This is the NBA, nights like this happen. New York was flat tonight. The level of effort was not satisfactory, nor consistent with what we’ve seen as of late. Defensively the Knicks were lazy and the Wizards really executed well. Washington hit 11/20 from downtown and shot 53% in the game. Nobody on the Knicks gave a strong defensive effort, including Tyson Chandler who was dominated by Emeka Okafor and Nene Hilario. Yikes. Carmelo Anthony led the team in scoring with 31 points on 23 shots, but he even was flat on both sides of the ball. I don’t have a ton to say about this one. It was a classic case of a really good NBA team being tired and coming out flat and a really average NBA team having a good night shooting and stealing a win. The world isn’t ending, but I did see some things I didn’t like.
Here are my notes from the game:
- Defensively, the Knicks do some really stupid things. Earlier in the game, New York was doing well defending Washington pick and rolls by having the on-ball guard go under the screen. This kept the lightening quick John Wall out of the paint and forced him into either wasting away possessions on long 2’s or forced him to pass the ball. While the Wizards were having tons of success in the paint, it wasn’t cause Wall was getting there off pick and rolls. This changed in the 4th quarter for some reason. Raymond Felton was the primary on-ball defender and he kept trying to get over the screen for some reason. Switches occurred because of this. Wall got in the paint and when he missed, the roll man was there grabbing boards or disrupting rebounds over the smaller Felton. I have no idea if Woodson called for this or if Felton was doing this on his own. Either way, it made no sense and hurt the team.
- Another bad thing the Knicks were doing, and I think this is on Woodson, is in the 4th quarter they were playing up on Wall. Whether it was JR, Felton or Shumpert, Woodson had the Knick defenders pressuring Wall way out past the three point line. Let me put into perspective how terrible of a shooter John Wall is. In 66 games last season, Wall hit just 3 of his 42 three pointers. His rookie season, he shot 29.6%. So far this season, he’s hit just 1 of his 12 threes taken. He’s shooting only 37% in mid-range. John Wall cannot shoot. The only time he scores is when he gets in the paint. For some reason, Woodson saw it fit for the Knicks to pressure Wall on the ball (ha, that rhymes) and to nobody’s surprise, Wall blew right by the person guarding him. When Wall blew past his man, the Knicks defense collapsed on him which screwed up all the rotations. This error in judgement by the Knicks “defensive coach” absolutely hurt them down the stretch of this game.
- Over the past 12 games, Carmelo Anthony has averaged 40.42 minutes a game. In those past 12 games, the Knicks have taken on powerhouses such as the Wizards, Kings, Pistons (twice), Hornets, Philadelphia and Orlando. In games against those below average teams, he’s played 38 minutes a game. Mike Woodson is absolutely burning Anthony out. Despite Anthony’s 31 point performance, he clearly did not have the energy he showed earlier in the season. Woodson needs to cool it with Anthony’s minutes. We always hear about all this depth the Knicks have and how they could sign old guys and Chris Smith because they had so much depth that it wouldn’t matter. Where is that depth right now? If this continues, Anthony will be burnt to a crisp come playoff team, which obviously would be a disaster for the Knicks.
- Speaking of burnout, Jason Kidd has not looked good at all lately. In the Knicks last 12 games, he’s shooting just 22%. He doesn’t have the same energy he had earlier in the year. Why has this happened? Mike Woodson, as he’s done with Anthony, has played Kidd too many minutes and now Kidd’s performance is suffering. I thought the old guys wouldn’t be playing big roles in this team though?
- On a positive note, Amar’e Stoudemire looked good again. He has fresh legs, unlike the other 14 guys on the team, and it is showing. He is trying on defense, giving really good effort on the boards and he’s been efficient on offense. Cheers, STAT!
That’s what I’ve got tonight, folks. These nights happen. Washington got hot shooting, more ridiculously Trevor Ariza (who is terrible) got hot shooting. When Ariza started splashing threes, Woodson should’ve just called it a night. You know it’s not going to be your night. Anyways, onto Minnesota on Friday! The T’Wolves played a fun game with San Antonio tonight, but came up short. Ricky Rubio can’t shoot either, maybe Woodson will put on a full court press with Sheed in a walking boot pressuring him up the court.
Follow Taylor on Twitter @tarmosino