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Pelicans 104, Knicks 92: ‘I guess the Knicks aren’t a superteam’

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The Knicks didn’t defend, pass or hit shots.

NBA: New York Knicks at New Orleans Pelicans Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Like commenter Rice2012, we here at P&T headquarters are starting to doubt the Knicks’ “superteam” status. The defense has been laughable all season, and even the offense has become somewhat overrated — they ranked 16th in O-rating before Friday night’s loss to the Pelicans. During the heady times of a couple of weeks ago, the statheads warned giddy ‘Bocker backers that a correction was likely to come, and no contest on their current three-game losing streak has embodied the horrible logic of that correction quite like the drubbing in New Orleans.

If not for a nice 11-0 run toward the end of the second quarter, a stretch of play that briefly gave the Knicks a lead they quickly coughed up before halftime, this game would have been all N’awlins. Anthony Davis was held relatively in check — at least by his lofty standards — but the Pels didn’t really need him to score. They got more than enough from the perimeter quartet of Buddy Hield (12 points), (Jrue Holiday (12 points), E’Twaun Moore (12 points) and Tyreke Evans (16 points).

Meanwhile the Knicks counteracted New Orleans’ small-ball lineups in true Mike Woodsonian fashion, by posting up every height mismatch and running isos as a backup plan. Look at this crap:

  • Kristaps Porzingis: 8-20 shooting, 0-2 from three
  • Carmelo Anthony: 9-22 shooting, 1-5 from three
  • Derrick Rose: 9-21 shooting, 1-2 from three
  • Joakim Noah: 0-3 shooting

That’s a combined 26-66 from the four regular starters, friends! 2 followed by 666! The mark of the beast! And I saw when the Vujacic opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, “Come and see.” And I saw...some crappy-ass offense.

Oh yeah, and the defense was worse. That’s a given at this point in the season, but it’s worth mentioning, I guess. Coach Stingy captured video of the most obnoxious defense possession of the evening in my opinion:

Let’s see: We have the dumbest switch of all time leading to Anthony Freakin’ Davis posting up Brandon Freakin’ Jennings on the weak side. Lance doubles from one pass away, and Rose engages in the most half-assed close-out in history. Foul, two free-throws. This is the essence of New York Knicks defense right now.

Notes:

  • Carmelo Anthony really seems to be going through the motions right now. He was, of course, ejected from the last game against Atlanta. He also seemed fired up (and grateful to Jeff Hornacek for sticking up for him) in his pre-game comments. But he has little-to-no interest in guarding any of the Pelican wing players assigned to him on D. He was allowed to use dat ass to back down those smaller Pels on the other end of the court, and did get to the line a bunch (10 FTA), but wasn’t really in sync with his teammates. I miss the vivacious play-making Melo of last season.
  • Look, we all know Kristaps Porzingis needs to improve his post play, and to improve, he needs practice. But c’mon, guys! Kristaps (40.7 3P%) took as many threes as Rose. That’s not how this is supposed to work. This was a disheartening, early Rambis-era performance on offense for the young Latvian. You can’t hook a Unicorn up to a plow and use him to till your turnip fields; you gotta let him run free.
  • Derrick Rose shot very often, missed most of those shots, and recorded one garbage-time assist. Jrue Holiday had 11 assists and 1 turnover. Both players will be free agents in the summer. Just sayin’
  • For such a physical freak of nature, Rose really struggles with the physical aspect of defense. He couldn’t stay in front of the small, lightning-quick Schroder on Wednesday, and he was consistently out-muscled by the larger Holiday on Friday.
  • The ball moved so much more effectively with Joakim Noah on the floor, and he did a decent job on Anthony Davis on the other end. That’s good! Noah was also limited to 15 minutes due to foul trouble. That’s bad.
  • Sasha Vujacic played in place of the injured Courtney Lee and hit 1 of 2 shots. He wasn’t particularly high on the list of New York’s problems in this game, which is a problem in and of itself.
  • Hornacek has really started to shorten his rotation. The only three bench Knicks to see significant minutes were Lance Thomas, Justin Holiday and Brandon Jennings. Kyle O’Quinn and Willy Hernangomez played 11 minutes apiece. This is the problem when you have too many centers in a small-ball era.

I’d just like to end with an appeal to Hornacek: Please, coach, play Mindaugas Kuzminskas. He might not help the Knicks win more games, but at least his positivity is infectious.

All of us — players, coaches and fans alike — could use a little Cheese right now.