The Knicks got outscored 18-6 through the final eight minutes of yesterday's loss to the Miami Heat, which probably wasn't the most productive thing they could have done. Mike Woodson and several other Knick bros blamed that letdown on a lapse in "pace":
"I thought our pace was so slow," he said. "I mean, we've got to get the ball up the floor a lot quicker and get into our offense. We missed a lot of good shots. I thought the one stretch that we got to the penalty in the third quarter, we didn’t utilize the free throw line and kind of lived on jump shots. That's on me. I've got to get guys to understand time, score, situations. I didn't do a good job with that tonight."
Sometimes it felt like the Knicks were, in fact, moving too fast-- as in settling for quick, tough shots-- but Woodson's notion that New York settled for jumpers and ceased being aggressive definitely fits what I saw. Woodson also second-guessed himself for sending Baron Davis back onto the floor with four minutes left in the fourth quarter, when Davis had already consumed his usual helping of minutes and had little left to offer:
"He's not a hundred percent, probably never be a hundred percent," Woodson said. "I've got to do a better job of keeping tabs on that and watching him. Probably shouldn't have come back with him, probably should have stayed with [Iman Shumpert]. But hell, that was my call. I'll go watch the tape and the next game, I'll try to be better."
Indeed, the decision to reinsert Davis looks poor in retrospect. New York may have been able to dig themselves out of their seven-point hole at the time if they'd stuck with Shumpert or trotted out PG3200, the basketball-playing humanoid robot they've been saving for the playoffs (also Mike Bibby's best friend and doubles badminton partner).
Beyond the "pace" thing and perhaps in conjunction with the Davis thing, New York just failed to execute on several offensive and defensive possessions in that fourth quarter. Over at Hickory High, the excellent Jordan Kahn clipped a handful of New York's breakdowns during that 18-6 run. It began with J.R. Smith failing to get back on defense after his big ol' transition dunk, and sort of descended from there. On both ends of the floor, it seemed like New York had a sound gameplan and reasonable execution, save for one glaring, costly error. Take, for example, Tyson Chandler and Iman Shumpert's box-out confusion...
...or another miscommunication, this time between passer (Davis) and receiver (Carmelo Anthony):
So, "pace" or not, I think Woodson and company make good points about New York's tendency to force sub-optimal shots in that fourth quarter. When they look back at film, though, I think they'll see several basic errors in execution-- communication, positioning-- that contributed to that eight-minute long collapse. Thanks to Jor-dan for putting together those vidz.