Player Report Cards: New York Knicks 111, Chicago Bulls 118


The New York Knicks’ win streak stops at 13. Coming into Chicago severely short-handed, the Knicks fared admirably against a slightly short-handed Bulls team that is adept at snapping streaks. Without Tyson Chandler or Kenyon Martin, along with the rest of the Knicks’ big men who continue to sit out, the Knicks would have a tough time defeating a Bulls team who, even without center Joakim Noah, possessed a greater height advantage and a deeper rotation.

In the first half, when the Knicks’ threes were falling, New York was able to withstand a fairly sluggish Bulls’ offense. But as the Knicks got progressively colder, their attempts to move within the arc were ill-fated as were their chances at getting new possessions with offensive rebounds. Furthermore, the lack of size almost ensured automatic paint points for the Bulls, and when their deep shots started falling, they were able to spread the Knicks’ defense thin. However, New York still battled after blowing a 17-point lead and falling behind by as many as seven points. A series of quick inside buckets from J.R. Smith and some clutch free throws and big stops brought the Knicks to overtime. However, the Knicks’ short rotation, lack of interior presence, and icy strokes buried them into a bigger hole in overtime, this on inescapable.

While disappointing, the loss doesn’t mean much for the Knicks. They still hold over a game lead on Indiana for second place, the Bulls further solidified their hold on fifth place, and the Knicks have already locked up the Atlantic Division already. The streak was going to stop sometime, and for it to happen on the road, versus a good team, without any big men… it could be worse.

Here’s a look at the individual performances:

Carmelo Anthony – 45 minutes, 36 points, 13-34 FG, 19 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block

Props to ‘Melo for filling in at the five (at times) so admirably and legitimately trying to defend the paint, and actually crashing the boards hard. It’s a shame that a hot start in the first quarter fizzled out so dramatically over the rest of the game. Anthony tried to take the ball to the paint, missed some tough baskets over numerous defenders, got whacked but without any calls, or just flat-out missed bunnies he should’ve had. Like the end of the win streak, it was bound to happen at some point. Missing that game-tying pull-up jumper that he’s usually money on was a heartbreaker.

Final Grade: B

J.R. Smith – 42 minutes, 28 points, 11-27 FG, 14 rebounds, 4 assists

Smith and Anthony’s combined stats look aesthetically pleasing except for that big ole bruise in the middle – 24-61 combined shooting. The efficiency left something to be desired, and some poorly timed launches from downtown and a similar situation as ‘Melo’s at the rim really left a lot of empty possessions on the court. Credit on the boards to J.R. as well, but his inefficient offense and troubled defense on all of Chicago’s guards hurt the Knicks

a bit

kinda a lot. Also, -32 for the game. As has seemed to the case lately, the Knicks’ hot start cooled down when Woodson checked Smith in way too early for Prigioni.

Final Grade: C

Raymond Felton – 49 minutes, 19 points, 8-17 FG, 5 rebounds, 6 assists

Felton had a good, aggressive game for the most part, but was plagued by an inability to finish over Chicago’s big men (especially without the presence of Chandler or K-Mart to fill in on the roll) and a sensitive referee’s whistle. Felton spent a lot of time complaining to officials – somewhat justifiably – for some tick tacky fouls, and it might’ve taken his head out of the game a little bit. A fall on the opening tip of overtime, in which Felton grasped his knee on the floor, somehow didn’t take Ray out of the game, but it completely diminished his impact. We’ll see what’s said about the injury afterwards.

Final Grade: B

Chris Copeland – 29 minutes, 14 points, 4-14 FG, 3-8 3FG, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks

Copeland’s initial hot start contributed to the Knicks’ early success as Carlos Boozer failed to rotate out on some pick-and-pops early on. However, much like the rest of the team, Cope’s hand was shoved in the freezer by a stauncher Bulls defense. From there, Copeland, who hadn’t a shot at defending Boozer in the post or deterring any drivers, began to launch ill-advised, arrhythmic jumpers. His minutes dwindled with his effectiveness as the game progressed.

Final Grade: C-

Iman Shumpert – 26 minutes, 3-3 FG, 7 points, 1 rebound, 1 steal, 6 PFs

Shumpert’s minutes were fairly quiet in this one. He was efficient on offense, but didn’t get a whole lot of open looks and didn’t create as much off the dribble as we’ve become used to seeing. His best sequence likely came in locking up Nate Robinson in the final 30 seconds of regulation to give the Knicks another shot (resulted in game-tying ‘Melo FTs).

Final Grade: B

Pablo Prigioni – 24 minutes, 7 points, 3-4 FG, 2 assists

Recycle and reuse. Prigioni began the game playing well and deteriorated as it progressed. His open shots stopped falling and he played a part in back-to-back turnovers that led to back-to-back Jimmy Butler dunks that sparked the Bulls’ comeback run. Don’t think we saw Prigs again afterwards.

Final Grade: C+

Jason Kidd – 37 minutes, 0 points, 0-4 FG, 6 rebounds, 2 assists

An almost entirely ineffective Jason Kidd on both ends of the floor probably shouldn’t have been seeing 37 minutes tonight. Not that Prigioni or Shumpert were hugely better options, but Kidd produced very little in terms of staying in front of Chicago’s guards, switching effectively onto big men, or hitting open shots.

Final Grade: D+

Steve Novak – 12 minutes, 0-1 FG

Novak missed his only shot. That’s the only thing I recall him doing.

Final Grade: D