On Tap: New York Knicks

Gatinho —  January 31, 2006

Record: 14-29

Offense: 97
Defense: 101.3

Last 10 games: 2-8

What Vegas Says: Lakers -5.5

Gatinho the Scout: Seeing that the Knicks were playing the Hawks yesterday, I tuned in via “League Pass” to get a glimpse figuring that I would see the better side of this inconsistent Knick team against a club that was equally as inconsistent. The Hawks went on a 28-2 run in a third quarter low-lighted by 11 Knick turnovers. They accumulated 23 in the game and are averaging 17 per on the year. They lacked any offensive flow or shooting rythm. (Sound familiar?)

Update: But are they quitters?

Silver linings: David Lee has been joined by Jackie Butler (career high 15 points in the Hawks loss) to provide some scoring punch and energy off the bench recently for these Knicks. Channing Frye is leading rookies in 5 separate categories although the award will most likely go to the Hornet’s Chris Paul .

Did you see Scanners?: Last night Larry Brown and his coaching staff all looked as if they were candidates to have their domes explode during that miserable stretch of the third quarter. There is no way these Knicks come with the same effort against the Lakers in the Mecca, and the Lakers need to keep the hard lessons learned from the Portland and Sacramento losses in mind.

The Mecca: “It doesn’t matter if it’s Michael Jordan, or Muhammad Ali, or Sinatra, or the pope,” said George Kalinsky, the Garden’s official photographer for 38 years. “They know the stage is brighter here than anyplace else.” The Knicks faithful may be buzzing about the possibility of seeing a Kobe score-fest, but he must resist going down that road unless absolutely necessary.

Ascending: This should be a night where the Lakers can return to the form they flirted with on the 5-1 trip in the earlier part of the season. Lamar should be able to get his confidence up and bounce back from the past turnover ridden games against Detroit and Golden State. As the “initiator” of the offense he should be given more leeway in regards to his turnover total, but he must not be predictable. Teams are guessing pass and therefore are staying at home defensively setting Lamar up for the inevitable offensive fouls. The rest of the crew should be looking to return a little rhythm to their shooting.

Pony Boy: With 12 points and 9 rebounds with a 1.4 to.6 assist to turnover ratio over the last 5 games, Chris Mihm has seemingly become one of the only Lakers not named Kobe that we may begin to consider consistent. A solid 16 points and 14 rebounds against the Detroit juggernaut aided Kobe in keeping that game respectable. The rest of the guys outside of those two were 16-41.

6th Ave and W. 4th St.: Smush (and Lamar) returns home. “The Cage” has been chronicled here and in several other stories and is widely known for its out-of-bounds lines being marked not by paint but by a chain link fence.

Smush for three:The Lakers have nominated Smush to participate in the three-point shoot-out over the All-Star break.

Blog on: Check out the two excellent Knick blogs listed to the right for more insight.




to On Tap: New York Knicks

  1. This is a little off topic but I just read this comment by Kobe Bryant.

    “I’d much rather go out and score 25 points and get 10 assists and see everybody in a rhythm, everybody in a groove.” – Kobe Bryant

    It’s comments like these that make Kobe sound like a phony. Does he really believe himself or is he playing the media? His teammates must have died of laughter after hearing this.


  2. Regardless, I want to know if Von Wafer has entered the Dunk Contest…


  3. Dunk participants are: Josh Smith (defending champ), Andre Igoudala (the other AI), Nate Robinson (5’9″ Knicks guard channeling Spud Webb), and Hakim Warrick.

    Kobe (and Phil) have repeatedly made comments like this. The only way to imagine that Kobe is being less than sincere is if you believe that scoring points is more important than winning games for KB8. Call me myopic, but I believe the guy.


  4. what I believe Kobe was trying to say there is that he would rather have to work less and have teamates that he could dish to then do it all on his own… either way he still wants to win games. I just think that he knows in the back of his mind that playing so aggressive for a prolonged period is going to make it harder and harder to go out there night in and night out. Once again just my thoughts on what he said.


  5. I see all of your points and I do believe Kobe wants to win. But I also believe Kobe wants to win the scoring title and win by way of shooting the ball 30+ times each night.

    Averaging 10assists requires a certain desire to pass the basketball and allow teammates to flourish…a desire Bryant has never had on a consistent basis.

    Steve Nash, Jason Kidd exemplify this type of approach better than any current NBA player.

    Kobe doesn’t approach the game this way (regardless of what he says)…for if he did…does anyone doubt he couldn’t duplicate what Nash and Kidd do nightly?

    In fact, I don’t even believe Kobe should approach the game like Nash or Kidd. He’s too dominant offensively for that…but…he should put his money where his mouth is.

    The list of players who flourish/ed alongside Nash, Kidd, Shaq, MJohnson, and Stockton is deep.

    So far Kobe has played with one all-star calibur player in Odom and has managed to turn him into an afterthought. This has to change.


  6. I think the “gist” of Kobe’s statement is not that he’d want to average 10 assists, but he’d rather score less and have the rest of the team share the load. Of course Kobe’s never going to average 8-10 assists per game. I interpret the 25 and 10 as “I’m only scoring an insane amount of points because nobody else can score.” Not “I want to be like Jason Kidd.” And if you watch the games and look at the stats, it’s basically true.


  7. Well, that was sweet! Best win of the season…

    and now I can’t wait for bynum. Cmon, phil, put him in your backup center rotation! Give him 10 minutes a game…. He’s not going to go 7-7 every time, but showed some serious greatness on the offensive end. Struggled on defense – he needs to work a lot on awareness, and not letting guys get position on him. But, those are completely expected for rookies, and exactly where he should be in his learning curve. On offense, however, he got me lathered up… There’s greatness there.

    Kobe still worries me. If the knicks didn’t suck so bad, he could have shot us out of the game in the second quarter. I wish phil could figure out a way to get it through kobe’s head to run the offense. there was a long stretch (6-7 minutes?) in the second where it turned into the kobe show, and that’s wrong. It felt like he was trying to shoot for some scoring glory, and couldn’t get it going enough. Between the knicks sucking, and good team defense, we got through it, but still. Now we need to jump on a wounded indiana team, and keep this momentum going.


  8. yeah, geez, bynum looked freaking phenomenal.

    he also looks like he could even be used right now as a weapon against teams without any size in the middle, in a competitive contest. his length is lonnng, man.

    kareem’s doing a heck of a job.


  9. Because the Knicks totally sucked in this one, that was a disappointing 40-point effort for a fan to watch. But these days the Knicks are the equal of an NBA disaster scene.


  10. i’m a big laker fan, and i like ur blog. I’m not a us boy (that why my english is not so good), but i will try my best to give my view from a different part of the world. (Cameroon – Africa). I see just a few Lakers’ games, but i chacked Box score and i read a lot.
    It’s pretty clear that kobe is not a PG and it’s difficult for him to involve his teamates, not only cause he is selflish, but because he’s too good as a scorer (see the 82). Lamar have said it i think rightfully in the past “it’s hard to pass the ball, when u (in this case KOBE) can score from all corner of the place”. That’s why i think Lamar is valuable for the TEAM, and will be more if the Lakers could have a second scoring option.


  11. In terms of making their teamates better. Name one player in the NBA who, if they replaced Kobe, could take this present Laker crew, with no change in roster, to more victories at this point than Kobe has?


  12. Paul,

    I’ll give you more than one player who could take the present Lakers team to more victories than Kobe has:

    1. Shaquille O’Neal
    2. Tim Duncan
    3. Jason Kidd

    and maybe Steve Nash or Dirk Nowitski.

    Now you can certainly argue against me on a few of these picks but I don’t believe you can counter Shaq or Duncan with a reasonable argument.

    Secondarily, Jason Kidd has shown a remarkable ability to win and make his teammates better everywhere he has played.

    Sure Kobe is great and he’s won some games but I venture to say Phil Jackson has a little something to do with the victories.

    I’m sure Lamar Odom or any other player on the Laker’s roster wouldn’t mind playing with any of the guys mentioned above.


  13. Shaq?? C’mon. He has Wade helping him out and Miami’s record isn’t much better than the Lakers. Kobe has no one near Wade’s talent helping him out.


  14. You tell me this lineup wins games:

    C: Shaq
    PF: Mihm
    SF: Odom
    SG: Sasha
    PG: Smush

    or this one?

    C: Mihm
    PF: Kwame
    SF: Odom
    SG: Smush
    PG: Kidd


  15. Kobe doesn’t accept help. He has Odom, a former MVP candidate, when he was on Miami.

    Two things. Any lineup featuring Shaquille O’Neal is a 50 game winner (granted he can’t be injured for 20 games) and Dwayne Wade benefits from playing with O’Neal. He’s a good player but he over dribbles and gets too much credit for getting to the foul line. And, since teams playing against Shaq are always in the penalty , how many extra foul shots does Wade attempt because of this fact? Kobe doesn’t have this luxury.

    And as I said before, you certainly have room to argue with me over a few of my picks but my contention is this.

    If you have JKidd, SNash, Shaq, Duncan it’s easier to surround them with the right players. The league is full of scorers and lacking of talented role players.

    And, since these guys make the scorers appear better than they really are, its easier to field a better team.

    With Kobe, you have a different dilemma. You have to find players who enjoy watching him dominate the basketball and who can flourish accordingly. This is not so easy since the league lacks these types of players. Fielding a team next to Iverson is a similar dilemma.

    This is why its easier to win with the other guys I mentioned.

    By the way, what happened to Aaron Mckie?


  16. Shaq – No. Not at this point in his career. The guy has wasted away his body for too long to have any sustained impact at this point in his career. He misses too many games with injury and when he does play he doesn’t have the explosiveness that he once possessed.

    Duncan – Yes. Duncan is better than Kobe. Kobe is great, but Duncan is greater.

    Kidd – No. Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson are both as good as, or better than, Odom and NJ is 23-20. The Lakers are 24-20.

    Shout-out to Cameroon, Africa – nice to know we have Lakers fans around the globe!


  17. I agree that Kobe isn’t very good at sounding sincere. That said, I think he does wish that the team were better able to compete with a line where he gets 25 points (on, say, 15 shots) and 10 assists.

    The problem is that I don’t see Kobe getting free to make 10 assists a game. We say this as though this would be no problem for Kobe, since he’s more talented than Nash and Kidd (by general agreement). But Nash and Kidd are given far more freedom on the perimeter than Kobe, precisely because they aren’t as creative in terms of getting their shot. Teams are looking to make Kobe get rid of the ball as an escape valve and not an assist; whereas with Nash and Kidd, they’re looking to make them shooters, not passers.

    People, including Kobe, need to get comfortable with the idea that he’s a scorer. He *should* be looking to score first. What he shouldn’t be doing that he currently is to some extent is forcing the shot when it’s not there. He has such extreme confidence in his shot that he puts it up when there’s a better shot waiting for someone else. He only passes it when he’ll get an assist. He and others may have to content themselves with making the pass that enables the assist. (If only they gave out assists like they do in hockey!) If he does get comfortable with that, I think the Lakers will become better. It’s what the triangle offense is designed to foster.

    Saying Duncan is greater than Kobe is like saying Shaq is greater than Kobe. Hard to compare a swingman with a PF/C type of player.

    Aaron McKie has been languishing with an injury. Smush is the main beneficiary.


  18. Tony,

    I might agree with you when it comes to Duncan, bit not the others. in this case the lineup is

    C: Mihm
    PF: Duncan
    SF: Odom
    SG: Smush
    PG: Sasha

    This team is certainly not a contender, but maybe Duncan instead of Kobe makes them a little better. Assuming, Duncan would be happy playing for a non-contender and wouldn’t start forcing the issue himself if this were the case.


  19. Kobe has a green light for now, but I can’t imagine Phil not eventually reigning that in. I also don’t see that happening as long as Kobe is surrounded by the talent that the Lakers currently possess.

    The only stat I’m looking at right now is W-L’s.


  20. Paul –

    You make a good point. There is always the question how will a great player react to playing on a bad team.

    Would that force Duncan to become more selfish?
    I still don’t think so but whose to say.

    The most troubling aspect of Kobe’s game is his lack of inclusion of Odom. This is a very bad sign for the Lakers long term plans.

    At the very least, Bryant and Odom should share the burden of overcoming an otherwise subpar supporting cast.

    But its not this way, Kobe demands the entire spotlight. Odom is an after thought and from Bryant’s in-game body language its easy to tell he views Odom as HIS supporting cast and not as an equal teammate.

    A player of Odom’s calibur should never be viewed this way.

    Consequently, Kobe is no MVP, just the scoring champ.


  21. Why does it matter if Kobe is sincere? Why does it matter if he scores 200 points in a game.

    Take Kobe off the team and you can’t name one team in the NBA with less talent. (Please, try to prove me wrong.)

    They’re 24-20!


  22. Although I don’t agree with your line of thinking, you are probably right. Take Kobe off the team and LA may be the least talented team in the league (on paper).

    Where we disagree….I’m not impressed with 24-20. I believe the Lakers have room to get better…but not if Lamar Odom remains an afterthought in Kobe’s selfish gameplan.