Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Knick's season ends dreadfully

I barely watched game four of the series...was really not interested after the game three loss, and they didn't seem that interested either.

I was impressed by Amare however, playing with the bad back. He is a warrior, but the rest of the team needs work.

Being a defensive guy, I thought, although the team played defense well in game one and two, it was an aberration. The team really needs an overhaul to be called effective defensively, and without defense the Knicks will never be more than pretenders.

D'Antoni embarrassed himself in this series. He didn't even have enough sense to start AC at the point and put Douglas at the two. Douglas is not a point guard, he's a shooting guard.

To be continued...

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Knicks lose a chance to make history

It was all set up for the Knicks to make history. Two games against the Celtics that took them to the buzzer. Two games where they overachieved, and did what no one though they could do- upset the Celtics. Two well-played games. Two games where they lost key players to injuries. The second game, where Carmelo went wild and carried the team on his back. He was a leader among leaders...incredible. Two games where they out-played and out-hustled the Celtics.

And the third game was in Madison Square Garden, home of the Knicks. Amare Stoudemire who could barely walk inspired the team by being in the starting lineup. It was to be a Willis Reed type moment. The crowd was crazy. The Garden energy was amazing. The Knicks would make history. They would win game two and win game three, and New York would be buzzing...the media would be talking about the Knicks as a miracle-type team...

And then the game started, and the Knicks looked like bums. Like a team that didn't even belong in the playoffs. They were out-played , out-hustled, out-coached and outed as a mediocre team.

The only positives- Jared Jeffries was better on offense, aggressive and even effective at times. Bill Walker played a better game as well. Shawne Williams led the team in scoring and got his stroke back. And Amare proved once again why he is a leader- inspiring the team by showing up in such bad shape. I know. I have had similar back injuries. You can't even sit on a chair without having pain that makes you howl like wolf. Believe me, it's horrible. And yet, here was this man playing basket ball in that condition? Wow.

The rest of the players were rendered ineffective by a clearly superior team in the Celtics. For the first time in the series, the Celtics looked like Champions. They did everything right. They were on. While the Knicks looked like an 8th seed that squeaked into the playoffs with a losing record...one of those teams that don't belong.

I blame D'Antoni for not getting his team mentally prepared because they weren't. I blame the players because they didn't hustle. They let the Celtics get offensive rebound after offensive rebound, over and over again. Right from the start you could tell something was off. They were outclassed completely from the opening tip.

Was this the same team that played so magnificently in Boston? That played DEFENSE??? The only thing that stopped them in those two games was their inexperience and the Celtics experience. that was the deciding factor. But last night, it was more than that. The Knicks reverted back to the team that they have been since the trade. Inconsistent, mentally and physically soft, NO defense, and not willing to give up their bodies to hustle like they did in game one and game two.

I've said before that the only way the Knicks would win this series was to out-play and out-hustle the Celtics. They did that in the first two games.  They disappointed in game three. ESPECIALLY, when you consider what Amare did to even show up. He was physically ineffective, sure, but even Superman in that condition could not have been any more effective. His presence was supposed to ignite the team, and yet, they played as if he was missing and had no hope. Like they burned themselves out in Boston, and gave up when they lost game two.

Even if they win game four, they are done in five. Feh.
Anyone for Mark Jackson for coach?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

In Tonight's Loss, Knicks Prove They Can Beat Celtics

Like gladiators in the Roman arena, the Knicks battled as if their lives depended on winning tonight. They fought a superior foe through an incredible, blood, sweat and gut check game before falling in the final seconds by three points.

Carmelo Anthony, the Knick's Spartacus, had himself, one of the greatest nights in Knicks history, but with only backup caliber teammates around him, he could only do so much, and when surrounded, did the right thing in deferring to his less talented teammates.

After losing two of their three best players, the New York Knicks stood toe to toe with the five Boston Celtics starters at full strength and gave them hell. But in the end, the Knicks inexperience, and mental errors cost them a game they had already won.

Winning by one point, with 19.8 seconds left, after Jared Jeffries made an unexpected layup, the Knicks did not double Chris Rock's "man", Kevin Garnett, who worked his way inside vs. Jeffries to take a five foot shot. Instead, Carmelo Anthony and Toney Douglas, both within a few feet of the Boston Power Forward, elected to leave Garnett one on one with Jeffries. Their choice resulted in a basket for Boston putting the Celtics up by one.

The Knicks then went on offense, but the offensively challenged Jeffries stayed in the game, and ended up throwing a weak pass to Bill Walker under the basket. Garnett stole the ball  away, called time out, and the Knicks were left with one final chance.

They would have to foul and worst case scenario, take a three point shot with 2-3 seconds left. But Carmelo, already exhausted from playing the entire second half, did not follow MILFer Delonte West into the backcourt. West ran out the clock leaving only .6 seconds left, and hit both free throws to ice the win for Boston by three points, 96-93.

But through all of this epic struggle, the Knicks can see that they can beat the Celtics. In both games on the road, with key players injured in both losses, the Knicks took the Celtics to the final buzzer.

No one expected the Knicks to play like this. They have out-played and out-hustled the Celtics, but at crucial moments, have made costly mental errors that caused them to lose both games. Bad decisions, bad choices, and bad defense...

In game one, leaving Garnett open for that late layup from the inbounds play...

Confusion on guarding Ray Allen, the most prolific 3-point shooter in the game. He is the ONE player you can never leave open...

In game two, again leaving Allen open time after time...

The costly choice not to double team Garnett on his final shot...

Jeffries' weak pass, allowing Garnett to steal it away...

And more...

Still, in both games, the Knicks were not at full strength for either ending, and took the Celtics to the final buzzer on the road...

I believe the Knicks could have won one of those games had they been at full strength. In my playoff matchup post last week, I stated that if the Knicks were to have a chance in this series, they would have to:

1. Out-play and out-hustle the Celtics...
Check, except for most of the second half in game one, which is why they lost that game.

2. Out-rebound the Celtics...

3. Box out...
Sporadic results here, because D'Antoni doesn't seem to teach this very well. A new coach should do the trick.

4. Run the Celtics off the court...
Knicks have done a good job of playing up-tempo and have moved the ball around well, but...

5. Show mental toughness and play smart...
They lost game one because of mental errors, and the same for game two. Inexperience is the cause here, and there is nothing to be done about that, except having Billups and Stat in there with Anthony.

If the Knicks can learn fast, they can still win this series, but if they continue to have these mental lapses, they could be swept.

I believe that the Knicks will, out of sheer determination, bring home victories in game three and four to tie the series.

If I am wrong, expect a quick exit, but if I am right, then I may be wrong... in my pre-playoff prediction of Celtics in six.

ps- I'm not saying no to Carmelo anymore...:)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Knicks lose Billups and game

Well, I think my halftime blog post said it all. The Knicks regressed without Billups in there at the end. During the last minute of the game, they let up, and just like I said, they lost. In that final minute, they actually looked like they did a few weeks ago during the losing streak... mental lapses and succumbing to the pressure. It was an ugly end to a great game.

Let's hope they have learned something from this.

Carmelo had 5 turnovers (gasp) and 5 made baskets. I don't blame him for taking the shot at the buzzer though. that's what he is here for. I don't think he should have taken the contested three point shot though. He should have drove and gotten a better shot off. he had a turrible game, as Charles would say. Turrible.

Billups will probably miss game two, so I don't think they have much of a chance without him, though while he was in there for game one, he disappointed. Both he and Carmelo did not play a good game. Amare carried them in game one.

Carmelo had better come to play in game two. Otherwise it's 0-2.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Playoff Halftime Blog: 51-39 Knicks

Did D'Antoni read my last post? Because the Knicks have done everything I suggested. They have moved the ball around, kept it up-tempo, laid back on Rondo, and played aggressive, hustling defense. They have out played and out hustled the Celtics.

Knicks have done everything right. You can't ask for a better half, but that's what worries me. the Celtics are playing poorly- too poorly. I'm sure they will be angry in the locker room and come out like porn stars who haven't had sex in a month...HUNGRY!

In the second half. the Knicks better not let up for a minute, because this is looking too good right now. However, if the Knicks can keep it up, they can take this game, and threaten the Celtic's somewhat fragile psyche....

Stay tuned.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Knicks-Celtics Matchups

This is a classic offense vs. defense matchup that should be fascinating to watch...let's look at the matchups position by position.

Rajon Rondo vs. Chauncey Billups

Rondo has not played well down the stretch.  His weakness is shooting and so, Chauncey needs to play loose on him. With Rondo's strength, speed and vision, he can beat Chauncey inside, and tire him out. But playing loose D on Rondo will allow Chauncey to hang in there, and on offense, Chauncey can post up Rondo, and sink the big shot as we all know. Chauncey Billups' play may be the key to this series. If he is healthy, able to run, and keep the ball moving. If he's playing at the top of his game, circa 2009, the Knicks will have a chance.

Edge: EVEN

Ray Allen vs. Landry Fields

Ouch. Allen's shooting is great and Fields is a rookie. But between Fields and Toney Douglas, they can tire Allen out when he covers them on defense. Movement will be the key. Keep moving, keep making him run. Then you've got a shot. Allen also is a streak shooter, that can be both good and bad for the Knicks, but all told, this is the worst matchup for the Knicks.

 Paul Pierce vs. Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony has played great lately, proving me (somewhat) wrong in my assessment of his defensive play. If he can keep it up vs. PP, he can help his team immensely. A step back (literally) on defense can doom the Knicks to a quick exit. Playing tight defense on PP is important, and though you risk tiring Carmelo out, you must take that risk. Pierce can kill the Knicks with his shot, and it will take a top-notch effort by Carmelo to stop him. On offense, again, movement is the key. Iso plays will play into the Celtic's hands. NO NO on that. Knicks must move the ball around. Carmelo must stay away from his signature plays. Tough to do.

Edge: EVEN


 Kevin Garnett vs. Amare Stoudemire

Amare Stoudemire is much younger than Kevin Garnett. He can beat Garnett on the offensive end and play him even on defense, but can is not a done deal kind of word. Remember Garnett is still a defensive force. Again, we come down to age and speed/movement as the Knick's asset. Amare must take the ball to the basket and challenge Garnett, hopefully getting him into foul trouble. On defense, Amare must give 100% effort and BLOCK OUT Garnett. Otherwise, the Knicks will have no chance. Amare must come close to Garnett in rebounding in this series for the Knicks to have a good chance to upset.

Edge: EVEN
 Jermaine O’Neal vs. Ronny Turiaf

Double ouch. The Knicks have Turiaf , Shelden Williams, and Jared Jeffries at this position. The Celtics have the O'Neal brothers-  Jermaine O’Neal and Shaquille O’Neal. Which would you rather have? The O'Neal's health has not been great, so it is possible for something good to happen here for the Knicks, but don't count on it. If the celtics get anything from Shaq, it will destroy the Knicks chances more than anything else.

Edge: EVEN


Shaquille O’Neal, Glen Davis, Nenad Krstic, Jeff Green, Carlos Arroyo, Delonte West vs. Toney Douglas, Anthony Carter, Shelden Williams, Jared Jeffries, Shawne Williams, Bill Walker.

Baby Davis is a tough player for the Knciks to handle. But Douglas is a player that will be tough for the Celtics to handle. The difference is that Davis has the experience, while Douglas has never been in a playoff game.Shawne Williams hasnot played well lately, and the 3-point shot has not been sinking as it did earlier in the season. Carter could play a difference here, and should get BIG minutes  as Billups' backup, because he has playoff experience, and can play well here. I would love to see him get 18 minutes a game at PG, and let Douglas play the two position. Green hasn't set the world on fire since coming from Oklahoma, but Krstic is another big man that may cause the Knicks trouble. Too many big men for the Knicks to stop here.


Doc Rivers vs. Mike D’Antoni

Oh Dear. Rivers has won a championship. D’Antoni has won the title of worst defensive coach of the year. If Rivers can get the Celtics to snap out of their recent funk, this won't even be close. Meanwhile D'Antoni can frustrate the Celtics if he can get his team to keep moving the ball and run the Celtics off the court. Very difficult in the playoffs. The Celtics will not let the Knicks run, but they can still move the ball around and play up-tempo. The slower the Knicks move, the less chance they have.


Total Edge= BOSTON 4-0-3
The Knicks’ rebounding and defense is not good enough without a top-notch Center. But they can hang in there and get close, if they each put in 100% effort on every single possession. Hustle will be the key. If the Knicks can out play and out hustle the Celtics, they have a chance to upset. The Knicks however, have been inconsistent and not tough mentally throughout the season. Whereas the Celtics are as tough as they come.

Secondly, the Knicks must block out and rebound well. They won't out-rebound the Celtics, but if they can come close, they can make things interesting. They haven't shown any ability to do this well, at all, however, outside of Carmelo Anthony.

Third, they must run and tire the Celtics out, but the playoffs are a difficult time for any team to run, and the Knicks have been inconsistent in their offensive philosophy as it is. Too many questions...


Game 1 at BOS: Celtics
Game 2 at BOS: Celtics
Game 3 at NY: Knicks
Game 4 at NY: Knicks
Game 5 at BOS: Celtics

If the Knicks win, it will have to be in six, because game seven at Boston will be all Celtics. They would have to take one game at Boston and sweep in NY. That's the only way they can make it happen, and I don't see it. In the end, I think the Celtics big men will just be too much for the Knicks. Rebounding, the Knick's Achilles heel, will be their undoing.

Game 6 at NY: Celtics 

Final: Boston 4-2

Friday, April 15, 2011

Knicks- Celtics Playoff Preview

The Knicks have a shot to upset the Celtics. Give them a puncher's chance. They don't have the talent yet, to play man for man, but they may be deeper overall, if their bench can overachieve in this series.

What the Knicks do best is rely on their three stars, who can win games by themselves. But they must move the ball around, and avoid the isolation plays that will play into the hands of the Celtic defense.

Carmelo Anthony will be doubled for most of this series, but he's still a great shooter. Amare Stoudemire can play with Kevin Garnett and maybe even out play him. Chauncey Billups has been there before. He's a champion, and with the game on the line, can sink any shot, as Carmelo can.

If the Knicks can play with 100% effort on defense and execute the offense close to perfectly, they can beat the Celtics, but it will take all 3 players to play at the top of their game. The bench must contribute as well. Simply put, they must out play, and outhustle the Celtics. Certainly a possibility since Perkins' departure has torn the heart out of the team.

If Boston's mental attitude is not "on", the Knicks can take the series.
We'll know after the first half of the first game. From that first moment, the Knicks must outplay their rivals. If they are lookin' good at halftime, we'll have a series.


Game 1 at BOS: Celtics
Game 2 at BOS: Celtics
Game 3 at NY: Knicks
Game 4 at NY: Knicks
Game 5 at BOS: Celtics

If the Knicks win, it will have to be in six, because game seven at Boston will be all Celtics. They would have to take one game at Boston and sweep in NY. That's the only way they can make it happen, and I don't see it. In the end, I think the Celtics big men will just be too much for the Knicks. Rebounding, the Knick's Achilles heel, will be their undoing.

Game 6 at NY: Celtics

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

It's Knicks- Celtics in the Playoffs

Nevermind the meaningless Chicago game last night. The Knicks pulled their starters in the last few minutes to surrender, electing to rest Carmelo and Chanucey.

The game meant nothing but it was fun to see the Knick run early in the 4th quarter. They got as close as 7 points and then the Bulls closed it out.

Onto the playoffs...Knicks have clinched the 6 seed and will face the Celtics.
The game tonight won't mean anything either. Expect it to be a sub vs. sub game.

Paul Pierce had this to say on the Boston-NY playoff matchup...

“I think it’s going to be fun...You definitely have that rivalry in baseball. Maybe we can spark a rivalry there in basketball. You’ve got two cities who are close, next to each other, great sports towns. I think it’s going to be great for the game...It’s going to be a very interesting series. I know everybody’s going to tune in to watch it. I know this is going to be as exciting as probably that series versus the Lakers last year, or even the series we had [two years ago] versus the Bulls. I think it’s going to be very exciting for the fans to watch.”

More to come...

PS- I have decided not to change this blog's name till the offseason.  Seems like a better idea to start fresh...:)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Carmelo plays D!

Carmelo plays D!

I was shocked to see Carmelo Anthony block Danny Granger's shot with only a few seconds left in the game last night. This came after he made the winning shot with 4 seconds remaining in the game.

So, as I have said before, when Carmelo proves he can play defense, I will change the name of this blog. I always keep my word. Before the first playoff game, we'll be at a new blog address.
Stay tuned for details...

The Knicks are now a winning team at 42-38 and the worst they can do is 42-40. Although they will never be a great defensive team (sigh), they can play good defense, good enough to beat most teams.

Since it looks like they will be playing the Celtics in the first round of the playoffs, I don't hold out much hope, however...the Celtics have been shaky lately, and their attitude and swagger is not as solid as it was with Perkins. Since he left, they haven't been the same team, and it wouldn't surprise me if they faltered...

We'll have a long playoff preview posting next week where I will elaborate...

Friday, April 8, 2011

New York Knicks stopped the worst losing streak in their history tonight

New York Knicks stopped the worst losing streak in their history tonight...nine straight losing seasons. By beating New Jersey on the road, 116-93 this evening, they have clinched at least a .500 record for the season. Standing at 41-38 for the season, the Knicks can now do no worse than 41-41.

The team did a good job minus Amare, dominating their inferior neighbors. Let's see how they fare in their final three games of the season...