Let’s be brutally honest about Friday’s blowout loss to the Rockets in Houston. The Knicks shamed themselves and reverted back to the worst of their habits from early last year: no ball movement, iso heavy offense, no rebounding and weak interior defense.
The game was reasonable until the last minutes of the second quarter, when Coach Woodson inexpicably went with a frontcourt that included Steve Novak and Melo. The Rockets got to the line at will, with James Harden having more free throw attempts than our entire squad. Omar Asik destroyed Tyson Chandler inside on the offensive rebounding side and scoring at will in the post. At halftime, we had given up 72 points and were looking at a 72-57 deficit.
It got worst in the second half. We got as close as 10 (73-83) when yet again, our leaders left the refs take us out of the game. Melo got a technical for complaining and let a Rockets player waltz right by him on a fast break in the midst of his complaint for any easy score. Chandler wasn’t far behind on the whining, and the Knicks looked completely deflated and went into heavy isolation plays that lead to contested JR Smith jumpers and more fast break/free throw opportunities for the Rockets. Chandler got a flagrant 1 for elbowing Asik and by the end of the third we were down 80-104. Yes, you read that right; the Knicks gave up over 100 points in just three quarters. It was the same story in the fourth with Asik making Chandler is personal whipping boy. The 131 points we gave up is the highest scored by any team this season. Even Toney Douglas was draining shots (now that is unacceptable)
This game can determine how the rest of the Knicks season goes. Either they come together and acknowledge the team’s glaring faults or continue not trusting each other. There’s a few things I’d like to see in today’s game against the Pistons.
1. Stop letting the refs decide the game. It’s not right, but Melo and Tyson are not going to get the benefit of the doubt on any calls. I sincerely believe among refs they’ve gotten a reputation as complainers and the refs deliberately look not to call fouls in their favor. They need to suck it up, not complain outwardly, and get back on defense. Next dead play, mention respectively what’s happening to the refs and keep it moving. This starts with our team captains/leaders Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler
2. PLAY DEFENSE. We lead the league in points allowed and there’s no reason that should have been destroyed by the Rockets. Harden and company driving to the lane at will is unacceptable. Tyson has played badly on the defensive end and has to get it together.
3. Rebounding. Part of this ties into the coaching. We need Camby out there helping, period. Melo does what he can, but playing him at the 4 isn’t always going to work against the bigger teams. You’d think the Grizzlies loss would’ve have hammered that point home. Time to get creative with the lineups as teams are starting to figure us out.
Redemption starts today at 1pm.