Tag Archives: playoffs

Breakfast: Knicks Struggling Out West

Tyson Chandler has started all 62 games for the Knicks this season (Aaron Ontiveroz/Denver Post via Getty Images)

Tyson Chandler has started all 62 games for the Knicks this season (Aaron Ontiveroz/Denver Post via Getty Images)

In a month nothing but the Heat will matter in the Easter Conference, so for now let’s talk a little Knicks. Boy, November feels like ages ago; when Rasheed Wallace was backing down fools in the Garden and teams were still lazy on defense. But as they begin their annual slide down the East standings, the Knicks are hurting right now in more ways than one.

It’s more than watching Tyson Chandler crumpled on the floor before the half of last night’s 23 point loss in Denver. It’s more than Carmelo, in his first game back in Denver, was awful from the field, clearly hindered by swelling in his right knee. It’s way more than Amare Stoudemire, who, despite playing somewhat effective basketball for the past three weeks, is back in a suit and will never be a consistently healthy athlete ever again.

The Knicks, in the midst of a brutal five game road trip, are being exposed as mentally weak as well as physically unstable. This is the second consecutive game that was over in the 3rd quarter, and they still have to travel to Portland and Utah, who are combined 43-19 at home.

Between those games is a matinee with Lob City, maybe the worst matchup for the Knicks right now. The athleticism and youth of the Clippers might make Kenyon Martin pass out.

Kenyon Martin. We need to talk about the Knicks rotation right now. This roster is filled with jump shooters, but now that the Knicks are running out of big men, there’s no way this team can compete. James White is getting more minutes, but from what I’ve seen thus far is best skill is without a doubt fouling. Iman Shumpert looks to be getting back to full strength, but his offensive game is so limited right now he can’t be the primary weapon on the floor. And that leaves me with J.R Smith, the man I’d never want to play a game of pick-up hoops with.

Smith is one of the NBA’s most frustrating scorers. The definition of streaky, Smith will occasionally make an improbable highlight-reel worthy shot, giving him liberty to jack up 20 more. But now with all the injuries, Smith has gone from a spark off the bench to depending on his shooting to generate offense. And it just isn’t working.

Have the Knicks been quitting? That’s not fair to say. But this team desperately needs rest, and they aren’t going to get it right now. The Knicks have one of the oldest rosters in the NBA, and right now it is a glaring flaw. Because not only to the best teams in the league right now have youth, most of them like to run. A lot. And from what I’ve learned, old guys don’t run like young guys.

I’m not saying the Knicks won’t make the playoffs. Hey, if they end up paired with the Hawks or Bulls, they might even grab a win or two. But this is a fighter on wobbly legs. And whether they realize it or not, they just can’t seem to punch back as strong as before. We’ll update this situation as we learn more about the knees of Melo and Chandler. Stay tuned.

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Breakfast: Nets Running on Wobbly Williams

Deron Williams hobbles off...again (Corey Sipkin/NYDailyNews)

Deron Williams hobbles off…again (Corey Sipkin/NYDailyNews)

We learned alot about the Brooklyn Nets this past week. Fresh off the break, they win back to back games in the final minute against Milwaukee. Then, they stay put at the trade deadline, not moving Kris Humphries as many suggested. Last night, they lost to an athletic Houston team in the 4th quarter, relenting to Houston’s manic pace. With Carlesimo talking to the press about stopping Harden and Lin, he probably wasn’t thrilled about Carlos Delfino draining 6 three-pointers. But since we’ve come back from the break, I think we’re ready to make some definitive statements about this Brooklyn team.

This team goes as far as Deron Williams will take them. Joe Johnson is a nice piece, but he’s not the guy. Brook Lopez, whether you’d like to admit it or not, is an All-Star caliber center. But the offense, pace, and leadership all start with D-Will. And right now, that’s not the best basket to hold your eggs in.

Williams revealed he had another cortisone shot in both ankles on Thursday, and coach Carlesimo noted that he won’t be fully healthy for the remainder of the season. Williams is still a top-quality guard, averaging nearly 18 points and 8 assists. But it isn’t the same.

Deron can’t run. It hurts to take a jumper. He’s afraid of going strong to the rim.

Here is his 82games.com page. Notice how his baskets come jumpers (81 percent). Shouldn’t those be Joe Johnson’s percentages? He’s shying away from contact, and either distributing or taking long jumpers. Williams takes 5.2 threes per game, which is career high. In fact, his attempts per game numbers have gone up every year since his rookie season. Are defenders giving him more space? Or is it something else?

Last week when Jerry Colangelo called his fitness into shape it certainly raised eyebrows around the league. But calling Deron out of shape is just irresponsible. I’m sure Jerry Colangelo had his reasons but if Williams ankles are sore it’s because wear and tear. He started 55 of 66 games in 2011-12, which was often comprised of back to backs due to the late start. This, immediately followed by the Olympics, can’t be good for sore ankles.

My Angle: Not everybody is built like LeBron. Not everybody can age like Kobe. Deron Williams has moved past “I’m playing hurt” and into “this may be damaging long-term” territory.

This week was a microcosm for the Nets season. Wins over bad teams, losses over playoff teams. They are in the discussion, but there’s no way they beat any elite team (Heat, Pacers, Thunder) 4 times in two weeks.

Sitting at the four seed, you’re looking at the ceiling of the 2013 Brooklyn Nets. But whether this year’s struggle will have a lasting impact on the career of those involved remains to be seen.