What a terrible effort by the Knicks tonight. On a night where their other superstar Amar’e Stoudemire came back from injury, their simply was no effort, no sense of urgency, and no energy from the Knicks tonight.
The Knicks got manhandled on the boards 52-32 and got outhustled to loose balls. The Cavs waltzed down the lane untouched for easy baskets too many time in this game.
The Knick offense was simply out of sync all night until the fourth quarter when they scored 34 point which matched their output of the entire first half.
Mike Bibby is the only Knick I would say played above average as he scored 12 points on 4-5 from three point range to go along with 4 assists, 2 steals, and a block.
Toney Douglas did show something in the fourth quarter as they cut into the lead with 6 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists. He is still struggling from the outside as he was 0-3 from 3. It’s never a good sign when Toney Douglas is the leading rebounder on the team.
With regard to the lineup change (sort of) at the shooting guard position. I say sort of because Iman Shumpert has been starting there for the past 13 games with Amar’e out and Fields playing small forward. But now with Amar’e back someone had to go to the bench and it had to be Fields as he has struggled and Shumpert has played solid over the last several weeks.
Neither one of them fared well in this game. Fields started off 0-6 from the field, 0-3 from three point range, and 0-2 from the line. He did get 4 baskets late including a drive to the hoop, a breakaway dunk, and a putback off a Steve Novak miss.
Normally you would encourage a guy to keep shooting, but Fields is so broken right now, he needs to simply play within his limitations for the good of the team. He is going to have to fix his shot in the offseason.
Shumpert on the other hand was no very effective either. He had a couple baskets early in the first quarter on a nice drive to the basket and a step back jumper. Shumpert needs to use his speed and athletic ability more and get to the rim and put some pressure on the opposing team’s defense. He was 3-9 from the field including 0-2 from 3 point range. In the last five games combined, Shumpert only has 5 free throw attempts. For someone of his ability, he needs to get to the basket and draw fouls as he is a solid free throw shooter at 80%.
The New York papers are going to have a field day tomorrow talking about how Amar’e and Melo can’t coexist. Amar’e looked rusty early on, but got better as the game went on, at least offensively. Defensively, he got beat to the ball several times on the boards as he only had 3 rebounds in 27 minutes. He did have 4 blocks on the night. He finished with 15 points on the night shooting 5-11 from the field. I would say he performed as well as could be expected in his first game back.
Melo was simply not getting the ball enough on offense. He only had 13 shot attempts in 28 minutes and only had 1 free throw attempt on the night.
The Knicks were shooting jumpshot after jumpshot all night and weren’t getting anything going to the basket. The Knicks only were 8-15 from the line on the night and 8 of those attempts were Amar’e.
New York is going to have to find a way to get their offense going to the basket as they are not going to survive solely on jumpshots. Long rebounds will kill them against a team like Miami in the playoffs.
This was a total team loss. There are games like this that you just have to throw out and forget about, but I would have thought they would have been much more pumped up to have Amar’e back right before the playoffs.
With the loss, the chance of the Knicks to get the sixth seed is that much more remote as all Orlando has to do is beat Charlotte (or someone before them) and they clinch it.
At this point, the Knicks are pretty much locked into the 7 or 8 seed.
The Knicks travel to Atlanta to face the Hawks on Sunday as they try to avoid their first back to back losses under Mike Woodson.
Back to the drawing board for the Knicks and play Woodson’s former team who beat Woodson and the Knicks March 30 by the score of 100-90.
The Knicks need to come out with a sense of urgency as they want to keep the positive vibes and momentum going into the playoffs.
3 games left.
The playoffs simply can’t start soon enough.