It would be my luck that the first Knicks home game I attend this season be one of the team’s worst performances. To say the Knicks were out of sync would be an understatement — the shooting, defense and mental focus were all beyond horrific. And yet, the circus that was the fourth quarter made the game quite entertaining even when it became apparent that NY had dug a hole too big to climb out of.
The Bricks Just Kept Coming: The Knicks shooting in this game was painful. For most of the contest, the Knicks were shooting an embarrassing 33% from the field and under 25% from three-point range. The Bulls lived up to their league-leading defense but it wasn’t just that. The Knicks got many wide open shots and failed to convert. Our normally sharp-shooting Steve Novak was the worst in logging over 30 minutes and scoring 0 on just three shot attempts. We had three guys score over 20 with none of them being efficient getting there. Raymond Felton (21 points) was 9-21 and couldn’t nail a jumper to save his life. JR Smith (26 points) was 9-20 and Carmelo Anthony (29 points), who was repeatedly turned back at the rim and frustrated, went 10-25 before being ejected.
Remember when Ronnie Brewer was money earlier this season with that corner three? Well he must have returned to Earth because he couldn’t buy a basket, going 0-4 and causing us fans to groan with every brick. To add insult to injury, he even bricked a free throw.
The Whining Returns: During the game, which had the lead at times ballooning over 20 points, the Knicks got more annoyed with every missed bucket and with the physical defense the Bulls were putting on them. At times they had a point — the Bulls were allowed to rough Melo up in the paint while any contact placed on Loul Deng on the opposite end resulted in an immediate foul call. Nonetheless, you have to adjust to the game and Knicks failed miserably doing that.
The defense was very shoddy in getting to the Bulls shooters and gave up plenty momentum-killing three-pointers. Despite all that, the team was still 19-7 coming into tonight and we in the crowd (well most of us) just couldn’t find it in ourselves to boo them.
Melo got tossed but not before getting a standing ovation. Woodson had seen enough and did everything could (including telling the ref “fuck you”) so get an early trip to the locker room, which was granted. By that point the tension was heavy. Chandler and Noah got tangled up and did a little shoving, resulting in both guys being tossed (Chandler on his first technical and Noah had a previous one for being mouthy with the refs). Noah’s post-game comments summed up our mind state during that testy second half.
I don’t think they are used to being down that much. If they were up 20 points, I don’t think they would have been that frustrated.
These Refs Suck!: That was the chant we took up last night and it was very appropriate. There were nine technicals in total (6 Knicks, 3 Bulls), resulting from neither team respecting the official calls. And the more technicals resulted in less and less respect from both squads. Several times during the game you could see the refs huddled up trying to figure out how to get matters back under control.
Melo’s second technical was especially suspect (all he did from my seat was stare at the official). The league agreed, as the second tech issued by Olandis Poole has been rescinded. Who knows what could have happened if he stayed in the game. Another ref, John Goble, has issued eight technicals on the Knicks this year, including tossing Rasheed Wallace for his “Ball Don’t Lie!” phrase. And just so Knicks fans can keep track of these guys for future reference, the last ref rounding out last night’s 3 Stooges trio is named Zach Zabra.
If any positive can come out of last night is that it appears the league is closely reviewing the refs and how their quick whistles exacerbated the problems from last night. Expect the Knicks to get some favorable calls on Sunday against the Wolves and hopefully none of these refs will be suited up.
And even with the disappointing Knicks performance, spending time with Mom made it all worthwhile.