This has been a fun week!
First, the Knicks lose in Boston. Then they go to Texas and drop back to back games in miserable fashion. The Knicks topped off this week in
hell the NBA by dropping a very winnable game to a very mediocre Bucks team. The Knicks, 18-22, now sit just 2 games up on the Bucks for the 8th playoff seed in the Eastern Conference. Their losing ways as of late have propelled Philadelphia to a 7 1/2 game lead over the Knicks. This was a game the Knicks needed to win and they blew it. Again.
Here are my notes from the game:
- My apologies for this late post and the absence of a pre-game. I was swamped all day Friday as I had class, I had to pack and I came back home to California. I caught the second half of the game at the airport on my league pass and I went back later and watched the first half.
- This game proved absolutely nothing about Amar’e Stoudemire. We already knew that he’s a weak defender. We already knew that he’s better offensively when playing center. We already knew he was a lazy rebounder. He put all of these things on display tonight. Sure, his stat line was impressive, 27 points 11 rebounds, but Stoudemire did not play a great game. Offensively he did do some nice things but considering the fact that the Bucks defenders often ran out of his way and that he was playing center, I wasn’t impressed. His rebounding line is impressive but if you watched the game, most of his rebounds came in the 4th quarter. Throughout the game, Stoudemire failed to establish himself as any sort of rebounding/post defending presence. I thought his defense was wildly mediocre. And I’m being nice about it.
- The entire defense sucked. I can rant about Amar’e and his lack of defensive effort all day but tonight, the Knicks as a unit were pitiful defensively. They scored 34 first quarter points and were TRAILING by 2 at the end of the quarter. They couldn’t stop Milwaukee all night. The Bucks shot 50% from downtown and 48.4% overall. The Knicks lost a game tonight in which they shot 55% from the field. The Knicks should never ever ever lose a game in which they shoot over 50%. I applaud the offense. Milwaukee was poor defensively as well but the Knicks did do a good job on offense. In the end, it doesn’t matter how well the offense did. New York’s defense, without Tyson Chandler, was a mess once again. Let’s just hope he’s back on Sunday.
- Speaking of defense, where was Iman Shumpert tonight. He went from starting on Wednesday to playing 5 minutes tonight. Early twitter speculation suggested that maybe his knee was bothering him. Mike D’Antoni said Shumpert was benched because he was not focused on Friday night. THE DEFENSE ALLOWED 50% SHOOTING FROM DOWNTOWN. Nobody was focused on defense. The perimeter defense sucked all game and could really have used Shumpert tonight.
- Quietly, JR Smith has been very quiet. Smith’s struggles continued as he shot 1/3 in 18 minutes and scored only 3 points. I have no idea what on earth is wrong with him. Mentally, he just does not seem to be in the game right now. His body language on the bench gave off a negative vibe. I honestly don’t know what is wrong with him and I don’t care. I want him to help this team win basketball games by scoring big points off the bench but right now he is doing anything but that.
- Melo was alright. He scored 22 points on 7/17. Not a bad night but I hold Melo to another standard. We aren’t paying him to shoot 7/17 and miss a clutch free throw late in the game. I thought in the 3rd quarter, Melo went into chuck mode and wasted a few possessions. Decent night statistically but Melo has to be better for the Knicks to start winning games again.
- I thought Lin was the best player on the Knicks tonight. I thought he did a pretty serviceable job staying in front of Brandon Jennings and forcing him to take jump shots. Offensively, Lin found a nice groove and had a nice game swishing the ball. I am concerned about Lin playing 41 minutes. Even tonight, there looked like there were times where he was exhausted. The Baron and Lin backcourt did some nice things tonight but ultimately, Davis must back up Lin. I think tonight’s up court tempo really made Lin feel comfortable and he was just swishing and dishing the ball to his teammates as he had 13 assists. I wouldn’t say the league has figured Lin out but they are starting to come down on him and focus game plans around him. I still believe Lin is a starting point guard n this league and he just needs to learn ho to play within the offense.Follow @tarmosino