Notes From the Knicks 81-76 Loss to Indiana

My sources are telling me that the Knicks struggled on offense tonight (if you don’t know the joke, check this hilarity out). But seriously, that game was brutal. Coming into the game, Indiana has been the best defense in basketball and played as such tonight. Carmelo Anthony was suspended because of the whole “Honey Nut Cheerios” situation. Add Raymond Felton’s injury into the equation and the Knicks offense was hapless tonight. New York hoisted up 20 three pointers, but only got 4 to go. They shot just 42% in the paint and 34% overall for the game. Want to see some blood? Check out the Knicks shot chart:

BLOOOOOOD

Here are some more notes from the game:

  • Lets start with Amar’e. I have previously been of the belief that Stoudemire’s problems last season correlated to injuries, rather than an overall regression of his game. I’m not ready to jump off that position after five games, but his play has made it quite difficult for me to continue to defend him. Rather, he’s been getting on my nerves because he has been quite terrible. Defensively, he has looked just as bad, if not worse than before, and his offense has yet to get on track. In fairness to him, Raymond Felton has yet to share the court with STAT this season and that could help. But the Knicks don’t have time to wait for Stoudemire to get right. While there was/is a position of need for him off the pine, Stoudemire is a luxury for the Knicks. I wouldn’t say the Knicks are 2-3 in the last five games because of Stoudemire, but he certainly hasn’t helped things. Tonight, as has been the case this season, Stoudemire gave solid effort, but was largely ineffective. Defensively, he got pushed around by David West and Tyler Hansbrough. Offensively, I thought he was awful. Two garbage time baskets made his subpar stat line look a little less subpar. Take away the two garbage time buckets and you get 2/9 shooting with 8 boards in about twenty minutes, discounting the final two minutes of the game. Stoudemire is not nearly good enough defensively to be a positive impact in a game he shoots 2/9 in. He was not at all a positive impact tonight and you’d be hard pressed to find reasons why he should be any better against Chicago tomorrow night. 
  • Ronnie Brewer played a grand total of 8 minutes tonight. I think that was a very good decision by Mike Woodson as Brewer really would’ve had no positive impact in tonight’s grinder of a basketball game. New York needed offense tonight and Brewer gives them 0 of that.
  • JR Smith was 10/29, but it wasn’t a bad 10/29. Let me explain. When playing in the flow of the offense, Smith played pretty well tonight. He had a solid first half that included a thunderous dunk that made me choke on my sunflower seeds. In the second half, Mike Woodson’s offensive sets broke down pretty much every possession and forced JR to throw up a plethora of bad shots late in the shot clock. I thought Smith played hard and played pretty well, but that won’t reflect in the box score. His ridiculous amount of shot attempts came from bad team offense, not selfish individual play.
  • That Paul George is something else. He’s one of the best off-ball offensive players in the league and he’s a menace on defense. I’ll just leave this here:

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  • After the game, news broke that Marcus Camby’s foot is once again injured. If Camby misses time, I hope we see a return of Melo at the 4 spot, as opposed to Kurt Thomas or Chris Copeland rearing their less effective heads into that 4 spot. 

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  • I hate the mantra “live by the three, die by the three”. If you look at the teams that have won championships recently, most notably Dallas and Miami, they are teams that shoot a ton of threes. So the idea that the Knicks shooting a lot of threes will eventually doom them is flawed logic, in my opinion. However, as is true with any team that has a bad shooting game, the Knicks likely won’t win many games where they don’t shoot well. They shot just 3/20 from downtown tonight and as a result scored only 74 points. 
  • Tyson played a good game, but lets his anger get the best of him and picked up yet another technical foul. Mike Woodson is doing a very poor job of holding the team accountable when it comes to bitching to the officials and picking up technical fouls. Make no mistake, this is a big problem and it needs to be ironed out before the playoffs roll around. The Knicks can’t be losing their composure and giving opponents an additional 2-3 points on technicals every time an official blows a call.

The Knicks play Chicago tomorrow night. The Bulls have beaten the Knicks twice in two games, but Carmelo Anthony will return with a clear head and fresher legs (hopefully). Have a good night, everyone!

Follow Taylor on Twitter @tarmosino