The New York Knicks are 3-5 and things are so bad the dancers have stopped dancing (by the owners orders).
This is not what Knicks management (or fans) expected, but with Tyson Chandler out a month (at least) it’s hard to see how things take a serious turn for the better in the short term. Without him their interior defense and rim protection is lacking.
Even with him, the problem is there is no easy way to fix this roster.
Which is why they may deal Iman Shumpert sooner rather than later, reports Marc Stein on ESPN (his new blog is a great read).
More and more folks around the league see some sort of Shumpert deal materializing sooner rather than later, given that he’s New York’s only real asset of value to make an in-season move and with the Knicks increasingly confident that they’ve got enough at the position to handle Shumpert’s exit now that J.R. Smith is back and with rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. looking good early.
Earlier this week there was some Kenneth Faried for Shumpert talk, but those rumors were all out of the New York side. The Nuggets want more in in a deal for Faried and the Knicks don’t have a first round pick until 2018 they can deal, so that fell through.
Stein mentions Sacramento as another possibility (not sure who heads back to New York in that deal), and there will be more. Shumpert has value as a young wing defender who can shoot the three (although he is off to a slow start this season, hitting 31.8 percent so far this season).
That said, I don’t know that there is one deal that can solve the Knicks issues. At least not to Dolan’s satisfaction. This is one oddly constructed roster.
Still it sounds like there is some smoke with a potential Shumpert trade with the fire not that far behind.
Russell Westbrook might not want to talk about his supporting cast distinctively, but it’s a real issue for the Thunder, who trail the Rockets 3-1 in their first-round series.
Even Andre Roberson, who has impressively defended James Harden, brings a glaring weakness: free throws. Roberson is 2-for-17 from the line in the playoffs, including 2-for-12 in Game 4 yesterday. Houston even repeatedly intentionally fouled him late.
It was agonizing for all but the most partisan Rockets supporters – though even Houston’s bench, while at least implicitly mocking Roberson, appeared put off that he missed yet again.
Isaiah Thomas previously explained his emotions in a statement, but the Celtics guard spoke publicly yesterday for the first time since the death of his sister in a car crash just before the playoffs.
Thomas, via A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN Northeast:
“Mentally and emotionally I’m not here,” Thomas said after Game 4, the first time he has spoken publicly since his sister’s death. “So I just feed off of what the guys give me. They give me a lot of confidence. I can’t do it without those guys. They believe in me. Being here is what makes me sane and makes me feel somewhat normal through these tough times.”
Thomas has played well for Boston, which won twice in Chicago to even its series with the Bulls, 2-2. It’s remarkable considering the heavy emotional burden and extra travel, going to Seattle for his sister’s funeral then joining the Celtics in Chicago.
His teammates have clearly rallied around him, and that surely helps. But I can’t even imagine how he’s simultaneously handling such a tragic family situation and the biggest games of his career.
Pacers super fan Matt Asen brings his lucky flamingo to each game.
He also annoyed the heck out of Kyrie Irving by trying to hand it, rather than the ball, to the Cavaliers guard.
James Harden didn’t lead the Rockets in scoring in their Game 4 win over the Thunder yesterday.
He didn’t even rank second – or third.
Nene, Eric Gordon and Lou Williams each outscored Harden, who scored 16 points on 5-for-16 shooting, including 0-for-7 on 3-pointers.
What happened to the Houston star?
Calvin Watkins of ESPN:
Houston Rockets star guard James Harden said he has been hobbled by an ankle injury that occurred in Game 3 of this first-round series against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Harden made the revelation to ESPN’s Lisa Salters after the Rockets’ 113-109 Game 4 victory on Sunday afternoon.
“It was pretty tough; we don’t make excuses,” Harden said in a news conference when asked about his health. “We just try to go out there and get the job done. You build trust, and trust in your teammates all year long. When there’s moments like this, guys step up and they did tonight. We have another opportunity in a few days to go out there and win on our home court, and we’re going to have to get off to a really good start.”
Many players are grinding through injuries this time of year. Is Harden’s exceptionally bad? There’s no way of telling from the outside.
But he didn’t look quite right in Game 4, and if he’s hobbled, that opens the door slightly wider for Oklahoma City to come back from its 3-1 deficit.