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Friday, December 6th, 2013 at 9:00 am  |  74 responses

Post Up: Grudge Matches?

Banged-up rivals meet up in an ugly night of hoops

by Brett Weisband | @weisband

Knicks (4-13) 113, Nets (5-14) 83

Do we have to? We do? Let’s make this painless. The Knicks blew out the Nets out in a battle of two of the worst teams in the worst division of the worst conference of all time. Good enough? No? Okay, here are a few details.

The Knicks took advantage of the Nets’ super-awful defense all night, draining 16 threes to snap a nine-game losing streak and help keep Mike Woodson employed for another day. Carmelo Anthony dropped 19 points on 8-12 shooting, adding in 10 boards and six assists. Seven Knicks shot their way to double figures. Even Amar’e Stoudemire looked like a capable offensive player, scoring 11 off the bench. He turned back the clock on defense, too, skying for a block like it was 2007:

amareblock

(H/T r/NBA)

For the Nets…let’s not even go there. Brook Lopez scored 24 points and we can pretend like the rest of the box score doesn’t exist. But, if you must know, the Nets shot just 39 percent (25 percent from long range), turned the ball over 16 times and only one other Brooklynite, Joe Johnson (13 points on 4-15 shooting) cracked double digits in the scoring column. To put things into perspective: Andrea Bargnani (16 points) took advantage of Kevin Garnett’s defense all night, even talking smack to him before getting tossed for scuffling with KG.

The first half was actually semi-competitive. The Knicks looked unlike they have all season from the start, zipping the ball around the perimeter, knocking down open jumpers and looking something like the team they were last season. Of course, that performance was aided by the Nets’ league-worst defense, but Woodson will take it, no doubt. The Knicks still led just 50-43 at half; Lopez having seven offensive rebounds in the first half – his most in a full game since 2010-11 – certainly helped the Nets stay in it, despite some typically poor shooting. Melo was a big part of the Knicks’ early success, playing one of his best halves of the season despite scoring just nine points, as he helped move the ball around more than usual.

As it has all season, things fell apart for the Nets coming out of halftime; the Knicks won the third 34-16, and the lead ballooned from there. Outside of suiting up (which he did in shootaround), coach Jason Kidd needs to figure out something to make the Nets competitive until this team gets healthy. That is, if he makes it that long.

Clippers (13-7) 101, Grizzlies (9-9) 81

A real rivalry game, between two good basketball teams? Ah, if only we were so lucky. The Clippers pulled away in the second half, as the short-handed Grizzlies couldn’t hang with their most-hated rival. After Memphis took a two-point lead into halftime, the Clips came back to outscore them by 13 in the third quarter, a deficit the Grizz came nowhere close to making up the rest of the way. The Clippers shot 56 percent in the second half, and the bench unit handled the fourth quarter, letting Chris Paul and Blake Griffin (14 points, nine reboudns, five assists) get their rest. As always, CP3 set the tone for the Clippers, tying for the team scoring lead with 15 and handing out eight dimes, while Griffin flashed his underrated passing skills.

Memphis, already without their offensive and defensive lynchpin in Marc Gasol, lost one of his backups early on, as Ed Davis – quietly solid in limited time this season – limped off the floor early on. Zach Randolph (12 and 12) made a quick return from surgery on an ingrown toenail (gross), but his presence wasn’t enough. The Clips got a great effort out of their bench, as Jamal Crawford and Darren Collison each scored 15 in the absence of JJ Redick. On the whole, LA won the bench battle 50-31. Kosta Koufos paced Memphis with 17, while Mike Conley scored an efficient 16 (6-8 from the field).

Doc Rivers picked up the 600th win of his career as the Clippers pulled even with Houston in the standings. Congrats, coach.

Bulls (8-9) 107, Heat (14-5) 87

Another matchup of teams that don’t like each other, another matchup riddle with injuries. Both teams were missing their Chicago-born All-Star guard (Dwyane Wade was sick and stayed at the hotel, while Derrick Rose addressed the media earlier in the day for the first time since season-ending meniscus surgery) as well as a key role player (Chris Andersen and Jimmy Butler). To the Heat, it must not have felt like a rivalry, as they came out flat against the Bulls and got blown out as a result.

The offensively challenged Bulls shot 50 percent from the field and knocked in 10-19 triples. Chicago had its best offensive night of the season, scoring 122 points per 100 possessions, tops on the year. They crushed Miami inside, too, winning on the glass by 22 rebounds, 49-27. Joakim Noah was a monster, going for 17 and 15, while Luol Deng scored 20-plus for the sixth straight game, hitting for 20 to go along with five boards and five assists (although, even in the rout, Deng still played 42 minutes). The Bulls’ power forward duo of Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson both had a big hand in the blowout, with Boozer netting 27 and Gibson going for 19.

LeBron James scored 21 for the Heat, and Michael Beasley dropped in 15 off the bench. The Heat have now dropped two straight as they get going on a four-game road trip.


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  • Fan of the game

    Ugly night of games indeed but it has still been a great season so far.
    Man LeBron has got to start rebounding, especially because of how bad the Heat are rebounding. Look at the rebounding numbers of KD and Melo. The main key is that LeBron, as the leader has got to look at his team and say alright, this is what we are struggling at, I’m going to do all I can to help fix this.

  • http://signup.divinerenergy.com/ Anthony Dixon

    add Joe Johnson to that old list… When is the last time he dunked? smh

    Billy King is the problem

  • Fan of the game

    Man, I remember when Joe Johnson had mad game (he was awesome in Phoenix, underrated 2-way player)

  • http://signup.divinerenergy.com/ Anthony Dixon

    yea now he just way too inconsistent

  • Stepfan Raiford

    Never have I been so excited for two teams under .500. It was like a wrestling PPV. Knicks vs Nets. Loser (coach) leaves town match. But to the game. Last night the Knicks looked like the Knicks from last season. I found it very ironic that Melo almost had a triple double. See what happens when you trust your teammates Melo? Melo Amare pick and roll in the third quarter…..I was shocked. Knicks played with energy that the Nets just couldn’t match.

    Jason Kidd looks like he’s in over his head. But I don’t blame him. You can’t expect a player who just left the game to come in and lead a team to the promise land. This ain’t Hollywood script. Kidd didn’t even sit under anybody to learn how to coach. Avery Johnson at least did that. They just threw him into the fire. Billy King made a mistake…once again.

    Brook Lopez in the post, backing down his opponents, effective but just painful to watch. I feel for KG. Every post game conference he has the I should have retired face.

  • Fan of the game

    He still has some rare moments but yeah you’re right, consistency is key. I just miss those NBA days man. Can’t believe how much the game has changed since the Suns were the hottest team in the league. To me, pre-knee injury Amare was one of the best offensive players I’ve ever seen (Nash had a say in that but still). That 05 playoffs were ridiculous, and looking past the numbers and watching the games, Amare was unstoppable (ask TD he was on par with Kareem). Matrix was ill, Q-Rich was . . . just there for the 3s and that two-fisted head bump he did to himself after he made them (does anyone know what that meant?).

  • Stepfan Raiford

    Does Joey Crawford speak Italian?

  • TriggaMan

    That just shows you how good those mid 2000 spurs teams were, if you put the suns offensive capabilities into perspective. Amare would dunk in dudes from like 10 feet out lol boy he was good

  • Fan of the game

    Yes sir! TD was sublime on both sides of the game, as was Manu. TP was the inconsistent one. Also, I’m probably one of the few who didn’t mind the 05 Finals, just because of the supreme defense. Along these lines, shout out to Pistons Pacers 04 ECF. And shout out to Arenas (05-07), who wanted to check that?

  • Fan of the game

    And Amare could take off from one or two feet real quick and high, and flush on anybody.

  • pposse

    haha the king aint ish without his homeboy!

  • RunMoreThanYourMouth

    What was MJ without Scottie? Take your time answering.

  • pposse

    if i answer that then i lose. In now way am i going to correllate MJs plight to the usurper king’s.

  • spit hot fiyah

    let’s not make fun of the knicks today. instead, in honor of their win let’s look at a positive knicks gif, maybe in my top 10 basketball gifs.

    http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/192ovusp2nxmegif/ku-medium.gif

  • LakeShow

    Bargs cracks me up… Looks like he’s playing with a chip on his shoulder. (Boo’s opening night probably aided that)

  • LakeShow

    The thing is… He is.

    He’s one of the all timers.

    Is he injured?

    21-5-3-2 on 41% fg’s with the worst +/- on the team… Very strange.

    I was expecting a huge night from him.

  • pposse

    okay so maybe he is, but not last night!

  • Max

    I bet Blake will get away with the huge flop when Bayless ‘ran into’ him.

  • LakeShow

    True.

    The thing with LeBron that has always bugged me is his unwillingness to put his neck on the line. If I were him(assuming healthy) I would have been steam rolling to the basket and launching it up from my sweet spots. I don’t know why he refuses to try to will his team through his own scoring.

    It’s always kept me from liking him.

    I view him as a robot more than a man.

    Alas i’m sure tonight was just a glitch.

  • pposse

    NBK once brought up a good pt concerning (one of the very few this guy every makes i kd i kid) suggesting that teams play him straight up and stop doubling or zoning around in his area. Putting the onus on him to score is something that I haven’t seen many teams if any try and do. Bron is best when making his teammates better and lookds uncomfortable when he is forced to become a scorer.

    I know i came on here a while back and suggested that he can’t score 60 in a game, ofcourse everyone disagreed but I want to see it and i want him to want to accomplish a feat like that.

  • Harvey

    His career high is 56, but he did that his sophomore year. He has actually led the league in scoring once too. But the thing is with LeBron, like you said, is that he likes to get his teammates involved, as he is an elite passer with great court vision. He utilizes that skill often to gain an advantage on his opponent. I remember a few years ago LeBron said if he really wanted to, he could win the scoring title every year, but that’s not his game. Could he score 60? He probably could, with his improved 3P%. He’s on a stacked team now anyway, so he doesn’t need to…

  • Sérgio

    Man, it was just one game. Lebron can’t play poor that people but the blame on injuries? And I’m not saying that he isn’t injuried.

  • Sérgio

    Totally agree. He thinks too much about his efficiency and numbers.

  • AddingVelocityDontTellMe

    lol bron could easily rep 60 points.

  • pposse

    well i want to see

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    just a bad night. looked disinterested.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    he doesn’t like to score a lot. it’s like complaining about Magic Johnson because he rarely tried to win games by scoring even though he very often could have. (which people did do, some people thought he was unselfish to a fault, which is the narrative behind “tragic johnson” and the Lakers getting swept).

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    that is still how i would defend him to this day (if i had like Luol Deng, or defenders of a similar build/caliber), he is open about liking to pass more than score. Making great basketball player’s uncomfortable is the first step to beating them.

  • LakeShow

    Definitely, just flippin him sh*t.

  • LakeShow

    Magic was not nearly the physical athlete and dominant scoring force LeBron CAN be.

  • LakeShow

    Prove it haha

  • pposse

    kobe returns sunday

  • Fan of the game

    Right now LeBron is just not ballin. Yeah his fg% is good. But if he is not picking up the scoring load, I expect him to play better D and put up all round numbers closer to Magic.

  • Fan of the game

    Trust, when LeBron is feeling it, he rarely looks to pass. Anyway, LeBron is too good not to be able to set up his teammates even when single covered. He, and all the great perimeter players, are able to beat their man almost at will and draw the help defender regardless.

  • Fan of the game

    I don’t know man. When talking in the context of dropping 60, you’ve either done it or not. If you could do something but haven’t it doesn’t mean nothing. LeBron has only dropped 50 once as player for the Heat, and hasn’t come close since.
    But, yeah, young LeBron was a different player. Explosive. Miss those days man.

  • Fan of the game

    I’m starting to agree with this notion more and more. However, he has back-to-back titles, and most people would point to the efficiency as the main factor in LeBron winning. I don’t think so. LeBron just trusts his jumper and practice routines more and thus, converts shots at a higher percentage from midrange and 3. Plus, the team defense of Miami (PnR, rotations, communication, etc) was elite.
    What i’m getting at is, I think LeBron is starting to overrate the efficiency aspect of his game, mainly due to the supposed correlation between his increased fg% and attaining championships. We will see in time if this holds up.

  • Fan of the game

    And the article on Kobe by Kirk Goldsberry is even better than the one on LeBron in my opinion. The artistry of Kobe post-2007 appreciated. Tells why he is so good offensively, isn’t another one like him right now.

  • LakeShow

    And the multitudes rejoice.

  • LakeShow

    He is a “better” player today, but he was quite a bit more fun to watch back when he was just playing, instead of calculating.

  • LakeShow

    Is that the “Kobe Assist” Article?

  • Fan of the game

    Yes, most definetely. Although there is a part of me that wonders, players become ‘better’ with age (in the mental aspect) but physically decline. Is the trade-off that much more beneficial? Again I wonder.

  • Fan of the game

    Its called Kobe Bryant and the Elbow Test. A good read, especially for people that recognize real game.

  • LakeShow

    It is something we all wonder I think.

    I want to say IQ > Athleticism, but i’m not 100% sure…

  • LakeShow

    Oh okay, I haven’t read that one.

  • Fan of the game

    When you got a minute, I recommend it man. Let us know your thoughts on it. It would be good to know what others think about it.

  • LakeShow

    Reading it now.

    Wow, this is why he’s my dood haha…

  • Fan of the game

    Ha. Although Kobe has never been my dude i’m a fan of the game and I just appreciate the talent and skill set he possesses and the work ethic he puts in to his craft. The attention to the smallest of details (especially in terms of his offensive arsenal). The list can go on. Going to miss him when he leaves the game.
    2003 Kobe was my favourite followed by 2005, 2002 and 2006 Kobe.
    When people say 03 TMac was better than 03 Kobe, they just don’t recognize or want to recognize how good Kobe was. Or they just haven’t seen/studied the game of Kobe during that time. TMac close but not their overall.

  • Fan of the game

    Me too! Especially for when I get older. I’ll need some consolation for loss of athleticism.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    I’ve watched a couple hundred of his games. Trust that I’m not just saying things. Disagree all you want, but please don’t respond to me like I said that out of some casual observation.

  • LakeShow

    You fall into Kirk’s end paragraph:

    “You don’t have to root for Bryant to appreciate him. He is a tireless competitor whose game has exhibited a fascinating evolution. If you have trouble appreciating Bryant’s greatness, I would suggest imagining yourself on one of those NBA elbows trying to get a jump shot off at the end of a shot clock, with a defender draped all over you. Welcome back, Kobe. I can’t wait to watch you take the test again.”

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    He’s playing career low minutes, and averaging 26 a game. Watch more than the games on national TV. He’s been by far, the best player in the league this season.

  • LakeShow

    Heading home for the weekend. Talk to you on Monday if your around. Good articles to discuss.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Magic proved he could be that. Game 6, 1980 NBA finals.

  • Fan of the game

    Yes sir. Look forward to discussing the game in general throughout the season. Have a good weekend.

  • Fan of the game

    Ha, yeah, good observation.

  • Fan of the game

    Sorry man, I cant agree with that. And I’ve watched all his games, except for those on national TV, funnily enough.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk
  • Fan of the game

    Not disagreeing with this point of yours. I respect your opinion more than most on Slamonline, did not mean to disrespect.

  • Fan of the game

    LeBron has been better than ever from deep. Passing has been decent (has had a lot of turnovers), but rebounding and defensive intensity has not been good or consistent enough. Post up game from the left block has impressed. Still great in transition. How LeBron views the game and how he has been playing it thus far has not quite become one yet. Again, his health might not be there either, so who knows?
    Although Im sure he is going to put it together soon and then yes, he will be “… by far, the best player in the league this season.”

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    My point isn’t about whether or not LeBron CAN score at will in single coverage. I literally think it makes him uncomfortable. Whether it be he feels selfish, that he cares too much about efficiency, or that he just flat doesn’t enjoy playing that way. I’ve never seen him win an entire series by being an overwhelming scorer for 4 out of 7 games. Closest he came to playing like that was against Orlando in 2009, and his team lost that series. He was pretty ridiculous against Detroit in 2007, but he did that while also helping his teammates over achieve individually (Daniel Gibson, Sasha Pavlovic, etc.) – which is why, despite knowing that it very well might not work, forcing LeBron to beat me by himself, in my option is the lesser of two evils.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    I literally agree with everything you said up until your conclusion. Just because he could be better, doesn’t mean he’s not still clearly the best player in the league ….you realize that right? I think a lot of the times “he’s better than so and so” gets confused with “he could do better”

  • Fan of the game

    He still is the best in the game in terms of the peak skills, physical and mental attributes he contains. And he has been the best in the game at times this season just not clear cut yet. I’ve also seen KD and PG this season and thought these guys are ballin. They’re doing stuff LeBron is not doing. Then Ill see LeBron and have the same thoughts. LeBron just hasn’t separated himself from everybody in terms of his play thus far this season.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Well of course a guy isn’t going to be the best guy in the world every night. Lol greatness is defined by consistency, which in itself implies imperfection ( aka “not being the best every day”).

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    He takes a small fraction of the shots he used to take from low % areas. And led the league in shooting % in the paint. He’s actually completely changed how he plays over the last two seasons

  • Fan of the game

    Yes of course. However, LeBron has not consistently been the best on the court thus far this season. KD has been better than LeBron/ more consistent in the amount of games both have participated in.

  • Fan of the game

    Yes, agreed. Nonetheless, LeBron in the finals was not efficient in terms of fg%. But how did he succeed? Ultimately in Game 7 it came down to his belief in his J. Trust that he could get it done regardless (score from mid and long range).
    Hence, how much of LeBron winning chips has to do with efficiency rather than his development in his mindset/mental toughness? See I believe it goes deeper than the numbers. It’s an instinct. You cant teach natural ability, especially of his calibre. He just got it done, efficiency be damned, just like Mike, just like TD, Shaq, Kobe, Dirk, etc.
    Now, how and where he picks his spots to attack is also of importance, as I believe you alluded to, and I agree this has been a factor (and I guess can be related to efficiency somewhat). But also, the cerebral defense of LeBron and the intensity of the team defense of Miami had a big role in him finally getting his chips.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk
  • Fan of the game

    Nice graphic.

    It’s still close, also similar team records. But KD has been going against tougher competition on the regular. Just so you know I prefer LeBron to KD, but seeing him thus far I have been a little underwhelmed.

    I found this article that relates to the theme of our discussion a little bit;

    http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/24349902/are-we-taking-lebron-james-for-granted

  • Fan of the game

    Anyway, I gotta go. Appreciate the discussions. Always good, learn a lot from them. Discuss matters of the game again soon.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    If you have been underwhelmed then I feel like you might not quite understand what you have been watching….I mean, did you even read that article you posted or just gloss through it? Everything about LeBron’s season thus far has been historic. Everyone else you keep mentioning has just been really good.

  • BE.water

    TNT got that one on the money

  • Fan of the game

    Nah, you’re not understanding my point of view, which is cool, it’s harder to articulate thought processes over the computer than in person. Anyway, read what my critiques of LeBron this season have been (as a fan). I anticipated before the season that he would be an elite 3 point shooter, I concur completely with the unmatched shooting numbers he has been putting up. It’s the all around game that has been leaving me underwhelmed, particularly his rebounding, defensive effort and turnovers (how he turns it over).
    Not everything about LeBron’s season thus far has been historic, (it seems that you are confusing this with everything about LeBron’s shooting percentages have been historic, which I agree they are).
    And again, the season is still young, are these shooting numbers sustainable/reliable in the long-term/playoffs? Is his fg% more important to determining the outcome of a game than the other facets already discussed?
    My main point is LeBron could be doing better, which is hard to fathom, but I’ve seen this guy since day one. He has played at a higher level before all-round. His reb averages per game are the lowest since his rookie season, this is not good enough, especially on this Heat roster.

  • LakeShow

    Beautiful perception of the game my man.

  • Fan of the game

    Thank you sir.

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