Blog Entry

Magic 4th quarter shows Knicks a work in progress

Posted on: March 2, 2011 12:42 am
Edited on: March 2, 2011 12:45 am
Orlando zooms past the Knicks in evidence New York has a long way to go, just days after a huge win over the Heat
Posted by Matt Moore

So much good, and so much bad. That's the story so far of the Knicks four games into the Melo era. Meanwhile the Magic showed just enough good to be able to slip past the Knicks 116-110. 

Orlando was having one of those nights until the fourth quarter. They burst open the lid of three-pointers, went on a tear of a run, made big plays, grabbed big rebounds and won the game. That we'll focus on New York here should not serve to discredit what is a tremendous win for the Magic. Dwight Howard got going early and often to give them a first quarter lead and keep them within striking distance, and once their three-point shooting worked itself out and Chauncey Billups ran out of steam to cover Jameer Nelson, it was over. The Magic lagged behind all night, then blazed past like a complete team, leaving the Knicks in the dust. 

It's early, still. Very early. We're four games into the new Knicks era, and they're now 2-2. But they're not 2-2 the way we thought they might be.  They're the offensive team we thought they might be, but not the way we thought they might be. And they're the poor defensive team we thought they might be, but not the way we thought they might be. 

Offensively, they're both further along than we thought and still very rudimentary. The dynamic between Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire is much better than anticipated. We assumed that would be the big issue in the beginning, but instead, they're working well together. In particular, they're running a lot of pinch-post work deep on the wing, forcing teams to either double Stoudemire on the face-up jumper or drive, or double Melo on the give-go-and-get wing jumper. It creates significant issues, and illustrates how good they can be together, and are, already. At the same time, surprisingly, the big problems are with the stars in ISO. Carmelo Anthony is a terrific ISO player, and he's been just terrible. The shots aren't falling and he's got way too quick of a trigger considering the players he's playing with (and I don't mean Anthony Carter or Shawne Williams). The Knicks have a great ability to create open looks and opportunities in Mike D'Antoni's system, and Melo seems bent on still getting his. Pretty easy evidence of that with 25 points on 24 field goal attempts.

Stoudemire was in great form tonight. There's going to be an avalanche of discussion about his two rebounds.This against the second best rebounder in the league, an MVP candidate and likely the Defensive Player of the Year, again. This trying to guard perimeter fours, recover to help inside, then close back out on the stretch fours. Stoudemire's not a great rebounder, never has been. But this game wasn't evidence of it, it was evidence of Howard's dominance, the Magic's system, and the woeful Knicks frontcourt.

And it was woeful. Shawne Williams, Bill Walker, Ronny Turiaf. That's just not a big-man rotation you can bring into a game with a beast in the middle and expect to win. But they were. Despite Howard ripping them up down low, the Knicks played their game, got out in transition, and most importantly, ran off the threes. Then, they simply ran out of gas. Versus the game against the Heat, where they played tougher, smarter, slicker, the Knicks wore down against the Magic and watched them roll right past. 

The Knicks have now beaten the Milwaukee Bucks and the Miami Heat, and lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Orlando Magic. That's pretty substantial proof that we don't know anything about this team yet. But what we do know can be summarized.

  • Anthony and Stoudemire do mesh, but they actualy need to interact more versus getting out of one another's way. 
  • Their defense can be surprisingly good for stretches, but when it comes apart, it comes apart like it got ripped in half.
  • Thank God for Jared Jeffries and Derrick Brown, because the back end of this bench is a nightmare. 
  • Anthony doesn't have to reverse his trends regarding advanced metrics, but offensively, if he doesn't become more efficient, the Knicks are simply leaving too much on the table on each possession. 
  • The Knicks can likely match up with several teams they might run into in the playoffs. It's just unlikely they'll win the series.
  • It's still early.

For more on this game, check out Royce Young's GameChanger, featuring more on Dwight Howard and the Spurs struggling without Tony Parker.

Since: Aug 25, 2008
Posted on: March 2, 2011 1:46 pm

Magic 4th quarter shows Knicks a work in progress

I just don't see a concern here!  The Knicks have played one game at home and 3 on  the road.  Even though they lost a game to Cleveland down the stretch, they played some very gritty hard-nosed basketball against Miami and came up with a very impressive win on the road. 

If you take a look at the two losses, they not only ran out of gas, but both Cleveland and Orlando started hitting every shot (contested or not).  Orlando's game is to throw up as many 3's as possible, and if they go in they win but if they don't they lose.  Last night, NY took an 8 point lead into the 4th quarter and Orlando started throwing up three pointers and they all found the bottom of the net.  The Lakers couldn't beat the 3 barrage and neither could the Knicks.  It's hard to beat any team when most of your shots are going down from distance. 

The real test will be what the Knicks can do at home against New Orleans and Cleveland at home.  They should win both of those games, and then they face a couple of tough games against Atlanta and Dallas (both games on the road).  If they split these two contests, they could be for real.  If not, at worst, they're still a work in progress. 

There's little doubt they have work to do on the defensive end of the court, and their bench needs some help, but the big three of Amar'e, Carmelo and Chauncey are as good as any big three in the NBA. 

Since: Nov 27, 2008
Posted on: March 2, 2011 1:32 pm

Magic 4th quarter shows Knicks a work in progress

when you have a lot of $$$ you think anything is possible like buying championships. Well it does not. All it does is buy quick results. These results might be bad,good. The knicks have been doing this season to season and it has not got them the playoffs and even this season they are still not in the playoffs until most or all 82 games are finished. I just hope they are still rebuilding and next season don't make anymore drastic change for qucik results. Like I said earlier $$ does not buy rings and the Knicks are the poster child for that.

Since: Dec 20, 2008
Posted on: March 2, 2011 12:58 pm

Magic 4th quarter shows Knicks a work in progress

Dwight Howard is the real guy the Knicks should have gone after in free agency instead of trading for Melo, with all the former players the Knicks gave up plus Amare and Howard would have spelled championship for the Knicks.

Since: Jan 14, 2011
Posted on: March 2, 2011 11:12 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Jun 27, 2009
Posted on: March 2, 2011 8:28 am

Magic 4th quarter shows Knicks a work in progress

Presently contructed the Knicks are flawed. They have no size and no shooters off the bench. In the offseason the have to go big enough of this small ball nonense. They also need an adequate backup for Chauncey. New Yorkers shouldnt get too excited about this season but be excited for the future because you now have a foundation to build upon.

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