Knicks can’t catch a break

I didn’t get to see much of game 1, because I had to work on some stuff around the house. Just watched the game out of the corner of my eye. Things were looking good in the first quarter and into the second quarter. I had to leave to take care of something and when I came back, we were down over 20 points in the third quarter. I was shocked. But looking back on it, I guess I shouldn’t have been too shocked.

Chandler was playing with the flu. He was dizzy the whole time and wasn’t vocal at all during the game. The players depend on Chandler to direct them defensively on the court. Also, there were terrible calls that sucked all the energy out of the Knicks. But give the Heat credit. They came out with an excellent game plan and executed it to perfection. I don’t think we had a game plan, because Chandler wasn’t part of any of the practices, etc. to prepare for Game 1. I think we were totally lost out there. We played our worst. They played their best. So a blowout was expected.

I’m not sure if Miami just flipped some switch, because it’s the playoffs. Because they looked like a very different team from the one after the All Star Break. If that’s the case, then that’s really scary for Knicks fans. I always felt Miami was the only team in the East that the Knicks wouldn’t want to face in the playoffs (see my previous posts), but this is a lot more than what I bargained for.

I wouldn’t mind this blowout at all, but what is really devastating is that Shumpert tore his ACL. Without our best on-ball defender the Knicks may have to make some drastic changes in order to have a chance at winning the series.

Here’s a crazy thought: if we can’t beat them on the defensive end, why not beat the offensively. I’ve been saying the whole time that Stat should start, but it might be a good idea to bring Stat off the bench to give Melo more room to work offensively and make him tougher for Miami to guard. Also, by bringing Stat off the bench, we can take advantage of their weak bench and have Stat do what he does best. This is going to sound crazy, but what about starting Novak in Stat’s place? This way, Melo can have a good second or third option and Novak and also draw defenders out to give Melo more room to work offensively. I know Novak is a defensive liability and with Stat on the bench, we might not have any answers for Bosh defensively. So that’s a huge risk. I just thought we might as well try something totally different and see how it works. We couldn’t beat them defensively, so we might as well beat them offensively.

Without Shump and with a weak Chandler, I am no longer confident that the Knicks can beat the Heat. But I am curious to see what happens tonight. I really have no idea. Whatever happens wouldn’t surprise me.

Also, now there’s talk of Lin returning if we push the series beyond four games or something. That actually doesn’t surprise me. I thought all along that he would return in the first round (see at my previous posts). A lot of people are worried that he may be returning too soon. As much as I know Lin loves to compete, I also trust him to be smart enough to not return unless he’s 100 percent certain he won’t re-injure it again. His litmus test is if he can play and not think about his knee, then he knows he’s ready to go. This is a good attitude. The only reason I think he might rush it is that with Shump being out and Davis still having all sorts of ailments, I think he might be more motivated to come back and help his teammates and Woodson and the Knicks might push him to come back sooner than he should. We’ll see. I don’t trusk Knicks management, but I do trust Lin to do what’s right.



Knicks will beat the Heat

It’s official. The Knicks will be playing the Heat in the first round. I had predicted in previous posts, that Heat will move into first place. I was very certain about that prediction, but it didn’t happen. I didn’t count on the Heat purposefully tanking their remaining games by resting most of their starters during those games to stay in the 2nd seed. My mistake was that I didn’t look far enough beyond round 1. If I had looked beyond round 1, I would have seen that the Heat has a strong desire to stay in the 2nd spot so they would avoid playing Boston in round two (the likely winner of the Atlanta/Boston first round match up), since Boston would play the winner of the (number 1 versus number 8). Sure the Heat would rather play the Knicks than the Sixers, but they’re more scared of Boston than the Knicks, since they’ve lost to Boston several times throughout the season. They have a 3-0 record against the Knicks. Yet, I’m confident that this current Knicks team can beat the Heat in the first round.

I listen to the pathetic analysts on TNT and ESPN and I don’t understand how they don’t see that the Knicks are a team to be feared. Every player on the Knicks is playing at the top of their game right now. Maybe it’s me that’s biased about their abilities, since I’m so familiar with them. I don’t know. But what I do know is that The Knicks will beat the Heat in round 1. I think they’ll take the series 4-2 against the Heat in the first round. Here’s how I think it’ll go down. I think the Knicks will win tomorrow. They’ve got some good momentum going into the playoffs and they’ll carry it over to tomorrow’s game. I think it’s a mistake for the Heat to rest their stars. This may cause them to lose some of their flow. So that’s why I like the Knicks’s chances in tomorrow’s game. I think the Heat will win game 2, then the Knicks will win games 3 and 4 at the garden. The Heat will win game 5 and the Knicks will win game 6 at the garden to take the series at home. It’s going to be crazy in the garden.

I hope Knicks aren’t throwing games to get the 8th seed

I’m normally not into conspiracy theories, but didn’t it seem like the guys on the bench were much too happy in the fourth quarter when they were losing to the Cavs tonight? In particular, Melo and even Chandler seemed way too happy on the bench in the 4th quarter. They were all smiles. It was a little suspicious. So part of me does think they’re trying to drop to the 8th seed to play the Bulls. I don’t know how many people within the organization may be in on this. Maybe it’s just a few players. Who knows.

Normally, I’d be fine with this strategy, since I like the Knicks/Bulls match up better than Knicks/Heat. But the problem is, I think Miami will finish the season in the top spot, not the Bulls. So Knicks better not be trying to drop to the 8th position. Here’s a detailed breakdown of why I think the Heat will finish in the top spot:

I hope I’m wrong about the Knicks trying to throw the game. Maybe the real reason why they lacked energy in the game is that they found out that they clinched a spot in the playoffs and finally felt like they could exhale a little. They have been playing very intensely for the past month, fighting for a playoff spot, so maybe they just felt like they could finally take a breather. If that’s the case, I guess I can’t blame them.

Hope to see Bibby get some major minutes again tonight

I was glad to see Bibby in the starting line up against Jersey. I’m hoping he will get major minutes tonight against the Cavs. Without Lin, I prefer Bibby to Davis. The problem with Davis is that he’s still trying to play like he used to. So he takes shots that he has no business of taking and makes “hero” passes that get stolen. Bibby plays more conservatively, because he knows he’s no longer the player he used to be. Without Lin, we just need the point guards to pass the ball around the perimeter, do a few pick and rolls and dish it to most of the time Melo. No need to do anything fancy. That’s what Bibby does. Baron Davis is still trying to play hero ball. He made so many costly mistakes against Boston. Good thing we had a comfortable lead. He could have cost us the game! I even prefer Douglas over Davis, because at least Douglas can shoot the ball.

Looking forward to seeing Stat back in starting line up

There’s been a lot of talk about whether or not having both STAT and Melo in the starting lineup together is a good thing. I understand the concern about STAT fitting in, but on the other hand it seems a little ridiculous. Every great team needs at least two consistent scoring options. STAT provides that second scoring option. I think STAT coming back into the starting line up will only make the Knicks even better. I mean, before STAT got injured, he was actually the best and most consistent scorer for the Knicks during that stretch when Woodson took over. In fact, right before he got injured, he was looking great. Very explosive and he had his shot. Looked like the old STAT. He was also defending great. He had several memorable blocks. And now that Melo finally is healthy mentally and physically and playing out of his mind, I don’t think he’ll have a problem co-existing with STAT. I think he’ll welcome the help, since he hasn’t been getting offensive help consistently. The problem with Melo before was that he lost his confidence and lost his shooting rhythm. Now that he’s got it back, he won’t have any problem sharing the glory with someone else, so he and STAT will co-exist well together and make the Knicks that much tougher to beat. For example, we really needed STAT in the game against the Heat that we lost. So I can’t wait to have STAT back. He will probably have some rust in tonight’s game, as well as in the next game or so, but overall having STAT back will be good for the Knicks.

All of the stats that I keep reading about that “prove” Melo and STAT together don’t work are missing one critical thing in my view: Woodson. I hate to bash anyone, but D’Antoni is a one-trick pony. And I think he’s really been exposed as a coach that is rigid in his system and doesn’t take into consideration the players that he’s coaching. He just has one cookie cutter and everyone is expected to fit into it, whereas Woodson plays to each player’s strength. Woodson knows how to get the best out of his players, because he actually listens to them, rather than forcing them to fit into a system they’re not comfortable with. Woodson also understands the psychology of the game much better than D’Antoni. That’s why it was so important for him to stress accountability from every player–especially the stars. He made the stars feel a sense of significance again. D’Antoni just used passive-aggressiveness to deal with players that didn’t buy into his system. I have confidence that Woodson will make it work and we’ll all look back and wonder why this issue was ever debatable. I mean, Woodson already made it work with Melo, STAT, and Lin all in the starting lineup and this was when Anthony didn’t have his offensive rhythm. I can only think it would be even better this time around.

Prediction: Knicks will face Bulls (most likely) or Pacers in the Playoffs

Miami is going to finish number 1. Not the Bulls. I don’t know why no one is talking about this. So that’s why I think the Knicks will face the Bulls, rather than Miami in the playoffs, since Knicks will most likely stay in the 7th seed. They do have a small chance of moving up to the 6th seed to face the Pacers, so I’m not ruling that out, either.

The reason why I think Miami will finish number one is that they have a much easier schedule for the rest of the season than the Bulls. They have four games remaining: two against the Wizards, one against Houston and one against Boston. The Boston game won’t be a problem, since Boston has already clinched the Division title and will likely rest all of their key starters. So it should be an easy game for Miami. Miami should be able to win all four of its games remaining.

The Bulls, on the other hand, have three games left: vs. Dallas, Indiana and Cleveland. If Miami wins all four of its games, then the Bulls also need to win all three of its games, otherwise, Miami will take the top spot, since they’ll end the season with identical records and Miami would take the top spot, since Miami the tie breaker is wins against East playoff teams, which Miami would win 19-8 vs. 18-8.

So if Miami wins all four of its remaining games, which is very likely, then Chicago can’t lose any of it’s games. And I think it’s very likely that Chicago loses at least one of its remaining games. I think they’ll lose the game against Dallas, since Dallas is still playing for something. Although Indiana is hot right now, they have nothing to play for, since their number 3 seed is secure. So that’s why I think the Knicks will likely face the Bulls rather than Miami in the playoffs and this is great news to me, since I think we match up much better against the Bulls than the Heat. And Bulls have been struggling lately. I also think Rose is going to show some rust in the playoffs. So I’m liking my prediction I made back in April 8th that the Knicks will win the East: