Posts Tagged ‘James White’

Knicks Finding (Again) That Two Point Guards Are Better Than One


HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — After three full months of mediocrity, the New York Knicks have seemingly woken up. They’ve won seven straight games after Friday’s 111-102 victory over the Bobcats, keeping themselves a game in the loss column ahead of the Indiana Pacers for second place in the Eastern Conference.

All seven wins have come without defensive anchor Tyson Chandler, and the one that got the Knicks started on this run – a critical victory in Utah on the second night of a back-to-back – came without Carmelo Anthony.

The streak hasn’t come against the toughest schedule – four of the wins have been over Toronto, Orlando and Charlotte – but it has included a win in Boston and a win over the Grizzlies. And it’s mostly been an offensive run, though the Knicks’ sketchy defense has held three of the seven opponents under a point per possession…

Knicks efficiency

Timeframe W L OffRtg Rank DefRtg Rank NetRtg Rank
Through Dec. 16 18 5 111.1 2 102.3 16 +8.8 3
Dec. 17 – March 17 20 21 104.6 11 103.8 15 +0.8 11
Since March 18 7 0 117.1 1 101.9 8 +15.2 2

OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions

The Knicks’ resurgence has been keyed by a couple of unlikely contributors. Kenyon Martin wasn’t in the league five weeks ago, but has filled in admirably for Chandler as a 6-foot-9 center. And Pablo Prigioni, a 35-year-old rookie who was signed last summer to be the third-string point guard, has stepped into a role no one could ever have imagined him playing.

Both Martin and Prigioni have started all seven games of the Knicks’ winning streak. But the winning started when Prigioni started, for the first time in his NBA career, alongside Raymond Felton in a two-point-guard lineup.

Two point guards playing at the same time is nothing new for the Knicks, who started Felton and Jason Kidd for 22 of the first 28 games this season, mostly because they didn’t have another shooting guard to start. And as long as both were healthy, Mike Woodson basically started Felton and Kidd together through the end of February.

But Kidd really struggled at the end of that run, shooting a brutal 7-for-52 (13 percent) from 3-point range between Jan. 26 and March 1. So Woodson went with just one starting point guard for a stretch of 10 games. And because he refuses to start J.R. Smith under any circumstances, he had either James White or Chris Copeland in the lineup.

To no one’s surprise, that didn’t work too well, so Woodson decided to go back to the two-point-guard lineup, this time with Kidd coming off the bench and Prigioni, who had been given three DNPs earlier in the month, starting.

So far, so good. The Knicks are now 30-13 in games in which they’ve started two point guards and 15-13 in games in which they’ve started just one. Felton’s 12-game absence in December and January has something to do with that mark, and starting lineups sometimes play no more than 10 minutes together, but the Knicks have proven to be much better with two point guards on the floor, whether they’re starting together or not.

Knicks efficiency

PGs on the floor MIN OffRtg DefRtg NetRtg +/-
Felton + Kidd + Prigioni 17 159.6 70.6 +89.0 +29
Felton + Kidd 1,003 109.6 103.3 +6.3 +106
Kidd + Prigioni 204 107.1 103.8 +3.3 +10
Felton + Prigioni 139 119.4 101.4 +18.0 +47
Two PGs 1,346 110.2 103.2 +7.0 +163
Only Felton 837 108.2 108.0 +0.2 +18
Only Kidd 559 102.9 102.8 +0.1 -20
Only Prigioni 650 105.6 97.9 +7.8 +63
One PG 2,046 105.9 103.4 +2.6 +61

Note: The three-point-guard numbers are obviously a small sample size, and they’re a bit skewed by a crazy 3:27 stretch at the end of a Dec. 21 loss to the Chicago Bulls. Anthony, Chandler and Woodson had all been ejected and the Knicks scored 21 points in the final 3:27 with a lineup of three point guards, Copeland and White, turning a 13-point deficit into a more respectable, four-point loss.

The big difference between two-point-guard lineups and one-point-guard lineups has been on offense. And the key has been turnovers and 3-pointers.

The Knicks lead the league in turnover ratio, coughing the ball up just 13.2 times per 100 possessions. And that number is even lower – 12.9 – when they’ve had two point guards on the floor.

And when they have two point guards on the floor, they shoot and make more 3s.

Knicks 3-point shooting

PGs on the floor 3PM 3PA 3PT% %3PA
Two 324 868 37.3% 37.8%
One 422 1152 36.6% 33.5%

%3PA = Percentage of total FGA from 3-point range

Even though Kidd’s shooting went into the tank in February, the Felton-Kidd combo still has great numbers over the biggest sample size of any of the combinations. And the new Felton-Prigioni combo has only been better, though in just 139 minutes. Kidd, meanwhile, has shot a more respectable 34.4 percent from 3-point range since being benched on March 1.

Amazingly, Prigioni has the best per-possession plus-minus on the team, with the Knicks having outscored their opponents by 9.7 points per 100 possessions when he’s on the floor. And it’s been on defense where Prigioni has made the biggest impact.

The Argentine is just 6-foot-3 and rather slight, but he’s a real pest on the ball and in the passing lanes (a few examples here, here and here). The Knicks have forced 18.0 turnovers per 100 possessions when he’s been on the floor, a rate which would lead the league by a good margin (the Clippers are No. 1, forcing 17.4).

Woodson alluded to Prigioni’s plus-minus when asked about his newest starter this week.

“He’s a student of the game and the fact that he’s kind of waited and he’s watched and he’s learned,” Woodson said. “He’s played the minutes that I’ve given him. His minutes have always been pretty positive. If it was five minutes, it was five good minutes. And I think the fact that he is very knowledgeable of the game, he has patiently sat and waited and now his minutes have grown a little bit, and he still looks like he belongs.”

The Knicks’ schedule is about to get much tougher, with their next five games against playoff teams, a stretch that includes visits to Miami and Oklahoma City. Chandler’s continued absence (with a bulging disc), meanwhile, isn’t exactly encouraging.

But the Knicks are certainly rediscovering their offensive rhythm at the right time, which has helped them stay comfortably on the right side (the 2-3-6-7 side) of the Eastern Conference playoff bracket. And while they certainly can’t maintain the level of offense they’ve been playing over the last seven games, this run has certainly established both Martin and Prigioni as valuable contributors going forward.

Will The Knicks Miss Stoudemire?


Was the news of Amar’e Stoudemire‘s latest knee surgery a surprise? It depends on your perspective.

On one hand, Stoudemire looked better over the last two months than he did at any point last season. And he totaled 38 points and 17 rebounds in 60 minutes on Wednesday and Thursday. The news was sudden.

On the other hand, this is Amar’e Stoudemire we’re talking about. And it would probably have been a bigger surprise if he had made it through the rest of the season healthy.

Either way, the Knicks’ rotation just got even thinner now that Stoudemire is set to have surgery on his right knee, which will keep him out of action for the next six weeks. Six weeks from Saturday is the first day of the playoffs, but it would be awfully optimistic to think that he could be ready for the first couple of games of the first round.

In addition to Stoudemire, the Knicks will be without Rasheed Wallace for the rest of the season. So, even if you count Carmelo Anthony (who’s also out with a knee injury) as a power forward, the Knicks’ third big in the rotation is Marcus Camby, Kenyon Martin or Kurt Thomas. Take your pick, because none of the three has been effective.

Stoudemire had been pretty strong offensively, averaging 14.2 points in 23.6 minutes on 58 percent shooting. But it’s hard to say that he made a big difference for the Knicks overall.

Stoudemire wasn’t a part of the Knicks’ early-season success and they were 16-13 in his 29 games. His defense wasn’t good and he was just a plus-28 in 682 total minutes.

The Knicks were pretty good with Anthony, Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler on the floor together, but take Chandler out and they were pretty terrible … on both ends of the floor.

Knicks efficiency with Anthony and Stoudemire on floor

Chandler on/off floor MIN OffRtg DefRtg NetRtg +/-
Chandler on 222 115.5 107.6 +7.9 +36
Chandler off 210 98.2 113.7 -15.5 -65
Total 432 107.0 110.6 -3.6 -29

OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions

So yeah, the Knicks were, once again, outscored by their opponents when Anthony and Stoudemire shared the floor.

Of course, the Knicks have been generally mediocre for the last two months, whether or not Stoudemire was on the floor. He did help them on the interior offensively as their 3-point shooting regressed.

Still, if New York is going to win a playoff series for the first time in 13 years, it has to get better on the defensive end of the floor. And that might be easier to do without Stoudemire, as painful as it is to see guys like Thomas and James White get minutes.

Ultimately, Anthony’s health is a greater concern. The Knicks won a laugher over the Jazz without both Anthony and Stoudemire on Saturday, but that probably said more about Utah than it did about New York.


Live Blog: All-Star Saturday Night

HOUSTON — State Farm All-Star Saturday night is minutes away from lift off. Nick Cannon and Rob Nice are hosting the in-arena festivities.

I don’t know what everyone else came to see, but for me, All-Star Saturday night is always about the finale. It’s a chance for someone to etch their name in All-Star lore with a mercurial performance in the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest, much like that fella wearing No. 23 above did back in 1987.

Some of the All-Stars made their own predictions, several of them, assuming that James “Flight” White will rise above the crowd and do the most damage on his way to the title.

But first up we have the Sears Shooting Stars competition. I’m going with Team [James] Harden and the hometown advantage (he’s rolling with Sam Cassell, a man anyone would want on their team requires you to make clutch shots. (Team Westbrook should be dangerous, though, with Robert Horry and Maya Moore rocking with Russell Westbrook.)

— 8:37 — Team Westbrook handled business with the fastest time at 29.5 seconds. Team Harden kicked it off with a 37.9 as the West finished their business.

— 8:44 — Dominique Wilkins still has the touch. Knocks down the 3-ball for Team Bosh. They needed 50 seconds to finish, though.

— 8:45 — What’s up with Brook Lopez shooting 3-pointers like free throws? 1:07 for Team Lopez.  The East is down 20-0 going into the championship.

— 8:47 — So much for prediction. Team Bosh and Team Westbrook squaring advance and ready to square off in the championship round.

— 8:52 — I root for Swin Cash in whatever she does. Too bad she’s stuck on a team with Bosh and ‘Nique instead of say, myself and John Schuhmann … 1:29 for them in the championship round. The pressure is on Team Westbrook.)

— 8:54 — Team Westbrook can’t get it done. Team Bosh gets the win and Nique gets the MVP for knocking down both of his team’s half court shots. As my man Randy Moss would say, Straight (Swin) Cash Homie!

— 8:56 — Team Bosh collects the first hardware of the night in the Sears Shooting Stars. Nique is feeling good. Says he wants in on the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest, too. (I’m kidding.)

— 8:58 — Gold medal winners from London, both men and women, getting some love on the big stage between events.


— 9:03 — Sounds like the dude from the Price is Right is reading off the rules for this event. I’m ignoring him and checking the shoe game of the contestants. Jeremy Lin kicks are wicked. Need to see an up-close shot.

— 9:05 — Hawks guard Jeff Teague clocks a 49.4, couldn’t get his passes or his 3-pointer from the top of the arc down. And he had the nerve to blow his final shot, going for the layup instead of the dunk. Later son.

— 9:06 — Pistons guard Brandon Knight learns from Teague’s mistakes and finishes with a dunk and a 32.2.

— 9:08 — Sixers guard Jrue Holiday rocks it with a 29.3. Made it look effortless. One of my favorite young players in the league. West has to beat 1:50.9 to topple the East in the contest.

— 9:12 — Jeremy Lin finishes in 35.8 but could have finished faster. He was stylin’ for the home crowd.

— 9:13 — Damian Lillard rips the course in the fastest time of the night so far, 28.8.

— 9:15 — Defending champ Tony Parker bows out with a 48.7. The East picks up 30 points thanks to Lin and Parker. Knight and Lillard move on to the championship round.

–9:17 — Alicia Keys gets some jumbotron love (she’s sitting next to Spike Lee). She looks marvelous, of course. We need to get her to do a theme song, “Hang Time is on fire!”

— 9:20 — Holiday with a 35.6, but Lillard snags a 29.8 for the win, 10 more points for the West and a trophy to go alongside that T-Mobile Rookie of the Year trophy he’s going to get in a few months. Well done young fella, the first rookie to win the event.

— 9:24 — East leads the west 40-30 after two events. They are playing for $500,000 in cash for charity.


— 9:32 — I had no idea this Phillip Phillips cat (or band, I’m not sure) sang this song. That’s my jam. I don’t watch American Idol, though, so I didn’t connect the dots. He smashed that performance.

— 9:35 — Steph Curry just warmed up from the corner rack and knocked down the first four without even looking at the basket. Ridiculous. Save some for the contest fella!

— 9:40 — Curry started slow but finished like … well, a Curry. He nets 17 points and Ryan Anderson is up next. He goes off from the start but struggles at the end, finishing with 18. Matt Bonner closes out the order for the West. His shooting stroke is awkward. But he finishes with 19 points, for a total teams score of 54.

— 9:46 — These Knicks kid reporters have stolen the show, clowning everyone and Nick Cannon on the big stage. You gotta love the kids.

— 9:52 — Kyrie Irving forgot to take his warm up shirt off and still finished with 18. And as you might expect, he knocked down his money ball on the last rack to beat the buzzer. Paul George is up next. Love this cat but he’s in the wrong contest. Maybe he meant to sign up for the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest? Steve Novak has to make up for PG’s 10. Novak finishes with 17 and the West wins the 40 points. Bonner and Irving for the title. Who picked those two for the final round? I had Curry and Novak. I’m done with the prediction business tonight.

— 10:02 — Kyrie just put on a show. Knocked down eight of his first nine and 17 of his first 18 shots before finishing with 23, two shy of the record. He even got LeBron James up out of his seat during his wicked stretch. Kid is on his championship grind. Bonner goes for 20. The Cavaliers might still be a lottery team but at least they’ve got Kyrie!


— 10:07 — Fall Out Boy is on stage and they must be from Chicago because they are wearing their Jordan throwbacks. Rock stars love skinny jeans and tattoos more than NBA youngsters. Now they’ve got 2 Chainz up here with them and he’s singing the hook after doing his rap verse. The Sprite Slam Dunk Contest participants come out while they remain on stage.

— 10:16 — Rudy Tomjanovich, Dikembe Mutombo, Yao Ming, Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler are the judges tonight. Houston’s hoops Mt. Rushmore?

— 10:20 — Houston’s own Gerald Green kicks off the contest with a perfect 50 on his first dunk, a reverse tomahawk dunk where he had to duck his head or risk a concussion after he bumped his head on the rim. Crazy!!!!!!!!!!!!!

— 10:22 — James “Flight” White with the 45 on the two-handed runaway dunk from a step inside the free throw line. He missed his first attempt. Had he made it, the 50 would have been a lock.

— 10:24 — Terrence Ross gets an A for persistence, finally making a behind-the-back 180 after five misses. That was generous for a dude who missed that many dunks.

— 10:26 — Kenneth Faried nets a 39 for a 360 off-the-backboard dunk that looked way better on the replay than it did in real time.

— 10:28 — Eric Bledsoe missed his more aggressive between-the-legs dunk four times before opting for something a little easier to complete. He matched Faried’s 39.

— 10:29 — Jeremy Evans bags a 47 with an assist from Mark Eaton, he jumped over the big man’s head while the former Jazz center was sitting and holding a ball.

— 10:31 — Kevin Hart and Cannon are doing their stand up routine while clowning the All-Star’s baby pictures. I’m going home and burning every baby picture in the house!

Round 2

— 10:35 — Flight White’s inability to dribble the ball up the floor is going to cost him the title. He’s got all the hops in the world. But he has to go back to the lab and work on the handles. He botched his second dunk attempt and during the allotted 90 seconds and ended up missing his one untimed attempt. That 32 should end his night.

— 10:40 — Green just cut the nets out and is attempting to dunk it twice. Loving the idea. But this is a tough one, even for the cupcake dunker. And now we have to wait for someone to find the replacement nets for this rim. He timed out as well and then missed his untimed attempt for a matching 32. Somebody get Nique some shoes.

— 10:45 — Ross only needs a 33 to represent the East. Just do something normal and you are in. Hang time … he’s got a 49 and moves into the final. There is going to be some serious complaining about this format.

— 10:47 — Faried with a 50 for his between the legs jam after just two steps. Is it me or do the 50s get tossed around rather liberally these days.

— 10:48 — Bledsoe with a 50 of his own for the sick reverse windmill off the bounce.

— 10:49 — Evans dunks two balls but with no authority whatsoever, collects his 43 and advances from the West. There won’t be a whole lot of debating about what went on here.

— 10:53 — Judging by the looks on the faces of former dunk champions sitting around the floor, they’re not impressed with what they have seen tonight. Power used to be a dunk contest staple. Now the apparent degree of difficulty has trumped raw power. I’m trying to be diplomatic tonight. I’m going to need some time to digest what we’ve seen tonight before I start shredding these performances.


— 10:56 — Evans goes over a the cloaked painting of himself jumping over a cloaked painting of himself dunking and then he signs it. Nice touch but I’d have been more impressed if he snatched the cloak off the painting on his way up.

— 10:58 — Ross throws down a grimy leaning reverse jam that Rockets forward Terrence Jones bounced off the side of the backboard. Arguably the second best dunk of the night behind Green’s first attempt in Round 1.

— 11:01 — Evans has outlandish hops. Jumping over Dahntay Jones and doing his own version of the Jumpman pose showed off just how ridiculous his vertical is folks. RIDICULOUS!

— 11:03 — Ross trumps him with a between-the-legs, jump over the ball boy dunk that should seal the crown for the Raptors rookie.

— 11:06 — Ross takes the title. He made up for his rough start to the competition by bring out his best when it matter most. The West won the night, though, finishing with 140 points to the East’s 125.

Let the debate rage on about the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest, though. Because no one leaves the Toyota Center tonight feeling like we saw the absolute best of the best ply their trade in this contest. Someone out there, someone hungry and creative, needs to step up. MJ and Nique aren’t walking through that door!

Ross Out To Dunk Cancer Too


HANG TIME SOUTHWEST — Terrence Ross is thrilled to be one of six competitors and the lone rookie entrant in Saturday’s Sprite Slam Dunk contest in Houston as part of All-Star Saturday. And as the Toronto Raptors guard defies gravity, he’ll be uplifted by a number of young fans he probably never knew he had.

That’s because the 22-year-old guard out of Washington plans to dunk something far bigger than basketballs — he wants to help dunk cancer and help the children battling the despicable disease every day.

Before the Raptors play host to the Denver Nuggets tonight, Ross will announce his involvement in launching a three-part fundraising campaign in partnership with “Dunk Cancer” and its month-long initiative, “Dunk Cancer Month,” during the NBA’s All-Star Weekend.

Ross has committed to help raise money to benefit the Children’s Cancer Association and his high school back home, Jefferson High, in Portland, Ore.

“Ever since I was in about the third grade, my mom has run an out-of-home day care service,” Ross said. “So there were always kids around. One of the kids that she took care of had cancer. We were close to the family and were always around each other so it hit home for us. That’s the main reason I’ve chosen to support “Dunk Cancer” and “Dunk Cancer Month.”

Ross kicks off the first leg of the campaign on Thursday as he’ll host a 72-hour, Twitter-based online fundraiser from his @T_DotFlight31 twitter handle. Using the #dunkcancer hash tag, he will encourage Twitter users to support “Dunk Cancer Month” by purchasing “Dunk Cancer” merchandise (T-shirts, hoodies etc.) at

During Saturday night’s slam dunk contest, Ross will donate $2,000 to “Dunk Cancer” for every round he advances in the three-round slam-dunk competition.

He’ll go up against defending dunk champ Jeremy Evans of Utah, plus Denver’s powerful Kenneth Faried — who leads all contestants with 85 dunks on the season (seventh-most in the league) — the Los Angeles’ Clippers’ high-flyer Eric Bledsoe, the Knicks’ 30-year-old James “Flight” White and Indiana’s Gerald Green, who blew out a lit candle in a cupcake perched on the back of the rim in the 2008 dunk contest.

So what does the 6-foot-6, 195-pound Ross, the youngest of the contestants, have planned?

“I’ve been planning my dunks for about a week now, testing them with teammates to see which will get really good scores,” said Ross, who noted that Raptors newcomer Rudy Gay has provided some pointers. “I’m definitely going to do something new, nothing I’ve done during the season.”

So a few surprises then?

“Possibly,” said Ross, who is averaging 6.6 ppg and 2.1 rpg in 17.3 mpg. “I think I have a fairly good chance of winning. Plus, I need to advance to build up my contribution.”

After the All-Star break, Ross, the eighth overall pick last June, will turn his attention to his old high school in Portland. As the Raptors are playing the Washington Wizards next Tuesday, Jefferson High will be taking on Benson High. Ross will donate $500 for each dunk a Jefferson player slams home, up to $2,000. The money will go to support the school’s athletic program.

“I’m just doing my part to try to help kids that are in need,” Ross said. “Partnering with ‘Dunk Cancer,’ to benefit the Children’s Cancer Association and my high school back home, allows me to lend my name to a good cause.”

Green And White Fly Slam Dunk Colors

HANG TIME, Texas — The last time James White and Gerald Green were in a slam dunk contest together, they practically blew the roof off with a 2010 Russian Cup performance that’s become a YouTube cult classic.

So perhaps it is fitting that they will be comrades along with Terrence Ross, representing the Eastern Conference in the 2013 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest, as State Farm All-Star Saturday Night includes an overall team format for the first time.

White, Green and Ross will square off against the Western Conference threesome of Jeremy Evans, Eric Bledsoe and Kenneth Faried.

Evans, the 6-foot-9 forward from the Jazz, will be looking to defend the individual title that he won a year ago at Orlando.

The Pacers’ 6-foot-8 Green won the event in 2007 at Las Vegas when he leaped over a table to dunk in the final round to beat out Dwight Howard and finished runner-up to Howard in 2008 despite a crowd-pleasing first-round dunk where he blew out the candle on a cupcake that was sitting on the back of the rim.

State Farm All-Star Saturday Night, an all-inclusive skills showcase, will take place on Feb. 16 at the Toyota Center in Houston and will be televised live by TNT at 8 p.m. ET.

Two of the league’s long-range shooters — Stephen Curry of the Warriors and Steve Novak of the Knicks — will lead opposing teams in the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest. Curry’s West teammates will be Ryan Anderson of the Hornets and Matt Bonner of the Spurs. Joining Novak on the East team will be Kyrie Irving of the Cavaliers and Paul George of the Pacers.

It’s worth noting that Novak will be returning to the Toyota Center court where he broke into the NBA with the Rockets in 2006, while the league’s top 3-point percentage shooter — Kyle Korver of the Hawks — will not take part. But Anderson has the most 3-pointers this season.

The Taco Bell Skills Challenge will have Texans Tony Parker of the Spurs and Jeremy Lin of the Rockets joining forces with Trail Blazers rookie Damian Lillard for the West against the Hawks’ Jeff Teague, the Sixers’ Jrue Holiday and the Bucks Brandon Jennings.

The Sears Shooting Stars Competition, which features NBA players, WNBA players and NBA legends, will have James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Tina Thompson, Maya Moore, Robert Horry and Sam Cassell of the West taking on an East team of Brook Lopez, Chris Bosh, Swin Cash, Tamika Catchings, Dominique Wilkins and Muggsy Bogues.

As part of the new format, points earned by each conference throughout the four All-Star Skills Competitions will determine the conference that earns the title of 2013 State Farm All-Star Saturday Night champion. Dwyane Wade of the Heat will serve as the East team captain and the Clippers’ Chris Paul will lead the West.

In addition, NBA Cares and State Farm will make a joint donation of $500,000 as part of the event, with $350,000 going to the winning conference’s charities and $150,000 to the runner-up conference’s charities. All of the charities will be selected by the conference captains, the NBA, and State Farm.

In drafting players for Team Chuck and Team Shaq in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge, Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal went in opposite directions with their top picks. Shaq built his foundation on the high-scoring backcourt of Irving and Lillard, while Barkley went for big men in Anthony Davis and Faried.

The 62nd NBA All-Star Game will be played on Feb. 17, at the Toyota Center.