Defense-Challenged Knicks Get Embarrassed at MSG By Lakers

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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.

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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.

 

Porzingis and Rose Dominate Lakers, Knicks Win 118-112

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Photo Credit: USA Today Sports Images

Make that 4 straight on the road. Kristaps Porzingis poured in 26 points while Derrick Rose chipped in 25 to lead New York over the Los Angeles Lakers.

I was worried about this game. Despite L.A. being on a five game losing streak, the three-point shot is their bread n’ butter via gunners Lou Williams and Nick Young. With New York’s sub par perimeter defense, this could have easily been a trap game. But the Knicks got contributions from every player, most notably a huge bench spark from Brandon Jennings to finally pull away in the fourth.

A RESTED AND DEADLY ROSE: Missing two games with back spasms appears to have put Rose back into MVP form. His mid-range floaters were unguardable as he stormed out to a 10 point first quarter. Yes, he only had two assists. But when you’re scorching from the field (12/16), no one will complain. It was fitting that a Rose bucket iced the game.


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A MONSTER ON BOTH ENDS: I think it’s safe to say Porzingis’ shooting slump is over. The “unicorn” wreaked havoc on the defensive by altering countless shots and serving 7 blocks. The paint was effectively closed, taking away much of Julius Randle’s effectiveness and forcing the Laker guards into long three pointers during the fourth.

How dominant was Porzingis? He is the first Knick since Patrick Ewing in 1997 to have 26 points, 12 boards and 7 blocks. KP was 8/15 from the field, including 3/4 from downtown. Not to mention, 7/9 from the free throw line.


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JENNINGS’ 1ST WIN AT STAPLES: It’s hard to believe, but before tonight Brandon Jennings (19 points) had never won a game at Staples Center. That might account for his determination when the Knicks gave up a 12-2 run to start the fourth and fell behind 86-87. Melo, who finished 4/16 from the field, couldn’t buy a bucket. The Knicks needed a spark and Jennings obliged with back to back treys and a beautiful fast break with Courtney Lee for a three-point play. Although the Lakers remained competitive, they never regained any momentum.


TEAM EFFORT: 118 points, which equals a season high, is very impressive considering Melo only had 13 points. With Kyle O’Quinn out with a sprained ankle, Willy Hernangomez stepped up huge with 6 points and 12 boards. Courtney Lee added 16 points (3/4 from downtown), and Justin Holiday had 9 points.

Melo’s shot wasn’t there, but he still proved valuable in his 38 minutes. He delivered a season-high 7 assists, grabbed 8 boards, and gave the Knicks some breathing room with a bassline jumper over Luol Deng in crunch time.

The Knicks look to make it 3-0 on this West Coast swing against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday.

 

 

 

[Video] Team Effort: Melo, Felton and Chandler Power Knicks Past Lakers

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NEW YORK CITY, NY — Weekend afternoon games have not been kind to the Knicks this season. Whether it’s due to partying or just lack of focus is anyone’s guess. This wasn’t an issues yesterday (well, at least on offense) as New York but together a total team effort highlighted by big games from Carmelo Anthony (35 points), Tyson Chandler (13 points, 14 rebounds), Raymond Felton (20 points), Tim Hardaway Jr. (18 points) and JR Smith (16 points) to take their latest “must-win” game over the Los Angeles Lakers. The last thing the Knicks needed was a letdown after Melo’s 62 point game and for now, the momentum is still intact.

DEFENSE NEED NOT APPLY: A win is a win, but it was disturbing how badly the Knicks guarded the perimeter. The Lakers burned them for 11 treys on 47% shooting. Felton was the culprit most of the time, but others were pretty lax closing out on the shooters until the final minutes of the game. Jodie Meeks (24 pts) had a 13 points in the third and was a scorching 6/8 from downtown.

The post defense got off to a bad start with Pau Gasol (20 pts) before our trio of bigs, lead by Chandler, clamped down in the second half.

AROUND THE RIM ISSUES: Jeremy Tyler and Cole Aldrich had some really good defensive stops and rebounds, but their offense also had you yelling at the TV. On about four occasions they missed point-blank shots at the rim. Once they get more comfortable with their playing time, that should cease.

THJ: Our rookie was on fire. Tim went 4/5 from downtown and attacked the basket for a sweet 3-point play. His best sequence came in the third when he swished a three-pointer and was the recipient of a Melo alley-oop to extend the NY lead to 83-79.

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FUN FACT: Since resigning from the Knicks and going to LA, Mike D’Antoni is winless at Madison Square Garden. Expect Melo to keep it that way.

On Wednesday, the Knicks will host the Boston Celtics.

Welcome Back, D’Antoni — Knicks Start Hot and Defeat Lakers 116-107

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The Madison Square Garden dominance continues! There were many storylines headed into last night’s clash between the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers. Would NY be fired up to face their old coach Mike D’Antoni? Would Kobe Bryant have a classic game to turn his squad around? Would Carmelo Anthony added further credence to his MVP campaign? But in the end, the biggest story is that a better constructed team beat up on a vulnerable, lost squad. With that said, there were several moments that I’m sure had every other Knicks fan on edge despite the final score.

Melo Drops 22 in the 1st Quarter: After Melo hit his third consecutive three-pointer to start the game (two in transition), you just knew it was one of those nights for our star player. He was on a mission to show before a national audience and also to his former coach what a talent he is. Melo got to the rim at will, simply blowing by Metta World Peace for dunks and layups. After getting a fouled for a three-point play off a drive, the “MVP!” chants rained down as the score had ballooned to 41-27, a record quarter this season for the league. Melo’s hot start had the rest of the team fired up as well with Raymond Felton getting easy penetration and Tyson Chandler drawing two fouls on Dwight Howard. Melo would finish the game with 30 points.

Hot Shooting Even with Bad Stretches: At one point in the second, the Knicks were shooting an astounding 74% from the field. Melo got to sit most of the quarter and the scoring slack was picked up by JR Smith and Steve Novak to push the lead to 26 points at one point courtesy of a 27-9 run (58-32). That was the peak though for NY, as our team got sloppy with the isolation plays and allowed LA to creep back to as close to 15  before having to settle for a 68-49 deficit at halftime.

The Knicks had to do without Melo for most of the second half when he sprained his ankle following a hard foul from Dwight Howard (punk). The Lakers hovered around 20 points for most of the quarter but some timely shots by Kobe and World Peace had them just down 93-80 going into the fourth. The offense wasn’t pretty at times in the decisive quarter, but the shooting remained solid and allowed the Knicks to push back the Lakers when they cut it six. For the game, NY shot 53% from the field and 48% (12-25) from downtown.

Chandler’s Help Goes Beyond the Stats: Tyson had 18 points, but when you look at the rebounds (just 4), you’d think he had a completely awful night on the boards. That’s not to say he couldn’t have been much better, but he did seal the game with two offensive tip backs into the backcourt that allowed NY to hold possession in the final minute and effectively ice the game. That made up for the underwhelming time he had at the free throw line, just shooting 8-14 (57%).

The Supporting Cast: Novak had to play heavy minutes (26) with Melo’s injury and made good use of it with 12 points (all from downtown). Although he got exploited on offense by the likes of Devin Ebanks, that was offset by a solid shooting night from JR, who dropped 18 points on 7-14 shooting, including a key late three-pointer. Felton was much more streaky (an ugly 9-26 from the field), but made some key jumper throughout the game. He just needs to work on those floaters. Also check youtube later for a nice crossover he put on Dwight Howard.

The Knicks are now 9-0 at home for the season and still sit atop the Eastern Conference standings at 17-5. It was nice seeing Spike Lee teasingly stare down Charles Barkley for his Knick criticisms. Steve Kerr brought some balance to Barkley’s declarations the Knicks can’t go deep in the playoffs, pointing out how Dallas and Miami won titles without dominant rebounding or low-post scoring. Melo might be sitting tomorrow night when we continue our home stand against the Cavs. That could be a tough game if Melo is out and our offense is cold.