Saturday, February 26, 2011

CAVALIERS DOWN KNICKS

I know that it is not good to relish a team's loss, so let's just say that I am most happy that the struggling Cavaliers were able to get a win over the Knicks.  Of course the New York press has a spin, but here's what the NY Times had to say - I have added bold to the portions that I find most problematic for the Knicks:

KNICKS’ EUPHORIA IS THROWN FOR A LOSS

By JODIE VALADE


CLEVELAND — The first test was a rousing success. Carmelo Anthony made a triumphant Knicks debut Wednesday at Madison Square Garden. But playbooks take time to learn, and simply suiting up superstars does not guarantee victories.

On Friday, the Knicks showed that the pairing of Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire would be a work in progress for the rest of the season.

The 11-47 Cleveland Cavaliers, who endured an N.B.A.-record 26-game losing streak this season, embarrassed the Knicks, 115-109, at Quicken Loans Arena. Anthony watched the final 24.3 seconds from the bench after fouling out. During the last quarter, he aggravated a right elbow injury.

“There is a learning curve, and you can’t get around it,” Knicks Coach Mike D’Antoni said. “We know it. It’s going to take us a little while.”

The good news for the Knicks is that the simplified offense they are running until the new point guard Chauncey Billups is comfortable with all the plays is easy to execute.

“We do have the luxury of having two guys who you really don’t have to do anything,” D’Antoni said of Anthony and Stoudemire. “You just give them the ball and get out of the way.”

So far, when one star dominates offensively, the other quietly disappears. On Friday, Anthony started with an aggressive first quarter that yielded 16 points; he was 5 of 8 from the field. Stoudemire did not score in five attempts.

As Stoudemire awoke to score 11 points in the second quarter, Anthony managed only 3.

And in the fourth quarter, neither could find the basket reliably as Anthony battled through elbow pain that he said resulted in a loss of feeling in his hand at times. Anthony, who wore a sleeve on his right arm, said he did not expect to miss time with the injury.

Billups took charge in the fourth quarter, netting 18 of his 24 points. He brought the Knicks to within a basket a handful of times late in the fourth quarter, and the Cavaliers’ lead was tenuous until guard Daniel Gibson hit a 3-pointer with 30.6 seconds remaining. Anthony fouled out shortly after.

Anthony was 9 of 22 from the field in scoring 27 points. Stoudemire had 31 points, hitting 14 of 27 shots, and added 11 rebounds. But his counterpart on the Cavaliers, J. J. Hickson, had 24 points and 15 rebounds and 5 blocks.

All of it was a reminder that these Knicks are still learning to work together. Their newness was apparent, too, when Anthony still had to defend himself Friday for his time spent in Denver. During an interview on TNT on Thursday night at halftime of the Nuggets’ game against the Boston Celtics, Denver Coach George Karl was critical of Anthony’s defense and effort.

“Melo is the best offensive player I’ve ever coached, but his defensive focus, his demand of himself is what frustrated us more than anything,” Karl said Thursday.

Shortly after the interview, Anthony posted two updates to his Twitter account that appeared to be a rebuttal to Karl’s statement.

“Some people never seize to amaze me. Unbelievable,” he wrote. Immediately after that, he added, “When the grass is cut the snakes will show.”

Asked Friday about his relationship with Karl, Anthony shrugged off Karl’s comments. “That’s him,” Anthony said. “That’s George Karl. I try not to pay too much attention to that.”

The effects of the trade are still being felt, even in the Knicks’ desire to acquire big men who might help narrow the kind of 62-42 rebounding advantage the Cavaliers had Friday. With the Knicks desperate for size, D’Antoni acknowledged that they were interested to learn that the 6-foot-11 forward Jared Jeffries reached a buyout agreement with the Houston Rockets on Friday. D’Antoni said the Knicks’ president, Donnie Walsh, was exploring acquiring Jeffries.

Jeffries, who played for the Knicks from 2006 until a trade last season sent him to Houston, provides not only length but the defensive ability that D’Antoni yearns for.

“He’s a winner,” D’Antoni said. “And I thought he played well with us. There’s a lot of good things with him.”

These Knicks still are coming together, as evidenced by their loss to the lowly Cavaliers.

“That’s with anything new — there’s always pros and cons to it,” Anthony said. “We’re going to always have to answer that question until we prove to everybody that it will work. And it will work. I have no doubts about that.”

4 comments:

Bizzy Brain said...

Carmello says, "...it will work." But will HE go to work...on defense? Offensive hot shots often don't expend as much energy on defense as they do on offense. It's just ain't in their DNA.

Dr S said...

That is a good question - somebody ought to run a stat sheet comparing Carmelo's stats versus those of the guys that he guards!

Bizzy Brain said...

Am thinking someone has to be tracking that. If you score 25 points and the man you are guarding scores 28, you are fighting a losing battle. What was your ratio as a New Paris Cub, Dr. S.? (Yuk, yuk.)

Dr S said...

BB - I am quite certain that my ratio was very much on the plus side :-) Actually, since I did not play too much varsity, it did not have much of an impact; plus we played some zone defense so that would be tough to figure out. However, on the B-team, I generally scored enough to be on the plus side!