John Wall certainly made the Knicks wail. //leaves
That awful, yet slightly glorious, pun is very apt for the way the Knicks performed tonight (minus the glorious part). New York, now the proud owners of a five game losing streak and sitting at a blistering 3-9, quickly threw away the three point lead they held at the half, and eventually lost to the Wizards (5-9) 98-89. The aforementioned John Wall started 7-7 from the field, so logically, Coach Woodson made the executive decision to continue throwing every guard on the Knicks not named Iman Shumpert at Wall. This worked beautifully, as John Wall ended up
getting shut down by the Knicks dropping 31 points and 7 assists on 10-18 shooting. Among other great feats the Knicks achieved tonight, making Marcin Gortat look like Dennis Rodman has to be at the top of the list. Gortat finished with 16 points and 17 rebounds, with 7 of his ‘bounds coming on the offensive end. Gortat, as well as most of the Wizards, dominated the second half. The Wizards quickly realized that in the lineup of Beno-Shumpert-Melo-Bargs-Martin, only two players are threats to throw the basketball in such a manor that it would actually go through the hoop, and one of the two (Shumpert) cannot take more than 5 dribbles without something bad happening. Since Beno could not get into the paint or make a jumpshot, the Knicks tried running some variations of the same action to either get Carmelo running through a cross screen to post up or flash for a jumper. The Wizards defenders guarding Udrih, Bargnani, and Martin, would simply sag off their man, essentially doubling Melo before he even had the ball and forcing the Knicks to get stagnant. On offensive, the Wizards simply had their way with the Knicks. The pick-and-roll defense was truly horrific, as neither the guard nor the big knew what to do at the point of attack. The Knicks kept collapsing their defense, and the both Gortat and Nene are very nice passers who kept finding guys like Martell Webster or Bradley Beal open in the corner. Every time the Knicks began making a run to get back in the game, it was squashed by a conveniently timed, back-breaking three pointer by a Wizard.
This was a putrid, putrid game that was only amplified in putrid-ness by the fact that it was very winnable even for a struggling, banged up Knicks team. Let’s look at why:
WHAT WENT RIGHT:
- 5-5 for 12 points in 22 minutes…my god, that’s Amar’e Stoudemire music! Well, not really what we expect from the STAT of the past, but this was by far his best game of the season. Stoudemire cooked Nene in the post, scoring a different way each time. (He also went to work on Jan Vesely, and then exchanging post-moves for a solid three minutes was the lowest point of basketball’s history.) Amar’e even knocked down a fall-away jumper and got an offensive rebound through traffic. I find his post game really interesting. He doesn’t shoot a bunch of turn-around jumpers or spin off the defender successfully. Mainly, it’s just bullying his man as far as he can, and then throwing up little bunnies and being successful by using his naturally great touch around the rim.
- Carmelo Anthony, while being constantly doubled and not able to really take over the game, stayed contributing on the glass, grabbing 9 rebounds (3 offensive). Melo shot 9-19 for 23 points, and his defense wasn’t all that bad with the exclusion of some seldom moments of giving Apparent Knicks Killer Martell Webster too much space to shoot a 3 pointer.
- Pablo Prigioni knocked down 2 out of 4 threes, and was his wonderful, Pablo-like self throughout the game.
- Tim Hardaway Jr. made a nice baseline drive to the hoop and knocked down a corner 3.
- That’s it.
WHAT WENT WRONG:
- Oh boy, where to begin? Andrea Bargnani, who is easily my least favorite player on this team, got brutalized by Marcin Gortat on the glass in the battle of Centers Who Just Got Traded For A First Round Pick. Bargs was a game low -13, and shot 5-14 while providing abysmal help defense. While he has been a very adept post defender, when teams get him in space or make him move around even a little bit, terrible things happen.
- The Knicks gave up, by my count, 6 and-one’s. Methinks that is not an effective defensive strategy.
- Beno Udrih did not build off of his surprisingly good game against the Pacers. Instead, he was 1-7 in 25 minutes while getting massacred by John Wall. Now, in Beno’s defense, he shouldn’t have been guarding him to begin with. The coaching on the defensive end was seriously lacking tonight (as it has been all year). Which brings me to…
- Sweet Yeezus and everything holy, literally anyone can score on the Knicks. As I touched on earlier, there is no apparent strategy to defending the pick and roll, and seemingly anyone standing below the 3pt line gets mindlessly doubled from moronic angles. This is a mess that looks ever so messier without Tyson Chandler doing his best to organize the defense even a little bit.
- The Knicks got the Wizards into the penalty with 10 minutes remaining in the 4th quarter. They ended up attempting six free throws, and only making one. JR himself missed four consecutive FTs, and then kept taking advantage of being in the penalty by shooting step back jumpers. At one point, JR missed one of his patented jumpers, Metta then grabbed the rebound, and shot another jumper from the free throw line while completely off balance and with 22 seconds left on the shot clock. The Knicks scored a grand total of 0 points on that trip down the court.
- A couple great moments on the broadcast: First, Beno Udrih grabbed a long rebound, ran up the floor, got caught by John Wall, and pulled up for a jumper, leading Spero Dedes to describe him as “not exactly a speed burner.” Then, after John Wall attempted a near-half court alley oop to Jan Vesely that he overthrew by a solid five feet, Clyde hypothesizes that “even Manute Bol would have had trouble with that one.”
- JR Smith, by missing two consecutive free throws, got everyone in the crowd free Chick-Fil-A sandwiches. JR Smith: Forever man of the people.
- The Knicks now start their west coast trip, with Portland being the first stop along the way. Game tips of at 10pm ET on Monday. Brace yourselves, this will get ugly.