USA TODAY Sports
We've seen some shit over the years, but man...I'm hard-pressed to think of many losses quite as impressively humiliating as what the Knicks burped up in Indiana tonight. And unlike in previous years, this is an ostensibly good team playing an important game after a long break. The phenomenon of decent but futile early execution snowballing into an outright bloodbath is familiar, but tonight's snowball was Calvin-esque and the bloodbath more like a...uh...I dunno, bloodpond. That game broke whatever part of my brain makes metaphors.
New York's performance to start had me going "eh, they're missing open looks and the Pacers are hitting jumpers", but by the end of the first, the mere slow start had festered into something truly abominable. New York's pick-and-roll defense didn't switch so much-- it just stopped entirely. Many a Pacer ball-handler dribbled over a pick to find himself utterly alone, wearing an "I mean, if you're just gonna let me shoot..." expression as he drilled an uncontested three. Indiana hit a bunch of jumpers, finished anything they wanted inside, and dominated in transition. Never have I seen so many fancy, uncontested dunks in an actual game. (The only comparison that comes to mind was what the Knicks did to the Blazers on the night before the trade deadline last season. Hmm.) The Pacers scored 125 points for an offensive efficiency of 123.6 points per 100 possessions (and that's after falling off in the second half). That'd be a great night for a great offensive team. The Pacers are a bad offensive team, so the only explanation is the Knicks stood dutifully atop stepladders to guide Indiana's shots through the rim.
Just to double down on their own demise, the Knicks kept missing open jumpers, committing turnovers, and farting away possessions with mindless isolation. Amar'e Stoudemire flipped out and got T'd up after a quick third foul, then started the second half and promptly picked up a fourth. Kurt Thomas committed four fouls of his own in a matter of seven minutes. J.R. Smith engaged in some petty beefery with Lance Stephenson (and maybe flipped off a ref) to get himself ejected. Frank Vogel and Jim Todd had a snarly confrontation at halftime. Mike Woodson wore glasses for some reason. Probably the best play of the game was Iman Shumpert accidentally drop-kicking the ball over his head to a Steve Novak three. All of the things were as stupid as humanly possible.
To lose like that sucks. To lose like that against the team nipping at New York's heels in the standings on what was supposed to represent The First Day of the Rest of the Season-- the clean slate after a messy slog into the break-- sucks beyond sucking. Like Stil-illmatic said in the thread, the greatest virtue of the Knicks' performance was that, by the grace of the 48-minute clock, it had to end.
The Knicks are a very bad team at the moment. We stay waiting for them to get shaken into better effort. I can't imagine a more violent shake than this one, so...guys, it's time. Please.