Tonight the Knicks lost to the Toronto Raptors 90-85. Unlike New Years Eve in Sacramento, Josh “Jorts” Harrellson was unable to make up for the absence of injured star Amar’e Stoudemire. Carmelo Anthony was hot and cold all night, shooting 13-31, despite finishing the game with 35 points and 11 rebounds. The Knicks came on strong in a fourth quarter comeback but ultimately fell short in the final minute.
Here are some notes from the game:
- Jorts was bad tonight. There’s no getting around it. He was 0-4 from the field and only collected 5 rebounds. Maybe the worst aspect of his game was his inability to guard Raptors center Andrea Bargnani who finished with 21 points on 7-13 shooting. By adding a measly 2 points tonight, Jorts was a complete non-factor on offense. He did have a key blocked shot late in the game that would have been huge in a Knick victory and he did draw 2 charges but he was not good enough tonight. Stoudemire is scheduled to return this week but even in a bench role, Harrellson has got to contribute more than he did tonight.
- Toney Douglas and Carmelo Anthony were hot and cold tonight. Douglas played a great 3rd quarter but then tailed off in the 4th. Melo had a solid first half, tailed off in the 3rd and then the fourth came. Anthony looked poised to take over the game early in the 4th but then went cold for the rest of the game.
- With 17.7 seconds left, the Knicks were down 3 and were inbounding the ball. Clearly, the Knicks did not run any semblance of an inbound play which then resulted in Melo shooting a 3 pointer on a desperate look with 10 seconds left. The 3 missed, ex-Knick Anthony Carter got the rebound and the game was essentially over. D’Antoni was pissed in the huddle afterwards because clearly the play was not run like it was supposed to be. It seems like Douglas was the one who screwed up the play but nobody really knows. It will be interesting to see if anything comes out about this tomorrow…
- I talked about this in my game preview, but the Raptors have been a good team shooting the 3 ball this year. I talked about how the Knicks needed to close out successfully or it was going to cost them. Tonight, the 3 ball was huge for the Raptors. They were 7-17 from 3 and hit some clutch ones late in the game.
- After reviewing the advanced box score from TrueHoop, one stat really stuck out to me. The usage rate, a statistic estimating the percentage of team plays used by a player while he was on the floor, for the Knicks players stuck out to me. Carmelo Anthony had an astonishing usage rate of 45.1% tonight. By contrast, Tyson Chandler had a very low usage rate of 10.1% tonight despite his 3-4 shooting from the floor and his 5-6 shooting from the free throw line. Chandler was used on the pick and roll last game to put away the Kings in the 4th quarter and I believe he should have been featured more in the pick and roll tonight. Against the Raptors, a team that is not a strong defensive post team, Chandler was barely used tonight. His usage rate tonight was higher than only Jorts’ tonight. It is not like Chandler only played 20 min tonight. He played 43 minutes tonight and only was used 10% of the time on offense. That has to change, especially in STAT’s absence.
- Bibby was useless tonight. His defense sucked and he was 0-3 from the floor, all 3 shots being from beyond the arc. If Bibby is not going to hit shots then he has no use for this Knick team. He was absolutely a liability tonight in the 15 minutes he was in.
- Just to keep an eye on minutes, and with STAT out the team is very thin on depth right now, Chandler and Melo played 43 and 42 minutes respectively. Melo looked winded at times and Clyde even mentioned it on the broadcast. D’Antoni has to watch their minutes as the season goes on or its gonna be an early exit from the playoffs.
- D’Antoni was furious with Bill Walker all night and he should have been. As usual his defense was horrible but there were two specific offensive possessions that stood out to me. There was a possession in the game in which Walker did not happen to know how much time was on the shot clock and passed up a wide open spot up 3 to try and repost Melo as the shot clock hit 0. D’Antoni was seen on camera screaming at Walker after that play. On the other possession, Walker passed up an open 3 and wildly drove the ball only to have hit shot blocked. Unfortunately, Fields was also very bad tonight so his 32 minutes were about equal to Walker’s poor 24 minutes.
- The Knicks ultimately lost the game tonight because they did not make shots. The defense was solid all night and very good in the 3rd quarter. The Knicks shot 35% while Toronto shot 44% from the floor. The Knicks were out gunned from the 3 point line as well. Toronto shot 41% on 17 attempts while the Knicks shot 28.6% on a whopping 35 attempts tonight. Their inability to expose Toronto in the post tonight is what did the Knicks offense in. They settled for way too many outside shots and did not hit enough of them to win the game tonight.