Snips and clips from the Knicks camp, plus:
- Is LaMonster an NBA All Star?
- Haiku Game Review
- Fried Rice
- Blazers/Knicks Recap
- Popcorn Machine
- The Basketball Jones
posted by BJabs to Posting and Toasting postgame thread
This isn't about the Knicks being on a run,
or the Knicks catching the league by surprise, or being underestimated, or anything like that.
This is about the Knicks being a good team, and beating another good team on their home court.
I think these games against the mid-range good teams — tonight, and tomorrow, and then at Houston, are the ones where the Knicks will truly prove themselves as a potential second round team.
posted by cheers from manhattan to Posting and Toasting postgame thread
Knicks win! Though it sure helped that Roy has no meniscus.
That Blazers team with LA and a healthy Roy would have been a serious challenge to the Lakers' west coast dominance.
Basketball gods though can be cruel.
I read Roy is thinking about a meniscus transplant. Wish him well.
posted by Dr. Detfink to RealGM Knicks message board
This is what has been missing from the Knicks: hustle and motivation to get off the ground after a loss, and finish a game.
When the Blazers cut the lead to 3, in times past the Knicks would wilt but you see this team is learning to exert its will.
posted by Jon Abbey to KnickerBlogger game thread
Wow, that was another impressive win, and even better, they're doing it in different ways. The assist disparity (27-8!), holding them to 36 points in the second half, keeping them off the offensive boards in the second half -- it's remarkable how quickly this team has come together.
I'm expecting a L in U tah tomorrow (although I'd be happy to be wrong), but then SAC/PHO at home should be relatively easy. * * *
by Frank Isola, New York Daily News
Amar'e Stoudemire may have hit the MVP wall. For the second straight game, Stoudemire missed a lot more than he made but unlike Sunday's loss in Los Angeles, the Knicks had enough to overcome Stoudemire not being at his best.
With Ronny Turiaf back in the starting lineup and turning in his best performance to date, the Knicks cruised to a 100-86 victory against the undermanned Portland Trail Blazers.
Stoudemire hit two of his last three shots and finished with 23 points on 9-for-24 shooting and is now 16-for-48 in his last two games. But it wasn't just Stoudemire's aim that was off. He again lost his cool momentarily and it cost him as he picked up his 11th technical foul. Stoudemire is now five shy from being forced to serve a one-game suspension. * * *
"Every team when you have a winning mentality, you have a player who is willing to win and wants to win and make the teammates better," Stoudemire said. "If you can provide that type of leadership it's going to ultimately apply that same aura to the whole team. Guys will look in the mirror and say 'you know what I need to try to reach my full potential.' We have something special here. And that's what is happening." * * *
by Marc Berman, New York Post
Amar'e Stoudemire will have a huge audience Thursday to trump the Knicks when he sits on the couch with David Letterman on "The Late Show."
Yesterday at the Rose Garden, Stoudemire got a head start, proclaiming the Knicks should not be counted out as a Eastern Conference title contender -- even without Carmelo Anthony.
Yesterday, Anthony cast doubt on the Knicks' chances, saying he'd love to play in New York but, "I don't think they're looking at me. I don't think they want me to come in and mess what they have up."
The Knicks have great interest but the Nuggets have shown little interest, and team president Donnie Walsh does not want to break up the team, preferring to focus on a top center this summer — with Marc Gasol and Tyson Chandler restricted free agents. * * *
posted by Paladin55 to Ultimate Knicks message board
As with many wins by the Knicks this year, tonight's game is the kind of game we would have lost in the past. While not a great team at this time, Portland is still a dangerous opponent on their home court, with enough quality on their roster to cause trouble.
The thing I like is that we have a core of consistent performers, but also have players who will rise to the occasion (tonight was Walker and Turiaf) during certain games and in certain moments, and to me, this is what the better teams always have.
by Orange and Blue, Knicks Fanatics (Bloguin)
* * *
Amar'e steadied the Knicks throughout the game with a strong mid range shooting game that answered the Blazers efforts to deny him his accustomed inside penetration. Stoudemire finished the game with 23 ponts, 8 boards, 4 assist (many were to his teamates who found themselves moving to the interior), and 1 blocked shot.
The Knicks held the Blazers to under 90 points they limited the Blazers to 34.9% overall. The Blazers terribly three point shooting( 22.2%) obviously didn't help them there. Though the Blazers were able to stay in the game until the Knicks' late 3rd to 4th quarter surge by an early advantage on the offensive glass and by getting to the free throw line almost twice as much as the Knicks....
However, the Knicks ultimately won the game by combining defensive effort, better rebounding in the 2nd half (they ended the game outreboinded by the pacers only 43 (29T/14Off) to 40 (31T/9Off), and a strong overall offensive showing (50.0% overall 41.7% from the arc). The Knicks showing in almost all phases of the game made for an impressive win. * * *
by Osborn, Posting and Toasting (SBN)
This game was truly the Bees' Knees.
Ronny Turiaf stepped up to play the best game I've ever seen out of him, presumably spurred by his return to the Pacific Northwest (Hey Gonzaga!). The Knicks played a decent first half, leading virtually the entire time. The second half, however, played host to incredible Knicks defense. You read that correctly. With major contributions from all five starters, the Knicks wound up running away with this one. * * *
Amar'e Stoudemire had a bad game by shooting metrics, but otherwise looked pretty stellar. He started off the game throwing bullet passes under the rim to Landry Fields, who put them all home. Looking at his 9-23 line, you might be a bit mortified. But then think back to him forcing LaMarcus Aldridge into two quick fouls (within four minutes of the tip), relegating him to the bench.
That was huge for the Knicks to spark their offense to gain a lead on the home team. In the second half, Stoudemire attacked the basket, hit a couple of his signature jumpers, ran into players for "charge" calls, and violently slammed home a pass from Felton in the fourth to pretty much seal the game.
Overall, his forcing Aldridge to foul and his passing made this a solid, albeit unorthodox performance from Stoudemire. * * *
by Jonathan Abrams, New York Times
An opposing team's typical scouting report on Ronny Turiaf can probably be captured in three sentences. He is energetic. He is defensive-minded, even a pest, at times. He is mostly indifferent offensively.
The first two statements held true on Tuesday evening. The third did not. Amar'e Stoudemire struggled for long gaps and the Knicks required Turiaf's offense, especially in a game in which they did not rise above 100 points, a mediocre milestone for them that would normally not raise eyebrows.
The Knicks were very un-Knicks-like, slow and methodical replaced fast and furious. Most games, that rhythm would be the precursor to a blowout loss. But the Knicks did not rely independently on Turiaf's defense; he turned into an offensive innovator, the frequent recipient of Raymond Felton's clean distribution during a 100-86 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.
"I know we didn't expect Turiaf to do what he did tonight, and you just have to give New York credit," the Blazers' Marcus Camby said. * * *
by Dan Miranda, Knicks Vision
The Knicks clearly showed how far they have come since opening night at the Garden when they lost to the Blazers 100-95. They shot the ball extremely well throughout the game. They forced turnovers, played some solid defense, and knocked down shots. That, and a stellar fourth quarter, was enough for a blowout win. * * *
The entire second half, the Knicks allowed just 36 points to be scored. Blame it on the Blazers' inability to knock down shots or call it Knick success, it makes no difference that the ‘Bockers came out of this one as a 22-15 team heavily competing for not the eighth seed, but the fifth. They are seven wins away from last season's win total.
For those wondering, the Knicks are 3-1 without Danilo Gallinari. This team is filled with depth, though I'm not sure if Mike D'Antoni knows it just yet.
The Bottom Line:
1. A very nice, very satisfying win over a decent and dangerous team. Coming off a bad showing against the Lakers, this is a really good one to put in the win column.
2. Despite another less-than-stellar outing from Amar'e, our Knicks showed signs of depth, of role players rising to the occasion (Fields, Turiaf), and of quality team defense. Yes, DEFENSE!!!
3. Playoffs, here we come!
* * *
"You might like him if he gets mad..."
The Oregonian's Jason Quick was asked during a Trail Blazer pregame show recently what LaMarcus Aldridge could do to make the 2011 NBA All Star team. "Have a couple guys traded out of the Western Conference to the East," he smirked. When I first heard Quick's one-liner, I believed that the Portland beat reporter was not only witty, but accurate. Still, I figured it was worthwhile to do a bit of quick investigation.
Given the extensive list of top notch performers at the Power Forward position and the NBA's insistence on conceiving of the All Star team as a set of 5 "traditional" positions (Point Guard, Shooting Guard, Small Forward, Power Forward, Center) instead of 3 "practical" positions (Point Guard, Wing, Big), it seems unlikely that LMA would make the team this year.
We Blazer fans have observed an almost magical transformation of Aldridge over the last 13 games, to be sure. Beginning with the December 15 game in Dallas, the talented big man with the soft jumper has suddenly emerged as a nearly unstoppable low post force. The former contact-adverse Power Forward In Name Only (PFINO) LaMarcus has been reborn as a low post masher who exhibits an astonishing combination of force and finesse — a new guy that we'll call "LaMonster."
There's no way, no how that the PFINO perimeter player of yesteryear was an All Star, but what about this new guy that pushes other people around he paint? Hmmmm.
Sadly, only 8 NBA coaches outside of Portland have witnessed the New and Improved LMA of the post-Roy era due to the Blazers having played multiple games against certain teams during the short run. It's probably easier to convince those coaches who haven't seen it with their own eyes of the existence of ManBearPig than it is to persuade them that silky soft LaMarcus has suddenly become LaMonster...
It is far fetched to imagine those who have not had to game plan against the beast of today naming him to a coveted place on the All Star team in place of more high profile competition. Adding to Aldridge's woes is the fact that his team's games are played on the West coast, finishing after most of the country has gone to bed and the bulk of ESPN SportsCenter has wrapped.
Even hoop fans on the Left Coast are largely unaware of Bill Bixby having morphed into Lou Ferrigno. A recent poll at the Laker Blog Silver Screen and Roll recently posed this question of its readers: "Which of the following is LEAST deserving of an All Star bid?" LMA finished with nearly half of the more than 560 votes, butt of the poll by a huge margin. With so little love on the West Coast, it's difficult to imagine a grass roots groundswell of support for LaMonster in the East.
Still, this seems to be a year when obvious assumptions must be heavily qualified. The All Star crew is complicated by fans seem to be picking two Small Forwards to start, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony. With the latter probably headed for the bright lights and big cities of the NBA East momentarily, a replacement selection may well be in Commissioner David Stern's hands. Moreover, the Injured-But-Still-Chinese-Last-I-Checked Yao Ming again leads the vote-getters at the Center position, not one person with a computer in Asia apparently having been informed that the dude has only played exactly 91 minutes more than Greg Oden this season. This virtually assures another "wild card" pick by the Commish.
So how does THAT probably play out, I wonder? Hmmmm?
I've decided to first take a look at the big men of the Western Conference named to previous NBA All Star teams in an effort to determine where the performance bar is set. The questions which I will attempt to answer: assuming the Blazers remain a playoff-caliber team and that the LaMonster which we have all quickly grown to love and rely upon is not a temporary phenomenon — what are LMA's chances of making the All Star team in 2011? And if not this year, what about next: is he truly putting up "All Star-caliber" statistical numbers in recent weeks? Or are we just a bunch of lame homers who can't see two feet past our noses because of our Rose Garden glasses?
Since LaMarcus Aldridge has been an NBA player for four full seasons, I have decide to begin my investigation with the year he came into the league: 2006-07. There follows a list of the Western Conference All Star Bigs for those specific years, along with their Points and Rebounds Per Game and a measure of their scoring efficiency that I favor called "Points Per Shot Used."
I have previously defined "Points Per Shot Used" as (TOTAL POINTS) / [FG ATTEMPTS + (FT ATTEMPTS / 2)], with odd numbers of the free throw fraction rounded down. However, it suddenly occurred to me this morning while I was lying in bed that "Points Per Shot Used" is essentially nothing more than the semi-sacred number that BB Stat Geeks™ use all the time called "True Shooting Percentage" — times 2.
True Shooting Percentage is calculated by discounting the Free Throw Attempts fraction by a totally arbitrary figure of 12% rather than by rolling down odd fractions for every game as I have been doing it. My procedure was definitely more precise although still slightly imperfect for reasons you don't probably want to hear about.
Why do said Stat Geeks™ use the dumb term "TS%" that nobody understands instead of a simple concept to express the same phenomenon like "Points Per Shot Used"? Hell, I don't know — feel free to nick the term, guys. Paving the way for such a collective borrowing of the concept, I am hereby changing the official definition of "Points Per Shot Used" (PPSU) to "TS% x 2."
See, I just myself saved nearly two hours of my day by not having to do the math and using published TS% statistics!
Since many people aren't used to thinking of offensive efficiency statistics in basketball whereas efficiency numbers absolutely drive statistics in the sport of baseball (batting average, on base percentage, etc.), I am also converting Points Per Shot Used into a "batting average" number here, defining 1.0 PPSU as being equivalent to hitting .250. This might help you wrap your brain around the idea of efficiency in basketball... This "batting average" concept actually seems to translate fairly well between sports, believe it or not.
LMA Meets the NBA All Stars
2007 All Star Team
Tim Duncan, Spurs (PF) — 20.0 PPG, 10.6 RPG, 1.16 PPSU (.290 "batting average")
Yao Ming, Rockets (C) — 25.0 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 1.20 PPSU (.300 "batting average")
Carlos Boozer, Jazz — 20.9 PPG, 11.7 RPG, 1.18 PPSU (.295 "batting average")
Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks — 24.6 PPG. 8.9 RPG. 1.21 PPSU (.303 "batting average")
Mehmet Okur, Jazz — 17.6 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 1.14 PPSU (.285 "batting average")
Amar'e Stoudemire, Suns — 20.4 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 1.27 PPSU (.318 "batting average")
LMA's Line for the year — 9.0 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 1.07 PPSU (.268 "batting average")
2008 All Star Team
Tim Duncan, Spurs (PF) — 19.3 PPG, 11.3 RPG, 1.09 PPSU (.273 "batting average")
Yao Ming, Rockets (C) — 22.0 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 1.17 PPSU (.293 "batting average")
Carlos Boozer, Jazz — 21.1 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 1.16 PPSU (.290 "batting average)
Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks — 23.6 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 1.17 PPSU (.293 "batting average")
Amar'e Stoudemire, Suns — 25.2 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 1.31 PPSU (.328 "batting average") (league high)
David West, Hornets — 20.6 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 1.07 PPSU (.268 "batting average")
LMA's Line for the year — 17.8 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 1.05 PPSU (.263 "batting average")
2009 All Star Team
Amar'e Stoudemire, Suns (F) — 21.4 PPG 8.1 RPG, 1.23 PPSU (.308 "batting average")
Tim Duncan, Spurs (F) — 19.3 PPG, 10.7 RPG, 1.10 PPSU (.275 "batting average")
Yao Ming, Rockets (C) — 19.7 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 1.24 PPSU (.310 "batting average")
Pau Gasol, Lakers — 18.9 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 1.23 PPSU (.308 "batting average")
Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks — 25.9 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 1.13 PPSU (.283 "batting average")
Shaquille O'Neal, Suns — 17.8 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 1.25 PPSU (.313 "batting average")
David West, Hornets — 21.0 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 1.08 PPSU (.270 "batting average")
LMA's Line for the year — 18.1 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 1.06 PPSU (.265 "batting average")
2010 All Star Team
Tim Duncan, Spurs (PF) — 17.9 PPG, 10.1, RPG, 1.12 PPSU (.280 "batting average")
Amar'e Stoudemire, Suns (C) — 23.1 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 1.23 PPSU (.308 "batting average")
Chris Kaman, Clippers — 18.5 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 1.05 PPSU (.263 "batting average")
Pau Gasol, Lakers — 18.3 PPG, 11.3 RPG, 1.19 PPSU (.298 "batting average")
Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks — 25.0 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 1.13 PPSU (.283 "batting average")
Zach Randolph, Grizzlies — 20.8 PPG, 11.7 RPG, 1.09 PPSU (.273 "batting average")
LMA's Line for the year — 17.9 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 1.07 PPSU (.268 "batting average")
A Bit of Analysis:
First off: just how stupid were the Phoenix Suns for not paying Amar'e? Were they just not paying attention?
Second: There is not one single season of LMA's first four years where Aldridge has put up an "All Star" statistical line. Blocked to some extent by Brandon Roy's presence on the team, LMA needed to put up exemplary numbers in terms of points, rebounds, or efficiency and frankly did none of these things in any of his first four seasons in the NBA.
Third: The "weakest" coaches' additions to the team — Okur in 2007, Kaman in 2010 — were so-called "True Centers." There are fewer guys out there and the bar is clearly lower for an authentic 5 as opposed to a "Power Forward." Now, honest people may differ as to whether a perimeter-oriented shooter like Okur is actually a "True Center," but that is the way he is listed and perceived around the league.
In short: there is no room for complaining on LMA's part for previous exclusions from the NBA All Star team and he will not be the beneficiary of a "make-up" selection to honor career achievement.
What About This Year?
We see from the above that there have historically there have been 6 places for Western Conference Bigs each year: two elected by the fans and four selected by the coaches. While the declining Tim Duncan has been a mortal lock as an All Star in each of the last four years, he is not among the fan voting leaders as of the tally announced by the league on January 6, 2011. All bets are off as to whether NBA coaches are as sentimental as the fans with regards to Grandpa Bankshot.
Now, let's list up the previous Western Conference All Star Bigs of the last four seasons who are still in the Western Conference, shall we?
- Tim Duncan, Spurs
- Pau Gasol, Lakers
- Chris Kaman, Clippers
- Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks
- Zach Randolph, Grizzlies
- David West, Hornets
Hey, that's not very many guys — especially considering the fact that Chris Kaman was named to the team last season when he was having a career year and there's zero percent chance of him being back unless David Stern has been eating mass quantities of psilocybin. That leaves five names for six slots.
Let's assume MVP candidate Dirk Nowitzki is 100% guaranteed of being named to the team by the coaches and that Pau Gasol will also make the team because of his versatility, consistency, and general Lakerishyness. That's 2 down and 4 slots to be filled.
Then comes the fly in the ointment — the ballyhooed newcomers with a legitimate claim to status as All Star Bigs as well as a few other versatile-and-stat-racking-but-so-far-snubbed guys as well... Here's what the basic list of candidates for the remaining 4 Western Conference Bigs slots looks like:
- LaMarcus Aldridge, Blazers
- Michael Beasley, Timberwolves
- Tim Duncan, Spurs
- Blake Griffin, Clippers
- Kevin Love, Timberwolves
- Paul Millsap, Jazz
- Nene, Nuggets
- Lamar Odom, Lakers
- Emeka Okafor, Hornets
- Zach Randolph, Grizzlies
- David West, Hornets
Assuming Melo and Yao win the fan vote and that Melo is traded to the East, David Stern will have two picks — one for "Power Forward" and one for "Center." Stern is a man of marketing. The Spurs are at the top of the hit parade and Timmy is a beloved past All Star (what a nice story!); the Nuggets will lose their representation on the team with Melo's departure and Nene is an international player and a "True Center," both. So Stern picks Duncan and Nene to the team. Book it.
That would leave exactly 2 spots open for Western Conference Bigs this year. LMA's only chance of making the squad in 2011, would seem to be (a) if Blake "ESPN SportsCenter Stock Highlight Package" Griffin or Kevin "30-30" Love aren't named to the team by the coaches or (b) if Stern cuts in line and names one of those two as a starter, thereby returning Duncan and/or Nene's presence to the pool of "candidates" and putting their presence on the squad at risk.
Anybody wanna bet how that turns out?
No matter... Let's break it down by the numbers to see if LMA deserves to be on this year's squad.
The All Star Candidates by the Numbers
Here are the same basic statistics we used above for each of the aforementioned Western Conference Bigs who are battling LMA for inclusion on this year's team. These numbers include stats generated in games completed through January 10, 2011:
Michael Beasley, Timberwolves — 21.3 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 1.06 PPSU (.266 "batting average")
Tim Duncan, Spurs — 13.6 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 1.05 PPSU (.263 "batting average")
Blake Griffin, Clippers — 21.8 PPG, 12.6 RPG, 1.10 PPSU (.275 "batting average")
Kevin Love, Timberwolves — 21.2 PPG, 15.7 RPG (leads league), 1.17 PPSU (.293 "batting average")
Paul Millsap, Jazz — 17.8 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 1.18 PPSU (.295 "batting average")
Nene, Nuggets — 15.0 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 1.37 PPSU (.343 "batting average") (leads league)
Lamar Odom, Lakers — 15.5 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 1.22 PPSU (.305 "batting average")
Emeka Okafor, Hornets — 10.8 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 1.18 PPSU (.295 "batting average")
Zach Randolph, Grizzlies — 19.6 PPG, 12.8 RPG, 1.07 PPSU (.268 "batting average")
David West, Hornets — 18.6 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 1.13 PPSU (.283 "batting average")
And here's the line for "our guy"...
LaMarcus Aldridge, Blazers (year totals) — 20.5 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 1.06 PPSU (.265 "batting average")
LAMONSTER (Dallas game 12/15/10 to date) — 26.3 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 1.16 PPSU (.290 "batting average")
First off: Does anybody really think that LMA's season line is going to get him the nod over Blake Griffin or Kevin Love, their hype and their production? Ummm, no. No, it is not.
Second: The numbers LMA has been racking up during the 13 games he has been in Monster Mode — the points he puts on the board and his efficiency doing so, as well as the rebounds he has been pulling down — are absolutely All Star worthy. [NOTE: EARLIER VERSION OF THIS SECTION CHANGED DUE TO MATH ERROR, SEE COMMENTS.]
Third: Tim Duncan is not putting up All Star stats this season, plain and simple. Given San Antonio's record it seems extraordinarily unlikely that this marks the year his consecutive All Star games string comes to an end, however.
Fourth: It appears that if the NBA were a meritocracy, which it is not, Aldridge would have a legitimate case for inclusion as "last Big" this season. The same could be said friend Zach Randolph, the Lakers' 6th Man Extraordinaire Lamar Odom, and the ultra-efficient Nene of the Nuggets.
Fifth: If Kevin Love is on the team, there is no way the coaches select another lowly Timberwolf. Sorry, Beasley...
In short: There are no "Rose Garden glasses" — LMA is legitimately performing at All Star level. I wouldn't want to bet on it, but weirder things have happened.
* * *
Time moves so slowly
Do we really have to run?
We just played the Heat
Here's some more wackiness from the twisted tongue of goofy Uncle Mike...
The Kia Card is Luke Babbitt tonight...
MB (optimistically): "We keep predicting he's going to have a break-out game."
Rice: "Well, it will have to be the YMCA League, because he's not playing in the NBA..."
Time for another regular feature of the telecast...
MB: "Here are your keys to the game..."
Rice: "I'd rather keep talking about Luke Babbitt."
Camby throws an 18 foot oop to LMA into the seats...
Rice: "Camby says 'It's my fault.' Believe me, Marcus, we all know that — Wilt Chamberlin with all his kids on his shoulders couldn't have come down with that one!"
Trail Breakers spinning around on their heads at midcourt during intermission...
MB: "Trail Breakers doing their thing, Mike Rice — did they have this when you were young?"
Rice: "Yes, except it was called going out on Friday night and getting drunk."
A co-worker on the baseline is crushed by a flying Marcus Camby...
MB: "That's Jeremy down there getting whacked, his camera is right on top of him..."
Rice: "That's good for Jeremy — he's cocky!"
Knicks 100 at Blazers 86.
January 11, 2011.
Blazers' record is now 20-19, the Knicks are 22-15.
0. Terry Porter found his microphone. Ugh.
1. It took just less than four minutes to rack up two fouls on LMA. Crap. The Knicks were up six with LaMonster headed to the bench. Good luck. Blazers seemed congenitally incapable of hitting a layup. At the first commercial Blazers were shooting 33% to 54% for the Knicks but were only down 3 thanks to put-back buckets.
Another pathetic lazy Blazer pass was a coast-to-coast bucket for D'Antoni's guys. Then it was a wide-open trey for the Knicks and a 10 point lead. Rudy managed to flash goggles, but ineptitude on both ends of the floor, tainted by 6-for-20 shooting was enough to put the Blazers 9 points in the tank at the 2nd TV time out. Amar'e drew a T from Danny Crawford for carping.
Coming back Patty Mills demonstrated his ability to make Portland's single worst pass of the season, setting up the Knicks for bonus points in the Blazers' own end when he was unable to break a Junior High School press. The arena was flat, the Blazers were flat. It smelled like microwaved three-week old catastrophe. Portland's shooting fell to 6-for 22 for the quarter. Rice: "Joel with the leg is just not Joel, he's just half a step slow." Being too kind. Following those words a rebound hit a flatfooted Joel in the hands and deflected to another Blazer. Here's how you spell it for Joel, sadly: F - I - N - I - S - H - E - D. END OF THE FIRST QUARTER: NYK 29, PDX 23. The Knicks shot 50%, the Blazers embarrassed themselves again to the tune of 26%. The margin should have been 15.
2. Joel helped out on D to stop penetration, no one in a Blazer uniform could be bothered to rotate, Turiaf ran the lane and jammed — that's about the sum of it tonight. Ugh. With both Aldridge and Camby on the bench, it was a dire situation. Tony Douglas hit a J in transition for the Knicks and Rice reminded us "He can do that." Why yes, yes he can. Please stop saying that. The Knicks' shooting rose to 55%. Przybilla contributed a flatfooted foul to stop a break and headed for the bench, hopefully for the rest of January. I've gone from being his biggest flack to wishing he would join Brandon in Not-Capable-of-Playing-in-The-NBA-Due-to-Non-Functioning-Body-Parts Land. Nate called time; the Blazers were down a dozen and I was contemplating a defection to the Laker game. The Lakers were playing Cavs tonight though, and that just didn't seem sporting...
Out of c ommercial, Aldridge was back. His return went virtually un-remarked, as MB was preoccupied with telling us just how terrible his travel schedule was going to be this week, arriving in Phoenix really late and all, a tale of woe which elicited compassionate sobs from viewers around the Pacific Northwest. The Blazers, flatfooted, couldn't even get a rebound that bounced around off the floor underneath three pairs of meaty hands. Collecting it would have involved, you know, stuff like bending over and running three steps for it. No boos were heard, fortunately, since it was Prudential Health Care Lobotomy Night™ at the Rose Garden; there was much staring into space and drooling by the bored Blazer boosters who had for some unknown reason paid money to attend the farce. MB moved straight into whining about how many road games the Blazers have played so far this year. Yes, we get it, you say that three times every single fricking telecast. LMA put a lob in the hole with a pretty one-handed redirection. Then he pushed Amar'e or someone in the paint going for a board and at 7:00 it was a third foul and the end of LMA's half, with 7 minutes logged thus far. Andre took it upon himself to score some points and he managed to cut the lead to 6 briefly. At the TV time out it was Knicks by 8, feeling like 18.
Finally Wesley Matthews decided to start getting busy, connecting with a lay in and shortly thereafter taking it to the hole to collect a couple from the charity stripe. Andre got free coming around a screen and hit a jumper to cut the lead to 4, but the Knicks answered. Rudy hit from downtown and the lead was 3. At the final TV break it was Knicks by 5, side out to Portland.
Andre Miller scored aggressively. Nic Batum posted a guy up. I guess if one is looking for positives, that's a good place to start. Camby fouled Amar'e in the paint at the close, saving Portland a point when the superstar bricked the first FT effort. HALFTIME SCORE: NYK 56, PDX 50. The Knicks were shooting 55% for the game, the Blazers a borderline take-em-to-the-vet-and-put-them-to-sleep 36%. Portland was 11-for-30 in the paint. D'Antoni & Co. had to be scratching their heads and wondering how it was possible that they were not up by 20 — but the Blazers in the Rose Garden are capable of bending space and time that way, as the Miami Heat learned. Blazers had THREE ASSISTS in the first half.
HALFTIME ENTERTAINMENT: Joy Division "Transmission" (live, 1979) LYRICS
Joy Division "Disorder" (album version, 1980). LYRICS
3. Landry Fields puts his butt onto the announcers' table at courtside, wiping out a monitor. The always dapper (when not overdressed like a 1970s Blaxploitation pimp — did you get a load of those python boots recently?) Clyde Frazier had a sweaty Knick sitting on his monitor and he didn't even flinch. The Blazers started to energize and grabbed a lead inside of four minutes. I missed much of the action bringing you Mike Rice quotes. You're welcome. LMA kicked out to Wesley for a wide open look from downtown, but he was long. Knicks came back with a Wilson Chandler three-ball and Turiaf at the rim when the Blazer defense lost him completely to grab back a 4 point lead at the first TV intermission.
Miller stole the ball from Amar'e and gets the ball back. He goes to the rack around a beautiful LMA screen. On the other end, Ronny Turiaf was crushed by Marcus Camby in the paint. The Knicks need a time out to get him back to functionality. Turiaf hit a pair, Blazers turned it over. Then a big play — Amar'e took the ball to LMA....... CHARGE! That's 4 fouls on Amar'e. The Knicks put a 13-3 run on the Blazers to reopen a 9 point lead. Amar'e took a refreshing lead. Nic was called for a bogus foul away from the ball and it was 15-3 and 11 up for the Knicks. Good night. LMA shot a 20 footer, short — Blazers had the SF-sized Dante and Patty Mills in the paint to rebound. LMA got rang up for a 4th foul on a soccer flop. Lakers up 57-25 on the Cavs at halftime, which is the basketball equivalent of running over a sack of kittens with a tractor — who wants to watch that? Then again, who wants to watch this either? Blazers got last points when Patty was sent to the line. END OF THE THIRD: NYK 75, PDX 66. The Blazers were shooting 35%, just like a CYO team.
4. Nate subbed in Przybilla to start the 4th Quarter, who teamed up with Cunningham in perhaps the least-functional front line in the NBA. Matthews went to 2-for-11 with another miss. After a minute, Nate wised up and brought back LMA. Rudy hit a pair to cut the lead to 7. Matthews drove the lane again and failed to finish once again. Bill Walker was whistled for a Flagrant 1 for elbowing Marmitey Mouse away from the ball. Mills lamarcused his shots and Matthews bricked a wide open corner 3. Rudy connected a lob to Patty Mills (!!!). At 8:50 D'antoni called time, the Blazers having managed to whittle the lead to 6.
Blazers put on a little run mid-period but tried to go run-and-gun with D'Antoni's guys, got sloppy, and obligingly put their heads back under a sledgehammer.
I peeled myself a cucumber and flipped over to watch the Lakers slaughter kitties... It was 81-33 in the 3rd Q when I got there, just in time to see Lamar Odom score AND ONE to push the lead to 51. The Cavs battled back a bit, but Sh annon Brown dropped in a bomb from midcourt at the horn to end the 3rd Quarter: Lakers 92, Cavs 41.
FINAL SCORE: NEW YORK KNICKS 100, PORTLAND LETHARGIC SLUGS WHO CAN'T FRICKING SHOOT 86.
Let's take at this thang graphically, shall we?
Well, here's the catastrophe in graphical form. CLICK THE LINK if ye be knights of valour...
Just because I like ya, a couple observations:
A. Blazers went on a 7-0 run to actually take the lead in the 2nd Quarter.
B. Blazers let the Knicks go on a 15-3 run to lose the game in the 2nd Quarter.
C. Same cast of characters were associated with each, with Wesley and Rudy splitting time during the bad part.
D. LMA in early foul trouble is a killer. The only thing that amazes me is that the Blazers didn't share billing with the Cavs in the NBA Hall of Shame tomorrow... Given their ineptitude in every aspect of the game, this one could have been a 30 point loss, very easily.
Finally, let's gather round for another installment of THE GREATEST THING IN THE WORLD, eh?
Here is Tuesday's show, in case you missed it...
The Basketball Jones is a NBA blog and video/audio podcast, written and recorded five times a week by J.E. Skeets, Tas Melas, Jason Doyle and Matt Osten. Assume that there will be a couple Not Suitable For Work words used in any given episode.
Is LaMonster and NBA All Star Credits:
Photo Credits: LaMonster: Don Ryan, Associated Press. All images heavily tweaked in Photoshop by Tim Davenport.