SPECIAL GUESTS: BUST A BUCKET JOINS US TO BUST SOME NBA KNOWLEDGE TONIGHT
"We're starting to play a little bit better. When Josh Smith got thrown out of the game, it was big for us because he changes the dynamic."-- David Lee
"I'm just reacting, not thinking any more. Whatever happens, happens." -- Chris Duhon
"It's huge because of where we are psychologically. We could have wilted because they are good, and that's where the veterans come in."-- Mike D'AntoniThe ORANGE AND BLUE VIEW
Well some pundits may say that yesterday's win against the Hawks the 4th Best team in the East was an impressive showing, but I see the Hawks the same way I see the Phoenix Suns.
Both are pretty high scoring teams but neither team is particularly big inside. They both rely on small tweener 3/4 guys inside and get their shot blocks on weak side help defense. Both teams are amongst the top 5 teams in scoring yet both are also in the 2nd half of the league in scoring defense (Phoenix 27th and Atlanta 17th). Both teams are also top tiered teams in terms of field goal percentage for, (Phoenix 1st and Atlanta 8th), but on the other hand both also are in the lower half of the league in field goal percentages against (Atlanta 17th and Phoenix 20th).
Both teams started out hot and have recently fallen back down to earth,... they both were both crushed by the Orlando Magic a more traditional half court and defense 1st team- Suns were also spanked by the Cavs another Eastern Conference defensive oriented power that is balanced out by traditional front court players. Both teams also lost to the creme de la creme Lakers.
The December 2009 Knicks are like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get? 1
Recap Box Score Play-By-Play Shot Chart Photos Conversation
1 2 3 4 T NYK (4-15) 23 16 31 34 104 ORL (15-4) 31 20 41 26 118
The Knicks could not have given fans two more drastically different performances in consecutive nights than the beating they gave the Suns (14-5 after losing to Cavs) on Wednesday and the whupping they received from the Magic (15-4) last night. It makes a Fanatic wonder what kind of team the Knicks really are. Are they really twenty-six points better than the Suns or fourteen points worse than the Magic? Who are these guys really? Is the wildly fluctuating gauge of performance really broken?
Since Mike D'Antoni arrived in New York under the hoopla of a new regime and the joy from discarding an old one, the wry smile that had cut across his face has faded, it seems, to become just one more stress wrinkle among many new ones. His hair, once handsome, now often looks disheveled and has grayed quicker than that of a U.S. president after his first 100 days. D'Antoni even looks less dapper and his coaching legacy less attractive than it did when he arrived in Gotham as he is forced to wear the 35-64 (and falling) record he has accumulated since taking over the team.
Some, including many fans, would say it is not D'Antoni's fault that the Knicks are so putrid in his second year as coach. According to his long-time friend and rival, George Karl, coach of the Denver Nuggets, the organization's strategy of tossing two seasons for a shot at the 2010 free agent market is unfair to D'Antoni. Without directly naming Donnie Walsh, Karl was very critical of a strategy he felt was doomed to failure and the eventual firing of the coach. "The history of the game that I don't understand, that I don't think has a lot of success is going to the bottom and trying to sign a great free agent. I think it's a lack of respect to coaches. When you go to the bottom, that coach gets fired 90 percent of the time. You throw that coach to the wolves," Karl said.*
Karl, a respected member of the coaching fraternity who will defend any coach not named Isiah Thomas or who has worked his why through the old boy network, knows the game outside the game and suggested that a coach of D'Antoni's stature should be allowed to wait in the front office as a "vice president" or something while some other poor fool absorbed that mounting losses on his resume and disintegrating reputation in the basketball community. Karl's protectionism begs the question whether fans should feel sorry for D'Antoni for being subjected to the Knicks questionable recipe for return to championship-contention form. Well, should we?
The following links should help you prep for the game, although you might be thinking like me: if my team is not going to prep for the game, why should I? Such a cynic.
For tonight, I like the CBS Sports Preview of the Knicks-Magic game.
We need to invite these folks at the Bloguin Orlando Magic Blog, The Puns Are Starting To Bore Me, to the LBE. As of this link-up, they don't have a game preview, but they have some interesting insight on the Magic without Jameer Nelson plus today's headline is in response to their blog header-title.
(Updated: Since the Fanhouse interview, Milicic has received the attention of the New York Post. Marc Berman interviewed the unhappy center who admits that the so-called D'Antoni offense was better suited for him when he was a kid; not so much now)
Darko Milicic recently told Fanhouse that he is displeased with his status with the Knicks and his overall NBA experience. He is seriously considering a return to Euroball where he can have more playing time and enjoy the opportunity to create for others as he had before he joined the NBA.
"The NBA for me is not the way that I want to be,'' said Milicic, averaging 2.0 points and 8.9 minutes while having been benched for eight of the Knicks' 16 games, before not playing in his team's 128-125 loss to Denver at the Pepsi Center. "Looking forward, the stuff that I'm looking for is for me to play and for to me enjoy playing. I think right now the only spot for me is Europe.
"Because growing up and playing basketball, I needed the ball in my hands. I used to create for myself and I used to create for others. I used to play a lot. That's the kind of stuff I'm looking for. And for me to get that in the NBA right now, I don't think so. And I've got to be real.''
"I'm not blaming other people,'' Milicic, who has career averages of 5.4 points and 4.0 rebounds, said of his struggles. "I'm not crying about it. Basketball is just a game. And stuff happens. If I wasn't the second pick, who knows what would have happened? If I was some other pick, you could look back and say what would have happened.
"It's past. It's behind me. I'm going to decide after this year what I'm going to do, stay here or go back to Europe and play. I will decide after this season is over ... I'll go home and clear my mind ... I'll talk to the people that I care about and people who care about me.''
Unfortunately for Darko, D'Antoni does not favor big men in his scheme. It is quickly being revealed, as most thought prior to the acquisition, Darko is simply another expiring contract.
"We can get better off this. I know I've said that before and I've kind of been all over the board, but if we can keep this intensity and compete like this, they'll get more confidence."-- Mike D'Antoni
"He's got the total package right now,I think our guys did a pretty good job, because if we didn't, he would've had 70." -- Al Harrington
"They might have been the two toughest free throws I've shot in a while. We've got the game on the line, 50, you're right there and you want to get it. If I didn't say I wanted to get it, I'd be lying to you. I'm right there. But most importantly they were two big free throws." -- Carmelo Anthony
Last night, against the top tier Denver Nuggets, the Knicks proved they could play good basketball. Unfortunately, as early MVP candidate Carmelo Anthony dropped 50 on a compliant defense, the Knicks still did not show they could play good enough to beat someone of significance.