Rockets 104, Knicks 96: "No ball movement, no player movement, just bowel movements."

It's funny to me that, just over a week ago, I was all like "Wow, I don't know if I'm emotionally equipped to handle the playoffs". Consider that problem solved! Five losses later, the Knicks are in a situation that's much more familiar and comfortable. The team is sputtering, the media are getting snide, and Knicks fans are headbutting their caps lock keys.

This Sunday-to-Sunday stretch of ineptitude begs to be mourned as a whole unit, but I try and treat each game as an independent event, so let's recap. Tonight, the Knicks had brief success in the early going when they pushed off of misses and makes alike, but this one quickly devolved into the usual sludge. Tonight's headline comes from "100% Dundee", who put it better than I ever could in the game thread. That said, take the jump for a summary of my notes.

- Amar'e Stoudemire's isolation game was alive and well in the first quarter, but the Rockets quickly switched to the "everybody guard Amar'e" strategy we've seen other teams utilize. As in previous games, it worked to perfection. Stoudemire struggled for the rest of the night while no other Knick could punish Houston for sagging into the middle.

- I'm pulling really hard for Raymond Felton, but his trouble running the pick-and-roll is looking less like the low end of a learning curve and more like a character flaw with every play he botches. In this one, I actually found myself more frustrated over Felton's missed connections with Timofey Mozgov than with his Stoudemire issues.The only guy more frustrated than I was had to be Timofey, whose perpetual bafflement would be entertaining if I didn't care so much. He's a pretty big target and moves well out there, but just hasn't meshed with Felton so far.

- Danilo Gallinari looked unusually feisty in this one, spurning the outside shot (0-1) for some dunks and trips to the free throw line. It's that kind of night from Gallo that makes his inability to operate within the flow of the offense all the more maddening. He's just not the type of player who should be fifth on the team in attempts.

- Apart from a decent statistical outing by Wilson Chandler (albeit one laced with ugly outside attempts), the Knicks got pretty much nothing from their bench. Toney Douglas was NOT doing what Toney Douglas do (1-11 in just 18 minutes is...wow). Anthony Randolph looked useful in transition, but less so when the Knicks had to set up (although you could say that about pretty much anybody on this team at any point this past week). Roger Mason- assuming Bill Walker's minutes for reasons unbeknownst to this outsider- was an abject trainwreck.

- I probably need to ruminate and weigh my words before I write at length about Mike D'Antoni, but it's clear at this point that he's either mis-coaching his squad or his guidance is falling on deaf ears. I'm not really sure which is worse, but the guys aren't playing with a plan.

- This commercial with Chris Paul cheesing about his biology teacher will not be winning any Oscars for cinematography or sound editing.

- I usually don't feel that strongly about the changes in NBA jersey styles, but there's something about Kyle Lowry in a v-neck that makes me super uncomfortable.

- Walt Frazier on Amar'e Stoudemire: "He needs to wear knee pads with all the penetrating he does." God bless you, Clyde.

I just don't know, bros. We're still at that point in the season where the losing seems wrong and we're not yet delirious enough to laugh at it. Right now, it just stinks. If they'd like to get back on track, the Knicks will have to do the unthinkable and win some tough road games this week. The west coast swing starts with a game in Denver against Carmelo Anthony and the Nuggets, an event that promises to be all kinds of insufferable. We'll reconvene tomorrow. Thanks for reading, and special thanks to those of you who are still commenting amicably and coherently on P&T and beyond. 

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