Woeful Shooting Continues as Knicks Fall to Sixers 117-91


The Knicks collectively built a brickhouse and couldn’t stop the post dominance of Joel Embiid, who posted an NBA-best 21st double double as the Sixers dominated at home to a 117-91 win.

Now that the fun of the 3-game win streak is over courtesy of these abysmal back to back losses to Detroit and now Philly, New York once again has to experiment with the lineup and monitor a few alarming trends.


IS TIMMY HEXED?: While he’s still averaging a team-best 22 points on the year, Tim Hardaway Jr. has been horrific over the last five games. He’s shooting just 29% from the field and the three-point arc. Against Philly, he shot 1/11 in 27 minutes.

We’ve come to expect 2-3 dumb shots per game from Timmy, but lately he’s rushing everything and not reading the defenses, as if expect one Hail Mary bomb will get him going. Coach Fiz needs to remind him that much of his early season success was predicated on the variety of his game in attacking the rim and not chucking.

WEARY LEGS: The defense was shredded inside out by Philly. They had a 41-point opening quarter led by JJ Redick, who hit his first 6 shots and finished with 24 points (4/6 from 3). The post play was no different with Embiid dropping 26 points and nabbing 16 boards.

Deep into the second quarter, Philly was still shooting over 70% and finished at a robust 57% at halftime. They finished the game at that percentage and went 12/25 from downtown (48%).

BRIGHT SPOTS: Damyean Dotson had another solid night and was the only player that lodged significant minutes to have a positive +/- (+5). He played within the offense and shot well (6/11, 16 points). He was also a pest defensively in getting 3 steals.

Kanter battled with Embiid and was our lone inside threat, getting 17 points and six rebounds.

Our struggling rookie Kevin Knox showed signs of life in garbage time. He was less reckless and got better looks, finishing with 9 points and 7 rebounds. I’d like to see him focus on getting more controlled with his drivess — he’s still out of control and throws up desperation heaves hoping for a ref bailout.

THE GUARD LOGJAM: We are in desperate need of a competent PG. We have too many iso scorers and the ball doesn’t get moved. Between Mudiay, Burke and Ntilikina, their total combined assists was 4. And it wasn’t like any of them was lighting up the scoreboard either — Mudiay was 1/5 (3 points), Burke 1/6, (7 points) and Frank another goose egg (0/5).

The shooting guard situation also gets more clogged with Courtney Lee coming back in a few weeks. There’s still more games to be played before deciding who gets shipped, but I expect at least two guys to be gone by the trade deadline.


The Knicks get to lick their wounds for a few days before facing the Bucks at home on Saturday.


Useless Backcourt: Sixers 108, Knicks 92


Be forewarned — it’s only going to get more ugly from here on out. The Knicks were in Philly last night and delivered another stinker of a second half to lose 108-92. I would love to say “trust the process,” but outside of hoping for a high lottery pick, this looks like a team without direction.

BACKCOURT WOES: In my recap of the Indy loss, I mentioned some concerns about the Mudiay-Ntilikina backcourt, namely being that neither can shoot. They combined for 3/11 and just 2 assists in 40 minutes of play. Frank was especially awful in that he didn’t score (0/4) or get any assists in his 21 minutes. In today’s game, you can’t expect to be competitive with these type of numbers.

More alarming was the fact Trey Burke only got four minutes. This was a game where I would’ve liked to see if he could’ve given us an offensive spark. Ironically, Jarrett Jack proved to be our most productive PG, tallying 11 points in 18 minutes. However, his failure to get even one assist shows how bad the offense was.

2ND HALF SURRENDER: After going down by as much as 12, the Kicks managed to only trail by two (55-57) at the half. But our usual glaring defensive holes didn’t give you much hope for improvement. The Sixers were shooting 61% (57% from three). We went down early in the third due to relying on crappy long jumpers, and then started to get killed by transition buckets from Ben Simmons and Robert Convington.

The Knicks made their usual faux runs and even tied it late in the third before Philly started to pull away. We got outscored 13-22 in the fourth and the miserable evening was capped by backup TJ McConnell notching his first-career triple double.

HARDAWAY STILL LOST: Junior’s shooting woes continued last night. He was 4/16 and a putrid 0/8 from downtown. Not to mention he got killed repeatedly on screens. His confidence is in the toilet right now and I’m beginning to wonder if he’s feeling any ill effects from the leg fracture.

“I wish I could make a fucking shot,” Hardaway fumed in the post game. “I am frustrated. Kind of in a slump right now. Just got to try to shoot my way out of it. Can’t harp on it. You can’t keep on letting it go. I mean, it’s too many games in a row now. I’ve got to figure it out. My teammates are doing a great job of encouraging me every step of the way. I’m not going to lie and sit here and laugh about it. It’s frustrating. Pissing me off.”

POSITIVES: Kanter had his umpteenth double double of the year with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Courtney Lee was our lone spark of the bench with 18 points on 50% shooting (3/4 from downtown). Beasley shot 9/17 to finish with 22 points.

The Knicks have now dropped seven straight and sit at ninth in the “tankathon” sweepstakes. We face the Wizards Wednesday night at MSG.


Another Buzzer Beater: Knicks Choke Away Fourth Quarter Lead, Sixers Win


Photo Credit: USA Today Sports Images

What a joke. A team meeting was supposed to get things in order for the Knicks. They played like it at times, but ultimately they did what the Knicks do in losing focus and blowing a 10 point lead over the last 2:29 of the game to lose 98-97 on a game-winner from TJ McConnell.

Pathetic. Absolutely pathetic. This team has no killer instinct or basketball IQ.

The Knicks had a 17-point lead in the second quarter and promptly gave up a 15-3 run to let Philly close it to five-point deficit at the half. That problem continued in the third with Philly extending their run to 28-7 to take a brief lead.

That’s when Melo took over. After delivering 11 points in the first quarter, he poured in 15 in the third to help put the Knicks up 75-71 to start the fourth. The bench, lead by a solid offensive night from Brandon Jennings (9 points), ignited a 10-0 run to push the lead to 82-71. Later, a Jennings trey kept the lead at 10 (89-79). That’s when the problems started.

CAN’T GET A STOP: It doesn’t matter how good the offense looks. Derrick Rose can drop 25, and Melo can have 28, but no lead is safe with this trash defense. Joel Embiid started to work in the paint and even hit a three to slice the lead to 95-92. Buckets were exchanged with Rose hitting a good mid-range jumper and a driving layup. The killer play came when Rose drove and kicked the ball back out to the perimeter. The ball was passed to a wide-open Porzingis who airballed an open three, leading to the Sixers pushing the ball and McConnell delivering the dagger.

Speaking of Porzingis, it seems the losing and turmoil from the Rose fiasco has zapped his confidence. He was very passive out there (7 points, 3/10) and that airball won’t help his confidence. He did manage 4 blocks with several of them coming on Embiid.

KYLE O’QUINN STEPS UP: This man rebounded (pun intended) from the Pelicans ejection by hitting his first five shots and finishing with 10 points and 15 boards. His effort lifted the team with KP’s struggles and Noah not getting going until the fourth quarter.

This mentally damaged team has to get it together within 24 hours to face the Bulls. The Knicks record this year on back to backs? 0-7.


Knicks Beat Okafor-Less Sixers 99-87



This was one team we couldn’t lose to. With Jahlil Okafor serving the first of a two-game suspension for a street brawl in Boston, the Knicks were able to win this one “comfortably” despite a lazy fourth quarter that saw them post only 18 points.

Without Okafor, the Sixers relied on perimeter shooting. But three-point defense is one of New York’s strong points, and Philly only made nine on the night. On the offensive side, Kristaps Porzingis lead the way with 17 points and 10 rebounds for his ninth double double of the season. Arron Affalo chipped in 13 points while Carmelo Anthony, obviously hampered in his first game back from strep throat, had 12 points on 5/16 shooting.

The Knicks will battle the Friday Night Curse tonight with they meet the Brooklyn Nets.


[Video] Race to 8th Seed: Knicks Offense Overwhelms Sixers 123-110

I love nights like this. Four guys with 20-plus points. Sharing the ball. Making plays. Having fun out there. Taking the load off me. I love nights like that. – CARMELO ANTHONY


As bad as the Knicks have been this season, it could be worse. Dont’ believe me? Just take one look at the Sixers, who are not only out of playoff contention, but currently on a 17-game losing streak. The Knicks added to Philly’s misery last night, overcoming a 12-point deficit (29-17) in the first quarter to score a much-needed home win to remain in play (3.5 games back) to catch the Atlanta Hawks for the 8th and final playoff spot.

SLEEPWALKING: The Knicks came out very lazy and allowed the Sixer guards like Michael Carter-Williams and Tony Wroten to get in the paint at will. With Tyson Chandler out due to personal reasons, the Knicks missed his defensive presence and rebounding. In addition, Melo wasn’t his usual self, looking lethargic coming off a cold last game. He didn’t have good lift on his inside game nor on his jumper. Thankfully, the Knicks only had to settle for a 31-26 hole after hitting a few timely threes to close out the first stanza.

DEFENSE PICKS UP: By the second quarter, the Knicks realized their were playing the Sixers and started playing defense. They took a small five-point lead following two Raymond Felton threes, but hurt themselves by going in the penalty six minutes in, allowing Philly to stay close at the line and keep it tied at halftime, 61 all.

THE BEST PLAYER ON THE FLOOR: Amar’e Stoudemire has been beasting and his output was sorely needed yesterday to keep the pressure off Melo. Playing at the 5, Stat was too fast and quick for guys like Thaddeus Young, dropping 23 points (9/10 shooting). Stat’s defense was adequate as well, including a nice block at the rim that lead to a JR Smith three on the other end. A 9-0 run late in the third, after a few minutes of back and forth buckets early on, allowed the Knicks to take the lead for good.

FOUR OVER 20: The Knicks had four different plays score over 20 points: Melo (22), Stat (23), JR (22) and Hardaway Jr. (28). Tim’s output was the most scorching, including 13 points in the fourth that allowed Melo to rest the entire period.

The Knicks head to Boston Wednesday night to take on the Celtics. I wonder if Melo and Rondo will have any “side” conversations.

[Video] Bargnani Tears Elbow Ligament on Botched Dunk, Out Indefinitely


Knicks forward Andrea Bargnani is now out indefinitely after being diagnosed with a torn ligament in his left elbow.

Bargnani suffered the injury while attempting a dunk in the third quarter of an eventual 110-106 defeat to the Sixers. Bargnani was undercut on the dunk and landed awkwardly on his elbow. He remained in the game until early fourth quarter.

Bargnani had played in every game this season, averaging 13 points and 5 rebounds.


So how many bigs do we have left? With Stoudemire and K-Mart out, we’re left with Tyson Chandler, Jeremy Tyler and Cole Aldrich. Coach Woodson isn’t high on giving the latter two significant minutes, but we don’t have much choice at this point. The “indefinitely” tag has me worried we won’t see Bargs back until after the All-Star break.

A Smart Return: JR Smith Ignites Knicks Over Sixers

That’s the worst feeling in the world, someone takes the game away from you, especially something you love. It’s all you know, you’ve been doing it your whole life. – JR SMITH


It took only one game for JR Smith to get his mind right (for now). Our knucklehead two-guard came off the bench in the second quarter and has his best 12 minutes of the season, scoring 11 points and dishing 4 assists to help ignite a 25-6 run and power the Knicks to their fourth-straight win. The Knicks are now poised to start climbing the playoff ladder.

SLUGGISH START AND OPEN PAINT: Melo had to sit early with two fouls and without their leader, the Knicks were sluggish all-around. No Tyson Chandler again (flu) had the paint wide open with the young Sixer guards like Michael Carter-Williams and Tony Wroten blowing past our defenders for easy layups. The Knicks were only shooting around 35% despite getting open looks and not defending the three-point line, allowing for the Sixers to take a 28-20 lead after the first.

JR’S SPARK: The team did a complete 180 with JR in the lineup to start the second. JR nailed his first three jumpers (one a three off a Melo offensive rebound), and everyone’s energy picked up. JR made sure to make the extra passes needed to keep Stoudemire and Melo feasting on the Sixer defense. When the smoked cleared, the Knicks had went on a 25-6 run over the last 8:40 and outscored Philly 32-12 in the period to take a 52-40 lead into halftime.


NEVER PUT AWAY, BUT NEVER BACK IN IT, EITHER: The Knicks never delivered the crushing blow to blow this game open, but they never lost focus enough to let Philly back in it. The latter was great to see considering NY has blown numerous big leads all season. The Knicks were up 84-68 after the third and let the Sixers get no closer than 8 points in the waning two minutes of the game.

REBOUNDING IMPROVEMENT: With Chandler out, the Knicks are making a concerted effort to crash the boards. Everyone chipped in to give NY a slight edge in the board battle (39-38): Melo (9), Martin (8) and Shumpert (7) were the strongest in this department.

STOUDEMIRE CONTINUES TO TURN BACK THE CLOCK: Someone must have told Amar’e it was 2009, because he came out and stayed in beast mode the entire night. He made his first seven shots, which included a handful of nasty dunks. His post moves were crisp and he fought for rebounds, often tipping it to fellow players when he couldn’t get it himself. We saw this same Stoudemire before he went down with knee problems last year so we can only pray he stays healthy. None of the teams we’ve played during this streak have had an answer for him. And even more promising is he’s doing a lot of his damage working two-man ball with Melo on the floor. Stat finished with 21 points and 5 rebounds.


TEAM DISTRIBUTION: The Knicks had 26 assists, a clear indicator the ball stayed moving. The stat lines for everyone were great with no one carrying too much of the load: Melo (18 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists), Stat (21 points, 5 rebounds), JR (14 points, 6 assists), K-Mart (8 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks), Shump (7 points, 7 rebounds, 4 steals), Felton (9 points, 6 assists) and Bargnani (10 points, 4 rebounds).

The Knicks are back home on Monday to face the Phoenix Suns.

The Bleeding Stops — Knicks Outlast Sixers 93-99, End Four Game Skid


A win! It’s been a long time, 2 weeks actually, since the Knicks had notched a victory. While the ship wasn’t completely righted with this W, the Knicks showed signs of life in the areas of ball movement and getting timely defensive stops.

MELO FEASTS AT THE LINE: One of the indicators that the offense is stagnant is when you see Melo shooting 20-plus shots. Tonight, he took 18 shots but was masterful in drawing fouls and getting easy points at the line. He had a season high in free throws (16) and for the first time this year had more points there than from the field (13).

STAT UNSTOPPABLE: After a passive first quarter where he wasn’t looking for his shot, Stat came alive at the start of the second with back to back tip-ins. From there the man couldn’t miss, banking long-range jumpers and punishing Philly in the post. In the end it was fouls (5 by mid-fourth quarter) that muzzled him. Nonetheless, the damage had already be done to the tune of 22 points on 9-10 shooting and 4-6 at the line coupled with 5 rebounds.

THE TURNER AND HOLIDAY SHOW: On Philly’s end, the offense was anchored by Jrue Holiday (30 points) and Evan Turner (21 points). They did the majority of their damage in the second half and had to play from the behind. On the bright side, these two at least are highly talented as opposed to the unheralded players that had been lighting the Knicks up in recent weeks.

KENYON MARTIN ALREADY RUBBING OFF ON THE KNICKS?: Looks like that old Denver “Thuggets” mentality is creeping into the Knicks. In the third quarter, Melo took exception to a Spencer Hawes box out and promptly slapped the bigger man in the back of the head. Hawes immediately got in Melo’s face only to be shoved hard by Tyson Chandler, earning our All-Star center a technical and a very appreciative chant from the Madison Square Garden faithful. Melo got a flagrant 1 out of it, but it was great to see our team not only playing well, but showing a legit “take no shit” attitude instead of the bitchiness and ref whining we’ve seen over the losing streak.

Speaking of Martin, he didn’t get any playing time tonight (Woodson didn’t want to play him off one practice). From the problems the Knicks had with pushing back guard penetration in the paint with Holiday and Turner with Chandler off the floor, you can’t help but be hopeful that Martin will be able to quell some that defensive bleeding.

FELTON PICKS UP THE BACKCOURT SLACK: Jason Kidd was abysmal again, scoring just three points on 1-7 shooting (0-6 from downtown). It wasn’t a killer as it’s been in recent games since Raymond Felton was aggressive in attacking the rim and scored 14 points.

A FOURTH QUARTER THAT WOULD NEVER END: The Sixers just refused to go away. The lead hovered around 12-13 points before the Sixers chipped it down to eight. Luckily, JR Smith’s three-point silder was high and he drained several treys to keep the Sixers at arm’s length. In addition, Smith forced a turnover late on Turner. The Sixers got as close as 98-93 with a little over a minute remaining before Jason Kidd’s free throws sealed it.

With this win, the Knicks take the season series over the Sixers 3-1.

New York makes another national TV appearance on ESPN this coming Wednesday (February 27) against the Warriors.

[youtube http://youtu.be/UsBrZ0YMY7A]

Ran Off the Court: Sixers Rout Knicks 97-80


The hell with this game. That was my thoughts just a few minutes into the third quarter when the Sixers extended their lead to 20-plus and it became obvious the Knicks had completely phoned it in. How bad was it? Melo, Shumpert and JR shot a combined 9-42. The team well into the third was shooting 32%. The lane was wide open for any Sixer player that wanted an easy bucket *stares at Tyson Chandler*. Jrue Holiday abused a returning Raymond Felton (and anyone else that tried to guard him, for that matter), to the tune of 35 points.

The sole bright spot for the Knicks was Amar’e Stoudemire got going for his first 20 point game and played decent defense. Other than that, the Knicks are lucky that the Bulls and Nets also dropped games allowing NY to keep their tenuous #2 spot in the East.

All in all, it was an absolutely disgraceful night of basketball. The Knicks better had redemption on the mind today when they face the Hawks on ESPN.

Have Another L, Philly: Knicks Complete Back to Back Sweep 110-88

WELLS FARGO ARENA, PHILADELPHIA — It was the epitome of a “trap game.” After delivering a 100-84 thrashing to the Sixers yesterday in the first of home back to backs, it was as Walt “Clyde” Frazier called “human nature” to expect for the Knicks to collectively slack and possibly suffer their first loss. Very early it looked like that might very well be the case. Philly jumped out to a quick 14-4 lead as the Knicks started sluggish, going 2-7 from the field.

Then the sleeping giant was awakened.

The Knicks would go on a 21-7 run to finish the quarter with a 25-21 lead and went on to break Philly’s will by the third quarter for their third straight blowout and first road win of the season.

The Sixers stayed in it through the second quarter with their ridiculous three pointers. Outside of that, there wasn’t much they could get going due to our superb guard defense. Felton and Prigioni would get several steals leading to multiple Chandler dunks. Although Melo’s jumper was off (5-12 in the first half), the rest of the team picked up the scoring to the tune of seven Knicks players getting in double digits. A Nick Young three would trim the lead to 56-48 in favor of the Knicks, but their play made the deficit seem much larger.

The Knicks came out for the third with the intention to take Philly’s soul and did just that. Melo kicked off the proceedings by making his first two buckets and swatting a weak Kwame Brown shot. Ronnie Brewer, who’s scouting report cites him as a week shooter, was in an amazing rhythm and knocking down open treys, one of which pushed the lead to 13. Moments later another Brewer 3 pointer would push the lead to 18, effectively putting the game would be out of reach.

Rasheed Wallace got in some valuable time and scored eight points in just five minutes, including two 3 pointers. By the time the quarter had ended, the Knicks had outscored the Sixers 33-20.

Did the Knicks let up in the fourth quarter? Nope. Matter of fact, the squad kept the defense strong as if they wanted to completely embarrass Philly. JR Smith played with ice water in his veins, hitting long threes and a fast break dunk off a Pablo Prigioni steal that effectively snatched any remaining fight out of the Sixers.

We’re now 3-0 which is the best start since the 99-2000 season. That season just happens to be the last time we were in the Eastern Conference Finals, a goal most fans believe we should be shooting for this year. The Knicks played with playoff intensity and sent a clear message to a division rival that they’re on different levels. I can’t get over how great our guard play has been. Brewer was on fire (13 points, 5-8 shooting, 3-4 from downtown). If that man can show consistent range from three, that just gives us yet another weapon on the outside. Raymond Felton continued his excellent play, scoring 16 points and dishing 8 assists.

Three games, three blowouts and three teams held under 100 points. This team has me so excited and the rest of the league is starting to take notice. We had a tough Western Conference road trip looming so these next few days of rest will serve us well. The next victim… I mean opponent will be on Friday when the Knicks take on the Mavs at home.