New York Knicks and Mike Woodson take giant step back

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With the world watching for Phil Jackson‘s first move, last night’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers did nothing to help New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson maintain his job.

My grade for the entire team is F, they Failed to win.

Mar 21, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson during the third quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center. The Knicks defeated the Sixers 93-92. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

I will not grade individuals anymore, it is a team game and the Knicks lost last night.

The biggest difference in the Knicks during their eight game winning streak was Woodson utilization of players.  Last night in the first half, he once again began with the large lineup, with Amar’e Stoudemire starting. This led to a 34-27 lead.

During the second quarter the Knicks did more of the same led in my opinion by Pablo Prigioni, who ignited the Knicks offense and defense to take a 61-46 lead into the half.

Man for man, this is not a good Cavaliers team and clearly not as talented as the Knicks, so what happened in the second half?

I can define it in one word, PANIC.

The Knicks and Woodson panicked as Cleveland crept back into the game and went back to their losing habits.  Rather than making court adjustments he went immediately to small ball led by Raymond Felton and Shannon Brown.

The Knicks losing habits of not moving the ball, playing Melo ball, not defending the pick and roll and not making strategic changes on defense came back to haunt them. This looked like the below 500 team, the team that lost 7 in a row, not the team that won eight straight. The Knicks and Woodson forgot what got them there.

Prigioni played only 16 minutes the entire game. Why?  He was a plus-seven.

Felton again got 32 minutes and was a minus-13.  To compound insult to injury, what is coach’s propensity to play Brown?

He looks overweight and out of shape and did not score and was a minus-one, but he played him 15 minutes almost as much as Prigioni, actually one minute less. We needed Prigioni.  We needed his defense his energy, Brown and Felton looked like Grumpy old men on the court of youngsters.

The Knicks never double teamed the ball and Jarret Jack in particular. Woodson need only look at the box score, as the Cavalier damage came from their backcourt.  Prigioni should have been in the game harassing Jack who single handedly manhandled the Knicks scoring 31 points.

Remember this is their second string point guard who was averaging a little above eight points per game going into this game.

Prigioni and Tim Hardaway Jr. should have played more and Brown less.  Jack should have been double teamed off the pick-and-roll.  Tyson Chandler was a minus-17 and was absent as the ball never went inside.  Was he tired?  Cole Aldrich played great defense in six minutes. He was a plus-five and never to be seen again.

Stoudemire shot 6-of-10, was a plus-three, and was not in for most of the fourth quarter.  Forget the minutes’ restriction, we had a game to win.  Amare knows what he can and cannot do, or otherwise save him for the last quarter when every pass went to Carmelo Anthony.

Every game is a must win game and with Atlanta losing yesterday afternoon this was germane to our season.

So what did we get in the second half? Same old Knick team, same old mistakes.  The Knicks had a chance to make a strong move toward the playoffs, instead they let the lowly Cavaliers manhandle them at games end.

Well, I am sure President Jackson watched the game and was taking notes.  You will see many changes next year.  The offense will definitely change and if the players are playing for the playoffs, Woodson is coaching for a job.

I will not let this game destroy me as I have with so many other that we had but gave away.   There is new Sheriff in town and his name is Phil Jackson.

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