Knicks Grind Their Way To 4-0





NEW YORK – The New York Knicks are now 4-0 after Friday’s 104-94 win over the Dallas Mavericks. They’re the only undefeated team left in the league and should remain so for a while, with only a game against the Orlando Magic between now and next Thursday’s visit to San Antonio.

Friday’s victory wasn’t nearly as comfortable as the previous three, which came by an average of 19.3 points. And it was against a Mavs team missing two of their best players, a far cry from the full-strength Miami Heat, who the Knicks crushed a week earlier.

But this one was arguably the Knicks’ most impressive win of the four, because they didn’t shoot well.

In their first three games, the Knicks’ offense lived on jumpers. Only 32 percent (79/245) of their shots had come from the paint, easily the lowest rate in the league and well below the league average of 47 percent. As a result of their excessive jump-shooting, they weren’t getting to the free throw line or getting many offensive rebounds.

The Knicks were shooting a red-hot 45.3 percent from 3-point range though. Their 43 3-pointers were the most any team in NBA history had made in its first three games. It made for some entertaining basketball, but it was a style that was obviously unsustainable.

Still, Knicks coach Mike Woodson seemed unconcerned before Friday’s game.

“All our longs shots have really been good shots,” he said. “Nobody’s really forced anything. So I’m pleased with the way the offense has been flowing.”

But the shots stopped falling on Friday. The Knicks shot just 15-for-43 (35 percent) from outside the paint, including 8-for-22 from beyond the arc, against the Mavs. Their *effective field goal percentage on shots from outside the paint was 44.2 percent, right around the league average and well below their 55.1 percent mark from their first three games.

*Effective field goal percentage = (FGM + (0.5*3PM)) / FGA

It wasn’t a very pretty shot chart.

Knicks shot chart vs. Dallas

The Knicks still scored an efficient 104 points on 95 possessions on Friday, because they took care of the ball, got to the basket and to the line. Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler had the pick-and-roll working. Ronnie Brewer was making great off-ball cuts to the basket. Carmelo Anthony attacked off the dribble. Heck, even Steve Novak even ran a back-door cut on Friday.

Of the Knicks’ 84 shots, 41 came from the paint. And their free throw rate (FTA/FGA) of 38/84 (0.45) was more than twice their rate in their first three games (0.21).

Though it wasn’t nearly as explosive as what we’d seen previously from the Knicks, it was an offense that’s much more sustainable over the long haul. It’s one thing to drain jumpers all night, and it’s another to grind out a win when those jumpers aren’t going through. As important as the Knicks’ shots in the paint was how well they defended in the fourth quarter, allowing just 16 points on 23 possessions.

The question now is whether the Knicks can keep taking care of the ball as well as they have. They had just nine turnovers on Friday (another huge reason for the win) and have turned the ball over on just 12 percent of their possessions, a ridiculously low rate, through four games.

Turnovers were the real problem last season, when the Knicks regressed offensively more than any team but the Charlotte Bobcats. So if they can continue to rank near the top of the league in turnover rate, the Knicks can get back to being a top-10 offensive team.

It’s still very early, but the Knicks have now shown that they can win in more ways than one. And that puts some more substance behind that 4-0 record.

33 Comments

  1. john j says:

    I dont really see the big problem with Stat coming off the bench just to experiment after the knee surgery JR and Amare coming off the bench with shump or brewer Knicks already have a deep bench but as a team player your suppose to do whats best for the team and if STAT coming off the bench will help the team till him and Melo start to gel hey make it happen TEAM #NYK

  2. zbo says:

    stoudimire off the bench would be quite nice , if he starts then the knicks are back to square one. The man just cannot play the game of basketball.

    • FakirWise says:

      Well if that comment doesn’t contradict itself….If he can’t play ball, how would it be in any way, shape or form “quite nice”?

  3. kcirsun says:

    It is too early to tell how good the Knicks really are although they show very promising signs right now… we have to see how they perform after the All Star Games, when the real race to the playoff begins.

  4. ee says:

    do some research guys there is no way anyone will be dumb enough to take on amare’s contract he cant even play at all let alone play well

  5. Ilan Sidi says:

    We all know the Knicks can take care Of the ball like they showed on Friday but the real question is if they can on an average basis, run pics, is they can shoot, and play defence.That is the only question.

  6. Lakers-R-Us says:

    The Knicks are surprising so far! And Carmelo is playing above his head! lol

  7. Chester says:

    just because amare is getting paid so much doesnt mean hes more important than the team. hopefully woodson puts his foot down and sticks to it

  8. Shadow says:

    Its good to hear that this team is serious on catching up on their mistake last season. Like their lack defence and not moving the ball very well. This is a team sport, Personal Ego should be put aside.

  9. LA GREEDS says:

    The San Antonio Spurs In The East. Make sense? ONLY STRONG IN SEASON, WHEN IT COMES TO PLAYOFFS… (i think you know the answer)

    • QuestionMark says:

      You can’t really say they will be bad in the Playoffs until you see a few games. They were bad the last two years only because they had a coaching change during the season and the season before that Melo got traded here mid way through the season. If they stay healthy, I think they can challenge the Heat, they have good defenders inside and on the perimeter, Shumpert and Brewer can take on the challenge of guarding Lebron and Wade, and Chandler, Wallace and Camby have the job to defend Bosh.

  10. cruzero says:

    To early to tell, let us see come playoffs. some of the good teams are not yet clicking, its a long season though.

  11. toytoygogie says:

    Knicks seems to be very tough team in the NBA. If Woodson can handle better when Amare is back, damn, this is the most defensive team I can foresee plus they have Shumpert who has a very good in defense plus can contribute in offense. I say they are tough because they have veterans who have experienced champions from different teams, different experiences will be contributed. They have Chandler and Kidd, then Wallace. Plus I forgot, they have Marcus Camby, awarded also as Most Defensive Player. Either he’s old or can still contribute, their bench are so good!!! Copeland too can contribute offensively. They are really good this season.

  12. Patty says:

    Bravo to the Knicks.

  13. Knicks says:

    They better keep this up. Don’t crash the hopes

  14. Adam says:

    yes stat will be needed but as a 6th man off the bench. as said above defence and chemistry is more important than one so called star players ego.

  15. Gianni says:

    I do not think stoudemire stoudemire get traded. Anthony is not going to always play the way he is playing know. The Knicks need another scorer; it is essential for every playoff team. He is going to be needed in the playoffs in a 7 game series where teams lock down on teams…..

  16. W/E says:

    Its all about chemistry and good rotation, stoudemire will ruin everything when he comes back cause he is supposed to be a “star” player but actually he is not, he is a very bad defender and is not versatille on offense,he will demand major minutes and a starting position,that will change pretty much everything in this Knicks team and problems will flood them once again.

    • vidit says:

      @W/E man i feel we really cant snub stoudemire like that.I agree he isnt really a $100million player. But the man has been injured. Last season he dealt with all sorts of problems- his brother dies, back injury. I am sure he is committed to perform at that high level now that the knicks have been doing extremely well and will enter the season with a point to prove. And he does have a lot to prove because he has probably been one of the most criticized players in the league in the recent past. Last year everyone was saying the same things about melo and well he is just focused on winning now, he let his actions speak. Stat atleast deserves a chance to prove himself once he is fit. I mean the guy is 29 and he still got a couple of years of all-star level basketball left in him IF he manages to stay fit. And I totally agree with you that he isnt a great defender but well we do have a great defnsive unit now – Brewer, Shump(when he comes back), Chandler OF COURSE, JR, Carmelo has been a defender so far(if he can, I think stat can step up too) then you got JKIDD, Ray I think is a very good defender. My point is that he does lack defensive abilities but think about it, he has always been in a system that was just offense oriented(D’antoni first with the Suns then Knicks) so lets just see how he returns and performs. If he doesnt then well maybe his days are gone. But I think he still has it in him to become the power he was a couple of years back. And remember, Ray is back and chandler has been so good in pick n roll with him. Imagine what a fit Stat will bring to the party.

    • FakirWise says:

      Stop it! As I always tell everyone, you don’t know that. You know, the same way nobody’s predictions of what the Knicks would do this season have been accurate. Star player or not, none of us have any idea how Stoudamire will be helping the team, how he will play, what adjustments to rotation there will be or how he will handle it mentally.

  17. Rammy says:

    you are such a knick hater always down playing everything good they do and if something bad happen your the first to blow it out of proportion. First they always take it to the basket thats how they were getting wide open three’s they penetrate and kick out. Now on defense you didn’t highlight that they forced 20 turnovers and how Jr. alone had 4 steals they won on defense stop the bias and speak facts thats what your job as a writter is but i know you will be sticking your foot down your troat this season you and charles no ring barkley and they still arent at full strengt yet amare as much as you’ll talk down on him he’s gonna serve the league something this season and not to mention shump…lol im done im out you fool quit the bias before you lose you credibility John.

  18. robinson says:

    It’s finally time you all realize how great this Knicks team is. They just needed a coach the understands their style of playing.

  19. Rainbow says:

    @ Zac

    I don’t know if they will, but I think they should if they could get something decent from it. Something like a good role player, SF or PF, and maybe some talented youngster or lottery-picks. Something like that. Only question is, what team is gonna want that insane contract, knowing how he played the last couple years?

  20. vidit says:

    I mean ‘play with a bad chemistry’ lol

  21. Im a little afraid because when you combined Chandler with Jason Kidd that is scare.
    In the other side you have Felton in transition
    Melo a machine scorer
    Novak 3 point
    Jr contributing from inside and mid range

    It s a little bit scare.

  22. To me NY has a great team and tradition history.
    Yesterday Hawks vs Heat on a play about Chalmers over Korver that was a robbery.
    Im Miami fan but that was a robbery.
    Terrel Harris is the answer.

  23. Adam says:

    as i keep saying when stat comes back he must be on the bench. ever since Anthony moved to the 4 he has been killing it and even showing up on defence. leave stat to play center his best position off the bench. Wallace and stat would be a great front line off the bench.

    • vidit says:

      @adam – I see why you are saying that. But just think about the fact that eventually Melo and Stat will need to have a good chemistry playing together when in some pivotal moments of crucial games the Knicks will(may) need both the superstars to be on the court and if they fail to deliver and play with a good chemistry it could be a deep problem, and this great start would be deemed pointless. I really think that now that the Knicks have such a deep roster they can use a very efficient and strategic roster. I’d still start with -RayFel,Shump(after hes back),Melo,Stat,Chandler. And if they manage to develop a good chemistry Stat and Melo could give explosive start to the game(I see the possibility now that everyone can see that Melo has been sharing the ball more with the team). So maybe they could focus to play pick and roll with Stat and RayFel and considering that Stat has developed a good jumper, Melo could show his swift post skills while Stat could step out of the paint to make some space. If they manage to get a good offensive start, they can substitute Stat and RayFel for Brewer and Kidd and go all defensive while Melo leads the offense playing PF,Brewer at SF and Kidd at PG. This can prove to be a decent move to lock down the offense of high flying teams such as the Heat who are really good at closing down the quarters with their sheer speed and explosiveness. Enter 2nd Quarter- RayFel PG, JR at SG, Brewer at SF, Stat at PF, Chandler/Camby at C, while Melo gets some rest so that he could come and explode the end of the 2nd quarter. another very interesting line up that I’m really excited to see is-RayFel PG, Kidd SG, Brewer SF, Melo PF, Stat C. And the Knicks can just try different combinations for different situation. They have such a deep(proven) roster that they can go big and dominate the paint, go small and penetrate and get those triples streaks, play a defensively oriented team, play an offensively oriented team and still managing to play atleast 3 of its superstars on the court. I Hope Stat recovers soon and shows the world what he really is! He still can ride up the ladder of being the top PF’s in the league. GO KNICKS :)

      • Basketball says:

        Very good write-up. Well thought out and it actually provides a great rebuttal to the notion “Stat” (as you call him) can NOT co-exist with Melo. Really like both those players and the addition of Ronny Brewer and J-Kidd are the X-factors. Believe Rasheed Wallace is icing on the cake. The Knicks added mental toughness to the finesse of “Stat” and Melo — Brewer, J-Kidd, Wallace and Camby are all known to be fighters. Along with JR Smith (zanyness) and Chandler’s dominanting attitude this team is dangerous. My opinion: If this team and LA Clippers can keep people healthy — the balance of things in the NBA will be offset. They could wear a would-be championship team (i.e., Spurs or Heat) down OR even upset them.

  24. newyorksteelo says:

    I think by now it is safe to say the Knicks are for real, but the real test will come when they play the Spurs on Thursday. If they keep up this pace, they will be in the Eastern Conference Finals against Miami. Go Knicks!

  25. Zac says:

    Impressive defensive and offensive effort by Dallas without Marion and Dirk.

    Does anyone else think the Knicks will trade Stoudemire?

    • William says:

      They need to let stoudemire to come off the bench

      • QuestionMark says:

        Why would Stoudemire come off the bench? He is a star, no way does he deserve to come off the bench, and I agree with trading him, once Melo came to NY, Stoudemire got lost within the team, Melo and the Knicks are playing great basketball, and Stoudemire will ruin the chemistry. If it does come to trading, I suggest trading Stoudemire for a defensive minded PF, who doesn’t look to score, that way Knicks will be better on defense, and the chemistry within the team won’t be ruined. First priority for the Knicks, try to get Melo and Stoudemire to play together and co-exist, if it doesn’t happen trade Stoudemire. Knicks are in the same situation as the 2011 Mavs were in. Both Melo and Dirk are average on D, and so you surround your superstar with defenders, and the Knicks did a great job with that, they have Chandler, Shumpert, Kidd, Brewer, Camby and Wallace who can all play D. Now the main question is can Stoudemire play at the same level the Knicks are playing at right now? Or will the Knicks go back a step when Stoudemire comes back into the lineup? And depending on the outcome, either keep or trade Stoudemire.