- Teams: New York Knicks (36-21) at Detroit Pistons (23-39)
- Date: March 6, 2013
- Time: 7:30 p.m.
- Television: FSD
What to look for
The regular season can certainly play tricks on basketball fans. The New York Knicks began the season by breezing through their schedule and defeating just about every elite opponent they faced.
The Knickerbockers rode a Carmelo Anthony that had changed his game to accommodate his teammates and consequently make New York better.
From opening night all the way to December 31st, it seemed as though Melo could do no wrong. Pundits made the claim he was the front-runner for the MVP award, a claim that would have been difficult to refute at the time.
Anthony was averaging 28.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game on 47.3 percent field goal shooting for a Knicks team that had won 21 of their first 30 games. In addition, they had blown out the Miami Heat twice and also won on the road versus the San Antonio Spurs.
Mike Woodson’s bunch was destroying opponents from the outside, connecting on 39.3 percent of their 3-point looks. The torrid shooting coupled with Anthony’s production resulted in NY scoring 109.4 points per 100 possessions, a figure that would represent the third best mark in the league (this is actually their ranking at present time).
The New Year brought a different Knick team though.
Since January 1st, Anthony’s field goal shooting has dropped o 41.4 percent. The Knicks’ offense in turn has taken a small step back. From the time the New Year kicked in until today, NY would have the seventh best offense in the league.
The difference isn’t huge but it exists nonetheless. They’ve slightly increased their turnovers and seen their 3-point shooting take a small hit.
In addition, after starting the season as one of the best defenses in the league, the Knicks regressed to the point that they are now playing like a middle of the pack team on that front.
The end result is that games have been far closer and consequently opponents have had opportunities to steal the games late. Indeed, New York’s offense morphed into of the league’s best in clutch (clutch defined as last five minutes of a game with scoring margin within five points) situations while their defense was among the stingiest earlier in the season.
The clutch offense has since fallen off a cliff and is in the bottom third of the league since the New Year. The defense is more than respectable, but it’s not at the level it was earlier in the season according to NBA.com’s advanced stats tool.
Put it all together and Woodson has coached his team to a 15-12 record in 2013.
What does this mean for the Detroit Pistons?
Lawrence Frank’s group has been defeated three times by double digits by Carmelo Anthony and company. Tonight’s contest might just offer a closer result at the Palace of Auburn of Hills, especially if New York’s leading scorer is limited in his movements after injuring his knee against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night.
Read about the Knicks
Statistical support provided by NBA.com.