Tag:Raymond Felton
Posted on: December 13, 2010 9:11 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:33 pm
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The Game Changer: Amar'e owns the Big Apple

The Knicks triumph over Carmelo Anthony and the Nuggets, Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs reaches a milestone, the Oklahoma City Thunder get highlights from their players and a fan during a blowout win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, and plenty more. Posted by Ben Golliver

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.

THE BIG ONE: CAN I PLAY ON YOUR TEAM?

After Carmelo Anthony and the Denver Nuggets finished their date with the New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden, it felt like, maybe, the tables have finally turned for the home team.  The Knicks narrowly prevailed in a shootout, 129-125, but they won the war of the words after the game by a landslide, when it became known that Anthony has his heart set on joining MVP candidate Amar'e Stoudemire in making New York his next basketball home. For the Knicks, it must feel like a quick reversal: so much winning so soon -- they have taken nine of their last 10 games -- and a new role as hot spot rather than also-ran suitor of top talent.  The 16-9 start for New York, which has them just four games behind conference-leading Boston, may have Knicks fans reevaluating their "get stars at any cost" strategy. A bird in hand (especially one that wins and plays exciting basketball) can be worth more than 'Melo and CP3 in a bush next year, with a potential lockout making it difficult for teams like the Knicks to bank on anything in the long-term future.  Now that it is clear that Anthony wants New York, it is negotiation time. How much of their current roster and future assets will the Knicks feel comfortable parting with? Names like Wilson Chandler, Danilo Galinari and Landry Fields are often tossed around, and while each presents reasons for Knicks fans to want to keep them around, this is a great example of how outside eyes are able to more clearly evaluate players' worth. The Knicks should feel no hesitation in trading any of those players for Anthony, and that includes Fields, the steal of the 2010 draft and one of the best values in the NBA. Hot streaks have the tendency of making the players involved look better than they are over the long haul, and 82 games of Stoudemire and Anthony makes New York a more fearsome, dynamic team, not to mention a force in the playoffs, as both players can parade to the free throw line. Falling in love with role players (Landry Fields is untouchable!) and counting eggs before they hatch (we'll just sign Carmelo this summer!) are two of the easiest ways to lose sight of the big picture when it comes to roster building. Do what it takes to secure Anthony now, and then get to work on filling in the smaller holes that a trade for him would create.

GO-GO-GADGET LINES OF THE NIGHT:

Raymond Felton: 19 points, 17 assists, three rebounds on 7-15 shooting in 45 minutes in a New York Knicks home win over the Denver Nuggets. Carmelo Anthony: 31 points, 13 rebounds, three assists on 11-27 shooting in 37 minutes in a Denver Nuggets road loss to the New York Knicks. Devin Harris: 16 points, eight rebounds, 10 assists in 37 minutes in a New Jersey Nets home loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. Blake Griffin: 27 points, 16 rebounds, five assists, one steal, one block in 42 minutes in a Los Angeles Clippers home loss to the Orlando Magic.

DON'T MISS:

DOMINANT DUNCAN:

The San Antonio Spurs rolled off a methodical dismantling of the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday, pulling away for an easy 95-78 home win. There wasn't much unusual about the event: the Spurs played tight, aggressive defense and they moved the ball well, supplementing their team-first attack with some points in transition. It was so thorough a victory that the Spurs were able to rest franchise big man Tim Duncan late, a nice cherry on top of San Antonio's league-leading 20th victory of the season. Duncan hit a milestone on Sunday, playing in the 1,000th regular season game. And in quotes from MySanAntonio.com, he sounds a bit wistful in his old age when he was made aware of the feat. “I would rather not be told that," Duncan was quoted as saying. "I’ve played for a long time and I’m getting really old. I wish I’d only played 10 (games) and still have 1,000 more in front of me.” The rest of the league shudders at the thought of Duncan playing another 1,000 games, given that he won 707 of his first 1,000 games, an astonishing total. While his production has declined ever so slightly in recent years owing to fewer minutes -- this could be the first year of his career that Duncan doesn't average a double-double and he's averaging a career-low 28.8 minutes pr game -- the wins continue to pile up. The Spurs are shaping up to be a serious contender, health permitting.  Not bad for a team lead by a really old guy.

WHIMSY:

New York Knicks superfan Spike Lee is the happiest man in the world: the Knicks are winning, Carmelo Anthony wants in and MSG is rocking like the good old days. spike-lee

WELCOME TO MY POSTER:

Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden catches Cleveland Cavaliers forward J.J. Hickson about as flush as it gets. Harden throws down a vicious left-handed dunk right on Harden's head in transition, earning the and-one in the process and causing teammate Russell Westbrook to geek out on the sideline.

FROM WAY DOWNTOWN:

Oklahoma City Thunder fan Robert Yanders hit the shot of the weekend, nailing a halfcourt heave between the first and second quarters of OKC's Sunday win over the Cleveland Cavaliers to win $20,000. Turns out Yanders is a bit of a ringer, but still an amazing shot.

PARTING THOUGHT:

Former Chicago Bulls star Scottie Pippen is the only NBA player to win more games in his first 1,000 than Duncan. Pippen won 715, barely besting Duncan's 707. Via MySanAntonio.com.
Posted on: December 10, 2010 2:50 pm
 

The NBA Quarterly All-Star Teams

Posted by Royce Young



It's never too early to start thinking about the All-Star Game. Well, I take that back. It probably is too early. But I wrote the body of this post before the intro so I'm pressing on anyway.

We're a quarter of the way done with the 2010-11 NBA season. Everybody has at least 20 games under their belt. We've learned a lot. The Heat can be good, the Spurs are great, the Lakers oddly struggle at times, Blake Griffin is exciting and Boston won't let you score... ever.

But on top of that, a few players have started that whole breakout thing. And a lot of the old good ones have stayed really good. The NBA truly has a ridiculous amount of talent right now. Seriously, this is a great time for the league. Except for that lockout stuff but I'm not going to mention that.

So because I think a lot about non-important things like the All-Star Game and Chick-Fil-A sauce, I began to notice how tough it's going to be to narrow down a 12-man roster for both conference. If there were an At The Quarter All-Star Team, it would already be quite a task to select that.

So naturally, here's my At The Quarter All-Star Teams:

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Starters:
PG: Deron Williams (21.8 ppg, 10.1 apg)
I'd say the starting Western point guard spot is the toughest to pick in the whole league. Look at the candidates: Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Steve Nash, Tony Parker, Stephen Curry. But Williams is the starters right now because he's commandeering an elite Western team, along with having terrific numbers.

SG: Kobe Bryant (26.6 ppg, 4.5 apg)
Kobe is the type of player that will probably be an All-Star Game starter for life since the fans vote make that happen, but it's well-deserved at this point. He's second in the league in scoring and is having a classic Kobe season. Big shots, big plays and big numbers on the biggest stage.

SF: Kevin Durant (27.6 ppg, 7.0 rpg)
By his standards, he's struggled a bit. His percentages are a bit down, he's missed a few games because of an ankle sprain and then a sore knee and he's seen his teammate Russell Westbrook steal some of his Thunder. But KD still leads the league in scoring and is still the leader on a very good Thunder team.

PF: Dirk Nowitzki (24.9 ppg, 7.4 rpg)
If I were voting, Dirk would be getting my MVP vote. Which would be weird because the season's only 25 percent done and I also don't have a vote. But Dirk is having one of his finest seasons and leading the hottest and second best team in the league (tied with Boston at 17-4). The Mavericks have found a new identity behind defense and ball pressure, but Dirk is the same old awesome Dirk.

C: Blake Griffin (20.0 ppg, 11.7 rpg)
Remember when the West used to be so stacked with big men that figuring out the starting front court was a nightmare? It's not that way anyone. There's been a shift to point guard in the West for those issues. But really, who do you start here? The best "center" is probably Tyson Chandler and maybe Al Jefferson right now. Both have been good, but I'm going to fudge and give it to Griffin. His numbers are worthy at 20-12, but he's everything that an All-Star should be. He has the league buzzing, every night is a potential highlight-fest and he's the most can't-miss guy going. To me, if we're selecting an All-Star team right now, he's got to be on it.

Bench:
Russell Westbrook, PG: Westbrook leads Western point guards in scoring, plus he's got better "LeBron" numbers than LeBron at 23.7 ppg, 8.6 apg and 5.5 rpg.

Chris Paul, PG: Weird to have CP3 on the bench considering he's in the top two or three for MVP, but again, the West is stacked. His team's little slide lately isn't helping either.

Manu Ginobili, SG: The best team in the league doesn't have an MVP candidate? Who says so? Because Manu is certainly playing like one, at least in my mind.

Monta Ellis, SG: Ellis barely gets the nod over Eric Gordon who is also having a really good year. They score virtually the same amount but Ellis has simply been a bit more efficient.

Luis Scola, PF: The Rockets may be struggling and disappointing, but Scola hasn't. Coming off a big World Championships where he raised expectations for himself, Scola has lived up to it in every way.

Kevin Love, PF: He's leading the league in rebounding, and it's not close (15.5 per game, Joakim Noah is next at 12.3). This season there have been 11 20-20 games. Love has six of them.

Tyson Chandler, C: The last spot is where things get a bit hairy. Chandler has been having a re-birth of a season with the Mavericks, protecting the rim and playing solid offense. And just barely does he get the nod of Al Jefferson for the lone center on the roster simply because playing both ends counts for something.

Tough cuts: Stephen Curry, Steve Nash, Carmelo Anthony, Rudy Gay.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Starters:
PG: Derrick Rose (25.1 ppg, 8.1 apg)
Rose wondered why he couldn't be an MVP candidate before the season. And there's no doubt he should be, if only he could get his team to win a few more games. But he leads all point guards in scoring (fourth in the league) and is dishing out a career-high assist average. Rose is the total package right now at point and really, one of the top two or three players in the entire conference.

SG: Dwyane Wade (22.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg)
His numbers are down a bit, but there's an obvious reason why. I'll be honest, if there was another really impressive shooting guard in the East, Wade wouldn't be such a lock. But because the East is pretty thin there (Stephen Jackson? Ray Allen? Vince Carter?) Wade is the starter by default.

SF: LeBron James (24.1 ppg, 7.3 apg)
Despite what his numbers say, he's still the most talented and gifted player in the game. And it's not like the stats aren't excellent anyway. He's just set a bar so high for himself there that all of a sudden 24-7-5 doesn't look so great.

PF: Amar'e Stoudemire (25.7 ppg, 9.1 rpg)
Not only are the Knicks winning, but Amar'e has been fairly awesome this season. He's third in the league in scoring and has just broken a franchise record held by Bernand King for most consecutive games with 30 points (six). That's like, pretty good.

C: Dwight Howard (20.9 ppg, 12.1 rpg)
Forget the fact there's not a ton of competition here. Howard has maybe been the most productive NBA player this season. He's scoring at a career-high rate, plus putting up his typical big rebounding and blocked shots numbers. His developing post game is no joke and he's becoming the total package at center.

Bench:
Rajon Rondo, PG: His 14.1 assists per game are obviously eye-catching, but he's also turning it over 4.0 times a game, second in the league.

Raymond Felton, PG: Yep, seriously. He's playing on a winning club and his numbers are great! No really, they are! Look at them, I promise I'm not lying!

Ray Allen, SG: Nothing spectacular from the league's best shooter, but his stats are solid, his team is good and he's already hit a number of big shots just a quarter of the way in.

Danny Granger, SF: Come real selection time, he might get squeezed for a bigger name, but he's made the team once. He's a great scorer and now that he's on a decent team, he's deserving.

Kevin Garnett, PF: As long as he's still moving his way up and down the court, he's an All-Star. Plus, don't look, but he's actually having a pretty darn good season.

Roy Hibbert, C: A chic pick for Most Improved, the 7'3 Pacer big man has a well-developed game. Post moves, power moves and even a distance jumpshot.

Andrea Bargnani, C: Probably a stretch especially since Al Horford likely deserves it more, but Barge Nanny is sixth in the East in scoring and in his last few games has really looked fantastic, punctuated by a 41-point explosion against the Knicks Wednesday.

Tough cuts: Al Horford, Joakim Noah, Paul Pierce, John Wall, Shaquille O'Neal
Posted on: December 8, 2010 9:51 am
 

Shootaround: 12.8.10: The NBA's most underpaid

Posted by Royce Young
  • Forbes released its list of the NBA's most underpaid players. And LeBron is on top: "Yes, at $15.8 million, LeBron was the NBA's most underpaid player in 2009-'10. At almost 30 points and nine assists per game, 50.5% shooting and 39 minutes a night on the floor, James produced more wins for his club (27.2) than any player in the league. All while earning less than Zach Randolph and Pau Gasol, and about the same as slightly lesser stars Dwight Howard and James' new Miami runningmate, Dwayne Wade."
  • Ian Thompson of SI with great stuff on the Hornets situation: "Unless fans swarm to the New Orleans Arena in order to keep their franchise at home for the shortterm, the new owner of the Hornets will place New Orleans in a pool among larger available markets, including Chicago, Anaheim, San Jose and Kansas City. There hasn't been a lot of talk elsewhere about Chicago, but it is the third biggest market in North America and it has only one NBA team. New York will have two franchises when the Nets move to Brooklyn in two years, and Los Angeles has two. In suburban Chicago near O'Hare Airport, the Allstate Arena could serve as a temporary NBA home until a new arena could be built, depending on the resources of the new owner."
  • Everyone's favrorite crazy owner, Michael Heisley, doesn't get what's wrong with his Grizzlies: "I don't know what's happening. We're having a difficult time and I don't know what the reason for it is. I started the season with high hopes for the team. It's not living up to what I'd hope. I don't know what else to say. I've racked my brain trying to figure it out."
  • Jimmy Smith of The Times-Picayune: "When the NBA stepped in to purchase the New Orleans Hornets on Monday, the league was faced with the situation of an owner who was heavily in debt and borrowing to pay the team’s on-going operations, according to an audit of the franchise’s finances posted on the website Deadspin.com Tuesday evening. While the team actually made an operating profit in 2009, the problem for owner George Shinn was the team’s long-term debt. At the end of 2009 - the second of the two years which the audit covers - the Hornets’ long-term debt was $111 million. And they had to pay $8.9 million in interest on it. That wiped out an operating profit of $5.8 million."
  • Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times: "We won't forgive Stern for what he did. But there is no satisfaction in continuing to hate him. It's time to forget. Who knows if Steve Ballmer wants to own an NBA team? Or if he can put together the same well-intentioned would-be-saviors who introduced a viable 11th-hour plan to keep the Sonics before they left for Oklahoma City? Ballmer could be a hero for Seattle. He could add a touch of class for a league that could use a little. The New Orleans Hornets are for sale. Is Ballmer in a buying mood?"
Posted on: December 7, 2010 4:15 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2010 5:18 pm
 

Two old beasts of the East are coming back

Posted by Royce Young

Every season, there's a surprise team. Somebody not many people picked as having much of a shot that positions itself for a playoff run. In the Eastern Conference, it's not all that hard. Wiggling into either the seventh or eighth seed doesn't require the best of seasons.

So that's why before the 2010-11 campaign even started, teams like the Knicks and Pacers had a cautiously optimistic view of the season. But here we are at the quarter mark and wouldn't you know it, both teams are positioned in the top eight in the East. It's early yet, but there's reason for hope in both cities right now.

But before you get too pumped up Knicks fans, consider that New York has had a pretty favorable schedule the past few weeks. After dropping six straight and to 3-8 overall, the Knicks ripped off five in a row, then lost and now are on another five-game streak. They've won 10 of 11 and have pushed their record to 13-9.

In that stretch however, only one of the teams the Knicks defeated had a winning record, and that's the slipping Hornets. The one "good" team New York played, it lost to at home (Atlanta). So maybe everyone should just chill for a second. Still though, winning in the NBA isn't easy and these are games the Knicks wouldn't have won last season. Beating average and bad teams is the start to a playoff run and that's what New York is doing.

The Pacers on the other hand, have stayed relatively consistent throughout the season. Unlike the Knicks, there hasn't been the peaks and valleys. The longest losing streak for Indiana is two and the longest winning streak is two. The Pacers have beat good teams, including the Lakers at Staples, the Heat in Miami and the Nuggets. For the most part though they're losing to the good teams, beating the bad and splitting with the average. But again, a major step forward for them

So what's making the difference for each squad this season? A couple things:

THE KNICKS
Improved defense - The key word here is "improved." It's not great (109.1 in defensive rating, 20th in the league), but it's better. They lead the league in blocks and it's clear they work really, really hard. The defense isn't going to be winning them games. But it might not be losing them any either.

Raymond Felton
- You probably haven't realized how well Felton is playing. I don't blame you. I didn't notice until the other day. He's eighth in the league in assists per game (8.5) and seventh in scoring for point guards per game (18.1). He's hitting 37.6 percent from 3 and has a career-high percentage from the field. Felton is easily putting together his best year as a pro. It helps to have Amar'e Stoudemire and Mike D'Antoni's system, but a player has to play well, and Felton is.

Role players - Rookie Landry Fields has been stellar off the bench and now in his starting role. Toney Douglas has provided them an outside spark. Shawne Williams in just five games has made an immediate impact. The Knicks are finally getting contribution from their bench and it's making a difference. They only have one star in Stoudemire, but the cast of extras is what's making it work.

Amar'e - He came to New York to be big time and Stoudemire has played that way. He's had 30 points in five straight games and is averaging a career-high 25.3 points per game. He's meshed well with Felton and is actually playing some of the better defense of his career. Not saying a ton, but he's working. Also, Stoudemire - and the whole team for that matter - is getting to the line more than ever, making the offense look even better than it is.

THE PACERS
Defense - Does this team kind of feel like a surprise group from last season? Young, tough, competitive and surprisingly sound on the defensive end? Aren't the Pacers a bit like the 2009-10 Thunder in some ways? Danny Granger isn't Kevin Durant, but this team is winning behind a strong, disciplined defensive structure. They are seventh in defensive rating and that number is climbing.

Roy Hibbert - Hibbert completely transformed himself over the offseason. He dropped weight, added muscle and refined an already quality post game. He's probably the top candidate for Most Improved right now really. He's huge at 7'3 and has become one of the premier big men in the entire league. Hibbert is averaging 15.5 ppg and 8.6 rpg, but he's also dishing out over three assists a night. He's a difference maker and someone the Pacers are riding right now.

Josh McRoberts - At one point, McRoberts was the punchline to a lot of jokes. Now he's a legit starting NBA power forward. His numbers aren't spectacular, but he works hard, hustles and is a good post defender. After the Pacers traded Troy Murphy to acquire point guard Darren Collison most felt Indiana needed another big man to be anywhere close to competitive. They probably still do, but McRoberts has been serviceable and someone that will make a fine bench piece if that interior player does come.

Shooters - I don't know if any team in the league can get it rolling quite like the Pacers. Between Brandon Rush, Mike Dunleavy, James Posey and Danny Granger, these guys can pile up points in a hurry. They all shoot the 3 wonderfully as evidenced by the fact the Pacers are second in the league in made 3s a game (behind the Knicks, mind you). They are built on the defensive end, but because of the 3-point shot, the Pacer offense gets by.

We're still a long, long way off from April and the final Eastern standings. But considering what's behind these clubs, it's not hard to see them making the postseason. The Knicks are bullying bad teams and the Pacers are basically mediocre. But in a soft bottom-half of the East, these could be playoff teams. Which would be a major step in the right direction for both franchises. And something both fanbases have been waiting for a return to.
Posted on: December 6, 2010 4:03 pm
 

Knicks in the market for low-dollar point guard

Posted by Royce Young

The Knicks have had their eyes set on Chris Paul for forever. They even inquired about Steve Nash earlier this season. But at the present, they're just hunting a low-dollar point guard.

The New York Times reports the Knicks are after an inexpensive backup point guard that won't add to next season's payroll. So a cheap, expiring point guard is what the Knicks are interested in. The team is reportedly willing to deal Bill Walker, who is making $854,389 this season and $916,100 next season.

Options for the Knicks? Jason Williams, Earl Watson, Earl Boykins and Ronnie Price are a few of the point guards out there with an expiring deal. Patrick Beverley who was released by the Heat is still searching for a team as well as Acie Law who was just waived by the Grizzlies.

However, by the sound of the report, the Knicks are interested in trading, rather than signing. If they were to sign a player like Law or Beverley, they'd have to waive someone. Most likely Walker again, but New York probably feels like a trade could net a better player than Law or Beverley.

The Knicks point guard situation isn't great with Toney Douglas backing Raymond Felton currently. Douglas is more of a shooting guard and behind him is rookie Andy Rautins who most definitely isn't a point guard.

New York wants a legitimate point guard to have on the roster, especially since the team is looking competitive. If Felton were to go down, man, they'd be in trouble. (Speaking of, Felton is quietly having a really nice season. 18.1 ppg and 8.3 apg isn't too shabby.)
Posted on: December 1, 2010 1:11 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2010 1:11 pm
 

Game Changer 12.1.10: Kobe won't put down the gun

Posted by Matt Moore

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.

THE BIG ONE: Lakers drown in a pool of Kobe


Kobe Bryant shot 9-25 last night, and given the chance, I'm pretty sure he'd shoot 18 of 50. For whatever reason, Bryant is unable to comprehend that more and more there are nights where he "doesn't have it" and continues to keep shooting the Lakers out of games, despite the fact that their offense makes it nearly impossible not to produce when executed with any reasonable set of effort. Bryant got hot in the third quarter of this game, and then:





That happened. And then more of that. Generally, lots of that. But the bigger problem of course was LA's defense, as noted by Silver Screen and Roll :

The Grizzlies ' point total of 98 doesn't look like much out of context. That's just pace masking deplorable defense on the Lakers' part. The Grizzlies' 88 possessions were the fewest of any Laker opponent this year, and their 1.11 points per trip is well above the season average for the Laker D. The problems tonight were mainly on the perimeter. Derek Fisher was egregiously bad against Mike Conley , who burned him off the dribble over and over. When Conley didn't have the ball, Fish frequently wandered away from him for no apparent reason, leaving him wideass open to make 4-of-5 three pointers. Conley, who's no one's idea of an All-Star point guard, finished with 28 points on only 16 shots (including free-throw possessions). I'm sure I don't need to tell you that 28 is far and away Conley's season high.

Kobe Bryant 's defense wasn't much better. He looked utterly indifferent to competing at the end of the court. On numerous occasions he simply refused to guard Xavier Henry . Literally, all the X Man (no idea if anyone really calls him that) had to do was jog around a light screen or even just walk to a different part of the court, and Kobe wouldn't follow him. Henry came into this game averaging five points a night and finished with 12.

Xavier Henry's emergence was downright baffling last night. His shot release is something akin to a sideways-launched screwball with the release time of a short documentary film but last night it was falling. The Lakers gave it to him, trusting the rookie would fail. He did not.

The final two possessions of this game were downright baffling. Conley dribbles off a Marc Gasol pick, Gasol rolls, and Conley attempts to throw a lob pass over Pau Gasol. Conley was right with his decision, wrong with his execution, and Pau took it away with those long meaty paws. Fast break to Kobe, who takes O.J. Mayo into the lane, Gay comes over to help, Kobe hesitates, then jumps. O.J. Mayo is not a tremendously athletic "burster." He has great top speed but not great leaping ability. He jumped higher than I've ever seen him jump, forcing Bryant to kick out to Artest who had Rudy Gay close on him. Game over.

GO-GO-GADGET LINE OF THE NIGHT:


Amar'e Stoudemire: 35 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 block


Runner-Up:
Danny Granger: 37 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 block



FELTON, REDUX:


Raymond Felton has gotten it. Not "is starting to get it." He has gotten it. Amid his 21 point, 7 rebound, 10 assist, 3 steal performance in last night in a win over the Nets, Felton took a high pick from Stoudemire and rolled right. As the defense sagged baseline to cut off his approach, he bounce passed to Stoudemire who finished with a fury. It was Nash-like. It looked straight out of Phoenix circa 2006. And it's the precise kind of play that Felton needed to make earlier in the season that he's making now.

With Felton on an absolutely ridiculous binge as of late, the Knicks find themselves right back in the thick of things. Felton is never going to be Steve Nash, ever, ever, ever, but if he's a dirtier, sturdier, better defensively version of Steve Nash? The Knicks can go places, like a first round playoff entrance. And after a decade of failure, that's a huge start.

The Knicks are coming around and fast.

Josh McRoberts ALLEY-OOP. THIS IS NOT A TEST. JOSH MCROBERTS ALLEY-OOP


 



FINAL THOUGHTS:


Brook Lopez gave a commanding performance in a loss last night, the first time he's looked like himself this season. He had the mid-range short-J going, which is a huge part of his game.

Roy Hibbert again looked phenomenal, even though his dominance wasn't needed with Danny Granger destroying everything in his path.

Tim Duncan had a very Walton-esque (as someone described it on Twitter) triple-double with 15 points, 18 rebounds, and 11 assists. Golden State had no answer for anything the Spurs are doing and have really fallen back into their bad defensive habits of seasons past.

Tyreke Evans is not right. Maybe it's the ankle, maybe it's the attitude, maybe it's coaching, but he is simply not the force of nature he was last season. For whatever reason, moving him to shooting guard has not worked out. Even if he may not make logical sense at the point guard position, if your team plays better with him there, how can you argue against it until you get a better backcourt partner than Luther Head?
Posted on: November 23, 2010 8:04 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:01 pm
 

Shootaround: 11.23.10: 99% likely to fail

Vince Carter comes up lame, the Miami Heat are struggling, a few New York Knicks analyzed, Steve Francis heads abroad, and a whole lot more. Posted by Ben Golliver

  • Orlando Magic wing Vince Carter went down during Monday night's game against the San Antonio Spurs and told reporters after the game that he he felt "sharp pain go through my knee, under the kneecap." That doesn't sound good. 
  • Here's the stat of the night for you from Miami's surprising double-digit home loss to the Indiana Pacers: "The Heat bench played a total of 74 minutes on Monday night and scored a whopping 4 points. The last time they did that? Nearly a decade ago, when the Heat bench mustered only two points in a January 2001 loss against -- guess who -- the Indiana Pacers." 
  • Kevin Pelton shows some love for New York Knicks rookie Landry Fields. "This year's standout has been New York Knicks guard Landry Fields, who has excelled as a starter from opening night. Fields' polished game was no secret among Pac-10 fans, but he got little national hype because he played for an undermanned Stanford team that finished tied for eighth in the conference. Fields has exceeded even his collegiate performance, especially on the glass. He's grabbing 20.6 percent of available defensive rebounds, which is phenomenal for a shooting guard (the average for the position is 11.0 percent) and nearly identical to his defensive rebound percentage as a senior in college."
  • Pacers blog IndyCornrows.com isn't nearly as excited about the win over the Miami Heat as you might expect. "Jim O’Brien urged that they caught Miami on an off night, saying it could be fool’s gold. While the possibility exists, O’Brien will always speak cautiously. O'Brien sips his glass half empty to not allow his team to gain complacency, it was more than fool’s gold: it was a stout defensive effort by the Pacers. Words have been expressed more often to give credence to the team’s defensive efforts, but tonight featured a culmination that resulted in not only a solid road victory, but a definitive win, led by a trio of much maligned Pacer members."
  • Isiah Thomas is at it again, talking about his sexual harassment case and overdose on sleeping medication.
  • These NBA labor negotiations sound like they are off to a great start. Not. Union chief Billy Hunter says a lockout next season is 99% likely to occur and goes on to say everything is working as it's supposed to, with the NBA generating profits at a solid clip. "Our contention is that the system that was put in place delivered everything it was supposed to deliver,” Hunter said, referring to the initial framework adopted in 1999. “The players never got a cent more than they were supposed to get. And ironically, if you review the press clippings from that era, you will see that the deals that were struck were lauded by the N.B.A. as having been major successes for the owners. So why now at this stage are we now saying that the system doesn’t work and it’s got to be overhauled?”
Posted on: October 20, 2010 12:27 pm
Edited on: October 20, 2010 12:28 pm
 

MeloDrama Update: Knicks back in the act?

Melo talks swinging towards New York, away from New Jersey. Posted by Matt Moore

So the season starts in a week, and Melo is still a Nugget. Will he stay there?

After our own Ken Berger reported last week that the Nuggets remain intent on moving him, there's word picking up that the Knicks may be getting back into the talks. Chris Sheridan reports that the Knicks are trying to work out a deal to move either Danilo Gallinari or Anthony Randolph to acquire a player that the Nuggets have more of an interest in. It's a curious report, in that you'd think that either A. Denver would be satisfied with a young forward with either shooting prowess or considerable athleticism, or if they did want one of those moved for an asset, it would be a draft pick they'd be shopping for. 

New York's pick this season was held by Utah due to the last of Isiah Thomas' genius maneuvers. In trying to clear space to bring in one of the Big 3 free agents, the Knicks obtained Tracy McGrady's expring contract from Houston. In return, they had to agree to a pick swap this year and to give Houston its 2012 pick as well. Teams are restricted from trading consecutive first rounders. 

If the Nuggets move Anthony, they'll be in a rebuilding mode. And while acquiring good players is good for the ticket sales, it's draft picks and movable assets that will help them get back into contention through a rebuilding process. 

It's still hard to see a scenario in which the Knicks can get back into this thing, unless the Nuggets are beginning to relent to Melo's pressure to move him, and move him where he wants. 

There are numerous reports that the Derrick Favors angle that would send Anthony to New Jersey is dead, based off of both the Nuggets and Nets backing off. Favors looked good in the second half against New York last night, after a dreadful preseason, so both sides have reasons to walk away from the deal. 

After seeing the Knicks in preseason, it would actually be kind of unfortunate to see Anthony wind up in New York at the cost of their young nucleus. Randolph and Gallinari provide a nice balance to each other's games, Stoudemire looks every bit the superstar they signed him to be, and Timofey Mozgov looks like a promising center prospect. Even Raymond Felton looked like the guard they need him to be for the first time last night. Adding Melo would give them a second superstar and a major scoring threat, but would also damage their flexibility and versatility, things which are important in Mike D'Antoni's system. 

We'll have to see if the Knicks feel they have to strike while the iron is hot or not. 
 
 
 
 
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