[Video] A Defensive Failure: Brandon Knight Stuns Knicks with Game Winner

BrandonKnight

It finally happened. After going life and death twice with the NBA-worst Bucks this year (blowing a 20-point game in the first game and needing double overtime to win the second), the Knicks finally hit rock botttom in losing a heart-breaker off a Brandon Knight three-pointer with 1.5 seconds left. The defensive was uneven all game, but the Knicks rode the back of Carmelo Anthony in the fourth to nearly win before our “point guard” Raymond Felton gave up back to back baskets to seal this defeat. And with the schedule coming up being a Western Conference trip against the likes of Portland, Denver and Oklahoma City, the Knicks face a strong possiblity of falling further out of the playoff hunt.

BACKCOURT BLUES: Small ball is supposed to be our specialty, but it sure didn’t look like it between our starting backcourt pf Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni, who managed a combined six points on 2/9 shooting.

A DIFFERENCE IN DOUBLE FIGURES: On the scoring front, it was all Melo (36 points, 52% shooting) and JR Smith (30 points). No one else on the team managed to score in double figures. Contrast that with the Bucks, who had five players in double figures, including a team-high 25 points from Brandon Knight.

TRASH FREE THROW SHOOTING AND PERIMETER DEFENSE: The Knicks gave away points at the line, shooting just 62% (15/24) with Tyson Chandler being the biggest culprit, shooting 1-6. After building a 29-22 lead in the second, the game became a come-from-behind race for the Knicks after giving up 32 points in the quarter and letting the Bucks go 5-5 from downtown.

FELTON: The last two Bucks possessions are the biggest indictment of Raymond Felton’s defense. First, he got beat on a backdoor play that made it 98-95 Bucks with 27 seconds remaining. Melo then drained a three-pointer from 25 feet to tie it with 19 seconds left. Knight promptly brought the ball up and knocked down a three-pointer over Felton to make it 101-98 with just 1.5 seconds left. Melo missed a 27-footer to seal the defeat.

Felton is a good guy on a personal level, but a lot of the team problems begin at the point guard position. He can’t penetrate consistently, starts our offensive sets too late, has a streaky jumper, and most damning, can’t stay in front of athletic guards. When it comes to trades, a competent PG should be the #1 priority for New York.

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

THJ

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.

[Video] Knicks Hold Off Suns in OT, Extend Winning Streak to Five Games

Knicks_Melo_KMart_Felton

The Knicks blew an early 14-point first half lead, but showed the poise and grit that was missing from the first two months of the season to battle back and defeat the Phoenix Suns in overtime, 98-96. It wasn’t pretty and the defensive switching made this one harder than it needed to be, but the squad got the job done despite Melo working on fumes and refs making suspect calls in key moments.

FAST START AND SLACKING: Melo came out strong with 13 points in the opening 12 minutes to give New York a 28-21 lead. They went up by as much as 14 in the second quarter, but bad defense allowed the Suns to pull within four at one point. The Knicks had to settle for a nine-point halftime lead, 52-43, after Goran Dragic hit a three at the buzzer.

WHEN THE PROBLEMS STARTED: The Knicks took a 75-68 lead into the fourth, but Coach Woodson went with the lineup of Toure Murry, Tim Hardaway Jr., JR Smith, K-Mart and Amar’e Stoudemire. Murry uncharacteristically took back to back bad shots and Stat was continually expoited by Leandro Barbosa’s (21 points off the bench) drives to the rim. The lead was erased and Melo was forced to come back at the 9:03 mark, giving him little rest after already working hard to nab over 10 rebounds.

TIC FOR TAC: Even with Melo back in, the ball movement struggled and the teams traded baskets before NY turnovers and horrible help defense allowed for a Dragic open layup and a 88-83 deficit. The Knicks looked dead in the water, but Woody made a key substitution of Andrea Bargnani, who played solid interior man to man defense once paired with Martin. Unfortunately, Melo’s legs were gone on his jumper and he couldn’t deliver a dagger to knock out the Suns, including a missed wide-open mid-range shot. Nonetheless, he made one of the game’s most important plays in driving and kicking out to an open Felton who swished a three-pointer to put the Knicks up 92-90.

FINAL CHANCES: Now with the lead, Melo had to take a shot that would leave roughly 10 seconds on the clock. He was clearly fouled on the arm going up for a jumper, but the refs either missed it or decided to swallow their whistles (Melo had been jawing with the refs earlier, including a brief face to face that almost earned him a technical). Melo was furious and had to be calmed by Woody in the huddle.

Barbosa went for a drive and appeared to have been tied up successfully by Martin for a jump ball. However, the refs deemed this one a foul, and Barbosa hit two foul shots to send the game into overtime after JR missed good inbounds fadeaway (ironically, the same shot that beat the Suns in regulation last season).

MELO GRINDS IT OUT: Melo scored four of the team’s six overtime points to put this one away. One was a nice alley-oop from K-Mart, and the other a tough fadeaway in the post over Gerald Green, who had been giving Melo a tough time all night. The Suns couldn’t convert on open threes. K-Mart got two crucial stops on Dragic at the rim despite being switched off and having to cover him from the perimeter both times.

Although Melo didn’t shoot the ball well in the second half (9/24 overall), he found other ways to lift his team with his rebounding (16) and assists (4). K-Mart was huge on the defensive end in addition to several monster putbacks, contributing 8 points and 9 rebounds. And despite being torched at times by Dragic (28 points), Felton had his own moments with 19 points.

BACK IN THE PLAYOFFS…FOR NOW: This win put the Knicks ahead of the Brooklyn Nets for the final playoff spot in the East. If the Knicks hope to keep it that way, it’ll be important for Tyson Chandler to make his return tonight against the Bobcats since most of the starters will be dead tired.

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[Video] Choke Averted — Knicks 89, Pistons 85

Melo_Felton

A win is a win, but last night’s game unnecessarily went down to the wire after the Knicks blew an early 15-point 4th quarter lead and had to rely on Melo free throws (and the ever-present bad Josh Smith jumpshot) to pull out a 89-85 victory at MSG.

2 BAD, 2 GOOD: Why did this game turn out to be so difficult? It’s hard to cruise to a win when your play right down the middle between horrible and great. The Knicks put together a very good first and third quarter, where they outscored Detroit 24-21 and 32-17, respectively. The second and fourth quarters saw them shooting under 35% and get outscored 20-17 and 27-16.

A THIRD THAT SHOULD HAVE ENDED MATTERS: After settling for a 41 tie at halftime, the Knicks blew open the game behind three consecutive treys from Carmelo Anthony to push the lead to 58-49. The rest of the team fed off that energy and became terrors in the passing lanes and on double teams to force seven turnovers (the majority of them on Josh Smith) that lead to repeated fast breaks, including a Shumpert three-point play on Greg Monroe. It turned out to be a 25-3 run that gave NY a 73-58 lead going into the fourth. That should have been the last we saw of the starters.

JR SMITH THE CATALYST: Knick fans have come to expect trouble when we see JR starting the fourth. He made several bad passes that lead to turnovers, and the Pistons began to creep back by getting to the foul line. JR had a few iso plays that went nowhere as well. Instead of getting benched, JR continued to get crucial fourth quarter minutes that did the team no favors. In his 30 minutes, JR contributed 6 points (2/6 shooting) and 2 assists. He also got some boos when introduced and very audible groans when he touched the ball in crunch time.

FELTON NEARLY BLOWS HIS SOLID RETURN: For most of the game, Raymond Felton played well in his return (12 points, 6 assists). He moved the ball and his jumper was working off pick n’ rolls. The big problems happened late in the fourth when he coughed off the ball on back to back possessions. They were the result of bad concentration — Jennings picked his pocket close to halfcourt, and Felton got stripped driving right into heavy traffic. On top of that, he missed a second free throw that would have iced the game. Thankfully, Melo got a key offensive rebound to save the day.

MELO VS. J-SMOOVE: Melo (34 points) and Josh Smith (21 points) were battling all night, with Melo getting the better of it most of the evening. However, Smith made a strong push late in the fourth to get the Pistons back in it and got a key offensive foul on Melo with less than 30 seconds remaining and 86-85. Smith then blundered with this airball jumper.

The funniest thing about this clip was Melo feeling mighty proud like he blocked the shot.

OTHER CONTRIBUTORS: Despite the game being uneven from a playing standpoint, the Knicks were able to gut this out due to varied team contributions. Andrea Bargnani cooled after a fast shooting start, but had a double double (13 points, 11 rebounds). Stoudemire got abused a lot by Detroit’s formidable frontcourt, but still managed to drop 9 points and 5 rebounds in 24 minutes. Shumpert only scored 5 points, but also had 6 rebounds and 5 assists in addition to being the main defensive spark in the third quarter run.

The Knicks got the win, but they’ll need to regain their Texas trip form if they have any hope of being the Miami Heat Thursday night.

Knicks Owner James Dolan Puts Lowry Trade on Ice (For Now…

KyleLowry

Knicks owner James Dolan has reportedly cooled talks with the Toronto Raptors regarding a potential trade for Kyle Lowry.

According to the NY Post, Dolan’s decision was influenced by the fact terms of the potential deal leaked. Per unnamed industry sources, the trade would have required the Knicks to give up Raymond Felton, Metta World Peace, either Iman Shumpert or Tim Hardaway Jr., or a 2018 first round pick to make the deal.

Dolan was not keen on giving up the pick and has preference to keep rookie Hardaway. Dolan and Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri previously worked together in 2010 when Ujiri, then GM of the Denver Nuggets, worked out a trade that sent Carmelo Anthony to New York for Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Timofey Mozgov, Felton, $3 million in cash, plus a 2014 first-round pick and two second-round picks.

“Dolan didn’t want to get fleeced again by Masai,” an unnamed Knicks source to the Post about Dolan’s reluctance. “They had a deal ready.”

At press time, the Knicks still may reconsider the trade as rivals the Brooklyn Nets are also in the running.

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Dolan showing restraint?!!! I’m shocked. As much as we desperately need stability at the point guard position, that is definitely way too much to give up. The Raptors are trying to clear space and tank for next year’s loaded draft, so it’s not like they are in a big position of power. Metta just got here and we’re already thin in our frontcourt. Even with him currently out the rotation, his toughness comes in handy when we’re matched with bruising frontcourts. Hardaway Jr. is damn near our only guard that can shoot so it’d be idiotic to move him as well.

Even though this “restraint” is squarely due to Dolan’s bruised ego about the whisperings on how the Melo trade went down, we’ll take it if it means not throwing away another pick nor trading young players with growth potential.

Let our little brothers in Brooklyn take this on if they want to blink first. In the meantime, free Toure Murray at point guard and let him split time with Prigioni.

Snatching Defeat From the Jaws of Victory: Pelicans 103, Knicks 99

TyrekeEvans_Knicks

When you’re playing this bad, you find ways to lose, as the Knicks did last night at the Garden in dropping their seventh straight at home and ninth overall. The last time New York lost nine straight was back when Larry Brown was coaching the team. Ironically, I don’t think any of those sorry Knicks teams were ever as bad defensively as what we’ve seen on this losing streak.

 

Bargnani_block

BEST FIRST QUARTER IN AGES: The Knicks came out with strong defense from a surprising place. Andrea Bargnani, of all people, was prowling the paint and swatting shots to the tune of three blocks. His jumper was working which helped space the floor and get others involved, leading to Melo only attempting his first shot six minutes in. Felton was nailing shots and dropped a sweet alley-oop to Melo. The Knicks were able to hold the Pelicans to 24% shooting for a 20-16 lead, and got another break with New Orleans’ best player, Anthony Davis, leaving the game with a hand fracture.

EARLY SIGNS OF A COLLAPSE: Although the Knicks held a 49-44 lead at halftime, the second quarter displayed signs of the horror to come in the second half. Tyreke Evans came off the bench and pretty much waltzed into the paint at will for layups, scoring 10 points in just 14 minutes. The perimeter defense was worse, as another bench player in Ryan Anderson got repeated (and I do mean repeated — 7/11 from behind the arc) open three-point shots to keep the game close.

The offense was stalled as the Knicks overall were looking to just shoot jumpers and not attack the rim with Davis absent. The Knicks didn’t get their first free throws until midway in the second and it was Bargnani’s foul drawing that allowed NY to hold their lead.

ANOTHER 30-PLUS QUARTER: We know by now that the mark of an extremely poor defensive effort is when the Knicks give up 30 or more in a quarter. They did so in the third behind putrid interior defense. Kenyon Martin was the culprit several times here as he failed to rotate. Bargnani’s main weakness is help defense, so despite his scoring he allowed multiple uncontested layups as well. The frustration hit peak levels when Melo foolishly switched off Anderson on the perimeter. Bargnani didn’t come out to cover, leading to Shumpert dashing recklessly to prevent an open three-pointer (which happened anyway). Shump crashed into a Pelican big setting a pick, leading to a foul and four-point play opportunity.

Shump was livid after Melo criticized him for the play. He tried to plead his case in the huddle as Melo (and Coach Woodson) tuned him out.

Frankly, the play shows the lack of teamwork and awareness the Knicks play with. All parties could have done better. Melo should have never left Anderson, Bargnani could have flashed out to prevent the three, and Shumpert shouldn’t have barreled through the pick for a needless foul.

4TH QUARTER STRUGGLE: The Knicks started the final 12 minutes down 2 points (76-74), but were able to at one point gain a six-point lead off the hot three-point shooting of Tim Hardaway Jr., who drained back to back treys to put NY up 88-82.

At that point, the game should have been over with the Knicks maintaining decent defense and pulling away. But if you can’t play smart defense, it doesn’t matter how hard you play — the lead will soon be erased. In a matter of about 30 seconds, a Ryan Anderson three and a three-point play by Evans on a fast break erased the Knicks’ cushion.

The final six minutes were disastrous on both ends. The Knicks committed six turnovers and missed 12 of their final 13 shots. While the Pelican guards were feasting in the paint and on the perimeter, Shumpert remained benched in favor of JR Smith, who couldn’t get a stop if his life depended on it. JR himself admitted as much after the game:

They were pretty much scoring at will, especially my guy. I don’t know what the hell I was doing on defense.

Shumpert was so upset (and deservedly so) that he declined to talk to the media after the game.

THJ’S CAREER NIGHT: Although his defense was suspect along with everyone else, Tim Hardaway Jr. was the shooting spark that nearly won this game for NY. He had a career-best 21 points off the bench on 6-10 shooting (5-8 from downtown) in 25 minutes. We can only hope Woody continues to play the kid more and experiment with a Shump-Hardaway lineup until JR gets his mojo back.

MORE PABLO: Ray Felton had a strong first half (10 pts. on 4/5 shooting, 5 assists) but fell of a cliff in the final 24 mintues (2 pts, 0/5 shooting). He had a bad turnover down the stretch and possibly suffered a hip injury. Prigioni getting 10 minutes last night in lieu of Felton’s struggling made no sense.

FROM THE BOTTOM TO THE TOP: Let’s be clear — the Knicks are in shambles right now. There’s no leadership, no accountability and no identity. And yet, the team is still just three games out of first place on the Atlantic Division. The Knicks have a “favorable” schedule of equally sub .500 teams over the next four games (Nets, Magic, Celtics and Cavs). If the team can manage a 3-1 or 2-2 stand, it’s something solid to build as Tyson Chandler returns in the next 1-2 weeks (with hopefully Jeremy Tyler by the end of the month).

 

In the meantime, try not to slit your wrists, fellow Knicks fans.

 

Sorry Pat, Nothing Personal — Bargnani and Melo Spoil Ewing’s Coaching Debut

Andrea_Bargnani

He had that shoot-first mentality. He had some of the same looks but he wasn’t hesitating, which I like. He was very aggressive on the offensive end tonight. I guess he was tired of hearing [he wasn’t]. – Carmelo Anthony on Bargnani

I’m still trying to learn him as a coach. I told our coaches, hell, he needs to speak up and talk more and act like he’s a part of this. He was pretty good tonight. He can’t be a tease because I’m going to expect that from him every time. – Mike Woodson on Bargnani

The Knicks finally got what we’ve been waiting to see since day one of Andrea Bargnani’s contract signing with the Knicks — frontcourt chemistry with team captain Carmelo Anthony. The two combined for a massive 53 points, 16 rebounds, 9 assists and 6 blocks as the Knicks cruised to a 101-91 win in Charlotte over the Bobcats.

The Knicks had a strong first half powered by ball movement and drives to the rim. Bargnani was not hesitant with his shot and hit several treys and even executed a crossover at the top of the key. He took 16 shots in the first half and scored 15 points. Equally important was Raymond Felton, who chipped in 10 points, 4 assists, and made sure the ball was either swinging around the perimeter to the open man, or attacking the interior defense. Melo crashed the boards with 4 offensive rebounds in the first half in addition to 16 points on 6-13 shooting.

THIRD QUARTER ATTACK: After missing his first three shots in the third, Bargnani caught fire starting with a block and hitting a three-pointer to make it 61-49. He hit a mid-range jumper off a pick n’roll with Felton, and Shumpert added a corner three off an assist from Melo to make it 66-49. The Bobcats sped up the tempo and got some easy looks to get within 10 (74-64), but a trio of threes from Metta World Peace, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Pablo Prigioni pushed the lead to 88-69. The Knicks would finish with seven threes in the quarter.

4TH QUARTER EXECUTION:  The Knicks were a little absent-minded early in the fourth. Behind NY nemesis Kemba Walker, the Bobcats were able to get the deficit down to 11. However, Bargnani again sparked the Knicks on both sides of the ball, getting a block and hitting a three-pointer to make it 97-81. Melo’s jumper was working, allowing him and Bargnani to space the floor with both being inside and outside threats. The danger of a Bargnani three late in the quarter made the defense collapse and allowed for a sweet pass inside for Melo and an easy layup.

CAN BARGNANI DO THIS EVERY NIGHT?: No, we can’t expect Bargnani to start dropping stat lines of 25 points, 8 rebounds and 5 blocks at will. Let’s keep in mind this was the Bobcats. However, we should expect the effort and focus he showed tonight. Knicks fans got on him in his Garden debut because he was passive and unfocused, not because he was missing shots. If he brings this effort every night, the Knicks will be exactly where they hope to be on offense and defense.

MELO COMES ALIVE: So far this season, Melo has been good in every area except his shooting. That changed tonight with his 28 points on 54% shooting. He was great on the boards (8 rebounds, 5 offensive) and looked to get teammates involved at every turn (6 assists). This is a glimpse of how effective the offense can be when it isn’t predictable with the entire load falling on Melo’s shoulders.

TEAM MEETING WORKED: After a weak effort against the Bobcats earlier this week, the Knicks held a private players meeting to hash out their problems. The result was a team who put together their first solid 48 minutes of basketball the entire season.

OFFENSE LIFE COME SUNDAY: The Knicks will have their hands full when they meet the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday. The offensive will get another lift with JR Smith making his season debut.

Knicks Blow 25-pt Lead, Hold Off Bucks 90-83

Shumpert_Bucks_opener

The Knicks got a lesson on the importance of closing out teams last night as they ended up in a seesaw battle in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter in fighting off the Bucks to a 90-83 victory.

After a first half which saw the Knicks dominate defensively (forcing 16 turnovers) for a 56-31 lead (punctuated by a 32-13 second quarter), New York would only score 34 points in the second half while giving up an astounding 33 points in the third quarter! It would have been great for the starters to rest considering the Bulls await them tonight, but this dogfight may just be what the team needed.

STRONG BACKCOURT: Coach Woodson went with the 2 point guard backcourt of Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni. The Knicks caught a big break when Bucks guard Brandon Knight left the game two minutes in with a strained hamstring. Luke Ridnour also didn’t play, ensuring the Bucks offense would be stalled in parts without their point guards. Felton executed several excellent fast breaks off steals and had his jumper working to the tune of 18 points. There was a brief scare with him having to leave the game due to a strained hamstring, but he worked through it.

Prigioni was his usual pest on defense, notching 3 steals and keeping the ball moving with 5 assists. Iman Shumpert started slow (0-3), but began showing the range and even finishing at the rim (a problem for him last year). Shump ended up with 16 points.

FLAT THIRD QUARTER: The Knicks came out very weak. This was an issue last season where the guys just seemed to get unfocused on their rotations. Before you knew the it, the lead went from 18 to 11 to single digits. The stupid fouls contributed to the Bucks getting easy baskets as well. Melo looked to get teammates involved, but several wide-open jumpers were missed and the Bucks continued to surge.

4TH QUARTER SCARE AWAKENS MELO AND CHANDLER: Caron Butler had a solid game for the Bucks (14 points) and managed to tie it with 4:30 remaining off a three-pointer. Milwaukee even took the lead off a John Henson free throw (81-80). From there, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler were the catalyst for a game-sealing 10-2 run. Prigioni got a steal for a fast break, leading to Melo missing a layup and Chandler putting home a putback dunk. Melo then scored on his next two plays, a tip-in and a post-move, to make it 86-81. Another Chandler dunk made it 88-81 and effectively iced the game. Melo finished with a solid double-double of 19 points (7-16) and 10 rebounds. Chandler added 6 points, 10 rebounds and 5 blocked shots.

BARGNANI BOOED: Based on this game, the New York faithful won’t have much patience with Andre Bargnani this season. He struggled with his shot and defense for most of the game and finished with 6 points (3-9 shooting) and 2 rebounds off the bench. He was unsure of himself and that’s one thing NY doesn’t tolerate. To be fair, he’s still learning the offense and I’m willing to wait 25 games before pulling out the pitchforks.

BETTER EFFORT NEEDED AGAINST CHICAGO: The Bulls smacked around the Knicks every game last year. NY will have to be much better tonight if they hope to get a win, as Chicago is having their season-opener with Derrick Rose returning. We’ll see how the lineup tweaks work with Amar’e Stoudemire getting burn tonight. Game starts at 8 p.m. ET on TNT.

GAME HIGHLIGHTS

[Video] New York Knicks: The Top 100 Plays of the 2012-2013 Season

Knicks_Top100

The 2012-2013 season is at an end for the New York Knicks. But that doesn’t mean you can’t relive all the great moments from the last seven months that returned the Knicks to prominence. From our team captains (Melo, Chandler, Stat) to our tough role players, you’ll see plays you vividly remember (like J-Kidd’s four-play against Brooklyn), to others just as spectacular, but forgotten over the course of the year (like Novak and JR smashing on the Spurs). Even if you’re still down about the second round playoff exit, these highlights will undoubtedly bring a smile to your face.

Much respect goes to www.obglobal.net for taking that time to put together this awesome collection. Go there to register and talk Knicks all throughout the off-season.

100-90

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgJJyZBQ8O8&feature=youtube_gdata_player]

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89-80

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djNaTQJXzcY&feature=youtube_gdata_player]

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79-70

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjpJBu4ehMc&feature=youtube_gdata_player]

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69-60

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EeoIZLVBHw8&feature=youtube_gdata_player]

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59-50

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZ05TISUQeU&feature=youtube_gdata_player]

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49-40

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rrzwe4t5Vs&feature=youtube_gdata_player]

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39-30

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UF9VOo-8aI8&feature=youtube_gdata_player]

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29-20

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTUgIrC4IPA&feature=youtube_gdata_player]

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19-11

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PDsStMa7Qg&feature=youtube_gdata_player]

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TOP 10

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZ6eqyREC9w&feature=youtube_gdata_player]

Turned Back at the Rim: Pacers Eliminate Knicks In Six

Melo_Hibbert

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.