At this point, the New York Knicks have become a chore to watch.
Coming off a stupefying loss to Washington where some baffling late game management (or lack thereof) led to their undoing, our boys in blue looked to bounce back against the lowly Milwaukee Bucks last night. Tyson Chandler would be making his much anticipated return to the lineup, and Milwaukee would be missing several key players, including O.J. Mayo and Caron Butler. All signs pointed to this being just the softball that Mike Woodson and company needed to get back on track, but when have they ever made it easy?
What ensued was a double-OT romp consisting of ill-advised Carmelo isolations, Brandon Knight buckets, more questionable rotations from Woodson, and JR’s one man crusade against Milwaukee’s rims. The Knicks managed to come out on top when it was all said and done, but it was an experience that left me feeling dirty and yearning for a shower. A win is a win, but somebody needs to check the expiration date on this one.
WHAT WENT RIGHT:
- Tyson Chandler, we’ve missed you dearly. While his statline was relatively modest (9 points, 9 rebounds), Chandler’s purpose isn’t to score; it’s to secure the paint and punch any would be intruder’s shot into the second row along with all their hopes and dreams. Finishing with 3 blocks and causing numerous altered shots due to his timely contests, Milwalkee shot a paltry 41% from the field and mustered only 101 points in a game that went to double overtime.
- It’s no secret that Beno Udrih has struggled during his first season as a Knick, but he turned in a big performance last night, finishing with 21 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, and only 1 turnover. With Prigioni now sidelined indefinitely along with Felton, Beno will be looked to to pick up the slack.
- Metta was another struggling Knick who took a step in the right direction last night with a solid line of 8 points, 3 rebounds, and 4 steals in just 12 minutes of play.
WHAT WENT WRONG:
- That leads me into my biggest gripe from last night: Mike Woodson is clearly coaching like a man who fears for his job, and while his situation makes it somewhat understandable, his rotations are borderline irresponsible. With Amare missing last night’s game due to knee soreness, one can’t help but look at his playing time over the past 5 games (27:20, 29:40, 30:17, 19:16, 19:06) as the culprit. Considering how he injured his knees last season in the same fashion, you’d assume Woodson would be smarter with allocating minutes, but his decisions continue to confuse. For example, playing Tyson Chandler for THIRTY SEVEN minutes, fresh off a broken leg is far from ideal. Not to mention the 55 minutes Carmelo turned in that currently have him leading the NBA in minutes played. Don’t even get me started on the continued JR love affair.
- The Knicks took 19 free throws last night. That’s no where near enough, and while I support last year’s practice of jacking up a healthy amount of (good) three pointers, some form of offensive balance is necessarily. Even Clyde took notice of the New York’s reluctance to attack the paint.
- Murry turned his ankle something serious while finally playing some meaningful minutes in his first season as an NBA player. Aside from obviously feeling for the guy, we really can’t afford to keep losing point guards. Don’t make me depend on Chris Smith, Murry. Do it for the people.
- Given the time and situation, Bargs took arguably the worst shot I’ve ever seen. Up two in the first OT with the shot-clock off, New York rebounded a Carmelo miss and the ball found Bargs on the perimeter. With the Bucks in a must-foul situation, Bargs loaded up and chucked a 3-pointer that I am undoubtedly dumber for witnessing in real time. The KG trolling earned you some slack. Don’t push it, Bargs.
- Shump has 15 points in his last 5 games. That isn’t very much.
- The Knicks return home for a noon match-up with the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday.