Well, we know how this ends. The New York Knicks are about halfway through the final quarter of easily the worst loss of the season. Those good vibes following the two 30-point wins in a row? Vanished, along with the defensive principles, the ball movement, the offensive flow. The Knicks came out stagnant, half-asleep, and when the Boston Celtics zoomed out to a 15-1 lead, it was clear this wasn’t just an early malaise.
It was so painfully clear how the Knicks had won the last two games: good pace, good spacing, ball movement, player movement, unselfishness, good shooting. The Knicks abandoned all of that in this one. Right from the get-go, the Knicks stood still, dribbling holes into the floor. When they attempted to create for themselves, the Celtics were there to swarm them and make it difficult. On the other end, the Celtics moved the ball rapidly, exploiting holes in the Knicks defense.
There isn’t even a game story to construct. The Knicks laid an egg facing a real opportunity to finish a 3-0 week. At one point in the second quarter, the Knicks had used a little run to get the lead to 17, but Boston then turned it around and pushed the lead to 58-31 going into halftime. That was it. The Knicks didn’t make it any closer in the second half, instead allowing the Celtics to push the lead into the 30s and 40s. As a team, the Knicks shot 34% from the field, making just 25 field goals. They allowed Boston to shoot 54% from the field and 56% from downtown.
We’re going to analyze the individual performances a little differently this time:
The A Grades:
The B Grades:
The C Grades:
- Amar’e Stoudemire, Pablo Prigioni, Metta World Peace
Stoudemire, Prigioni, and World Peace all competed tonight; it was more than could be said for the rest of the team. Stoudemire was one of the lone Knicks to attack the Celtics defense. He operated in the pick-and-roll, finding space around the basket, and occasionally stepping out for a face-up midrange jumper to finish with 17 points on 5-7 shooting. Meanwhile, World Peace found a bit of rhythm from the field, perhaps shooting his way back into the rotation. Prigioni, visibly frustrated at the loss, captained the offense the best of any Knick guard. Prigioni and World Peace were the only Knicks not in the negatives in +/-.
The D Grades:
– Carmelo Anthony, Tim Hardaway Jr., J.R. Smith
Anthony often found himself swallowed up by Brandon Bass’s surprisingly stout defense, but he didn’t help himself by trying almost solely to go one-on-one. He didn’t encourage ball movement, and after the ball had moved, he usually killed it by dribbling too much. Smith was active on defense and looked to move the ball, but shot just 1-5. Hardaway Jr. ended up with a decent line, but most of his production came late in the game when all hope was lost.
The F Grades:
– Raymond Felton, Andrea Bargnani, Iman Shumpert
These guys might as well have stayed at home. They contributed nothing to the offense – 2 points, 1-19 shooting COMBINED – and got hustled on defense. There was no energy, no purpose to their games.
– Toure’ Murry, Cole Aldrich, Beno Udrih
These guys didn’t play poorly, but the game was so far gone when they checked in, there was no point in analyzing their contributions. Sorry, bench bros.
Well that wasn’t fun, was it? It wasn’t fun to write, it wasn’t fun to read, probably. Kind of like that Knicks game. New York goes to Cleveland to play the Cavaliers on Tuesday.