Showing posts with label Landry Fields. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Landry Fields. Show all posts

Monday, April 30, 2012

N.Y. Knicks ~ Total Exposure

From the desk of: DUTCH PANTS CAN'T JUMP




NEW YORK KNICKS:   The Stench Across the Street From Bayside Isn't From Dead Fish Washing Up on the Shores of South Beach.  It's the Knicks.


I told you, the narrative doesn't change with this team.


If I were in the Miami Police Dept., I would have arrested the Knicks for trespassing.  Don't ask me what they were doing there.  I think Game One was the worst forty-eight minutes I watched the Knicks play in the last thirty-five years.  Once Miami gets through with us, we will have gone twelve years without winning a playoff game.  Yeah, they'll dispatch us that quickly.  I expect nothing from this team.  The Knicks do not have any tricks of their sleeves.  And they just got totally exposed.


With a healthier Tyson Chandler (flu) on the floor, playing in his right mind instead of giving LeBron James whiplash, maybe we only lose Saturday by twenty-five points.  But without Iman Shumpert, (what a tough break for the rookie!) expect more of the same thing we saw in Game One - Blowouts.  Because Tyson Chandler is going to be playing defense by himself.


With Shumpert out, that means Landry Fields will be recalled from his exile in a black hole.  It's already been proven, he and Carmelo Anthony have mixed as well as vinegar and oil together.  So good luck with that.


Then there's Amare.  Amare Stoudemire clearly has nothing to offer.   He's a compromised cager.  He  played a majority of the game and was a complete non-factor.  Is there any reason to speculate?  I'm not a big "IF" fan  So, no.  His body has the better of him and ailments like his do not clear up over night.


Jeremy Lin might make it back in time to play in the elimination game.  And even if he played last Saturday, he wouldn't have helped.  I don't believe that.  And I do not believe he can help this team now.  Not with mounting injuries.  If Lin and Chandler were both healthy and playing Saturday, then maybe we only lose by fifteen.


So now that leaves us with Carmelo Anthony.   In Game One's debacle, the Knicks' star was dim. Miami kicked South Beach sand in Melo's face, and big man on campus offered no response.  His eleven points were just wimpy.  But he did have a good game rebounding.  I cede him that.


Hmmm, who's left?  J.R. Smith and Baron Davis?


So like I was saying...., I seriously doubt the Knicks will have a response tonight.  They are a poorly constructed team in the Dolan ideal.


Let's just get on with this.




NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
PLAYOFFS

Quarter-Final Round

TONIGHT


GAME TWO

NEW YORK KNICKS
vs.
Miami Heat
From,
Some Arena They Can't Sell Out
in South Florida








Mike.BTB

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Knicks and Nets Battle in New Jersey for Final Time



From the desks of:
DUTCH PANTS CAN'T JUMP  and  THE HOOPS OF FLATBUSH



Next Stop  ~  An Inner-City Rivalry!






THE FINAL TIP-OFF

NEW YORK KNICKS
vs.
NEW JERSEY NETS

FROM
THE ROCK in NEWARK
NEW JERSEY





Thirty-five seasons of the New York/New Jersey interstate rivalry conclude tonight.  For this will be the last time the Knicks will tip-off against the Nets in New Jersey.  The next time the Knicks visit the Nets for a road game, they will be hopping on a bus headed to Brooklyn for a game in Barclays Center.





Barclays Center ~ View from Dean Street at Sixth Avenue




For the Nets, this will be a rather inglorious final clash between these teams in New Jersey.  Deron Williams will miss tonight's game with an injury.  And the Nets have since been eliminated from playoff contention after a regular season; that outside of surprisingly good play from some of their most junior members; is worthy of little words.


For the Knicks, in order to unleash the greatness of Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks needed to be torn apart along the perforated edges first.  In the Melo System, apparently there is only room for one star.  Namely, the Media has reduced Amare Stoudemire, and Jeremy Lin, to mere flickers of light now.  And with Melo being the dominant force of gravity in the Knicks's universe, Landry Fields has also apparently been swallowed up by a black hole.


Then again, a rook name Iman Shumpert has carved out his own way no matter who's on the court.  And thank goodness for him.


Melo is right where he wants to be now; out from under Mike D'Antoni.  And say what you will about how the team has played under Mike Woodson, Melo is The Man right now due to a simple matter of attrition.  The same problems the Knicks had before, will be revisited once Amare comes back, or, tries to come back, and will worsen should the Knicks still be playing by the time Jeremy Lin gets back.  In the mean time, with everyone out of his way, including Mike D'Antoni, Melo is free to rule his world as he sees fit.  Because outside of a guy like Amare, Melo's team mates know exactly where their bread is being buttered right now.


That's not to say Melo hasn't been doing everything he can to help his team win lately; to include playing defense.  He has.  My thing is he just chose not to do it for D'Antoni.  Don't get me wrong, I think Mike Woodson is far better for the Knicks than D'Antoni and his stubborn commitment to his system were.


But I wouldn't be true to myself if I didn't keep dumping on the Knicks in spite of them throwing Boston a resounding beating Tuesday night.  One night for me doesn't suddenly cloak the prior facts that when the team did well, Melo didn't.  And When Melo did well, the team didn't.  Like I said, it took the elimination of a few players from the floor in order for the real Melo to stand up.


He's standing tall all right.  And leading the Knicks - his way.  And that's where I have a problem.


And I will say to you now - the Knicks aren't nearly this successful without Tyson Chandler.  Not even close.  If his knee doesn't hold up, the Knicks are done, post haste.





Mike.BTB

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

N.Y. KNICKS ~ SWEPT!! But Not Under The Rug.


N.Y. Knicks
Barclays Center
All-Time Playoff List; LINK



NEW YORK KNICKS:  My Four Point Play.

In no particular order,  these are the points I believe to be most important to the Knicks heading into the off-season:

1) - Re-Sign Donnie Walsh

2) - Maintain Salary Cap Flexibility

3) - Building A Bench

4) - D'Antoni, Amare, and Melo Need A New Plan



SWEPT....,
You saw what happened at Madison Square Garden in games three and four versus Boston.  There's no need to rehash everything...is there? 

Just know, the Knicks needed to play at their absolute best while Boston needed merely to hang-around in games one and two.  And in the closing minutes of both games, the Celtics were able to pull out late victories because they knew how to finish and the Knicks didn't.  Then, when the series shifted to New York, it seemed as if the Knicks took two steps backwards while the Celtics took three leaps forward. 

....Under The Bench.
Like in the first two games, the Knicks also made runs in games three and four that might lead you to believe they are closer to the Celtics than they really are.  Just don't believe it, because they're not.  And I'll give you seven reasons why. - Toney Douglas; Roger Mason; Anthony Carter; Shawne Williams; Bill Walker; Jared Jefferies; and Ronny Turiaf are not the stuff dream seasons are made of.  They're just not.  Nor is anyone else you care to throw into the mix.  I don't mean to come down hard on these guys.  Some of them are serviceable.  But just take a look at Boston's depth and bench alone, and you know what I mean.

We didn't win the series against Boston because those players were getting extraordinarily more time than they should rightfully expect to play.  But that's what happens when your owner agrees to trade away a bus-load of players for Melo; you lose Chauncey Billups for the series, Landry Fields disappears, and you play with a compromised Amare Stoudemire since game two.

So clearly, finding complementary players to fit around Melo and Amare is Donnie Walsh's next mission.  So, the sooner the Knicks resign him the better.  Needs for a rebounder/Center; addressing Landry Fields; and possibilities at Point Guard are matters to be talked about as the Knicks lurch forward.  But it starts with Donnie.


Donnie Walsh Still Has Work To Do.....,
But, there were Knick Fans who thought this team was a championship contender heading into the playoffs.  I was never one of them.  Instead, I think the Knicks are a not-so-well mixed bag of goods heading into the off-season.  This team is still obviously a work in progress and the playoffs should have nailed that notion home for everybody by now.

This is Donnie Walsh's work in progress, so let's take this from the top. 

Donnie Walsh is yet to have a contract extension offered to him.  I most definitely want him back but there's speculation Donnie may not want to come back.  And of course, there is always the Dolan Effect that needs to be factored in when talking about the Knicks' Front Office.  According to James Dolan by his own spoken word at the Melo press conference, Donnie Walsh and him would address a contract extension after the buzz of the Melo trade subsided.  Why are we now done with the regular season and the playoffs, yet, here we are in the off-season and still no offer?

.....And Coach D'Antoni Should Be Allowed to Return.
I also hear many fans calling for Coach D'Antoni's job.  Many fans called for his job last season also.  As a matter of fact, fans were calling for his job after his first season in New York too.  I detect a not so subtle pattern here.  But, rest assured, he will be the New York Knicks' coach again to start the 2011-2012 season.

I concur Coach D'Antoni got woefully out-coached by Doc Rivers on most counts.  Now let's leave Boston out of this.  There is no one available to replace Coach D at the moment, and it's unlikely a better coach will become available before next season starts.  The recurring names of speculation replacing D'Antoni continue to be Phil Jackson and Doc Rivers.  Even if there was a grain of believability there, that chance is still well over a calendar year away from being theoretically possible. 

But then that begs the question as to whether the Knicks should extend D'Antoni?  Ah....What to do?  Answer - Tack on a year to his present deal so he isn't a lame duck coach next season and take it from there.  But of course, easier said than done.

I'm not completely sold on Mike D'Antoni, but I am not against him.  I believe he deserves to come back next season because after all, this team did make the playoffs after undergoing a complete renovation over the prior two years.  And in that time, Coach D never had a consistent or quality roster to work with until this season.   But I won't commit beyond that. 


....But Coach And His Two Stars Need A Brand New Plan.
We have a Coach and a system being carried out by incompatible players.  On the court, the Knicks have Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, and a roster full of question marks. Coach D and Amare Stoudemire play one way, while Chauncey Billups and Carmelo Anthony play another.  Additionally, Melo and Stoudemire have still yet to prove they can play together on the same court.  What we saw since the trade were spurts and pops, but nothing resembling something which was clearly cohesive, unified, and meshing.  Going forward, the Knicks either need a system that better adapts to the players, or we need players that better adapt to the Coach.  In that regard, something has got to give and it involves everyone the Knicks plan on surrounding Melo and Amare with.


Maintain Cap Flexibility!  Buy-Out Billups.
And speaking of giving...., the Knicks should not give Chauncey Billups $14 million+ to return next season.  Donnie Walsh damn near performed a miracle clearing out Cap-Space in the short time he did.  I don't believe the Knicks should handcuff themselves with a player I believe will continue to decline and be even more susceptible to injuries.  We've played more games without him than with him since the trade, and he isn't a good fit in D'Antoni's system anyway.  The Knicks are playerS (plural) away from greatness; not lacking one player to put them over the top.  Therefore, I'd rather free-up the point guard position for competition and be in a position to make a trade-deadline deal next season.  Then, we'll see if next season's free-agent class is needed to provide a solution.  My mind is on getting younger and better; not getting older and hanging on.  Maintaining our cap flexibility is a major part of that.





Elsewhere on the Local Basketball Scene:  Construction of Barclays Center in Brooklyn.



View From Flatbush Avenue at 4th Avenue.




View From Dean Street and Flatbush Avenue.






And for those of you who enjoy debating over a
List of All-Time Playoff Greats, check out this LINK: 
The Ten Best NBA Playoff Players of All-Time; by TopOnlineColleges.com






Mike.BTB

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

N.Y. KNICKS ~ Tighten Up And Do It Again; Game Two


National Basketball Association

2010-2011
EASTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFFS


TONIGHT
GAME TWO

NEW YORK KNICKS (0-1)
vs.
Boston Celtics (1-0)

Not from the Boston Garden





NEW YORK KNICKS: Mike D'Antoni Coached a Good Game.  But Doc Rivers Mastered The Moment.

Two things are true about the coaching in this series; - Mike D'Antoni prepared the Knicks well with an effective plan on defense.  And Doc Rivers out-coached Coach D in the last minute of the game. 

Doc Rivers mapped out a way to get Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen the ball for their most important possessions.  Coach D was never able to spring Amare Stoudemire free down the stretch.  Instead, Chauncey Billups pulled up lame on a lay-up and Carmelo Anthony chucked up a brick to end the game.  Doc Rivers held on to timeouts for the closing moments of the game..  Coach D did not.  Doc Rivers got points every time coming out of his time-outs.  Coach D did not and then ran out.

This time around, Coach needs to find a better way to keep Amare Stoudemire more involved during crunch time.  Doc Rivers drew up a plan to stop Stoudemire after he scored twelve points in the fourth quarter before the Celts pulled it out.  And just as Doc had an answer for Amare, he also managed to uncork Ray Allen late in the game.



Mike D'Antoni came on board as an offensive minded coach.  He needs to get his team to play defense again, but he needs to live up to his reputation and design plays that will get the Knicks closer to one hundred points.



LANDRY FIELDS:

It's unfair to pile on the rookie.  But the fact is the Knicks need Landry to be the player he was before the Melo trade.  It's strictly a numbers issue.  The Knicks don't have em.  The Knickerbockers not only need the defense he provides, they need his ability to rebound from the two spot.  But mostly they need Landry Fields to adjust for Ray Allen and Boston's points off the bench.

Again, it's up to Coach D'Antoni to find a way and reintegrate Landry into the offensive flow and get him uncorked again.  The problem is Landry is better at letting the game come to him and reacting on the floor than he is with something drawn up for him.  He was a tremendous opportunist before the Melo trade when more players were involved with the offensive mindset.  I said in my last post, that's what happens when you shelve the Team Concept and adopt the Star System.  You might even call Landry an X-factor.  His points are crucial for making what hopefully will be another supreme defensive effort by the Knicks, successful.



Free Throws and Elbows:

* I'm expecting Carmelo Anthony to have a substantially better game.  But I'm expecting likewise from Antonio Pierce.  That's why Landry Fields is so important to the Knicks right now.

* I'm also looking forward towards Amare Stoudemire continuing his dominance over Kevin Garnett and
Big Cry Baby.  Amare is the younger, more spry, and more energetic player between him and Garnett.  That will prove itself out when Amare has the ball.  I don't think Garnett's game will be taking much of an up-tick after Game One.

* I think Toney Douglas at the point helps the Knicks speed up their tempo.  The Knicks have played without Chauncey before and aren't necessarily dependent on him.  Douglas' legs are fresher.  We'll see how the supposedly Old Legs of the Celtics hold up going into Game Two.  And Toney Douglas will more easily keep up with Rondo more so than Chauncey could have.

* Landry Fields has to match-up with Ray Allen over the course of the series.  But the Knicks need to come up with an answer to Jermaine O'Neal right now!  He'll eat us up if Coach D doesn't think of something quick.  Enter Ronny Turiaf.  The Knicks need a sustained defensive effort from him all series long.

* I think the Knicks played very well last game and are capable of sustaining this effort.  Some things need to go our way though; like whistles; but all I think the Knicks need to do for Game Two is to rewind and play it again. 

The true adjustments needed to be made by both teams in this series will come after this game.



Let's Go Knicks!!




Mike.BTB

Monday, April 18, 2011

N.Y. KNICKS ~ One Bad Minute Out Of Forty-Eight; Game One


National Basketball Association
2010-2011
EASTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFFS


NEW YORK KNICKS (0-1)
vs.
Boston Celtics (1-0)




NEW YORK KNICKS:  They Let A Golden Opportunity In Boston Slip Away.  For Forty-Seven Minutes the Knicks Played a Defensive Gem.  Only The Last Minute Was Forgettable.


Did the Knicks let one get away?  You bet!  They were sensational for three quarters.  But the Celtics were never that far behind and rose up in the 4th quarter to snatch victory from the Knicks.  That's what they get for letting the Celts loiter around the scoreboard.

With 4:00 left in the fourth quarter, Mr. Big Shot; Chauncey Billups finally hit a big shot.  His three-pointer made the score 78-75.  Amare Stoudemire slammed home a reverse dunk to increase the Knicks' lead to 80-75.  Another Stoudemire slam had the Knicks up 82-78 with 2:45 left.  Then, Ronnie Turiaf kept the defensive pressure on Boston with his 5th blocked shot of the game.  With a little over one minute left, Amare had twelve points in the fourth quarter to that point.

But by 1:12, the score was tied 82-82.

After forty-seven minutes of superlative basketball, the last minute of the game witnessed a Knick unravelling.

Chauncey Billups attempted a left-handed lay-up (in which he got hacked over the head by the way), and crashed to the floor, writhing in pain.  He stayed down while play continued the other way after the missed attempt.  A few moments later left the game.  He suffered a sprained left knee and self-admittedly, was in much pain.  That came with 50.7 seconds left.

Then, with 37.8 second left, Tony Douglas nailed a huge three-pointer for the Knicks.

A point of major contention for fans about Coach D was that he didn't save a time out for the end of the game, and he didn't prepare his team for the back-door alley-oops! Kevin Garnett slammed home with 37.3 seconds left.  But the fact remains the Knicks still had a one point lead and the ball going forward.

This is when it got worse for the Knicks.  Carmelo Anthony was called for a very questionable offensive foul.  Yes! ...it was questionable for that moment when AP and Melo were BOTH jostling for position.  Did Melo's elbow get high?  Yep.  But that whistle was best left not blown.

Boston now had the ball with 21.0 seconds left in regulation time.  Boston worked it down and with 11.6 seconds left on the clock, Ray Allen burried a back-breaking three point shot. 

That made the score 87-85 but the Knicks had no time outs left to call.  So, the ball found it's way into Melo's hand for one last shot to tie or for the win.  Melo was thinking three all the way.  He didn't even try to penetrate.  He chucked up a bad shot with two Celtics on him, that clanked off the front of the rim.  Time ran out, and the Knicks let one get away.

Melo took the biggest shot of the night alright.  But it turned out to be that elbow he got whistled for.  Two points on that possession might have been enough to seal the game for the Knicks.  But then again, had Chauncey made his attempted lay-up and not gotten hurt, the outcome could have been equally different.

I don't really get caught up with whistles and with who gets them and who doesn't.  So I'm not interested in the foul called against Melo.  Garnett should have been whistled for his trip/pick and a foul should have been called on the play when Chauncey got hurt.  He should have been the beneficiary of a continuation call.  That's the way whistles go.

As far as Melo, he was brought here to talk that last shot.  He missed.  What are you going to do?  If Coach D manages a few things differently along the way towards a melt-down....

Scratch that.  It was a good game.  Coach D had a good game plan.  We fell a shot short.  The Knicks proved they'll be competitive.  They are going to give themselves a shot.




The Knickerbockers:  This is what I'm thinking...

First, we didn't have an answer for Ray Allen as I suspected.  Allen was quiet early in the game.  But he killed in the fourth quarter and in the closing minute of the game.  Landry Fields all but disappeared.  Some one is going to have to match Ray Allen's points this series if the Knicks want to keep pace with Boston.  Look at Melo and Pierce, and Garnett versus Amare as a wash.  The next key match-up would be Allen versus....fill in the blank.  Ray Allen was the only Celtic who scored over twenty points.  He scored twenty four killer points against us to be exact.  We need an answer for that.  That's on Coach to figure out.

Secondly, Jermaine O'Neal absolutely killed off the bench going 6-6 and twelve points.  Boston holds the advantage over the Knicks in size and bench depth.  After steady doses of Garnett and small doses Big Cry Baby, O'Neal is tough to handle; lest we speak of the injured Shaq.

Paul Pierce was held to eighteen points on the night.  Carmelo had an equally low night of proficiency scoring only fifteen points for the Knicks; highlighted by his last shot of the game miss.

About that miss....,  I get it.  Carmelo was brought here to take that shot.  But I believe in playing the hot hand.  Boston might have clamped down on Amare in the closing minutes Sunday night, but after scoring twelve points in the quarter, and having a dominant over-all game, I think you can design plays to isolate Amare or set picks for him (like Boston did to shake Allen loose...right?).  That's on Coach.

Why were the Knicks in this game in the first place?  Defense!  Deee-Fense!  The Knicks can make this a very good series and win games if they commit to the same kind of defensive effort they put forth Sunday night.  It really was a superlative effort on their part.  After that kind of defensive performance, I'm always aghast whenever I see anything less.  Defense is all in the mind.  You just have to want to commit to it.

But did that defensive effort come against a Celtics team having an average night?  Or did we defend the Celtics at their best?  That's what I want to know, and what we're going to find out.  Both teams were held to under ninety-points.  And we did almost take them on their floor.  But if the Celtics kick things up a notch, can the Knicks hang?  Think about that Boston fourth quarter comeback, only longer.  Now think about having to move forward without Chauncey Billups.  The Knicks have their work cut out for them.

Melo was down but we should have a realistic expectation he'll score more as the series moves forward.  But what of Ronny Turiaf?  Ronny Turiaf had himself a really good game scoring nine points and blocking five shots.  His defense was highly commendable.  But can we depend on him for a few more games at that level?  We don't have Boston's bench.  The Knicks NEED everything Turiaf can give.  Tony Douglas' defense was also commendable.  The Knicks are in desperate need of these two playing, if only fairly well, but they must play consistently well.

Landry Fields?  He spent a lot of time chasing Ray Allen around Sunday night, but not much else.  I don't know what this series has in store for him.  His problem is, before the Melo trade, he literally found his niche on this team and excelled.  That cast is gone along with the dynamic it presented for Landry.  He now needs to recreate a niche for himself in an offense tailored towards Melo first and Amare second.  Heck!  Coach D is still figuring out how to integrate them.  That's what happens when you go from the Team System, to the Star System in basketball.

Defense is still the key though, to any Knicks' success against the Celtics.



GAME TWO
Tuesday Night



Mike.BTB

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

N.Y. KNICKS ~ Knicks Lasso NBA's Best Team

NEW YORK KNICKERBOCKERS:  It's Cool To Be Right Sometimes.  But Tonight, It Was Even Better To Be Wrong.

First, the straight version.

The New York Knicks beat the NBA's Top Team tonight 128-115 and improved their record to 20-14.
The fans at Madison Square Garden celebrated their 10th home win but got to participate in yet another uproarious night against the NBA's elite.

One thing I said about the Knicks still holds true.  If Ray Felton and Landry Fields do not score in double digits together in the same game, the Knicks don't win.  Felton scored 28 and Fields dropped 13.

But tonight Wilson Chandler was The Dude.  He dumped 31 points all over the Spurs.  Amar'e said it best after the game, "They didn't have an answer for him tonight."  But part of that was because Amar'e kept making passes.  He had 6 assists tonight.

Here's another...!  Wilson Chandler and Stoudamire were high rebounders tonight with both getting 9 boards apiece.

Oh wait!  Here's another...  No GALLO tonight!  He's hurt.  Remember?

WAITER?!    Some Crow please?

I believe in my last Knicks posting, I said Tim Duncan was going to put on a clinic in MSG tonight.  I was questioning if the Knicks would have an answer for the Big Guy.  I said he still has a whole-lotta Ball in his big body.

The Knicks didn't just have an answer, they took the NBA's best team, at the moment, completely out of their game.  Coach Pop was upset!  

But I couldn't be more happier being so wrong, not necessarily about Tim Duncan, but about the Knicks' chances tonight.

How about these guys..huh?!



Mike.BTB

Thursday, December 30, 2010

N.Y. Knicks: "The Stretch" is Over; How Ya Like Me Now?

NEW YORK KNICKERBOCKERS: 
The Media dubbed this "THE STRETCH".

So what do you think about 'em now, Knick fans?


If anything, we were entertained; and I think that's understating things..  There were definitely moments, plays, quarters, very good halves and some complete Basketball games over the last eight scheduled match-ups dubbed The Stretch that truely excited, and during the home games, shook the roof.

We held our own to start things off on the right "Chuck Taylor" against 'Melo and the Denver Nuggets.  Maybe seeing how well the Knicks played them will dissuade him from ever signing that extension with Denver.  We followed the Nuggets game with a gripping Regular Season Classic that put everyone through the ultimate high and disappointing low with a last second thriller against Boston that had everyone feeling good about the Knicks despite losing a very exciting, near-buzzer beating contest at the Garden.  And who wasn't feeling even better about our situation during the first half against the Heat?

OK...So the next six quarters weren't as good.  The second half against the Heat and the entire game against the Cavs kinda sedated fan enthusiasm a bit.  Actually, that Cavs game was rather disappointing.  Don't ya think?

But the Knicks returned with wins against Oklahoma City and Chicago before we got singed by the Heat again for Christmas.

If I remember all the scuttlebutt correctly, I recall the experts saying if the Knicks could manage a 3-5 record over That Stretch, it would have proved the Knicks indeed made real strides.  Anything above 3 wins and the Knicks would have to be considered as a legitimately competitive playoff team.  They were all calling this a litmus test to see how they stacked up against the League's better teams.

Well?  What do you think?  We went 3-5.  Who's saying they went 3-4 with a push against Boston?

We beat Denver when they weren't at full strength.  They didn't have Kenyon Martin (he's one of my favorite players) on the floor but their best player was.  So it was a victory well earned.  Wins against Oklahoma City and the Bulls were, I think, appropriate.  We've handled the Bulls and Derrick Rose quite well this season.

Are you going to give the Knicks an E for Effort against Boston?  I'm willing to.  C'mon, just compare that game to any game prior to this season and going back ...how long?  The Celts didn't have all their guys for that game like the Nuggets didn't.  Is a win just a win?

Was getting BURNED by the Miami Heat twice expected?  Be honest...it was right?  Sure it was.

The only real point of contention I think we will all agree on was that no-show against Cleveland.  It will stand out as the low point, for me anyway, of the last 8 games (including tonight's game with Orlando).  What would the high point be?  You know what?  They did a lot of things well worth mentioning.

There's no denying the Garden was electrified during the Boston game.  We lost, but we got OUR HOUSE back in order.  MSG became a mecca again that night.  And like I said, that first half against Miami on our court was furious too.  Is that odd I picked two games we lost?  No.  It just shows we are doing things correctly, more often.

Tonight, the Refs kept themselves front and center.  They ruined what could have been a great game-within-the-game between Amar'e and Howard.  But instead of letting them play and the fans getting to enjoy a great match-up,  Stoudemire remained in foul trouble all night.  Amar'e was playing with five fouls while Howard still only had three called against him by the fourth quarter.  Both he and Howard were served with Technicals in the first half also.  Incidentally,  Howard and Amar'e are one and two in the League receiving Techs.

After Amar'e received his third foul in the first half and had to take a seat, we found Wilson Chandler and Shawne Williams playing center?  Really?  Don't get me wrong.  Wilson Chandler is winning-over more and more people everyday, but he's no center!  Tonight he was carrying the Knicks.  We have to give him that.  But then Shawne Williams at Center?

Let's be happy with the way this stretch of games went.  There were an awful lot of positive things to converse about.  But this stretch was also a reminder Donnie Walsh still has some work to do.  Of course, my biggest hang-up is not having a legit center.  But something has to give.  Ray Felton and Amar'e need help from this bench.  That's Donnie's job.  This team needs another piece...obviously.  I said it once before, I Tweeted it tonight and I'll say it again now. When Ray Felton (14 points) and Landry Fields (zero points) do not score in double digits together, the Knicks do not win. Period.


Donnie has gotten us to this point; to the point where apathy isn't welcome at the Garden anymore.

Does Donnie Walsh have something brewing for the very near future or will a move have to wait till the deadline?  Both are fine by me.  Donnie Walsh deserves as much credit for the last eight entertaining games as the players and Coach D does.  Put the "L's" aside for a sec on this one.  Yes, more moves must be made but we all saw the Brand is much better.

Back to the litmus test?  The Knicks-Magic game just went final.  Knicks lost 112-103.  The Knicks got as close as 2 points with 4:10 to go.  But the Magic maintained a 10 point lead on the Knicks for most of the night.  If you want to connect Stoudemire's foul troubles with the Magic 6, 8 and 10 point leads, I'm definitely game for that.

I think The Stretch turned out to be an accurate barometer of who the Knicks are and where they are as a team.

We could very well be on-par with Denver and we have a couple of wins over the Bulls now.  I'll say we are better than the Thunder, and if it weren't for too many whistles, Amar'e and Howard may have banged bodies towards a closer score.

Are we as good as Miami or Boston?  No.  But we did show if they aren't careful, we can give them a lot of problems.  I also think we proved we can now "talk without laughing" about securing one of the eight playoff spots in the East.

Next month, the New Year gives us a little dose of the Western Conference.  That means the Lakers and Spurs.  I'm a big Tim Duncan fan, and I'm dying to see if we have an answer for him.  Quite honestly, I think there's still a lot of great Basketball in his big body and I feel like he's going to put us through a clinic.

I welcome you to prove me wrong Boys!


Let's Go Knicks



Mike.BTB

Sunday, December 12, 2010

N.Y. Knicks ~ Gut Check Time, But Not For Team

NEW YORK KNICKERBOCKERS:  Your team has a tough December test ahead.  But this isn't about them.  This is about YOU!


"Beak-up to Make-up...  That's a game, for fools.."

"Reunited and it feels so good..."

Whatever! 

It's nice being a Knicks fan again isn't it? 

If you didn't treat this team with apathy, ignorance, indifference or with disgust during the latter days of the ZEKE Years OR if you weren't perturbed Donnie Walsh told us to give him two years to get this team in a position to sign big money players (i.e. LeBron) only to not get who everyone really really wanted, well then I give you all the credit in the world.  If you stuck it out through all that and didn't give the team much flack about it, congratulations are in order as you enjoy some success this year and the Garden re-emerges from it's moratorium against having Fun.

If you're the type who tempered your expectations coming into this season and find yourself wonderfully surprised by the play of Ray Felton, the leadership brought to town by your new Star Power Forward, the emergence of Landry Fields from parts unknown, the continued improvement of the Italian Stallion, etc. etc.,  no one has been more rewarded by the Knicks' efforts this year than you have.

The cheers, roars, chants and fan adulation have rained-down again this season inside Madison Square Garden upon their new cast of Knickerbockers.  And why not?!  They are above .500 sporting a record worthy of cheers at 15-9, which entering today's game was good enough for second place.

Our new "Big Guy" and our new point guard are establishing peace, love and harmony playing together.  Landry Fields seems to be doing something every game that makes you wonder "wow" out loud.  He's been outstanding and gaining more of Coach D's confidence every day.

Organizational changes and a roster overhaul have made startling differences from where this organization was three years ago.  Very good right?


If you're not one of those "patient" fans; ~ If you were ranting, raving and chugging on Hate-O-Rade the whole time; if you called into Sports Radio with ridicule, derisiveness and raving lunacy; if at times you found them unwatchable and turned off the game or stopped watching all together; if you were one of those who didn't renew your season tickets...., 

...If you were disappointed we signed Amar'e Stoudemire and not King James;  If you think that's a knock on Donnie Walsh and if you're one of the few who thinks Zeke did a good job....

...If you said to yourself at any time over the last 3, 5, 7 or 9 years, "I can't anymore!" ~ I'm talking to you.

This is December's remaining schedule for your New York Knicks:
* Today's game against the Denver Nuggets is underway.
* Dec. 15 ~ Boston, MSG
* Dec. 17 ~ Miami, MSG
* Dec. 18 ~ @ Cavs
* Dec. 22 ~ Oaklahoma City, MSG
* Dec. 25 ~ Chicago, MSG
* Dec. 28 ~ @ Miami
* Dec. 30 ~ @ Orlando

Obviously this portion of the schedule will test this team's mettle and certainly serve as a litmus test determining where this team really stands in comparison to the more quality clubs in the League.  Five of the remaining games this December are at MSG to include Christmas Day versus Chicago.  But all eyes are no doubt zeroed in on the Dec.17th match-up against the Miami Heat for obvious reasons.  That game is the hottest Knick ticket in many, many years.

So let's finally get right down to "IT".  With five home games against the League's better teams on the docket I want to know do you have tickets...Are you going?

Because let's say the Knicks struggle against these teams, including today's game against the Nuggets and we play towards a deflating 3-5 record during the stretch.  Let's say we get blown-out by the Celtics and that leaves everyone a little ticked off for tip-off against the Heat.  And in the course of that game, things go wrong and the game plays out without us ever really having a chance to win.

What are you going to do?  Boo?

Because if that's what you have in mind with a little down-turn on your hands, fugheddaboudit!  I'm going to have my man "Joe" turn you away at the door before you get the chance.

This is a test for "US" fans as much it is a test for "OUR" team.  What'cha gonna do?




Mike.BTB

Thursday, December 09, 2010

N.Y.Knicks ~ The Bounces Went Our Way Tonight

NEW YORK KNICKS: 
* Landry Fields Electrifies Crowd. 
** Amar'e Continues To Lead Knicks.
*** "Snarling" Ray Felton Bounces Raptors In Last Seconds.

Final
Toronto Raptors     110
New York Knicks   113

I counted five; Five bounces on the rim, then in...and..the Knicks win.  It was a bad shot but that was because Toronto defended the play well.  Ray had no pass and nowhere to go....but up.  And up it went.  Then down it came and after bouncing around a bit, down it went.  Then after one last shot attempt by the Raptors, victorious, off went the Knicks to their locker room winners of their last 6 consecutive games.

Ray Felton's last second shot gets on ESPN tonight, but he kept things together for the Knicks in the first half snarling the whole time.  But before that, and before Amar'e put the Knicks on his back in the fourth quarter, Landry Fields added his own highlight to the All-Time Sickest Knicks' Slams and Jams moments.  The reDUNKulous Rookie slammed home a Put-Back so viciously, the play would have broken the rest of Bernard King's fingers had he attempted such violence above the rim.

As far as "The Put-Back" ~ there was always Bernard King's put-back versus the Pistons in the playoffs back in the day when he had his fingers all taped up together.  Then there was Patrick Ewing's put-back of a John Starks drive against the Pacers.  Landry Fields' put-back was equally rim rocking, if not spectacular.  Incidentally, it tied the score at 56-56 with just under one minute left in the first half.

Landry's highlight moment wasn't just something to marvel at, it juiced the crowd up exponentially.  The crowd was pretty docile in the first quarter.  And who could blame them.  The Knicks fell behind right from the opening tip allowing the Raptors to get out to a 13-0 lead.   C'mon...The Raptors?

Landry's slam punctuated a 1st half comeback as it not only tied the score, it set the tone for the rest of the game, not to mention setting MSG decibel levels.  That play woke everybody up and the Garden was raucous from that moment on.

It seemed the more the Garden crowd engouraged their team with the customary DE-FENSE chant, the more Toronto's C-Andrea Bargnani kept raining buckets on us.  He would finish the night with 41 points but the crowds efforts would still not go unrewarded.

The fourth quarter appropriately belonged to Amar'e Stoudemire.  Playing with four fouls then getting a fifth foul called against him on a play, I could see ref Dick Bavetta mouth to Amar'e, "You have a point", when the two discussed the foul.

No matter.  He kept his cool and kept scoring buckets.  Eighteen of Stoudemire's thirty nine points tonight came in the fourth quarter.  Add in 14 rebounds and a few blocked shots and what you have is a man carrying his team.  Tonight was the 6th consecutive game Amar'e scored over 30 points.  One more will tie the Knicks' club record for consecutive games of 30+ points.  For Toronto, there was no solution for his slams off the pick and roll, dunks coming from the low post and his mid-range jumper.

After he was done dominating the 4th quarter and Ray Felton ensured we'd gotten a good bounce, the Garden fans emptied out onto 7th Avenue happy their team just won it's 14th game versus 9 loses... And if you were with me, you were talking about that Landry Fields put-back all the way home.




Mike.BTB

Sunday, November 07, 2010

NYKnicks ~ "FIELDS" of Orange, and The Blues

How can you not have taken notice of the all-around superlative effort this early afternoon by Knicks' rookie guard LANDRY FIELDS.  Except for one turnover midway through the third quarter in paint traffic, he played a very effective and controlled game in a rare starting role......up until he hit a wall midway through the third quarter.

Credit him with a beautiful pass from the top of the free-throw circle down into a slashing Stoudemire in the paint in the first half; 5 rebounds, 2 assists, a block and a steal; 8 points in 20 minutes.   However, he negated himself with foul trouble as the third quarter closed in typical rookie fashion.  He got baited into every infraction, leaving his hands out for a reach in foul and leaving his feet on a three point attempt.  Till this point there was still a lot about his game to rave about today and the Knicks as a whole.

The Knicks continued their cohesive, team oriented, defensive minded play into the third quarter and appeared as if there were going to win their third consecutive game, this time against the Sixers this afternoon in an MSG matinee.  Wins against Chicago and Washington backing up a victory today would have made the Orlando game a distant memory and would have had the CITY all a-buzz tomorrow.



But the Knicks were not without their problems this game.  The Knicks allowed the Sixers to score 7 straight points to tie and take the lead as the third quarter was about to expire.  Turiaf running the floor after a Knick blocked shot on the defensive end, fought for a lay-up ..and the foul!  He made the free throw and the quarter expired with the Knicks up by one.; 81-80.

Toney Douglas sat with 5 fouls most of this time,  but for the most part the Knicks controlled the affair.  They lost control at other times; hence the one point lead after three quarters. 

Anthony Randolph slammed down the Knicks' first possession of the fourth quarter.  But then the Knicks began to falter even more on defense.

At 9:00 they trailed 87-85.
At 8:00 they trailed 89-85.

The Sixers continued to get to the line by walking and playing into Knicks' miscues (all game long).  The Knicks didn't learn and kept getting induced into the fouls.  But, the Knicks still managed to regain the lead; 91-90 with 5:26 left.

Douglas finally made it back into the game with 5:00 remaining.  But at the 4:00 mark Philly recaptured the lead 95-94.   With 3:28 left Toney Douglas might have wanted to stay on the bench because Coach D was furious with him for lack of hustle and allowing the Sixers to bury a Three-pointer adding to their lead.  It really was a weak effort on his part.  Coach was justified.

Turn-overs, bad passing and a 10-2 run by Philly had the Knicks reeling with 2:30 left.  Their shooting went ice cold and would continue fruitless for another minute till Stoudemire hit one of two free throws at 1:30 left.  Stoudemire would go to the line again at 1:10 and again would shoot 1 for 2.

Philly led 102-96 with 0.40 seconds left. 

To think, the Knicks once led by 9 points in the third quarter before Landry Fields and the Knickerbockers started to unravel with about 6:00 minutes left in that quarter.

Between .40 and .26 the Knicks had about 5 opportunities under the glass to get two points.  Five shots went up; neither found the bottom of the net; incredulous. I had visions of Charles Smith swirl in my head for a moment.

The Sixers would win this game 106-96 on the Knicks' home court sending everyone home with a sour taste in their mouths for the rest of the still young day outside.

Philly clamped down on defense and the Knicks shooting went into hibernation. Philly outscored the Knicks 26-15 in the fourth quarter.  Bad passing and turnovers doomed the Knicks after starting this game very promisingly.  And like I said, Landry Fields was looking real smooth out there until his game curdled along with the rest of the Knicks.

Instead of getting carried away with ourselves tomorrow because the Knicks won three in a row, the talk will be sounding a little skeptical but with a lot of hope sprinkled in.  Coach D'Antoni will get hammered because our defense faltered down the stretch.  Some will feel better because the team, despite today, still notice an appreciable difference in this team than teams of the recent past.

Should we be killing the Knicks after today's game?  Yea sure, for a game and a day.  But let's get over this one quick.  We blew it, OK?  But today and this season is still far more fun to watch than this team was three and two years ago.



Mike.BTB