Thursday, March 31, 2011

The good, the bad and the truly ugly of the Knicks

The Knicks should play 39 and 10 in the lottery. Carmelo Anthony scored 39 points and pulled down 10 rebounds for the second straight game, leading the team past the Nets 120-116, as Deron Williams missed a jump shot with 3 seconds left.

It was a good, bad and ugly game for Knicks as they allowed New Jersey to score a season-best 68 points in the first half. Again in the half, the Knicks played phantom defense and a complete inability to block anyone out on the boards, allowing the Nets to out rebound them 2 to 1. Brook Lopez ended up with 9 rebounds for the game. Yes, the same Brook Lopez that has been criticized for his lack of rebounding all season. These Knicks tend to make stars out of anyone in any uniform that is not orange, white and blue.

The good:

Carmelo Anthony played hustling defense for the second straight game, and had the aforementioned stats of 39 and 10. He also added 5 assists. He and the second half Knicks looked like they could beat anyone when they played up-tempo ball, moving the ball around to hit the open man.

At times, Carmelo looked like a man among boys on offense, scoring at will, and clearly showing why he is known as one of the best shooters in the game, causing sorrow to Morrow, as Clyde might say.

Only 5 turnovers for the game. The Knicks took care of the ball. Bravo! Good job.

Jared Jeffries was a difference maker - 4 steals and 6 rebounds. Solid all around game.

Anthony Carter provided great energy and hustle running the offense when he was in there, changing up the pace, and showing great leadership.

The Knicks really hustled in the second half, looking like a different team, and impressed with their solid defense, allowing only 48 points vs. the first half's 68. They also upped the tempo, moving the ball around sharply and began hitting 3 point shots at crucial times.

The big three; Billups, Amare and Melo scored 95 of the teams' 120 points.

The bad:

The first half was just embarrassing. The Knicks didn't put any effort in on the defensive end. They are getting into a "we don't have to try because we can always come back" mode. This may work for a few games against weaker teams, but against the better teams, it won't.

All game the Knicks didn't rebound well inside defensively, except for one rebound at the end of the game by the smallest player on the court- Toney Douglas. Jeffries' 5 rebounds, and 6 rebounds by Anthony helped but... yes they are a small team, but rebounding is also hustle. Amare had ONE rebound all game. ONE! He didn't put his body out there on defense, and he needs to play tougher. Think the Knicks could use Kris Humphries?

The big three; Billups, Amare and Melo scored 95 of the teams' 120 points. Landry Fields has now almost completely disappeared from the box score, with 2 points and 2 rebounds, and the other players didn't fare much better.

Again, the phrase I hate to repeat..."This may work for a few games against weaker teams, but against the better teams, it won't."

The truly ugly:

Watching the game tape, I noticed that the Knicks don't box out at all. I didn't see one play where any Knick blocked out anyone. They just stand around and wait for the ball to come to them, and reach out to foul when they don't get it. Where is the coaching? This is an issue that must be corrected.

In addition, the Knicks don't seem to set picks well. Watch other teams set picks. Knicks end up on the floor banging into them. I haven't seen one pick all season that really caused a problem for an opposing player.

Again,  Where is the coaching? Is it really that hard to teach a player how to set a pick? I'm 5'7". I will come in and show the Knicks how to set a pick, mmmm-k?

I heard a great interview Steven A. Smith did with Charles Barkley regarding the latter's opinion of the Knicks. He ragged on the team, saying that they are not a defensive squad, never will be, and teams salivate at the thought of playing them in the playoffs, saying, "they will be easy to beat".  He also criticized Carmelo's one on three offensive tendencies, and that the team is too small. I can't say I disagree. Much as the team is fun to watch,(when they hustle), they won't go far in the playoffs, and with the Pacers and Bobcats nipping at their heels, a complete collapse may be unlikely, but it still makes me worry.

What we saw in the second half was encouraging, but when the playoffs come around, will the Knicks put forth the 48 minutes of intensity that they are capable of? If not, those boos we heard at halftime will be truly ugly.

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