Welcome to the first Knicks Stat of the Game, inspired by my Study Hall column for SB Nation's Spurs site, Pounding the Rock. The goal is to provide a statistic or series of statistics that help illuminate why a game turned out the way it did. Clearly, stats cannot tell the whole story, but they can often provide the backbone of an explanation. Then, at the bottom are a bunch of advanced stats and shot charts for the Knicks nerds among you.
The Trail Blazers came into Monday night's game with the third best defense in the league. And, given their personnel, you can't help but wonder how? CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard are tasked with preventing guard penetration, and both are perceived as minus defenders. The team's rim protection depends primarily on Jusuf Nurkic, a ground-bound 6'11 center with a 7' wingspan. I was really curious to see how the Knicks would attack this defense.
The answer: they mostly didn't. The Knicks came into the game with the 11th-ranked offense, but you wouldn't know it from their effort against the Blazers. Here are a couple universally accepted truths for NBA offenses:
Further, the Knicks took 32 shots from the mid-range. That's about 10 mid-range jumpers more than their average coming into the game. For context, the Sacramento Kings take the most mid-range attempts at 23 per game.
One last stat: heading into the night, the Knicks had assisted on 59.6% of their made shots, good for eighth in the league. On Monday, New York assisted on just 37.1% of their made shots, a number that would be last in the league by more than 10%. Going forward, the Knicks will want to revert to their average mid-range tendencies and maybe even attempt a corner three. I expect this game to be an aberration when we look back on it.
Knicks Shot Chart
Trail Blazers Shot Chart