Preseason Celtics!

The Knicks are Back! And boy, was it good to see all my old friends again.

I’m going to start a little tradition of throwing out a few comments after a game. I can’t say that I’ll always be able to get a post out there (and especially not for these preseason games) but for this first game of all our boys in their official road blues, it only seemed right.

Thoughts:

First of all, the Knicks got absolutely BLOWN out in the second half, turning what was a 2-point deficit into a 20 point loss. While this was hardly encouraging, there were a few mitigating factors that made this not as utterly demoralizing as it could have been:

1.) The Knicks starters did not play a whole lot of minutes tonight. Carmelo maxed them out with 20, which is a little more than half of what he played last season.

2.) The two factors that most played into this loss were the 3-pt shooting (both the Knicks’ ineptitude and the Celtics’ amazing accuracy) and an UNGODLY amount of turnovers. Both of these things are pretty terrible for a basketball team that is trying to be good/make the playoffs but they may not be as bad as all that. My reasons why:

A ton of the turnovers came from the Knicks attempting to run in transition, something this team has never been good at. There were a lot of miscues on long outlet passes, which makes sense as the Knicks were using a lot of their new guys and they haven’t clicked playing with one another yet. Also, the amount of bench play would definitely help explain why they were a little turnover prone.

The Knicks got a lot of nice open looks at 3 and just missed them. Not great, but at least the looks are there, the shots will fall. As for the Celtics, I’ve never seen big men shoot the ball like that. Both Kelly Olynk and Jared Sullinger who started at C and PF went 3-3 from behind the arc. Could’ve closed out a little better, but that’s not going to happen a whole lot in the NBA.

Wow, the optimism is kind of suffocating here. To get a reality check, fastbreak aside, the Knicks had 28 turnovers the last time I checked. 28!!! Holy shit. I think the Knicks had something like 24 when the Celtics still had 6. And the Celtics racked up 36 points off those giveaways, holy shit.

As for the 3-point shooting, decidedly not great. The Knicks two biggest issues defensively last year were fouling too often and being unable to guard the 3. I get that they’re learning an entirely new defensive scheme, but I really don’t want to repeat this mistake. It’s really hard to come back without a top 10 offense if the other team is raining on you.

But anyway, because this was preseason. And because this is still the time to feel at least somewhat excited for the coming year. The bright spots:

Tim Hardaway Jr. Timmy looked amazing off the bench. Like a JR Smith 2.0 Homie was the one-dude offense microwave man extraordinaire. He was the only Knick who shot the 3 reliably, got to the foul line a ton, and even posted up the smaller Avery Bradley to kick out for an open 3 pointer. Nice! He also ended the game with the scoring high of 18 points, including 10-11 from the charity stripe and 6 rebounds. Defense too? I may have gotten my X-Factor Prediction right.

Samuel Dalembert. Sam was a pretty-hard rock defensively and ended the game with 3 blocks, despite playing about 15 minutes. He had a couple good rotations to shore up some Bargnani mistakes. He’s definitely a little slow (as are most of the Knicks who got destroyed in transition) but if he’s already in place he knows how to hold his ground and cover his teammates. And a decent face-up jumper, nice.

I want to write about the triangle after I’ve gotten a chance to see it in action, but the last and most important takeaway, Melo will get assists this year!! He ended tonight with 4 in 20 minutes and looked somewhat willing to give up the ball once doubled. Nice, again.

Well that’s about it. Basically the Knicks second unit got TOASTED by a more athletic, grabby Celtics team that was willing to reach on defense and run in transition. A bad loss but still plenty of reasons to be optimistic. Catch you guys next time around!

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