For many Knick fans this game will be marred by referee Mark Lindsay not granting Derek Fisher a time out in the closing seconds despite clearly shooting Fish a double take. It seemed that Fisher was prompting Carmelo Anthony to hurry across half court, and then he called for his final time out, but it never came. Anthony forced up a desperation heave, to no avail, and yet another comeback slid away.
Somehow I feel like we've seen this game before. The Knicks got down early, then got down big, chipped away until they got back in it and ran out of juice in the waning moments. Walt Clyde Phraser nailed the "Knicksian" aspect of the loss in the game thread, noting how it played out exactly how it has been playing out for what seems like a decade or more. Let's set the mood and break the dang thang down.
- It all started with Brook Lopez. The big fella came out with his cauldron boiling hot, and Samuel Dalembert just got spoonfed that sweaty, salty low-post, high-post soup practically every time down the floor. Once Lopez required help, the Knicks defense loosened up and Brooklyn was able to dance and prance around his screens or cut behind defenders for easy chances, whether at the rim or fading to the corners. Brook babbled his way to 23 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks
- When it comes to guys getting open behind the defense, Iman Shumpert was probably the main culprit. Shumpert is charged as the Knicks' best defender (which isn't saying much at all), but he is just atrocious at moving his feet over screens and was a total wastoid when lazily doubling and losing track of everyone he was tasked to guard. In the first quarter Bojan Bogdanovic snuck behind Shump at least three times by just roaming toward the open space on the floor.
Iman's confidence is quickly deteriorating since Jose Calderon got back (ball in his hands less), and this game was sad to see for his fans. He finished shooting 4-11, and didn't chip in on the boards nor in the assist column. Couple that with his propensity for mental lapses on defense, and... damn, dude.
- Carmelo Anthony turned in a dilapidated performance with 20 points on 22 shots. In the first quarter he missed two shots by what seemed like a combined twelve feet, prompting Walt Frazier to say Carmelo had "put up two UFO's". A boring game for the hat bum.
The only play that I really liked from him was a pick and roll in a delayed transition where he fed Amar'e Stoudemire for a jam over Kevin Garnett.
- Amar'e got the start in the front court over... whoever... I guess Quincy Acy is the guy as of late. STAT played 37 minutes! He seemed to really savor the opportunity to go against Garnett's creaking body, as he shot efficiently and rebounded every now and then. These two chums danced for a second and Garnett tried to dip Stoudemire, for which the pair received double technicals. Probably for being so corny.
- The thing that set the Nets apart for this game was probably their offensive rebounding. Their activity and alternately some lucky bounces gave them a 21 to 13 advantage in that department. Garnett had 6 offensive rebounds and Mason Plumlee helped lead the way for the bench unit with 5 o-boards.
- The Knicks bench is really atrocious. Already without JR Smith due to illness, the lack of contribution from anyone else was painful. TIm Hardaway Jr couldn't even come close on his shots. Jason Smith is pathetic. Shane Larkin and Pablo Prigioni played ok, but aren't talented enough to change the way the defense wants to set up. Acy is just a maniac.
-Then, of course, Cole Aldrich got his most time of the season so far. He logged just under 20 minutes, and it wasn't all garbage time, surprisingly. In the first half, Cole was the first big off the bench, but got pulled after maybe 35 seconds twice. Both times for Jason Smith. Both times for no real reason. Starting to be impossible to figure out what Derek Fisher wants to see on the floor. Aldrich didn't do anything that stands out statistically, but physically he stands out and is big and nosey enough to muddy the paint waters.
-Ending on a high note, Jose Calderon really started to shine on offense. We'll completely ignore the defense so we can salvage some sanity. For some reason he runs the floor by himself a little too often (pick up the pace, everybody else). His legs are starting to settle and he has some pop on his jumper and just generally isn't slogging through the game. Jose's sense of timing and how space will evolve is so wonderful that it sometimes dictates the next two passes. At the very least he can cleanly organize a pick and roll or post up opportunity for a pair of teammates on the opposite side of the floor. His integration into the team is a welcome distraction from all the losing. For Jose, 19 points and seven assists, including five 3-pointers.
Knicks take on the Cavs Thursday night. Cleveland will certainly be looking to punish New York for their opening day loss. Lebron James plays for them. That guy supposed to be good at the basketball.