Not Gonna Happen

Last week’s “news” that the Knicks were “willing” to trade Amar’e for Dwight Howard was preposterous when it broke.  A useless news item for a slow news day.  After last night, there cannot be a scintilla of truth to the rumor.  It’s deader than dead.  Consider it “Mike Bibby dead”  before Mike Bibby rose again in fulfillment of the scriptures.

WTF Amar'e?

As the BakeShow stated earlier, last night was an epic Amar’e fail.  1-7 from the floor.  6 points. 3 rebounds.  2 Turnovers.  4 fouls.  Compare that with Howard’s performance which was historically great.   Maybe Amar’e has taken the rumors to heart and is sabotaging any potential for a trade.  Or maybe Amar’e spent too much time reading about the Myths of Greece and Rome at Bridge Street Books during the lock-out and not enough time shooting jumpshots.

Whatever it is, Amar’e hasn’t looked like himself lately.  And Dwight Howard continues to be Dwight Howard. An absolute beast.

As far as I’m concerned, Amar’e has bought himself some time.  Where would the Knicks be if Amar’e doesn’t sign in the summer of 2010?  But Knicks fans are not known for being very patient.  And Knicks fans know the team took a risk in signing Amar’e.    His contract is uninsured.  He has had microfracture surgery on his knee.  And let’s not forget about the eye issues that require him to wear hipster-goggles.  But what was NOT expected is  utter futility on the offensive end from a guy that takes up one quarter of the team’s payroll.  At some point, Knicks fans are going to turn on Amar’e unless he turns up his production.

And when that happens, maybe the Amare-Howard trade rumor can go back to being just a preposterous story.

Game Preview 11: Knicks (6-4) at Memphis Grizzlies (3-6)

Not so fierce

After an ugly but encouraging win against the upstart 76ers, the Knicks travel to Memphis to take on the Grizzlies at the FedEx Forum tonight. The Knicks are catching the Grizzlies at a good time. Despite emerging as a playoff darling last spring, they have struggled to recapture that magic in the early going and have since lost leading scorer Zach Randolph for two months (I thought he was going to be a steal for 12 dollars in my fantasy auction, but alas, not so). The Knicks are thus well-positioned to take this one, and in doing so, extend their winning streak to five games. I have to admit, the last clause of that last sentence felt very strange to write.

But before Knicks fans get too confident, a closer look at their respective schedules show how misleading their records can be to date. Memphis’ strength of schedule is sixth overall, with recent losses coming at the hands of the Lakers, the Thunder twice, the Bulls (in embarrassing fashion on New Years Day), and a youthful, better-than-expected Utah squad. The Grizzlies have won every game they should have. Meanwhile, the Knicks continue to benefit from the league’s weakest schedule. On the second night of a back to back I hope we don’t get caught tired, or looking ahead to a tough match-up in OKC this Saturday. These are the kind of games the Knicks need to prove that they can win.

Key match-up: Has to be Melo-Gay on the wing. I agree with everything AC said about Melo and hope he plays within the offense a bit more. Gay’s athleticism should be a challenge, hope he can be contained.

Preview Game 10: Knicks (5-4) v. Philadelphia 76ers (7-2)

The Knicks are at home tonight against the No. 1 ranked, 76ers by ESPN’s John Hollinger.  Though that ranking has caused some to snicker because of a perceived-easy schedule, it should be noted that the Sixers have won 5 of their first 9 games by 20 points or more.  So they are doing what they are supposed to.  Doug Collins seems to have very good control over the players, they play hard and listen, they defend, and they are deep.  So the Knicks will have their hands full.   

"The Knicks displaying Matador D, folks."

The Sixers’ biggest weakness is in the frontcourt where they lack depth.  If the Knicks can get Amar’e or Chandler the ball going toward the basket early, things will open up.  Foul trouble for Hawes or Brand, who historically kills the Knicks, would be a good thing. 
 
Tonight also marks the return of former/disgraced Knick Malik Rose to the Garden – now as a Sixers broadcaster.  I have watched a few Sixers games this year, and must say that Rose makes Eric Snow look like Howard Cosell.  It makes you appreciate Clyde more and more.  And speaking of Clyde, rumor has it that he could be Twitter’s newest sensation.     Frankly, it doesn’t mean much to me unless I can hear him speak his tweets.  And by the way I think I just invented a new twitter feature. 
 
Match-up to watch tonight:  Iguodala on Carmelo.  Iguodala is lauded by many as one of the league’s best defenders.  And that reputation is well-deserved.  You would think Carmelo’s strength would pose problems for Iguodala.   However, Carmelo has put up pedestrian numbers (for him) against PHI over the last three seasons (’10: 21.5ppg, 42%FG; ’09: 14.0 ppg; 24%FG; ’08: 24.0 ppg; 42%)
 
Tonight’s game will be won at the end/beginning of quarters two and three while volume shooters, Carmelo and Amar’e rest up.  Can the Knicks’ second team stay with the Sixers second team?  Let’s hope so, and let’s hope Knicks fans lay off TD tonight;  we’ll need him.
 
UPDATE:  Spencer Hawes will sit out tonight’s game with back spasms.  Enter Tony Battie. Yes, that Tony Battie.  From 100 years ago. 
 

Preview Game 9: Knicks (4-4) vs. Charlotte Bobcats (2-6)

The Knicks get a second go at the Bobcats tonight in Charlotte, a chance to avenge their distressing loss last week at home. The Knicks need to prove their mettle tonight by showing they are able to beat bad teams at homeon the road  and can string together more than a couple victories in a row without suffering an unnecessary letdown. Whereas the Knicks have won two straight since their match-up last week, including their strongest game of the season at Detroit Saturday night, the Bobcats have returned to their losing ways – losing in Atlanta and at home against the Pacers.

The Knicks have a few players nursing injuries. Melo in particular has been hobbled ever since the game in DC on Friday might. When asked Saturday night to explain what’s going, he struggled to pinpoint any one issue — “My whole right side was kind of locked up. Last night when we got in, they unlocked my back, then today it was my hip, then in the game it was my knee. It was kind of my whole right side. I can use this day off (Sunday).”  I am terrified as to what this will mean for his shot selection. Hopefully Toney feels good enough to go after a vicious pick Saturday night.

Big Questions going into Game 9:

Are the Knicks mentally strong enough to win the games they should? I hope so.

And will Mike Bibby ever miss another 3-pointer?

STAT loves to read…

Found this wonderful video of STAT in DC last week walking into a bookstore. Man loves to learn, made the mental note to return the next day. It is a cute little spot — I work right near it, too bad I missed him.

Good work from the KnicksNow team.

And man do I love Amar’e’s (that was weird to write) quirks. The man could teach us a few things – thanks to him Mike and I will always know what a tetragrammaton is..

Preview Game 8: Knicks (3-4) at Detroit Pistons (2-5)

The Knicks head to Auburn Hills to take on the Pistons tonight at the Palace. Tonight’s game will be their second in as many nights against an offensively troubled team – the Pistons’ offense has been as pitiful as the Wizards, averaging only 84.9 points per game. The Knicks need to take advantage of these early matchups and work out some of the kinks on the defensive end. Hopefully Detroit obliges.

Melo looks prepared to play after sitting out the final possession of the Wizards game with a sore hip. He is coming off three straight games with 30 or more points but was hobbled towards the end of the game. After the game he said, “I was hurt. I was just praying it went in. I wasn’t going to try to drive at all, I knew I didn’t have any push off on my right leg.” Why did he have the ball then??

As for Detroit, it is unclear if guards Ben Gordon and Rodney Stuckey will be in the lineup. Gordon sat out Friday due to personal reasons, while Stuckey was absent with a sore groin. If so, look to up and coming center Greg Monroe to carry some of the offensive weight – he put up 22 points against the Sixers last night. This will also be our first look at Jorts’ old teammate Brandon Knight.

Big Questions going into tonight: Does Shump move into the starting line up? And how well can Toney recover from his being benched most of the second half in Washington?

Game Recap: Knicks 99, the Wiz 96

Tonight’s game was a matchup of teams in crisis. Both teams spent Thursday regrouping; the Wiz held a highly publicized player’s only meeting while the Knicks holed up in the film room diagnosing their defensive troubles. Fortunately for the Knicks they were able to pull out the W though the game was definitely too close for comfort for most Knicks fans, with the Wiz having a chance to take the lead in the waning seconds on a John Wall three that clanked off the back of the rim.

The first quarter felt all too familiar. The Wiz, who entered the game averaging only 85 points per game on just under 39% shooting, put up the easiest 32 points they will score all season. Second year stud John Wall had no trouble getting to the rim, in transition or through penetration in the half court set. Meanwhile, Young scorched the Knicks from the outside. The Knicks inability to stay in front of the Wiz guards put them in a 14 point hole by the time the first buzzer sounded.

But the second quarter saw a change in momentum. The Knicks slowly chipped away the Wizards lead on the backs of their superstar tandem. Melo and STAT put up 21 and 15 points respectively in the first half and did so by getting to the rim. It was a welcome change to see them attack the basket, not settle for three pointers possession after possession. After having been down by 16 the Knicks amazingly had a chance to take the lead before halftime but Melo’s deep 2 fell short.

Halftime score: 47-46.

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