Game 19: Hornets vs. Knicks

2010-11 NBA Regular Season

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13-5 vs
10-9
December 3rd, 2010
New Orleans Arena
7:00 PM CST
TV: NBALP 
Probable starters:
Chris Paul > Raymond Felton
Marco Belinelli
< Wilson Chandler
Trevor Ariza = Landry Fields
David West
> Danilo Gallinari
Emek'a Okafor < Amar'e Stoudemire 

Your Pregame Moment of Zen

The Knick Outlook

The New York Knicks are one of those teams perennially in the national spotlight, regardless of performance. Other such teams include the New York Yankees, New York Giants, and Long Island Lizards. Hmmm.

In any case, the Knicks are doing well right now. They've won seven of their last nine games (also seven of their last fifteen, however), primarily against Eastern Conference opposition. At 10-9 New York currently occupies the 7th spot in the conference. This year, it should take .500 ball to make the playoffs in the East. I think the Knicks and their fans would certainly expect that as a baseline. 

Statistically, there are indicators there will be more hills to climb for this team. Basketball-Reference's Simple Rating System has the Knicks as the 22nd best team in the league. New York has also played the easiest schedule in the NBA. The average winning percentage of its opponents so far is just .394.

Individual Players

The Knicks do have an entertaining (if twiggy) collection of talent on their roster. Amar'e Stoudemire is enjoying a revival on the defensive glass, and he's also posting his highest free throw rate in three years. His offensive efficiencies have dropped overall (117, 117, 124 from 2007-2009; 109 this year), but that's to be expected with increased shot creation responsibilities. While he was assisted on 61% of his field goals this year, he's being assisted on just 51% this year. 

Raymond Felton has also been stellar this season. For a while it looked like New York might be poaching a point guard from the Southwest (and they still might), but Felton ended up becoming the guy. So far, he's creating more than ever before and also shooting significantly better than his career averages. I realize point guard is such a loaded position these days, but Felton has put in at least a borderline All-Star season so far. 

The Knicks are also home to Wilson Chandler (the only guy in the league that could challenge Ariza in a missed three point contest), Toney Douglas (do what Toney Douglas do), and Landry Fields (the Landriest player in the NBA). In related news, most of the jokes for this post come from Posting and Toasting, run by the illustrious yet wide-snouted seller of dubious medicines, Seth Rosenthal, who, naturally, charged me outrageous royalties.

And lest we forget him, there is Danilo Gallinari, who might be my favorite player in the league outside of the state of Louisiana. He's known to be a terrific shooter and the modern day God Shammgod, but he also won the UEFA Golden Boot in 2004, played an integral role in the European Union's transfer to the euro in 1995, developed the flight ADACS system for the Ariane-3 rocket, and is a first cousin of Marco Ballinari. The more you know.

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