Charlotte Bobcats at New York Knicks preview -- Game 14

The Big Picture: Tonight, the Charlotte Bobcats face the New York Knicks in a battle of contrasting styles. Though the Cats have sped up their pace in recent games, they're still primarily a slower team, while the Knicks play the NBA's second-fastest pace. The Knicks have also attempted the most three-pointers in the league, while the Cats are solidly in the bottom-half, thanks to Larry Brown's aversion to long-range shooting. (When did they put in a three-point line?) On defense, Brown has made a career of coaching up his squads, while Mike D'Antoni has widely been considered an offense-only coach, even though when he has talent on the roster, his teams' DRtg have been in the middle of the pack.

The one thing both coaches seem to have in common is a strong distrust of rookies: Brown's treatment of young players has been covered extensively here (Exhibit A), while, for his part, D'Antoni's Suns used to sell off all their draft picks, ostensibly to keep below the luxury tax. But I question just how much of that was Robert Sarver's parsimony, and how much was D'Antoni's dismissive attitude toward rookies. Landry Fields is getting a good amount of playing time for the Knicks right now (and playing exceptionally well: +22, adjusted!), but the last three rookies of note on the Knicks were Danilo Gallinari, Toney Douglas, and Jordan Hill.

The Rooster got hurt, and then came back with a three-point vengeance his second season. Douglas got half the minutes of Chris Duhon, despite being (if we're generous to Duhon) an equal player, and a player more suited to the D'Antoni style, to boot. And then there's the case of Jordan Hill, who only played 252 minutes for the Knicks before being traded to the Rockets, despite putting up a 14/8, with 1 block, per 36 minutes. That's nothing special, but hardly embarrassing, and he immediately improved in Houston. To make matters worse, the Knicks were barely in the playoff discussion, finishing 29-53, and they ended up giving minutes to Al Harrington and Jonathan Bender(!), instead. Awesome.

Musical Interlude: Daft Punk -- "Digital Love"


Key to Victory: As always when facing D'Antoni teams, it's important for the Bobcats to play the game they want to play, not the game the Knicks force them to play. True, I've been hoping the Cats speed things up a bit, but the Knicks' frantic pace is another matter, altogether. Just as pitching in baseball is all about disrupting timing, so is D'Antoni's offense: seven seconds or less is predicated on finding a good shot before the defense figures out what to do, before the defense assesses and then acts. If the other team starts pushing the pace and playing ahead of themselves on offense, too, all the better.

Short circuit that process. Impose pace upon them, and don't let them impose pace upon us.

Detail That May Interest .08% of You: I've signed up to be an assistant coach of a youth basketball team. My goal is to produce the best 2-3 zone 8 and 9 years olds have ever played.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join At The Hive

You must be a member of At The Hive to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at At The Hive. You should read them.

Join At The Hive

You must be a member of At The Hive to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at At The Hive. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker