Knicks grab hold of No. 8 seed behind another key defensive effort

Sam Spiegelman

The New York Knicks’ defense is a lot like UFO sightings — seeing it is rare, but when you do it’s pretty awesome.

Like they did in a primetime showdown with the Indiana Pacers back in March, the Knicks, again, put forth a phenomenal defensive effort to defeat the Brooklyn Nets and propel into the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.

The Knicks held the Nets to a 40 percent shooting mark from the floor and less than 31 percent from beyond the arc. The Knicks out-rebounded them 46-33 and forced Brooklyn into a 11:16 assist to turnover ratio, all while holding them to 81 points, more than 17 points below their season average.

The last time the Knicks showed up on the defensive side of the ball with this much intensity was the 92-86 victory over the Pacers in the Garden on March 19. But since then, the Knicks proved their incapable of bringing that defensive effort night in and night out.

There were close wins over the Philadelphia 76ers and lopsided losses to the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns, a game that Goran Dragic said the Knicks weren’t even playing D.

But the Knicks have made defense a priority the past three games limiting their opponents to under 83 points per game over the past three — not surprisingly, all wins — with last night finally leading to a spot in the playoffs … for now.

Now that they’re in the dance, the team has to be cognizant of how they got there: defense.

The final six regular-season games come against playoff-bound teams, including one more against the Nets, who will likely be looking to avenge Wednesday night’s blowout, two contests with the Toronto Raptors and one against the defending champion Miami Heat.

Defense has lifted New York this far, but it must continue against the rest of the way. There is not enough time left in the season to have room for error. Defense must remain a priority the rest of the way to remain ahead of the Atlanta Hawks, who are primed to also make a push for the eighth seed.

So far, New York has stepped up to the task. If they can continue clamping down defensively, the team deserves to make the playoffs. If they falter, again, might as well begin cleaning out the locker room.




70 comments
C0P0
C0P0

Defense. Offense. I'm just glad to see more of both from the "TEAM" rather than an individual. 

sanza
sanza

So, if Woody can make to ECF

and lets say lose 4-1 or 4-2


will woody still on this team next year?

tommy2b
tommy2b

This explains a lot.  Sam sees awesome UFOs.

Brostoevsky
Brostoevsky

We are far from 'in the dance' but - make no mistake - this was a big win.

Ordinarily I'd say that only the loss column matters and that we, in this case, 'trail' Atlanta by a game for all practical purposes. However, with both teams below .500 maybe we should focus on wins and give Knicks the edge. That's before considering strength of schedule, however, which favors Atlanta. Still, I'm happy we even have something to root for vs where we were a month ago

MeloStat301
MeloStat301

"Carmelo's really stepped into another level of trying to help players," Jackson said. "I think that's one of the things that we see that Carmelo can do and that he's grown as he's gone along. Those are issues that are not only on the basketball court. They're off the basketball court, they're in practices, they're in the training room, in the locker room, where players learn to lead and push the team forward with their energy."-Phil Jackson on Melo being a leader

tw22
tw22

The best thing about getting into playoff position is that it takes the traded first rounder ouyt of the lottery, and that should make us all feel better. Plus we are still built to beat the Heat and that could be the team we see in the first round.

rico
rico

shows you just how much of the game is mental, as in resolve, not just talent.


like where was "that shumpert" for the last 2 years?  Wow, that was an awesome showing last night by all of em

jax13
jax13

I love how they are playing but where was this effort all season?

melo7
melo7

The nets start two point guards that goes to show how much coaching he actually did last year. Kidds decent at running it but when Woodson tried it without him this season it was terrible. The nets have a very similar line up to the 2013 knicks

KnicksMaybeThisYear
KnicksMaybeThisYear

Nice win last night, good team effort.  Pablo was a little more aggressive than normal which was nice.   Just need ATL to lose a few now.


Excited to see the game against the Wiz. 


After they lost to the Cavs and the Lakers - I thought that was it, they proved me wrong and I happy as F(*^^


Hopefully they can get into the last spot.  A little torn on Miami or the Pacers - I think I rather see the Pacers - we won 2 games last year against them... and we have a healthy Amare now for a second option. If JR and THJR can keep the offensive production we should have  a chance.


I hope Tyson got a f-ing Flu Shot this year

zebeto
zebeto

looks like PJ is already mentoring up Shump .........and he had the game he had yesturday.............shump is gonna progress nicely with a new coaching staff next year, book it .

Randy Wilson
Randy Wilson

We will have a better idea where the Knicks are at, after Wednesday. By that day Atlanta would have played the same amount of games as the Knicks. What they do in those 2 more games means everything. It's the difference of a tie, or 2 losses in the loss column. After that we have the same amount of games and the race is on.

ds2488
ds2488

What a fantastic game last night.  MVPs Shump and JR.  This was more of what I was expecting out of Shump this year- Solid efficient shooting on low shot volume with suprisingly good passing.  But the real disappointment in Shump's game this year hasn't been his awful shooting...It's been his inability to basically dominate games defensively like he did last night.  I was expecting more of this, 2+ steals per game where there are a few games that he just takes over.  


This team really does go as their shooting guard play goes.  If JR, Shump, and Timmy can all be contributing that helps to make up for the horrid pg play of Fatty Ray and the lack of any kind of offense coming from the center position.  


Anyway, would be really exciting if we could pull off the 8 seed and get another shot at Indiana, a team that is clearly struggling, and a team that I felt like we should have beaten last year in the playoffs.  Miami I wouldn't feel as good about our chances with.

Brostoevsky
Brostoevsky

He has to be in the plans. Melo is only reason we are ever competitive...

Phil has never won WITHOUT a star, so I doubt he wants to pursue an alternative at this stage

Brostoevsky
Brostoevsky

I actually think we'll see some moves DURING 2014-15. Teams will be reluctant to let FAs walk for free, so you could see some of the big ones moved at a time when they can still make an impact in-season. I could see the Knicks dealing some expiring contracts for top FA targets in this vein.

Kenny Kaufman
Kenny Kaufman

Not all that much that can be done, especially if we're keeping Shump & Thjr(which we should)! Maybe we can find somebody as dumb as us to take Bargs, maybe Chandler moves! I think Phil is actually fond of JR's skillset but he could be on the move!

VerySilentJay
VerySilentJay

@akamarb  Depends. Chandler is one of the few assets that many teams in this league can be interested in, which can give you a nice return (picks, young assets, etc).

- Amare's expiring will make for a decent chip, especially if he can remain healthy with his minute restriction (there's already rumors that it's an option to move him


- AB's going nowhere. JR, Shump, Felton, and Timmy will be around 2015.

- If Jax wants to keep Melo, Chandler is his most immediate option to get a player that fits whatever it is he wants to do.


All that being said, it all starts with the coach and what his plans are for the team moving forward.

chudogz1
chudogz1

@ akamarb. I don't see teams lining up for our players, so I think 2014 will be similar team, just different front office people and HOPEFULLY a different coach

knickgirl35
knickgirl35

@MeloStat301  Next season expect a new Melo. A more vocal and animated player. His new bball mentor is the best in the business!

darealeric
darealeric

The main thing I picked up from this is what he says about JR. Hopefully JR gets the intended message and gets motivated by it.

xmenreturn
xmenreturn

@rico Yep so True!  This year the Nets-Knicks series has been like Biggie and akamarb.  Both taking turns blowing each other...out!

darealeric
darealeric

What difference does it make having Amare the defensive embocile or Tyson "I only play hard when I feel like it" make? Especially since Melo ups his FGA from 25 to 40 the immediate second a playoff series starts?

xmenreturn
xmenreturn

@KnicksMaybeThisYear LOL let's hope so.  Hibbert threw him around like those toy trains in Godzilla last year!

xmenreturn
xmenreturn

@SheSaidSpikeWho LOL  We have No leaders on this team and I'm sure Phil sees this.  

Once he sends Freido on his journey, he's going to setup things to clean house by 2015.

xmenreturn
xmenreturn

@ds2488 That seem to be the feeling of many here in that they would want Indy.   

I think we match better against the Heat!  They are weak in the paint and Melo usually torches LBJ.  I would luv to see us play the  Heat. 

I just think come playoff time, Indy just has to much length and muscle in the paint.  If they just keep feeding West and Hibbert down low, we are in big trouble especially if Boy George decides to show up for the gig.

I want the Heat!

chudogz1
chudogz1

@ VerySilentJay. Felton is going Upstate for 3 years! He won't be around in 2015..

darealeric
darealeric

Every season were supposed to expect a "new Melo". Turns out, so far every season we keep getting the same Melo.

darealeric
darealeric

Hahahahahaha!!!! That's gold Jerry, gold.

Kenny Kaufman
Kenny Kaufman

Realistically it's gonna be right about 20-21 million.

Knicks_Fanatic
Knicks_Fanatic

@Sandro Guedes @akamarb 

I would think Phil would look at keeping Chandler and STAT possibly in 2015, at the right price. Someone is going to be our PF and C.

Knicks_Fanatic
Knicks_Fanatic

@akamarb  

Scola is making $4.5 million, so he's not exactly a big expiring contract. Turner and Hawes were flipped for Granger and all are expiring, so no on that one. Bynum and Deng were both expiring, as well.

Maybe we could trade one, but it's not going to be like the days of old.

Knicks_Fanatic
Knicks_Fanatic

@akamarb  

How many teams traded for a large expiring contract this year, giving back young players and/or picks?

zebeto
zebeto

@thatsagoodpoint @zebeto..........i get ya ....but having 3 Sg's playing at "hopefully" a high level next year is kinda overkill , especially when only 1 STARTS..........then you look over and have Felton as your starting PG . ughhhhhhhh !


ps....i've been infatuated with a future trade of JR/Chandler for Dragic the last few weeks  lol

zebeto
zebeto

@thatsagoodpoint hopefully JR continues to play well ,,maybe we can flip him over the summer for PG help .

xmenreturn
xmenreturn

@thatsagoodpoint Very True.  You also see him trying to get low so he can move laterally better.  

It says the kids knows some of the basics now he has to hone in this offseason.

zebeto
zebeto

@xmenreturn @zebeto i was gonna mention that ..........good athlete and with the Pedigree of his dad, then a good coach in the near future ......his D will most def get better .

xmenreturn
xmenreturn

@zebeto The kid is an athlete and he'll get better especially if he gets good coaching early. 

I'm sure his dad will get on his case about it and help him get help on it this offseason.

xmenreturn
xmenreturn

@thatsagoodpoint It's Phil, If he can pull a guy like LBJ, he won't have much problem getting a sidekick to go along.

xmenreturn
xmenreturn

@thatsagoodpoint LOL!  That'll all be for naught because Melo is a not a student of the game. 

I guarantee ya he's he's looking for an audio of the book!

xmenreturn
xmenreturn

@thatsagoodpoint LMAO!   

I'm not sure we want to be around when Biggie's Big Helmet explodes!  

That might be the event that finally alert others in the various galaxies that we are here. 

xmenreturn
xmenreturn

@thatsagoodpoint  True!  Did you hear about how Wade now wants to be more of the lead when he had relinquished that to LBJ  for year #2 to make things work?  

I'm hoping they those 2 have a major fall out whether they win a ring this year or not.  Then LBJ can become in play for us in 2015.