Saturday, March 24, 2012

Detroit Pistons vs. New York Knicks Post Game Recap March 24

Final Score: Detroit Pistons 79 New York Knicks 101 

The Knicks made sure to not let another lottery bound team roll them over tonight, hammering the Detroit Pistons 101-79. The Knicks took care of business and improved to 24-25, moving closer to a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Knicks are now 6-1 under Mike Woodson and are rolling going into a huge game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday. 

-Inside Dominance 

The Knicks dominated the paint tonight, leading to easy buckets and a blow out victory. Tyson Chandler came out like a man possessed after back-to-back lackluster performances. He came out aggressive and took advantage of a small Pistons front court to the tune of 15 points and 17 rebounds. When Chandler is worked into the games, slashing to the basket for easy lay-ups/dunks and making an impact in the paint, it gives the Knicks an edge in their games. As a team, the Knicks out-rebounded the Pistons 54-30 and outscored them in the paint 52-30. 

-Bench Production 

After struggling against the Raptors on Friday night, the Knicks bench went back to doing their thing. Steve Novak continued his hot shooting, knocking down 2 more three pointers in the process and J.R. Smith added 14 points and a surprising 7 rebounds. Josh Harrellson added some much needed muscle in the minutes he received because of Jared Jeffries injury, grabbing 7 rebounds and playing good defense. It is also nice to see players at the end of the bench Toney Douglas, Mike Bibby and Jerome Jordan get some action. 

-Amar’e Dominates Again, Injury Looming? 

Amar’e Stoudemire had another dominant game, scoring 17 points to go along with 8 rebounds in only 25 minutes. He brought energy and intensity on the defense end of the court as well, having another 2 blocked shots and playing stellar defense against an over-whelmed Pistons front line. The only negative was that Stoudemire headed to the locker room towards the end of the 3rd quarter with what they are calling a sore lower back. Coach Mike Woodson says his back stiffened up on him, it was not a specific play in which he was injured. He will be re-evaluated tomorrow and will hopefully come out to good news because with how he has been playing he is an irreplaceable player for the Knicks. 

-Carmelo Finding His Niche? 

Carmelo Anthony went through yet another rough first half tonight, shooting 1-7 and scoring 7 points. He was seen smiling at one point as to say give me a break. But coming out for the 2nd half his mindset was different. The Knicks got him more post-up opportunities and had Anthony working closer to the basket, which made for easy scoring opportunities resulting in 4-5 shooting and 8 points in the 3rd quarter. It was encouraging to see him work closer to the basket because it not only makes it easier for him, but also opens up the offense for his teammates. 

-Turnovers Again a Problem 

At times the offense lacks cohesion, which is expected with a coaching change because there will be a time period needed for adjustments and new plays. But that is no excuse to turn the ball over 22+ times in consecutive games to inferior opponents. The Knicks had 14 turnovers in the first half; the Pistons just were not able to take advantage. Knick players at time are looking more hesitant and uncertain at times in the new offense, which leads to the turnovers. The Knicks need to fix that up heading into the stretch run of the season because better teams will take advantage of such short comings and bury the Knicks. 

The next Knick game is Monday, March 26 against the Milwaukee Bucks at Madison Square Garden at 7:30 P.M ET. It is probably the biggest game of the season for the Knicks, who will go into the game 1 ½ games ahead of the Bucks for the final spot in the Eastern Conference. 

Detroit Pistons vs. New York Knicks Pre-Game News and Notes March 24

Saturday, March 24th 7:30 P.M. ET 
Detroit Pistons vs. New York Knicks 

The Knicks look to bounce back from their first loss under interim coach Mike Woodson against the Detroit Pistons. The Knicks took a tough loss against the Raptors and are looking to bounce back against a Pistons team coming off a loss of their own the night before against the Miami Heat. The loss last night dropped the Knicks to 23-25, holding a half game lead over the Milwaukee Bucks for 8th place in the Eastern Conference. They vowed to mirror the mindset developed during the 5 game winning streak and get back to playing dominant basketball starting tonight against Detroit. 

-Injury Updates 

Right as the Knicks were finally finding the right rotation and pushing the right buttons, Jared Jeffries suffered an injury. His injury comes on the heels of Baron Davis’ return and is the last thing the Knicks need. Jeffries will miss at least the next 2 weeks because of inflammation in his right knee. His return cannot come soon enough as the Knicks defense, at least through one game, was a mess without him. 

-Limiting the Turnovers 

The Knicks need to limit the turnovers if they want to get back into the win column. Last night against the Raptors the Knicks had 22 turnovers, never being able to get into a rhythm and letting the Raptors control the pace and tempo. Detroit ranks 26th in steals per game, so the Knicks should be able to set the tempo as they want without much pressure from Detroit. 

-Get Carmelo Involved 

Against a weaker Detroit team, the Knicks need to get Anthony going early and often. Anthony has been in a shooting slump virtually the whole season, and needs a game where he can get easy buckets. Detroit should be the perfect antidote for Anthony to start getting out of his slump, as Detroit is allowing teams to shoot 47.3% from the field. 

-Bomb squad Impact 

The Knicks need their bench to be more involved in the game tonight than they were against the Raptors. When the Knicks are playing well, the bench usually is the catalyst bringing in the energy and effort that gets the crowd going. Tonight against Detroit, the Baron Davis, J.R. Smith and Steve Novak need to provide a scoring spark tonight and improve upon the 5-28 shooting from 3 point land against Toronto. 

-Stop Ben Gordon 

The Mount Vernon product always gets up for games against his hometown Knicks. Ben Gordon has always played well against the Knicks, especially in Madison Square Garden. Gordon is also coming off a career night earlier in the week against the Denver Nuggets in which he scored 45 points and went 9-9 from 3 point field goal attempts. Taking him out of the game should be near the top of the Knicks game plan along with stopping rookie Point Guard Brandon Knight and combo guard Rodney Stuckey. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

New York Knicks vs. Toronto Raptors Post Game Recap March 23

Final Score: New York Knicks 79 Toronto Raptors 96 

Like they say, all good things must come to an end. For the Knicks, that meant the winning streak under interim Head Coach Mike Woodson. The Knicks struggle in Toronto, and did not help their cause coming out flat. They mounted a comeback going on a brief 8-0 run in the 2nd quarter, but the offense and defense only got worse for the Knicks as the game went on, as the Raptors went on to blow the Knicks out. 

-Amar’e Dominates Again 

For a 3rd straight game, Amar’e Stoudemire lived up to his nickname S.T.A.T (Standing Tall and Talented). Stoudemire was scoring with explosiveness on the block and on the fast break, leading to 17 points. Stoudemire also showed up on the defensive end, having 2 blocks. Stoudemire is finally starting to bring the emotional energy on a nightly basis that he had last season when he was a part of the MVP conversation. 

-Out Hustled and Muscled 

The Knicks were unable to dominate the paint as they are capable of doing. The Knicks were outscored in the pain 44-42 and out-rebounded 46-39. The loss of Jared Jeffries was glaring, as the Knicks were unable to keep the Raptors on the perimeter. DeMar DeRozan and Gary Forbes were able to penetrate the paint at will with little resistance, making it difficult for the Knicks to mount any type of comeback. 

Carmelo Anthony was able to work well in the paint along with Amar’e Stoudemire because the outside shots were not falling for the Knicks. Anthony took his frustrations out around the basket after struggling in the first quarter, especially on the break. Anthony finished with 10 points in the first half, but was quite in the 2nd half along with the rest of their Knick teammates. 

Tyson Chandler had possibly his worst game of the season also, scoring only 2 points and missing numerous shots around the basket. He was able to grab 11 rebounds, but did not have as big an impact on the game as normal. He cannot be the only person on the defensive end protecting the rim. 

-Live and Die by the 3 

Steve Novak continued to stroke it from deep, going 5-9 from 3 point land. The rest of the Knicks were not as successful, combining for 0-19. J.R. Smith led the building of the brick house, going 0-5 followed by 0-4 from Carmelo Anthony and 0-3 from Jeremy Lin and Iman Shumpert. The Knicks will struggle to win games combing poor shooting like that will lackluster effort on the defensive end. 

-Taking Care of the Ball 

The Knicks played sloppy tonight, evident by the 22 turnovers. The Raptors were not able to convert those turnovers into points, scoring only 12 points off the Knicks turnovers. The turnovers just killed any momentum the Knicks were building. Turnovers not only kill a team’s momentum, but also their collective spirits. The Knicks never hung their heads, but were not able to overcome the turnovers and lack of perimeter defense. 

The Knicks get back at it tomorrow night at Madison Square Garden against the Detroit Pistons at 7:30 P.M. ET

New York Knicks vs. Toronto Raptors Pre-Game News and Notes March 23

Friday March 23rd, 7:00 P.M. ET 
New York Knicks @ Toronto Raptors 

The Knicks look to continue their stellar play under Mike Woodson tonight in Toronto going for their 6th straight victory. A win tonight will being the Knicks back to .500 for the first time since the last night of February when the Knicks defeated the Cavaliers. 

-Loss of Jared Jeffries 

The Knicks will be without defensive stalwart Jared Jeffries for tonight’s game, and also Saturday night. The Knicks will miss his presence on the defensive end, but Jeffries brings more to the table than just taking charges. For more of what Jeffries brings to the Knicks, check out this link: 

Steve Novak and Josh Harrellson area expected to pick up the minutes available with Jeffries on the shelf. Novak will have to continue his great shooting while Harrellson brings an added dimension of a versatile big with 3 point range. Harrellson is valuable because he is not afraid to mix it up in the middle with opposing bigs, and also has quickness you would not expect from a player of his stature. 

-Continue to Dominate the Paint 

The Raptors do not have much when it comes to big men, lacking size when it comes to the paint. Andrea Bargnani is their starting Center, but he like a lot of European players prefers to play on the perimeter. The Knicks should be able to exploit this with Amar’e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler. If the Knicks can dominate the paint it will lead to easy looks for snipers J.R. Smith and Steve Novak. 

-Pick-and-Roll Defense 

The last time the Knicks and Raptors met the Knicks struggled with guarding the pick-and-roll throughout the last game in Toronto, until the Knicks made a concentrated effort to stop it in a ferocious 4th quarter comeback. Jose Calderon and Andrea Bargnani work well on the pick-and-roll because of Bargnani’s deadly outside shooting. If the Knicks can contain these two, a win should not be far behind. 

-Get into the Open Court 

The Knicks have been successful all season forcing turnovers and converting those turnovers into points. The Raptors struggled with the defensive intensity the Knicks brought to end the game in their last meeting in Toronto, so bringing that intensity should be at the top of the Knicks to do list for this game. If the Knicks are able to open up a big lead from the start, it should deflate a Raptors team heading for yet another lottery bid this off-season. 

-Carmelo Anthony’s Shooting 

Carmelo Anthony has been struggling with his shot since spraining his wrist against the Memphis Grizzlies on January 12th. It will be interesting to see how Anthony bounces back after a 5-15 shooting performance Wednesday against the 76ers. One positive thing about Anthony’s performance is that he has not let it affect the rest of his game. He has shown much more effort on the defensive end, and is still continuing to rebound and be a part of the offense, evidence of the 4.4 assists per game since Woodson took over as head coach. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

New York Knicks vs. Philadelphia 76ers Post Game Recap March 21

Final Score: New York Knicks 82 Philadelphia 76ers 79 

It was an ugly game at times, but the Knicks were able to pull out another victory, defeating the 76ers 82-79. This was the closest contest since Mike Woodson took over as head coach, and the Knicks responded in a very positive way not getting down on themselves after relinquishing the lead in the 2nd half. This was also the most adversity the Knicks faced since Woodson’s hiring, shooting only 36.7% from the field. But they did not get down on themselves and let their defense lead them to a hard fought victory. 

-Defense Leads To Wins 

The Knicks showed a much improved intensity on defense compared to the last game against the 76ers. The 76ers missed their first 11 field goals, and finished the quarter shooting 3-17 for 17.6%. Unfortunately the Knicks offense was not much better, mustering only 19 points equaling a 19-11 lead heading into the 2nd quarter. 

The Knicks played great defense inside the arc, but outside the arc was a different story. The 76ers actually shot better from 3 point land, going 8-17 from deep for 47.1% compared to 21-58 from inside the 3 point line for 36.2%. Another great overall defense effort is what led to the Knicks victory tonight as the offense seemed to be slacking behind the defense for most of the night. 

-Dominance of the Paint 

The Knicks were able to dominate the paint against the 76ers tonight, getting easy baskets and cleaning the glass. Amar’e Stoudemire looks to really be rounding into shape, going for 21 points and adding 9 rebounds. The 76ers were unable to stop Stoudemire and the Knicks in general from getting to the paint and easy baskets. 

The Knicks attacking of the paint led to an edge in rebounding, points in the paint and free throw attempts. The Knicks held a 47-39 rebounding edge, 32-20 on points in paint and 28-18 on free throw attempts. 

-Down, but Not Out 

Through the first three quarters, Jeremy Lin struggled and was looking fatigued. He shot only 1-11 from the field and looked to not have any legs on the 2nd night of a back-to-back. But he showed up in the 4th quarter, going 3-6 from the field and knocking down a number of clutch free throws as well. 

Carmelo Anthony again struggled with his shot, going 5-15 from the field, but did not allow it to affect his defense. He again put forth the effort expected from someone of his superstar stature, playing stellar defense on Andre Iguodala throughout the game. As long as Anthony is happy and showing up on both ends of the court the results should continue to be positive for the Knicks. 
-Injury Concerns 

Right when the Knicks finally had their full squad with the return of Baron Davis, the Knicks suffered another injury tonight. Jared Jeffries was forced from the game in the 4th quarter because of a sore knee. He will be re-evaluated throughout the week and tentatively is being listed as day-to-day. Hopefully he is able to return quickly because he is a catalyst for the Knicks on the defensive end, but at the same time the Knicks will need him down the stretch of the season and in playoff time. 

Next game for the Knicks is on Friday night, March 23 at 7 P.M. ET in Toronto against the Raptors.

New York Knicks vs. Philadelphia 76ers Pre-Game News and Notes March 21

Wednesday March 21st 7:00 P.M. ET 
New York Knicks vs. Philadelphia 76ers 

How great it is to watch a team when they are enjoying themselves. “I think over the last four games we have come together as a group. I think you can see the amount of fun we are having,” said Steve Novak. It has been a pleasure to watch, and the show continues tonight against division leading and rival Philadelphia 76ers. The Knicks are looking to continue their winning streak under interim coach Mike Woodson and get the total to 5 games after tonight. 

-Baron Davis Returns 

Baron Davis will make his return to the lineup tonight, after missing Tuesday’s game against the Raptors. The Knicks looked good without him, but his return will be welcome back with open arms. This allows the Knicks to play Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith off the bench without having to have them worry about Point Guard duties. They can focus on their strengths, defense and scoring. 

-Stop Lou Williams 

The last game between the Knicks and 76ers was a laugher, as the 76ers blew out the Knicks. One catalyst in the blowout was backup Point Guard Lou Williams, who scored 28 points off the bench. Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith should shadow him around the court on the defensive end. 

The Knicks bench had a slow night against the Raptors, so as a whole they should be chomping at the bit to get back at it tonight. The Knicks will need another total team effort tonight against a 76ers team that is looking to widen their lead for the division lead. The bench is very important in that and has been a catalyst for the Knicks during the win streak, something that will need to continue again tonight. 

-Close out Strong 

The Knicks need to close out the end of quarters strong against the 76ers. They can not allow them to cut into or widen leads at these times. Ending quarters has been a struggle at times for the Knicks, allowing teams to creep back into games at quarters end. If the Knicks are able to jump out to a lead they cannot allow the 76ers to hang around chipping away. They must put them away early, setting the tempo and pace they are more comfortable at and get the 76ers out of their game. 

-Spread the Wealth 

The Knicks have been playing great team basketball recently, and they cannot get away from that against a tough 76ers team. Amar’e Stoudemire has struggled in the past against Elton Brand, and if that happens again the slack needs to be picked up by his teammates. 
Carmelo Anthony has been more involved on both ends of the court since the resignation of Mike D’Antoni, and this is not the time for that to stop. If he realizes how important of a game this is, he will come out showing that urgency and intensity needed and will have his teammates doing the same. This team has had a different look to them recently and they need to keep that killer instinct to turn this season around. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Toronto Raptors vs. New York Knicks Post Game Recap March 20th

Final Score: Toronto Raptors 87 New York Knicks 106 

Another night, another win for these new look Knicks. The Knicks ran their winning streak under new coach Mike Woodson to four games, blowing out a lifeless Raptors team. Can you say Woodsanity? The Knicks are currently riding their longest winning streak since the emergence of Jeremy Lin in early February, which they would eventually stretch out to 7 games. With the win the Knicks reclaimed sole possession of 8th place in the Eastern Conference, and are rolling going into a huge game against the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday. Steve Novak said, “I think over the past four games we have come together as a group. I think you can see the amount of fun we are having.” That is a good indicator of how much the Knicks team 

-Balanced Attack 

The Knicks beat the Raptors with contributions from everywhere. It was a very balanced attack on offense from the Knicks, with four starters scoring in double digits. Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler each had 17, Jeremy Lin chipped in an efficient 18, and Amar’e Stoudemire led the way with a dominant 22. 

Amar’e Stoudemire continued his improved play under Mike Woodson, adding 12 rebounds to go with his 22 points. Stoudemire is not the only person who seems to have improved his play, as Carmelo Anthony also looks like a new man. 

Part of this resurgence can come from an ultimatum of sorts that was placed down from the coach. "We know what we've got to do to [is] win," STAT said. "Coach Woodson put that ultimatum on us for us to go out there and play hard. We know how great we are from a personnel standpoint. It's just a matter of playing that way. We all want to win a championship. That's the ultimate goal for us. We've got to take it one step at a time and try to continue to improve." 

-Deceiving Stats 

The Knicks held the Raptors to only 87 points for the game, but they seemed to lack the defensive intensity they had had since Woodson was hired. They allowed the Raptors to shoot 47.8% from the field, but did lock the Raptors down from the 3 point line. The Raptors ended the game shooting 15.4% from the 3 point line, going 2-15. 

For stretches they just seemed to get a little lackadaisical, allowing the Raptors to hang around, for example when they knocked the Knicks lead down to 8 with 7:45 left in the 4th quarter. The Knicks were able to put the brakes on a Raptor comeback, dropping the hammer on them shortly after that comeback attempt. 

The Knicks have a huge game Wednesday against the 76ers in Philadelphia at 7 P.M. ET. This will be their first high pressured game under Mike Woodson, as the 76ers are the current Atlantic Division leaders. 

Toronto Raptors vs. New York Knicks Pre-Game News and Notes March 20th

Tuesday, March 20th 7:30 P.M. ET 
Toronto Raptors vs. New York Knicks 

The Knicks look to continue their hot play under interim coach Mike Woodson, going for their 4th straight victory against the Toronto Raptors. The Knicks and Raptors have split the first 2 games of the season series, with each team winning on the others home court. The Knicks currently sit 8th in the Eastern Conference going into the game tonight with Toronto looking at another visit to the lottery. This is the beginning to an important stretch of games for the Knicks this week, who look to climb their way back to .500 and firmly place themselves back in the playoff picture. 

-Come out Firing 

Hot starts and not falling behind big early have been a catalyst for the Knicks during their 3 game win streak. The Raptors are a lottery bound team with not much to play for, so the Knicks have to come out in front of the home crowd and put them away early. 

The last game against the Raptors, a 90-87 Knicks victory, the Knicks came out flat, trailing virtually the whole game. Without a ferocious 4th quarter comeback behind Jeremy Lin and a great defensive effort, the outcome of that game would have been much different. 

Carmelo Anthony was not active for that game, which should boost the Knicks this time around. Through the 3 games with Woodson as head coach, Anthony has come out aggressive and attacking early in games. This allows the Knicks to set the pace and tempo they want to play at and putting opponents in an early holes. 

-Injury Concerns 

Baron Davis will not be with the Knicks tonight, meaning Mike Bibby should see some minutes off the bench. Bibby played well in replacement duty against the Pacers, giving the Knicks a solid 10 minutes of play off the bench. Look for Iman Shumpert to also be given some time at Point Guard, with J.R. Smith also bringing the ball up when needed. These players will help take pressure off Jeremy Lin, who has looked refreshed the past few games along with the rest of his Knicks teammates. 

Hearing nothing Tyson Chandler’s injury is a good thing. He seemed to be struggling and even hurting the team at first, but seems to have figured things out. Losing Chandler for an extended period of time would be a blow the Knicks could not overcome, seeing as they were dominated in the paint in the 2 games Chandler sat out. Chandler is the heart and soul of the Knicks defense. 

-Bench Play 

The Knicks bench has been outstanding since Mike Woodson took over. J.R. Smith has finally found his stroke, and Steve Novak has continued his lights out shooting. The defensive intensity brought my Iman Shumpert and Jared Jeffries is a catalyst not only for the 2nd unit but the team as a whole. When the Knicks play defense, it makes their offense that much better. 

The Raptors do not have a strong bench unit, so look for the Knicks reserves to take advantage with the minutes they are given. We have seen a lot of them in recent games, and have relished in their opportunities. The more bench we see, the better the team will be because it means the Knicks have a big enough lead to rest their stars.