The Ship Be Sinking

Mouth Almighty

Heat 115, Knicks 93

It’s game 1 so I’m certainly not going to get bent out of shape about this one, but man, that was rough to watch. It’s not really a secret what the issue was: Knicks were better on the boards, the O-boards, at the free throw line and in turnovers (three of the classic 4 factors right there) but they got out-shot 56.6% to 37.9% and hit only 25.6% of their three pointers- and quite a a few of those came from Gallinari late, long past when this one had a chance to be competitive. As a general rule this is going to happen to teams like the Knicks from time to time: playing 3 point mad bomber is a high-variability strategy, and some times that means you build a house and get pasted even by a likely-to-be-meh Miami team. Those results can be minimized however, and the Knicks are going to have to tighten up as the season goes on and change things a little to deal with games like this. The team was and is more effective in the halfcourt working out of a set play at the start- usually the Duhon/Lee pick and roll- which allows them to open up the defense a bit and force some movement, where their shooters spreading the floor becomes more of a weapon. Without that you get what we had in the second and third quarters of this one: a team of guys who all have the green light to shoot from anywhere, who are being given mediocre shots by the opposition and are willing to take them instead of working for the best available shot.

Still, there are positives: Gallinari is obviously this year’s big development project, and tonight was a solid step in that direction as he got more minutes than anyone but the starters and produced effectively (albeit in mostly garbage time). Two major things stick out about his play: he did a nice job of showing his basketball smarts in flashes, using a shot fake to draw contact and a foul on the perimeter from Michael Beasley as the shot clock ran down. He also had the anti-Jason Kapono line for a shooter, taking 14 shots overall and 13 of them from three point range. He’s got the relatively rare attribute for a young player right now of knowing where his best abilities lie and confining himself to employing them, instead of trying to do things he’s simply not really equipped to do yet. On a night when the Knicks got absolutely flambe’d, that’s a decent consolation take-away.

Notes:

– How nice of Q Rich to lose 25 pounds and give a care immediately after leaving New York. That was great to see, and says a lot about his professionalism.

– Whisper it, but Darko looked ok. I’m not crazy enough to think he’ll eventually be what he was supposed to be, but his defense and boards were welcome additions, and it’s just possible that Mike Dan Tony’s coaching may get a bit more offense out of him, enough to make him, say, a league average center? Yeah, I know, but the season opener is all about dreams….

– Jared Jefferies appears to be the permanent idea as the more or less lead perimeter defender when he’s out there, presumably on the idea that his wingspan and footwork will let him disrupt some passes and switch effectively on S/R plays. I recall this being a solid change of pace defensive call last year- we’ll see how much it gets used this year and how it works.

– On the Heat’s first two offensive plays of the year they went right to Jermine O’Neal posting up on David Lee. How Lee’s defense evolves, or doesn’t, over the course of the year will be an ongoing sub-plot to the season.

Not much more to say about this one. It was full of sloppy junk like TO’s from guys stepping on the baseline and intercepted inbounds passes, and hopefully that will be worked out by the second or third week of the season, and we’ll have a better sense of what exactly we’re watching with this year’s Knicks.

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October 29, 2009 - Posted by | The NY Knicks

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