Saturday, March 31, 2012

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. New York Knicks Post Game Recap March 31

Final Score: Cleveland Cavaliers 75 New York Knicks 91 

It wasn’t as easy as some people thought it was going to be, but the short-handed Knicks were able to pull out the victory tonight over the Cleveland Cavaliers 91-75. The Cavaliers suffered their 7th straight loss, while the Knicks ran their winning streak at home to 7 games. The win tonight also pushed the Knicks record under Mike Woodson to 9-2. Even after hearing the news that starting Point Guard Jeremy Lin would be lost for up to 6 weeks, the Knicks were able to still come together and pull out a hard fought victory. They Knicks also lengthened their lead over the Milwaukee Bucks to 2 ½ games for 8th place in the Eastern Conference. 

-Evenly Distributed Offense 

It was a tough night for the Knicks from the field, shooting only 39.5% collectively, but they got contributions from a number of players. Carmelo Anthony set the tone early, scoring 8 points in the first quarter and finishing the game with 19 on 7-14 shooting. Tyson Chandler added 14 points to go along with his 12 rebounds and Iman Shumpert added 10 points continuing his hot shooting from downtown, going 2-5 from 3-point land. 

J.R. Smith led the Knicks in scoring tonight off the bench, putting the team on his back in the 4th quarter. He scored 10 of his team high 20 points in the 4th quarter. Smith also had 9 rebounds in the game and finished with a team high +19 plus/minus ratio. 

-Great Defensive Effort 

The Knicks did not blow out the Cavaliers like many people expected, only taking full control in the 4th quarter. But that does not mean they did not dominate the game. The Knicks were able to control the game throughout, never really being in danger of losing the game. They held the Cavaliers to 38.9% shooting, which resulted in them giving up their least amount of points for an opponent on the season. 

The Knicks were ferocious on the defensive end of the court, playing the passing lanes and showing muscle in the paint. The Knicks finished with 13 steals, led by J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert who had 5 each and had 5 blocks as a team led by 3 from Tyson Chandler. 

-Ball Control 

Again the Knicks turnover numbers were a little high tonight, adding to their league high amount with another 17. These are not turnovers that are being caused by the other team in most cases either, just simple mistakes that are self-caused. Simple chest and bounce passes are hard to execute at times and make the Knicks look out of sorts and confused on offense. 
This can be because of the revolving door rotation the Knicks are dealing with because of injuries, but there is no time for excuses. The Knicks need to get on the same page and work this out. Fixing these self-afflicted wounds will make their offense that much more dangerous. 

The Knicks are going to have to figure out how to limit turnovers and control the ball better without Jeremy Lin. Baron Davis is more than capable of doing it, but is not his normal self, dealing with a trained hamstring. The hamstring injury is limiting his explosiveness and is making him a step slow. This causes a dilemma for Woodson because he seems hesitant to play Mike Bibby or Toney Douglas, lacking confidence in both players. The Knicks will have to figure something out because Davis right now cannot handle playing 30+ minutes a game. 

The next game for the Knicks is Tuesday night in Indiana against the Pacers at 7:00 P.M. ET. This will be the first game in a tough stretch for the Knicks, who will have to continue to play with heart and intensity while short-handed.

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. New York Knicks Pre-Game News and Notes March 31

Saturday March 31st 7:30 P.M. ET 
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. New York Knicks 

The Knicks get right back at after a disappointing loss last night in Atlanta, returning home to face the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Knicks fell to 8-2 under Mike Woodson and look to get back on track again tonight against a Cavalier team they will be facing for the 3rd time this season, with each team winning on their home court in the previous 2 meetings. This is somewhat of a must win game for the Knicks who lead the Bucks by only 1 ½ games for 8th place in the Eastern Conference playoff race. 

-Injury Updates 

The Knicks will again without Jeremy Lin, who will sit out his 5th game in a row with a sore right knee. Jared Jeffries is not expected to be back until sometime next week so they will again be without him. 

What hurts more is that the Knicks did not escape Atlanta without injury problems. Tyson Chandler shed the brace on his left wrist, but now has tweaked his groin, and is questionable for tonight’s game. Carmelo Anthony has been fighting a strained groin as well, fighting through it the past week and is also listed as questionable. Baron Davis has a strained hamstring and has been fighting through it because the Knicks need him. In regular circumstances it is believed Davis would be sitting. He is also listed as questionable. 

I would fully expect all of the questionable players to be on the court tonight because of the implications of the game. The Knicks desperately need to get back on track, even after just one loss, because of the limited amount of time left in the regular season. 

-Which Melo Will Show? 

Carmelo Anthony has been outstanding recently, but has struggled throughout the season on 2nd nights of back-to-backs. The Knicks will need him to continue fighting through his nagging injures and carry them once again tonight against a scrappy Cavalier team. All three times this season that Anthony scored 27 or more points in the first game of a back-to-back, he had a drop-off in the second game. 

-Bench Production 

The Knicks need a spark from their bench tonight unlike in Atlanta last night. Steve Novak and J.R. Smith have to lead the way for the second unit and come out with energy and intensity. The short-handed Knicks can not afford another flat start tonight like yesterday in Atlanta. Josh Harrellson has been filling in admirably for Amar’e Stoudemire and Jared Jeffries, playing great defense and rebounding well. Once he gets his rhythm back on his shot it should be even better. 

Also for tonight, there may be an extended Mike Bibby and Toney Douglas sighting. With Baron Davis ailing with a strained hamstring, his minutes have to be monitored. With Lin still injured, Douglas and Bibby are the only other Point Guards on the roster. Woodson was quoted as saying he may increase Douglas’ role after last night’s game in Atlanta. It will be interesting to see how Douglas responds if he is indeed given more playing time with how sparingly he has played the last 8 weeks. 

Friday, March 30, 2012

New York Knicks vs. Atlanta Hawks Post Game Recap March 30

Final Score: New York Knicks 90 Atlanta Hawks 100 

You cannot win them all, as the Knicks fell to the Atlanta Hawks by 10 tonight. The Knicks came out sluggish and flat early and just were not able to get over the hump. With the loss tonight the Knicks drop back .500 at 26-26. 

-Magnificent Melo 

Carmelo Anthony did his part again carrying the Knicks on offense, scoring 36 points while adding 9 rebounds and 2 assists. Anthony was also able to capitalize on his free throw attempts, going 13-14 from the foul line. Anthony also did not disappoint on the defensive end. He ended the game with 5 steals and 2 blocks, constantly pressuring his man. 

-Shumpert Turning a Corner? 

Carmelo Anthony was not alone in the offense tonight, as Iman Shumpert put up 25 points to go along with his always suffocating defense. There was not much help outside Shumpert for Melo, but he did a great job playing Anthony’s wingman. Shumpert has been showing much more confidence in his jump shot, going 3-5 from the 3 point line tonight. Allan Houston has been working with Shumpert on his jump shot, and it seems to paying off. If Shumpert can continue knocking down his jumper, he will become that much more dangerous of a player and would definitely be the steal of the 2011 draft. 

-How hurt is Baron Davis? 

Baron Davis against struggled tonight, and it was evident that his hamstring is hurting him badly. Davis was forced to the locker room to get his leg re-wrapped, but he was in obvious pain even after getting the new wrap. Davis lacked mobility and the injury was affecting his playmaking, as he made numerous bad passes and turned the ball over 4 times. The Knicks need to figure out a plan to get Davis healthy because he is only hurting the team with his current play because he is hurt. 

-Where was the D? 

The Knicks struggled on defense tonight, missing multiple assignments and using questionable double teams. They were not attacking screens as they have been and were slow on some rotations. It started with Landry Fields in the beginning of the game, who was toasted by Joe Johnson multiple times in the first quarter. J.R. Smith was inserted shortly after, and was in foul trouble throughout the game and missed his first 7 shot attempts. Smith was no better on Johnson as he finished the game 28 points. 

Steve Novak also struggled on defense tonight, getting torched by everyone he guarded. He started off on Josh Smith, and was quickly moved after multiple baskets by Smith. He was then switched onto Willie Green, who went off as well. Green shot 8-9 and scored 20 points off the bench. Green totaled only 20 points in his last 6 games played. 

The effort was lacking tonight on the defensive end, but thankfully for the Knicks they will not have too long to stew on this loss. The Knicks are back at it tomorrow night at the Garden against the Cleveland Cavaliers at 7:30 P.M. ET. 

New York Knicks vs. Atlanta Hawks Pre-Game News and Notes March 30

Friday March 30th 7:30 P.M. ET 
New York Knicks vs. Atlanta Hawks 

The Knicks go down to Atlanta to play a tough Hawks team after coming off what is probably their best victory this season, a 108-86 blowout of the Orlando Magic. Mike Woodson also returns to face the team he was the head coach of for 6 seasons. Even with how shorthanded the Knicks have been recently because of injuries, they still find themselves in the thick of the Atlantic Division race. The Knicks are heading into Atlanta winners of 8 of their last 9 games since Woodson took over and are fully aware of how important tonight’s game is. 

-Can Melo Continue To Carry the Team? 

Carmelo Anthony again will be counted on to keep the team afloat on the offensive end with Jeremy Lin to miss yet another game. Tonight Anthony will also have his hands full the entire game having to go against Josh Smith. Smith presents the toughest match-up for the Knicks because of the impact he has on both ends of the court in the game. Anthony will have to have another strong performance on the defensive end. 

-Control the Paint 

The Knicks are going to have to gang-rebound tonight against a tough Hawks team. The Hawks have banger Zaza Pachulia at Center with Al Horford injured and Josh Smith at power forward. The Knicks will need to have a collected team effort on the boards to try and slow those two down. Playing a smaller lineup makes it a tougher task, so players such as Landry Fields and Carmelo Anthony are going to have to step up their rebounding game. 

-Bomb Squad 

The bench has been playing very strongly since Mike Woodson has come on board, and they will look to continue their hot play tonight in Atlanta. Steve Novak and J.R. Smith lead the bench in scoring while Josh Harrellson brings toughness on defense and much needed rebounding. Any contribution from Mike Bibby is an added bonus, as he will likely spell Baron Davis for stretches tonight as he is moved into the starting lineup for a 3rd game because of the absence of Jeremy Lin. 

-Finishing Strong 

Throughout the last 3 games, the Knicks have had 1 quarter in the game they dominated, leading them to victory. They take control of game, and are able to build off that performance. The in game Wednesday against the Magic the Knicks took control in the 2nd quarter, and never took their foot off the gas going on a 21-0 run in the 3rd quarter. Another area that needs to improve is the play coming out of halftime. For whatever reason, the Knicks struggle in the 3rd quarter, something that needs to be improved upon. They had a dominant 3rd quarter Wednesday, so hopefully they can carry that into the game tonight against the Hawks. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Orlando Magics vs. New York Knicks Post Game Recap March 28

Final Score: Orlando Magic 86 New York Knicks 108 

The Knicks have been great under Mike Woodson since he was named interim head coach, but nothing like tonight against a team in the Orlando Magic many consider an NBA title contender. The Knicks blew the Magic out of the water pushing their record under Woodson to 8-1 and also lengthening their lead over the Milwaukee Bucks for 8th place in the Eastern Conference to 2 ½ games. The Knicks also are over .500 now with a 26-25 record. What makes this win even more impressive is that they were able to do it without 2 of their starters in Amar’e Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin and without defensive stalwart Jared Jeffries. 

-Defense, Defense, Defense 

After a first quarter in which the Knicks allowed the Magic to score 29 points, led by 11 from Jameer Nelson, the Knicks put the locks on the Magic. Throughout the last 3 quarters of the game, the Knicks held the Magic to only 57 points, going on a 21-0 run at one point during the 3rd quarter, a quarter in which the Knicks have struggled mightily in throughout the season. The Knicks were able to neutralize the Magic’s 3 point shooting, holding them to 9-26 (it would have been worse if not for a let down at the end of the 3rd quarter into the 4th when the Knicks had a 39 point lead.). Led by Tyson Chandler, the Knicks were also able to effectively shut down Dwight Howard, who was held to only 12 points and 5 rebounds. The rotations were on point, and the Knicks were able to hound the Magic all night leading to a huge victory. 

-Ball Control 

Entering the game tonight, the Knicks were averaging 20 turnovers a game in their last 3 contests. Tonight was a different story, as the Knicks only committed 10 turnovers and were able to dish out 24 assists. The ball movement was impeccable, precise and crisp, leading to numerous open jump shots for everyone on the team. Carmelo Anthony and Baron Davis led the team with 6 assists each. 

-Domination of the Paint 

Against the Orland Magic controlling the paint is no easy task with Dwight Howard around, but that is exactly what the Knicks were able to do tonight. The Knicks controlled the boards to the tune of a 49-34 out-rebounding performance. They also outscored the Magic in the paint 42-30, enabling them to control the game from all facets. 

-Picking up the Slack 

With so many injuries ravaging the team, the Knicks were looking for people to step up, and that is exactly what happened. Carmelo Anthony is going to be relied upon to handle a large portion of the offensive load without Amar’e Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin, and for a second straight game he did not disappoint. Anthony finished with a very efficient 25 points on 9-15 shooting, also adding in 6 assists and 5 rebounds. He seems to finally be finding his rhythm, something he had said he needed to do after the loss in Toronto last week. Anthony was scoring from all over the court, but did the most damage from the post. 

Anthony had help tonight in picking up the slack in the form of Iman Shumpert, who had a career high 25 points to go along with 7 rebounds and 4 assists, playing quite possibly his best game of his short lived NBA career. He brought the normal intense defense that he is known for as well as a great game on the offensive end. Shumpert has been working with Allan Houston on his jump shot coming off screens, and it is evident as he is showing much more confidence in his jumper, as he had another 4 3 pointers tonight against the Magic. 

-Fantastic Bench Play 

The bench once again was a strong point for the Knicks, led by Steve Novak and J.R. Smith. Novak had 16 points and added another 4 3 pointers to his season total, and Smith wasn’t far behind with 12 of his own. Josh Harrellson is still looking to get back to his shooting form, but played great defense against Dwight Howard and was able to corral 8 rebounds of his own. 

The next game for the Knicks is Friday, March 30th against the Atlanta Hawks in Atlanta at 7:30 P.M. ET. It will be a homecoming for Mike Woodson, as he was the coach of the Hawks for 6 seasons. 

Orlando Magic vs. New York Knicks Pre-Game News and Notes March 28

Wednesday March 28th 7:00 P.M. ET 
Orlando Magic vs. New York Knicks 

The Knicks look to continue their hot play and run their record with Mike Woodson to 8-1 against a tough Orlando Magic team. The Knicks currently sit 2 games ahead the Milwaukee Bucks entering a tough stretch of games. The first meeting of the season was a 102-93 victory for the Magic, with the Knicks blowing their lead in the 4th quarter. 

-Injury News and Notes 

It was found out today that Amar’e Stoudemire will be out for 2-4 weeks. He has opted for the non-surgical procedure to try and fix his bulging disk in his back. If he is able to return closer to the 2 week timeframe compared to the 4 week time-frame he should have about 9 games left in the regular season before playoffs start. 

As for tonight, Jeremy Lin will not be playing because of his sore knee. Baron Davis will again start in his place. Carmelo Anthony will be suiting up for the game tonight though and will be expected to pick up much of the slack. Expect a monster game for Anthony tonight as he will be the vocal point of the offense. 

-Contain the 3 Point Shot 

Last time the Knicks played the Magic, the Knicks struggled to defend the 3 point shot. The Magic shot 17-35 from 3 point range, led by Ryan Anderson’s 7-13. On the other side, the Knicks shot 5-20 from 3 point range. The Knicks cannot get into a 3 point shootout with the Magic or they will struggle to keep up. Along with Anderson, the Knicks have to worry about Hedo Turkoglu and J.J. Redick shooting from deep. The Knicks have to keep up their defensive intensity they have been bringing since Woodson was hired as interim coach. 

-Bring the Kryptonite 

The Knicks will have their hands full tonight with Dwight Howard, but they were able to hold him in check in the last meeting allowing him to score only 8 points and grab 10 rebounds. Granted, the Magic lights out shooting from 3 point range played a role in Howard’s diminished stat line, but the Knicks defense needs some credit. This is where Tyson Chandler comes in handy because he is capable of guarding Howard in single coverage for stretches of the game. The Knicks will again miss Jared Jeffries versatility on the defensive end, who would be capable of guarding every player on the Magic roster. The Knicks also cannot be shy about using their fouls on Dwight Howard, who shot 2-9 from the foul line in the first season and has shot poorly from the line this season going for 48.8%. 

-Picking up The Slack 

With Amar’e Stoudemire set to miss a few weeks and Jeremy Lin nursing his own injuries, Carmelo Anthony needs to pick up the slack. Monday night he did just that, scoring 28 points, his most since Woodson was hired. The Knicks are going to count on Anthony to carry the team for the time being, which he is more than capable of doing. Anthony was brought here because he wanted to shine on Broadway; there is no better time for him to showcase those talents than now. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Milwaukee Bucks vs. New York Knicks Post Game Recap March 26

Final Score: Milwaukee Bucks 80 New York Knicks 89 

This was not a game for the faint of heart, but it was definitely easier to handle as a Knicks fan with them pulling out a hard fought victory tonight 89-80 over the Milwaukee Bucks. Without Amar’e Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin, the Knicks were able to get enough out of the rest of the team to beat a Milwaukee Bucks team they have struggled mightily against. With the victory tonight the Knicks widened their lead for 8th place in the Eastern Conference to 2 ½ games and reached .500 for the first time February 29th against the Cavaliers. They also improved to 7-1 under Mike Woodson. 

-Carmelo Anthony Picks Up the Slack 

With Amar’e Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin both injured, the Knicks not only lost 2 starters but two of their top 3 scorers on the season. They needed someone to pickup the slack in the starting lineup, and that is exactly what Anthony did. 

Anthony scored 28 points, going 12-12 from the foul line. He also added a team high 12 rebounds to pick up the slack left behind by the absence of Stoudemire. He also put in the effort needed in a game like tonight on the defensive end. 

The only setback for Anthony tonight was what seemed to be a re-aggravation of his groin injury. He appeared hobbled at the end of the 3rd quarter, but was able to return in the 4th quarter. Upon returning he was seen clutching his groin multiple times. Anthony said he will go for treatment tonight after the game and tomorrow is another day. Right now there is no definitive answer on the extent of the injury. 

-Attacking the Paint 

The Knicks came out aggressive in the game tonight, attacking the paint and drawing fouls. Their aggression paid off, getting to the foul line a total of 35 times compared to only 18 attempts for the Bucks. This resulted in a 30-12 edge in points from the foul line for the Knicks, a decisive factor in the game tonight. The Knicks also controlled the boards much better tonight compared to the last meeting with the Bucks. The Knicks out-rebounding the Bucks 54-41 and limited the Bucks to only 9 offensive rebounds this time around, compared to the 13 the Knicks grabbed. 

-Defense Corrals Big-Named Bucks 

Outside of Mike Dunleavy’s unconscious play throughout the game, the Knicks were able to shut down the rest of the Bucks. They were able to keep Brandon Jennings in check for the first time this season, holding him to 15 points on 6-22 from the field. The Knicks were able to keep his new running mat Monta Ellis to an even quieter game, holding him to 4 points on 2-14 shooting. The Knicks starting backcourt of Baron Davis and Iman Shumpert had a much bigger impact on the game on the defensive end than normal starting backcourt made up of Jeremy Lin and Landry Fields. 

The next game for the Knicks is Wednesday, March 28th at 7:00 P.M. ET in New York against the Orland Magic.

Milwaukee Bucks vs. New York Knicks Pre-Game News and Notes March 26

Monday March 26th 7:30 P.M. ET 
Milwaukee Bucks vs. New York Knicks 

The Knicks responded well off an ugly loss to the Raptors last week blowing the Pistons out of the water 101-79. The Knicks will have to bring that same mind-set into the game tonight as it is their most important game to date this season. The Knicks currently lead the Bucks by only 1 ½ games for 8th place in the Eastern Conference, and have lost the first two meetings this season to them. But this is a new Knicks team under Mike Woodson so hopefully the results can be different. 

-Injury Concerns 

The Knicks are already without defensive specialist Jared Jeffries for the game tonight and the next two weeks, but could possibly be without both starting Point Guard and Power Forward Jeremy Lin and Amar’e Stoudemire. Both players started experiencing pain during the 3rd quarter of the Knicks game against the Pistons on Saturday. 

Jeremy Lin was dealing with a sore right knee, but participated in the morning shoot around so his status is more promising than Stoudemire’s. Stoudemire experienced pain in his troublesome lower back, and stayed home to undergo treatment Monday morning. Stoudemire also needs to have an MRI, which will hopefully result in good news and not serious injury. 

-Defending Brandon Jennings 

Brandon Jennings has averaged 30 points per game this season against the Knicks, always showing up for games against the team that passed him up in the 2009 NBA draft. The Knicks will have to find a way to lessen his impact in the game as well as trying to stop newly acquired Monta Ellis. Expect to see a lot of Iman Shumpert even if Jeremy Lin is healthy. The Knicks will reply upon his and J.R. Smith’s perimeter defense to help slow down the Bucks backcourt. 

-Get To the Line, Control the Paint 

The Knicks need to attack the paint and get to the foul line against this Bucks team. They are small upfront, starting 6’9 Drew Gooden at center. If the Knicks are able to attack the rim at consistent basis that should open up good looks for the Bomb Squad (nickname for the Knicks bench). 

The Knicks also have to do a better job on the boards against the Bucks, as they were badly out rebounded last time around. If the Knicks are able to control the paint better this time around it will limit 2nd opportunites for the Bucks and allow the Knicks to better control the pace and tempo of the game, which should have a playoff atmosphere tonight at the Garden. 

-Carmelo Anthony’s Impact 

Carmelo Anthony has struggled with his shot as of late, but has not let it effect the rest of his game poorly. He is working his teammates into the game on offense, and is still rebounding well. It is also encouraging to see him playing hard on the defensive end of the court, something he had been hesitant to do since coming to the Knicks. Anthony has to get out of his funk to have the Knicks reach their full potential as a team, but also because he will be called upon to carry the team tonight if Amar’e and Lin are in fact out. This would be a great time for him to break his slump, against the team he had such a marvelous debut against last February.