Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Friday night was not unusual.
The Knicks are on a three-game win streak. In each of those three wins, they got kinda pasted in the first half because of some terrible defense, especially on the perimeter and especially against pick-and-rolls. As has been mentioned a few times this season, that's no fluke: New York's defense habitually sucks in the first half then takes over in the second. John Schuhmann dropped in this morning to remind us that's still a thing:
Through Friday, the Knicks rank 28th in first-half defense, allowing 106.2 points per 100 possessions. And they rank seventh in second-half defense, allowing just 99.5. That’s the second biggest discrepancy in the league.
Click through to see that chart. It's readily evident just watching the games, and numbers confirm that New York's first half defense is straight farts and their second half defense is close to last year's norm (quite good). Mike Woodson told Schuhmann he couldn't really explain it, but Schuhmann offers some of his own explanation: Last night, the Knicks switched pick-and-rolls and welcomed mismatches in the first half and it didn't go so well. In the second half, they sent Tyson Chandler and Amar'e Stoudemire to hedge and trap ball-handlers aggressively and it worked a lot better. I guess that more aggressive tactic requires extra energy and the occasional foul, but it doesn't seem to me like the first half issues are so complicated. Give your opponents the match-ups and looks they want, and they're gonna score pretty often.
Three wins in a row, though. I'm happy.