Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Yeugghehhhhhehghhhfpfffff. That wasn't much fun. I went into this game very, very excited about Raymond Felton's return and Mike Woodson's starting lineup choice. I'm still excited about those things, but the early returns were rather unpleasant.
The Knicks sorta just wandered onto the floor, curled up for some naps, then got up and left when the arena clean-up crew poked them awake. Felton struggled shooting the ball, ran the pick-and-roll inconsistently and to little effect, and got absolutely undressed by Jrue Holiday's forays off the dribble. Even Iman Shumpert-- the man we expected to take Holiday to start, who switched onto him later-- failed to stay in front of the guy. And not so much on the help defense, either. Tyson Chandler and friends rarely rotated early or forcefully enough to deter Holiday on the move. Kid's pretty good.
More bad things: Carmelo Anthony shot a particularly unsettling 9-28. He forced his drives to the basket early in the game, and when those drives didn't draw whistles and passes out of quick doubles failed to produce open threes, he kinda just started chucking. It didn't go well. Same for J.R. Smith, who stayed in his rut of heaving uglier and uglier contested step-backs (also fouled Nick Young on a made three, just to tie an awful night together). He's been baaaaaaad. Shump and Chandler, as mentioned, did not make much impact on either end (Shump really forced things, Chandler hardly ever got the ball).
A few bright spots, if I may: Amar'e Stoudemire looked terrific-- much lighter on his feet, sure-handed around the rim, and fairly active on defense. He finished with a season-high 20 on 8-13 shooting. Pablo Prigioni played a solid offensive game, too. And the big one: Ronnie Brewer played TWO SECONDS at the end of the first half. Mike Woodson deserves some blame for a feeble and disorganized bunch of Knicks, but that's an inspired move.
Anyway, tonight was lame, lame, lame performance. I don't know if it was THE lamest, as our friend Norman asked, but it was certainly up there. There wasn't even a spurt out of halftime or the usual point-differential-saving run down the stretch. Just unmitigated torpor.
The Knicks are back at the Garden with a chance to bury this game against the Hawks. Even with the recent shittiness, I'm willing to chalk this one up to "just one of those nights", but that comes with the caveat that you simply can't have two of those in a row.
In closing, here's your post-game regimen: