Knicks Frontcourt Subdues Heat

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MIAMI — The Knicks made it three in a row last night with an efficient, disciplined performance on both ends against the Heat.

PAINT DOMINANCE: On the offensive end, the Knicks got huge games from the starting frontcourt of Melo (25 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals), Robin Lopez (19 points, 2 blocks) and Kristaps Porzingis (12 points, 2 blocks). Melo shot 75% from the field, using a balanced attack from inside and mid-range. Porzingis struggled with his shot, but hit double figures in the second half by getting to the line. And Rolo put his full arsenal on display with putbacks, spin moves and his pet baby hook shot.

D-WILL SPARK: Once again, Derrick Williams was the key bench contributor, helping New York maintain their fourth quarter double digit lead. He had 13 points (5/8) to go along with 8 rebounds. The most clutch bucket was a fourth quarter three-pointer with the shot-clock expiring. It pushed the lead back to double digits and seemed to deflate Miami’s confidence.

PORZINGIS STAYS FOCUSED: Chris Bosh had a monster game (28 points) and seemed to relish taking our rookie to school. He got a nice driving dunk at KP’s expense, and Whiteside followed up with his own slam over the Latvian giant. Porzingis didn’t get rattled, and came back from the Bosh dunk for an alley oop on the next possession. Earlier, he had two good blocks on Luol Deng and Dwyane Wade.

He’s not going to block every shot, but I like the fact Porzingis is never afraid to contest, even after getting yammed on like below.

 

Knicks Complete Back to Back Sweep of Hawks

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The Knicks accomplished perhaps their best feat thus far this season with back to back wins over the elite Atlanta Hawks.

Ball movement? You got it and it started with Carmelo Anthony, who had 7 assists last night and flirted with a triple double (23 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists). On Sunday’s game he had five. In two games, New York tallied 27 dishes.

Defense? The Hawks were held to 35% from three and went from 23 fast break points on Sunday to just 8 Tuesday night. They shot an average of 44% from the field, but never got a consistent offense going due to the Knicks’ pesky interior defense, helmed by Robin Lopez and Kristaps Porzingis combining for 7 blocks in the two outings.

Backcourt production? Arron Afflalo exploded for 38 points on Sunday, torching Atlanta by hitting his first seven three pointers and going 14/17 from the field. Calderon was +9 in Sunday’s game, but had his best moment last night when he hit a clutch driving layup over several Hawk defenders to put New York up 105-101 with 18 seconds remaining. He finished with 7 points and six assists.

Bench spark? Jerian Grant had his best game as a Knick on Sunday. He looked for his shot and passed, scoring 8 points and dishing for 7 assists. Last night, it was Derrick Williams providing much needed production with 15 points.

Coaching? Derek Fisher went with a nine-man rotation and exploited matchups. His subs gave the starters adequate rest, and he stayed with the players that provided a hot hand.

Toughness? The Knicks didn’t fall apart when the Hawks tightened up last night and tried to bully them. Robin Lopez retaliated quickly from a Paul Millsap cheap shot, and Porzingis got right in Kent Bazemore’s face for the same tactics (with Melo having his back).

The team still has a ways to go, but the chemistry is building. And with this squad already equaling last year’s 17 wins, you can’t help but be optimistic.

[Video] Melo and Seraphin Lead Knicks Past Pelicans 95-86

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NEW YORK –  We got another home win! There were some nail-biting moments in the fourth, but it was the Pelicans who struggled more in crunch time as the Knicks rode huge efforts from Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Seraphin to hold off the Pelicans 95-87. Coach Fisher still have lots to work out in regards to rotations, but our group is remaining confident and making the most of their minutes.

SERAPHIN STEPS UP: The Knicks need a “X-factor” contribution every night to win most games, and on Sunday that came from Frenchman Kevin Seraphin. No doubt inspired by the recent tragic attacks in his country, Seraphin provided 12 points which helped offset a monstrous performance by Anthony Davis (36 points, 11 rebounds, 4 blocks). Seraphin shot 6/8 and hit some clutch fourth quarter shots on Davis, which I believe slowed The Brow down enough to help New York slip away.

MELO UNDER CONTROL: Carmelo Anthony had one of his most complete games of the season, notching 29 points on 52% shooting to go with 12 rebounds. He got seven free throws, stayed aggressive going to the basket, and was smart with his long and mid-range shots. When he missed a few in a row, he made sure to look to get teammates involved and didn’t force matters.

PORZINGIS FEARLESS IN SCHOOLING: Our rookie got abused by Davis more often than not, but he stayed aggressive and looked for his shot all night. This was in spite of Davis blocking him several times.

We’re now hovering right below .500 again as the Hornets come to town Tuesday night. We better be looking for revenge.

 

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[Video] Say No To Calderon: Cavs 96, Knicks 86

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Photo Credit: AP Photo/Tony Dejak

In all honestly, I planned on doing a recap of this game on Wednesday, but I was too pissed off. The Cavs were begging the Knicks to beat them. Their three-point shooting was non-existent, defense suspect, and LeBron couldn’t get into a shooting rhythm.

But never fear Knicks opponents, victory is always within reach when Jose Calderon is on the floor! The season is young, but it’s no hyperbole to state Calderon is the worst starting point guard in the league. On paper, his stats are atrocious — 4.6 pts (27% FG), 2.4 assists, and three-point shooting at 31%. But the eye test is where Calderon looks even worse. He literally can’t keep any opposing guard in front of him. Mo Williams dropped 22 points on him. Amazingly, Fisher had Calderon playing in the final seven minutes. At the time, the game was even. A few minutes of errant passes and stagnated offensive sets later, we found ourselves down by double digits.

This rant sums up my feelings quite well.

WHERE ART THOU SHOT, MELO???: Games like this are when we could really use the old Melo. Unfortunately, most athletes don’t hit the ground running after major knee surgery, so I’m not expecting Melo to return to form completely until around late December. Despite the bad shooting (17 points, 6/18), Melo was strong with his defense on LeBron (23 points, 9/23) and getting boards (12).

PORZINGIS EXCELS…WHEN HE’S ON THE COURT: Our rook continued to impress. In 21 minutes, he put up 13 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks. He’s currently leading the team in the latter two categories. The problem is the foul trouble kept him benched for long stretches in the second half. It really hurt us because he went out midway in the third just when he had started putting repeated buckets on Kevin Love. Outside of his brain fart fouls, Calderon’s issues with keeping his man out the paint contributed to Kris’ fouling.  Nonetheless, Kris’ confidence is growing. Phil got us a gem.

[Video] Jab Step! “Carmelo Anthony Be Like…”

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Since hitting my radar via his hilarious on-court impersonations of Russell Westbrook and James Harden, I’ve been waiting for BdotAdot5 to deliver his take on our very own Carmelo Anthony. Here it is. You think he included enough jab steps?

Knicks Trade Pablo Prigioni to Rockets for Alexey Shved

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While other NBA teams are mulling over franchise-altering trades, the New York Knicks made a low-key deal at the trade deadline in moving veteran point guard Pablo Prigioni to the Houston Rockets for Alexey Shved and two second round draft picks.

The 37-year-old Prigioni spent 3 seasons in New York, averaging 4 points, 3 assists and 1 steal in 18 minutes. From the field, Prigioni shot 44% (41% from three).

The 26-year-old Shved was acquired by Houston from Philadelphia earlier this year. In 9 games with the Rockets, he’s averaged 3.2 points, 0.3 assists and 0.4 rebounds in 6.6 minutes per game. For the season, the Russian point guard is averaging 7.6 points, 1.9 assists, and 1 rebound on 39% shooting.

Before the All-Star break, Prigioni had not played in eight of the last 12 games, fueling rumors he was on the trade block.

Prigioni  will be joining a play-off bound Rockets team that is currently fourth in the Western Conference with a 36-17 record.

 

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No more sneaky steals and spot-up three-point shooting in NY. Prigioni will be missed, but this is yet another move that benefits both parties. The Knicks get another young point guard to try to mold, and Prigioni gets to join a contender where his sticky hands and floor leadership will be well-served in spot minutes.

Shved is a 6’6 point guard and I’m sure we can put that to good use. His recent teams have given up on his potential, so hopefully he views this as a “last shot” of sorts to show he’s a valuable player.

A toast to Prigioni.

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Carmelo Anthony to End 2015 Season for Left Knee Surgery

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Carmelo Anthony will announce the end of his season later today to undergo left knee surgery, per NBA sources.

Anthony has played most of the season with recurring left knee soreness, forcing the Knicks to reduce his minutes and allow sit-outs on back to back games. Before last Sunday’s All-Star game, Anthony told the media that he’d likely forego the rest of the season for surgery.

Anthony’s knee ailment was revealed as requiring left knee patella tendon debridement and repair. Per Knicks president Phil Jackson, Anthony will be sidelined 4-6 months.

What we’re finding out from the medical is on court, it could be four to six months. We can’t put it at a timetable until after the surgery. But that’s what they’re saying. They say it can be anywhere between four to six months for Carmelo to be back on the floor.

But we’re really confident he’ll heal well and he’ll be fine

The Knicks limped into All-Star weekend on a five game losing streak and currently sport the worst record in the league at 10-43.

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I’ve seen some people online trying to spin this into another reason to criticize Melo for being selfish and not looking out for the team. In reality, this is a move to ensure the team’s future.

Even if Melo started playing the best basketball of his life, this Knicks team has no chance of making the playoffs. Further play only risks creating an even more serious knee injury and putting the future production of our franchise player in peril. Letting the team continue on this path sans Melo keeps the Knicks in play for a top draft pick and also opens another roster spot for our young D-League talent to gain experience.

With all that said, the disaster that has been the 2015 season is humbling. JR, Shump, Melo and Stat are all off the floor in a matter of months.

Bon Voyage! Knicks Complete Six-Player Dallas Trade for Felton and Chandler

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Yesterday, the Knicks completed their first big trade under the Phil Jackson regime, shipping out starters Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler for point guards Jose Calderon and Shane Larkin, guard Wayne Ellington, center Samuel Dalembert, and the 34th and 51st picks on tonight’s NBA draft.

Chandler missed over 30 games last year with injuries and has struggled in recent years to meet the level of play that made him the Defensive Player of the Year in 2012. He has one year remaining on a four-year, $60 million dollar contract.

Felton had one of his worst seasons last year, shooting 39% from the field and posting a career-low in points (9.7). Felton was plagued by off the court problems as well — he was arrested on felony gun charges and last week plead guilty, receiving a $5000 fine and 500 hours of community service.

“The journey to build this team for the upcoming season and beyond continues,” said Phil Jackson in a statement about the trade. “We have added players with this move that will fit right in to our system while maintaining future flexibility. We would like to thank Raymond and Tyson for their time and hard work with the organization over the past few years.”

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Sorry Tyson Chandler — any trade that gets Felton off this team gets the stamp of approval from me. While I’m not particularly crazy about Jose Calderon on the defensive end, he can hit open threes, which makes him ideal for the triangle offense Fisher and Jackson are looking to implement. Shane Larkin also has a lot of potential. I can see him becoming a fan favorite and having a string of breakout games next season. I’d be surprised if Dalembert makes it onto the roster. Ellington I’m not well-versed on, but at least he’s not an injury-prone old vet like most of our signings in recent years.

As for Chandler, I loved him when he was healthy and giving full effort. But when is the last time we’ve actually seen that from him? He seemed to always be injured or sick during the playoffs, and his rim protection has taken a severe nose-dive. Not to mention, the man still struggles to finish point-blank shots at the rim.

Chandler also did a lot of finger-pointing last season, taking jabs at Mike Woodson and subtle ones at Carmelo Anthony. His body language and effort told me Chandler had mentally checked out so a change of scenery, especially back to where he had his greatest success, should be a huge motivator and do him good.

All in all, this is a very good trade for the team. And can you believe we actually got picks back?! In Phil we trust…

[Video] No Country for Old Men – Shumpert Crossover Drops Paul Pierce

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With the Knicks out the playoffs, New York fans will take any small victories we can get over these last two games. Iman Shumpert has been terrorizing Paul Pierce on the defensive end since last year’s playoffs. But tonight, Shump gave old man Pierce the business on offense via this sweet crossover. The Knicks ended up pounding the Nets the entire game and won 109-98.

[Video] For Pride Only: Knicks 100, Bulls 89

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The was an overall somber mode last night at MSG with the Knicks playing their first game since being bounced from playoff contention. It was also the first time in Melo’s career that he hasn’t led his team to the playoffs. So how did the team respond? It’s not a big consolation prize, but New York put together one of their better defensive efforts of the season, holding the Bulls to 39% shooting and getting several emphatic stops in the 4th quarter to seal a 100-89 victory.

Melo, still nursing a bum right shoulder, managed to be very productive in his limited 28 minutes, notching 17 points and 3 assists. He had a lot of help tonight with three additional starters hitting double figure scoring, Iman Shumpert (10 points, 7 rebounds) providing strong perimter defense, and Tim Hardaway Jr. (20 points) serving as a 4th quarter closer by hitting four key free throws and a three-pointer to hold off a late Bulls run.

To contend with Chicago’s frontline, Coach Woodson wisely gave Cole Aldrich 18 minutes. The big man didn’t disappoint with 6 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks. It makes you wonder how much of a difference he could have been if Woody has played him more after Kenyon Martin went down.

The Knicks are off to the Barclays Center to face the Nets on Tuesday night.