herniated [last April],’’ Stoudemire said. “I don’t think they saw it until later on that summer. That’s why I came to training camp not really ready to go. It took a while to get to here I was 100 percent and in top shape and had explosiveness back.’’

Marc Berman goes on to say:

This issue won’t go away, and eventually he will need surgery. Stoudemire blames the lockout on not getting proper rehab for his disk when he was unable to use the Knicks medical staff that treated him last April. From July 1 on, he was on his own. But Stoudemire said the epidural took the pain away in two days.

Well this explains a lot.  All season everyone has been wondering what was wrong with Amar’e, and everyone suspected the back was more of an issue than he was letting on.

Whenever asked about it before, Amar’e would respond with “I feel great” or “I feel better than ever” even though it wasn’t showing on the court.

Obviously, with 3 years and $65 million remaining on his contract this is a concern.  Back injuries have slowly ruined many NBA players careers, and with Amar’e it is that much more important as his explosiveness to the rim is what made him a superstar.

As Tommy has talked about before, Amar’e is going to have to hit that mid-range jumper to have success with Carmelo Anthony.  Melo needs to be getting into the low post while Amar’e is in the high post shooting the face up jumper.  If Amar’e can’t hit that jumper, spacing will be difficult.

The Knicks will need to address depth at the 4-5 positions this offseason as it is difficult to predict when a bad back will flare up during the season.  Also if Amar’e does indeed need offseason back surgery, there is no guarantee he would be ready to start the season.