Notes From Knicks 91-88 Loss to Phoenix

In a disgustingly bad game to watch, the Knicks lost to the Suns 91-88. Chandler, Fields and Shumpert were good tonight. Everyone else sucked.

Here are some notes from the game:

  • The Knicks need to stop switching on defense. Phoenix had an advantage offensively all night due to the constant Knick defenders switching on picks. Robin Lopez would have had 30 tonight if he didn’t fucking suck. There was a stretch in the game where he was posted up on a guard about 6 times and he only scored once. Nash was often guarded by Tyson Chandler and Josh Harrellson on the perimeter. I don’t know what Woodson is doing with this defense. They have played better and the defense hasn’t been the problem so far but this defense could be so much better without the switches. There is no reason why the Knicks must always switch a big man onto a point guard. In emergency situations, the switch is acceptable but this team does it on every single screen. The defense was adequate tonight but the switches really did hurt the Knicks.
  • Stoudemire’s jump shot is still ice cold. I thought that tonight could be a turning point for Stoudemire’s season. I thought he would come out guns blazing and play lights out. I was wrong. Sort of. He was better tonight then he has been, scoring 23 points on 7/22 shooting, but his jump shot was still off. He did improve at finishing at the rim tonight but he got nothing from his perimeter game. His mid-range game is nonexistent right now and it hurts his game. Defenders are sagging off Stoudemire thus hurting his ability to drive to the rim. As a result to the cushion being given by defenders, Stoudemire picked up 2 bad offensive charges tonight.
  • Melo was awful tonight. I don’t know if it was the wrist injury or the personal matter that kept him from speaking to the media post game but Melo was dreadful tonight. He finished the game 5/22 with 12 points. While he did hit a big 3 late in the game, his head was just not in the game tonight. I don’t know if he was cold or if it was the personal matter but he was a non-factor tonight. While Stoudemire did not play well, I think the Knicks got enough production from him to win. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for Anthony. The Knick star missed two big layups in the game that would have been big baskets in a close game. Obviously this will not be the norm for Anthony but his poor game really hurt the Knicks tonight.
  • Landry Fields came alive tonight. The beleaguered second year shooting guard from Stanford finally showed flashes of ┬ábeing the productive rookie Knick fans came to love last season. Fields put in 17 points on 6/12 shooting. While he was scoreless from downtown, Fields’ nifty offensive game kept the Knicks afloat in the second half. Defensively I thought he was solid and he picked up 6 rebounds. Fields must continue to string solid games together and help this team get back on track.
  • Iman Shumpert played a phenomenal game tonight. Despite his air ball at the end of the game, Shumpert played one of his best games as a Knick. He held his own against Steve Nash and played a great offensive game. More impressive than his 20 points on 8/14 shooting were his 4 steals. His energy was great as always and he hit some clutch shots down the stretch. It was a very nice game by Shumpert further solidifying his starting spot on the team.
  • Amar’e had a great transition block tonight only to lead by a missed three by Fields. I thought that sequence would have been a momentum changing play but the Knicks were unable to finish it off with a basket.
  • Douglas regressed from last game which did not help anything. The Knicks got a whopping 7 points out of their bench tonight.
  • Steve Novak saw no minutes again tonight. I think that is a mistake. For a team that cannot shoot 3’s to save its life, I think Novak could give the Knicks 2-3 key baskets a game coming off the bench.
  • Chandler was a beast once again with 17 rebounds. His defense really was good tonight. He probably would have had 20 rebounds if he wasn’t guarding Nash out at the 3 point line for a lot of the game…
  • Shannon Brown had 14 points for Phoenix. That sums up what kind of game it was.

Knicks-Suns: What to Watch For

Last season the Knicks were 1-1 versus the Phoenix Suns. Tonight, the reeling Knicks look to get back on track against Amar’e Stoudemire’s old club at Madison Square Garden.

Here’s what to watch for:

  • Coming off a string of pathetic performances, Amar’e Stoudemire has to show up tonight. If he plays a poor offensive game again, the Knicks will likely drop their 4th straight game. The Knicks cannot solely rely on the banged up Carmelo Anthony to carry the offense for a second straight game. His 33 point performance was not enough to overcome Stoudemire’s 22 minute 12 point performance on Monday versus Orlando. This team is built around their two superstars and does not have the depth right now to overcome the consistently poor play by one of them. As long as Stoudemire struggles, this team will be mediocre and inconsistent. I am going out on a limb here, I think Stoudemire will be very good tonight. I think Monday’s performance was rock bottom and tonight he will get back on track and dominate.
  • Which mediocre Suns shooter will kill the Knicks tonight? The Knicks love to make people’s careers (credit to my uncle for that saying) and the Suns have plenty of candidates. Will Shannon Brown score 20? Jared Dudley 25? Will the Knicks let Robin Lopez go for 50? The Knicks perimeter defense sucked on Monday versus Orlando and if it sucks tonight I think the Knicks will lose. Defense hasn’t been the Knicks problem this year but with the offensive struggles, this team does not have a great margin for error defensively.
  • The Knicks must defend the pick and roll. The one thing the Knicks can’t do offensively is run the pick and roll. The one thing the Suns do very well offensively is the pick and roll. Suns center Marcin Gortat is ranked 3rd in the NBA in points per possession on the pick and roll. Tonight, if the Knicks can slow down the Nash to Gortat connection, they’ll have a good shot to hold the Suns in check defensively.
  • Bill Walker is not playing. Mike Bibby and Steve Novak will probably see more minutes tonight because of Walker’s absence.