Don’t let Chris Copeland’s garbage time buckets fool you, the final score doesn’t indicate how poorly the Knicks played tonight. Houston’s offense dominated the Knicks all night, namely the starting Houston backcourt. Shooting guard James Harden and this guy named Jeremy Lin killed the Knicks all night. JR Smith carried the Knicks offense in the first quarter, but was forced to the bench due to early foul trouble. New York led 31-29 after one quarter, but the Rockets dominated the rest of the game. Houston scored 27 points in each the second and third periods, while the Knicks score 29 points in the two frames combined. The fourth quarter was basically garbage time where Chris Copeland excelled. Because of him, the Knicks lost by 13. Without him, the Knicks lose by 40 probably. This was not a good game for the Knicks. Losing to Jeremy Lin sucks, the Knicks are 0-2 against him now, but we have to remember it is one game. However, the Knicks defensive struggles are real. Coming into the game, New York rated out 16th in defensive efficiency and they gave up a 111.2 offensive efficiency to Houston tonight.
Here are my notes from the game:
- So… defense…. Good god, the Knicks defense was horrible tonight. They couldn’t keep Houston’s guards in front of them at all. Lin and Harden were 13/15 shooting at the rim tonight. Tyson Chandler looked a bit slow tonight and didn’t effect the game much defensively, except for when he picked up a flagrant for elbowing Lin in the face. I need to watch more film to definitively pinpoint New York’s defensive problems, but I think there may be a plethora of problems. We all know about the switching problems and how the Knicks switch too easily which causes matchup nightmares for themselves. I wonder if the Knicks problem on defense might be that they’re just not good defenders. When Chandler is off like he was tonight, slow and ineffective protecting the rim, the defense has no chance. The Knicks aren’t good at stopping dribble penetration which puts added stress on the big men to help at the rim. Without Camby and Sheed, the Knicks really have nobody to defend the rim when Chandler goes out of the game. It is all just a big mess on defense right now.
- New York’s offense is not so hot without Carmelo Anthony on the floor, as Jared Dubin pointed out on the twitterz. I went to the NBA stats database and the on/off floor stats are not encouraging. With Anthony on the floor, the Knicks obviously are a very good offensive team at a 115.1 offensive rating. However, without the Meloman on the floor, the Knicks offensive rating drops to 102.6. Defensively they’re about the same. I think this is really where Amar’e Stoudemire is going to help. The Knicks badly need a bonafide second scorer. Raymond Felton isn’t it. JR Smith isn’t it. As we saw tonight and in the Chicago game, the Knicks don’t have a guy they can go to to create shots. They don’t have a force on offense that can take over a game. Felton and Smith can get hot from the perimeter, but they’re not great scorers. Amar’e Stoudemire has proven in the past to be that force and I still think he can be a force in this second unit.
- Jason Kidd was a -20 on the night. This was his second straight bad shooting game. After going 3/14 against Cleveland, he shot just 2/9 tonight. I hope this is not the beginning of the Kidd regression. To be fair, he hasn’t been getting the same open looks he does when Melo is on the court. I’m not worried yet, but if he plays two or three more games like this, I will be.
- I thought a big key to the game was how Houston controlled the pace. There were 98 possessions in the game, a pretty fast pace, and that doesn’t bode well for our ‘Bockers. For one, the Knicks are terrible in transition defense. For two, the Knicks don’t have the personnel to run an up-tempo offense. For three, the Knicks get sloppy when the pace quickens, shown by New York’s 17 turnovers tonight.
- Did I mention we miss Melo?
- JR Smith was great in the first quarter, but he picked up a really silly second foul and had to sit at the end of the first quarter. His absence really hampered the Knicks offense in that second quarter in which they scored 11 points. Smith was efficient offensively and played a pretty solid game, but his early foul trouble really hurt the Knicks.
- Novak was 1/5 from downtown. It was that kind of night.
- Kurt Thomas was a -9 in 5 minutes. Yes, he is useless.
- Um, so I guess I should say something about that Lin guy. I thought he was great tonight, except for the 1/6 shooting from downtown. He was 8/8 at the rim and he killed the Knicks in transition. That’s about all I have to say about that.
ON TO BROOKLYN!
Follow Taylor on Twitter @tarmosino