In a game that was slow as molasses and sloppier than the sloppiest of joes, the Knicks dropped their 2nd game under Mike Woodson as they lost 100-90 to the Hawks. Carmelo Anthony and Iman Shumpert delivered on offense, but they were the only ones to do so. Anthony and Shumpert combined to score 61 of the Knicks 90 points and the Knicks had no other players hit double figure scoring. Josh Smith, Joe Johnson and Willie Green (who?) were the beasts for Atlanta tonight, scoring 71 of Atlanta’s 100 points. New York actually won the third quarter, for the first time since the age of the Dinosaurs, but their defense faltered down the stretch in the 4th quarter. Big 3 pointers by Joe Johnson and Willie Green stuck the dagger in the Knicks collective hearts and the game was over with about 3 minutes to go.
Here are my notes from the game:
- This one’s not on Melo. Carmelo Anthony wasn’t perfect tonight. He played a far better first half than second half. Credit some of that to Atlanta’s second half defensive adjustments and credit some of that to Anthony not shooting as well. That being said, Anthony was far and away the best Knick tonight. He scored 36 points on 11/24 shooting and nabbed 5 steals. I thought he gave solid effort on defense, but he was overwhelmed by Josh Smith. This is why, I’ve said it on here, on twitter, and on spreecast, I believe that the Knicks are worse with Anthony at the 4. Sure, the floor is spaced a bit better and he has more room to operate. I’ll concede that. However, with Anthony at the 4, the Knicks are going to have games where they are overmatched. Against Orlando, Melo dominated at the 4. Tonight, he was dominated at the 4 defensively. He was giving good effort, but Josh Smith was far too good for him. What happens when the Knicks play Chicago next week? Does anybody really want to see Anthony trying to keep Taj Gibson off the boards? I certainly don’t. I know the Knicks don’t have much of a choice right now but to keep Melo at the 4, but it’s not ideal and the Knicks did get exposed. All that being said, Anthony was very good offensively and this game isn’t on him. He gave good effort, the Hawks were just better tonight.
- Tyson Chandler was rocking the good ol’ invisibility cloak tonight. He was pretty, pretty bad tonight. This is a rarity with Chandler, who is usually so good. He was outplayed by a guy named Zaza and he did close to nothing to help the Knicks win. Granted, Atlanta did do a good job denying him lanes in the paint, but Chandler was not good defensively either. He had some silly fouls and was out of position a few times. Obviously this isn’t the norm and won’t be the norm, but the Knicks could have used a better effort from Chandler tonight.
- Baron looked pretty old tonight. I’m not sure he’s Steve Martin old yet, but he’s certainly not that far away. As decently well as he played against Orlando, he was three times worse tonight. He was 2/8 shooting with 4 assists and 4 turnovers. I’m going to call him “the Stationary Bike” because he’ll do some flare with the ball and he’ll try and out dribble guys, but he’s so slow that he doesn’t ever get by anyone or get anywhere he wants. He’s basically a stationary bike. With the stationary bike running the offense, the Hawks were able to deny Chandler and Novak the ball because they took their chances with Davis and they won. Not that he ever kicks it out anyways, but Baron was absolutely unsuccessful in creating after penetrating the paint. The Hawks did a good job denying the Knick shooters and playing Davis 1 on 1 and Davis lost almost every time. It’s sad to see Baron struggle like this because I genuinely have a fond appreciation for what he did in Golden State, but he’s just been awful so far this year and he was awful again tonight. This is far more entertaining than anything Baron has done in the past 3 years:
- JR Smith is like really, really, really, really, really bad. He has shot just 4/28 from downtown in the past 5 games. Thats worse than I do at the rec center when I sit in the corner and throw up 3’s. On the season, he’s shooting just 28% from downtown. One of the criticisms with JR Smith when we first got him was that he was streaky. Being streaky implies that you have good streaks as well as bad streaks. With the exception of like 2 good games, Smith has been quite consistent. Consistently horrible. He’s done very little as a Knick. He’s caught some alley oops and he tweeted a picture of a gigantic ass. Apart from that, he’s done pretty much nothing. Thanks JR.
- Mike Woodson’s daughter said “poop” on twitter tonight, in case anyone is interested in that.
- Steve Novak was exposed a bit tonight. Between Woody’s stagnant offense and the fact that the Knicks have a stationary bike running the point, Novak was pretty much useless tonight. He got only 2 shot attempts in 20 minutes, which means he had to do other basketball type things in those 20 minutes. He’s not really any good at any of those other basketball things. The Hawks denied Novak the ball and bike couldn’t break down the defense and get it to him. On defense, Josh Smith overwhelmed him. I love Stevie Aqua, but tonight was not a good game for him. Again, it’s not all his fault, but when he doesn’t hit 3’s, he’s close to useless. Tonight, he was pretty close to being useless.
- Injuries caught up to New York tonight. You do have to cut the Knicks a morsel, AND ONLY A MORSEL, of slack because they are extremely short handed right now. Not having Lin is killing the flow of the offense. Not having Stoudemire and Jeffries is killing the defense because Anthony is forced to play the 4. I like Harrellson, but he’s not the answer right now. Josh Smith totally annihilated the Knicks tonight because of their defensive shortcomings. The small lineup is dangerous for New York because its success is solely based on matchup. When Ryan Anderson daydreams all game, Knicks can play defense. When Josh Smith brings full effort, the Knicks can’t play defense. They need Jeffries back so badly its not even funny. I’m pretty worried about playing Indiana and Chicago (twice) next week with this small lineup because I think the Knicks will struggle on defense. I may be wrong, but I doubt it.