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Friday, December 14, 2012
Knicks shooting 3-pointers at record rate

By Jared Zwerling

Mike Woodson was asked before the Lakers game if he knew his Knicks were on pace to set the NBA record for most 3-point attempts in a season. It turns out the Knicks set the record in 2008-09 with 2,284. Currently, they're at 641.

But the coach had no idea. He was only concerned with the makes, and makes they have -- an league-best 264 at 41.2 percent accuracy.

"I didn't even know," he said. "I don't care. You just gotta make 'em."

While any record amount comes as a pleasant surprise, it was pretty clear entering the 2008-09 season -- Mike D'Antoni's first in New York -- that he would highly support the long ball. That was his emphasis in offensive sets, and now Woodson is using many of his predecessor's schemes. The Knicks coach discussed that on Thursday night.

"I didn't abandon his offense," he said. "I've taken his offense and added a lot. We're still playing open basketball, trying to get guys the freedom to play. If you look around our team with Kidd and Raymond (Felton) and Pablo (Prigioni) and J.R. (Smith) and Melo and Ronnie (Brewer), all these guys can make plays.

"I've used a lot of Mike's offense, but I've also taken his offense and tried to expand it and do some things that I like to run, like double pick-and-rolls and triples and misdirection plays and things of that nature. Those are things I've examined from his offense and I've tried to expand a little bit. I like everything about Mike's offense. I really do."

On Friday, Zach Lowe of Grantland.com explored more of how the Knicks have been excelling from downtown. While the first factor is obviously the Knicks' personnel -- notably Jason Kidd, Steve Novak and Carmelo Anthony -- Lowe pointed to the team running more high-speed pick-and-rolls and benefiting from Melo's increased post-ups, which has led to increased double teams, better spacing and, therefore, more open looks from the outside. Melo's heads-up passing to the perimeter has also helped.

In addition, the Knicks' unique two point-guard starting backcourt, featuring Kidd and Felton, has enhanced their ball movement to the right spots. Felton and Tyson Chandler, especially, in the two-man game has opened the court up because opponents have been clogging down on the center. Chandler has become one of the most potent roll guys to the basket in the league.

You also have to credit world-renowned Knicks shooting coach Dave Hopla, who was hired this offseason, and the players for demonstrating confidence with every release. That's because Woodson has given his guys the green light, a different mentality than he had in Atlanta. But he realizes the current effectiveness.

As Lowe discusses, the Knicks' 41.2 percent will come down because only eight teams have ever finished a season having hit 40 percent of their 3s. But right now, let it rain! Below is a look at the Knicks' 3-point shooting by play type this season (entering Thursday night). As you can see, they're mostly getting it done in the catch-and-shoot.

Transition -- 12.2 percent of 3-point attempts (45.3 percent accuracy)
Isolation -- 8.0 percent of 3-point attempts (36.7 percent accuracy)
Pick-and-roll -- 11.9 percent of 3-point attempts (43.8 percent accuracy)
Catch-and-shoot -- 66.2 percent of 3-point attempts (42.2 percent accuracy)
Other -- 1.7 percent of 3-point attempts (32.8 percent accuracy)

Research assistance: ESPN Stats & Info

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