Notice the contradiction in that headline? So did I. I’ve heard over and over this year that Tyson Chandler has regressed to a point that he has no trade value and is hurting the team. This sentiment has been repeated by the media and countless fans. We even discussed it on the TKB Podcast a number of times.
The thing is, if you actually look at the numbers, Chandler is matching his Defensive Player of the Year stats from 2011-12. Unfortunately, a defensive presence in the middle of a bad team tends to disappear.
In a straight comparison to that year, Chandler is averaging more rebounds, the same exact number of blocks and less turnovers per game. Sure, he’s only scoring 8.9 points per game compared to the 11.3 in 2011-12, but let’s face it, he’s not here to score points. He’s here to play great defense and rebound the ball.
That’s right. You heard it here. Chandler is actually on pace to match his defensive numbers from the year he won Defensive Player of the Year. So, what has changed since then? It’s actually really simple. He’s not helping the team win. Instead, he’s helping them lose by less.
Offensively, Chandler is clearly having a bad season. His field goal and free throw percentages are down, while his assists are way up. In fact, his 1.2 assists per game are a career high.
So, let’s put a stop to the “Chandler has regressed commentary.” It’s simply not true. He just isn’t as impactful when the team is playing so poorly. Chandler is still a great player and although his contract spelled disaster for the front office (by way of the Chauncey Billups amnesty), on the court, there aren’t many centers that are as consistent as him.
“I’m running out of comments.”
-Carmelo Anthony after last nights loss to the Pistons
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Losing to teams like the Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat is one thing. But the Detroit Pistons are a sloppy team without a firm grasp on what their team identity is. Sound familiar? The same can be said about the New York Knicks. Still, losing to teams like the Pistons hurts more than up against the true class of the Eastern Conference. Especially when you blow a big lead.
The Knicks came out Monday night with an intensity that we’ve seen flashes of during the entire season. Carmelo Anthony was draining his shots, Amar’e Stoudemire was getting great pushes in the paint and Tyson Chandler was on his way to a big rebounding night. In the first quarter, the Pistons turned the ball over six times. That’s double the amount of turnovers that the Bulls had during the entire game on Sunday. Things were looking good for the Knicks in the first half, as they led by five at the break.
In the third quarter, things really went down hill. The Pistons shot 58 percent from the field, led by Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe, who combined for 17 in the frame. Down at the other end of the court, the Knicks struggled mightily. The ball movement, which had shown up in the first half, had disappeared. Only three Knicks scored in the third quarter (Stoudemire, Anthony and a lone Raymond Felton three-pointer).
By the second half of the fourth quarter, the game was well out of hand for the Knicks. They trailed by 13 with 3:42 to go and that’s all she wrote.
J.R. Smith took the opportunity to finally hit a few shots. After opening the game 0-for-his-first-10, he scored an amazing 16 points in just under nine minutes, but by that point the game was over. Smith’s 5 for 17 might not look that bad but he literally couldn’t make a shot when the Knicks needed him most. Tim Hardaway Jr., Felton and Chandler also had horrendous nights shooting the ball.
The body language was also a huge issue down the stretch. Anthony, Smith and Chandler were all visibly upset and when that happens, the team plays even sloppier. They were careless with the ball and went into extreme isolation mode in the third. When the fourth quarter started, it was Pablo Prigoni, Hardaway Jr., Iman Shumpert, Jeremy Tyler and Chandler. When the ball was being dribbled up, Walt Clyde Frazier asked a pointed question: Where would the offense come from?
The answer came a few minutes later when Anthony checked back in. In the two and a half minutes he was on the bench in the fourth, the Knicks didn’t score a single point.
Another tough loss and another uninspired performance from the Knicks.
The Knicks fell to the Pistons, 96-85, their seventh consecutive loss.
The Least You Should Know
This was a very back and fourth game. The Knicks came out of the gate really strong, opening up a big lead in the 1st quarter. They began giving points back and by the time the 4th quarter rolled around, they found themselves down by 5. That lead would grow as the Knicks lost by 11.
J.R. Smith was 5 for 15 from the field but all five of his makes came late when the game was already out of hand. He finished with a very unimpressive 16.
Smith’s horrible night was compounded by Tim Hardaway Jr.’s 0 for 6, Raymond Felton’s 1 for 9 and Tyson Chandler missing 6 point blank shots. Chandler did contribute 18 rebounds.
Again Amare Stoudemire was great for the Knicks. He played with a ton of intensity on the offensive end, scoring 22 points on 9 for 11. He added 6 rebounds and energized the team with a few old school slams. Carmelo Anthony scored 28 points, leading the Knicks (11 for 21).
After coming out weak in the first half, the Pistons played more physically down the stretch. The were able to bump the Knicks around with their incredible size. Andre Drummond had an NBA high 26 rebounds and led the Pistons with 17 points.
The Knicks continue their road trip on Wednesday when they take on the Minnesota Timberwolves at 8:00pm.
Tonight, the Knicks take on the Detroit Pistons from The Palace of Auburn Hills in Michigan. Tonight’s starting lineup is Raymond Felton, J.R. Smith, Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler.
“There is no switch, on or off. You either got it or you don’t. You can’t play the game like a light switch, or you get buried. We’ve got to come out with it already on.”
-J.R. Smith after yesterday afternoons loss to the Bulls
The Knicks fell to the Bulls, 109-90, their sixth consecutive loss.
The Least You Should Know
All you need to know about this game is how the first 4 minutes went. At the 7:49 mark in the 1st quarter, Joakim Noah hit a shot and made it 16 to 1 Bulls. The Knicks never recovered from that start.
The Knicks surrendered their second consecutive triple-double. After Stephen Curry burned them a few nights ago, Noah was the dominant force in this game. He finished with 13 points, 12 rebounds and 14 assists. D. J. Augustin was also fantastic with 23 points off the bench.
Amare Stoudemire gave the Knicks a nice spark off the bench in the 2nd quarter, scoring 14 points on 7 for 8 shooting and adding 6 rebounds. Unfortunately, he got into quick foul trouble and fouled out halfway through the 4th.
Carmelo Anthony scored just 21 points, his fewest since February 9th against the Thunder. J.R. Smith, Tim Hardaway Jr. and the aforementioned Stoudemire were the only other Knicks in double figures (Bulls had 7). Tyson Chandler had 22 rebounds. It was his 2nd 20+ rebounding game this season.
Hardaway Jr.’s 14 points came on 5 for 13 from the field.
The Bulls committed just 3 turnovers in the entire game. The Knicks had 12.
The Knicks continue their road trip tomorrow when they take on the Detroit Pistons at 7:30pm.
This afternoon, the Knicks take on the Chicago Bulls at 1pm on ABC. The Bulls have won 8 of their last 9 games while the Knicks have dropped 5 straight. These two teams are heading in opposite directions as the Knicks look to play spoiler inside the United Center. The Bulls look a little different since the last time they played in December. Luol Deng is no longer on the Bulls who have split their season series with the Knicks at a game a piece.
This afternoons matchup tips off just after 1pm.
The New York Knicks are expected to shop Amar’e Stoudemire and his expiring contract to teams that have not yet already used its amnesty clause, according to the Boston Globe. The report names Eric Gordon of the New Orleans Pelicans as a possible target, because the team is looking to shed his long-term deal.
“The Knicks have limited options to improve this summer but a move they are expected to make is offering the expiring contract of Amar’e Stoudemire to a team that has not already used its amnesty clause. That team in turn could trade the Knicks the long-term, unwanted contract of an impact player, such as the Pelicans’ Eric Gordon”
Saying the Knicks are shopping Stoudemire is pure nonsense at this point. Of course Steve Mills (a.k.a. James Dolan) would love to shop Stoudemire, but who is going to take on the worst contract in the NBA? Sure, he’ll be an expiring deal, but do the Knicks want to take on a long-term bad contract for an expiring one?
I’d like the Knicks sit tight, get what they can out of Stoudemire over next season and then have the cap open up in the summer of 2015.