Tag:New York Knicks
Posted on: February 23, 2012 4:15 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 4:28 pm
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Knicks vs. Heat headlines: LeBron vs. Jeremy Lin


By Matt Moore
 

Okay, I'm going to use one pun here for this Knicks-Heat game Thursday night, and then we're going to go through the rest of it without a single one, not even Linsanity. But I have to get this one out there, OK?

This is Nuclear Lin-ter.

The unbelievable story of Jeremy Lin rolls into Miami at 7 p.m. EST Thursday night, and it's not out of this world to say that this is the biggest matchup of the season. The Knicks, 7-2 in the Jeremy Lin era (3-2 in their last five) take on the Heat on a seven-game winning streak, all by double-digits. The unheard-of phenomenon against the superstar monolith. It's David vs. Goliath, only Davis is armed to the teeth this time, with Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler, and J.R. Smith. It is the story that's captivated the minds and hearts of the sports world vs. one of the truly most hated, yet incredibly awesome in terms of ability teams in the history of sports.

This is going to be fun.

With that, here are your Knicks vs. Heat Storylines.

A Question of Fit

The superstar teams have not come together seamlessly. There have been hiccups, problems, issues, complications, struggles and downright disasters. Last year's Heat team was a mess of athletic dynamos running into each other at times, and simply standing around ball-watching others. Things are different this season. The Heat have become a much more fluid offense, but there are still times when the hesitation presents itself and the defense can stifle the Heat into looking like four-year-olds playing four-square. Meanwhile, the Knicks were disastrous without Lin. Carmelo Anthony, point forward, was an era that lasted approximately five games before Mike D'Antoni realized that wouldn't work. Is Lin the engine that can make this go? In two games with Anthony back, the Knicks are 1-1. Anthony hasn't put up big numbers, neither has Lin. But the offense has been efficient and balanced. This game is a chance for each side to present its best offering as to how they've come to fit together. The Heat can demonstrate the pieces have assembled into the Flying Death Machine they've been this season. The Knicks can show they have the engine to make the parts work with a legit point guard.

Because if neither team fits well together last night, the other might run away with the game.

Guarding Jeremy Lin

LeBron James has already said he will guard Lin for portions of the evening, and that's no surprise. What will be worth watching is how Lin adjusts. James is a monster perimeter defender because, well, he's the size of a truck and has the lateral quickness to stay with absolutely anyone. Lin, on the other hand, does a terrific job at two things, forcing the split of the double-team (though that's where most of his turnovers come from), and managing that set in terms of when to pass and when to finish. He can force the pass sometimes, but in general he has a good sense of the set.

He's running up against a big problem in James, though. According to Synergy Sports, James forces a turnover on the pick-and-roll ball handler 23.1 percent of the time, which is extremely high. Think of how shooting 45 percent in any set is pretty decent, now imagine out of ten possessions, the player turns it over twice, and hits just three of the remaining shots (James holds those shooters to 40 percent shooting). With Lin's turnovers coming mostly out of the pick-and-roll as ball handler (26 percent of the time in a small sample size), this could be rough. Great defenses like Dallas' have struggled with containing Lin when he splits that double-team, but again, this is Miami. This is really the crux of the battle right here. The Miami shooters can contain the perimeter threats with their rotations, but the biggest offensive set threat happens if Lin gets loose out of that double. That will force the Heat to adjust which opens up things for Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire. No pressure, J.

Rivalry Renewed

This isn't going to get the press of the other stars, but does anyone else realize this is Tyson Chandler facing the same Heat team he annihilated in the Finals? Chandler's ability to convert offensive rebounds is going to be key in this game. Likewise, the Heat need to get him in foul trouble early. Chandler can be neutralized which puts capable but not-standout Jared Jeffries in to battle Joel Anthony and Udonis Haslem, matchups the Heat would much prefer. Chandler can crush teams if he gets going in the pick and roll or on tap backs. This is the biggest game of Chandler's season to date with the Knicks. He put the Mavericks into the list of champions over this team last year. How he dominates the glass will go a long way into deciding this game.

One-on-One-on-One-on-One

Oddly enough, the same sets which give Miami and New York their worst performances may be necessary tonight. I've railed on the Heat for going Isolation too much as I do with nearly every NBA team, and the rest of the world has done the same to the Knicks, especially Carmelo Anthony. But the Heat's pick-and-roll defense is so good, their rotations so well-executed, that the best answer for them may simply be to let Anthony and Stoudemire do work one-on-one. Getting the Heat away from playing on a string takes away their biggest defensive strength outside of sheer athleticism. And for the Heat, the Knicks' defense is better this year despite having mostly the same players as a terrible one last season. The reason is systemic, not individual, and the best way to answer that is to isolate those poor defenders, Anthony and Stoudemire (and Fields) and try and blow past them.

In short, going hero ball is actually not a bad plan tonight.

The Indescribable

This is one of those moments. You know, the ones that form the tapestry of a season. The Heat are bagged on about not closing out games against elite competition, and Jeremy Lin has been as clutch as it comes in the fourth quarter. Carmelo Anthony has been accused of not being able to fit in an offense. The Heat crowd is typically terrible. Amar'e Stoudemire and Chris Bosh both have their demons. Both teams will blow off this game. It's one game in a regular season going by in a blur. But this game means something. The Lin phenomenon has taken the world by storm. Can it beat the best combination of talent in the NBA? Can the Heat finally step up and answer their critics resoundingly in a key moment?

This one's going to be fun.
Posted on: February 23, 2012 10:03 am
Edited on: February 23, 2012 10:05 am
 

Shumpert's Lin dunk involved a couch

Iman Shumpert and Jeremy Lin's dunk contest dunk would have involved a couch. (Getty Images)


Iman Shumpert had to bail out of the dunk contest Wednesday due to nagging knee injuries that have hobbled the Knicks' shooting guard from time to time. It was disappointing not only to see the athletic Shumpert who New York fans either love or are completely ambivalent about drop out, but because point guard sensation Jeremy Lin was supposed to help Shumpert with his dunk, and well, everyone's gone crazy seeing Lin do just about anything. 

So what was it exactly that they were going to do before the Jazz' Jeremy Evans replaced Shumpert in the dunk contest?

Remember how Jeremy Lin had slept on Landry Fields' and his brother's couch for weeks because he wasn't sure whether the Knicks would cut him or not? From the New York Post:
Yes, he and Jeremy Lin had talked about doing a dunk in which Shumpert would vault over a couch — the symbol of Lin’s humble sleeping conditions.

“He was going to help me out,’’ Shumpert told The Post. “Once my knee was so sore, I started thinking about it: ‘Am I going to be able to jump over the couch?’ All kinds of things to think about.’’
via Knicks’ Iman Shumpert planned to use Jeremy Lin in Slam Dunk contest - NYPOST.com.

On the one hand, it's a bummer that we won't get to see Jeremy Lin, preferably lounging on the couch or feigning sleep while Shumpert goes bananas over him, or tosses the ball up to him as Baron Davis did to Blake Griffin in the car last year. But on the other...

This was supposed to be Shumpert's time to shine. It's bad enough that the dunk contestants are taken away from the rest of not being involved in All-Star Weekend and into the media rush from one event to another, but to have your whole thing be centered around someone else? There's enough room for Linsanity during the regular season and throughout All-Star Weekend without having him take over the spotlight when Shumpert was going to be doing all the work.

All for naught, though, as Shumpert will try and get healthy, and Evans, who very much wants to be a part of the dunk contest, gets a go.

(Via Posting and Toasting)
Posted on: February 23, 2012 1:10 am
Edited on: February 23, 2012 1:12 am
 

Report Card 2.22.12: Knicks cruise, Griffin flies

Posted by Ben Golliver  

It was all lollipops and gumdrops for the Knicks on Wednesday night. (Getty Images)

Each night, Eye on Basketball brings you what you need to know about the games of the NBA. From great performances to terrible clock management the report card evaluates and eviscerates the good, the bad, and the ugly from the night that was.


New York Knicks Wednesday was a highlight factory for the Knicks, who dominated a reeling Hawks club from the jump to take an easy 99-82 victory. Jeremy Lin continued to show he can play the role of distributor, finishing with 17 points and 9 assists, as Carmelo Anthony was able to score 15 points on 16 shots. Sharpshooting Steve Novak was big off the bench again and new rotation additions Baron Davis and J.R. Smith connected on multiple alley-oops. The best part: New York enters Thursday night's showdown with the Miami Heat with none of its players having played more than 34 minutes on Wednesday.
Blake Griffin This dunk. Ridiculous. Timofey Mozgov makes a cameo, too.
New Orleans Hornets Don't look now but the hard-luck Hornets have won four out of their last six games. Impressive, considering they began the season 4-21. On Wednesday, the Hornets defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers by getting a whopping 21 points and 13 rebounds from trade piece Chris Kaman plus an astoning 17 rebounds from rookie Gustavo Ayon. This would be an A+ for the Hornets but they are supposed to be tanking.
DeMarcus Cousins The 16 points and 16 rebounds will jump out at you, especially because he notched nine boards on the offensive glass. But the 6-for-20 shooting (!) in 27 minutes brings his night back to Earth. Kings won't complain, as they got a nice come-from-behind road win in Washington to close out the first half of their season.
Boston Celtics The hard-luck Celtics got pounded again, as Oklahoma City's All-Star duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined for 59 points, 14 rebounds, 12 assists and five steals. The poor Celtics basically went seven players deep without starting point guard Rajon Rondo, who was serving a suspension. They were down 20+ in the first half after allowing 72 points at halftime. Oh boy.
JaVale McGee At this point, most normal people would be embarrassed. JaVale McGee simply doesn't seem to have that self-awareness gene, so he continues to force his coach to bench him for mindless acts. This time: a volleyball goaltend deep into the stands.


E FOR EFFORT
Luke Ridnour (17 points, 6 assists, 3 rebounds and one amazing game-winner)
Blake Griffin (27 points,12 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal and too many ridiculous feats of athleticism to count. An All-Star effort all-around.)
Chris Paul (36 points, 9 assists, 2 steals, 1 rebound on 11-for-16 shooting. He guided the Clippers into the break with a 20-11 record. MVP talk is in the air.) 
Posted on: February 22, 2012 3:27 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2012 3:35 pm
 

LeBron says he'll guard Lin some Thursday

Posted by Royce Young



Thursday could be the ultimate test for Jeremy Lin. Not because his Knicks will be taking on Miami Heat. But individually, because LeBron James, one of the best on-ball defenders in the game, says he'll likely guard Lin some.

"I know I'm going to end up guarding Lin at some point," LeBron told reporters Wednesday.

LeBron, as I'm sure you recall, switched to guard Derrick Rose for lage parts of the Eastern Conference Finals and essentially locked down the MVP. And while Jeremy Lin has had quite the start to his time in New York, he's not Derrick Rose.

And if LeBron's not guarding Lin, it will likely be Dwyane Wade. You know, just another elite defender. The Heat are one of the best teams in the league at creating turnovers and guess what, Jeremy Lin turns it over a lot. If there was ever a measuring bar to really see where Linsanity is at, Thursday's game against the Heat will be it.

LeBron also talked about Linsanity in general, saying “I never watch Harvard basketball. I never watch Harvard.’’ LeBron did tell reporters that he watched Lin against John Wall in the 2010 Summer League though. He's one of many too as that YouTube highlight video has some 1.2 million views. LeBron said he thinks people should celebrate the fact Lin is a good player and not just stick on him being Asian-American.

“I think it’s taken away from it, obviously,” he said.

LeBron on Lin being on a second straight week of Sports Illustrated: "Make sure he doesn’t take that for granted and get those covers and frame them and put them in his house.” LeBron would know. He's been on many an SI cover, starting in high school.

Worlds of hype will collide in South Beach Thursday with Linsanity meeting the Heat. It'll be a challenge for the Knicks, as they're still meshing since adding Carmelo Anthony along with the fact the Heat are really darn good. And for Lin, he's going to have to deal with looking across at King James defending him, which I'm sure is something he wasn't expecting to happen this season.

Via Fox Sports Florida
Posted on: February 22, 2012 10:48 am
Edited on: February 22, 2012 1:51 pm
 

Charles Oakley calls out Garnett, Barkley

Charles Oakley called out KG and Charles Barkley over their behavior on Jime Rome's show. (Getty Images)


By Matt Moore
 


Charles Oakley has opinions. And he will tell you them. And you will listen. Or he will destroy you. And now the former Knick has turned his attention to two outspoken NBA personalities in Kevin Garnett and the Chuckster, Charles Barkley. 

Oakley appeared on "The Jim Rome Show"with Jim Rome Tuesday and spoke about the two. He did not hold back. You are not surprised. To the quotes! From Sports Talk Network:
"Garnett left Minnesota and hollered and screamed and all that but he's not a tough guy. He’s one of the weakest guys to ever play the game. He’s a complimentary player and went to Paul Pierce’s team and won a championship. I wouldn’t consider him a top 10 tough guy."
via Charles Oakley rips KG, Barkley.

Oakley's claims are harsh, no shock there, but they are reflective of the other side of KG. Garnett comes off as so intense because of the screaming and pounding his head against the stanchion and whatnot. And he has been known to get into some physical altercations... usually with diminutive point guards. His M.O is usually to reach out and slap or shove someone, then to back off while being "restrained" by his teammates. 

Thing is, that's a good thing.

Garnett shows restraint, which helps his team win ball games. He protects his reputation, gets in the head of his opponents, and doesn't get ejected. It's the best of all worlds. And while Garnett is certainly not as tough as the character he portrays when the arena lights come on, to say he's one of the weakest to ever play is absurd. You can't be as great a defender as he is without being at least slightly-above-average tough.

But I'll let you tell Oakley that. Because he terrifies me.

Oaklay also weighed in on legend Charles Barkley, a friend of Michael Jordan who Oakley is also notoriously close with. He was not much nicer to the Round Mound Who Isn't So Round Anymore: 
 Barkley for his size was a good player but he’s a coward though. He was a good player for his size but, he wasn’t a leader and wasn’t a role model. Now he talks so bad about younger guys, I don’t respect that from him…He’s a fraud, he can criticize all the younger kids and if he got something to say, call them and talk to them before you just blast them. He’s wants to be funny, that whole TNT thing and all that, they’re like some clowns on that show.
via Charles Oakley rips KG, Barkley.

As Jim Rome would say, "strong."

Jeez, Oak, don't hold back. Tell us how you feel. 

("ROME with Jim Rome" debuts on CBS Sports Network April 3rd.  You can follow him on Twitter @JimRome.
Posted on: February 21, 2012 9:24 pm
 

NBA Power Rankings: Breakdown, Takedown Vol. 10

Posted by Royce Young and Ben Golliver

Even with all the hype, Jeremy Lin and the Knicks aren't getting their due. (Getty Images)

The 2011-2012 NBA season continues. Here's the tenth weekly installment of CBSSports.com's NBA Power Rankings by Eye On Basketball's Matt Moore.

What did he get right? What did he get wrong? We're here to break it down and take it down.

1. Too High: Houston Rockets at No. 9. I want to get excited about the Rockets too. They're an intriguing bunch of over-achievers with almost-stars in Kevin Martin and Luis Scola. But no way are they top 10 material quite yet. They are good at home but haven't been able to prove themselves much on the road. A 6-10 mark away from the Toyota Center has to improve if this group is to make a good case to be mentioned among the Western elite. -- RY

2. Too Low: New York Knicks at No. 15. Gauging the Knicks is all about how you want to look at the sample. They're 1-2 in their last three and they're 16-17 on the season, but they're also 9-4 in their last thirteen. All indications are that this is an above-average team that's put its early-season woes behind it. Working Carmelo Anthony back in after injury and adding J.R. Smith to the formula won't be a completely straightforward process, but this is a team that should be at least two spots higher. -- BG

3. Most Overrated: Minnesota Timberwolves at No. 14. We seem to go through this every week, but there's no chance that Minnesota should be this high, given that they're below .500, ranked above the Portland Trail Blazers, currently a game up on them, and still reside in last place of the Northwest Division. This week, they're not all that drastically overrated but placing them above New York, Portland, Memphis and Boston was a big with the heart, not the mind. Or maybe a pick made with googley eyes at Ricky Rubio. Whatever the reason, overrated. -- BG

4. Most Overlooked: Golden State Warriors at No. 23. Among the bottom ten teams in the league, Golden State seems the least awful. They're 5-5 in February, which counts as positive momentum after a slow start. Written off by many as early as mid-January, the Warriors are just four games out of the No. 8 playoff seed in the ultra-packed Western Conference, and even though they're 12th in the West, their No. 7 ranked offense provides enough reason to believe that they will land closer to the playoff fringes than the basement. -- BG

5. Sure Thing: San Antonio at No. 4. After back-to-back weeks of having the Spurs too low, it looks like they're finally in the right spot. Not quite as good as the Thunder, who own the West currently and certainly not among the Heat and Bulls. But absolutely a top five team with a look in them to make a strong push for the West's top spot before it's all said and done. They briefly got back Manu Ginobili, only to lose him again for a few weeks. No bother. The Spurs will just keep on. -- RY

6. Wild Card: Denver Nuggets at No. 11. At one point, it was nearly universally agreed upon that this team was legit contender material and a threat to the Thunder in the West. Then everyone started getting hurt and they started losing games by the bunches. What would've been a defining win against OKC Sunday was snuffed out by Kevin Durant. The Nuggets have shown they're almost good enough, but not quite there. If Danilo Gallinari can lift his game to another level when he returns, this could be a group to make a big Western push. -- RY
Posted on: February 21, 2012 1:19 am
Edited on: February 21, 2012 1:57 am
 

With Melo back in, fit with Lin questions begin.

Carmelo Anthony returned to the Linsanity but the Knicks lost to the Nets. Can they co-exist? (Getty Images)

By Matt Moore 

In a seasony as jam-packed with storylines as this one, you knew it had to happen like this. The Jeremy-Lin-lead Knicks played their first game with Carmelo Anthony back in the lineup after a five-game absence, with Amar'e Stoudemire, Melo, Baron Davis, and J.R. Smith all on the active roster, and of course, they lost. To the Nets. At home. Deron Williams, who was the player victimized when Linsanity started, made it his own personal mission in life to shut down, discourage, and otherwise outshine Lin on his way to 38 points and six assists. You can read more about Williams' vendetta from Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. But of particular interest long-term for the Knicks, Ken Berger spoke with a scout at Madison Square Garden who had this to say about how Melo fits into Mike D'Antoni's system which has flourished with Lin running the show. 
Straight from a scout who has watched Anthony’s career extensively, here are the issues: Anthony and Stoudemire like to operate in the same area of the floor, and that’s something D’Antoni has to figure out regardless of who the point guard is. The way Lin has played for the first 11 games of this run, it will be easier for him to figure out than it was for any of the other point guards the Knicks have tried.

Here’s the other, and perhaps more important issue: Anthony likes to set up and call for the ball in an area that is between the low block and the 3-point line, a little wider than most mid-post isolation scorers want the ball. Anthony has been effective his entire career from that area, because he has so many options from there. But he also takes up a lot of space, thus killing the corner 3-pointer – so crucial to D’Antoni’s style – on that side of the floor, and also crowding out the pick-and-roll and wing penetration. One game is a little soon to call it a failure, though I’m sure that won’t stop it from happening.

“We are not in panic mode,” Lin said. Now, back to the real star of the show.
via Against Lin, D-Will restores sanity - CBSSports.com.

Here's what that scout's talking about, from Anthony's shot chart for 2-point jump-shots this season with New York, courtesy of Pro-Basketball-Reference.com




Melo was just 4-11 Monday night, and there were two big caveats to this performance. His first game back from injury and you know there is going to be rust. Second, the Knicks have so many players who weren't playing together a month ago, there's a huge challenge for them to figure out the offense. For reference, here's what Melo's night from the floor looked like. You can see even in a tiny sample size that extended elbow effect. 





So you can see what the scout was talking about.  If you want an idea of the impact on the corner three, again, in a tiny sample size, or at least an idea of the difference in success for the Knicks when they turn to the corner three versus other options, here's a look at Sunday's shot chart versus the Mavericks. check the corner threes: 


Now observe the chart and corner threes against the Nets: 


Clearly the Knicks didn't produce as many corner three attempts or makes. Whether that's a product of Anthony or not is a complicated question with an unclear answer. But the results in a win and loss and three-point production do lead you in a direction of concern, though not something that can't be resolved easily with more time together for this group of players. 

Maybe most interesting was twice when Melo's penetration lead to buckets for Lin, once on the perimeter and once on a catch-pump-and-drive. So there are signs that this can work between the two. Amar'e Stoudemire looked better in this game, more active and aggressive, though he wound up with as many points as shots for what feels like the 20th time this season (in reality it was his tenth of 27 games). 

If anything Anthony seemed to be trying to make a point by passing, forcing up six turnovers and trying to create for Lin and everyone. Anthony is a scorer, but if he shoots, he'll be criticized. As it stands, he passed, so it's difficult to criticize him for it. It'll take time to figure out where to start from, where to finish, and how to manage Lin as Lin learns to manage him. 

Maybe more concerning than the Knicks' offensive effort were the problems of the Knicks systemically and Lin individually to contain Deron Williams. Williams is an elite player, and it's too much to ask Lin as young as he is to be an elite defender, but that was certainly more to blame than the Knicks' offensive issues. 

New York is a work in progress. The problem is that it takes time to figure out all their new parts and how they figure together. 

As someone famous said, they don't have time.
Posted on: February 20, 2012 3:39 pm
Edited on: February 20, 2012 3:43 pm
 

Vegas odds on Jeremy Lin / Kim Kardashian date

Run away, Jeremy, run away. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver   

Las Vegas thinks there's a decent chance that Jeremy Lin is fronting when it comes to his interest in reality star Kim Kardashian.

The New York Knicks guard turned global sensation said in an interview aired on Monday's Good Morning America that the two are not a likely romantic match. USAToday.com has the quote.
"Stuff about me dating Kim Kardashian, I mean, I have no idea where that came from and all these other rumors," said Lin, adding he doesn't think they're each others "type."
Gossip website MediaTakeOut.com reported last week that Kardashian, 31, thought Lin, 23, was"cute" and that she was interested in going on a date with him. Kardashian, of course, divorced New Jersey Nets forward Kris Humphries after just 72 days of marriage back in October. Kim's sister, Khloe, is married to Dallas Mavericks forward Lamar Odom.

The speculation surrounding Kardashian and Lin has led gambling website Bovada.LV to post odds on whether Lin and Kardashian go on a date, settling the line at 5/1. For the bet to pay, the pair must go on a date prior to the conclusion of the 2012 NBA Finals.

This is not the first time Lin has attracted attention from Vegas oddsmakers. Last week, we noted that Lin's strong play as a starter improved New York's odds at winning the 2012 NBA Finals from 40/1 to 18/1. Lin is also 40/1 to win the 2012 NBA MVP award.

Go ahead and take a shower. After reading this post, you've earned it.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com