When Brandon Knight’s three pointer swished with 2.3 seconds left to give the last place Milwaukee Bucks (9-39) a three point lead over the Knicks, I was neither shocked nor angry. It has reached a point where nothing the Knicks do is particularly surprising. They are going to have games- even stretches of games- where they look like a solid NBA team, but for the most part they are a terribly constructed, poorly coached, and just plain bad basketball team. The Knicks are 19-29 and no team in 10 games under .500 this late in the season due to bad luck. Yes, Brandon Knight’s game-winning three was a stroke of luck, a heave on a play where Raymond Felton actually defended fine for once in his life. But make no mistake, the Knicks deserved to lose this game. When you are playing the worst offensive team in the NBA and you manage to allow them to score 101 points and shoot 61.1% from three, you shouldn’t be able to win the game.
Due to the ineptitude of the Bucks and magnificent performances from JR Smith and Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks almost stole this game from the Bucks. Ultimately, the Knicks once again found themselves unable to defend, whether it was Tyson Chandler being posted by Zaza Pachulia, Raymond Felton being beaten by a backdoor cut, or Giannis Antetokounmpo beating the entire team down the floor in 3 seconds. When looking back at this Knicks season, once could point at a myriad of games that the Knicks could have won in the final minutes that could have changed the course of the season. But there is a reason the Knicks are 1-5 in games decided by 3 points or less. Even if the Knicks find themselves in the game due to omnipotence of Anthony or streaky shooting from Smith or Hardaway, they cannot execute any sort of solid game plan in the last few minutes on either side of the ball. There’s really no point at getting mad at the Knicks losing like this any more. We should come to expect it.
WHAT WENT RIGHT:
- Carmelo Anthony was brilliant offensively tonight, 36 points on 25 shots, including 17 points in the 4th quarter. It’s amazing that the Knicks lost a game where Melo played this well, but that’s where this team is. The losing has almost made me respect Melo even more as he continue to play great despite to poor play of his supporting class.
- JR Smith served as a legitimate second option for the Knicks, keeping the team in the game when the Bucks easily could have ran away with it. Smith scored 30 points on 9-17 shooting and added 7 rebounds. It is unlikely that the Sixth Man of the Year’s play is sustainable, but it is enjoyable to see him bounce out of his funk.
WHAT WENT WRONG:
- Raymond Felton was a complete liability at both ends of the floor, shooting 1-7 and playing horrendous defense on whoever he was guarding, particularly Brandon Knight (25 points). The Knicks defend point guards worse than just about every team in the NBA and Felton is the primary reason.
- Tim Hardaway Jr. and Iman Shumpert shot a combined 4-17 from the field.
- The Knicks shot just 15-24 from the free throw line, continuing a streak of poor free throw shooting. Tyson Chandler was 1-6 from the line himself.
- Amar’e Stoudemire played 17 minutes, stopped the ball on offense, and played terrible defense. This is also known as the STAT Special.
- Besides Smith and Anthony, the Knicks didn’t have a single player in double figures. An all around bad game for everyone besides those two.
- It is worth repeating, the Knicks gave up 101 points to the Milwaukee Bucks.
- After being ejected in the 4th quarter, Larry Sanders started jumping up and down, trying to pump up the very small Milwaukee crowd. It was sadly one of the most entertaining moments of the game.
- If you haven’t seen this game and taped it, I would advise you cast it into the fire and pretend it never existed. But if you have your heart set on watching it, focus on Giannis Antetokounmpo’s play, particularly in the second half. He certainly lives up to his Greek Freak nickname and is a joy to watch. His family also was at the game, so that was pretty cool.
- The Knicks next game is on Wednesday against the Portland Trail Blazers in the Garden. The game will be televised at 8 pm on ESPN and MSG.