Well, it had to end eventually. The Knicks finally lost a game after winning seven straight, and it came against one of the worst teams (record-wise) they've faced yet. The Hornets (who'd won two straight) actually looked really sharp in this one, and they may have surprised the Knicks with their crisp passin', sweet shootin', and stout defense in the paint. Like Russ said in the thread, though, the Knicks did plenty to hurt their own chances, and pretty much every Knick had a hand in that.
After the jump, I'll run through each Knick quickly, probably make a poop joke or two, then bid y'all farewell for the evening.
So, here's how everybody contributed to an ugly loss:
- Jeremy Lin played veeeery out of control, especially in the first half. He had 9 turnovers-- 8 in the first two frames alone-- because he kept driving straight into multiple defenders, finding himself in a pickle, and either losing a dribble or tossing a precarious pass. In the second half, he was much more careful with the ball and cooked soup from mid-range, but still had plenty of reckless drives into the paint that ended without the kind of foul calls he was getting a week ago. Somehow, the kid still ended up with 26, and he made some plays to keep them alive down the stretch, but it was a rough night.
- As always, though, Lin's penetration and passing lanes benefit from shooters spreading the floor and punishing the collapsing defense. Bill Walker (0-4 from downtown), Steve Novak (1-7 on some looks that are practically lay-ups for him), Landry Fields (0-3) and Iman Shumpert (1-4) provided no such floor-spreading. It was as if someone told them before the game: "Yo, folks out on these streets are having all kinds of mixed feelings about the J.R. Smith signing. Go make us look smart."
- Shump (who I swear shoots 3-9 every single night) did his usual thing where he alternates big plays with unspeakably horrible blunders.
- Fields played his worst game in a while and was just 1-8, but that one make was a pretty great baseline alley-oop finish from Lin. So let's just call it like...3-8, eh?
- Amar'e Stoudemire's jumpers were falling and he had some nice, patient drives to the rim, but his alarmingly horrid defense was out in full force. He spent the night "guarding" Gustavo Ayon (who's awesome!) in the most inert, gullible fashion possible. A single feint one way or the other would send Amar'e practically into orbit, gliding slowly away from the action and into oblivion. We're used to that from Amar'e, but it still jumps out at you now and then.
- Tyson Chandler had some trouble with Chris Kaman (who shot right over him) early, missed 4 of 8 free throws, and fouled out, but he wasn't too bad.
- Same for Jared Jeffries, who got beaten a few times, but was instrumental in the Knicks' much-improved second half defense even though he had 15 stitches and a giant bandage on his face.
- Like everybody's said, the Hornets' purple-in-the-front-green-in-the-back jerseys make it look like there are three teams on the floor. They look pretty foolish on everybody except for Gustavo Ayon.
- Before tip-off, the broadcast booth (Clyde and Bernard King with Breen, not Spero Dedes for the first time, I believe) was discussing the "Lin Mint" (or whatever it's called) milkshake at Shake Shack. Clyde said he'd be into it as long as it had "chorcolate".
- On that note, I was incredibly disappointed to hear Clyde pronounce Ayon's whole name flawlessly.
- Before the game, Josh Harrellson could be seen grabbing Jerome Jordan by the shoulders and violently shaking his body to the beat of "I Wanna Dance With Somebody". Broken wrist and all.
- Trevor Ariza dominated. Everything.
Add all of the above up and you get 41 percent shooting including 4-24 from downtown, ten missed free throws, 21 turnovers, 7-12 outside shooting by the Hornets and...the Knicks' first loss in two weeks. And again, pretty much everybody contributed in one way or another. They'd been poised for a true stinker after stealing two consecutive wins, and they got it tonight.
Dallas is up next, and Melo should be ready for that one. The world earlier today was that Earl (I really wanna call him that. Can we call him that?) wouldn't be, but perhaps that'll change. For now, good night! Be safe! It'll probably be quiet here tomorrow because I badly need to, like, get some sleep and go outside and stuff, but I'm sure I'll be in touch. Thanks for commenting and reading and not shooting guns at me.