Photo Credit: USA Today Sports Images
Getting blown out by the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers is one thing. Tonight, the Knicks proved themselves hopeless as they began an important four-game stretch by getting outhustled and pushed around by a struggling Lakers team to lose 121-107 at Madison Square Garden. The boos weren’t reserved for Melo this evening since it was the entire team that embarrassed themselves.
NO DEFENSE: The Knicks found themselves in a 10-point hole after the first quarter (19-29) by giving up 5 three-pointers and shooting just 37%. Things got no better in the second as Lou Williams abused our guards on the perimeter and Julius Randle feasted on the paint.
The Knicks went down by as much as 27 points in the first half. In the third, a few runs got it to 14, but the horrid defense prevented New York from getting any closer. The Lakers obliterated the Knicks in the paint 64-38 mostly off of PNR, back-door cuts and second chance buckets.
MELO A MAN ALONE: Because the entire team lacked effort, the MSG crowd couldn’t focus their venom on Melo. He didn’t give them much reason to being the sole Knick that shot well. Going 10/17 from the field, Melo finished with 26 points and 5 assists. Outside of his usual defensive lapses, Melo’s only other bad area was tallying 4 turnovers.
ROSE RUSTY, PORZINGIS OUT OF SORTS: Derrick Rose’s first game back from a badly sprained ankle is what you’d expect. He was completely out of rhythm over his 32 minutes, going 2/8 (5 points), having 3 turnovers and only 3 assists.
Kristaps Porzingis had no excuse. After a strong finish to the Nets game, he started 0/6 from the field and had just 1 point at halftime. He picked it up over the second half and finished with 16 points despite shooting 5/14. The rebounding was ok, but too often he got beat on simple PNR plays. For positives, he nearly had a double double with 9 boards and was not in foul trouble for a change (2 personals). I don’t buy the
I don’t buy the sore Achilles excuse; right now it’s all mental with KP.
BENCH POSITIVES: Everyone sucked defensively, but the bench had their moments. Brandon Jennings’s streaking shooting was pivotal in every run. He tried to push the pace, got to the line 7 times, and dished out 5 assists. Justin Holiday was 3/5 from downtown and finished with 14 points. And Willy Hernangomez in 24 minutes gave another example of why he should be starting with 8 points and 13 boards.
The Knicks are back at home Wednesday, February 8 to face the Clippers on ESPN.