Different night. Different opponent. Same old Knicks. The Knicks lost their in the final seconds, this time 91-89 in Boston. In a game marred by horrible officiating, Boston’s rebounding, Toney Douglas’ inability to play basketball and more horrible officiating, the Knicks blew a 6 point halftime lead as they dropped yet another game in Boston. New York has not won in Boston since 2006. Anger does not begin to describe how I felt during the game and how I feel now. This team is the epitome of torture but unlike the 2010 San Francisco Giants they are not winning any games.
Here are my notes from the game:
- The goat (no, not greatest of all time) for this game has to be Toney Douglas. I don’t like pinning losses on one guy and he doesn’t deserve all the blame but I thought his play was a huge reason the Knicks lost tonight. When he enters the game, the entire flow of the team seems to disappear. He cannot move the ball with any success, he stops his dribble too early and he doesn’t get anybody the ball where they need it. Douglas means well, he is not rude to fans and he carries himself with class but it cannot be ignored that he is screwing over his team right now. He was a -9 on the night in 8 minutes. I am shocked it was only -9. It felt like he was -29 on the night. Boston made a run every time he came into the game and I don’t think that is coincidence. I ripped Douglas pretty badly last night and those same criticism’s are valid tonight. I’ll save myself 5 minutes of ranting and direct you to what I wrote yesterday.
- This was not a great game for Mike D’Antoni. I really do like the lame duck coach and I think he can win with this team. I thought last night was one of his best coached games and I think he made some poor decisions tonight. I understand him wanting to save some of the confidence of Toney Douglas but in a game that was basically a must win, having Douglas out there in the fourth quarter was utterly asinine. I can’t believe I’m saying this but I would have rather seen Jeremy Lin out there. I thought the decision to have Novak in was an odd one but I cannot completely fault it. I do not understand and would like to hear something about the play that was called on that final play. I have watched it 5 times and I do not understand exactly where that ball was supposed to go. Melo kind of just stood there the entire time until the very end of the play and it was too late. D’Antoni drew up a good play last night and I think he drew up a very mediocre play tonight. I will never pin this game on D’Antoni because the Knicks did miss opportunities to hit shots but he did make some poor decisions tonight that cost the team.
- I thought Jeremy Lin did some nice things tonight. He is never going to be great but he was definitely better than Douglas. He can’t shoot worth a lick but he plays hard defensively and can penetrate the defense. I think he definitely has to be the first guard off the bench because Douglas is worthless and is killing the team right now. I liked what I saw from Lin, who I don’t really like that much. It is sad that the Knicks have to revert to a guy like Lin to be the backup point guard but that is what has to be done right now.
- Anthony and Stoudemire continue to improve. I thought they did a nice job tonight. I would have liked Amar’e to get a few more touches though. He took only 15 shots tonight, i’d like to see him get about 17-20 every game, especially with the other scoring options we have. Anthony dominated Mickael Pietrus all night. Unfortunately, another criticism of D’Antoni, the Knicks went to the “melo-iso” offense way too early in the game. I thought it actually threw him out of a rhythm in that everything became stagnant. At least early in the game, they got him the ball in isolation that was set up by ball movement and he got the ball deep on the right block. I would still like to see a better 2 man game between Anthony and Stoudemire but both stars seem to be playing better and more efficiently.
- Speaking of Anthony, is it possible that his conditioning could be a bit off? He has played well for the first 3 quarters in each of the last 2 games but his performance has been worse in the 4th quarters. He is clutch as hell, its not LeBron syndrome. I think he could potentially be behind in conditioning due to his recent injury. This is not something that has been written about or reported, it is just a hunch on my part.
- How bad was the officiating tonight? I could go play by play and point every missed call out but I would be writing for about 2 hours. Long story short, the officials were a big part of the Knicks losing that game. They gave the Celdicks the ball wrongfully about 3 times, each of which led to a Boston foul. When the Knicks reacted to the poor officiating, they were slapped with technical fouls. Honestly, that game felt rigged to me. It looked like super bowl 40 when Seattle was robbed by the officials against Pittsburgh. I know tonight’s game did not have that magnitude but it definitely felt like Garnett was touching some officials before the game. It is an absolute travesty that David Stern and the NBA allow that kind of officiating to go on like that without punishment. I always think officials are bad but they disgustingly biased tonight.
- To put in perspective how bad this bench is, let me throw some stats at you:
Knicks bench stats/ NBA rank
- 24.5 points per game / 27th
- 10.3 rebounds per game/ 30th
- 5.4 assists per game/ 26th
- 39.6% shooting/ 26th
- 25.5 efficiency rate/ 27th
- Those are some sad sad statistics. The sad thing is that a lot of those numbers were generated with Shumpert coming off the bench. I believe when it is all said and done, this will end up being one of the worst benches of all time. With Harrellson injured, there is absolutely nobody who can score coming off the bench. At least Jorts is good for a couple jump shots per game. I actually overestimated the bench in my pre-game. I predicted a 10 point game by the bench. They scored 9. Toney Douglas scored 0 points. Enough said.
- All 5 Knicks starters have played 35+ minutes in each of the past 2 games. The Knicks play a the 3rd game of a back-to-back-to-back tomorrow night against the Nets. I expect tomorrow to be a rough game in which the Knicks players will come out tired. This is not rock bottom. I promise you Knick fans that this CAN get worse. Lets just pray it doesn’t. Pray hard.