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Spurs 120, Knicks 89: "Pathetic."


Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sport

If you make a defensive switch, then the switched defenders will probably be mismatched. If you are dissatisfied with those mismatches such that you feel it is necessary to double, perhaps you shouldn't have switched. If you double the guy with the ball, then someone without the ball is open. If that open person without the ball is Danny Green behind the arc and no one is around to close him out, then perhaps you shouldn't have doubled. If you play lineups with players that don't space the floor, there probably won't be much space on the floor. If Carmelo Anthony is doubled and you don't get the ball to the weak side of the floor, then you will probably not get a good shot. If a guy attacks you with a knife and you lift your shirt and point to your belly, you're going to get stabbed in the belly.

Mike Woodson and the Knicks invited defeat against San Antonio. The Knicks steered deliberately toward their own destruction, something they've been doing regularly through six games. We saw awkward lineups without the spacing or passing to do anything other than what the Spurs wanted them to do. We saw a defense that switched and doubled at exactly the wrong moments, allowing the Spurs' sets to run exactly as they were drawn up. The Spurs are very good and should probably beat the Knicks no matter what, but it's something else when New York goes out of their way to make that so.

We saw this during last season's worst stretches, but those bad habits got buried by overall excellence. When his team is presented with a challenge, Mike Woodson adds more challenges. Woodson prefers unnecessary complexity to a straightforward approach, and so far this season, his players are making him look dumb for it with terrible decisions of their own. They look broken. They can be fixed, but they've shown little intent to fix themselves. So, for now, they are broken. These baby otters swimming in a bathtub are not broken. Here, look at them and think about them instead of the Knicks: