Sam SpiegelmanThe road continues to get tougher for the New York Knicks as LeBron James is expected to play Thursday when the team travels to Miami to take on the defending champions.
James, who broke his nose last week, is expected to be in the lineup and rock a protective mask over his face. James has missed the last week of action, though the Heat were able to cruise past the Chicago Bulls without him on Sunday and move to 2-0 without him in uniform.
James’ nose was reset on Friday and he’s still experiencing blockages in his nasal passages, but he said he is no longer having headaches. The defending MVP participated in non-contact drills Tuesday but has not yet been cleared for contact.
In his career, James has averaged 27.9 points per game against the Knicks. This season, he’s averaged 31 points per game in two meetings at Madison Square Garden.
Harris DeckerThere’s been a lot of talk over the last few days about who the Knicks will bring in to fill the roster spots vacated by Beno Udrih and Metta World Peace. We got that answer on Tuesday when it was reported by multiple sources that Earl Clark and Shannon Brown would sign with the Knicks.
Both players are journeyman guys who can play situational roles on a team. Clark is a defensive specialist who could likely spell Carmelo Anthony at times while Brown is a spot up shooter with some ability to get to the basket. While Brown is listed as a point guard, he’s played a minimal amount of minutes there over the past few seasons.
With word that Raymond Felton will travel with the team for the remainder of the season, it seems likely that Brown will get minutes at shooting guard and not see much time at the point. It’s probably for the best.
This season, Brown is scoring just 2.3 points per game and adding less than an assist. That’s a far cry from his 2012-13 numbers which had him in double figures in points and a field goal percentage nearly double what he’s shooting this year (28%).
Similar to Brown, Clark had his best season last year for the Los Angeles Lakers. He averaged 5.5 rebounds and 7.3 points per game over 59 games. The 23.1 minutes per game that he was playing for the Lakers took a hit this season in Cleveland and will likely take another hit in New York. After all, Anthony is playing 40+ minutes per night.
So the question remains, with these two veteran players coming in, does that close the door on a younger, higher upside signing like Jimmer Fredette?
Fredette has played the last three seasons for the Sacramento Kings where he’s played less and less each season. This year he’s down to 11.3 minutes played per game. While his minutes plummeted, his effectiveness increased. This year he’s shooting a career high 48% from the field and is even better from outside. With just 5.9 points scored per game, he is averaging 18.7 points per 36 minutes played. That’s 7.3 more (per 36 minutes) than Felton.
With Clark and Brown signed, it seems highly unlikely that Fredette would be considered an option despite his relatively high upside and young age (he’s just 25). I’ll be the first to say that I’m disappointed in that decision and mark my words, if Fredette gets things together next year, I’ll be pointing another finger at Steve Mills.
GEICO SportsNite is joined by legal analyst Steve Kallas to discuss Raymond Felton’s legal situation after he was charged with two felony gun charges on Tuesday.
Raymond Felton was arraigned on two counts of weapons possession, sources told SNY’s and The Knicks Blog’s Adam Zagoria. He will not be charged with menacing.
Felton’s bail will be set at $25,000 and he will face an order of protection against his estranged wife, Zagoria’s sources said.
He will face one D and one E felony, Zagoria’s sources said.
Felton’s case will be adjourned until June 2 and until then he can travel with the team.
“That’s good news for Raymond Felton in that if he’s convicted a judge would have sentencing discretion and also this means if he works out a plea deal the chances of going to jail would be lower,” Michael McCann, Sports Illustrated and NBA TV legal analyst, said. “Based on what we heard early in the day this is a positive turn of events for Raymond Felton.”
5:05 p.m.: The Knicks are finalizing a deal with Clark (Wojnarowski).
Clark, 26, was released by the 76ers after being traded from Cleveland. At 6-foot-10, he is averaging 5.2 points and 2.8 rebounds per game this year.
The Knicks had Jones in for a workout this week. The 33-year-old was released by the Bulls during training camp.
Neither the Knicks nor the NBA will discipline Raymond Felton until the legal process plays out.
“We have reached out to Raymond to make sure all his rights are being protected,” union director Ron Klempner said (New York Post). “Charges are charges. Any discipline made based on his arrest would be inappropriate and challenged aggressively. Let the process run its course.”
In Article 6, Section 115 of the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, it reads that teams should not discipline a player simply on an arrest.
The league is “monitoring the situation,” NBA spokesman Tim Frank told SNY’s The Knicks Blog.
Felton was charged with three counts of felony possession of a firearm early Tuesday morning.
His arraignment is expected to occur on Tuesday afternoon.
The Knicks aren’t ruling out the recently-bought out Jimmer Fredette (Wojnarowski).
New York is looking to shore up their defense, though, instead of adding another shooter.
Harris DeckerComing into Monday night, the Dallas Mavericks had 34 wins. Thirty-four wins means the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference, but in the Eastern Conference that would be good for the third-best record. The only teams in the Eastern Conference with more than 34 wins are the Pacers and the Heat. What’s the point of this long, drawn out setup? Losing to the Mavericks isn’t all that surprising. The way it happened was the story.
In what was a well-fought, back and fourth game, a single shot by future Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki sealed the Knicks fate. With 34 — hey, there’s that number again — seconds left in the game, the Knicks controlled the ball. There was plenty of time to run a play, get a good look at the basket and then try to play defense for the remaining 10 seconds of the game. What took place in that 24 seconds was truly sickening.
Carmelo Anthony dribbled the ball between half-court and the three-point arc, starring down Vince Carter. He dribbled right, dribbled left. He threw in a number of head fakes and at one point, looked like he was halfway up into a deep 3-point attempt. Instead, he passed to J.R. Smith with 10 seconds left on the play clock. Smith took that opportunity to flail around for a few seconds before hoisting up a wild shot that not only didn’t go in, but failed to even reach the rim.
What was disappointing was not that Smith missed the shot or that he was fouled in the process. What was disappointing was the shot selection. While Smith was fouled and should have gone to the line, Smith being forced to hoist up a shot with the shot clock expiring isn’t exactly the way you want your last possession to end.
Anthony discussed that final Knicks possession after the game.
“I should’ve just pulled up for the three and just took that chance,” he said.
Mike Woodson added, “J.R. tried to get it off. I thought he got bumped.”
The shot clock went off and the Mavericks used a timeout to move the ball back to their end of the court. After a few passes, the ball reached Dirk Nowitzki and everyone in the building knew the game would come down to his one shot. Anthony played tough on Dirk. He was pushing, swatting and giving him very little room to operate. I honestly thought that if it were earlier in the game, a foul could have easily been called on Anthony.
With about two seconds left on the clock, Nowitzki put up a classic high-arching shot which bounced around the rim for a full second before finally going in as time expired, to the dismay of the Madison Square Garden crowd. It was another close game that ended in heartbreaking fashion for the Knicks. For the Mavericks, it was their win No. 35 of the season, moving them into the seventh seed in the West. For the Knicks, it was their loss No. 36, good for the fifth-worst record in the Eastern Conference.
The Knicks are back at it again on Thursday when they take on the Heat in Miami. That would should be interesting.
Then it’s days like yesterday that put all the optimism to rest.
On the court, Carmelo Anthony dropped another 40-spot on the Dallas Mavericks, but it wasn’t enough to get past Dirk Nowitzki at home. You can’t blame the loss on Nowitzki’s clutch gene, though, because a look back at the numbers reveal that Anthony is essentially playing alone against the Western Conference’s No. 7 team.
Amar’e Stoudemire who was red-hot leading up to the All-Star Break contributed nine points and two rebounds, and that’s in 20 minutes as a starter. Raymond Felton is the team’s point guard, and there are no other starting-caliber options since Beno Udrih’s contract was bought out. But Felton mustered seven assists. Let’s be real: J.R. Smith dished out seven assists last night. Where’s the facilitation?
Tim Hardaway Jr. and Smith have been pretty steady as scorers off the bench, but this entire season has really be a step back for Smith who looked like a great No. 2 option to Anthony last year. Tyson Chandler has been a rock when healthy, and a 12-point, 12-rebound night is a pretty awesome stat line for a defensive-minded center.
When Melo is dropping 40, it seems as if the rest of the team is just a bunch of spectators. The team committed 19 turnovers and aside from Anthony’s seven 3-pointers, the team combined for 7-of-21 from beyond the arc. Aren’t the Knicks supposed to be making a living from the perimeter?