The Knicks suffered their third straight loss, this time to the lowly Bobcats. As embarrassing as that is, it wasn’t even the worst even of the evening. Tyson Chandler, the defensive and rebounding archor of the team, went down early in the first quarter after banging/twisting his right knee against a driving Kemba Walker. Chandler had to be carried off the court and left the arena on crutches. The speculation is that he has a bad sprain.
I don’t think I need to explain to any Knick fan how disastrous it’ll be for the team if Chandler is gone for any extended period of time. Just look at this game as a sample. The Bobcat guards were able to waltz in the paint at will. Kemba Walker dropped 25 points and Gerald Henderson added 18. Even the backups (Ramon Session 10 points, Jeffrey Taylor 13 points) took full advantage of the Knicks’ defensive woes.
The offense was still weak as well. Melo dropped 32 points, but did it on 18-32 shooting. He was an integral part of a late fourth quarter run, but as usual the Knicks couldn’t get over the hump and Kemba Walker hit a dagger stepback over Kenyon Martin in the final minute to ice to game.
Going into last night, the Bobcats were the worst shooting team in the league at under 40%. Leave it up to the Knicks to allow them to move up to 29. The Bobcats were shooting 60% in the first quarter (courtesy of easy drives and open threes) and scored 31 points. Deep into the second quarter they were still around 58% and had 64 points at halftime. In the third, the Knicks went down by as much as 13 points before making a run of it.
This team is LOADED with problems. Andrea Bargnani’s lack of defense and rebounding is killing the starting lineup. Melo was seen giving him stern assignment directions in the first half. Our offense is the most predictable in the league — take away the pick n’ roll and it’s all isolation. Outside of Melo and now occasionally Metta World Peace (who played well and chipped in 18 points off the bench), there’s no one that can get easy buckets inside. Amar’e Stoudemire was absolutely wretched — 2 points, 5 turnovers and had his shots repeatedly sent back at the rim in 11 minutes.
We all wait with bated breath today to hear the results of Tyson Chandler’s medical tests. In the meantime, Coach Woodson better think long and hard about his offensive and defensive sets to ensure the Bobcats don’t embarrass our squad again on Friday.