Knicks @ Cavaliers: MSG 7pm
The Knicks are on a second game of a back to back in Cleveland and they may have to face the return of Kyrie Irving tonight. In Irving’s absence, rookie Dion Waiters has been tremendous, and he is now the second leading scorer on the team, averaging just under 15 points per game. Waiters and Irving will attack the rim and once again will be a threat to the Knicks porous defense.
The key for the Knicks as always will be effort. The Cavs are giving up the second highest opponent’s field goal percentage and the fifth highest percentage from three point land, so the Knicks will have plenty of chances to make shots. They must understand it comes from defensive effort first. In the Knicks heartbreaking, yet encouraging loss to Miami, the Knicks came out focused to start the game, however in the second half looked flat. Miami just wanted it more, as the Knicks did not hustle to loose balls on the ground, like the Heat did in some possessions. Both Chandler and Felton jogged back, giving up a big tip in by Lebron and a HUGE three pointer by Battier. The Knicks lost their composure again! It wasn’t what Felton and Melo said after the game, “that Miami made shots”, it was the fact that the refs let Miami play physical, the Knicks complained about it, and didn’t execute down the stretch because of the lack of focus.
Once again, the Knicks lack of maturity lead to horrible shot selection from JR Smith and over dribbling by Raymond Felton. The Knicks believe they are the best team in the East, but they lack the brains to outsmart anyone. It’s becoming much more than just hustle for the Knicks, though it is a huge part of it, but I believe it’s more about sticking to a game plan and using their brains. A game plan was sorely lacking late. How could the Knicks only get the leading scorer in the league one look in the last four minutes of this game, despicable in every way! Coach Woodson must be held accountable, as should Raymond Felton.
Coach Woodson is also responsible for playing Novak more minutes than he should have in the second half. Novak’s horrendous defense off a switch on Wade, plus his lack of hustle for a rebound, lead to the Heat getting another open shot towards the end of the third. This sequence started the downward spiral for the Knicks. It is time for Kenyon Martin to come in, simply because he hustles for loose balls, rebounds and will NOT be embarrassed. He can also protect STAT on the second unit or Melo in the first unit for that matter. I also hope to see Marcus Camby back tonight, because he too can rebound and play defense. Two things the Knicks lack. I believe in the next 2 weeks, those two players will be huge contributors to this team. I hope they are both utilized and are contributing to the Knicks big five game West Coast trip, if they do, we will see productivity.
Hopefully Woodson comes to his senses, starting tonight in Cleveland by sitting James White, starting Kenyon Martin and bringing Camby in slowly on the second unit. GO KNICKS!