Free agent and former Knicks forward Kyle O’Quinn has come to terms with a one-year, $4.5 million deal with the Indiana Pacers.
O’Quinn’s free agency began two weeks ago when he declined a $4.2 million player option with New York.
He joins a Pacers team that finished the season 48-34 and took the Eastern Conference champion Cavaliers to seven games in the first round. O’Quinn adds depth to the center position as a backup for Myles Turner.
O’Quinn averaged 7.1 points and 6.1 rebounds on 58% shooting for New York last season.
While I’m not surprised O’Quinn picked another squad, the price is eyebrow-raising. You’d figure to leave his hometown it’d require more than a $300k raise. However, with New York’s the emphasis on youth, O’Quinn may have gotten the impression he wasn’t in New York’s long-term future. Also, we can’t overlook Enes Kanter deciding to opt-in greatly impacted the money New York has to work with.
Over the last few seasons, O’Quinn has been of our hardest worker and arguably the most consistent bench player. He was the only one who possessed the physical toughness we’ve sorely lacked for years. His game will be missed.
Losses are to be expected in the wake of the devastating ACL injury last week to Kristaps Porzingis. In the meantime, us fans will have to look for hope where we can find it. Last night it came in the debut of Emmanuel Mudiay, who had a double double (14 points, 10 assists) and played most of his 29 minutes alongside Frank Ntilikina.
Hornacek’s rotations looked the best it has in weeks with aging starter Jarrett Jack only getting 8 minutes, allowing the young guards to work through mistakes and build chemistry. Ntilikina (12 points,+8) looked more comfortable playing off-ball and allowing Mudiay to push the pace and initiate offense.
However, the big concern remains Mudiay’s shaky jumper (5/14 FG). There were several times where he passed up on open shots to try and get closer to the rim. This allowed defenders enough time to close out and force the offense to reset. He can get away with that against the second units of decent teams like Indy. But against starters or good teams, it remains to be seen how detrimental his lack of shooting will be to our backcourt and overall offense.
Outside of the backcourt, Kyle O’Quinn (14 points, 9 rebounds) and Enes Kanter (17 points, 11 rebounds) delivered their usual gritty efforts. O’Quinn was an early fourth quarter spark and at one point scored 7 straight points (including his first trey of the season) to bring the Knicks within 10 after trailing by 20.
Unfortunately, the Knicks just couldn’t get stops when it mattered. They repeatedly gave up offense rebounds late in the fourth and couldn’t contain Victor Oladipo, who came on strong from a slow first half to drop 30 points in a 121-113 Pacers win.
We’ll see if the Mudiay-Ntilikina tandem can repeat their chemistry tonight at the Garden against the 76ers.
I thought we had the game won. And in overtime, I don’t know, they just walked away with it. – CARMELO ANTHONY
I wouldn’t be surprised if Iman Shumpert hasn’t gotten any sleep yet. Ahead 89-86 with just 9 seconds left in the game, the Knicks needed one stop to snap a three-game losing streak, and more importantly show themselves that they have the ability to hang with the league’s best teams. Instead what happened was Shumpert committing an absent-mined, slight touch on Paul George’s elbow as he shot a three, allowing him to sink three free throws to push the game into overtime and hand the Knicks a heart-breaking sixth straight home defeat.
As usual, there were positives, but they’re hardly consoling in light of the end result. Nonetheless, let’s take a look at what the Knicks can take out of this game.
UDRIH MAKES HIS CASE: With Raymond Felton again out, Beno Udrih got the starting call and delivered a season-high 18 points, snatched 8 rebounds, and dished out 4 assists. He spaced out the floor with his three-point shooting (3-4 from behind the arc), and hit several circus shots (one late in the 4th to give NY a 87-85 lead) on broken plays. Hopefully his performance prompts Coach Woodson to keep him in the rotation when Felton returns.
JR SMITH COMING AROUND: Outside a late 4th quarter three-point attempt too early in the shot clock, JR had a strong game. He contributed 21 of New York’s 26 bench points and added 5 rebounds. 10 three-point attempts is excessive, but that’s JR and he hit several key ones to keep us in the game.
KNICKS HOLD THEIR OWN WITHOUT MELO AND BARGNANI: The Knicks have had numerous third quarter collapses this season. When Melo and Bargnani had to sit with fouls, there was danger of it happening again. JR Smith picked up the scoring slack and Metta World Peace added good defense to keep Indiana at shooting 32% and take a 64-58 lead into the fourth.
REBOUNDING EDGE: The Knicks should use this game as a blueprint of what they can accomplish on the boards with effort and intensity. Despite the big and bruising Pacer front line, the Knicks held a 52-49 rebounding edge behind 18 rebounds from Carmelo Anthony. Everyone in starting lineup made a concerted effort there including Bargnani, who snatched down 9.
THE DEFLATING MOMENT: Shumpert’s touch foul on George’s three-pointer was absolutely crushing for the team’s psyche. All their energy and confidence disappeared and the Pacers pounced behind George’s hot mid-range shooting and outscored the Knicks 14-7 in the extra period.
Shumpert has already struggled with confidence due to the trade rumors and this will do him no favors. Woodson even chipped in some pointed criticism, calling Shumpert’s foul “lazy.”
MELO LEAVES IT ALL ON THE FLOOR: Melo didn’t have a good shooting night (10-28), but he played his heart out in every aspect of the game. He fought hard for rebounds (9 of his 18 were offensive boards) and even got a key block on George in the closing minute of regulation. It’s hard to even complain about the repeated isolation plays in overtime because he appeared to be the only New York player still fighting for the win.
The Knicks will get three days of rest and return Saturday (November 23) to face the Wizards in DC.
Chris Copeland is gone from the New York Knicks after signing a 2 year, $6 million-guaranteed offer sheet with the rival Indiana Pacers.
The Knicks allowed Copeland to test the free agent market by not offering a contract and focusing on other players such as JR Smith, who was recently signed for 4 years. After using part of their mid-level exception to sign veteran guard Pablo Prigioni for 2 years, the Knicks only had an estimated 1.8 million left and won’t be able to match the Pacers’ offer.
Immediately following the Knicks’ playoff exit to the Pacers, Copeland had expressed a strong desire to remain a Knick. His agent John Spencer says the decision was tough and Copeland remains very grateful for the chance the Knicks took on him.
“Chris is grateful to the Knicks for giving him his first opportunity to play in the NBA,” Spencer said. “Also, the Knicks veterans showed him how to be a pro. They taught him to always be prepared. So it was hard for him to leave. But at the end of the day, the opportunity to play for a championship-caliber team was important for him, and he looks forward to working with another world-class organization.
Copeland averaged 8 points last season for the Knicks and provided a sorely needed offensive spark late in the Pacers series.
I’m usually happy to see former Knicks get well-deserved paydays and wish them well. But as a Knick fans that goes back to our huge 90s rivalries, did it have to be Indiana, Cope? Sheesh. It still irks me that Coach Woodson waited until we were in a 3-1 hole to play him in the Pacers series.
Although it was probably unintentional, there was a little shade in the statement from Cope’s agent, who said the main reason for his client’s departure was the desire to play for a “championship-caliber” team. All in all, I’m sad to see Cope not develop further under us but it’s not like he’s output can’t be replaced via another free-agent signing. This just adds another wrinkle to the various rivalries the Knicks will have for next season.
It still hurts two days later. As you all have noted, this site was quiet on a recap of the Knicks-Pacers elimination game yesterday. I was still wrapping my head around the disappointment of the game. Yes, the Knicks went down swinging (well, some of us did). But considering the level of talent assembled for our “win now” motto, the strong feeling of what could have been remains with most Knicks fans. I wasn’t one of those people who thought this squad was going to win the championship this year, but I did see a team that could make the Eastern Conference finals and give a considerable challenge to the Miami Heat. So what went wrong?
SURVIVING THE FIRST HALF: The Knicks offense was again in struggle mode for the first 24 minutes (35% shooting). JR Smith shot 1/6 and Raymond went 0/5. Luckily for NY, Melo was on and kept his team within striking distance (12 points in the first, 20 at the half on 8/16 shooting).
The other reason the Knicks were on the wrong side of a 55-47 score was the rebounding and fouling. The Pacers were getting all the hustle plays and crashing the boards (at one point a 18-5 edge). Indy was very focused while other players, most notably Tyson Chandler and JR Smith, were cyring to the refs, earning Tyson a tech late. The Knicks found themselves in the foul penalty around the 8-minute and had an astounding 16 fouls in the second quarter.
MELO AND SHUMP’S DRAMATIC 3RD QUARTER: The Pacers got the lead to 13 and the feeling was this game was about to be blown open at any moment.
Iman Shumpert had other plans.
Shump detonated for three consecutive threes to bring the Knciks within one (69-70). JR came alive for his own trey, and Shump hit yet another one to tie the game at 79.
Melo was on fire himself, at one point being 4-4 in the quarter and ending up with 15 points in those 12 minutes. A driving layup in the final 30 seconds briefly gave the Knicks a 81-79 lead. When the quarter ended, the score was tied at 81 and the stage was sent for a drama-filled finish.
THE BLOCK: Might as well get right to it. The below play from Roy Hibbert was the defining moment of the game (even more than his great rebounding and 20-plus points). Melo went up as hard as possible and got summarily rejected. From there, he became reluctant to keep that same aggressiveness inside and it led to three consecutive turnovers on his part (one of which resulted in a costly three-point play courtesy of Lance Stephenson over JR Smith for a 95-92 Pacers lead).
The Pacers used the momentum from Hibbert’s play for a 9-0 run that pretty much sealed the deal.
DISAPPEARING ACTS: Melo had 39 points in this game so even with some glaring mistakes, I can live with his effort. Shumpert as well. The rest of the team is where I have issues.
Tyson Chandler (2 points, 6 rebounds) has been abysmal this entire series and after spouting his mouth off in the media about the team’s play, he goes out and makes Roy Hibbert look like Hakeem Olajuwon for the second time. I watched in the disgust as he fumbled point-blank putbacks and failed to box out.
Felton disappointed me the most in going 0/7 from the field and managing just two points. His offense, and more importantly his playmaking, was sorely missed.
JR ended up with 15 points, but on 4/15 shooting. Some in the media have chosen to focus on Melo’s 2/7 shooting effort in the fourth, but not noting the several drives for open kickouts he got to Smith. JR couldn’t hit from the three when it mattered, and the rest is history.
Amar’e Stoudemire only got 5 mintues (none in the fourth) and managed 2 points for the game. Sure, we needed scoring, but Stat’s subpar defense and rebounding would have made the Hibbert feasting even worse.
TIME FOR CHANGE?: I’ve heard everything from fire Woodson to blowing up the roster of everyone except Melo and Shumpert. We definitely need to make some serious adjustments in regard to offensive creativity, strengthening our rebounding, and team defense IQ.
One thing I refuse to do is call this season a failure. Never at any time this season did we have our team completely healthy, yet we still managed our first 50-plus win season in well over a decade. With everyone at their best, this is easily a 60-win team.
Now if we can see a healthy Knicks team for next year is the question. More on that, and Stat’s comments on his team contributions, later today.
Carmelo Anthony said before last night’s “must-win” game four that the Knicks would learn a lot about their character. Based on that quote, we’d have to conclude that the Knicks are a bad shooting, whiny,, unfocused and flawed group. Now that is a tad harsh, but Knicks fans the world over are calling for the blood of a bunch of teams members from Coach Woodson on down. After a second abysmal effort, this time resulting in a 93-82 defeat, the Knicks find themselves in a daunting 3-1 deficit headed back to Madison Square Garden on Thursday.
I won’t sit here and claim to have all the answers, but the glaring concerns I witnessed last night need to be corrected if this team has any shot of extending the series.
CAN ANYONE SCORE???: There were omens from the outset that the Knicks were in trouble. Iman Shumpert, trying to help lift the scoring load off Carmelo Anthony, went 1-5 in the first quarter. No one else was in sync and the team was shooting 9% at the seven-minute mark. Our offensive ineptitude negated the six turnovers Indy committed in the opening 12 minutes, allowing them to have a nice 23-16 lead courtesy of a 9-2 run to end the quarter. And while Roy Hibbert wasn’t killing it on offense, he managed to still be a force with 5 rebounds (4 offensive).
STOP DOUBLING THE POST: Remember how thrilling the Knicks look when they’re hitting three-pointers? The role has been reversed over the last two games since Coach Woodson has insisted that the Indiana bigs (West, Hibbert) get double-teamed every time they get the ball in the post. They simply pass the ball out, where it’s moved around the perimeter to an open man. For this game, it was George Hill and Lance Stephenson eating off this stupid strategy. Too often we saw the deja vu image of a Knicks guard scrambling to the perimeter too late and the Pacers extending their lead via another open trey.
The Pacer threes, combined with their 30-18 edge in rebounding, allowed them to push their lead to 48-34 at halftime.
Do you think any adjustments were made? Of course not — more doubling in the second half, and more momentum-crushing open threes kept the Knicks subdued for the rest of the game.
WHEN OUR FATE WAS SEALED: Despite how bad we looked, the Knicks were able to get within eight early in the fourth behind some much-needed three-point shooting from Chris Copeland. That potential run went to hell when Woody inexplicably benched him to insert Jason Kidd, who literally hasn’t scored a single point in the last month.
So what happened? How about Kidd leaves Lance Stephenson open for a three that pushes the lead back to 11. And on the Pacers next possession, Stephenson makes the driving layup to put the lead at 74-61. You could tell the team’s spirit was broken and the game was essentially over at that point.
OFFENSE WOES CONTINUE: JR Smith continued the worst shooting slump of his career, going 1-8 in the first half and 7/22 for the game. Melo had 24 points but on 9/23 shooting and got held scoreless in the fourth before fouling out. Raymond Felton contributed 14 points and did his best to look for his shot.
The team as a whole shot 35% and look demoralized for most of this game. Our three-point shooting, which is essential for this team, was a wretched 8/28 for 28%.
CAN WE TURN IT AROUND: The Knicks certainly have the right mix of veterans to come back, but I don’t think they have confidence that they can beat the Pacers. As has been the story all year, the team deflates when faced with tough, physical defenses. With Melo and JR being the only ones who can consistently create their own shots, the Pacers can opt to zero in on them with double teams when they enter the paint, and remain confident they can be contained with man to man defense anywhere else. The other Knicks rarely cut to basket or move off screens, making our offense very predictable when the three-point shot is taken away.
Woody’s stubborn rotations, coupled with bad court leadership from our team captains, has brought us to the brink of elimination. To at least go down fighting, Pablo Prigioni needs to get Kidd’s minutes. Chris Copeland and Steve Novak are defensive liabilities, but at this point our scoring drough is more dire. Play them to space the floor. Dust off Camby and see how he does guarding Hibbert. At the very least, he knows how to box out and block a shot.
Judgement day is tomorrow, guys. Now it’s really a must-win.
Tyson Chandler notched another defensive accolade with the NBA’s selection of him the league’s 2013 All-Defense 1st team.
Chandler, who won the Defensive Player of the Year last year but the was named to the league’s second All-Defense team, had the distinctions flipped for 2013. Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol beat out Chandler for Defensive Player of the year for this season.
Chandler averaged 10 points, 10 rebounds and 1 block this season. He received 24 votes in the All-Defense team voting, and joins other first team selections in Joakim Noah, LeBron James, Tony Allen, Chris Paul and Serge Ibaka.
You have to love the irony. Just days after being torched by Roy Hibbert and having one of his worst defensive games of the year, Chandler gets an award that many fans would call debatable. I’ll talk more about that later today, but for now let’s hope Chandler uses this to find his own motivation for tonight’s huge game four in Indiana.
Before game 2 against the Indiana Pacers, Carmelo Anthony said the disappointing game 1 defeat came down to a lack of effort. The Knicks didn’t have that problem last night, as Melo himself dropped 22 second half points, Iman Shumpert was all hustle, and Pablo Prigioni provided an early fourth quarter spark to give the Knicks a 105-79 blowout and their most impressive win this post-season.
Game 1 left a lot of people wondering if the Knicks were “tough enough” to break down the league’s #1 defense in the Pacers, and NY showed, as they have all season, that they’re a team built on resiliency.
1ST HALF EXECUTION: For the majority of the first half, the Knicks answered the call of hitting shots and providing their own strong defense. They forced the Pacers into multiple turnovers and converted on most of their open shots. With just 3:36 left in the half, the Knicks were up 13 points.
Unfortunately, the Pacer defense combined with some Knick mental lapses left New York scoreless for the rest of the half. The Pacers were able to chip their deficit to only five points (47-42) headed into the third. However, the Knicks had reason to be encouraged, as their lead was predicated on ball movement and balanced contributions as Melo and JR were still struggling from the field.
3RD QUARTER TEST: The Knicks got a legit test over within the first 3-5 minutes of the third. Their shots stopped falling, and the Pacers started to nail three-pointers courtesy of Lance Stephenson and George Hill to take their first lead at 64-62. The crowd was antsy, as there was the fear the Knicks would revert to iso ball and get ran off the court.
Impressively, the Knicks never got rattled, and Melo secured the lead back courtesy of momentum-changing three-point play dunk over Jeff Pendergraph. That play brought new life to the Knicks defense, and on the next Pacer possession a Raymond Felton-Kenyon Martin trap in the backcourt resulted in a turnover and alley-oop dunk. Jason Kidd had another scoreless night, but found other ways to contribute in saving a deflection to find Tyson Chandler for an easy dunk and cap a 10-2 NY run to end the quarter. The Knicks held a 72-66 going into the fourth.
PACERS GET BURIED: The Pacers had been shooting well over 50% for most of the game, but came crashing down to the earth in the last 12 minutes. The Pacers had one of the league’s worst offenses during the season, and it was displayed in all its ugly glory as Indy went 0/11 to start and didn’t score from the field until three minutes were left in the quarter!
While the Pacers struggled, Pablo Prigioni furthered the Knicks run by hitting a pullup three and a short jumper in the lane to extend the lead to 77-66. Chants of “Pablo!” rained down from the Garden crowd, but it would be Melo who finished off the game. Melo had 16 points during an astounding 36-4 run to completely blow the game open to a 92-66 lead.
The last five minutes were garbage time and the starters thankfully got a decent rest. And it’s not like the Pacers got any reprieve when our bench was emptied — Quentin Richardson got in on the run with two treys of his own.
SHUMPERT THE BEAST: I think it’s safe to say Shump is fully back from his ACL tear based on the below play.
There were still some naysayers after Shump’s great play in the last series against Paul Pierce, citing Pierce’s age. This series so far shows Shumpert is coming into his own as a complete player. Once his jumper and finishing at the rim gets more consistent, I have no doubt the Knicks will have a future All-Star. In 28 minutes, Shumpert delivered 15 points (7/11 from the field), 6 rebounds and 1 steal.
ANYTIME NOW, JR: Our Sixth Man of the Year is still in this horrible shooting slump. Last night he went 3/15 from the field (1/7 from downtown). You can tell his confidence is really shaken and even his free throws aren’t a sure thing anymore. Nothing lasts forever, so we just have to patiently wait until he gets out of this. Thankfully, with guys like Felton, Shumpert and Prigioni picking up the slack, and Amar’e Stoudemire returning this weekend, JR doesn’t have overwhelming pressure to get it together. But when he does, the Knicks can potentially blow this series open.
REST!: I normally hate long breaks between games, but this time it’s extremely important to our squad. Melo’s hurt shoulder needs all the rest it can get. The Pacers have made it a point to test it out by hammering Melo in the paint. He was grimacing all throughout the game, but of course hitting his shots made the pain less potent. These three days will also serve to help Tyson Chandler, who you can tell is still battling the lingering effects of the bulging disc in his neck. Remember, the Knicks went right into this series one game removed from eliminating Boston.
Game 3 kicks off this Saturday and should also mark the long-awaited return of Amar’e Stoudemire.
The Knicks checked off one last regular season goal this afternoon by defeating the Indiana Pacers to not only lock up the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference, but also have the luxury of resting key players over the season’s remaining two games. The Pacers weren’t a squad to make it easy though, and they gave the Knicks, specifically Carmelo Anthony, a taste of the rough and physical defense they’ll have to overcome for a deep playoff run.
FIRST QUARTER UP AND DOWNS: Melo came out firing hitting his first three shots and scoring the first 11 points for the Knicks. The problem was none of the other Knicks could find their shots and the Pacers remained close until Chris Copeland came in. Along with Felton, Cope sparked an 8-0 run to finish the first 12 minutes with an 23-15 lead.
MELO JR: Speaking of Cope, or “Melo Jr.” as I’ve started calling him, he did a marvelous job in being the focal point of the second unit. He hit back to back three-pointers to start the second quarter and was integral in the Knicks going on a 21-4 run with Melo on the bench to get a 41-21 lead.
With the Knicks big men still convalescing, Copeland was again relegated to having to guard the center and power forward positions. It was no easy task for him this game as he had David West and Roy Hibbert to contend with. He rose to the challenge defensively, and had one stretch where he stripped Hibbert and then drew an offensive foul on Lance Stephenson.
Cope was the most efficient Knick this afternoon in dropping 20 points on 8/12 shooting. The Knicks are in dire need of having a third option to compliment Melo and JR, and Cope has shown over the the last month he’s the most consistent Knick offensively to do it. His three-point shooting really helps to open up the paint, and he can finish at the rim. I’m hoping for a big first round playoff performance from him.
PACERS GOON TACTICS GIVE THE KNICKS AN EARLY TASTE OF THE PLAYOFFS: Because of their defensive reputations, the refs really let the Pacers roughhouse with the Knicks down low. And to NY’s credit, they gave as good as they got (most of the time). Melo got a tech in the third for complaining too much, but he also made sure to get the ball in the basket, hammering down an angry two-handed stuff after a Hibbert hack wasn’t called.
Hibbert got a flagrant 1 for basically face-palming an Iman Shumpert’s dunk attempt, and Melo had to sit late in the third after suffering a left shoulder contusion from a David West hard foul. Nonetheless, the Knicks kept working in the paint, and two JR Smith drives help to give them some breathing room heading into the fourth with a 69-60 lead.
HOW ABOUT OUR DEFENSE?: The Pacers had 24 turnovers in this game (and we didn’t have to maul to do it). Many of them were just savvy plays from the Knicks. Jason Kidd literally snatched the ball out of Lance Stephenson’s hands on a drive to the basket. The 7’2 Roy Hibbert should have had a dominant game with Copeland and Solomon Jones guarding him, but the Knicks trapped extremely well, forcing him into five turnovers and holding the big man to just 4 points.
The problem for the Knicks this game was Lance Stephenson, who was being given way too much room to shoot threes (4/9 from downtown). He did most of his damage in the first half and finished with 22 points.
SOLOMON “RAGDOLL” JONES: Coach Woodson saw early on that Jones wasn’t going to be anything but food out there to the Pacer bigs. Hibbert and West had him falling all over the place in the first quarter. In his 13 minutes, he only had 1 rebound as he couldn’t establish any good position in the paint. We’ll see if he fares any better tomorrow, but I doubt it.
ELECTRIC RELAXATION: Melo (25 points) made it clear in the post-game that his shoulder is nothing serious. In addition, he confirmed he won’t be playing tomorrow. Now this is the only time it’s permissable to have James White in the starting lineup. Let guys like Novak and Shumpert get ample time to work on their shots, and hopefully Rasheed Wallace will be back to log a few minutes and shake off his rust.
This team, man. What else is there to say? All-Star Break, sufficient rest, and the Knicks still delivered one of their worst all-around performances for the year. Having now lost four of their last five games and just a half-game removed from third place, now is the time to be very concerned about where the Knicks are headed over the second half of the season.
PUTRID OFFENSE AND DEFENSE: The Pacers are known for their phenomenal defense but also for their struggles to score. In fact, they are one of the lower teams in the league when it comes to scoring. Last night you’d have no clue as damn near the entire team lit up the Knicks to the tune of 53% shooting and over 100 points while still in the third quarter.
The Pacers were getting open treys at will since the Knick guards couldn’t fight through picks to close out. It’s become a tradition as of late to have some unheralded guard drop a career or season high against the Knicks, and last night it was Orlando Johnson (8 pts, 2-2 from downtown) and Sam Young (7 pts) — the latter could be seen slamming home windmill dunks in the fourth.
The Knicks offense (33.7% shooting) was pathetic with zero ball movement and hoping for Melo to be hot (he wasn’t). Melo went 7/21 for just 15 points and no one else stepped to fill the void except Tyson Chandler (19 pts, 11 rebounds), who got 11 of his points at the line. Amar’e Stoudemire had 7 points and just one field goal as he struggled to handle Tyler Hansborough and was nearly ejected for yelling at a ref.
Raymond Felton tried (12 pts) to make things happen, but the pick and roll with Chandler was well scouted and there was zero cutting from any of the players around him. The guards of Iman Shumpert, Jason Kidd and JR Smith would go a combined 2-17 for just 9 points.
GAME ENDS IN THE 2ND QUARTER: This game didn’t feel promising from the outset. A four point deficit in the first felt like 10 the way the offense was going. The Pacers bench took full advantage and outscored the Knicks 44-26 in the second quarter to take a 77-44 lead into halftime.
WOODSON REMAINS STUBBORN: Coach Woodson had a terse rebuttal when asked in the post-game if he’d consider changing the starting lineup. He said it was a matter of getting better, not changing lineups. Has Woody gone mad? Going back to when Felton went down with the hand injury, Kidd has been a disaster in the starting lineup. Over his last three games, he’s only made one shot and is getting torched on defense. Last night it was Lance Stephenson (14 pts) abusing him. And it was sad to see Iman Shumpert trying to be play small forward and at times having to body up much bigger guys like David West.
This lineup is not going to cut it. Woody’s love affair with Kidd will have this team looking at the fifth seed if this keeps up. First off, Kidd needs to be benched, Shumpert to shooting guard, Stat to power forward and Melo at the 3. We need as many offensive weapons as possible and as we’ve seen, just dropping it in to Melo will not suffice.
A MENTALITY OVERHAUL: For a team that likes to administer bully ball, they sure do not handle it well when a team gets physical with them. Once again, the Knicks resorted to whining (Stat), and cheap shots when the game got away from them. JR Smith got ejected for his shenanigans with Stephenson, and the team just seemed to literally bend over like we’ve seen far too many times this year.
We’ll see if this was a wake-up call on Friday when the Knicks look for revenge against the Toronto Raptors.