Guh. Last night's game sucked. I rushed last night's recap because I wanted to flee, but there are still some things (and follow-up links) worth mentioning and discussing. Take the jump.
- First, a look at all the standings as of today:
|New York Knicks||48||23-25||.479|
|New Jersey Nets||49||15-34||.306|
Milwaukee farted on the Bobcats last night, and they're now half a game behind the Knicks with a game tonight against the Pacers. The Knicks play the Pistons. On Monday, the Knicks and Bucks will face EACH OTHER.
- Man, I re-watched a bunch of New York's turnovers last night and so, so many of them were unforced, especially in the first half. Toronto came up with a bunch of steals late in the game when nobody cared, but early on, the Knicks were just passing off each other's sternums, traveling, getting three-second violations, and stepping out of bounds. And so many blown layups! Tyson Chandler went 1-5! Amar'e Stoudemire tossed a dunk attempt off the shot clock! It sorta seemed like everybody was just creeped out by Toronto's zone, and nobody hit outside shots to make it go away.
- I've been watching a lot of New York's defensive breakdowns, too (I could be, like, eating breakfast right now. Something is wrong with me.), and it just looked like the Knicks were serially a step slow. Whenever their switching works, we talk about switching quickly and decisively, and that wasn't the case. New York kept getting caught half-assing their switches and the Raptors got a lot of buckets by exploiting just a bit of open space to operate.
- New York ran some-- not a lot of-- pick-and-roll last night, and Jeremy Lin and Baron Davis didn't have a lot of success getting the ball to the roller (in part because of that zone). They went for shots themselves about half the time and struggled mightily, in part because Chandler's picks last night didn't seem like his sturdiest. Lin in particular got some pretty ugly looks at the rim and didn't get to the line at all (I thought he could have gotten a few calls, but he also just couldn't really penetrate the zone).
- We can't pin that much of a loss on a guy who's been playing out fifteen minutes a night under Woodson, but the Knicks' second unit definitely missed Jared Jeffries last night. His defense would have been nice, obviously, but I think we also underrated how much movement he generates on offense. The bench guys looked uncharacteristically stagnant.
- Steve Novak went wild in the fourth quarter when nobody really bothered to contest him, but for the second night in a row, New York had a lot of trouble getting him the ball when it counted. Teams are starting to cling to him pretty tightly, so it might take some new, more exotic sets to get him open on the perimeter. (And when I say exotic, I clearly mean having Steve start the play hiding in the stands, then race onto the floor and distract his defender with a flashbang.)
- I thought Carmelo Anthony took mostly good shots last night. There's just something very wrong with his shooting form, but it seemed like he tried to overcome that by heading to the basket more and frequenting the offensive glass as the night progressed. Here's his post-game stuff.
- You might like to hear Mike Woodson's post-game stuff, too.
As was discussed last night, I'm totally willing to chalk Friday's performance up to "one of those nights", but only if New York flips it around tonight against the Pistons. Please do that, Knicks.