No team is better at making the final score look better than it really was than the New York Knicks.
This could have been a 40 point blowout, but of course the Knicks shot the ball well enough in garbage time to make it look like a semi-competitive game. It wasn’t. Without Tyson Chandler and Jared Jeffries, the Knicks defense looked like a bunch of children separated from their mothers at the street fair. They were lost and confused all night which resulted in San Antonio scoring at will. Tony Parker destroyed the Knicks “defense” all night and finished with 32 points. Melo had 27 but it didn’t matter because the Knicks couldn’t stop anyone. A lot of his points came as the Knicks tried, but failed, to make a monumental comeback.
Here are my notes from the game:
- Tim Duncan was on vacation all night. With Chandler and Jeffries out, the Knicks had two options when it came to guarding future hall of fame power forward Tim Duncan. Guard him with Josh Harrellson or guard him with Amar’e Stoudemire. Guard him with a rookie or a laughably bad defender. Either way, the Knicks would have failed. I felt sorry for Jorts tonight. He was totally overwhelmed by Duncan but he really had no choice but to play hard. Duncan was a cool 6/11 as the Spurs offensive took a collective poop all over the Knick defense. The Knicks were obliterated in the post as they allowed the Spurs to out-rebound them 47-37 and score 60 points in the paint. Tonights game showed just how important Tyson Chandler is to this Knicks team. The defense was a rumbling, stumbling circus show of comedies tonight without him and the Knicks stood no chance tonight. Lets hope Chandler is good to go on Friday…
- Baron Davis is shooting a cool 29% on the season. He was pretty bad tonight. Davis recorded his second 0/7 shooting game in 5 games and he failed to spark the second team. I was listening to some WFAN after the game and I was shocked by what I heard. Some guy called in and suggested that Davis should replace Lin as the starting point guard on Friday. DAVIS WAS 0/7. What on earth would possibly compel somebody to think that Davis deserves a starting spot. The guy is shooting 29% on the year. I wasn’t going to rag Baron, mainly because I still have a small fan-crush on him after his performance with the Warriors in 07-08, but after hearing that fan’s egregious suggestion, I thought I had to do it. I hope none of you share this ridiculous sentiment. Lin didn’t play well and I’ll get to him in a second but Davis was far worse tonight and has not been good so far as the Knicks backup point guard.
- Thanks for showing up, JR. Rather than score points during games in which the Knicks actually needed him to, i.e. Boston and Dallas, Smith decided to break out of his slump in the fourth quarter tonight. The Knicks were down by 20. Thanks to JR’s performance, the Knicks were able to make the game look like it was semi-competitive. I’m happy he started to hit 3’s, he was 4/7, but now he needs to do this in close games against good teams. Sorry JR, scoring 18 points in a hopeless game is not good enough.
- Landry Fields looked comfortable coming off the bench. He hasn’t been doing well as of late so it was refreshing to see Fields play well off the bench tonight. He scored 8 points on 4/8 shooting but more importantly, he looked comfortable. I think this bench role is going to help Landry in the long run. I do not believe he played any minutes at the 3 tonight but I look for him to begin to do so in future games.
- Amar’e Stoudemire gave himself a new nickname tonight. SAANCAD. Standing Around And Not Caring About Defense. Clyde always uses the mantra “Matador defense” as a description of the Knicks defense when the play poorly. Stoudemire actually played “Matador defense” tonight. I counted at least 3 times tonight in which he would stand there and watch a pick and roll go right by him. HE WAS THE CENTER TONIGHT. Stoudemire’s defense and rebounding was disgustingly bad tonight. Somehow he ended up with 11 rebounds but he also gave up at least 25. He may have had 20 rebounds but he was too busy getting out of the way so DaJuan Blair could get them. Stoudemire was 6/12 for 18 points but those points were irrelevant as he gave up at least 45 points defensively tonight.
- Carmelo Anthony was better tonight. Given the fact that he was 2/12, it would have been hard for Melo to have been worse than he was in last night’s game. He finished tonights game 12/24 with 27 points. 8 of his 27 came in the 4th when the game was out of hand. I wasn’t overly impressed with Melo tonight. He looked off and then he would hit some shots and then he would fall off a gain. I still think that Jeremy Lin needs to work to get Melo in more post up situations, where he is a dominant player. Tonight wasn’t Melo’s fault that the Knicks lost. He could have scored 40 and it wouldn’t have made a difference. I was encouraged to see him play better after his debacle in Dallas last night.
- Jeremy Lin looked pretty bad tonight. Granted he went up Tony Parker who is pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good but Lin should have played better. He finished with a nice stat line, 20 points on 7/15 shooting with 4 assists and only 1 turnover, but he did not play a good game. Many of his points came in the final minutes of regulation when the Spurs had already stopped playing. Right now, the offense is a total mess. Lin looks totally uncomfortable with Melo on the court. He doesn’t know when to shoot and when to defer to Anthony. He struggled to get the pick and roll going tonight with Stoudemire and he failed to help the offense get into a rhythm. I don’t blame Melo but his presence is definitely making an impact on the Knicks young point guard. Right now, Lin has absolutely no idea of how to play with Melo. You can tell that he is unsure whether to drive hard to the paint or dish it off to Melo for an isolation play. I think this problem can be ironed out with time but the Knicks cannot afford to wait for Lin to come around. Their schedule is brutal in the coming weeks and they need to start winning some games or else they’ll be in huge trouble.