Knicks / Suns

Thoughts on Knicks/Suns.

Let me preface this recap with a few random thoughts. I went to this game (that’s why this post is so late) so I did not see Clyde’s jacket on TV, but after watching the game today on TV, that pattern made me dizzy. The Garden was louder last night than any game I’ve been to in recent years, and maybe as far back as the Knicks/Celtics game from 12/10/10. To the people who didn’t stand when KP exited the game with 2 (?) minutes left, come on…he deserved the standing ovation (and it was a little awkward being basically the only ones standing with my girlfriend). Kyle O’Quinn plays with an absurd amount of energy and takes the PERFECT angle on PnR defense – I’ll try to get a picture of this and compare it with Enes, who takes a terrible angle every time. The refs last night missed a bunch of non-calls on KP’s baby jumpers – he gets hit often on the forearm / elbow and no call. Something to look for in the next game is his release point – when the release point is at top he isn’t getting hit, but when he hangs a bit there’s usually contact. Last but certainly not least, KP’s smirk when he has things going is really awesome to see.

And now, let’s ball…

First Quarter

  • PnR with James / Chandler; both guys get beat, but KP comes off of Chris to swipe it away
  • PnR with Chriss and Jack, KP splits court in half once action starts and comes over to help – great read knowing that Warren isn’t a good outside shooter and coming in to help. Enes also had great help cutting of baseline so James can’t probe. Knicks give up O-Reb, first of MANY this game
  • Knicks pass to Kanter at FT line, THJr goes to set pindown screen for KP to run off of – KP has open shot, hesitates, Chriss recovers, KP shoots and hits it – should have taken first look, but nice looking shot there – pass from Enes
  • Warren gets into paint after beating man (might have been Jack on the switch?) and Enes comes over with great help – his hands are UP!
  • Tyson sets pin screen for Warren; Enes has soft help after THjr gets beat. Wasn’t great defense, but he was close enough to maybe bother him a little? Should have actually closed out and contested fully, but missed, and Knicks get rebound
  • Kanter posts Chriss, spin move easy score. For all of the
  • Tyson / Book PnR – THJr and Enes contested pass – Tyson misses, Warren gets ORB and scores
  • KP faceup – aggressive take to middle for 10 foot jumper over Chriss. PHYSICAL move to the basket
  • Book takes ball at THJr on the fast break. THJr was there, but he was still moving. Love the fact he ran back, but should have taken charge….or tried. Book FTs.
  • Lee loves standing in the corner waiting for something to happen with him –
  • THJr long 3 after Enes screen.
  • THJr then misses 3 (ok shot), PHX gets long rebound and Book layup with THJr back.
  • THJr gets screen from Enes on baseline, doesn’t use it, has floater. That was nice
  • PnR Tyson / James – Lee splits court, comes down to help (Book in corner), ball goes to Book, Lee chases off line but he goes right around Lee and Enes’ help is poor – book layup
  • PnR KP / THJr – PHX switches. KP goes to mid-post and goes right at Warren. Hits 8 footer after the faceup / mini-backdown.
  • PnR Tyson/Book, Tyson gets ball, TJ cuts from short corner after THJr rotates to help on Chandler (great rotation), KP late on help and in poor position – has Chriss at 3 (non-factor there) but stayed around 14 feet away when he should have closed down paint from Warren’s side. KP foul
  • PHX secondary break gets ball to Warren – THJr sliding feet nicely to contest shot
  • Jack just shot an airball. At the same time, I felt a strong breeze coming in…coincidence? I THINK NOT.
  • KP switched onto Book – KP keeps hand up while Book dances with ball. Book shots (hello Harden stepback) and makes it, but that was good defense
  • KP turnaround jumper after getting entry pass from Enes 18 feet away at the top – Chandler is ignoring him out there. I’ve seen people say Enes’ activity creates open looks for KP, but his inability to score outside paint (or be passer to open cutters) is an issue…
  • James gets into paint for kickout 3 – KP not contesting because he’s helping with drive – that’s ok. Enes didn’t box out Chandler (long shot, long rebound)…he gets another ORB
  • PHX misses, Knicks pushing ball up, KP runs right at Chriss and hits him around 13 feet away to get position. THJr uses KP as a screener and is open (beautifully done), but KP doesn’t see him. KP forces way baseline for a mini jumper underneath the block which he was fouled on. I like the aggression, but I would have liked hitting THJr with the look even more
  • Bender comes in for PHX – this is a matchup I was really looking forward to. Bender has the size and athleticism to make things interesting for KP. First time in game, KP drives left, cannot get by Bender but shoots anyway – miss. Bender isn’t a unicorn like KP, but he’s a very good athlete for someone his size and has some nice skills to work with. Kanter gets ORB kicks to THJr for 3 – such a quick release
  • THJR / KP PnR – PHX switches. Enes flashes near top of key and gets ball from THJr while KP gets position. Kicks ball back to THjr, but he should have done so sooner – Booker is fighting for position and Chandler is there ready to help (Enes can’t shoot outside paint). THJr gets ball to KP who shoots right over Book, misses, Enes rebound and is double teamed at block, KP dives down from top of key (started running back after missed shot) and gets hit with a nice pass for a dunk
  • Book attempts fadeaway jumper (good d from THjr), nobody boxing out weak side (Lance misses this) and Warren goes in for putback
  • Ullis / Book PnR – Frank switches onto Book and pushes Book out far enough to where he’s forced to kick it
  • Enes spin move for score (spins through Bender and Len)
  • THJr does a great job running through two screens on defense (check pictures below)
  • Kanter beautiful move on Len again. Fake one way, goes other for layup.
  • KP excellent help defense after Book spins by THjr
  • KOQ hits THjr with a BEAUTIFUL backdoor pass (pictured below) – KP sets backdoor, THJr scores
  • Lee PnR with KOQ for an easy layup (nice high lead pass from Lee)

Second quarter

  • Beas drive and kick for Lee
  • Beas gets switch with Daniels on him, drives right at him and lays it in
  • Frank drive kick for LT three
  • Frank tries taking Ulis off dribble, forces shot in paint. Way too forced there
  • KOQ / Frank PnR – Frank has open jumper with Chandler sagging doesn’t take it, waits for KOQ to cut, hits him with open pass for nice floater
  • Ulis / Chriss PnR – Knicks switch even though Frank could have easily gotten over. Daniels runs off screen to paint, Frank hedges in to help, ball goes back to Chriss and Frank closes out too hard
  • Chandler – Ulis PnR. Enes takes great angle cutting off Ulis’ movement going forward
  • KP-Jack PnR. Jack hits KP, Lee and Douggie both standing in same corner – poor spacing. KP drives, takes hit, and takes jumper over Bender. Strong take
  • Ulis – Chandler PnR. Enes poor position on defense (see below) and ends up taking ball out to perimeter (still bad defense though) and KP switches on him, sticks with him and contests jumper. Nobody on Knicks go after ORB…ULIS gets ball. Smallest guy on court
  • KP runs court after finally getting ball (Ulis missed ORB shot), Jack hitsKP for the dunk.
  • Douggie playing good defense on Jackson. Forces kickout to Bender who drives with KP there every step
  • Jack drives right into paint past Ulis (helps being so much bigger than the guy guarding you), Bender comes to help, easy lay in for Kanter
  • Chandler-Ulis PNR, Kanter poor angle (again, see photo below), Doug forced to help from other side so Jackson cuts baseline – Lee comes down to help on that, but Ulis kicks to Daniels who has an open three which he missed – all started because Kanter took the wrong angle on defense
  • *Also, forgot this play, but PHX wasn’t paying attention on inbounds, Lee stayed back after Knicks scored, snuck in and stole ball for easy layup – that was cool to see
  • KP trying to post up Book who switched onto him, Kanter cuts to elbow to get ball from Jack to make easier entry pass but there’s no angle because Len is staying in paint to help on KP – Kanter needs to be able to hit a FT line jumper because that KP on Book mismatch is too easy for KP to score with. KP gets ball eventually, but needs to be faster. KP aggressive going into Book and draws foul on jumper
  • Jackson tries driving full court on Doug, but Doug stays with him and forces a missed jumper. Jack pushes ball up, hits Doug on wing for 3 misses but KP fouled in back
  • KP sets pin / PNR screen for Doug who hits KP with a nice lead pass. KP tries dunking on Len. Fouled but if that went in…just wow
  • THJr – Kanter PNR, Doug cuts baseline bc Jackson not looking – Doug puts Jackson on a poster (see below)
  • Book has ball on THJr – the entire Knicks’ defense is looking at Book and KP is playing strong side defense wihle Bender is on opposite side where there is already help. Book kicks to Jackson who drives on Doug and hits a hard layup (Kanter at rim defending)
  • Book goes coast to coast (foul and one) while Doug guards him. Doug fine guarding SFs but he cannot guard SGs. Too slow for that
  • KP has ball in post, Book and Bender double him – THJr open but KP misses him. Ball gets to Jack who sees Kanter cutting off ball for the dunk
  • Kanter gives up sideline, and baseline, in PNR defense…Book open 3 which he misses (but that was horrible defense). Kanter then doesn’t box out. Len gets ORB
  • Kanter then gets ball near top of key, hits KP with beautiful high-low pass – KP misses layup and no call on a clear foul
  • Jack drives on James, Kanter 20 feet away at top but Len stays with James and Jack – Jack forces shot (missed). Again, Kanter needs a mid-range…
  • Booker – Len PNR. Kanter takes bad angle (see below) and gets by Kanter – fouled
  • KOQ big block on james
  • Knicks push pace up court and get KP guarded by Derrick Jones. THJr sees this and gets ball right to KP. Booker foced to double off of THJr, Bender comes from 2 passes away to help on THjr after KP passes ball to THjr), Suns defense scrambling, Jack cuts ball to keep attention on him and Doug moves to corner who gets hit with a pass from THjr – Doug hits corner three. Beautiful movement right there from Knicks
  • KP late getting out on 3 from Bender – Bender hits
  • THJr goes right backdoor on Book and is fouled by Bender. Great cut when Book had back to ball and great pass from Jack.
  • Booker goes coast to coast after the FTs…nobody was back..
  • THjr drives right on Book and gets the foul. Quick move when KOQ was coming up on THjr’s left. THjr doesn’t use screen and Book was caught off guard. Nice quick decisive move

Third quarter

  • Jack – KP PnR, THjr cuts off ball, Jack hits him with a lead pass and is fouled. Nice pass and nice cut
  • Suns run Booker off two screens (one from Kanter who gives great help), Chandler sets screen on KP so Chriss gets open 3 from corner (makes). Not upset with that defense, that was just a well run play
  • Chandler – James PNR – Kanter caught in weird position, allows lob to Chandler but KP comes in to poke it away. GREAT help defense
  • Suns run break, THjr steals ball and pushes it back in other direction – pull up three miss, but KP is there with the follow dunk
  • Jackson hits angled three with ugly form. Oof.
  • KP gets ball from Lee, Lee cuts away, KP goes right at Chriss and draws foul. LOVE the aggression in KP’s moves
  • Booker misses three, nobody boxes out Chandler (hi Enes), and Chandler with the big putback dunk
  • James – Chandler PnR. Kanter TOO FAR UP on James. Lee doesn’t rotate off of Booker (fair), and James hits Chandler with an open lead pass for an easy dunk. Kanter stuck in no-man’s-land again…
  • After Lee miss on jumper, Knicks get ORB (Kanter), KP ends up with ball and makes a strong move to his left on Chriss – he gets fouled.
  • James – Chandler PnR. James gets into paint and hits Bender for an open 3 (miss). He moves well off ball to the open spot. In another year or two, he’s going to be a nice player. He’s moved with KP step for step on defense and has shown he can hit the three, even if that one was a miss. (He will be better than Maker). Was just posted up by KP but isn’t backed down – KP just hits a hard shot with a great contest from Bender
  • “That’s a couple of times Kanter didn’t look to shoot.” “Yeah, he needs to take that mid-range jumper” – Knicks’ commentators thoughts. Well, yeah…he does…and it’s an issue.
  • Long rebound goes out to Booker, Jack, Lee, and THjr are running back on defense. THjr beats Book to the spot and takes a charge. *remember earlier this game THjr didn’t take the charge because he was moving? Well, he made the adjustment here
  • James – Len PNR. Kanter / Jack trapped James in corner. Everyone rotated well (see picture below)
  • Kanter posting up Len (Kanter has his jersey grabbed), strong take but missed baby hook
  • James missed layup on fast break, nobody runs back on defense besides Jack, Bender sprints up for the tip-in
  • THJr missed 3 but Kanter gets ORB. Aggressive putback. I know I’m not a fan of his, but he is a great ORB
  • Len faces up on KOQ and drives right. Lance comes down there to help and ends up with steal. Really nice help defense there
  • Frank to KOQ 20 feet from rim, Doug fakes using Beas screen going up and cuts backdoor, KOQ hits him with a beautiful pass – Doug reverse layup. He moves really well off ball
  • PHX missed three, but get ORB – KOQ pushed too far under rim by Len
  • Bender drives right on Beas – force him left!
  • Ulis does a nice job bothering Frank dribbling up court. Frank pushing off a little
  • Beasley drives right on Bender for the floater
  • Beas gets ball in post, Bender plays him to his strong hand allowing Beasley to go left – Beas goes left for easy layup. That was terrible defense
  • Beas attacks Jones Jr off dribble who gives him his strong hand (left). Beas finishes. Two times in last minute of quarter, Suns give Beas his strong hand drive…

fourth quarter

  • Suns start off running Book baseline, KOQ bumps / touches Book to slow down then recovers to Len, Book runs off screen from Chriss at block and misses – Beas lets Chriss get inside position for a put back
  • KOQ gets ball on wing – Beas cuts backdoor off screen from Doug – KOQ lob, Beas comes down, gathers, and finishes with foul – great recognition from KOQ and Doug, nice cut from beas
  • Len sets screen for Book, KOQ bad angle on PNR, Book goes to baseline and sees Daniels in corner but Frank reads that perfectly and tips ball away (then proceeds to save ball before going out of bounds to Len which was bad, but nice read on defense) – see picture below. This possession was ugly – couldn’t keep PHX off O-glass – 3 shots on that possession
  • Terrible PnR defense from entire team – KOQ left hand down, Lee hands both down, Doug and Frank not watching ball and only see their man – open lane for Len…until KOQ CLEANLY blocks it (called foul, absurd call)
  • Frank then turns ball over to Ulis, runs back to contest on defense – Ulis misses, Daniels there for ORB and Frank contests that one too – Frank stopped the fast break by himself
  • Beas ball in low post, faces, drives left on Bender (again giving him his strong hand), hits Doug in corner for 3 that was missed
  • Knicks run flex option – KOQ ball above the key, Lee cuts through, screens for Doug who gets hit with the pass for the layup – great play
  • KOQ blocks Len again turning into fast break 3 for Lee
  • Another block for KOQ as Ulis beats Frank – KOQ showing MAJOR emotion
  • Ulis to Len PnR pass for easy dunk – no help defense in sight. Just bad breakdown…
  • KP gets ball 35 feet from basket, sizes up Bender, drives left, gets to his spot 10 feet away for the jumper (makes it). He is 7’3 and making moves like that. Unbelievable.
  • Book/Len PnR, Book loses ball, Lee picks up and runs with Doug on break – Doug gets dunk AND foul
  • Knicks clear right side for Frank, Frank with right to less cross and goes right by Ulis for a layup. So smooth
  • KP has ball on wing, sizes up Bender, and pulls from 3 for a made basket…he’s 7’3…
  • Booker/Chandler PnR – Kanter TOO FAR BACK and Book attacks him for a left handed layup. Lee (guarding Book) yelled at Kenter
  • Kanter takes bad angle passing ball to KP in mid-post, turnover. Kanter runs back as Jackson dribbles up, undercuts slightly, KP sprints back for HUGE block. Lee gets ball, hits Jack for pass, who then hits KP with a bounce pass for a HUGE dunk AND foul. Garden erupted
  • KP gets ball on low block, defense collapses on him, THJr backs up to three, KP sees, hits Jack with the pass (easier pass to make), and Jack hits THJr for thre
  • At this point, game is over. Up 18 with 3:00 left.
  • Last comment – Chandler was seriously yelling for the ball as time was expiring so he could dunk it and get his stats…yeah, he really did that.

(K)nickels for Your Thoughts

  • Watching how teams defend KP in the Kanter PnR is cool to see. KP’s man never fully leaves him, leaving the lane much less clogged than it would be if someone else were standing out there. D knows if they leave KP, he’ll hit the three. Knicks need to run more PnRs with KP on perimeter too.
  • Doug moves so well off the ball and we’re using him on the move. He’s spent the last few years being mostly a spot-up shooter (even though he can score in a bunch of areas), but this year he’s finally back to being used as he was being used at Creighton
  • It might not have fully shown in the stats, but THJr’s defense is very good. He makes short choppy steps when guarding, hands out, and he recovers well.
  • KP is an absolute killer now 15 feet and in. It didn’t matter who got put on him, KP was scoring – either jump shot right over or attacking the rim. Killed it last night.
  • KOQ plays with more passion than 99.9% of the players in the league. However, he’s not just an energy guy – he showed his awesome passing skills on multiple occasions last night and great defensive ability.
  • Devin Booker needs a lot of help on defense (especially off-ball). He’s a nice scorer, but he does little else on the court.
  • Kanter takes HORRIBLE angles guarding PnRs. If the coaching staff were to get him to position himself like KOQ positions himself (cutting off the forward motion of the ball-handler), the defense would be so much better – far fewer baseline drives from handler, fewer times weak side help will be caught off guard, fewer times ball gets into paint, etc
  • Even though Kanter rebounds, he misses box outs – this showed last night with the amount of ORBs Phoenix got. Completely unacceptable.
  • Kanter is a beast in the paint – it’s super hard to stop him once he gets the ball at the low block. However, when KP has the ball down there, the defense gets clogged up because they know Kanter isn’t taking shots from 15 – this is easy to see in high-low action, but also when it’s a simple mid-post from KP. The defense is able to split the paint much easier, and provide help when it is necessary. I really wish he’d start shooting the FT line jumper. He’s a good FT shooter, so there’s no real reason why he can’t hit that now…if he’s not hitting it, at least start taking it to keep the defense honest a little.
  • Jack does a fantastic job getting the right guy the ball in the right spot. The offense runs smoothly when he’s out there – he really is a nice veteran presence. He’s going to lose his starting spot to Frank at some point this year (my guess is before 1/1/18), but for now he’s a nice addition to the starting lineup.
  • Frank’s defense is legit. He’s able to keep up with Ulis, who is a VERY quick player, rotated very well and got his hands on a ball he had no business reacting to as a 19 year old (very advanced rotating for ANYONE in the NBA, let alone someone his age), and was able to use his length to help out a bunch of times on the perimeter. The cross to a layup he had on Ulis was nice, and I wish we’d see him be a little more aggressive on offense from time to time.
  • All in all, this was a fun game. Lots of good action, ball movement, off-ball movement, and a lot of energy.
  • I’d like to remind everyone, again, that Chandler was yelling for the ball with a couple of seconds left in the game so he could dunk it. That is all.
  • Beasley scores. There was one time in particular yesterday I wasn’t a fan of his (he was jab stepping from 15-17 on the wing), but aside from that, he was making quick moves. Phoenix kept giving him his left hand, and he kept making them pay for that mistake. Awesome awareness there, and terrible defense from Phoenix.

Photo Analysis from above

(Photo number – left to right)

  • KP seeing double team, kicking ball to Jack who hits THJr for 3
  • Poor pick and roll defense, but KOQ recovered for the block that was called a foul. Left hand down, gave too much space to Booker and allowed him to make the pass. Poor help defense from Frank and Lee who didn’t keep an eye on the ball handler. If they did, they could have helped sooner / would have been in paint before Len was cutting.
  • (Photos 4-5) KOQ takes poor angle on PnR coverage, but Frank is able to rotate over and tip the ball away – great recognition. Saved ball underneath own basket, which is bad, but the rotation was perfect.
  • Fresh Prince meets French Prince
  • Great trap from Jack and Kanter – great defense from rest of Knicks’ defense. THJr rotated into paint to help on Len, Lance rotated to help on Daniels, and Beas was in between his man and Jackson with a foot in the paint also. Great team defense.
  • Poor angle on PnR with Len and Booker for Kanter. He needs to be cutting off Booker’s drive instead of being parallel to the sideline. He does this so often.
  • Great high-low pass from Kanter to KP.
  • Kanter falls back too far in PnR defense
  • Kanter in great position on defense – blocks Ulis’ drive, up close to him, close enough to Chandler to help if Ulis passes off
  • Frank has open jumper (which he could have taken), but waits 1-2 seconds before making a decision to step up and hit KOQ with a pass.
  • Frank – absurd wingspan
  • (Photos 14-16) Beautiful set – Frank passes to KOQ, who cuts off, KP backscreens for THJr, KOQ hits THJr with the pass for the easy layup
  • THJr doing a great job getting over the screen – got skinny, ignored contact and fought through

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