Thursday, December 29, 2011

Knicks 78, Warriors 92

Well... that was ugly. The Knicks shouldn't be upset about who they lost to; they should be upset about how they lost this game. The Knicks went into half-time with a 43-37 lead, but then were outscored, out-played, and out-hustled in the second half to the tune of 55-35.

Though the offense and defense didn't look crisp at any point, it was manageable in the first half. However, the Knicks' second half execution was about as poor as it gets.

Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty
Take the jump for some notes on the game.

First Half
The first half of this game was a perfect example "lockout basketball" as it's been dubbed in many games this season. Neither team was exactly firing on all cylinders, but the Knicks' offense was passable behind Landry Fields' 12 first half points, and Bill Walker's contributions on offense, while they were happy to let Monta Ellis fire away to no avail.
  • As noted, Fields' first half was mostly good. In terms of scoring, Landry had some nice mvoes to the basket, including a floater to the baseline and drive past Klay Thompson for a one-handed jam. However, Landry was pretty sloppy with the ball, telegraphing numerous passes that led to Warrior fastbreak points. In the second half, along with nearly the rest of the team, Fields disappeared and missed all of his shot attempts.
  • Bill Walker was probably the best Knick on this night, providing a nice spark off the bench with 14 points on 6-8 shooting. No complaints here.
  • Toney Douglas was about as quiet as a starting point guard could be. Though he tossed up 11 shots (only making 3 of them), and snaggled 6 rebounds, Douglas had almost no effect on the game. He never got the Knicks into offensive sets and was generally burned on defense, whether he was guarding Ish Smith or Monta Ellis. (As a side note: Douglas is probably way overrated as a defender by Knicks fans. You have to appreciate his effort, but the former ACC Defensive Player of the Year, has now been routinely beat up by Deron Williams, Rajon Rondo, and now Ish Smith, which isn't as acceptable as the other two).
  • Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, and Tyson Chandler just never had it tonight. Anthony and Stoudemire were content to chuck up jump shot after jump shot, while Chandler for the second game didn't do much of that rebounding or defense stuff that he's supposed to do. He did a lot of fouling though.
  • Continuing the trend that's been going on for years it seems, of average players playing like All-Stars against the Knicks... we present you, Brandon Rush! Though he couldn't top last game's participant, Brandon Bass, Rush did manage 19 points on 7-13 shooting, with 6 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks. For next game against the Lakers, I'm predicting Devin Ebanks to have a superstar game.
  • Good things happen when Renaldo Balkman plays. He gives effort on defense, actually moves on offense, and is a good finisher around the basket.
Second Half
As mentioned before, the Knicks went into the second half with a six point lead, but then everything tumbled downhill. Simply put, the offense came to a stand-still, and the defense let Brandon Rush and Monta Ellis take over, either scoring for themselves or setting up teammates for easy baskets in the paint.
  • I've come to the conclusion that when the Knicks are struggling on offense and need a basket really badly, Mike Bibby should never be allowed to take a pull-up jumper.
  • I was probably a little delusional about Melo after his 4th quarter dominance over the Celtics, and this game brought me back down to Earth. Melo is in fact a human being, and like all pure scorers, when he's off, he's really off. Part of his second half struggle had to do with Dominic M
  • Probably one of the only good part about Stoudemire's game was his hustle on the defensive end. He generally did a solid job on David Lee and in other 1-on-1 situations. He also corralled 10 rebounds, which Mike Breen seemed to put a lot of emphasis on, each time he grabbed one. "Stoudemire with his 8th rebound!"and so on....
  • Steve Novak played a for a little bit and hit a 3-pointer. At one point, Mike Breen brought up that Novak's best game came against the Knicks when he was a Clipper in which he scored 23 points. Clyde added something along the lines of, "I'm sure it was a game Knicks fans have never forgotten!" Right, Clyde....
  • This happened in the first half, but it pretty much defines the Knicks' game. Brandon Rush had the ball in the backcourt, after an inbound pass. Carmelo put lots of pressure on him, trying to force a turnover or 8-second violation. After about two seconds, Rush broke away on a fast break, with Melo left in the dust, and Mike Bibby in hot pursuit. He charged through the lane, and plowed into Josh Harrellson who tried to step in to take a charge, but instead was called for a blocking foul. And then Rush shot free throws.
Other Odds and Ends
  • Jeremy Lin checked in for the last two minutes of the game. He immediately got the ball, held it for about 6 seconds and then shot a contested 20-foot jump shot.
  • Also, after a whistle, Lin had the ball with his back to the basket, chucked it up over his shoulder while walking away and banked it in. It didn't count, and I don't think Lin even noticed but it was pretty badass.
  • Umm... Jerome Jordan deserves minutes! Jordan checked in for his first NBA time in the second half and promptly hit a free throw line jump shot at the halftime buzzer, but it was ruled off. He then finished the last 4 minutes of the game by immediately grabbing an offensive rebound and putting it back. He also hit two free throws, and forced Monta Ellis into two bad shots. Play the man, D'Antoni!
  •  At the end of the game, Clyde said, "Melo and STAT could not get off tonight." Hehehe....

Well, onto the next one! The Knicks play the Lakers tonight, and definitely need to avoid a 1-2 start. Getting a win tonight would restore some confidence all around.

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