New York has now lost ten consecutive games. Only Philadelphia has a longer streak, having started the year 0-17. The Knicks did manage to reach the 30-loss plateau before anyone else. Six of the next seven games come against teams that are at or above .500. And then we play the Sixers. Kaboom! What do you say, team?
The game got out of hand right away, with the Pistons getting up by as many as 33 points. Detroit worked aggressively to get the ball up court, and beat the Knicks in transition time after time. Outlet passes zipped up to half court and Detroit's main water bug, Brandon Jennings, slipped behind New York's entire defense. Whether finishing with quick floaters, kicking out or waiting for Andre Drummond or Greg Monroe to hustle and fill the lane, New York had no answer for the tempo. On the other end, the offense plodded and prodded so mechanically that the Knicks seemed to be perpetually late in the shot clock. This crammed the team into a plethora of tight spots which, rather unsurprisingly, is nothing new.
Another shot-clock violation out of a timeout. Makes the eighth one this season for the Knicks.— Chris Herring (@HerringWSJ) January 3, 2015
This was such a beating, and the Knicks lack talent even when their top guns are available, so I'll make the notes quick...
- Andrea Bargnani played two minutes, missed two free throws, was a negative two, and did not return after straining one of his two calves for the second time this season. This happened in the second game of the second year, with the second team of his second-rate career. Two thumbs down.
- Jason Smith talks the most shit-per-mid-range-jumper-made in the league. After hitting a pair early he was shown shouting and scowling at the Pistons for leaving him open for the least effective shot in basketball. Shortly after that he got hit in the face with a mishandled pass from JR Smith. Not the one in the above vine. He didn't make another basket for the rest of the night. Five points on eight shots for Jah. This palooka would get downright abused in the playoffs, so consider yourselves lucky.
- Travis Wear canned the first three of his career! Way to go, Blondie! Maybe take a couple steps back more often.
- Cole Aldrich air mailed at least three hook shots. Despite his hideous shooting and clumsy spacing, he was probably the team's best performer on the night, getting a few rebounds, swatting a few shots, and missing practically everything he put up.
- Cleanthony Early got some surprise minutes and played ok. He got to his spots in the Triangle a lot more quickly than anyone else on the team, and quickly snapped off passes when he didn't have a play to make (and someone made the effort to get open). His willingness to search out early offense also helped the team form around the action- even when a rim run or open look wasn't immediately there. The entire team could learn from his eager attitude.
- Pistons hustled and muscled their way to a 46-24 advantage on points in the paint.
- Brandon Jennings outscored the entire Knicks team in the 3rd quarter, 16-14. New York didn't even have a field goal made until 4:48 left in the third, when blasé as heck, Jose Calderon hit a mid range pull up.
- Speaking of pull ups; Calderon was unable to pull himself up at one point when a fan wouldn't let go of him after he fell down along the baseline. He sort of fell into the guy and the guy wrapped him up like a race car driver's seat belt and started patting him on the chest all too much.
- Stop me if you've heard this one, but JR Smith can be a wonderful ball player, if only he could stay locked in like he does when the team is down 30 in the closing minutes of a game that the fans couldn't even bother to boo wholeheartedly at. Earl bombed back-to-back-to-back deep three-pointers, only to step further and further and further away from the goal and start bricking things. The team fuzzily rallied around this strange dexterity and It actually started to get exciting for a minute.
Davesong009 gave me the headline quote from the game thread, and it's hard to wonder why the Knicks can only play freely when it's way too late. All game long, you wonder when they will look for early offense, and when they will try to beat the other team down the floor, and when they will take the open shots they occasionally generate. Sadly, they never do it, they threaten to, but they never let it rip. The young guys want to, but aren't savvy enough to take over a game. The tank is gaining some real steam now.