On the Knicks: Posting And Toasting | Knickerblogger | Buckets Over Broadway
Kidd Cruddy. Jason Kidd is not with the team for a second straight game because he's old (back spasms), leaving perennial Weight Watchers participant Raymond Felton to man the point while Anthony slides to the three to make room for Big Sexy (Kurt Thomas, in case you don't listen to Stacey King). Kidd has been a fulcrum of the Knicks' success this season, posting an incredible shooting line (52% fg/50% 3fg/100% ft), leading the team with a +11.4 on/off court rating, and averaging 3.3 assists, 3.4 rebounds, and 2.1 steals in just 26 mpg. In Monday's game with Kidd sidelined, Felton did his part to rebuilding the area around the Barclays Center (3-19 fg, 8 pts). Basically, the Knicks have a day-and-night offensive strategy without Kidd (hello, more iso plays for Carmelo!).
Bombs away. No team has been better around the perimeter than the Knicks. New York currently leads the NBA in three point attempts per game (29.1) and makes (12.2), both of which are three shots more than the next closest competitor. Milwaukee matches up well defensively, allowing the 3rd fewest attempts (17.2) and 7th fewest makes (6) from beyond the arc. New York creates a lot of spot up opportunities from downtown off fluid ball movement, which is something the younger Bucks have struggled with at different points this season. New York also has problems creating good looks against teams capable of stifling outside shots. Four of their five worst nights shooting the three ball came against teams that rank in the top 10 for three point attempts per game or three point shooting percentage. Milwaukee falls into the former category.
B-E-N-C-H-M-O-B men. If you were looking for a game featuring two of the NBA's most intriguing bench units, this is it. Both Milwaukee and New York have a chemical dependency on their reserves, but for very different reasons. Armed with an army of Tube Men and a couple crafty shooters, the Bucks rank second in bench scoring (42.1 ppg), second in assists (8.8 apg), first in blocks (4.5 bpg), first in field goal percentage (48% fg) and first in rebounds per game (23.3 rpg). In contrast, the Knicks' rely on a second unit comprised of Steve Novak, JR Smith, and Rasheed Wallace to shoot treys early and often (8.3, 3.4, and 8.2 three point attempts per game, respectively). The Bucks bench mob led Monday's comeback charge, so it wouldn't be surprising to see Scott Skiles follow the same reserve-heavy strategy if the starters have problems against the sizable Knicks front line.