EVERYBODY STAY CALM. It is just one basketball game, contrary to Jay-Z’s asinine tweet of “The city is under new management.” Troll so hard Mr. Z, troll so hard. Anyways, the Knicks and Nets played a hard fought game Monday night. Reggie Evans willed Brooklyn to a two point halftime deficit. New York’s offense really fell apart in the second half and overtime. The Knicks scored just 20 third quarter points, 17 fourth quarter points and mustered a mighty 5 point performance in the overtime period. New York held an 84-81 lead with 1:38 to play in regulation, but a series of Knick miscues allowed Brooklyn to push the game to overtime. In extra time, the Knicks offense was unable to do anything and they were outscored 12-5. Deron Williams, despite his shooting struggles, played a masterful game. His 16 points and 14 assists led Brooklyn to victory. Tyson Chandler broke out of his early season doldrums with a 28 point 10 rebound performance. Carmelo Anthony also had a great game, scoring 35 points on 25 shots and grabbing 13 rebounds, but ran out of gas along with the Knick offense.
Here are my notes from the game:
- This might have been Mike Woodson’s worst game as head coach. I was really bothered by two things in particular, Carmelo Anthony’s minutes and the Knicks 4th quarter offense. Lets start with Anthony. Of the 53 minutes played in this game, 4 quarters plus the overtime period, Carmelo Anthony was in the game for 50 of them. Why? I have no idea. The Knicks offense relied heavily on Anthony tonight, as they have all season, but I don’t see a reason why Woodson couldn’t find a few more minutes of rest for his superstar. Despite playing a great offensive game, Anthony really tired down the stretch and it was obvious. He didn’t record a field goal in the final 8:36 of the game. He missed the potential game winning shot and left six points on the board in missed free throws. Woodson also mismanaged the late game offense in that 4th quarter. Despite shooting just 3/19 on the game, Woodson continued to run the offense through his point guard. The Knicks ran pick and roll after pick and roll after pick and roll. Felton was bailed out on one shot by a Chandler put-back, but then air-balled a floater out of bounds on the next possession. I would’ve liked to see Anthony with the ball in his hands in a post up situation. On the Knicks final offensive play of regulation, Woodson called for the same play the Knicks ran in Dallas last week. A cross screen that gets Anthony the ball in isolation on the left elbow. This play doesn’t really make any sense to me though. First off, it puts Anthony in sort of an awkward time situation. He got the ball coming across the floor with about 9 seconds on the clock. If he holds onto to the ball in isolation, his defender has had time to catch up to him. If he attacks immediately, he’ll shoot the ball too quickly and give the other team a shot to tie or win the game. What ended up happening was Anthony pulling up for a poor shot too early in the clock and just as in the Dallas game, he missed the shot. I would’ve liked to see either straight hero ball, or putting Anthony in a better position to succeed. Either give it to him down low in the post, in the high post or out at the arc like in the Chicago game last year and let him go to work in isolation. Don’t get him the ball in an awkward situation coming off a cross screen with 9 seconds left on the clock. Not to mention he’s a far better player on the right elbow. Bad coaching by Woodson in this one.
- TYSON CHANDLER IS ALIVE! Or so we think! Chandler’s early season struggles have been a secret to nobody, but tonight he turned in easily his best performance of the season. He scored 25 points on 12/13 shooting and grabbed 10 rebounds. His 7 offensive rebounds were absolutely crucial to the Knicks being in the game at all. He also kept Brook Lopez, a quality offensive center, in check for most of the game. The times Lopez really killed the Knicks were in transition, but in the half court Chandler did a pretty good job on him. Chandler has to build on this and continue to regain his 2011 form if the Knicks are going to turn this defense around.
- Raymond Felton was absolutely horrible. 3/19 shooting. 5 assists. Air-balled floaters. Bad jump shots early in the shot clock. The list goes on. This was by far Felton’s worst game as a Knick dating back to the D’Antoni days of 2010. I don’t recall Felton ever being so bad. I wasn’t sure why he continued to be allowed to shoot the ball aimlessly in the fourth quarter. Once again, that falls on Woodson. One of the more popular things about coach Woodson has been his whole ‘accountability’ schtick. However, where was he to keep Felton accountable? One of the criticisms of Mike D’Antoni when he was here was that he just let guys shoot without accountability. Woodson sat back and allowed Felton to shoot the Knicks out of the game. I would’ve supported him pulling Felton for Prigioni late in the game. Felton was really that bad. I think this obviously falls on Felton for coming up short in a big game and to continue shooting, but Woodson also deserves blame for not holding his point guard accountable for his poor performance.
- Speaking of accountability, who is keeping Rasheed Wallace accountable for going 2/11. First off, why on earth is he shooting the ball 11 times. Why on earth is he shooting threes like John Starks on speed out there? I love Rasheed and I think he has been a positive player for the team, but he was an absolute detriment tonight on offense. Despite all his poor shooting, I thought Wallace did well on the boards, grabbing 8 rebounds.
- Marcus Camby played just 5 minutes tonight. I don’t understand what is going on with him. There is something behind this Woodson-Camby situation that we don’t know about. Why Wallace, despite playing well this season, is getting 16 minutes a game and Camby hardly sees the floor is beyond me. I don’t believe it is a “conditioning issue” because Wallace didn’t play in the pre-season, yet Woodson had no problem just throwing him into the fire. I really think Camby can help this team, especially given their recent troubles protecting the rim. It is disappointing to see him continue to ride the bench while the team loses games.
- Quick Nets note: Brook Lopez is horrible on defense. He defends the pick and roll like a chicken with his head cut off. Lopez is painfully slow and I laughed at his defense multiple times. That is all.
- Maybe the two largest hallmarks of the Knicks hot start, three point shooting and ball movement, were non-existent tonight. The Knicks shot just 29% from downtown and had only 14 assists. They really missed Jason Kidd tonight. Kidd’s savvy passing and focus on swinging the ball was missed tonight. Obviously his three point shooting, which has been surprisingly great this season, was missed as well. Get well soon, Mr Kidd.
- Gerald Wallace and Reggie Evans (F$&$ YOU REGGIE EVANS) did all sorts of flopping tonight and it worked. They were getting calls, including a ludicrous Evans flop that wiped out a key Prigioni layup. The flopping did make an impact in the game and it is a shame the officials rewarded them for that style of play.
- Nets fans chanting “BROOK-LYN” throughout the game is silly. Admittedly that is a cool chant, but it is cool if the Nets are winning late in the game or if a big play occurs in a big moment of the game. But to chant that in the third quarter after consecutive Knicks baskets is just silly.
- The Knicks let Jerry Stackhouse sink four of his five three point attempts. My reaction went something like this ‘WHAT IN THE F$%#!!!!! ARE YOU F&*$!@# KIDDING ME!?!?! JERRY F$%^#$%@ STACKHOUSE!?! HE’S LIKE 105 YEARS OLD! WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THESE GUYS?!?” and then I threw some things.
- If I haven’t already mentioned it, I hate Reggie Evans.
- New York and Brooklyn both had 50 rebounds on the game. Given some of the Knicks deficiencies rebounding this year, this is probably better than I expected the rebounding battle to go. However, Brooklyn grabbed 18 offensive boards which really did hurt the Knicks. They’ve got to get better at securing defensive rebounds.
The Knicks have to come back against Milwaukee on Wednesday and start to get this thing back on track. They’re 3-4 since their 6-0 start and now they could be without Jason Kidd and Ronnie Brewer on a day-to-day basis. Felton has to get this game out of his head, Melo has to continue his onslaught of offensive efficiency and Tyson Chandler must re-gain his 2011 form. The last two weeks has been rough, but if you told me the Knicks would start 9-4 after playing Miami, Philly twice, Indiana, San Antonio, Memphis, Brooklyn and Dallas twice, I would absolutely take it. This loss stings, but let’s keep things in perspective. This game means little in the grand scheme of an 82 game season and the Knicks will have three more shots at Brooklyn before it is all said and done. They lost tonight’s grudge match in overtime despite a horrible game from Ray Felton, bad shooting and bad late game offense. The world isn’t ending, the sky isn’t falling, the Knicks just have one more loss on their still very impressive record. Give Brooklyn credit, they deserve it, but this loss isn’t the end of the world for the Knicks. Even if Jay-Z thinks it is.
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