Posted on: February 6, 2012 10:29 am
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Posted on: February 3, 2012 2:53 am
Posted by Ben Golliver
Here's a quick rundown of Thursday night's NBA action. it was a light schedule, with just six games on the docket.
32 points, 13 assists, 4 rebounds, 1 steal and 2 turnovers. It was an interesting situation on Thursday night where the power of one scorer/distributor was greater than the power of two scorers. Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony combined for 60 points but took 53 shots to get it done, and while Rose didn't shoot out of this world himself -- 12-for-26 -- his ball distribution made sure Chicago was above 50 percent as a team. He found Joakim Noah for a number of easy dunks with well-timed passes. Here's Ken Berger of CBSSports.com from Madison Square Garden on Rose's huge night.
A 21-point road win over L.A., even if the Clippers were on the back-to-back, is worth writing home about. Sometimes everything goes right. When Danilo Gallinari doesn't miss any of his five 3-point atempts and Timofey Mozgov doesn't miss a shot -- 5-for-5 -- while holding his own against L.A.'s frontline, Denver won't lose many games. For a team that shoots roughly league average from deep, they sure make 12-21 from outside look easy. Their reward is sole possession of the West's No. 2 seed.
The Kings snapped a 5-game losing streak so it probably feels like an A+. This wasn't a perfect effort thanks to some porous first half defense, but Sacramento made a strong fourth quarter push, a run that proved there's enough room, in the right situation, for Tyreke Evans, Marcus Thornton and John Salmons. Evans, who has struggled against Portland this season, compensated for a slow start with some physical drives late, and Thornton made up for an off shooting night by getting to the free throw line 12 times. Portland folded hard down the stretch but that doesn't much matter to Sacramento, who is happy to get February off to a winning start. Don't overlook the 13 points and 12 rebounds from Jason Thompson, who struggled to defend LaMarcus Aldridge but made sure to get some back on the other end.
When Amar'e Stoudemire flipped in a running left-handed scoop after drawing contact, it seemed like Thursday night just might be his night. He finished with 34 points and shot 16-for-27 from the field. New York's supporting cast is such that you don't raise your eyes too much at the shot attempt number these days, especially against an elite defense like Chicago's. Live and die by your best offensive weapons. What dragged Stoudemire down was his ill-advised late 3-pointer off of an inbounds play. A career 25.9 percent shooter, that was an inexcusable decision. Then again, maybe Thursday wasn't the night to nitpick his game, seeing as how it was the first time all season he scored more than 25 points.
The Hawks got hit with your typical "lockout" game, which is strange because they had a day off to prepare. Regardless all the signs were there: poor shooting, getting killed on the glass, lots of turnovers and an inability to get to the free throw line. Who played well in this one for Atlanta? Not Joe Johnson (-27 and 4-for-10 shooting). Not Jeff Teague (-20 on 2-for-7 shooting). Not anyone, really. Memphis crushed Atlanta, 58-38, in the paint and Marc Gasol finished with a whopping +40 on the night and Tony Allen wasn't far behind, with a +36. That's a steamroll right there.
Portland Trail Blazers
You might think that Portland's 3-9 road record speaks for itself but the nature of the losses is as damning as the final number. Fully in control of Thursday's game against Sacramento at the half, the Blazers fed LaMarcus Aldridge, who pounded the Kings' bigs mercilessly. Once Sacramento started doubling Aldridge, though, Portland's shooters couldn't hit a fish in a barrel. Wesley Matthews, Jamal Crawford and Raymond Felton combined to shoot 3-16 from deep. Blazers coach Nate McMillan seems unable to generate any other offense late in games. If this team plans to live or die by the three, it will be dying quite a bit.
Posted on: February 3, 2012 2:42 am
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Posted on: January 29, 2012 2:06 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2012 10:43 am
The vultures are swirling around the big, rotten apple.
With the New York Knicks just 7-13 to start the season and All-Star forward Amar'e Stoudemire scoring 8 points per game less than last season, the first rush of trade winds is in effect.
CSNPhilly.com reports that it is the Philadelphia 76ers, an Atlantic Division rival, that phoned the Knicks to inquire about Stoudemire's availability.
According to a league source, the Sixers have inquired about Stoudemire, though it was categorized as “due diligence.” Nothing is said to be imminent or even in the early stages other than just talk, the source said. Nevertheless, in past seasons the Sixers were reportedly discussing trade scenarios with the Phoenix Suns in order to acquire Stoudemire.The Knicks' early season struggles are well-documented. Without a capable point guard to point the group in the right direction, New York has stumbled out of the gate and is currently tracking to be a lottery team despite the presence of two All-Stars and Tyson Chandler in the starting lineup.
Stoudemire, who drew some MVP talk last season, has been hit particularly hard, averaging just 17.7 points and shooting 42.8 percent from the field so far this season. For comparison, he hasn't averaged less than 20 points in a season in which he was healthy since his rookie year in 2002-2003 and he's a career 53.3 percent shooter. His effectiveness on offense, the only side of the ball where he's a real difference-maker, has plummeted from elite to pedestrian.
To see those changes from a 29-year-old player of his caliber, even one with his injury history, is unusual. The obvious read here is that the struggles are of the situational variety. The lack of a backcourt plus the lockout-shortened season plus the presence of a ball-dominating Carmelo Anthony is a tricky trio for Stoudemire to overcome. Smart teams should be calling.
Of course that doesn't mean that he's actually going anywhere. Including this season, Stoudemire has roughly $83 million left to be payed on the massive contract he signed prior to last season. Given that he can't be amnestied by a team that trades for him, any suitor would assume all of the injury-related risk that the massive contract represents. With the new collective bargaining agreement's harsher luxury tax system kicking in soon, teams are expected to be increasingly wary of having monster type deals on their books for non-monster performers.
The questions right now: Will Stoudemire return to form and, if so, when? If it doesn't happen soon, and in a big way, it will be next to impossible to trade him before the deadline. If it does happen, New York's motivation to keep him skyrockets. Unless his personal improvement brings with it an even deeper team-wide struggle, it's difficult to see a sweet spot created where other teams are interested in his services at his price and New York is willing to part ways.
This was a long-winded way of saying these rumors are premature.
Related: Another trade scenario, involving Stoudemire in a package to the Orlando Magic for All-Star center Dwight Howard, was also raised last week.
Posted on: January 23, 2012 12:46 pm
Edited on: January 23, 2012 7:22 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Not all trade rumors are created equal, so with this one, I don't think much setup is needed. Via Stephen A. Smith on his ESPN Radio show in New York:
"As I told you a little bit earlier in the hour, I have some news to report about your New York Knicks. The Orlando Magic, I will preface my statement by telling you that they have categorically denied this, but my sources tell me that they have inquired about Tyson Chandler and Amar'e Stoudemire going to Orlando for Dwight Howard.Forget the part about how Howard isn't seven feet tall and that he kind of sort of defends and rebounds. The question is, is this really a possibility?
This isn't exactly new news though. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com wrote a couple weeks ago multiple GMs had already floated this trade idea. Now all that's happening is evidently the two sides have actually discussed it to some degree.
Here's the thing with trade talks: I wouldn't doubt that this has been "discussed." Because a lot of GMs gauge the market by dangling trade ideas to other GMs. Kind of an effort to feel another guy out, see how much he values a player and sees if maybe eventually there could be a deal put together. Or to just see what maybe the state of a trade is to know what a competitor might have to give up.
That's my feeling of this supposed inquiry by the Knicks for Dwight Howard. I also suspect 28 other teams have "inquired" about Howard's availability too. That's kind of the thing that happens when the big big man in basketball apparently is available for the right price.
Would a Howard and Carmelo Anthony tandem do any better than an Amar'e - Melo duo? Maybe, probably, but there's really no way to know. The Knicks have bigger issues than just in adding starpower. The Knicks need depth, a point guard than can control and offense and for Carmelo Anthony to play better.
The Dwight Howard discussion is fun, but it's not realistic. And quite honestly, I think Magic GM Otis Smith is gaining confidence that Howard might just want to stick around in Orlando. I think that's the best shot to take for the Magic anyway. Discussing trades is one thing. I wouldn't be surprised if a team "inquired" about Derrick Rose last week too. Doesn't mean a deal is happening.
Posted on: January 23, 2012 10:06 am
Edited on: January 23, 2012 10:09 am
For starters, Phil Jackson told the New York Times he's not interested in coaching right now. Let's get that out there, first and foremost. See, I'll even blockquote it, from the New York Times:
“I have no desire to coach,” he said. “You never say never, right? I mean, there’s always something that might change my mind — but I just don’t see it.So Jackson is not "considering," "exploring," "rumored to be interested in," or in contact with the Knicks. He's hanging out in Montana and L.A., being Phil Jackson, and probably being pretty happy with the fact that when he baggage checks his championship jewelry, he has to pay the extra weight fees.
However, the very next quote in that article is what makes you stop and go "hmmm" much as Arsenio Hall did in the early 1990's.
“Without a doubt, New York is special,” he continued in a vein a little more encouraging for Knicks fans. “Why wouldn’t it be? When I was there, it was one of the greatest times to be in New York. I mean, the Mets, Jets and Knicks won championships all in one year.”via Phil Jackson Is Seduced by the Energy of New York - NYTimes.com.
Jackson, of course, won his first NBA championship as a player with the Knicks in the 1970's. A former teammate from his time there, Walt Frazier, is the color commentator. Bill Bradley, another teammate, lives there. He has history there.
Mike D'Antoni is in the last year of his contract. The Knicks are stuck in neutral, and D'Antoni's high-flying system is ill-suited to focusing around a shoot-first, shoot-last, shoot-always small forward in Carmelo Anthony and without a legit point guard, Amar'e Stoudemire has none of his strengths being maximized. The Knicks are a better defensive team this year, but the offense is so dreadful that finger-pointing has begun. As far back as three years ago, when Jackson was still winning titles with L.A., there was talk of Jackson returning to finish off his coaching run where it began, at Madison Square Garden.
The fact that the current Knicks roster is so amazingly optimized for the Triangle offense Jackson has always run (and been the only coach to be successful with it in the NBA) should not be overlooked. With Tyson Chandler in the low block, Amar'e Stoudemire in the high post, and Anthony on ther perimeter, it would allow Anthony to improvise, shoot and create, while not forcing him into running the entire offense, as the Triangle delineates decisions down to a set of options versus a free-flowing system. The Knicks lack of real guard help, even with the return of Baron Davis, would be acceptable as they would rotate weak side available for kick-outs as shooters on kick-and-drives to the basket from the far side.
The coach back where it started. A team in need of his talents. The similarities between Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony, their friendship, even. One last run to finish his illustrious career where it began. It's too perfect. Which is why it probably will not happen. And yet, even as Jackson says he doesn't miss it... he kind of does. Again, from the Times:
“I don’t miss it. I really don’t miss it. But I think I have to stick my finger into an electric socket every once in a while just to get a little jolt out of life to keep it going because that’s what gave me the joys, the jollies of life.”So, no, Phil Jackson will not be coaching the Knicks. Probably. Most-likely.
But if he did ...
Posted on: January 23, 2012 9:12 am
Edited on: January 23, 2012 10:48 am
By Matt Moore
Things are not well at the most famous arena. According to a report, anyway. The New York Post Monday stirred the pot of seemingly poisoned stew with the Knicks with a report that says there may be dissension and "finger-pointing" between the team's two stars and quotes from Carmelo Anthony that indicate a work-it-out session may be in order.
“We as a team need to do a better job getting Amar’e the ball,’’ Anthony admitted. “I have the ball in my hands. Maybe it’s on me. Maybe I have to give him the ball a little more, help him out with that. We’ll talk probably [today] and try to figure it out together. If I’m doing too much, I want him to tell me. I want the guys on the team to tell me if I’m doing too much.’’via Carmelo Anthony of Knicks hopes talk with Amar’e Stoudemire can end slump - NYPOST.com.
Anthony's comments seem to indicate a step in the right direction, but here's the problem. If you're going to have a talk with a teammate, you just talk to him. You don't announce to the media you're going to talk about it. It comes off as much more like an effort to publicly jab Stoudemire and say "If you have a problem, say something to me, already." You don't announce you're going to work things out. You either tell the media everything is fine or that you have already talked to him about it. The two men have cell phones, they share a locker room, they see one another every day. This isn't rocket science.
The report about finger-pointing is more worrisome. It's highly unlikely that Anthony is obsessed with his points, since he understands how this game works and that his star placement wouldn't fade any with fewer shots. But there definitely does seem to be a trend towards both players wrestling for control as the alpha dog. Stoudemire's been willing to let Anthony ball handle and in most contests the trend is consistent. Stoudemire begins the game by being active and trying to create space off the attention drawn by Anthony, and as Anthony continually shoots and doesn't create shots for him, Stoudemire defers more and more. It's not pouting as it is so much "well, I'm not going to go running in circles for my health." (Not on that knee, he's not.)
In reality, the problem doesn't lie with either superstar. It lies with management's decision to trade half their team including starting point guard Raymond Felton for Anthony. The system under D'Antoni cannot function without a capable point guard. The teams need cohesion, from Stoudemire on down. A point guard won't solve everything, but it would help.
But there's good news on that front, as Baron Davis is expected to practice for the first time Monday and potentially play on Saturday. Knicks fans are perhaps placing too many expecatations on a point guard who has missed a lot of time with injury and hasn't impressed when he has played over the past few years. The numbers are right there in terms of assist rate, but Davis can't solve everything on his own.
The situation in New York isn't one part being broken.
Posted on: January 22, 2012 12:16 am
Edited on: January 22, 2012 12:21 am
Posted by Ben Golliver
There will be no Jorts for the next month and a half.
The New York Daily News and ESPNNY.com report that New York Knicks rookie Josh Harrellson -- affectionately known as "Jorts" -- will miss the next six weeks after fracturing his right wrist, an injury that will require surgery.
Harrellson, 22, is a 6-foot-10 forward/center out of the University of Kentucky. A second round pick in the 2011 NBA Draft by the New Orleans Hornets, Harrellson is averaging 5.5 points and 4.2 rebounds in 18.6 minutes per game for New York.
His absence will leave Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni will one more hole to plug on a roster clearly lacking depth. Behind starters Tyson Chandler and Amar'e Stoudemire, the only available big men are Jared Jeffries, Renaldo Balkman and the seldom used Jerome Jordan.
The Knicks dropped to 6-10 on the season after losing to the Denver Nuggets in overtime, 119-114, at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night.