Play Fantasy Use your Fantasy skills to win Cash Prizes. Join or start a league today. Play Now
 
Tag:J.R. Smith
Posted on: February 23, 2012 10:41 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 10:49 pm
 

Linsanity meets LeBrontology in Heat win

LeBron James lead the Heat to a win over Jeremy Lin and the Knicks. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore 

Magic and momentum can take you far in this world. Things happen in sports that defy logic and reason. They happen all the time in the NBA. The 8th seed Warriors with no discernible defense knocking off one of the best regular season teams of the decade in Dallas. The Nuggets toppling the Sonics in the 90's. Sundiata Gaines hitting a game winner. In football, Tim Tebow knocked off the Steelers. It only took injuries to half of Pittsburgh's team to pull it off. Sometimes the story is greater than the facts.

But eventually, there's science. Cold, hard, science.

On Thursday night, Linsanity got a cold dose of LeBrontology, as Miami downed New York 102-88.

It wasn't primarily James doing the damage, it was the Heat's suffocating team defense. It was Mario Chalmers, Norris Cole, Dwyane Wade, Udonis Haslem, Shane Battier attacking Jeremy Lin's dribble, it was Wade, Chris Bosh, Chalmers, and Battier on offense. But James was the tip of the spear at both ends, and putting on another MVP performance in a big game setting with 20 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists, 5 steals,, and 2 blocks. Want proof this game mattered to James? 40 minutes, before the All-Star break. He contained Lin, forced him into traps, and the Heat took away Lin's right, then took away his dribble, and always, always, always started the break with one of their athletic wings streaking in for the finish.

It was a blitzkrieg, it was a bum rush, it was a stampede by Miami, and the Knicks were left trampled underfoot.

By the end of the game any hope of Lin turning on one of the furious comebacks he's created this year fell by the wayside, instead the Knicks reverted to B.L. (Before Lin) thinking, with Carmelo Anthony isolating for contested jumpers, the rhythm destroyed for New York. It was an impressive win, but far from a blowout.

The Knicks had things going for them, and in reality, this game represents well where the two teams are. The Knicks are dangerous, now. When Anthony is slashing to the basket, when Amar'e Stoudemire is taking advantage of opportunities, when Tyson Chandler is a force at the rim, and on any other night when Lin is able to create scoring opportunities, the Knicks have what it takes to make a playoff run and run to the second round. That they were over-matched is not indicative of the degree of this team's flaws, less than a week in with this complete roster.

The fact that Miami slammed the door so emphatically in the second half is.

The Big 3 scored 67 points, the bench gave them 27. But it was their game plan that shows what this team can do when it's in gear. The formula is simple. Turn the opponent over, run, run, run it down their throat. Rinse, lather, repeat. There will come a time when the Heat offense again looks pathetic, stagnant, pedestrian. But the Knicks caught them at a time when they are at their very best. This Heat team smothers your possession, dissects your ball movement, then punishes you with their speed and athleticism. I call it the Flying Death Machine for a reason. That New York hung in says a lot about their talent level.

Lin was sloppy, running into defenders, desperate to try and create space, contained on the drive and deterred from his sweet spots. The Heat can talk all they want about not adjusting their game to their opponent, but this was a concerted effort to cut the Knicks' mythological head clean off. With Lin buried, the Knicks offense was fine, for a while, but eventually it caught up. That may be the most impressive piece of the Heat's performance. Amar'e Stoudemire hurt the Heat in the first half. They made him vanish in the second half. The perimeter shooting killed them throughout the game, but eventually the Heat started anticipating the passes. They gave up a lot of size inside, but the bigger the game became, the better Joel Anthony (5 blocks) played.

And there was James, at it all, running and swiping and cutting and shooting. The Knicks were within ten under two-minutes. Lin turnover. Outlet pass. LeBron James emphatic dunk. The end.

Lin will adjust and get better, the Knicks will be fine. But this game showed itself to be another example of what we already knew.

The Miami Heat play above the rim, and a step above everyone else in the NBA right now. They are faster, stronger, better right now. 

It's science.
Posted on: February 23, 2012 8:25 pm
 

Lin's turnovers a problem for Knicks vs. Heat

By Matt Moore 

We told you that the Heat could create turnovers against Jeremy Lin and you saw it in the first half. After the first 24, Miami leads 5-47, as Jeremy Lin has six turnovers, and LeBron James has five steals (though not all are off Lin). Both Norris Cole and Mario Chalmers have done an excellent job of containing and pressuring Lin, while the rest of the Heat have attacked his dribble. Amar'e Stoudemire also has six turnovers, but has 11 points and 3 boards to go with it. Lin on the other hand has just 2 points and 2 assists.

It's a breakneck pace with the Heat running out in transition. LeBron James has 8 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 5 steals, and 2 turnovers. The defense for both teams has been very good despite the high shooting percentages.

Lin has to calm down and run the offense, and not force the issue. Mental and physical exhaustion have to be playing a part, but six turnovers in a single half is just too much. Steve Novak has nine points off the bench. A second quarter run gave the Knicks the lead briefly, but the Heat came right back by pushing the tempo again with Lin in the game. It's been a game of fast pace and big plays with huge blocks and dunks on both ends.
Posted on: February 23, 2012 4:15 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 4:28 pm
 

Knicks vs. Heat headlines: LeBron vs. Jeremy Lin


By Matt Moore
 

Okay, I'm going to use one pun here for this Knicks-Heat game Thursday night, and then we're going to go through the rest of it without a single one, not even Linsanity. But I have to get this one out there, OK?

This is Nuclear Lin-ter.

The unbelievable story of Jeremy Lin rolls into Miami at 7 p.m. EST Thursday night, and it's not out of this world to say that this is the biggest matchup of the season. The Knicks, 7-2 in the Jeremy Lin era (3-2 in their last five) take on the Heat on a seven-game winning streak, all by double-digits. The unheard-of phenomenon against the superstar monolith. It's David vs. Goliath, only Davis is armed to the teeth this time, with Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler, and J.R. Smith. It is the story that's captivated the minds and hearts of the sports world vs. one of the truly most hated, yet incredibly awesome in terms of ability teams in the history of sports.

This is going to be fun.

With that, here are your Knicks vs. Heat Storylines.

A Question of Fit

The superstar teams have not come together seamlessly. There have been hiccups, problems, issues, complications, struggles and downright disasters. Last year's Heat team was a mess of athletic dynamos running into each other at times, and simply standing around ball-watching others. Things are different this season. The Heat have become a much more fluid offense, but there are still times when the hesitation presents itself and the defense can stifle the Heat into looking like four-year-olds playing four-square. Meanwhile, the Knicks were disastrous without Lin. Carmelo Anthony, point forward, was an era that lasted approximately five games before Mike D'Antoni realized that wouldn't work. Is Lin the engine that can make this go? In two games with Anthony back, the Knicks are 1-1. Anthony hasn't put up big numbers, neither has Lin. But the offense has been efficient and balanced. This game is a chance for each side to present its best offering as to how they've come to fit together. The Heat can demonstrate the pieces have assembled into the Flying Death Machine they've been this season. The Knicks can show they have the engine to make the parts work with a legit point guard.

Because if neither team fits well together last night, the other might run away with the game.

Guarding Jeremy Lin

LeBron James has already said he will guard Lin for portions of the evening, and that's no surprise. What will be worth watching is how Lin adjusts. James is a monster perimeter defender because, well, he's the size of a truck and has the lateral quickness to stay with absolutely anyone. Lin, on the other hand, does a terrific job at two things, forcing the split of the double-team (though that's where most of his turnovers come from), and managing that set in terms of when to pass and when to finish. He can force the pass sometimes, but in general he has a good sense of the set.

He's running up against a big problem in James, though. According to Synergy Sports, James forces a turnover on the pick-and-roll ball handler 23.1 percent of the time, which is extremely high. Think of how shooting 45 percent in any set is pretty decent, now imagine out of ten possessions, the player turns it over twice, and hits just three of the remaining shots (James holds those shooters to 40 percent shooting). With Lin's turnovers coming mostly out of the pick-and-roll as ball handler (26 percent of the time in a small sample size), this could be rough. Great defenses like Dallas' have struggled with containing Lin when he splits that double-team, but again, this is Miami. This is really the crux of the battle right here. The Miami shooters can contain the perimeter threats with their rotations, but the biggest offensive set threat happens if Lin gets loose out of that double. That will force the Heat to adjust which opens up things for Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire. No pressure, J.

Rivalry Renewed

This isn't going to get the press of the other stars, but does anyone else realize this is Tyson Chandler facing the same Heat team he annihilated in the Finals? Chandler's ability to convert offensive rebounds is going to be key in this game. Likewise, the Heat need to get him in foul trouble early. Chandler can be neutralized which puts capable but not-standout Jared Jeffries in to battle Joel Anthony and Udonis Haslem, matchups the Heat would much prefer. Chandler can crush teams if he gets going in the pick and roll or on tap backs. This is the biggest game of Chandler's season to date with the Knicks. He put the Mavericks into the list of champions over this team last year. How he dominates the glass will go a long way into deciding this game.

One-on-One-on-One-on-One

Oddly enough, the same sets which give Miami and New York their worst performances may be necessary tonight. I've railed on the Heat for going Isolation too much as I do with nearly every NBA team, and the rest of the world has done the same to the Knicks, especially Carmelo Anthony. But the Heat's pick-and-roll defense is so good, their rotations so well-executed, that the best answer for them may simply be to let Anthony and Stoudemire do work one-on-one. Getting the Heat away from playing on a string takes away their biggest defensive strength outside of sheer athleticism. And for the Heat, the Knicks' defense is better this year despite having mostly the same players as a terrible one last season. The reason is systemic, not individual, and the best way to answer that is to isolate those poor defenders, Anthony and Stoudemire (and Fields) and try and blow past them.

In short, going hero ball is actually not a bad plan tonight.

The Indescribable

This is one of those moments. You know, the ones that form the tapestry of a season. The Heat are bagged on about not closing out games against elite competition, and Jeremy Lin has been as clutch as it comes in the fourth quarter. Carmelo Anthony has been accused of not being able to fit in an offense. The Heat crowd is typically terrible. Amar'e Stoudemire and Chris Bosh both have their demons. Both teams will blow off this game. It's one game in a regular season going by in a blur. But this game means something. The Lin phenomenon has taken the world by storm. Can it beat the best combination of talent in the NBA? Can the Heat finally step up and answer their critics resoundingly in a key moment?

This one's going to be fun.
Posted on: February 19, 2012 2:18 pm
 

Jeremy Lin showing out vs. Mavericks

At the half of Knicks-Mavericks, Jeremy Lin has 12 points, 6 assists, 2 steals and just one turnover as the Knicks lead 48-45.. Attempts to trap with Shawn Marion proved futile for Dallas, as Lin split the double-team and scored with floaters. He also dished to J.R. Smith making his Knicks debut. Smith started hot before cooling off in the second quarter, finishing with 9 points on 8 shots and 2 rebounds. Lin has made better decisions and managed to control the offense much better than in the Knicks' loss to the Hornets Friday night. The rest seems to have helped Lin, who has talked about the schedule wearing him down. 

The Mavericks made a furious run to get back in the game after going down double-digits, led by Jason Terry and Dirk Nowitzki. I know, you're stunned. Nowitzki has 14 to lead Dallas.

Follow Ken Berger on Twitter for live updates from Madison Square Garden.  
Posted on: February 19, 2012 12:07 pm
 

Melo out vs. Mavericks, Smith, Baron active

By Matt Moore 

The Knicks announced Sunday morning that Carmelo Anthony will not play vs. the Mavericks at Madison Square Garden. Baron Davis and J.R. Smith will both be active for the first time but are not expected to log heavy minutes, as Davis continues to work into game shape and recover from a back injury and Smith tries to learn the playbook having only gotten back to the United States from China within the past five days. 

Anthony will miss his seventh game with injury. Questions have been raised as to how he and Jeremy Lin will work together in the offense, due to Melo's tendencies towards isolation, versus the success the Knicks have had with Lin in the pick and roll set. Against the Mavericks, Lin will need the same kind of performance he had against the Lakers earlier this month. Lin's coming off of his first loss since gaining heavy minutes in the Knicks rotation. The Mavericks have a world of experience in defending the pick and roll well so it'll be interesting to see what approach they take with Lin and if Lin can recover from a series of poor games in terms of turnovers. If not, the Knicks could be on a losing streak and Linsanity could be fading from the popular consciousness.  

Seeing Smith operate in the offense without any real knowledge of the playbook should be an adventure as well.  
Posted on: February 17, 2012 2:03 pm
 

Friday 5 with KB: All-Star level Linsanity

By Matt Moore



In this week's edition of 
the Friday 5, Ken Berger discusses Linsanity, Bulls minutes, and who's on the trade block headed into All-Star Weekend. You can follow Ken Berger on Twitter @KBergCBS

1. So, hey, that Jeremy Lin kid's pretty good. We've beaten the subject into the ground here at CBSSports.com this week, but it bears opening the Friday 5 nonetheless. Let's forget about how Melo fits in, or D'Antoni, or even Lin's play directly. Is the best thing for the Knicks about this run that it's brought the locker room together and they're having fun again?

Ken Berger: Well, I think that's a by-product of what Lin has brought to the table. Among the many elements of this perfect storm was the fact that the Knicks were running the most point guard-dependent offense in the sport and had some of the worst point-guard play anyone had ever seen. Plug in a competent point guard, and the Knicks would've played better. Plug in someone performing as well as Lin has performed, and you have the makings of something special. So it started with Lin's production, which has instilled confidence in the locker room and made everyone relax in an environment that can be extremely high on stress. The Knicks now believe they can win, and confidence is a big part of the battle.

2. You wrote in Post-Ups this week about the Heat flying under the radar. How good is that for them to avoid the spotlight for a few weeks?

KB: Who? Oh, the Heat. I'm not sure it's either good or bad for them. I think it's great for the league as a whole that people are captivated by something other that how LeBron and Wade are getting along or playing together on any given day. And the fact that people are captivated by basketball being played the right way, an enjoyable way, is a pleasing diversion from the usual poisoned brew of trade demands, coaches getting fired, agent agendas, egos colliding and the like.

3. I've been critical of Tom Thibodeau and his approach to minutes with Luol Deng and Derrick Rose with various injuries considering the long-term goals of the Bulls in this insane schedule. But I'm not a doctor and I'm not a trainer. In your mind, if the doc's say it's fine and the trainers say it's fine, should Thibodeau just disregard the notion of exhaustion, and if so, is it because they really do need that top seed?
 
KB: I'm not a doctor or a trainer, either. And Thibodeau presumably learned how to manage minutes from one of the masters in that department, Doc Rivers. I think the time off due to back spasms will do Rose some good. But to a degree, when he's healthy, he's going to be on the floor for 38-plus minutes. Same goes for Deng, especially if you're in a close game and the opponent (like the Celtics, for example, with Paul Pierce) has an elite wing scorer who needs to be dealt with. It's a fine line with this schedule for coaches between resting their stars and winning as many games as possible. To get where they want to go, the Bulls need homecourt advantage. Once they secure that, Rose and Deng and anybody else who needs to put themselves back together for the playoffs can have as many minutes off as they need.

4. Ken, I know you've enjoyed writing about actual basketball for the past few weeks. But trade season's back, bro. Who are you expecting to be chattering next weekend in Orlando?

KB: Well, of course there will be the Dwight-fest. After that, I think the biggest name being discussed will be Steve Nash. A point guard could make all the difference in the world to the Lakers and Magic. For the same reason, Ramon Sessions will be on the radar.

5. With J.R. Smith joining the Knicks, what was the driving force behind his decision and what should the Knicks be concerned about with him, if anything?

KB: J.R. seemed to enjoying the process of being recruited, and will wind up with more money at the end of the day by joining the Knicks. The way Lin has the Knicks' offense humming, J.R. could see a lot of future dollar signs swishing through the Nets at Madison Square Garden. Even off the bench, he could be an electrifying scorer in Mike D'Antoni's offense. Plus, he's played with Anthony before, so there's a comfort level there, and Knicks official Mark Warkentien was a big supporter of Smith when both were in Denver. Concerns? What concerns? Oh, yeah, J.R. is a knucklehead. But he's a knucklehead who can make a jump shot. So the risk-reward is pretty heavily in the Knicks' favor.
Posted on: February 17, 2012 10:01 am
Edited on: February 17, 2012 10:16 am
 

J.R. Smith to the Knicks

J.R. Smith will join the Knicks and Linsanity. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore 

The long, enduring process of bringing J.R. Smith to the Knicks has ended. Smith announced on Twitter Friday he'd chosen the New York Knicks.


After reports indicated earlier this week that Smith's decision was down to the Knicks or Clippers, and then that the Knicks had taken the upper hand, reports Friday indicated that the decision has been made. The New York Post reported that Smith would sign Friday with the Knicks, and will be in uniform Sunday when Linsanity faces another tough test against the Dallas Mavericks in Madison Square Garden. 

Smith confirmed to Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld Thursday that he was close to a deal with the Knicks, though he did not confirm it was done. Meanwhile, the Oregonian reports of the insane lengths both the Clippers and Knicks are going through to try and sign Smith, including sending a representative to meet Smith when he got off the plane. From the Oregonian: 
Things got so interesting Thursday that Smith hopped a plane from China to LAX, arriving at the airport in the late afternoon, where he was intercepted, his camp said, by a representative for the Knicks. Smith was apparently headed later in the evening to Las Vegas, and according to a source in Smith's family, the Knicks bought a ticket for their guy and sent him along, too.

New York apparently hoped to sign Smith as he cleared Customs, and I can't say I blame them after what I heard Del Negro promised Smith.

Get this: Smith was told via text message from Del Negro, in what feels like a desperate, last-ditch effort, that he'd be -- a starter -- for the Clippers.

Start? Smith? Really?

"What I text to J.R. is between J.R. and me," Del Negro said. "We're just trying to make our team better. I think everyone on our team understands that."
via Canzano: Fight for J.R. Smith offers warnings for Trail Blazers | OregonLive.com.

So that's a little insane. 

Can we take a second to note that J.R. Smith has been back in the states for less than 12 hours and was headed to Vegas? How can you not love the NBA?

Smith joining the Knicks helps bolster their depth considerably. Being able to play a second lineup of Toney Douglas/Mike Bibby, Iman Shumper, Landry Fields, and a big to pair with Amar'e Stoudemire or Tyson Chandler means the dropoff won't be as big, and the ability to keep a scorer on the floor with Melo or, ahem, Jeremy Lin on the bench helps considerably in the backcourt.

It also means the Clippers will have to go elsewhere to try and recover their scoring lost when Chauncey Billups tore his Achilles.
Posted on: February 16, 2012 1:59 am
Edited on: February 16, 2012 1:41 pm
 

Report: J.R. Smith to pick Knicks over Clippers?

Is it down to the Knicks or Clippers for J.R. Smith? (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver  

There appeared to be two finalists in the recruitment of unrestricted free agent guard J.R. Smith, and one seems to have emerged..

Smith, recently returned from China where he signed to play during the lockout without an NBA opt-out clause, had reportedly narrowed his final two choices to the New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Clippers, according to ESPNLA.com.

The New York Daily News reported that the Knicks have emerged as the leaders.
The Knicks are closing in on a deal to sign free agent shooting guard J.R. Smith, the Daily News has learned. Smith began the season in China, but has been eyeing a return to the NBA once the lockout ended.

Smith's agent, Leon Rose, met with Garden Chairman James Dolan following Wednesday's Knicks' win over Sacramento to finalize a contract.
Other teams linked to Smith over the last few weeks have included the Orlando Magic, Indiana Pacers, Minnesota Timberwolves and Los Angeles Lakers, among others. 

Smith has connections with both the Knicks and the Clippers, and both have expressed serious interest in his services. New York has Smith's former teammate with the Denver Nuggets, All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony, as well as his former Nuggets boss, Mark Warkentien, a noted advocate of Smith's game. Los Angeles has Smith's former New Orleans Hornets teammate Chris Paul as well as his former Nuggets teammate Kenyon Martin, himself recently returned from China.

Given the unusual timing of his clearance from China, Smith's financial options are limited. New York is able to offer him a $2.5 million room exception; the Clippers are limited to the veteran's minimum. More important than the dollar figure for the remainder of the 2011-2012 season is his ability to play on a large stage. Playing big minutes and getting plenty of shots for a playoff team will help maximize his value for a big free agency pay day this summer. 

Smith averaged 12.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.2 steals in 24.9 minutes per game off of Denver's bench during the 2010-2011 season. At 26, he is entering his prime earning years as a player. Even though his 2011-2012 season will only be a few months long, it will be an important stretch for him to re-introduce himself to the NBA's chief decision-makers to ensure he receives the pay day he is eventually expecting.

In New York, he would fill out a backcourt rotation that includes global sensation Jeremy Lin, global non-sensation Baron Davis, rookie Iman Shumpert and Toney Douglas. There should be plenty of minutes available there, and Lin's orchestration of New York's offense recently offers some promise that Smith can find his touches too. That group, coupled with All-Stars in Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire, plus Tyson Chandler in the middle, could potentially win a playoff series.

In Los Angeles, the presence of Paul guarantees he will get touches, and a season-ending injury to Chauncey Billups opens up all the minutes he can handle. He would join Paul, Mo Williams and Randy Foye in what would be a very solid rotation. Whether or not the Clippers add Smith, they expect to make a deep playoff run this year. 

Either way, Smith really can't lose.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com