Pretty much the only thing you need to know about this game is this:
This was a 90’s flashback game. There was tough defense by both squads, not a lot of offense and a lot of sloppiness. Both teams played even throughout the game, but the Knicks ran out of gas down the stretch. Without Carmelo Anthony for the second straight game, the Knicks struggled against the defensive minded Bulls. New York couldn’t find their stroke from downtown, shooting just 8/23 from downtown. Usually great in the turnover category, the Knicks uncharacteristically coughed up the ball over 15 times tonight. Carrying the load of the Knicks shooting by default tonight, Raymond Felton was an abysmal 9/30 shooting from the field. JR Smith’s 4/14 performance made me sad and Ronnie Brewer chipped in a solid 0/5 clip. As a team, the Knicks shot just 32% tonight.
Here are my notes from the game:
- Basically the game boiled down to the Knicks not having Carmelo Anthony and the Bulls having Tom Thibodeau. Without Anthony, the Knicks offense never got into a rhythm. They struggled to effectively move the ball and saw very few open looks throughout the night. This was a game where the Knicks needed someone who could create shots in the half court, and Raymond Felton couldn’t do it. New York needed a calming influence on offense to slow them down and get them under control. Anthony would’ve been that influence and the Knicks really missed him tonight. Tom Thibodeau, as he has all season, had the Bulls defending like crazy tonight. They were exceptional in defending the pick and roll, they were sharp in their rotations and they did a good job of forcing turnovers. I was very impressed with the Bulls defense tonight.
- I would’ve liked to see Flight White get some more run. In twelve minutes tonight, White was 2/3 shooting and was a Knicks high +10 in the +/- category. I thought he brought some good energy on both ends of the court. I don’t know if we’ve seen enough of White to know how good he really is, but it is clear that he can come in and do some positive things. He’s not JR. He’s not going to come in and throw up a bunch of stupid shots. White plays under control and he really just knows how to play, kind of like Prigioni. White seems like a rock solid player, one that should’ve gotten more playing time in this game.
- Speaking of Prigioni, he really needs to play with a pick and roll big man. Him playing with Wallace is counterproductive at this point. Having them play together doesn’t really optimize each player’s strengths. Prigioni needs a guy like Stoudemire to give him a force driving to the hoop in pick and rolls. Without that, Prigioni is basically left on an island. After the pick is set by Wallace, he just floats out at the three point line. Prigioni gets stuck either going to the rim against bigger, more athletic guys with no roll man, or he gets stuck trying to kick the ball out with guys in the passing lanes. Because Prigioni hasn’t shown a ton of prowess as a scorer, defenses have been hesitant to really help on him and often leave him one on one. Even when Wallace crashes to the rim, he is not nearly forceful enough to draw two or three defenders and open up open passing lanes to open shooters. The result has been a very average pick and roll, that was well below average tonight against the great Bulls defense.
- The Knicks couldn’t stop Marco F%^&$!@G Belinelli. That was incredibly frustrating.
- Sheed hit a bank 3 in the waining seconds of the first quarter, which was hilarious. Although it was slightly less hilarious because Belinelli (F^%$ THAT GUY) hit a bank three as time expired in that quarter. This game had all your bank threes.
- Ray Felton’s shot chart tonight OH MY GOD ALL THE BLOOD:
- Tyson Chandler had a really strong game, until the end of the game. He got his fifth foul with about 5 minutes left in the game. From that point on, I thought his defense was incredibly soft. The Bulls went by him two or three times, by my count (Bane voice), which really cost the Knicks down the stretch.
- Why doesn’t Woodson hold JR Smith accountable? JR Smith’s minutes have been increasing the past couple weeks while his field goal percentage has been plummeting. Obviously he wasn’t going to shoot 70% from downtown all season, but he seems to have completely lost his rhythm shooting the ball. The past five games, Smith has shot just 34% from field and just 26% from downtown. Yet for some reason, he has played 33 minutes a game. With the recent strong play of James White and the continued strong play of Ronnie Brewer, except for tonight, Woodson shouldn’t feel like he has to play Smith these kind of minutes. As we all know from last season, Woodson has some sort of weird love for Smith. You’d think as a coach, Smith’s erratic play would drive him crazy, but that’s clearly not the case. I just hope when Shumpert and Stoudemire come back, that Woodson makes the right call allocating Smith’s minutes in crunch time. If Smith is having one of these 4/14 games, I hope that Woodson goes to a Shumpert or Stoudemire or Novak.
- The Knicks shot just 9/28 at the rim. I don’t think that is very good.
Thats all folks! The Knicks take on Denver tomorrow night at Madison Square Garden. I expect Melo to play against his former team and I expect him to play well. It should be interesting. Have a good night everyone!
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