The Knicks have had a lot of bad losses this season. That may have been the worst one. Given the opponent and the circumstance, this was a game the Knicks needed to win badly. The Knicks upcoming gauntlet schedule consists of facing Orlando, Chicago twice, Milwaukee, the Wizards (the only “easy game”), then Miami and Boston. The 27-27 Knicks needed this victory and they should have won this game.
Going into the 4th quarter, the Knicks had dominated the game. Their defense was on point while the offense was rolling as Carmelo Anthony dominated the first three quarters. However, in typical Knicks fashion, New York completely fell apart and collapsed in the final quarter. The offense became stagnant and ineffective while the defense seemingly forgot what to do. New York blew a 15 point lead and the Pacers won the game. Indiana won the fourth quarter 40-17. It was a stunning collapse for the Knicks, who had been playing very well defensively as of late.
Here are my notes from the game:
- Who’s holding Michael Dean Woodson accountable for this loss? Coach Mike Woodson deserves a lot of blame for this embarrassing defeat. Between stupid rotations and stagnant offensive play calling, Mike Woodson coached by far his worst game as the Knicks head coach. First, lets discuss his asinine rotations. At one point he had Mike Bibby AND Toney Douglas in the game at the same time. Most of the debate has been centered around which of the beleaguered guards should play. Nobody in their right minds, except Woodson apparently, thinks it is a good idea to play them both at the same time. I cannot figure out what Woodson was trying to accomplish with those two on the court together. Apparently they didn’t know either because neither of them played well, shocking I know. Woodson totally mishandled Landry Fields tonight. This was Fields’ best offensive game in at least a month. He shot 2/3 from downtown and scored 15 points. He sparked the team early and often in the first half. Woodson rewarded his effort by playing him a total of 31 seconds in the 4th quarter and just 23 minutes in the game. Woodson thought that going with JR Smith for 29 minutes despite his 3/11 shooting night was a better idea. The interim coach also thought playing Steve Novak for just 13 minutes was smart, even when the Knicks struggled to score points in the 4th quarter. At one point he had Novak and Harrellson in the game together at the 4 and 5 respectively, and of course the Knicks hilariously flailed defensively. In the 4th quarter, Woodson decided going to iso-Melo for 33 possessions straight was a good idea. Now, I understand that Melo dominated the game. But the Knicks were helping Melo dominate in the first 3 quarters. They ran some high screens to force Indiana defensive switches which then got Melo a favorable matchup. In the 4th quarter, there was close to none of that. The game plan transformed to toss Melo the ball and get out of the way. The lack of ball movement threw everything out of whack and as a result, the Knicks got annihilated in the 4th quarter.
- Baron sucks. Seriously, there’s no other way to say it. 2/8 shooting, 3 assists and 4 turnovers in 29 minutes. Those stats don’t even indicate how brutally terrible Davis played. Defensively, he’s a garden gnome that gets beaten and battered. Offensively, he shows no signs of being the Wizard he once was. He shoots one legged fade aways and throws alley oops off the backboard that turn into turnovers. I have no idea what happened to Davis. I get that he’s old, but it looks like he seemingly forgot how to play the game. He has no grasp or concept of the offense. Davis looks like he’s winging it out there, and he sucks. Woodson, who loves him for some reason, even benched him in the 4th quarter because he was so inept. Very very poor showing for Baron last night.
- JR must have watched wrestle mania this weekend. Never mind his unproductive 3/11 shooting night. Sure, he played horribly, but it was his antics at the end of the game that I want to talk about. With the game out of reach, Smith lost his mind on a rebound and shoved Leandro Barbosa to the ground. He was assessed with a flagrant 2 and was thrown out of the game. It was a stupid stupid play on JR’s part. He lost his head and composure and will probably now be assessed some sort of punishment from the league. I know that Mr Earl is not the brightest guy and that you’ll have a few problems with him on your squad. I can deal with the ass pictures and stuff, but when you hurt the team then I have a problem. In this game, did that ejection matter? Probably not. The game was out of reach. If he gets suspended a game, that matters big time. If he’s suspended for Thursday’s matchup with Orlando, thats a huge loss for New York. He’s one of the few offensive weapons on this team and they need him out there.
- Lou Amundson abused Tyson Chandler in the 4th quarter. Chandler’s stat line looked good tonight, 12 points and 14 rebounds, but he did not play a good game. I thought the Knicks interior defense was soft all game and in the 4th quarter they got manhandled. Not by Roy Hibbert. Not by David West. Not by Tyler Hansbrough. It was Lou Amundson and his stupid looking hair that killed the Knicks in the 4th quarter. He grabbed 5 offensive rebounds and killed the Knicks chances of winning. Every once in a while, Chandler plays like $%^# and tonight was one of those games. I don’t care about his stats, he did not play well and that hurt the team.
- Remember when the Knicks were supposed to be really deep? Ahh, those were good times.
- Iman Shumpert’s stupid foul was huge. In the 3rd quarter, David West broke out on a layup. Shumpert, chasing from behind, dangerously and stupidly fouled West hard for a 3 point play. West, who has had knee problems in the past, came down extremely awkwardly on his knee. It was scary for West and stupid on Shumpert’s part. I wouldn’t say that was the turning point of the game, because it wasn’t, but it definitely gave the Pacers a bit of added momentum. It’s just a stupid play on Shumpert’s part. There was no reason to do it. West made the layup and Shumpert got a flagrant which gave Indiana another possession. Bad play by Shumpert. He’ll learn from it. I hope.
- I don’t even want to talk about Toney Douglas.
- Bill Walker almost went after a heckler at the end of the game. I wish he would have. That would have been far more entertaining than the game.
- If you don’t think the Knicks are going to make a run at John Calipari, then read this.