After accumulating a 15-point lead by halftime and extended their lead to 17 points early in the third quarter, the New York Knicks (29-41) decided to let the Cleveland Cavaliers outscore them 60-39 from the third quarter on, to suffer a gut-wrenching lost, 106-to-100.
It was so bad, they let
Kyrie Irving Jarrett Jack drop a beastly double-double on them, with 31 points and 10 assists. It was so bad, they let Dion Waiters score the easiest 22 points of his life. It was so bad, they let the Cavaliers, as a team, shoot an absurd 61 percent from the field. It was so bad that the Knicks out-rebounded, out-assisted, and out-shot the Cavs from three-point land, and still found a way to lose.
This defeat is a crushing blow to the Knicks postseason hopes. They had a great chance of diminishing the gap between them and the eighth place Atlanta Hawks to a mere two games. However, the Knicks just couldn’t get their heads together, which allowed the Cavaliers to come in and make a mockery of the Knicks defense.
Whatever defense THAT was. The Knicks’ pick-and-roll defense was hideous. Jack and other guards were taking open jump shots at will, immediately after a high-scren. There was absolutely no urgency on ball pressure and you can tell that the Knicks just didn’t have it tonight.
To be honest, it’s disappointing. After eight straight games of exceptional effort and solid team play, they reverted back to their old habits that bit them on the ass for the first few months of the season. There was a sense of optimism in the air and it felt good to say that you were a Knicks fan again.
Then last night happened. And that happiness balloon deflated faster than Raymond Felton attempting to fight through a pick-and-roll. Luckily for the Knicks, they have two winnable games coming up before embarking on, what is arguably, their hardest part of their schedule. Well, last night’s game was easily winnable too, and we all know how that went.
So, put on your helmet and strap your seat belts because if the Knicks want to make the playoffs, they’re going to need to kick it into high gear.
WHAT WENT RIGHT:
- The first half, I guess? The ball was moving, the shots were dropping, and the defense was somewhat there. Carmelo Anthony was able to finish the first half on a high note, ending with 18 points, five rebounds, and one assist. For the entire game, he scored 32 points inefficiently, grabbed eight rebounds, and dished out two assists.
- On the opposite side of the efficiency spectrum, Amar’e Stoudemire dropped 12 points on 6-of-10 shooting to go along with six rebounds.
- J.R. Smith had himself a rather pedestrian evening, by way of scoring 18 points on 7-of-15 shooting, snatching three rebounds, and handing out four assists. This is the first time he scored in double figures since March 15 against the Milwaukee Bucks.
WHAT WENT WRONG:
- The entire second half. Seriously.
- Tyson Chandler looked lost. I don’t know what happened to him last night. He was getting embarrassed in the paint by the likes of Spencer Hawes and Anderson Varajao. He finished with four points, six rebounds, and four turnovers. He ended with an Andrea Bargnani-like +/- rating of -17.
- Speaking of Andrea Bargnani-like +/- ratings, Raymond Felton also showed up in that category. He was sparkling in the first half, then seemingly forgot how to play basketball. He was getting chewed up by Jarrett Jack on pretty much all pick-and-roll opportunities in the second half. He made some pretty bonehead decisions with the ball, especially in the fourth quarter, which is a shame, because if you look at his stat line, you would think he had a great night. 14 points, six rebounds, eight assists, and three steals? Looks good, however, if you play crap defense and allow Jarrett Jack to score 31 points, you deserved to be mentioned in the WHAT WENT WRONG section of the recap. Oh, and he ended with a +/- rating of -13.
- The inefficiency of Tim Hardaway Jr. continues. The “Rook” ended with 12 points, but was only able to knock down 5-of-12 shots, which included 1-of-4 from beyond the three-point line. He also didn’t do much of anything else, with only two rebounds to tally up on his stat sheet.
- Perhaps the Knicks defense collapsed because they were without their best perimeter defender, Iman Shumpert. It was reported that he sat out of last night’s game because he was suffering from flu-like symptoms. Get well, Iman! The Knicks will need you to lock down the next few opponents. Drink some orange juice.
- I mentioned it in the introduction, but it’s worth repeating in this section. The Knicks allowed the Cavaliers to drop bombs from the floor. The Cavs shot 61 percent from the field and 50 percent from beyond the arc. If you want to win ball games, I’m pretty sure you need to stop the opponent from shooting like they’re the Monstars from Space Jam.
- RIP The Phil Jackson Era, am I right?
- Thanks to Jarrett Jack and the Cavaliers, this loss by the Knicks snaps a personal 6-game recap winning streak. I also covered five of the eight games during the Knicks’ winning streak and felt like my involvement was part of the reason why they were easily marching over teams. Now that the streak is over, let’s hope my colleagues can start a new one after me.
- The Knicks fly to Los Angeles to start a grueling five-game west coast road trip that will decide their faith for the playoffs. They face the Lakers on Tuesday, with a tip-off scheduled at 10:30 p.m.