I’m on a Jorts Tour, with Amar’e My Man….

Supplies won't last

The talent and impact of Knicks’ rookie forward Josh “Jorts” Harrellson might have been a touch overstated by certain writers of this blog (fine, it was me). While that may have been an overreaction to his breakout game against the Kings on New Year’s Eve, there is one area where he is sure to make a lasting impression on fans for years to come: high comedy and stellar branding efforts.

Jorts has a shockingly well developed website for a mid-second round draft choice who didn’t get much playing time until his senior year at Kentucky and had a fairly slim chance of making an NBA roster, let alone an NBA rotation. It includes such gems as the “Jorts Tour” that barnstormed its way through several Wendy’s and Wal-Marts in Kentucky this spring (that is not a joke). There is a promotional video in which Josh exhibits his overwhelming disdain for punctuation of any sort. But wait, there’s more!! Read more of this post

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In Your Face, Malik – Knicks 85 Sixers 79

Malik Rose, you were a forgettable player from a forgettable era.

“Knicks are going to let them back in the game.  It’s like historical.  They always do that.” So said Malik Rose right before the teams entered the half with the Knicks leading 45-35.  Unless you believe that game jerseys have magical powers and white jerseys with “New York” on the front cause players to blow second half leads, the logic of his prediction made no sense.  Other than Jared Jeffries (who thankfully didn’t play last night) this team is completely different than those architected by Isiah Thomas during Malik’s time in New York.  Heck, this team is vastly different than the team from the beginning of last season. I’m probably giving Malik a hard time.  I think he happens to be a pretty good rookie announcer even though, after a 13-year career, he didn’t know that a player gets two free throws on a flagrant foul.  So this isn’t “one plus one is two, all day long, and it’s never gonna change. And that’s factorial.”

Malik was on point all night long with his criticism of Carmelo Anthony, and on multiple occasions said he preferred having Melo in the game becasue the ball movement stopped, making the Knicks easier to defend.  We’ve already detailed Melo’s selfishness and poor decision making late in games, but tonight was a new kind of awful.  The box score reads that Anthony had 27 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists in 37 minutes, but he also needed 24 shots and committed five turnovers.  Pretty inefficient statistically speaking, however, the real problems were the things that don’t show up in the box score. Read more of this post

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. 
 

Power Rankings and Sweet Lou

Lou Williams is a Boss

The first Hollinger power rankings were released today on ESPN and the Knicks are a dissapointing 24th largely due to a 5-4 record against the easiest schedule in the league so far.  Unsurprisingly, the Heat and Bulls are two of the best teams in the league ranking 2nd and 3rd respectively.  Somewhat surpisingly, the Philadelphia 76ers are the number one team in the league.

In anticipation for tonight’s Knicks game, I watched some of the Philly-Sacramento game and I am pretty scared.  This is a real deep team that brings Thaddeus Young (third in 6th man voting last year) along with a backcourt of Evan Turner and, my favorite Sixer, Lou Williams off the bench.  D’Antoni would kill to have those guys as the starting backcourt.  So, in the soon to be overused word of the season, that Philly bench is cray, and it’s not surpising to see them in first.

In addition to getting me significantly worried about tonight’s game, last night’s Sixers game also gave the opportunity to increase my irrational admiration for Sweet Lou Williams.  For years, I’ve been dreaming of Williams on the Knicks Read more of this post

Defending What Toney Douglas Do

You may or may not know the quasi famous (at least on Knicks blogs) acronym, but Toney Douglas has long had a saying, which he explained on his introduction to the NY media after acquiring him on draft night a few years ago.  When asked what he was going to bring to the floor, Toney explained he was going to “Do What Toney Douglas Do”, and DWTDD was born. 

To give a little background on the other woman in my basketball universe, I’m a psychotically bent Maryland Terps fan (we’re talking I religiously watch games on ESPN3 on my laptop against vaunted squads such as Radford, Samford and Florida Gulf Coast), which means I also have an unhealthy love of all things ACC basketball.  So, I’ve been lucky enough to have years advance notice on our recent backcourt youngins, Toney and Iman.  I’ve seen them destroy lesser college kids, battle the great Greivis Vasquez and mature on the court over a couple of years span, so I’d like to think it provides me a little insight into their games beyond what we have seen at the NBA level.  I love what they both represent; athletic, physical, defensive minded guards who play extremely hard.  They share those similarities, and those traits alone will keep each in an NBA rotation for the next decade.  But, they are different players, and it’s not always easy to fit a square peg into a round hole, or a combo guard into your starting PG spot.  A common mistake that I see NBA coaches making, whether it be out of necessity or ignorance, it’s trying to mold a player to fit the slot on the lineup they need to fill.  I have already seen that happen to one of these young guards, and I hope D’Antoni keeps that perspective on the other.
Hopefully, with Baron healthy at some point, this will be a moot point, and one of these kids will be the Bockers’ starting 2 (with Fields in the discussion, I guess…), with the other coming off the bench to provide some fire power.  I’ll throw my two cents in on “Shumpamania” at some point but, more than anything, I wanted to take my own opportunity to DWTDD or, in this case, Defend What Toney Douglas Do.

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What About Jerome Jordan?

Will Jared Jeffries' Return Fasten Jerome Jordan's Cheeks to the Bench?

If everything goes according to plan, the Knicks will have Jared Jeffries back on the active roster at some point this week. Knicks fans were reminded painfully that Jeffries is a limited player during Game 2 of the Boston series last year. However, a limited player is not necessarily a useless player. Jeffries can passably guard every position on the floor, which is a particularly useful skill on a Knicks team that occasionally seems pathologically committed to switching on ball screens. With the 6’11” Jeffries returning to the rotation, the Bockers’ front court rotation will consist of Tyson Chandler, Amar’e Stoudemire, Jorts, and Jeffries, with Carmelo Anthony capable of playing the 4 in small ball lineups. The odd man out will be rookie center and former Serbian sensation Jerome Jordan,* which begs the question: what should the Knicks do with Jordan?

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Turkey Sandwich Consumed: Knicks 91 Bobcats 87

"Up your nose with a rubber hose!" - Tyson "Horshack" Chandler

This game was a turkey sandwich. It’s good for you, it fills you up, and it’s reasonably healthy; it gets the job done, but it leaves you feeling entirely unsatisfied. The Knicks, playing the Bobcats at home for the second time in 5 days, hoped to avenge a disheartening loss last week, in which New York looked sluggish and uninterested. The Bockers spotted Charlotte a quick ten points, to the vocal chagrin of the Garden crowd. Perhaps spurred on by the boo-birds, the Knicks clamped down on defense and got some easy looks, running out to a 21-16 lead, before closing out the quarter up by 3. That’s when things got extremely boring for a prolonged stretch, only to get a little too interesting in the end. Ultimately, the heady play and hustle of Tyson Chandler saved the Knicks from another embarrassing home loss against the team that dumped his salary just last season, as New York was able to cling to a 4 point victory that Knicks fans enjoyed but did not relish, just like a turkey sandwich.

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