Posted on: April 11, 2011 10:11 am
Posted by Royce Young
Don't tell anyone, but the Knicks have won seven straight. They've now put a pretty good hold on the six-seed in the East and shut most everyone up about whatever it was we all were saying.
They're playing good offense, ood enough defense and winning. Funny how things work out. When the Knicks drop five straight, it makes for great fodder and we go nuts. Now that they've won seven in a row, well, it's just not as interesting. I have no idea why.
But against Indiana Sunday, the Knicks pulled out their seventh consecutive game, but did it with some drama. Carmelo Anthony dropped the Pacers at the buzzer, his second such shot with the Knicks. I don't know man, these Knicks, they're kind of feeling a bit dangerous for someone in an opening round series right now.
Posted on: April 8, 2011 10:58 am
Amar'e Stoudemire out Friday against Nets.
Posted by Matt Moore
Amar'e Stoudemire will miss Friday night's game versus the New Jersey Nets, and Chauncey Billups may be out as well for the Knicks. Deron Williams will also miss the game after wrist surgery.
Here's a list of the six best players that will be playing in this game. Carmelo Anthony, Brook Lopez, Toney Douglas, Anthony Morrow, Sasha Vujacic/Landry Fields.
May God have mercy on all those who choose to make it out to Newark's arena tonight.
Stoudemire's dealing with a sprained ankle, and with the Knicks having locked up a playoff spot, there's no reason to avoid shutting him down until he's as healthy as can be. They've only got a half-game lead over Philadelphia for the sixth seed, but really, there's not much difference between facing the Heat and the Celtics. They're outmatched either way. They have a four-game lead over the Pacers to avoid the Bulls in the first round, but then, New York's had the most success against Chicago. Go figure.
Posted on: April 3, 2011 3:13 pm
Edited on: April 3, 2011 3:30 pm
Posted by Royce Young
(Video possibly NSFW: Some of the jokes might be a bit on the crude side, so a heads up there.)
I guess you can see Carmelo Anthony's point a little now. You're not appearing on Saturday Night Live as a forward for the Denver Nuggets.
Melo appeared in two sketches last night and while I can't exactly say either were funny or that Anthony did a great job, I can say that he had his face on a major network television show. Which is one of the goals he had in mind when he forced his way to the Knicks.
The show kind of went with the obvious gag of putting a famous athlete in a funny wig. Though a cameo from Tom Hanks never hurts anything.
Posted on: March 31, 2011 2:51 am
Edited on: March 31, 2011 11:29 am
Posted by Royce Young
I'll cut right to it: Go read this piece on Isiah Thomas at FoxSports.com. It's terrific. It's a wide ranging feature that basically sums up everything about Thomas in a couple thousand words. Some good, some bad and some strange.
One question that was asked of Thomas was his involvement in getting Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks. There was a lot of speculation that was the case as well as solid reporting on it too. Thomas, who of course was once the general manager of the team and is still close friends with owner James Dolan, was said to be quite wrapped up in the Melodrama.
And right before the deal was done, he didn't deny involvement. When he was asked in this most recent interview, he toed around the question carefully.
“I do have a lot of friends,” he says carefully. “And I am asked to advise in a lot of different scenarios. Players, coaches, and ... ” A very long pause. “I won't comment on the Knicks situation, but I do like helping the Knicks, and I do want them to do well.”I kind of wonder if the Knicks were 17-4 with Melo instead of 9-12 if Thomas would be ready to take a little more credit for it. Of course he has to tread carefully with his dealings with the Knicks as he's still a college coach at Florida International and was already turned down by the league when offered a consulting job with the Knicks.
But the strangest moment of the interview came when Thomas was talking about how badly he wanted to get back into the NBA. He's convinced he soon will be, mainly on the legs that he has lots of friends. And at one point, he pushed the writer interviewing him to call up one of those friends on the spot. Problem was, the one he wanted him to call was one that was going to tell it like it is -- Charles Barkley.
We sit by the Biltmore pool and talk, and after a while I ask him for phone numbers of people who can speak to his situation. I ask him what Charles Barkley would say.
Wildly interesting stuff. And a view into the weird world of Isiah Thomas. One of the all-time greats searching for approval from peers. He's still confident in himself, as he always has been. We all know his record of good and bad and as you'll see in the interview, he's not shy about sharing them, especially the good.
What to make of it all though? I don't really know. With everything on the Isiah Thomas resume, it seems hard to imagine him returning to the NBA soon. He obviously wants to though. But, like Barkley said, he has a job to do now with Florida International, one that he's not doing a very well with (FIU went 11-19 this season) and one that he already tried to divert attention from with the Knicks consulting thing.
Like he said though, having friends in high places is certainly a nice thing to have in your pocket. And it's pretty clear Thomas is still buds with James Dolan. Make of that what you will.
Posted on: March 30, 2011 10:31 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Before everyone gets ahead of themselves, let's understand things for what they are. The Knicks beat a bad New Jersey team at Madison Square Garden, and still gave up 116 points to do it.
But things are a better right now than they were a week ago and that at least deserves some recognition. The Knicks are within a game of .500 after winning their second straight and with the schedule softening up to close the season, maybe they can re-position for the six-seed. Maybe.
Two things of note that are were mentioning from the Knicks win over the Nets:
1) Carmelo Anthony really appears to be trying to shoulder the load. "Trying" is a key word. Melo was terrific in the third going for 20 points. The fourth, he went just 1-5 for two points, but it was enough. His third quarter effort was what brought the Knicks back from 10 down to trail by just a point heading to the fourth.
He finished with 39 on 15-26 shooting. This is Melo's third consecutive game with at least 35. But even more than that, his effort defensively was for once, noticeable. He battled through screens, contested shots and crashed the defensive glass. Melo is giving a major effort right now to try and get things straightened out for New York. It's commendable.
2) The Knicks role players did something. If you check the box score, you'll see it was 39 for Melo, 23 for Amar'e Stoudemire and 33 for Chauncey Billups. They definitely did most of the work. Almost 80 percent of it. But in a big stretch in the fourth, Anthony Carter dished out three big assists and knocked down a jumper. Shelden Williams turned in three big buckets and it was his work on the glass tipping a rebound to Toney Douglas that essentially sealed the game. Shawne Williams only scored four but made a large jumper late.
The Knicks really are just a less polished, less talented version of the Heat in a way, even down to the bench. They lose this game without even the slightest contributions from their role guys. Melo, Billups and Amar'e will carry the team in most every way, but they aren't winning games, even against bad teams like New Jersey, without their benc doing something.
This Knick team is kind of fascinating and it's why so many people are writing so much about them. They just seem too good to be losing all these games. But they're now 9-12 since the trade and though it's only two wins, it's at least the right direction. Melo called the Orlando game a pretty much must-win and it was, because it relieved some stress off them.
But this team isn't built for the now. They aren't doing anything other than maybe pushing a first round opponent to six or seven games. They're too talented to be losing this much though and that's why even just back-to-back wins feels big for them.
Posted on: March 30, 2011 10:37 am
New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony gets a giant billboard in Manhattan. Posted by Ben Golliver.
Everything is bigger in the Big Apple, even the advertisements.
In the latest sign that being a star in Denver just isn't the same as being a star in New York City, Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony was on hand as wireless phone company Boost Mobile unveiled a giant billboard in Manhattan bearing his likeness and the words "Be Heard."
The New York Daily News reports that the size and location of the billboard left Anthony speechless.
As big as Carmelo Anthony played for the Knicks in Monday's crucial overtime win over the Orlando Magic, he loomed much larger Tuesday when Boost Mobile unveiled a 128-foot billboard of the All-Star two blocks from the Garden. The endorsement deal with the wireless provider is Anthony's first since being acquired from the Denver Nuggets last month.
But it's not his first Manhattan billboard. His ad for Brand Jordan is on 34th and Seventh Ave., the same spot where there was an ad for LeBron James last season. "It was crazy for me to see the Jordan one," Anthony said. "It was right there in the middle of everything. Then to see this one, I can't really put it into words."Just imagine how big the billboards will be if Anthony ever gets the Knicks above .500!
The allure of big markers -- and the opportunities that go with them -- is never more obvious than when you're staring at a mural that's 12 times taller than a basketball hoop and located in the middle of one of the world's busiest neighborhoods. Sometimes it takes something as gigantic and garish as this to put the superstar lifestyle into perspective.
Photo via @DimeMag on Twitter.
Posted on: March 29, 2011 12:41 am
Edited on: March 29, 2011 12:51 am
The Magic fail to bring the defense agains the Knicks and wind up 18-19 against playoff teams this season.
Posted by Matt Moore
The Orlando Magic are now 18-19 this season against (current) playoff teams this season after their 113-106 loss to the Knicks Monday night. Granted, the Magic were without Jameer Nelson and J.J. Redick from the start and lost Chris Duhon to a jammed thumb during, but the result is the same. The Magic already won the season series with the Knicks, but now, just when they're trying to get momentum headed into the playoffs, they surrender this loss.
There will be talk of Dwight Howard's phantom sixth foul, of Carmelo Anthony initiating a trip of Jason Richardson that was responded with a trip on Melo by J-Rich that was the only one called. There will be talk of the injuries and a lot of random buckets that fell, but in the end, it was the Magic's usually stout defense that failed to get the job done.
The Knicks' defensive effort really focused around turnovers. They turned over the Magic on 21% of their possessions, and held them to 43% shooting. For the Knicks, that's a Celtics-like performance. In particular, the Knicks' perimeter defense stepped up, a big reason why Chauncey Billups was +4 for the game. Keeping the perimeter attack in check, with good rotations, communications, and contests? Basically the Knicks did everything they haven't done in their woeful recent performances. Whether it was just an off night for the Magic, or as Jason Richardson said post-game, the Knicks were "starved" for a win, it's a game to build on for New York.
This was a must-win for the Knicks, and a game where the Magic just wanted to get through as they try and get healthy. But with the Magic taking 32 3-pointers, hitting just 11, it's a sign that this team isn't close to the roster make-up, nor the momentum of the '09 team. There's a five game gap between Orlando and Atlanta.
The difference feels much closer.
Posted on: March 28, 2011 5:36 pm
The Knicks acknwoledge their game Monday against the Magic is a must-win game. But what does that mean, exactly?
Posted by Matt Moore
It has come to this.
A Monday game at the Garden, not nationally televised, against a team whose championship window seems just as shut as their own, though the home team has brighter hopes for the future while the visitors are left clinging to a relevance two years gone. After one of the biggest trades in a recent history full of huge trades, the New York Knicks face a must-win game against the Orlando Magic, the fourth seed in the East, in March, at home.
This is what it has come to.
The Knicks are in a position of desperation, losers of nine of their last ten, and six straight. Carmelo Anthony himself painted the picture clearly Monday morning, as our own Royce Young brought you earlier:
"We understand how important this game is for us," Anthony said at the Knicks' training center. "It's almost a must win for us. That mentality, that's something that I want to approach it, as a must-win game. We've been talking about that throughout the team."
Mr. Young himself asked the question of how a game which does not eliminate you from playoff contention can be a must-win, especially against a team as strong as the Magic (or relatively strong, as Ken Berger describes). Here's how. The Magic game for the Knicks represents their last chance to right the ship. There are a handful of games against lottery squad opponents before their final two games of the season, a back-to-back against the Bulls and Celtics which would be brutal if those two teams would be playing their starters, which they won't be, or trying, which they won't be. Seeds will be settled and if they're not, the Celtics or Bulls still won't be going all-out to obtain the top seed with four days till the second season begins. The Magic game, however, is a playoff opponent they could conceivably (but are unlikely to) see in the first round, a measuring stick if they can surmount a challenge to present themselves as worthy enough to be measured.
If the Knicks are going to make a step forward beyond just making the playoffs this season, the first thing is to stem the blood flow. Doing so against the Nets won't mean much. The emotional letdown of a loss to the Magic on top of all the other shortfalls against contenders (the Celtics) and non-contenders (like the Cavs, Bucks, and Bobcats) would be the final nail in the coffin. That phrase is used a lot, but consider that the Knicks have already had nails from those other teams slammed into the wood and the light is getting awfully narrow.
Oddly enough, the East Coast elite under the bright lights of the Garden have to take a strikingly Midwestern stance. They have to draw a line and hold it. There are other cliches you can throw out there about getting water out of the boat and things like that, but the reality is this: context is everything.
Going into the season, making the playoffs, even under .500 as a low seed with and underwhelming track record against elite teams would have been a huge step forward for the Knicks. It would have been legitimate progress towards the future they want to represent for themselves, that of a championship contender. But the Melo trade changed everything. It was a move for the future, that's absolutely true. The move wasn't made to win this season, but to build a core. However, it brought two stars and cost a metric ton of player assets. And somehow the Knicks have gotten worse. It's outperforming expectations you set in preseason and failing those you thought reasonable at the All-Star Break. Expectations aren't set in stone, they're fluid. The Bulls face different expectations for the postseason than they did at the All-Star Break, higher ones, and the Heat lower. The Knicks had low expectations which they are likely, but no longer assured, to reach, before the season. Now they have higher expectations that they have nearly no shot at reaching. Their best shot is to get hot at the end of the season and make some noise in the first round to build some excitement going forward.
That starts with a push, with a spark, with holding the line.
That starts with Orlando. Must-win games are considered ways to prevent an ending. For the Knicks, this is something that must be achieved to create a beginning.