- Tip Off: 5:00 p.m. (PT)
- Television: ESPN, CSN-BA
New York Knicks Team Profile
- Offensive Efficiency: 108.3 (3rd in NBA)
- Defensive Efficiency: 103.3 (15th in NBA)
- Points: Carmelo Anthony, 28.4 PPG
- Rebounds: Tyson Chandler, 11.1 RPG
- Assists: Raymond Felton, 6.0 APG
- Steals: Jason Kidd, 1.7 SPG
- Blocks: Tyson Chandler, 1.2 BPG
- Field Goal Percentage: Tyson Chandler, 66.1% FG
- 3-Point Field Goal Percentage: Steve Novak, 44.7% 3PT FG
Scope the Opposition: Knickerblogger.
Preview: After getting involved in a scuffle that resulted in posturing more than actual displays of toughness and unity, the Golden State Warriors (33-24) were defeated last night by an Indiana Pacers (36-21) team that now occupies the second seed in the Eastern Conference standings.
The Pacers recent five-game winning streak helped them steal the spot from the New York Knicks (33-20).
Indeed, the Knicks just recently rebounded from a four-game losing streak with a home victory against the Philadelphia 76ers (22-33) and will be looking to win back-to-back games when they host the Dubs tonight at Madison Square Garden.
The Knickerbockers have one of the best offenses in the league and Mike Woodson deserves a huge amount of credit for it.
Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith, Amar’e Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert were all at one point in their respective careers considered to be ball stoppers. They would endlessly pound the rock and monopolize the offense for the one moment where they felt comfortable with settling for whatever shot they could manufacture against the set defense.
Ah but the times they be changing.
Melo embraced the power forward position and consequently altered his game a little to better fit with his teammates.
The end result has been that his teammates have adopted a similar mindset and followed in his footsteps. The ball no longer stays with one lone player.
Instead New York shares the wealth and the players move beautifully without the ball. They run hand offs, pick-and-pops, pick-and-rolls and post ups to take advantage of opposing defenses that collapse into the paint to protect the rim.
The end result is that Knicks players typically end up with an abundance of open jumpers, particularly from 3-point range where they convert 37.4 percent of their tries (sixth best in the Association).
In addition, if the offense boggles down and they get into a tight spot with the shot clock ticking down, they still have Carmelo Anthony to bail them out in these situations. Per Synergy Sports, the Syracuse product is converting 39.4 percent of his field goal attempts out of isolation scenarios.
The efficiency isn’t incredibly high — and it’s not awful either considering the circumstance — but the value of a shot creator in low percentage situations is extremely high, given that it can occasionally bail out a team. Have a look at some of the top scorers in the league and their field goal percentage in isos (data compiled from Synergy Sports):
FG% in Isolations
The Knicks’ offense is a difficult one to defend and the Warriors will have to dig in deep to make things difficult for Mike Woodson’s bunch.
On the other side of the ball though, New York is quite average as evidenced by their 15th ranked defensive efficiency.
Tyson Chandler is excellent in pick-and-roll defense and does a good job of anchoring the paint for the Knicks by consistently rotating to challenge players at the rim without fouling.
But if there’s an area where the Blue and Orange are vulnerable it’s in dribble penetration.
Iman Shumpert and Jason Kidd are disruptive on-ball defenders because they do a good job of cutting off angles and also using their hands to poke the ball away. In addition, they are strong perimeter defenders that are difficult to drive by and post up.
Who does that leave?
Well just about everybody else. But one of the biggest culprits is unquestionably Ray Felton.
The Knicks’ point guard just cannot keep players in front of him and routinely gets beaten with quick moves and gets caught staring at players after they breeze past him. NBA.com’s advanced stats tool tells us that NY defends at a top 10 level when Felton is off the floor but that defense nosedives down to bottom third league levels when he is on the hardwood.
Jim Cavan of Knickerblogger, the Knicks’ ESPN TrueHoop Affiliate blog, had these thoughts to share on the key matchup of tonight’s game (not so coincidentally, it involved New York’s starting point guard):
Steph Curry and Raymond Felton. Felton has had a propensity for getting lit up by opposing point guards, and with his Achilles sore and status uncertain, this is a script that seems ripe for a rerun. Woodson has shown a reluctance to pit Iman Shumpert on the opposition’s floor general — something he made a regular routine last season — and with Klay Thompson out on the wing, it might not be the best use of Shump’s efforts anyway. Whether and how effectively the Knicks switch up top will be telling; if Curry can turn that corner and force help, he’s got more than a few perimeter options from which to choose. If I’m the Knicks, I’m running nothing but P&R practice drills ahead of Wednesday’s tilt.
This promises to be an area the Dubs try to exploit tonight whether it’s with Stephen Curry or Jarrett Jack.
Expect the Knicks to come out fast and possibly even push the pace against a Warriors team that played last night in Indiana and may have tired legs.
Warriors game note: David Lee will serve a suspension tonight for his involvement in the scuffle in Indiana last night.
Knicks game note: Rasheed Wallace is scheduled to have surgery and will essentially miss the remainder of the regular season.
Statistical support provided by NBA.com.
Questions or comments? Feel free to leave them in the comments section or you can contact me by email at [email protected].