As each game goes on, I am beginning to feel more and more apathetic about the Knicks. No, maybe apathetic isn’t the right word. I still care about the Knicks. I am still going to watch every game, but I am starting to accept that some magic light isn’t going to turn on and change the course of the season. I know that the team isn’t just going to stop switching or blowing fast breaks or leaving guys wide open in the corner. There’s still a whole lot of basketball to be played, but that doesn’t mean that the last 53 games will be much different from the first 29.
The Knicks lost to the Tornoto Raptors on Friday night, blowing a double digit second half lead to ultimately lose by double digits themselves to the first place Raptors. It feels weird calling them the “first place Raptors” and that’s probably because for the first three quarters the Raptors literally looked like a team that was trying to lose on purpose. The Knicks found themselves up by as much as 12 in the second half, but there was a never a point where the Knicks were truly playing well or where I felt confident that the Knicks were going to win. When the Raptors finally turned it on early in the fourth quarter, the Knicks did not stand a chance.
Yes, the Knicks were without Carmelo Anthony, and desperately missed him down the stretch, but we have seen the Knicks blow leads like this with Melo. With or without Carmelo Anthony, Pablo Prigioni, or Raymond Felton, the Knicks are a poorly constructed, undisciplined basketball team. And unless Chris Smith is the next Jeremy Lin, there’s nobody on this team that is going to completely change its fortunes. On a day where reports suggested that James Dolan has given the roster and coaching staff a vote of confidence, it is time that we all accept that the Knicks just aren’t very good and won’t get better without a considerable change that apparently isn’t coming.
WHAT WENT RIGHT:
- Tim Hardaway Jr. served as a huge spark off the bench in a game where the Knicks sorely needed guard production. Although he wasn’t extremely efficient (15 points on 5-13), Hardaway was 4-5 from three point range, continuing to show more consistency from outside than anyone could have expected from him coming out of college.
- Bargnani played great in the first half, scoring 14 points and grabbing 9 rebounds. Bargnani finished with a season high 12 rebounds (to see how Bargnani played in the second half see “WHAT WENT WRONG”).
- JR Smith played a decent all around offensive game, scoring 17 points on 7-15 shooting while also adding in 6 assists and 7 rebounds. His defense left something to be desired, but at least Smith is getting out of his shooting slump.
- Beno Udrih had his first double-double of the season, scoring 15 points and dishing out 10 assists. Beno can’t defend a traffic cone, but he did do something on offense at least.
- The Knicks hit 10 of their 19 threes. Yay, I guess.
WHAT WENT WRONG:
- The Knicks shot 38% for the game, despite shooting 52% from three. They also shot 62% from the line. Yikes.
- Andrea Bargnani only scored 4 points in the second half, finishing 6-17 shootings. Andrea just can’t shoot well enough to sustain a great offensive game.
- The Knicks got outrebounded 50-42. The East is big, man.
- Wow, was Iman Shumpert awful in this game. He only played 12 minutes, because he fouled somebody every time he stepped on the floor. He bricked his only 2 jumpers and didn’t record an assist. It is sad watching him play offense these days…
- The Knicks got outscored 29-12 in the fourth quarter, as they kept switching and leaving shooters wide open. John Salmons, yes John Salmons, torched the Knicks with 3 corner threes. Ugh.
- Tyson Chandler is so ineffective on offense without the pick and roll, which shoes how much the Knicks need Raymond Felton, which is sad.
- Mike Woodson played JR 43 minutes, Beno Udrih 38 minutes, and Andrea Bargnani 37 minutes. He then said the team was fatigued at the end. Why am I not surprised?
- Earlier in the day, a report from ESPN said that Dolan spoke to the team, telling them that they weren’t making any trades or coaching changes. His motivational speech apparently inspired the team to do the same things that led them to having a 9-19 record.
- In the second quarter, there was a Raptors possession where the ball was tipped multiple times, ultimately leading to a fast break that the Knicks blew and then got the rebound and hit a three. Just how the coach drew it up.
- Clyde called an Andrea Bargnani block in the first half Bill Russell-like. Mike Breen responded by saying it was probably the first time Bargnani was compared to Bill Russell. We may not have the best basketball team, but at least we have the best announce team.
- Kenyon Martin, Iman Shumpert, and Tyson Chandler all got 2 fouls in the first quarter, severely altering the Knicks gameplan.
- The Knicks missed 4 straight free throws towards the end of the third quarter when they were up 6. Every person watching the game knew they were going to regret not building on the lead there. And they did.
- The Knicks play against Raptors again tomorrow this time across the border. The game will be televised @ 7 pm on MSG. Carmelo Anthony will not make the trip to Toronto.