Saturday, February 8, 2014

Total Team Effort Results In Blowout Win For Knicks Over Nuggets

By Kenneth Teape (@teapester725)

Friday, February 7th, 2014

Denver Nuggets vs. New York Knicks

Post Game Recap

The Knicks were able to ride the momentum from their tough game Wednesday night against the Portland Trail Blazers and turn it into a blowout victory over the Nuggets by a score of 117-90. Every Knick had the knack tonight as Walt 'Clyde' Frazier would say, as every player finished with a positive +/- ratio and brought something positive to the game tonight. The offense was rolling for the Knicks and the defense was on point as the Knicks made a very explosive Denver team look like they were stuck in the mud. This was an imperative game for the Knicks on their home court and they delivered a total team effort. The Knicks will look to keep the good play going Sunday afternoon when they travel to Oklahoma City to take on the Thunder in a matinee at 1 PM ET.

Player of the Game: Jeremy Tyler
Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports
With the Knicks looking like they were going to be blown out, the bench came into the game and got things going. One of the catalysts off the bench was Tyler, who recorded his best game statistically with the Knicks, finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Tyler brought the energy and spark to the team tonight that they needed to get going and he was rewarded by Mike Woodson with extended minutes in the first half. He looks like he has fun when he is on the court and it is something that is contagious for the rest of the team. Tyler also added two assists and one steal, which he finished with a highlight dunk to get the crowd into a frenzy. Tyler, along with Carmelo Anthony, Iman Shumpert and Pablo Prigioni, finished with a team high +18. He has filled in well with Martin absent and looks like he has earned playing time even once Martin comes back as a spark off the bench offensively and as a rebounding force.


Friday, February 7, 2014

Nets Defeat Spurs for First Time Since 2010
By Nick Ziegler (@Ziggy26x)

February 6th, 2014

San Antonio Spurs vs. Brooklyn Nets Post Game Recap

Final Score: Spurs 89 Nets 103

For the first time since 2010, the Brooklyn Nets were able to defeat the San Antonio Spurs, as they took advantage of the banged up Spurs, earning themselves a nice victory at home. The win moves the Nets to (22-25) on the season, which puts them three games back of the Toronto Raptors in the Atlantic Division.

Player of the Game: Alan Anderson

One of the most unlikely people on the Nets to be the player of the game has to be Alan Anderson, but on Thursday night in a game the Nets needed to get against a Spurs team that was without so many of their rotation players, Anderson stepped up. Coming off the bench, Anderson played 30 minutes, while scoring a game-high 22 points on nine for 15 shooting. He really left his mark on the game in between the third and fourth quarters, as he scored 11 straight points for Brooklyn, which helped them secure the win.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

W2W4: San Antonio Spurs vs Brooklyn Nets 2-6
By Nick Ziegler (@Ziggy26x)

February 6th, 2014

W2W4: San Antonio Spurs vs. Brooklyn Nets

The Brooklyn Nets will be hosting the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night, as Brooklyn looks to keep the momentum from a win against the Philadelphia 76ers. The Nets will be entering Thursday’s game with a (21-25) record, and are 3.5 games behind the Toronto Raptors in the Atlantic Division.

- Getting Healthy

In the win against the 76ers on Monday the Nets were without three of their normal rotation players, but on Thursday they should be back to full strength. Joe Johnson, Andray Blatche, and Andrei Kirilenko are all expected to be playing, which will be a big boost, as in the win on Monday their bench unit really struggled with the lack of depth. 

Knicks Topped By Blazers in Sloppy Game

By Kenneth Teape (@teapester725)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Portland Trail Blazers vs. New York Knicks

Post Game Recap

The Knicks suffered yet another tough home loss Wednesday night, falling to the Blazers 94-90. Execution for both teams was sloppy throughout the night but the Blazers were able to get it together a little more than the Knicks when it counted. During pre-game Wally Szczerbiak said it was going to be a game of shot takers and whoever was more of the makers would come out on top. That is exactly what happened as the Blazers made eight three pointers compared to four for the Knicks, a 12 point difference that ultimately proved to be the difference. What makes it worse is the Blazers were clearly not on top of their game but the Knicks were still unable to take advantage. There is no use for morale victories for this Knicks team, but hopefully they can take some of the positives from the game tonight and put them towards their next game Friday night against the Denver Nuggets at Madison Square Garden.

Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports
Player of the Game: Knicks Bench

The Knicks bench was outstanding tonight and is as responsible as anyone for the Knicks being in the game tonight. Jeremy Tyler, Amar’e Stoudemire, Tim Hardaway Jr. and J.R. Smith all gave the Knicks a spark and played well tonight. In only 11 minutes Tyler was extremely active, getting second possessions for the Knicks on the offensive end and playing with intensity. Stoudemire was on fire offensively, scoring 15 points in his 22 minutes and backing up his talk after practice Tuesday about warranting more playing time. He also grabbed seven rebounds. Hardaway Jr. and Smith were not knocking down their perimeter shots efficiently but they were able to score 12 and 18 points respectively and help in other areas; Hardaway Jr. grabbed five rebounds and Smith had three rebounds and six assists when given the chance to run the offense. They outscored the Blazers bench 50-20 on the night.

Matchup of the Game Recap:

Shockingly Damian Lillard did not go off on Raymond Felton like expected. Lillard, like his Blazers teammates and virtually everyone else in the game, struggled from the field going 4-12. Felton wasn’t much better going 2-6. They even had similar other stats, as Lillard had five rebounds and four assists while Felton had four rebounds and three assists. The big difference was the playing time, as Lillard was on the court in crunch time leading his team while Felton was stapled to the bench, not appearing in the fourth quarter. Lillard played 38 minutes while Felton garnered only 23.


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

W2W4: Portland Trail Blazers vs. New York Knicks; February 5th, 2014

By Kenneth Teape (@teapester725)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Portland Trail Blazers vs. New York Knicks

Pre-Game News and Notes

Bruce Ely/The Oregonian
The Knicks and Trail Blazers will go up against each other for the second time this season tonight at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks will be looking to exact some revenge on the Blazers, who beat the Knicks earlier in the season 102-91 at the Rose Garden in Portland. The Knicks are currently riding a two game losing streak and could use a win in the worst of ways. With things starting to look bleaker and bleaker for Head Coach Mike Woodson after yet another player called him out this past week changes could be on the horizon for the Knicks. If Woodson wants to save his job putting forth the necessary changes tonight to get a victory over a strong Blazers team would be a good start. Here are some things keys to the game tonight between the Knicks and Blazers.

-Player News and Notes

The Changing Landscape of the NBA

Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images
The 2014 NBA All-Stars have been officially released to the public and the same questions are being raised as in years past; this player deserved to get invited, this player didn’t deserve it. One thing that people are not noticing is the change in the All-Star process and the NBA game itself. Throughout the history of the NBA the one constant on a championship team outside of an all-world talent was a dominant big man. Teams were built on and around the strength of the man in the middle; intimidating forces that could control the game from their end of the court. Taking a trip down memory lane you will notice the names of some all-time greats. From George Mikan, Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Hakeem Olajuwon and David Robinson and finally to arguably the most dominant man in NBA history in Shaquille O’Neal , the big man has always been a vocal point of championship teams. That group combined for 32 of 66 NBA Championships, justifying the need of a dominant Center. It is also fair to think that if not for the Michael Jordan led Chicago Bulls, that number would be even higher; Olajuwon could have led his Houston Rockets to more championships or Patrick Ewing would have had a couple more cracks to get his New York Knicks over the hump. Despite this fact, the Center position as we know it is becoming extinct in today’s NBA.

2013 marked the first year that the voting process for the All-Star starters by fans would be changed; ‘Center’ would no longer be on the All-Star ballot. Instead fans would vote in two backcourt players and three front court players. It was a subtle change made but it gave a peek into the ever changing landscape of the NBA and what the future holds. 2013 had two centers still voted in as starters, with four more being named as reserves. Traditionalists were happy as the first year of balloting did not change the fact that two guards, two forwards and center would be on the court to start the game. Even with the positive results, that could very well be the last time we see that many Centers take part in the All-Star game.

CBS Sports
This season that number has dropped to three, with none of them being picked as starters. This marks the first time in NBA All-Star history that a traditional Center will not be on the court to start the game. Kevin Love, Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin will be in the Western Conference front court while LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Paul George will start in the Eastern Conference front court. That is two Power Forwards and four Small Forwards as the starting front courts; all players that are on SportsCenter and highlight reels nightly. With the direction that the NBA is heading, as perimeter orientated playing styles and ‘small ball’ lineups are becoming the norm, the change seemed to make sense. Taking a deeper look, this may be the best crop of Centers the NBA has seen in years.

Dwight Howard is thought of as the best Center in the NBA and the way fans voted for him previously it would be hard to argue against. He was voted in as a starter for six consecutive seasons before being passed by Love this season. A common argument for the change in popularity is the destruction Howard has done with his self image, after flip-flopping more than a fish out of water, about where he stood about being a member of the Orlando Magic and then leaving the Lakers this past off-season. Nonetheless, he was still voted in as a starter in his lone season in purple and gold in 2013, by a healthy margin of 429,697 votes despite the fact he battled injuries and his performance being underwhelming to some. In the Eastern Conference Roy Hibbert was the highest vote getter for the Center position this season, but finished almost 410,000 votes behind Anthony.

While fans may not think highly of the Center position, it is one flush with an intriguing mix of young up-and-comers and older veterans that aren’t prepared to let their position in the NBA ride off into the sunset. Tyson Chandler, DeMarcus Cousins, Andre Drummond and Anthony Davis are all players that would have garnered more All-Star consideration just two years ago with the Center position still been on the ballot. If not for injuries, you could add Brook Lopez, Marc Gasol, Nikola Vucevic and Al Horford to that list as well.

Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports
To take a position off the ballot for the NBA All-Star game makes little sense. The original process was not flawed outside an appearance in 2004 by Jamaal Magloire as a reserve for the Eastern Conference; something that would not happen now with the plethora of Centers the NBA has to offer and the number of players that can be disguised as Centers such as LaMarcus Aldridge and Chris Bosh. All-Star weekend is supposed to be a showcase for the very best that the league has to offer, so why shut out a whole group of players just because of the letter listed next to their name in box scores and lineups? If it is just a glorified pick-up game and popularity contest why stop at abolishing Center on the ballot? You might as well go all the way and just let the fans vote in the starters they want to see and the reserves as well. In the end this is a game for the fans isn’t it?

Centers are now looked at as lumbering players not worthy of a showcase such as All-Star Weekend as all they do is rebound and protect the rim; two things that aren’t exactly welcomed at such an event. While some NBA fans and the All-Star weekend try to rid the game of the Center position, smart teams will realize there is still a need for them in the NBA. The Miami Heat have won the last two NBA Championships without a true Center but they have an advantage similar to what the Bulls had with Jordan; a once in a lifetime talent in LeBron James. The Heat have seen first hand what a Center can do when they lost their first NBA Finals with their ‘Big 3’ against the Dallas Mavericks, who had Tyson Chandler manning the middle alongside Dirk Nowitzki. Why the Center position seems to be on its way out of the NBA is a head-scratcher as history has proven that the need for a Center is of the utmost importance if you do not have an all-world talent residing on your roster.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Nets Snap Losing Streak Against the 76ers
By Nick Ziegler (@Ziggy26x)

February 3rd, 2014

Philadelphia 76ers vs. Brooklyn Nets Post Game Recap

Final Score: 76ers 102 Nets 108

The Brooklyn Nets were able to end their three-game losing streak on Monday night with a victory over the Philadelphia 76ers at home without Joe Johnson. The win was a good one for the Nets, as they needed to beat a bad 76ers team, and the win moves them to (21-25) on the season, which is four games behind the Toronto Raptors in the Atlantic Division.

Player of the Game: Paul Pierce

Nets Forward Paul Pierce was the go to guy for the Nets on Monday night in the win, as he was the games leading scorer. Pierce scored 25 points on just five for nine shooting, as he did a great job getting to the foul line. When Pierce got to the foul line he made the most of it too, as he went a perfect 14 for 14 from the charity stripe. In the last four games Pierce has been getting to the line a lot, as in the three previous losses he was at the line seven times in each game. Without Johnson’s scoring in the starting lineup, Pierce did a great job helping out in the scoring department for Brooklyn

Effort Not There as Knicks Fall To Bucks

By Kenneth Teape (@teapester725)

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

New York Knicks vs. Milwaukee Bucks

Post Game Recap

The Knicks started to throw away all the positive vibes they had built in the middle of their home stand with a loss to the Miami Heat Saturday; tonight they finished destroying those vibes with a terrible loss to the lowly Bucks. It was a terrible loss for the Knicks tonight as the Bucks are one of the only teams in the NBA worse off than the Knicks currently. The Bucks were without arguably their best player tonight in O.J. Mayo and were still able to beat the Knicks tonight. A big reason the Bucks were able to hang with the Knicks tonight is because they kept fighting and the Knicks never put them away; as the Knicks tend to do they played down to their opponent and suffered for it. The loss tonight makes it two in a row for the Knicks and ends their seven-game winning streak against the Bucks. Things won’t get any easier for the Knicks as their next game is Wednesday night against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Player of the Game: J.R. Smith
Benny Sieu/USA TODAY Sports
Smith was moved back to his regular spot off as the sixth man and he continued his strong play. Smith scored a season-high 30 points (9-17 FG, 6-11 3pt, 6-6 FT) as he looks as comfortable as he has at any point during the season. Smith was single handedly keeping the Knicks in the game at points tonight as the offense never really got going. Smith also added seven rebounds and three assists on the night to round out his stat line. Smith finally looks like he is ready to be the second scoring option the Knicks have been craving all season, just someone else now needs to step up behind him and Carmelo Anthony.


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Knicks Cant Hang With Heat, Ending Four Game Winning Streak

By Kenneth Teape (@teapester725)

Saturday, February 1st, 2014

Miami Heat vs. New York Knicks

Post Game Recap

The Knicks were unable to end their home stand on a high note and continue their strong play against the Miami Saturday night as the Heat handled them rather easily, winning 106-91. After an embarrassing loss at Madison Square Garden three weeks ago the Heat were able to exact some revenge tonight. The Knicks played sloppy, unnerved basketball tonight as the Heat came ready to play. Some of the younger players looked overwhelmed against the two-time defending champion Heat and the veterans were unable to right the ship outside of a few short lived runs. Inconsistent play on both ends of the court eventually doomed the Knicks. On a night that biggest and brightest stars were at the Garden for Super Bowl weekend, the Knicks fell flat and their winning streak ended at four games. They will get back on the court Monday night in Milwaukee against the Bucks.

Player of the Game: J.R. Smith
Howard Simmons/New York Daily News

Smith was tasked with the biggest challenge of the night; slowing down the human freight train LeBron James. Smith tried admirably throughout the game to slow James down but was barely a speed jump for King James, who is two inches taller and listed at least 30 pounds heavier. With Iman Shumpert sidelined Smith drew the toughest defensive assignment. Even thought James was taking it to Smith on the defensive end, Smith was able to hold his own offensively. Smith shot the ball efficiently, going 6-11 from the field (4-7 3pt, 4-8 FT) for 20 points. He added two rebounds and one steal as well, as he played James as well as he possibly could and still delivered offensively even with all of the effort he was putting forth on the defensive end.