Just got back from what was a very…unsuccessful night at the Garden. The crowd was amped going in, the energy was high, but once the game started it was obvious very early on that the Knicks were flat, and their only flash of quality was too little to late. Here are a couple of things I took away from section 9 row 17…
LINANITY IS OVER, RUN FOR THE HILLS, WE ARE ALL DOOMED!!!!!!! No it’s not, but Lin definitely struggled (for once) tonight. He had something like six turnovers in the first 8 minutes, and wasn’t finishing a lot of his cut to the basket like a chicken with his head cut off and hit a ridiculous spinning layup over a forward and around a center shots we’ve grown to love. If anything I thought Lin was forcing it a little tonight, especially in the second half. He finished with 20+ but took a ton of shots, and even though he hit a lot of threes, had a pretty unsuccessful night from the field. Lin has been taking a lot of shots and I think at this point it could be beginning to take its toll. Melo coming back can actually alleviate some of the pressure on Lin, and free up more open looks for everybody offensively. Also New Orleans did a great job when Lin cut to the basket and jumped, whereas he would typically throw the long pass back to someone for the open three, instead of collapsing the defense stayed back, and picked off a couple passes for easy points on the other end.
The Knicks early execution was garbage. This game had the potential to be a game in which the Knicks asserted themselves physically early on, jumped on the Hornets right from the tip, and blew them out just like they did Sacramento. Instead the Knicks played with no energy, turned the ball over a ton, went under screens and gave up open jumpers, missed free throws, and generally played the type of basketball we were accustomed to seeing early in the year. At one point the Hornets were shooting around 70% from behind the arc, while the Knicks were shooting 40% from the free-throw line. That isn’t going to get it done. Some nights you just don’t have it and it was unreasonable to expect the streak would go on forever, but the Knicks schedule has been very easy and given their early season struggled, losing to the 7-23 Hornets is unacceptable.
Amar’e Was BRUTAL. Forget offense for a second. When the Knicks went big and put in Tyson and STAT, their defense was awful. Amar’e looked slow and tired all night on D, at one point literally quitting on a play, stopping after a pick down low and then fouling a Hornet after being late trying to get back into a play. The Hornets, the HORNETS, were able to attack the basket when Amar’e was playing PF, and really used Amar’e to their advantage, attacking the paint on a defense that really struggled when Amar’e was at PF. When Amar’e was at center, and didn’t have to move as much they were better, but still Stoudemire’s play this year has me worried.
Again it’s only one game, and the Knicks have a chance to redeem themselves on Sunday. Despite the 7 game winning streak the Knicks are 15-16, a mediocre team in a mediocre conference. Tonight helped reinforce that.