Tag:Amar'e Stoudemire
Posted on: April 14, 2011 9:44 am
Edited on: April 15, 2011 2:13 pm

Knicks-Celtics preview: tomorrow meets today

A preview of the first round playoff series between the New York Knicks and the Boston Celtics. Posted by Ben Golliver.


I. Intro: No. 6 seed New York Knicks (42-40) vs. No. 3 seed Boston Celtics (56-26)

This series is the undisputed darling of TV executives everywhere, featuring two storied franchises from major East Coast markets who will face each other when the favorite – Boston – appears to be at the peak of its vulnerability. There’s a past/present vs. future tension at play too, as the Celtics’ Big 3 looks to be approaching its final stand while the Knicks story is clearly still unfolding: Who will be the third star to team up with All-Star forwards Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony?

This one boils down to: "Digging deep for one last push" versus "We did it! we're in the playoffs!" That puts the pressure and expectations squarely on Boston's shoulders. 

II. What Happened: A look at the season series

The Celtics swept the season series, 4-0, averaging 107.8 points per game while allowing the Knicks just 101.3, making for a dominant 6.5 point average margin of victory. However, two of the games came before the trade deadline and one came on Wednesday night, in a meaningless game in which both team sat many key players.

This season, the Celtics have had their way on both ends of the court, averaging nearly 51% from the field in four meetings with the Knicks while out-rebounding New York, on average, 45-37. In general, the numbers from the season series aren't going to be comforting to Knicks fans, although Stoudemire did average 24 points and eight rebounds against the Celtics.

III. The Easy Stuff: Rajon Rondo is the X-Factor

What is going on with Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo? Not since the Where’s Waldo? books have so many people spent so much time wondering about one man whose name ends in a vowel. 

It’s always been easier to talk about Rondo as a talented enigma, a brilliant loner who dances to his own beat. Lately, his numbers are off, Boston’s scoring is way down since the trade deadline and steady veterans like Ray Allen are left wondering why their touches have evaporated.  That combination has left Celtics fans queasy and concerned. No one ever really understood him and suddenly that feels like a huge problem.

In three appearances against New York this season, Rondo has been big: averaging 11.0 points, dishing 16.7 assists and grabbing 6.0 boards per game, while shooting 40.5% from the field.  If he manages 80% of that output, the Celtics should cruise.

IV. Secret of the Series: Will elite defense trump elite offense in the playoffs?

Clearly, this series is a match-up of opposing strengths and styles. Boston enters the series with the No. 2 defense in the league from an efficiency perspective, barely trailing the league-leading Chicago Bulls. The Knicks bring the No. 5 offense in the league to the table, and boast the second most efficient offense in the Eastern Conference, trailing only the Miami Heat. The contrast in styles continues as Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni also has his team playing the fastest pace of any playoff team while the Celtics are the fourth slowest of the 16 teams to make the postseason.

One of the NBA’s long-held commandments – correct or not – is that defense almost always trumps offense in these situations. The problem for New York, a point that’s been pounded home relentlessly over the last few months, is that Knicks are extremely imbalanced because of their struggles on the defensive end of the court. The Knicks are the least efficient defensive team to make the playoffs and will struggle mightily to stop the Celtics, even though Boston has been a slightly below average offensive team on the season.

Sure, it’s possible that top-flight offense overcomes solid defense, but rarely does a team as indifferent to stops as New York make any noise in April or May.

V. The Dinosaur Narrative: “Trading Kendrick Perkins was a death sentence for Boston’s title hopes”

At least for one series, we should get a respite from all the hand-wringing over Boston president Danny Ainge’s decision to ship his long-time center to Oklahoma City for reserve forward Jeff Green. Against the Knicks, Perkins would be helpful as an off-ball defender and rebounder but the Celtics should be able to match-up and clean the boards just fine if they go to a smaller ball lineup given New York’s general indifference to rebounding (the Knicks have the lowest rebound rate of any playoff team).

As has been often pointed out, the post-trade problem for the Celtics has been their offense, anyway, and not their defense or rebounding. Who better to get back on track against than the Knicks, who allow 105.7 points per game (third most in the league) and openly admitted as recently as March that they aren’t all on the same page schematically since trading for Anthony?

The Perkins trade – and what Green does or doesn’t give you – will be a huge factor down the road in potential later-round match-ups against the Miami Heat and/or Chicago Bulls. Against the Knicks, though, it really should be an afterthought.

VI. The Line-Item Veto: Who wins each match-up?

PG: Struggling or not, zombie Rondo does far more, on both ends, than an aging Chauncey Billups.

SG: The overachieving, do-the-little-things-rookie making his first postseason appearance versus the NBA’s all-time leading three-point shooter and a tested, tough veteran with more than 100 career playoff appearances? Ray Allen all day over Landry Fields.

SF: To see just how close Carmelo Anthony vs. Paul Pierce is, check their career playoff numbers. Anthony: 24.5 points, 7.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists. Pierce: 21.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists. Anthony gets the nod, but barely.

PF: Stoudemire – brash, confident, offensively overwhelmingly -- vs. Garnett – brash, confident, defensively overwhelming – might be the best individual match-up in any first round playoff series. In these situations, it’s best to expect a push.  

C: Boston expects to get perpetually injured senior citizen Shaquille O’Neal back in time for the start of the first round and will pair him with Jermaine O’Neal and Nenad Krstic; the undersized Knicks turn to Jared Jeffries and Ronny Turiaf. It’s impossible to call anyone in this group on either side a winner.

Bench: Glen Davis, Glen Davis’ hijinks and Jeff Green should have the advantage over the make-do scraps on New York’s bench that survived the trade for Anthony that sent half the roster to Denver.

Coach: Players like to play for (read: score for) Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni while the Celtics have shown over the year a devotion to and respect for Doc Rivers rarely seen in the NBA. That, plus the ring, gives Doc the edge.

VII. Conclusion

Given how much the midseason trade for Anthony compromised New York’s depth, there’s a sense that the not yet fully formed Knicks are just happy to be in the postseason for the first time since 2003-2004. The Celtics, meanwhile, aren’t playing their best basketball but they do enter the postseason with a greater urgency, given the age and mentality of their core players. The Garnett/ Pierce/ Allen/ Rondo core has defeated far better all-around teams than this year’s Knicks, and a B- or better performance from Boston should be enough to see the Celtics through to the second round and a likely dream match-up with the Miami Heat. Prediction: Celtics in 5.

VIII. CBSSports.com Video Preview

Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics are prepared to square off against Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks in the opening round of the NBA Playoffs. Who will come out on top? Ian Eagle and Ken Berger preview this matchup.

Posted on: April 8, 2011 10:58 am

Amare' Stoudemire out Friday against Nets

Amar'e Stoudemire out Friday against Nets
Posted by Matt Moore

Amar'e Stoudemire will miss Friday night's game versus the New Jersey Nets, and Chauncey Billups may be out as well for the Knicks. Deron Williams will also miss the game after wrist surgery. 

Here's a list of the six best players that will be playing in this game. Carmelo Anthony, Brook Lopez, Toney Douglas, Anthony Morrow, Sasha Vujacic/Landry Fields. 

May God have mercy on all those who choose to make it out to Newark's arena tonight. 

Stoudemire's dealing with a sprained ankle, and with the Knicks having locked up a playoff spot, there's no reason to avoid shutting him down until he's as healthy as can be. They've only got a half-game lead over Philadelphia for the sixth seed, but really, there's not much difference between facing the Heat and the Celtics. They're outmatched either way. They have a four-game lead over the Pacers to avoid the Bulls in the first round, but then, New York's had the most success against Chicago. Go figure. 
Posted on: March 30, 2011 10:31 pm

Knicks slide past future neighbor Nets

Posted by Royce Young

Before everyone gets ahead of themselves, let's understand things for what they are. The Knicks beat a bad New Jersey team at Madison Square Garden, and still gave up 116 points to do it.

But things are a better right now than they were a week ago and that at least deserves some recognition. The Knicks are within a game of .500 after winning their second straight and with the schedule softening up to close the season, maybe they can re-position for the six-seed. Maybe.

Two things of note that are were mentioning from the Knicks win over the Nets:

1) Carmelo Anthony really appears to be trying to shoulder the load. "Trying" is a key word. Melo was terrific in the third going for 20 points. The fourth, he went just 1-5 for two points, but it was enough. His third quarter effort was what brought the Knicks back from 10 down to trail by just a point heading to the fourth.

He finished with 39 on 15-26 shooting. This is Melo's third consecutive game with at least 35. But even more than that, his effort defensively was for once, noticeable. He battled through screens, contested shots and crashed the defensive glass. Melo is giving a major effort right now to try and get things straightened out for New York. It's commendable.

2) The Knicks role players did something. If you check the box score, you'll see it was 39 for Melo, 23 for Amar'e Stoudemire and 33 for Chauncey Billups. They definitely did most of the work. Almost 80 percent of it. But in a big stretch in the fourth, Anthony Carter dished out three big assists and knocked down a jumper. Shelden Williams turned in three big buckets and it was his work on the glass tipping a rebound to Toney Douglas that essentially sealed the game. Shawne Williams only scored four but made a large jumper late.

The Knicks really are just a less polished, less talented version of the Heat in a way, even down to the bench. They lose this game without even the slightest contributions from their role guys. Melo, Billups and Amar'e will carry the team in most every way, but they aren't winning games, even against bad teams like New Jersey, without their benc doing something.

This Knick team is kind of fascinating and it's why so many people are writing so much about them. They just seem too good to be losing all these games. But they're now 9-12 since the trade and though it's only two wins, it's at least the right direction. Melo called the Orlando game a pretty much must-win and it was, because it relieved some stress off them.

But this team isn't built for the now. They aren't doing anything other than maybe pushing a first round opponent to six or seven games. They're too talented to be losing this much though and that's why even just back-to-back wins feels big for them.
Posted on: March 29, 2011 1:27 pm
Edited on: March 30, 2011 12:14 pm

Video: How the NBA time-travel spots were made

Posted by Royce Young

By now, if you've watched just 10 minutes of an NBA game this year, you've seen one of the creepy time-travel commercials. There are four of them: One with an old guy talking to Kevin Durant, one with a kid talking to a little Stephen Curry, one with two Knicks fans watching a high school Amar'e Stoudemire and another with a kid talking to Steve Nash at Santa Clara.

In a way, the ads are very cool. At least the idea is. I can't say the execution was spot-on because they always feel a bit cold. Like something is missing.

But of course everyone was curious as to how they were done. Because the clips of the players are entirely authentic. That's really Durant in high school putting on his sneakers. That's really Steph Curry as a kid. Via Dime Mag, here's how they made them.

Posted on: March 29, 2011 1:43 am
Edited on: March 29, 2011 1:46 am

Howard fouls out vs. Knicks, picks up 17th tech

Dwight Howard picked up his sixth foul against the Knicks Monday night on a questionable call and then picked up his seventeenth technical. Was it a phantom call?
Posted by Matt Moore

You know, if Dwight Howard's going to pick up technicals, he really should try to at least get his money's worth and pick it up while he's still actually in the game. 

With 1:20 left in overtime of the Magic's loss to the Knicks Monday night, Jason Richardson launched a corner three. Dwight Howard smartly maneuvered to the far side to attempt to grab the offensive rebound. Chauncey Billups and Amar'e Stoudemire positioned on either side of him. Howard, being significantly taller and longer than both players, tapped the ball up in the air, and after contact from all three players, Howard grabbed the rebound to allow the Magic another chance to tie or take the lead. But then, tweet. An offensive foul, Howard's sixth. After the foul, Howard objected to the call (shocking, I know), with an expletive, and then threw the ball across court. And again, tweet. Howard's seventeenth technical of the season, bringing him within one more T of his second suspension from technicals this season. So what gives? Was Howard right to contest the foul? Let's take a look. 

Okay, a lot of contact there. Let's take a look at a few key frames. First, here's what happened on the way up for the tap: 

First thing you'll notice is Chauncey Billups' contact on Howard's outstretched arm. That's pretty clearly a foul. Unfortunately, you'll notice Howard also placing contact on Stoudemire, partially inhibiting Howard's ability to reach up to contest for the rebound. But you could definitely argue that nothing should have been called from that image. What about on the way down? 

Okay, well, Billups is definitely holding Dwight a bit there, or at least is making contact. Unfortunately, you see that tangle of limbs and goggles caving in and falling backwards? Yeah, that's Amar'e Stoudemire, caving under Howard's arm coming down. That's pretty obviously a foul. But hey, maybe it just looks that way from this angle. What about another angle? Zach Harper of ESPN provides a little clearer view of what was going on down there from another broadcast angle. 

You can definitely argue that Howard is being fouled simultaneously by Chauncey Billups. But you can't argue that that's not a foul on Howard for shoving Stoudemire in the face, just as you can't argue that MVP's should be picking up technicals which can result in suspensions during the stretch run to the playoffs, just as you can't argue Howard should be surprised at this point by either the officials' calls or their reaction to his protests over their calls. 

It wasn't a phantom foul. Stan Van Gundy and Howard have a legitimate case that Howard doesn't get the calls he should during the game, but it's impossible to argue that Howard didn't commit a foul on this play. A tough break for the Magic on a night full of them. 

For more on the Knicks' win over the Magic, check out Ken Berger's report on how Melo took the Knicks out of their misery. 
Posted on: March 29, 2011 12:41 am
Edited on: March 29, 2011 12:51 am

Magic defense wilts against Melo assault

The Magic fail to bring the defense agains the Knicks and wind up 18-19 against playoff teams this season. 
Posted by Matt Moore

The Orlando Magic are now 18-19 this season against (current) playoff teams this season after their 113-106 loss to the Knicks Monday night. Granted, the Magic were without Jameer Nelson and J.J. Redick from the start and lost Chris Duhon to a jammed thumb during, but the result is the same. The Magic already won the season series with the Knicks, but now, just when they're trying to get momentum headed into the playoffs, they surrender this loss. 

There will be talk of Dwight Howard's phantom sixth foul, of Carmelo Anthony initiating a trip of Jason Richardson that was responded with a trip on Melo by J-Rich that was the only one called. There will be talk of the injuries and a lot of random buckets that fell, but in the end, it was the Magic's usually stout defense that failed to get the job done. 

Knicks edge Magic
The biggest red flag is Carmelo Anthony's superb performance. It's one thing to allow Carmelo Anthony 39 points. It's another to allow it on 26 shots and giving 17 free throws. Some shots, like the late-game pull-up buzzer beater in which Hedo Turkoglu was doing everything but throwing a steel net Melo, you just have to live with. But too often the Magic did a poor job of denying the entry pass, brought the double too late and at bad angles. Throw in the result of having to bring pre-emptive doubles and at times, triples, at Anthony, which were open floaters and threes for Toney Douglas, and you've got an overtime loss. 

The Knicks' defensive effort really focused around turnovers. They turned over the Magic on 21% of their possessions, and held them to 43% shooting. For the Knicks, that's a Celtics-like performance. In particular, the Knicks' perimeter defense stepped up, a big reason why Chauncey Billups was +4 for the game. Keeping the perimeter attack in check, with good rotations, communications, and contests? Basically the Knicks did everything they haven't done in their woeful recent performances. Whether it was just an off night for the Magic, or as Jason Richardson said post-game, the Knicks were "starved" for a win, it's a game to build on for New York. 

This was a must-win for the Knicks, and a game where the Magic just wanted to get through as they try and get healthy. But with the Magic taking 32 3-pointers, hitting just 11, it's a sign that this team isn't close to the roster make-up, nor the momentum of the '09 team. There's a five game gap between Orlando and Atlanta.

The difference feels much closer. 
Posted on: March 28, 2011 9:07 am

Donnie Walsh takes blame for struggling Knicks

New York Knicks president Donnie Walsh says he is to blame for the team's recent struggles. Posted by Ben Golliver. donnie-walsh

The New York Knicks are an absolute disaster, 1-9 in their last 10 games and losers of six straight, and the finger-pointing is reaching a crescendo. Carmelo Anthony isn't a team player! It's Mike D'Antoni's systems! Amar'e Stoudemire needs to step up! And on and on and on.

Thankfully, one person in this mess is willing to accept responsibility: Knicks president Donnie Walsh.

Walsh tells the New York Post that the team's recent struggles since a trade deadline move that brought Anthony to the Big Apple from the Denver Nuggets are his "responsibility" and that D'Antoni shouldn't be blamed for failing to put the pieces together in the short term. 
Walsh said the collapse is not on coach Mike D'Antoni.
"I think it's very little [on him]," Walsh said. "It's very difficult to put these pieces back together in a short time. That's why it's more my responsibility. That's why I rarely trade in the middle of the season, because it's a big adjustment. But I made it because it's better for the franchise long term.
"Though it's a future trade, I realized it would be a major disruption, and it's hard to get back to where it was. I liked the team we had before. But I didn't think we were going to win the championship."
Given the circumstances, this is absolutely the right move for Walsh, as New York's problems clearly run deeper than simple rotation fixes or locker room chemistry. A recallibration of expectations from management was necessary and some short-term cover for D'Antoni doesn't hurt anything. 

Eventually, though, the Knicks will come to the point where buying time is no longer a sufficient company line. Think about it: if expectations are this high now, what will they look like come training camp?

Things are ugly in New York now, but it's important to remember that if next season begins like this one has ended, things could will be a lot worse.
Posted on: March 24, 2011 10:59 am

Dunkometer Update: Dwight running away

An update on the top dunkers, statistically, in the league. 
Posted by Matt Moore

Year to Date
Rank Player Pos Team Dunks
1 Dwight Howard C ORL 207
2 Blake Griffin PF LAC 179
3 DeAndre Jordan C LAC 142
4 LaMarcus Aldridge PF POR 130
5 JaVale McGee C WAS 123
6 Kevin Durant SF OKC 110
7 Amar'e Stoudemire PF NY 110
8 Tyson Chandler C DAL 109
9 Nene C DEN 98
10 Kris Humphries PF NJ 93

This is the top ten of the Dunk-O-Meter we run here on CBSSports.com as of Thursday morning.  
Some notes:
  • Dwight Howard has not only reclaimed the lead after an early season surge by Blake Griffin and a mid-season push by LaMarcus Aldridge, but has a dominant 28 dunk lead on the Rookie of the Year (we're just going to go ahead and call him that, since we all know it's inevitable).
  • It's interesting that there are two Clips on this list, back to back in the top three. Especially considering the presence of Chris Kaman limiting Jordan's minutes. 321 dunks this season for Griffin and Jordan combined, that's 12 percent of all Clippers field goals this season. That's pretty amazing, and shows you how far Jordan's come and why the Clippers need to make sure he returns. 
  • LaMarcus Aldridge in fourth is kind of surprising to anyone who isn't a Blazers fan. To Blazers fans, it makes total sense. It would be interesting to see how many of these come off of alley-oops to compare. It's expected that the presence of Andre Miller's dulcet lobs would put Aldridge in first, but given how many Dwight gets, it's probably close. 
  • Kevin Durant in sixth is just as shocking, considering he's a perimeter wing. 
  • Amar'e Stoudemire is too low on this list, and probably needs to be creating more dunks as high percentage shots in his offense. Not by much, he's only 13 behind McGee for fifth, but it's worth noting. 
  • How about Kris Humphries? Very quietly, Humphries has a had a great season for the Nets, and him being on this list is pretty impressive with the kind of talent the Nets have. 

Dunks don't mean success, they don't mean production, they're fun and great for highlights. But they are high percentage shots and it does take a certain skill set to create them. It shows achievement, even if that achievement isn't indicative of success. Four of the players in the top ten are on lottery teams, six are on playoff squads. 

None are on a seed higher than four as of this writing.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com