This team is a complete joke. A team that takes a superstar in his prime, surrounds him with the worst fitting supporting cast possible, and proceeds to miss the playoffs in the worst eastern conference in NBA history, is a joke. A coach who preaches accountability, but then plays favorites that are not dependent upon production is a farce. An owner who makes decisions out of spite is a fraud. The New York Knicks are run by incompetent management and the results show on the basketball court. This is a team that refuses to change, no matter what the empirical evidence says.
The Knicks let the Hawks, who were without their two best players and had lost 8 straight, come back from a 17 point deficit and win 107-98. The Hawks didn’t do anything particularly special; in fact, their offensive design was horrendous for most of the game. But when you play the Knicks, you know three things: 1) if you run the floor in transition the Knicks will fail to defend, 2) if you pass it enough, the Knicks will leaving a shooter wide open, and 3) if you make one dribble move, you are probably going to get past your defender and penetrate the paint. The Knicks led in this game because Carmelo Anthony can make a team of four trash cans a good offense and because the Hawks weren’t hitting their shots. In completely unsurprising fashion, once Carmelo Anthony left the game and the Hawks started hitting open threes, a 10 point Knicks lead turned into a 4 point Hawks lead within a few minutes.
We’ve seen this movie so many times that it is no longer surprising. So what does this team do to adjust? Absolutely nothing. Mike Woodson could decrease the minutes of players like Tim Hardaway Jr., Raymond Felton, and Amar’e Stoudemire who likely would defend worse than the aforementioned team of trash cans, but he does not. He could tell the team to stop switching and close on threes, but he either does not or cannot get through to the team. The fourth quarter is where coaching is most important, and the Knicks are one of the worst fourth quarter teams in the NBA. This is not all Mike Woodson’s fault, but Woodson’s job status symbolizes New York’s resistance to change.
This loss comes on a day when news spread of the Knicks buying out Metta World Peace and Beno Udrih, two veterans that were well respected in the locker room. World Peace and Udrih came to the Knicks with the expectation of getting big minutes and competing for a championship, but the stubbornness of the organization and the head coach got in the way. This isn’t going to get any better until management decides to do something different, but we have no indication that that will occur any time soon. More likely than not, the buyouts of Udrih and World Peace coincide with the Knicks running out of time in 2014. Now we are just left watching what could be the last 30 or so games of Carmelo Anthony’s Knick career as the world laughs at the new ways the team finds to lose.
WHAT WENT RIGHT:
- Carmelo Anthony was once again amazingly efficient, scoring 35 points on 13-25 shooting. It is honestly ridiculous that the Knicks are wasting such a great stretch for Melo, but the blame cannot lie on Anthony’s shoulders.
- Tyson Chandler was dominant on the boards, grabbing 23 rebounds. This was in large part due to Atlanta deteriorated frontcourt and the fact that the Hawks took a lot of outside shots, but it was still good to see Chandler be such a presence.
- The Knicks built their lead on a 25-3 run in the second quarter.
WHAT WENT WRONG:
- The Knicks let Mike Scott score a career high 30 points and let the Hawks hit 16 three pointers overall. The Knicks can’t defend the three pointer, or the pick and roll or penetrating guards.
- 58 combined minutes from Amar’e Stoudemire and Tim Hardaway Jr. is too much, especially when they play together. It is so easy for the other team to score off of them to the point that they have to be insanely efficient offensively to be a net positive.
- The Knicks seemed so desperate to get rid of Raymond Felton at the deadline, but Mike Woodson still keeps playing him big minutes. You would think the Knicks would play Toure’ Murry to see what they have in him, but Woodson continues to rely on Ray, who flat out cannot defend.
- Jeremy Tyler also only played 6 minutes. He should probably be playing more than Stoudemire at this point.
- The Knicks got outscored by 10 points in the 11 minutes Anthony was off the floor. They are so dependent upon Melo’s scoring that I don’t want to know what they will look like next year if he leaves.
- In their fourth quarter run, the Hawks made 6 consecutive three pointers.
- Mike Woodson confirmed that the Knicks were negotiating buyouts with Metta World Peace and Beno Udrih and as a result, they were not with the team.
- The arena was nearly empty at the start of the game, something you’d expect for a Saturday night game between two teams struggling this much.
- Things got a little heated in the third quarter when Anthony and Woodson both were hit with technical fouls after Melo taunted DeMarre Carroll.
- The Knicks next play Monday against the Dallas Mavericks in the Garden at 7:30 pm. The game will televised on MSG and NBAt.