GAME RECAP: Pelicans 103, Knicks 99

Long-suffering Knicks fan Woody Allen may have said it best: “This team is a travesty. It’s a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham.”

Coming into last night’s game, the New York Knicks were riding an epic nine-game slide, the likes of which hadn’t been seen since the abysmal Larry Brown era almost ten years ago. After Friday’s loss to the Denver Nuggets, guard J.R. Smith said that despite the long losing streak, the Knicks were “just a few plays away in each game.” He added, “But there’s no moral victories.” Yeah, no kidding. See, e.g., last night’s heartbreaking loss back in the Garden as the ‘Bockers (3-13) fell to the New Orleans Pelicans (8-8), 103-99. It was an especially frustrating loss, an opportunity missed for the team to build on some good it they had been doing against the Nuggets.

Unlike many of the dreadful games played by New York this season, the Knicks actually started off well against the Pellies, only to completely implode in the fourth quarter. Making matters worse, the Knicks managed to lose a game in which their opponent’s best player, Anthony Davis, left the game in the first quarter with a non-displaced fracture — get well soon, Tyson! — of his hand. Instead of taking advantage, though, New York decided to not guard Ryan Anderson or Tyreke Evans. Ugh.

If Mike Woodson’s seat was warm before, it’s gotta be simmering at this point. Perhaps a kiss of death vote of confidence from James Dolan is not too far away.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

  • Rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. scored a career-high 21 points off bench. He was 5-for-8 from three and hit a big trey to put the Knicks up 93-88 with 6:42 left in the game. Of course, New York didn’t sweep the leg and his performance was all for naught. Hardaway takes some ill-advised shots, but you have to admire his fearlessness. There are times when it looks like he’s the only one on the court who actually believes in himself and his team. The Knicks will probably trade him in the next five minutes.
  • Andrea Bargnani had six blocks!!!
  • Even though they lost, there were times during the game when the Knicks actually looked like a winning team. Now if they could only harness that energy and have it remain that high for the entire 48 minutes.
  • Carmelo Anthony finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds (on 9-of-21 shooting) and hit a big 3-pointer with 54 seconds left to pull the Knicks to within three. Unfortunately, that was the only three he hit all night. Melo was 1-of-7 from beyond the arx and he foolishly ate valuable seconds on the clock by hoisting an ill-advised trey attempt at the end of the game when the Knicks were down four. Sigh.

WHAT WENT WRONG

  • Ryan Anderson dropped a season-high 31 points. He came off the bench and hit SEVEN 3-pointers (he was 7-11 from behind the arc). Yeah, so, about that. I dunno, maybe guarding him would have been a good idea?
  • The Pelicans scored 19 fast break points and the Knicks continue to show that they have absolutely no interest in transition defense.
  • Where art thou, Bargs? In the fourth quarter, anyway.
  • Alan Hahn of the MSG Network coined a new phrase last night: “The third quarter of doom.” The Knicks allowed the Pelicans to score 32 in the third frame and entered the decisive fourth quarter trailing by two points.
  • J.R. Smith played 34 minutes to Iman Shumpert‘s played 21. It’s fair to wonder just how juicy those blackmail pictures are that Smith has of Woodson and Dolan.
  • Woody removed Amar’e Stoudemire halfway through the fourth quarter, replaced him with Bargnani and to the shock of nearly everyone watching, this actually hindered the Knicks. That move coupled with Smith playing over Shumpert in the waning moments of the game equaled disaster for the Knicks.

KNICK KNACKS

  • Thank goodness the game wasn’t played in New Orleans. if you haven’t seen the Pellies’ new mascot, Pierre, here’s a picture. He’s nightmare fuel.
  • Saturday Night Live’s Cecily Strong was Jill Martin’s halftime guest on MSG. I have no idea what she was talking about, but it seems Mike Breen and I shared the same experience when we worked at NBC. Neither one of us ever stepped into Studio 8A.
  • During a third quarter timeout, Shumpert could be seen screaming at ‘Melo about a miscommunication on defense, but Anthony basically ignored him. Coincidentally, Shump was taken out of the game shortly after that and was never heard from again. At this point, it would be a complete shock if Shumpert isn’t traded ASAP.
  • The Knicks are now 0-for-infinity in the alternate orange uniforms. It may be time to burn them.