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Thread: An Alternate Persepctive: CHILL OUT

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    Veteran KBlack25's Avatar
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    Default An Alternate Persepctive: CHILL OUT

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    Alright, look: I’m not defending the Knicks’ performance the last two nights. The team played rudderless ball, too often characterized by a pass and a heave. Very ugly. Reggie Miller caustically commented last night, “What kind of basketball is this?” I felt the same way. Pretty gross.

    Twitter has just been ablaze with fans calling for D’Antoni’s head. I can’t say D’Antoni didn’t bring this on himself. From the moment he proclaimed the Knicks championship tinder, I felt uncomfortable. Whether the Knicks are ready for such proclamations, what ever happened to under-promising and over-delivering. Jamie O’Grady was prescient in this regard:

    For better or worse, Gothamites tend to take each and every comment literally, and although the gist of D’Antoni’s point is valid – that this team has championship pieces, championship goals, and a championship price tag – he’s opened himself up to what will be scathing criticism and unrelenting pressure come June if the Knicks fail to deliver.

    Well, forget about June. Fans were apparently willing to give D’Antoni no more than two losses before the Tweets and emails started rolling in begging for Phil Jackson (let’s make a deal: I’ll support the Phil/D’Antoni switcheroo after 3 games if you just get on the horn and make sure Phil’s on board before we ice D’Antoni, just in case) or Mike Woodson (…if you think the Knicks run too much ISO now…).

    Yeesh. Sports fandom is an emotional pursuit, so often people don’t care for perspective, but as I mentioned on Twitter [1 (yea my numbers were wrong, it was late)], [2], [3], and as Dan Miranda nicely points out, this isn’t the first time the Knicks in general and D’Antoni Knicks specifically started out slowly:

    The Knicks are not new to slow starts though. Last season, New York finished the first 11 games with a 3-8 record, then rattled off the next 13 of 14 wins. In the shortened 1999 season, the Knicks started 1-2 as well, then ended up in the NBA Finals against the Spurs in June.

    Historically, Mike D’Antoni’s teams have gotten off to slow starts as well. In the 2006-07 season, the Phoenix Suns started 1-5 before they won 15 in a row. That team finished with 61 wins. In 2005-06, the Suns started 2-3, then looked back at their record in 15 games.

    O’Grady hit the nail on the head again today:

    Here’s the thing, though; a basketball team is only as good as its personnel, and until the Knicks’ “installation” is complete, blaming MDA for standard-definition performance on a high-definition set is as misguided as it is unfair.

    At present, the Knicks have no point guard. Their PG-savior-in-waiting is weeks, perhaps more, away from beginning to learn the team’s offense.

    New York’s second and third best on-the-ball defenders are injured.

    We are only three games into the season. A season, mind you, that has seen an abbreviated training camp and just two preseason games, thanks to the lockout. Oh, and there’s that 50% roster-turnover since the 2010-11 campaign.

    These incontrovertible facts would seem to suggest that D’Antoni deserves, like, more than one week before the apoplectic – in some cases politically motivated – media and fans scream for his deportation.

    And despite the New York fan’s disdain for perspective, I thought I’d pile on a bit with some help from the trusty Basketball Reference. Here are some bad streaks (losses by 10 or more points) past Knicks teams have suffered:

    In 1971 (under Red Holzman – look him up) the Knicks made it to the finals against the Los Angeles Lakers (and lost), but on the way to the forum, they suffered a streak of three losses in a row by ten or more points. (1971-01-07 – 1971-01-14)
    The 1992-’93 Knicks, who won 60 games under Pat Riley, but lost to the Bulls in the Eastern Conference Finals suffered this exact fate, losing to the Blazers by 15, and then the Sonics and the Clippers by 10 each. (1992-11-16 – 1992-11-19)
    Your World Champion 1972-’73 New York Knicks shockingly lost two games in a row by 10 or more points as well. (1973-03-01 – 1973-03-03)
    And then, under Riley and TV announcer Jeff Van Gundy, it happened all these times:


    So what’s the point? It’s chill, or as A-Z might say, “Sit back, relax, catchin’ contacts, sip your cog-nac”.

    I’m not an old man, but I’ve been watching this team for two decades now, and I’m finding it amazing how worked up fans can get after two bad losses.

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    You just got your mail. You open the envelopes quickly. One envelopes contents includes a check worth a large sum of money. You look back at the envelope. It was addressed to the wrong house.
    That is precisely how the season has gone for the Knicks. The NBA announced the cancelled season would be the shortened season; the Knicks announced they were going to sign Tyson Chandler. New York was on an instant high, back as a basketball city, back as a basketball team. …But the early losses have sent the fan base whining.
    The Knicks are not new to slow starts though. Last season, New York finished the first 11 games with a 3-8 record, then rattled off the next 13 of 14 wins. In the shortened 1999 season, the Knicks started 1-2 as well, then ended up in the NBA Finals against the Spurs in June.
    Historically, Mike D’Antoni’s teams have gotten off to slow starts as well. In the 2006-07 season, the Phoenix Suns started 1-5 before they won 15 in a row. That team finished with 61 wins. In 2005-06, the Suns started 2-3, then looked back at their record in 15 games.
    It’s no time to panic.
    Most are focused on the recovery of Baron Davis to save the Knicks’ season, but Iman Shumpert and Jared Jeffries‘ absence have been underplayed. Who took charges, played defense, and made key shots in the season opener? Shumpert and Jeffries. Who provided a spark off the bench and sacrificed their bodies for hustle plays? Shumpert and Jeffries. Both are above average defenders and rotation players. Maybe they are not the complete answer, but they are at least part of the solution in making this team better.
    Even though Amar’e Stoudemire has been lost in the offense, along with Toney Douglas and Landry Fields, it still does not constitute the desire of Knicks fans to spoil what can be a good dinner. These first few games, thankfully, have just been the appetizer to the five course meal.
    The Knicks identity has yet to be discovered. The issues with this team are a long list starting with defense and ending with rotations, and a lot of the expectations that the team had at the beginning of the season are quickly vanishing. While it may be premature, the mystique is surrounding this squad is declining with every loss as well.
    But again, its easy to drive ourselves crazy. The majority of us – myself included – are making snap judgements on this season based on three games.
    The one positive sign that this all might work out in the end is Carmelo Anthony‘s domination on the offensive end. Granted, he did not play well against the new defensive powerhouse in the Golden State Warriors, he scored/got to the basket/free throw line at will against the Celtics and Lakers. If this continues, only good things can come.
    New York will make the postseason, that much is not to worry about. The question though is where they will be seeded in the playoffs. Sure, they are not playing to the level of some of the Western teams (or even anywhere close to it), but the Knicks’ schedule in the upcoming fourteen days looks forgiving. Raptors, Wizards, Pistons with the Bobcats sprinkled in a couple of times. After that stretch, we will have a better look at the team. I will reserve judgements until the end of January. By that time, we should have a real idea of where the Knicks are headed.

  2. #2
    Veteran KBlack25's Avatar
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    Picture this: Your gorgeous new 55” high-definition television set has just arrived. It looks great mounted in the your family room above the mantle. In seconds, you’ll fire it up for the first time, and life as you know it will never be the same. Except the power button brings not those jaw-dropping images you remember from the showroom-floor, but instead, a blurry message from Cablevision:
    We regret to inform you that high-definition is not yet available in your area. We are working hard to bring the very best in cutting-edge picture quality and sound, but for now, please enjoy the distorted and maddening experience that is standard-definition. You will continue to be billed at HDTV rates, per your service agreement. Cheers, James Dolan

    Not exactly the experience you had in mind, was it?
    And so it goes for the New York Knicks (1-2), who were thoroughly obliterated last night by the Los Angeles Lakers, 99-82. The final deficit was 17 points, but it might as well have been 77, because at no point was New York remotely competitive in the contest. And therein lies the problem for coach Mike D’Antoni, whose leash in this town remains shorter than a Kim Kardashian marital-cycle.

    Here’s the thing, though; a basketball team is only as good as its personnel, and until the Knicks’ “installation” is complete, blaming MDA for standard-definition performance on a high-definition set is as misguided as it is unfair.

    At present, the Knicks have no point guard. Their PG-savior-in-waiting is weeks, perhaps more, away from beginning to learn the team’s offense.

    New York’s second and third best on-the-ball defenders are injured.

    We are only three games into the season. A season, mind you, that has seen an abbreviated training camp and just two preseason games, thanks to the lockout. Oh, and there’s that 50% roster-turnover since the 2010-11 campaign.

    These incontrovertible facts would seem to suggest that D’Antoni deserves, like, more than one week before the apoplectic – in some cases politically motivated – media and fans scream for his deportation.

    What, exactly, would the immortal Phil Jackson be doing differently right now? Would he summon the Ghost of Defense Past to scare Landry Fields into better lateral quickness? Would he trick Amar’e Stoudemire into sleeping in a cardboard box to impress upon him the need to box-out opposing players?

    No, this is not the time to call for D’Antoni’s head.

    Yes, significant problems exist with the Knick-roster, namely the oft-discussed point guard void, and the inability or unwillingness of their two superstar players to play off of each others’ strengths. But until Baron Davis, Iman Shumpert and Jared Jefferies return, it is virtually impossible to judge the Knicks on execution.

    If you’re watching these games, you can see that the effort is there, so let’s reserve judgment until, say, 15 games into the season, shall we?

    WHAT WENT RIGHT:

    Carmelo Anthony (27 points on 8-of-14 shooting, 7 rebounds, 5 assists) filled up the stat sheet, but he was largely ineffective for most of the game, in no small part because of his five turnovers. As we saw against Golden State and Boston, ‘Melo is content to receive the ball on the perimeter and take his chances via isolation plays. Given the questionable performance of Stoudemire to date, one can’t blame him, but ‘Melo’s refusal to post up is puzzling, at best. When Anthony gets into the lane, the defense has no choice to double or triple-team him, and in theory, that should open things up for Amar’e. If this doesn’t soon change, the questions surrounding D’Antoni’s strategy will become legitimate.

    The Knicks made lots and lots of free throws (34-of-41). This was primarily because the shots were uncontested, apparently. In fact, sans whistles, the Knicks could have easily been blown out of the gym by the second quarter.

    Tyson Chandler put up his first double-double in a Knick-uniform. On the defensive side, I thought that Bryan Gibberman, longtime LoHud Knick aficionado, made an astute point regarding how to best utilize Chandler’s defensive presence: “Maybe Mike Woodson would be well-served to watch tape of Dallas’ zone-defense last season. Maverick Coach Rick Carlisle did a great job using the zone to hide woeful defenders like J.J. Barea, Jason Terry, Peja Stojakovic and Dirk Nowitzki.” Why not show a zone here in New York, at least for stretches? The team’s current man-to-man approach, replete with incessant switching, isn’t working. At all.

    Steve Novak is on pace to have the greatest long-distance shooting-season the world has ever seen. The sharpshooter drained two more 3-balls last night and despite missing on a 3PA, he’s shooting 75% from beyond the arc thus far. Ciao Bella, Danilo!


    WHAT WENT WRONG:

    Once again, the Knicks were out-rebounded (40-32), and yes, when shots were launched, New York’s longtime-allergy to boxing-out was on display.

    It’s only three games, but Amar’e (15 points on 4-of-17, 2 rebounds, and another 3PA) doesn’t look right. His jumpers are errant, his defensive attention to detail is nonexistent, and his rebounding is completely unacceptable. STAT was primarily focused on rehabbing his back injury last summer, and that chiseled physique suggests that he’s done the necessary work to endure the condensed-season. Perhaps that explains the rust, and hopefully his shots will start soon fall. The mental lapses on defense are another story, and I am not sure there’s a coach alive that can cure what ails STAT there.

    “D-FENCE!” The Knicks allowed the Lakers to shoot 71.9% from the field in the first half. That is, like, really bad. Watching Landry Fields chase around starting-caliber shooting guards – let alone all-world examples like Kobe Bryant (28 points, 6 assists) – is painful. Fields, at this stage of his career, anyway, is just not a viable option. Shumpert cannot get back soon enough, if only for his ability to guard.


    KNICK KNACKS:

    Lakers coach Mike Brown must have been a preschool teacher in a former life. After scoring inside off a pass from Steve Blake, the artist formerly known as Ron Artest was reminded by his coach to thank his point guard for the dish. If Kobe Bryant doesn’t go crazy and kill his teammates by mid-season, the Lakers are going to lead the league in manners.

    Watching this elder-statesman version of Bryant brought back memories of a young-Bryant (33 points) chasing around Michael Jordan (36 points) 14 years ago in a 104-86 Bulls win. I just wish we could have seen Shumpert chasing Kobe around, not because I think Shumpert will ever achieve that level of greatness, but because it would have be fun to watch.

    Next up for New York are the Sacramento Kings at 8 p.m. EST on New Year’s Eve. A win would go a long way toward blunting the momentum of discontent around here, so let’s hope coach D’Antoni can impress upon his team the urgency of getting things on track.

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    BALL DON'T LIE MeloforMayor's Avatar
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    Very good read. +1

    After a shortened training camp, I expect the full product to be in showcase by the 20th game of the season. Maybe by then, we can see what these fellas are truly made of (barring any more injuries. )

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    Originally Posted by MeloforMayor
    Very good read. +1

    After a shortened training camp, I expect the full product to be in showcase by the 20th game of the season. Maybe by then, we can see what these fellas are truly made of (barring any more injuries. )
    Man, I hate to be all negative about this, but please just tell me, how is that final product going to look? The coach should have decided that 20 days ago and quite frankly I don't think he has any idea.
    But maybe its just me, so please, help me out here, how are we going to play 17 more games from now? What is the coach trying to accomplish here? If I give him a month of training camp, how does the team look?
    THANKS

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    It's not the losing that has fans calling for his head it's the fact that the Knicks are playing horribly, making no alterations mid game, and D'antoni seems to have disengaged.

    He is just sitting there watching the knicks struggle, without any in game oversight from his part. The fans know their are injuries to the team but at least try to make a good attempt to win. Don't just allow the players to chuck from the perimeter while the rest of the team stands around. The first game there was a ton of movement now the offense and the defense have both stagnated.

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    Superstar MSGhobo247's Avatar
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    Here's my thing... I'm all for being patient and riding this out for a little while longer but everything except the effort looks soooo bad out there. I feel like I could go out on a good day in any NY park and find 5 guys who can play better then this team together.

    We struggle but there are never any adjustments. Teams know everything we have to bring to the table and something has to change or it's going to get real ugly around here.

    When everything goes wrong basketball is a very easy sport to naturally go out and play if everyone has half a brain. I feel like these guys are trying so hard not to **** up they do it automatically. The coach has these guys whipped and they are losing sight of which way is up in the ball world.

    Just a bit of my frustration coming out but as I said before...

    I'll be patient.
    Last edited by MSGhobo247; Dec 30, 2011 at 18:10.

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    BALL DON'T LIE MeloforMayor's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Seba
    Man, I hate to be all negative about this, but please just tell me, how is that final product going to look? The coach should have decided that 20 days ago and quite frankly I don't think he has any idea.
    But maybe its just me, so please, help me out here, how are we going to play 17 more games from now? What is the coach trying to accomplish here? If I give him a month of training camp, how does the team look?
    THANKS
    Man... I wish I can tell you how the Knicks will play, but I'm no mindreader lol. It's only a matter of time before they have a breakthrough IMO. We had a worse team against the Celtics in the playoffs, and yet they showed us that they're capable of decent defense against a very good hafcourt team.

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    the problem with most of you is that youve been raised in the culture where the Knicks are losers, so losing some more becomes numb to you and norm so you plead be a little more patient and maybe things will change. ask yourself are you getting any younger and what emptiness it feels to not watch a championship parade banner, will Renassiance Man and Tyson Chicken and Marshmelo bring this here? come on.

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    You don't have to be a number one seed to win a championship. The championship is always the goal, and the Mavs should be an inspiration to everyone. Not to say this will be the year for the Knicks, but by the playoffs the Knicks will be a team we root for with praise. Enough with this negativity just be a fan.

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